Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hebrews 11: Christ Is A Better Prize

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ

A) Reasons

3) Because He is a Better Prize (11-13)

Faith is an assurance of things we hope for, and a conviction about things we have not seen (1). For example, by faith we understand that God made the world out of nothing. Hebrews 11 shows our need to remain confident in Christ as our hope of future inheritance, rather than those things we can see and handle. The reason for this is because He is a better prize...

Than worldly praise (11:1-6)

Faith in Christ is Better than worldly praise, because God commends those who believe in Him. God commended Abel for offering a better sacrifice, by faith, than his brother Cain (4). This may picture that faith in Christ's sacrifice results in God's testimony that we are righteous (justification), while faith in the fruit of our own labors (such as offered by Cain), do not merit God's approval.

Enoch also pictures someone God approves of. Because he lived by faith in God's promises, he "obtained the witness that...he was pleasing to God." God took Enoch into heaven alive, and this pictures the believer's hope that he will be taken to heaven by Christ, to receive the fulfillment of the promised inheritance of eternal life with God.

Than worldly possessions (11:8-22)

Faith in Christ is better than worldly possessions, because He promises eternal life in a heavenly city for those who wait for Him (Rev. 21-22). Faith in God's promises motivated humble and obedient living in Abraham and Sarah.

For example, Abraham believed God's promise of a seed, and was therefore willing to offer  Isaac as a sacrifice, because he believed God would have to raise him from the dead to keep his word. Belief in the resurrection of Christ and God's promise to raise all believers with a glorious body (1 Cor. 15), enables us to obey Christ even in the face of death, in the hope of resurrection.

Even though Jacob was in the most prosperous nation on earth, he blessed his children in hope of God's promises instead, and Joseph, requested his bones to be buried in the promised land.

Than worldly pleasures (11:23-29)

Christ is better than worldly pleasures, because worldly pleasures are only "passing", but Christ is a permanent reward. Moses could have had all the pleasures of Egypt, but endured ill treatment with his people instead. He also did not fear what Pharaoh would do to him because of faith in Christ. This should motivate believers to choose the permanent possession of Christ over the passing pleasures of sin, and to endure ill treatment for their faith in Christ.

Than worldly power (11:30-35)

Christ is better than worldly power, because He gives present and future victory over sin, evil, and death. Many who believed God's promise to give them the land of Canaan fought bravely and gained victory over the enemies of God. Those who did not believe in God's promise to give them victory and an inheritance, wandered in the wilderness of sin and died.  Christ corresponds to the believers promised inheritance land, and by faith in His death and resurrection we gain victory over guilt, sin and evil in this present life, and receive an eternal inheritance in glory (cf. Rom. 6 - 8).

Than worldly peace (11:36 - 12:3)

Christ is better than worldly peace, because He alone provides resurrection from the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 15). Such hope motivated people of God to endure reproach, torture, and poverty for their faith.

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The Gospel

Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).


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