The Function of Faith
by Cooper P Abrams III
INTRODUCTION:   The book of Hebrews is addressed to the Jewish Christians who had received Jesus as their Savior the Messiah. They looked for Him to return to earth soon and set up the promised Kingdom to Israel. They looked forward to that day and of being a part of seeing peace on Earth and God honored.
They understood, even as we do today 2000 years later, that God has always presented Jesus as possibly returning at any moment. Note the following passages that emphasize the imminent return of the Lord.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5).
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (Revelation 3:3).
The effect that has on the believer is that he seeks to live a godly life... and be ready at any time to meet the Lord.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).
B. The word denotes the role of an "apostle" as being an ambassador of the Good News which is the Gospel.
C. As our High Priest Christ is our mediator between us and God the Father. It was the High Priest who once a year on the Day of Atonement went into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat on the top of the Arch of the Covenant. This was a symbolic act with fore pictured Christ's shedding His blood for our sins.
2. Further as our High Priest Jesus offers our prayers to the Lord.
3. Because Jesus is our High Priest and we are forgiven and made spotless before God....We can boldly enter the Holy of Holies....into the very presence of God the Father:
D. Verse 2, tells us of Jesus' faithfulness to the Father whose will He accomplished on the Cross.
2. Moses is used as an example because he was seen at the one God used to lead them out of the Egyptian bondage unto freedom and formed them as a nation. Abraham is Israel founding father as a people and Moses is the founder of them as a nation.
3. Jesus is presented to the Jews as being much greater than Moses. (Heb. 3:3) The point is that it was Jesus the Messiah, the Christ who actually built the house of Israel. He was its true founder and Savior. Thus to Him should go the honor and glory.
4. Verse 4 says that it was God....that built the House. This is a verse that is evidence of the Trinity. Verse 1 clearly refers to Jesus Christ, and verse 3 says He, Jesus is worthy of the honor...and verse 4 says that Jesus is God.
2. Like always God qualified the statement of salvation. He qualifies it in say the professor of Jesus Christ is truly saved....IF we hold fast the confidence....meaning faith....exercising our trust in God's promise of salvation unto the end of our lives.
Jesus said in John 10 that His sheep hear His voice and will not follow another. The true child of God will continue in the faith because He as been changed by God and is a new creation as 2 Cor. 5: states. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).
2. This parenthetical, verse 7-11, is quoting Psalm 95 was a song...which was chanted or sung in the worship of God. It was then and today a invitation to compel believers to live for and obey the Lord.
3. God for forty years took care of them. He fed them in the desert, gave them water, even miraculously caused their clothes and shoes not to wear out. Every time they put on their shoes they were reminded of God love and presence. But they erred in their hearts.
4. Verse 11 says that God sware in His wrath that they would not enter His rest. Their rejection of God's love was the cause. It is certainly no injustice on God's part that He will not bless those that refuse to allow Him to help and guide them. God refused to allow them to enter the promised land and they all died in the desert except Joshua and Caleb and those who were children at Kadesh, when Israel refused to enter Canaan.
2. We are told to exhort...daily....which means to incite by argument or advice and urge strongly an acceptance of truth. If further means to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals. We are to constantly remind each other of the consequences of unbelief. (Verse 13)
3. The appeal is to daily, urge each other not to harden our hearts by letting sin deceive us. (Verses 14-15)
4. The reason is that is proves our salvation and our faith if we remain steadfast in our actions to the end. It does not mean that works saved or keeps us saved. It means that if our faith is real, then we are shown or proven to have biblical faith.
B. Some professed outwardly that they would hear God's voice and obey Him. In others God is saying "Since ye hear the same warning which was addressed to the children of Israel, do not, like them, harden your hearts against it."
2. Verse 17 Asked move questions. "Who was it who God grieved with for forty years?" " Was it not those who sinned in unbelief and who died in the wilderness?"
3. Verse 18, "To whom did he sware that He would not let them enter into the Promised Land?"
4. God then answers these question with a question saying..."Was it not them that believed not."
2. When Pharaoh refused to let them go God demonstrated His power and sent plagues.
3. When Pharaoh, with his army came after them, with the red sea cutting off their escape, God opened the waters and they walked across on dry land.
4. God brought them to Mount Sinai and gave them the Law by Moses. Over and over again God did miracles to protect and care for them. But in spite of all this they refused to believe Him and obey Him in giving them the Promised Land of Canaan.
5. God was offering them a land of their own. A land of milk and honey. It is called in these passages "My rest." They had been slaves in Egypt and God promised to give them this great blessing.
2. The question for us is this: Do we truly believe God?
3. Hebrews 4:1-3 says we should fear...that means be alarmed and warned about unbelief. God says we should believe God lest we should not enter His rest and come short of it.
4. God has high expectations for us and great reward. So many think that being a casual Christian is okay and acceptable behavior. It is like some think God is not noticing what they are doing.
5. Verse 5 says we have heard God's truth...the gospel...the same as Israel did. But the word of God which they heard did not profit them because they would not believe it and let it guide their lives and actions. They did not hear God's word in faith.
6. Here is a promise of God to us.... We who have believed do....not may or can....but do enter into God's rest.
Note says this promise was made and finished before the foundations of the world was laid. This means it is assured and a promise made by God and assured by His character as a loving and caring God.
Verse 9 says "There remains a rest to the people of God. And verse 11 exhorts us and warns us Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)
Verse 12 commends us to what we are to believe and act upon....the very word of God. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."(Hebrews 4:12)
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