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 third part of a study on Hebrews 11, 13 through 29. It was first preached on November 18, 2012. 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, and 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. 400 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 it was, his 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, refusing 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 God? Do you say, I insist on standing before I trust and obey? You have no faith.
You have no trust. Do you make yourself God's counselor? Is God accountable to you?
One thing you do not understand is the majesty and the infinitude of God. If that is the case, Joseph, the people of Israel, how long do I have to wait? How long is this going to continue? How long do I have to endure this misery and this suffering? Does that become a distraction for you? Has God forgotten?
Does he care? Or someone could say, I just want to enjoy life. I just want to live a normal life, a normal life being defined as regular comfort and security and reasonable amounts of pleasure.
That's all I want out of life. Does that become a distraction from you trusting God? Because there are so many people. Did you hear the statistics this morning? If you didn't hear Ravi Zacharias today, listen to the statistics of how many people every day lose their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ. Is that a normal life? Did God call us? Did you simply comfort in pleasure? Did Jesus die so you could live a comfortable life, not on this earth? Does that distract you from trusting God and from entrusting yourself wholly to him?
I can't do this. Maybe the difficulty of the obedience, Abraham, Moses, maybe the difficulty of the obedience is a distraction. And I would say, of course you can't, but what's stopping God? Jesus said, whatever you ask in my name that my Father will give you, in my name refers to what corresponds to the character and purpose of God. So when you ask God for his character and his purpose in your life, he delights to lavish that upon you.
He can do that. So the focus then, if you're distracted by all of these things, then you'll end up in the trash heaps of a disappointed, unproductive, unfruitful life. And it'll be like eating out of a dumpster instead of banqueting at the table that the Lord has to offer. But what if, what if your gaze is on the objective? What if your gaze is on the destination when you are with the Lord face to face and in his embrace?
Having seen them afar off, they embrace them. The Bible says he looked to the reward. And when that becomes your fixed gaze, then that becomes your path, even though you suffer affliction on that path, even though you suffer the reproaches of Christ. But when you fix your gaze on the objective, the distractions disappear and you move toward the goal.
And that's what people of faith do. They live with the end in view and they move toward the goal. And so the point of today is this, live with the goal in view and move toward it. Live by faith. People living by faith move toward the goal. So envision that destination.
Let it be the framework by which you examine everything else. Embrace your location that you are a pilgrim and a stranger on this earth. You don't belong here. You are going home and then examine your choices because you know what trials are going to come. 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 / 2023-11-21 12:37:33 / 2023-11-21 12:41:56 / 4