This lesson will be about excitement!
- The OT prophets eagerly looked forward to the future.
- Wake up! It’s already here.
- Never lose that sense of excitement.
This lesson will be about excitement!
Today I would like us to think about people who do have faith in God.
Why did these please God by their faith, while others who had faith did not please God?
Let’s be reminded of just how these people of old pleased God by their faith, so that we can imitate them …
|Let’s appreciate the preeminence of Jesus in …|
|I.||creation (Col. 1:15-17)|
|II.||the church (Col. 1:18)|
|III.||reconciliation (Col. 1:19,20)|
When Mary found out that she was pregnant with God’s Son, her response is somewhat muted: “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Mary appears to have had concerns about the matter, and it is not until after she visits her relative Elizabeth that her concerns are allayed and she is filled with joy and thanksgiving to the Lord for the great honour that is bestowed upon her: that she should carry the Messiah in her womb.
Mary’s song traces the same thread as the songs of Hannah and David before her, marvelling at the faithfulness of God towards those who serve Him; who exalts the humble and destroys the proud and those who are wise in their own estimation.
Hannah was married to Elkanah, but had been barren her whole life. But through much prayer, she was granted a child by the LORD, and so she became the mother of the child who was to become the prophet Samuel.
She had promised the LORD that once weaned, the child would be given over to the temple in Jerusalem to be raised there: surely a sad day for Hannah. But Hannah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, sings a song of thanksgiving to the LORD, which sets out her gratitude and exaltation in the LORD for this great blessings, and sets the scene for the coming events in the books of Samuel: evil men brought to destruction, the humble and good raised to glory, sin punished and wisdom rewarded.
Hos. 4:1-2 Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. 2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Prov. 6:20-23 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
Heb. 5:11-14 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
• Such ignorance leads to a lack of discernment = knowing right and wrong (v. 14)!
o Sadly, people can then fall back into “situation ethics” (i.e., allowing circumstances to justify
breaking God’s commandments).
• Are we growing spiritually as we should? If so …
o Eph. 4:14-15 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Jesus gave two important principles:
• Mk. 4:24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it
will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.
• Lk. 8:18 “So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
• After all, it was completed almost 2,000 years ago.
• And society has changed and progressed so much, even in just the last 50 years (calculators,
computers, phones, internet, etc.)!
• We certainly know that modern textbooks are constantly being updated!
God never intended the OT to be permanent:
– Gal. 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
– Gal. 3:24-25 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Heb. 7:12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.
-1Cor. 10:5-6 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
– Lk. 24:25-27 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
2Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
– 1Co 14:37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
= Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Ecc 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Eccl. 12:13-14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Is the Bible out of date?
• This has not changed today.
• i.e., Every person needs God’s commandments!
• God’s commandments for us today, as we have seen, are in the NT (new covenant).
• Our need for the word of God has not changed!
Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
• Mankind still needs salvation today.
• The gospel is still the only “power of God for salvation” today.
In times past, during the times of the fathers and the Israelites, God made several promises to His people. The most famous of these would be to Abraham when He promised to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars. Under the New Covenant, God has given us a different set of promises. Christans are not promised the types of blessings the Israelites had. Even though we worship God in righteousness, we see no promise from God that He will bless the fruit of the womb or of the ground or of the flocks; or remove our sicknesses; or give us success in war against our enemies.
Promises under the New Covenant: What is promised to us?
Compare now these new promises with those made to the fathers and to the Israelites. But what does the book of Hebrews say about these people who lived so long ago? Hebrews 11:4-16
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth
It is interesting to note that v13 says “all” these – Abel, Enoch (!), Noah, Abraham and Sarah – died in faith, not having received the promises: what were the promises? They must have been aware of the coming spiritual promises that were to come through the Messiah, otherwise they would not have had any comprehension of being strangers and exiles on the earth
Do not forget that the promises we have are gifts. As we know, ‘grace’ is typically defined as unmerited favour. James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Romans 11:18-21 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you