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Faith is rewarding study guide


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Faith is rewarding study guide

  1. 1. FAITH  IS  REWARDING    TEXT:  HEBREWS  11:6      David   Clayton  Sr.  Sermon  Notes     Without  faith  it  is  impossible  to  please  God,  because  anyone   who  comes  to  him  must  believe  that  he  exists  and  that  he   rewards  those  who  earnestly  seek  him   Hebrews  11:6   REVIEW   1. Review  from  last  week:    When  I  think  about  the  existence  of   God  I  am  astounded  by  his  creative  majestic  energy,  awed  by   his  desire  to  be  near  us,  amazed  at  what  pleases  Him,  and   astonished  by  His  love.    This  lesson  focuses  on  the  second   part  of  the  text:    He  rewards  those  who  earnestly  seek   him.   WHAT  PLEASES  GOD   2. Three  things  associated  with  pleasing  God  from  this  verse:     Belief  in  his  existence,  coming  to  him,  and  earnestly  seeking   him.     3. Throughout  the  Old  and  New  Testament  there  is  the   constant  focus  on  how  God  rewards  those  who  earnestly   seek  after  him.       4. That  does  not  mean  he  only  cares  for  them  who  care  for   Him.       5. God  wants  everyone  to  know  His  love  and  providence  and,   as  we  pointed  out  in  last  time,  He  created  everything  to   point  to  the  evidence  of  His  existence  and  His  loving,   generous  care.       WHO  GOD  VALUES   1.  The  value  he  places  on  human  life  is  quite  unique  from  our   cultural  perspective.       2.  For  example:  John  Gray  in  his  work:  Straw  Dogs:  Thoughts   on  Humans  and  Other  Animals.  He  believes  thoughts  of   virtue,  morality,  or  progress  whether  it  comes  from  secular   or  liberals  or  conservatives  is  “derived  from  an  erroneous   Christian  notions  of  humans  as  morally  autonomous  beings   categorically  different  from  other  animals.    This  belief,  and  
  2. 2. the  corresponding  idea  that  history  makes  sense,  or  is   progressing  towards  something,  is  merely  a  Christian   prejudice.”     3. Gray’s  philosophy  is  widely  accepted  as  intellectual  and  true   in  political  and  philosophical  studies.    If  he  is  correct,  then   really  there  is  no  more  value  to  a  human  life  than  say-­‐  to  a   bird-­‐   4. This  devaluing  of  humanity  explains  so  much  as  to  why   human  life  seems  to  be  so  cheap  in  our  day  and  age:       5. The  fact  of  the  matter  is-­‐  those  who  adhere  to  Gray’s   philosophy  and  others  like  him  are  not  intellectual-­‐  they  are   foolish  and  wrong.    Paul,  a  writer  of  many  of  the  New   Testament  Christian  letters,  would  agree  with  Gray’s   conclusion  about  the  human  condition,  as  do  I,  if  human  life   does  not  originate  with  God.    Remember  what  he  wrote  to   the  Corinthians:   6. If  there  is  no  resurrection  of  the  dead,  then  not  even   Christ  has  been  raised.  And  if  Christ  has  not  been  raised,   our  preaching  is  useless  and  so  is  your  faith  (1   Corinthians  15:13-­14).    And  if  Christ  has  not  been   raised,  your  faith  is  futile;  you  are  still  in  your  sins.  Then   those  who  also  have  fallen  asleep  in  Christ  are  lost.    If   only  in  this  life  we  have  hope  in  Christ,  we  are  to  be   pitied  more  than  all  men.    But  Christ  has  indeed  been   raised  from  the  dead  (1  Corinthians  15:17-­20a).   7. Gray  and  others  do  not  see  a  value  difference  between   human  life  and  animal  life-­‐  back  to  his  point  as  to  why   humans  need  birds  and  other  animals.    Here  is  what  Jesus   says  about  that:  “Look  at  the  birds  of  the  air;  they  do  not   sow  or  reap  or  store  away  in  barns,  and  yet  your   heavenly  Father  feeds  them.    Are  you  not  much  more   valuable  than  they?  (Matthew  6:25b-­26)   8. God  cares  and  delights  in  his  creation  –  yet  he  value  human   life  over  other  forms  of  life.    He  rewards  those  who  earnestly   seek  him.    For  just  a  moment  let’s  go  to  the  Old  Testament   Psalm  8,  starting  in  verse  3:    
  3. 3. When  I  consider  your  heavens,  the  work  of  your  fingers,   the  moon  and  the  stars,  which  you  have  set  in  place,   what  is  man  that  you  are  mindful  of  him,  the  son  of  man   that  you  care  for  him?   You  made  him  a  little  lower  than  the  heavenly  beings,   and  crowned  him  with  glory  and  honor.       You  made  him  ruler  over  the  works  of  your  hands;  you   put  everything  under  his  feet;  all  flocks  and  herds,  and   the  beasts  of  the  field,  the  birds  of  the  air,  and  the  fish  of   the  sea,  all  that  swim  the  paths  of  the  seas.    O  Lord,  our   Lord,  how  majestic  is  your  name  in  all  the  earth.   9. In  the  vastness  of  the  created  universe,  we  can  often  feel   small  and  insignificant.  Why  would  God  care  and  value  me?   10. What  is  a  human  that  you  are  mindful  of  them?    They  are   delightful  creation  of  God  with  tremendous  value  and   significance.    So  God  spends  considerable  time  throughout   the  generations  covered  in  scripture  reminding  them  and  us   that  He  created  us  for  a  purpose  and  that  He  values  us  so   much.  Of  course,  the  greatest  way  he  shows  how  much  he   values  us  is  the  astonishing  loving  act  of  Jesus  on  the  cross   to  die  for  our  sins  and  to  redeem  and  reconcile  us  back  to   God.       POINTS  TO  IS  GOD  AS  A  GENEROUS  GIVER  OF  REWARDS     11. He  rewards  those  who  earnestly  seek  him.    Or  as  Paul  told   the  Athenians,  “God  did  this  (creation  of  world  and   people)  so  that  we  would  seek  him  and  perhaps  reach   out  for  him  and  find  him,  though  he  is  not  far  from  each   of  us.  For  in  him  we  live  and  move  and  have  our  being   (Acts  17:27-­28)   12. It  is  reasonable  to  conclude  that  if  God  creates  us  then  we   find  our  true  purpose  and  joy  in  living  by  doing  what  pleases   God.  Someone  described  it  this  way:  Cars  work  well  when   you  follow  the  owner’s  manual.    If  you  to  properly  maintain   your  car,  it  will  stop  working.    
  4. 4. 13. In  the  same  way,  God  has  designed  us  to  work  in  a  proper   relationship  to  him  by  faith  and  when  we  violate  the  owner’s   manual,  the  commands  of  God,  the  Word  of  God,  not  only  do   we  displease  God  but  also  we  stop  functioning  properly.     14. Isaiah  48:17-­18    I  am  the  Lord  your  God,  who  teaches   you  what  is  best  for  you,  who  directs  you  in  the  way  you   should  go.    If  you  had  only  paid  attention  to  my   commands,  your  peace  would  have  been  like  a  river,   your  well  being  like  the  waves  of  sea.     15. Obeying  God  is  not  a  burden  or  restricting  our  happiness,   but  true  freedom-­‐  rewarding.     16. The  implications  of  this  are  far  reaching.    We  have  the   freedom  to  seek  what  suits  our  gifts  and  passions.    We  can   be  open  to  greater  opportunities.  And  every  Christian   should  be  able  to  identify,  with  conviction  and  satisfaction,   the  ways  in  which  God  is  rewarding  us.     17.  When  we  properly  see  God  as  a  generous  giver  who  loves   to  rewards,  we  realize  that  we  will  never  disappointed  in   earnestly  seeking  and  putting  our  hope  in  Him.    I’m  thinking   of  Romans  5:5  Hope  does  not  disappoint  us,  because  God   has  poured  out  his  love  into  our  hearts  by  the  Holy   Spirit,  whom  he  has  given  us.         THE  REWARDS  OF  GOD:  Performance  and  Grace   18. Hebrews  11:6  He  rewards  those  who  earnestly  seek  after   him.    Reward  in  the  Word  of  God  is  used  in  two  ways:    First,   he  rewards  based  on  performance.  Second,  he  rewards  by   His  grace.    Let’s  look  at  rewards  by  performance.     19. Faith  is  a  verb-­‐  calls  for  action.  I  understand,  decide,  and   then  act  upon  it.    There  is  a  work  or  performance  associated   with  faith.    James  makes  it  clear  that  our  performance  or   actions  in  no  way  save  us-­‐  salvation  is  a  gift  from  God.     However,  James  also  points  out  “faith  without  works  is   dead.”    (James  2:17)   20.  This  verse  must  be  connected  to  Paul’s  statement  in   Ephesians  2:8  “For  it  is  by  grace  you  have  been  saved,  
  5. 5. through  faith-­  and  this  is  not  from  yourselves,  it  is  the   gift  of  God,  not  by  works,  so  that  no  one  can  boast.”   21. OK,  based  on  Hebrews  11:6  God  rewards,  and  James  2   Faith  without  works  is  dead,  and  Ephesians  2  that  works   cannot  save  us-­‐  what  does  it  mean  God  rewards  us  based  on   performance.       22. Example  of  my  son  internship  where  he  forgoes  payment   to  instead  have  the  employer  as  his  mentor.  Richly   rewarded.       23.  In  a  similar  manner,  God  does  the  same  with  us.  He  loves   to  give  generous  and  great  gifts.    He  delights  and  loves  when   we  earnestly  (over  and  above  the  normal)  seek  him.    He   rewards  that  earnest  seeking.    It  does  not  add  anything  or  go   toward  our  salvation-­‐  it  is  faith’s  reward  for  earnest  seeking.     That  can  be  for  our  work,  conduct,  giving,  fasting,  praying,   serving  others,  bible  study,  etc.  Many  ways  faith  is  rewarded   by  its  performance.    When  by  faith  we  earnestly  seek  him,   God  rewards  our  performance.  1  Corinthians  3:8  each  will   be  rewarded  according  to  his  own  labor.     24. Peter  tells  us  that  God  gives  us  everything  we  need  to  be   godly  and  to  escape  the  corruption  of  this  world.    When  we   exercise  our  faith  in  the  wonderful,  generous  promises  of   God  to  reward  us  in  escaping  corruption  we  are  add  7   rewards  to  our  faith:  goodness,  knowledge,  self-­‐control,   perseverance,  godliness,  brotherly  kindness,  and  love.     Picking  up  in  verse  8,  Peter  writes,    “  For  if  you  possess   these  qualities  in  increasing  measure,  they  will  keep   you  from  being  ineffective  and  unproductive  in  your   knowledge  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.   25.  God  rewards  the  work  of  our  faith.    But  here  is  what  is   really  exciting;  the  reward  of  God  is  also  a  gift  of  grace.    By   God’s  grace,  Paul  reveals  in  Ephesians  1:3  that  he  blesses   us  with  every  spiritual  blessing,  in  Ephesians  3:20  that   he  is  able  to  more  than  all  we  ask  or  imagine,  according   to  his  power  that  is  at  work  within  us.      
  6. 6. 26. 1  Samuel  26:23  that  the  Lord  rewards  all  for  their   righteousness  and  faithfulness.         When  we  earnestly  seek  him,  we  are  rewarded.  When   rewarded,  we  want  to  seek  him  more-­‐  this  process  of  faith   pleases  God  and  unleashes  his  abundant  generosity  upon  us.     salvation  and  heaven   forgiveness  and  mercy   Sure  hope,  understanding  and  wisdom   The  gift  of  the  Holy  Spirit   Victory  over  temptation   Comfort  and  compassion  just  to  name  a  few  of  the  graces  of   His  reward  for  the  righteous  and  faithful.   By  the  riches  of  mercy,  abundance  in  grace  and  love,  and   great  forgiveness  we  makes  wealthy  those  who  earnestly   seek  him.         27.  Hebrews  points  to  a  real  God  who  gives  real  rewards  to   those  who  believe  he  exists,  will  come  to  him  through  Jesus   Christ,  and  earnestly  seek  him.    The  greatest  reward  is  that   God  gives  Himself  to  us.    This  is  a  personal  relationship  with   the  majestic  Creator  God-­‐  he  gives  himself  to  us.     28.  When  Abram  learned  for  4  warlords  in  the  region  that   were  causing  havoc  and  had  kidnapped  his  nephew  Lot,   Abram  marched  out  with  318  men  and  defeated  the  four   warlords  and  rescued  Lot.    Abram  refused  to  take  any   bounty  or  spoils  from  the  warlords  or  a  reward  from  King  of   Sodom  for  his  personal  services,  although  he  did  allow  his   allies  in  the  rescue,  Aner,  Eshcol,  and  Mamre,  be  paid  by  the   King  of  Sodom  for  their  efforts.    What  Abram  told  the  King  of   Sodom  was  that  his  riches  and  trust  was  in  the  Lord,  God   most  high,  Creator  of  heaven  and  earth.   29.  A  short  time  later,  as  recorded  in  Genesis  15:1  The  word   of  the  Lord  came  to  Abram  in  a  vision:    Do  not  be  afraid,   Abram,  I  am  your  shield,  your  very  great  reward.    Abram   was  richer  in  his  soul  than  any  person  in  that  region  because  
  7. 7. He  God  as  his  shield-­‐  his  very  great  reward.    Abram,  by  faith,   had  a  personal  relationship  with  God  who  cared,  valued,   loved,  and  rewarded  him  with  that  close  personal   relationship.  That  is  the  greatest  reward  God  gives  anyone   of  us-­‐  himself.     30.  In  2  Chronicles  16:9  it  describes  how  the  eyes  of  the  Lord   range  throughout  the  earth  to  strengthen  those  who  hearts   are  fully  committed  to  him.    What  sort  of  commitment  does   he  find  in  you  today?    What  steps  of  faith  do  you  need  to   take  for  God  to  reward  you  as  earnest  seeker  of  him?     31.  The  first  step  is  to  accept  the  most  generous  gift  ever   given  by  anyone-­‐  it  comes  from  God-­‐  salvation  through  Jesus   Christ.    Accept  Christ  as  your  savior,  believe  in  him,  confess   him,  turn  from  your  sinful  ways,  and  identify  with  him  by   being  baptized  into  his  name-­‐  so  that  by  grace  you  will  be   saved  through  faith  in  Christ  Jesus.    That  is  the  greatest   grace  and  reward  of  all-­‐  God  gave  his  only  son  so  that  all   who  believe  in  him  might  not  perish  but  have  eternal  life,   32.  The  next  step  is  by  the  grace  of  God  continually,   diligently,  earnestly  put  God  first  in  your  life-­‐  to  seek  him   with  all  your  heart,  mind,  soul,  and  strength.  Get  ready  to   receive  the  rewards  God  gives  those  who  live  righteously   and  faithfully  before  him.