Grace Your Day May 8

When is our faith demonstrated the most? In good times or bad times? In days of sunshine or days of rain?

The answer is both because our faith should be demonstrated every single day of the week. No matter what this life may bring, we should respond to it by trusting in God. Hebrews 11:32-40 says:

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

As the author is wrapping up the Hall of Faith, he comes to a place where he begins to summarize all that happened in the lives of the people that he has been describing in this chapter and he does it by describing the good times and the bad times that they experienced.

The good times are as follows:
  • they conquered kingdoms
  • they performed acts of righteousness
  • they obtained promises
  • they shut the mouths of lions
  • they quenched the power of fire
  • they escaped the edge of the sword
  • from weakness were made strong
  • they became mighty in war
  • they put foreign armies to flight
  • women received back their dead by resurrection

On the other hand, the bad times are described this way:
  • they were tortured
  • they were mocked
  • they were scouraged
  • they were put in chains
  • they were imprisoned
  • they were stoned
  • they were sawn in two
  • they were tempted
  • they were put to death with the sword
  • they went about in sheepskins
  • they went about in goatskins
  • they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
  • they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground

His point is that these Old Testament saints trusted God in both sets of circumstances. They did it in the good times and the bad because they knew that “God had provided something better for them” which brought them comfort.

This is one of the most insightful parts of this chapter because it gives us a very realistic perspective of what we can expect if we follow the Lord because there will be high points and low points. However, the lesson is that we need to hope in God through it all because the best is yet to come. As A. W. Pink writes:

At the outset of the Christian life we are bidden to first sit down and “count the cost” (Luke 14:28) which means that Jesus deceives no one with fair promises of a smooth and easy passage through this world. Great trials and sore afflictions are to be expected in the path of faith… However, the author of Hebrews says that we do not have to approach this issue with a tone of despair. Instead, we can do it with confidence because “faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Please join us as we talk about that important subject this week at Grace Fellowship Church. If you are in a low point in life and facing discouragement, this sermon should be helpful for you because it will show you that you are not alone in the struggle. People in the Bible faced similar circumstances as well and the Lord brought them through it. He will do the same thing for you.

Our service begins at 9:30. I look forward to seeing you there!

– Jeremy Cagle