Do You Remember our starting point? EVERYONE READ ALOUD Hebrews 11:1-2 The fundamental fact of my existence is that I trust in God. This faith, is my firm foundation, my title deed, for everything that makes my life worth living. It's my handle on what I can't see. This act of faith is what distinguishes me from the crowd.
Sadly, relation-ships are all too often condi-tional How is it with you? Are you in it no-matter-what?
Hebrews 11:32-40 (TNIV) 32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
Hebrews 11:32-40 (TNIV) 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:32-40 (TNIV) 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
GOING INTO THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THESE HEROES/HEROINES DID NOT KNOW WHAT THEIR FAITH WOULD COST THEM: Wrestled with lions Weakness turned to strength Tortured Flogged Imprisoned Stoned Sawn in two Killed by the sword Wandered, destitute, in the desert Lived in caves and holes in the ground
WHAT DID THEY THINK OF SUCH TREATMENT, CONSIDERING THEY DIED WITHOUT RECEIVING WHAT WAS PROMISED? Their relationship with God made it all worthwhile! David: “Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, your bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as a shield.” --Psalm 5
Remembering the Suffering of the Cross. Faith is not always easy.
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I choose to follow Jesus as my Lord and trust Him as my Savior.
Returning to God out of our abundance. A gift of thanks.
Jesus as friend! A “no matter what” kind of relation-ship
THE GREAT COMMISSION (Going into all the world, make disciples!) CONCLUDED WITH THIS PROMISE: “ And, lo, I am with you always.” Have you taken that to mean a personal relationship?
IN YOUR DEEPEST RELATIONSHIP, WHAT WOULDN’T YOU DO FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE? Would you endure prison, flogging, being scorched and tossed to the lions? Would you stay connected despite a loss of mental health, poverty or such?
WHAT DO PEOPLE ENVISION (REGARDING AGING) WHEN THEY MARRY? Retiring, twin rocking chairs, travel? What if life deals you something far less? Is still worth it if those dreams are interrupted?
OUR OLD TESTAMENT HEROES STUCK WITH GOD, DESPITE NEVER SEEING JESUS OR HEAVEN Would I?
WE ARE THE MORE BLESSED …A MARVELOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD …AND HEAVEN WHEN WE LEAVE THIS PLANET “ GOD HAS PLANNED SOMETHING BETTER FOR US SO THAT ONLY TOGETHER WITH US WOULD THEY BE MADE COMPLETE.” Hebrews 11:40
We live this side of the cross and the empty tomb. We know how the story ends …the mystery has been unfolded. We have a richer relationship with God, the Holy Spirit living within us. Heaven is just a step away.
HOW ABOUT A TESTIMONY FROM A VETERAN BELIEVER, ENTITLED: “ Why I’d do it all over again with God.” WOULD YOU TAKE SUCH A LEAP OF FAITH TODAY?