Music Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. C.S. Lewis said, Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in.
Aim at earth and you get neither. We're continuing a sub-series within our study of Hebrews called Living by Faith. Today, Pastor Rich shows from the text that people who live by faith move toward the goal. Our destination and our confident hope in God's promises are the frame of reference for life circumstances and for our direction. Our certain future anchors us while narrowing and clarifying our purpose. Let's listen in. This is the second part of a study on Hebrews 11, 13 through 29.
It was first preached on November 18th, 2012. We are going home. And as people of faith, we have our gaze fixed on the destination. And we keep moving in that direction. The path will have its challenges. And understand this, the path will have its distractions. But do they keep us from the objective? Not when we keep our eyes fixed on the goal, on the reward.
C.S. Lewis said it well, aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
How deep are we setting our roots on this earth? This is not our home. We don't belong here.
Let's not act like we do. That means that if we embrace the promises and therefore we embrace our location, then we examine our direction. Our direction. How do we examine it?
What is the standard? The standard once again is the destination which becomes the frame of reference. The frame of reference meaning the choices that I will make on this earth, the motives that I have, the choices I will make, the attitudes that I possess. Do they fit into the picture of my destination that has been revealed to me and promised by God? That is how we examine. Paul says clearly walk worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom in glory.
That's exactly what that means. Let your walk, your attitudes, your choices, the gaze of your eyes and of your soul, let it be fixed on the destination so that you're not distracted by things that are unworthy of that destination that God has promised you. He says to the Philippians, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. There will be distractions on the path that is guaranteed. Those distractions will want to derail us. They will want to frustrate us, to lead us to unproductivity, to lead us to train wreck and the Bible gives us examples of such occasions. But let's consider those who moved toward the goal.
Abraham in verses 17 to 19, by faith Abraham when he was tested offered up Isaac and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Now consider the verses that were before that. Those who say such things, verse 14, declare plainly that they seek a homeland, meaning they are headed to a destination. They don't belong here, they belong somewhere else and they're going home. And that is the direction that they continue to move in. Verse 15, and truly if they had called to mind the country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But why would they return to something like that?
Now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. They were confident of and embraced the destination that God had established and promised them and revealed to them. So what did Abraham do? Abraham offered up his only begotten son in obedience to the one who called him, to the one who was the object of his faith.
Why? Because Abraham knew my son is not my reward, God is. I don't trust my son, I trust God. And though Abraham did not understand the directive, he obeyed, keeping his focus on the object of his faith and the promise given. That is living by faith. Even though he didn't understand, he knew this, getting there was God's issue. All he had to do was walk in obedience. Getting there was God's issue. He did not let his lack of understanding or the difficulty of the obedience obstruct his movement toward the objective.
He was not distracted by it. We consider Isaac and Jacob and Joseph. What does it say? Verse 20, by faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. This Isaac, now a father, and he blessed Jacob and Esau.
Normally the firstborn would receive the greater blessing, but not in this case. God was going to build his people through the younger son and that was Jacob. And Isaac discovered that by faith. Verse 21, by faith Jacob when he was dying blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped leaning on the top of his staff. There would be two tribes in Israel from the sons of Joseph, not just one tribe of Joseph.
And then you look at Joseph himself in this reference here. Verse 22 is referring to Genesis chapter 50 verses 24 to 25. It says, by faith Joseph when he was dying made mention of the departure of the children of Israel and gave instruction concerning his bones. He said to them, God will visit you. Israel, the people of Israel, the whole nation was now down in Egypt and living there and they would live there for a long time.
In fact they would live there for some 400 years. And before Joseph died he said, listen God's going to come to visit you and he's going to take you back to the land that he promised and when you leave take my bones because I want to be buried there. You see, God had communicated that and Joseph entrusted himself to that and therefore he gave instruction based upon that. He moved toward the goal. He moved toward the destination. Four hundred years.
Time was not an obstacle to their movement towards the objective. And then it speaks of Moses. His parents by faith secured him in a basket in the river and God protected him and rescued him. And then it says Moses forsook Egypt. Now what's the significance of that?
Think about it. Egypt in that day was the happening place. And what was Moses' position living in the house of Pharaoh? Whatever he wanted, it was his upon request.
A life of pleasure and ease and power. And what do the scriptures tell us? By faith Moses when he became of age refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer the affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. It says by faith as he led out the people of Israel they kept the Passover and they crossed the Red Sea. What were the distractions? The distractions were overwhelming odds against the people of Israel, against the mighty armies of Egypt. And God led them out by faith.
Not only overwhelming odds but impossible circumstances. They come up to the Red Sea and by faith they crossed the Red Sea. They moved toward the objective, not being distracted by the obstacles along the way. The important point here in this text is that all of these headed toward the destination that God had commanded them and they kept their focus. They kept their gaze fixed on the place that God had promised them.
What are the distractions? Consider this illustration now for a moment. You are this pilgrim. You are this pilgrim. You are walking the paths of this earth. There is a destination that God has promised you that one day you will be in the embrace of God. You will be face-to-face with him. Does that terrify you or does that bring you great comfort? You will be eating at the banquet table of the marriage supper of the Lamb.
There will be unending joy and satisfaction in the presence of God as revealed in his word. That is our destination. But there are things that can distract us. The first thing that can distract us is I don't understand. I don't understand. That could have distracted Abraham. I don't understand.
And when your gaze is fixed on the distraction, then it takes your gaze and your movement away from the objective. Who says you have to understand? Do you demand to know as much as God? Do you say, I insist on understanding before I trust and obey? You have no faith.
You have no trust. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-20 17:48:39 / 2023-11-20 17:52:36 / 4