A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 37: SPECTACULAR ACTS OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 33, 34.
Faith is active and not passive. Real faith is the heartís persuasion of the Truth of God, produced by the Spirit of God, who applies Godís Word to the heart. So, true faith is divinely given as we read and believe the Word of God. It is not only divinely given, it is also divinely sustained, divinely energised and divinely increased. Faith in God produces that which mere human nature or ability cannot produce.
The verses we are studying today enumerate spectacular acts of faith. Who through faith (1) subdued kingdoms, (2) wrought righteousness, (3) obtained promises, (4) stopped the mouths of lions, (5) quenched the violence of fire, (6) escaped the edge of the sword, (7) out of weakness were made strong, (8) waxed valiant in fight, (9) turned to flight the armies of aliens (Hebrews 11: 33, 34).
So we have nine exploits of faith enumerated here as there is a ninefold fruit of the Spirit: (1) love, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) longsuffering, (5) gentleness, (6) goodness, (7) faith, (8) meekness, (9) temperance and there are nine gifts of the Spirit: (1) the Word of Wisdom, (2) the Word of Knowledge, (3) Faith, (4) the Gifts of Healing, (5) the Working of Miracles, (6) Prophecy, (7) Discerning of spirits, (8) Divers Kinds of Tongues, and (9) the Interpretation of Tongues (Galatians 5: 22, 23; 1 Corinthians 12: 8-10). As the fruit of the Spirit is produced by faith and the gifts of the Spirit are operated by faith, so these spectacular acts are products of faith in the lives of Spirit-filled children of God. We shall study the nine spectacular acts of faith in groups of three.
PROMISES CLAIMED BY STRONG FAITH
Hebrews 11: 33; 2 Samuel 5: 22-25; 8: 1-6, 14; Proverbs 16: 32; 1 Corinthians 9: 27; 1 John 5: 4; Job 1: 1, 8; Genesis 7: 1; 39: 7-13;
Luke 1: 6; Romans 4: 19-21; Luke 1: 68-72; Hebrews 6: 12; 2 Peter 1: 3, 4.
The first three exploits of faith concentrate on men who (1) subdued kingdoms, (2) wrought righteousness, (3) obtained promises. Joshua, David and others subdued kingdoms by faith. Those kingdoms attempted to hinder Israel from entering into and enjoying her promised inheritance. By faith, they subdued powerful enemies that sought to prevent them from enjoying the promised land. The Christian too has promised inheritance which the flesh, the world and the devil want to hinder him from enjoying. By faith he too can subdue all hindering kingdoms.
Those who wrought righteousness, like Job, Noah, Joseph and others also did it by faith. Their temptations were strong, their societies were extremely sinful, the persecution of the righteous was great, yet they lived in total obedience to God. It is unbelief that make people to sin and backslide; faith helps us to live righteously, and godly in this present world.
They also obtained promises, that is, they obtained the blessings promised by faith. Such men and women who obtained promises are many and they all received the blessings by faith. Great and many are Gods promises for us today - Exceeding great and precious promises (2 Peter 1: 4). The fulfilment of all these promises in our lives can only be by faith.
POSSIBILITIES OF SUPERNATURAL FAITH
Hebrews 11: 33, 34; Mark 9: 23; Matthew 17: 20; Philippians 4: 13; Daniel 6: 22, 23; Psalm 57: 4-7; 2 Timothy 4: 17; Daniel 3: 15-17, 20-27;
Psalm 66: 12-14; 1 Peter 1: 5-7; 1 Kings 19: 1, 2 with 2 Kings 2: 11; 6: 32-7: 1; Jeremiah 39: 15-18.
Great are the possibilities of faith. By faith, men of like passions like us (1) Stopped the mouths of lions, (2) quenched the violence of fire and (3) escaped the edge of the sword. We are all familiar with Daniel who believed so much in God and was thereby preserved in the lionsí den. There were others who were preserved from lion-like, ferocious persecutors and savage oppressors. There is no limitation to what faith can do. The devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8). By faith we can stop the mouth of that lion.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego quench the violence of fire. In the great danger they faced in Babylon, when they refused to bow to the kingís image, God delivered them. Fierce afflictions or trials of fire cannot destroy children of God who are walking by faith. If our confession is as firm as that of the three Hebrew children, the Lord will strengthen, preserve and deliver us. Their confession? Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us (Daniel 3: 17).
Many faithful men of God - David, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah and others - escaped the edge of the sword. Enemies of righteousness and haters of God pursued them but they escaped. Walking by faith, we should not fear the threats of ungodly people. We shall escape the sword of the enemy. God watches over all His children, even the least among us.
POWER OF STEADY, STABLE FAITH
Hebrews 11: 34; Judges 7: 9-15; 2 Chronicles 20: 1-3, 12, 20-22; 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10; Joshua 10: 11-14; 2 Samuel 23: 10; 1 Corinthians 15: 32; 1 Timothy 6: 12; 1 Samuel 17: 51, 52; 2 Chronicles 14: 11-14; Revelation 2: 7, 11, 17, 26; 3: 5, 12, 21.
The last three of the exploits of faith challenge us with the faith of those who (1) out of weakness were made strong, (2) waxed valiant in fight, (3) turned to flight the armies of the aliens. All men, indeed all Christians sometimes know what it means to be weak. Yet by faith, each of us can become bold, fearless, courageous and strong. Testimonies abound in the Bible, in church history and today of those who are made strong in times of extreme weakness. Faith strengthens the heart.
Divinely energised by faith, Godís people waxed valiant in fight. Such people refuse to be intimidated or terrified in the days of battle. Whether it is fighting the Lordís battle in the Old Testament or fighting the good fight of faith in the New Testament, Godís people always waxed valiant in fight.
And they turned to flight the armies of the aliens. The life of faith is a triumphant life. The path of faith always leads to victory. In all our spiritual warfare, we shall be overcomers as we walk and fight in faith. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5: 4).
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