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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook.
Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Tonight, we're going to be looking at Hebrews chapter 11, and I've entitled tonight's message A Worthy Life. So, what determines whether a life lived has been a worthy life or a wasted life?
Some would say, he who dies with the most toys wins. Others might say, he who is the greatest philanthropist lives the most worthy life. Still others might say, he who lived the most upright life and lived by the golden rule is the one who has lived the most worthy life.
So what do you say? Well, perhaps as Christians, we should look to the Bible to see how God measures a worthy life. So, what would God say? Well, Paul writes in Colossians chapter 1 verse 10, and we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way.
So, let me just go ahead and set the record straight. A worthy life according to God, is simply a life that a man or woman lives that's pleasing to Him. So, how do we live a life that's pleasing to God? Well, tonight we're going to examine Hebrews chapter 11, which is the hall of faith. In this chapter, we will meet the people who live their lives with one purpose, and that purpose was to please God. And so, I want to show you men five distinguishing marks of a worthy life. That is a life that is truly pleasing to God. Now, don't you want to please God with your life?
I know the longer I live, the older I get. The more I want to finish strong. And here's how we can finish strong. So, I'm going to give you these five marks.
Here's the first mark. A worthy life is marked by a confident faith. Look at verses 1 through 6, Hebrews chapter 11.
I want you to follow along with me, okay? Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith, Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith, he still speaks, even though he's dead because we're actually talking about him right now. Verse 5, by faith, Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death.
He could not be found because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And 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. So, the first step toward living a life that is pleasing to God is this.
Are you ready? It's profound. You must have faith in him. In fact, you should have a confident faith. So, what does it mean to have a confident faith?
Well, look at verse 1 again. Now, faith has been sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So, this was the distinguishing mark of these saints that we're reading about here in chapter 11. They possessed a confident faith, one that was sure and certain. So, of what were they certain?
Five things. They were certain that God exists. They were certain that God made something out of nothing.
In fact, he made everything out of nothing. They were certain that God created the universe by a spoken word, that it is impossible to please God without faith, and that God rewards those who earnestly seek him. The first hurdle that your faith has to cross is that God exists. And to cross this hurdle, all you have to do is look at creation.
Look up at the stars tonight and believe in the one who put them there. This is known as universal revelation. The evidence of God in creation that is available to every person who is able to live a life that is available to every person who has ever lived. That's why it's called universal revelation, because God has revealed himself universally to everyone who's ever lived. Psalm 19 verses 1 through 4 says, the heavens declare the glory of God.
The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech. Night after night, they display knowledge. There's no speech or language where their voice, whose voice? Creation's voice is not heard. Really, God's voice in creation. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. What's the psalmist saying to us?
He's declaring that anyone, anywhere, at any time, can look at the creation around them and know that there is a God in heaven. Moreover, people can look into their own conscience. From the moment a person is born, he has a conscience that is telling him or her what is right and what is wrong. There's a moral law within each one of us in every culture.
Who put it there? Where did this moral law, this moral compass come from? It comes from the moral law giver, God. This is known, by the way, as the moral law argument. If there's a moral law within the conscience of every living soul, within the conscience of every living soul, then there must be a divine moral law giver. By the way, this is the one, one of the ways that C.S. Lewis became a believer.
He kind of backed into it by thinking through things. Well, guess what? There's a divine moral law giver.
And what's his name? God. The only way a person can deny the evidence of creation and the evidence within his conscience is to suppress these truths. Paul writes about this in Romans chapter 1, verses 18 through 20, where he says the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. Because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without what?
Without excuse. In fact, Ecclesiastes talks about this idea that God put the idea of eternity within each one of us. I think what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes is that we all know that there's more to this life than what we see. We know it. We have this idea that things are going to last forever.
It's in our DNA. Once you move past general revelation, you come to what is known as particular or special revelation. You follow with me? So you've got general or universal revelation and now we're going to move to particular or special revelation. Think of this as the second hurdle that you have to jump over to arrive at true biblical faith. So what is special revelation? Well, according to Dr. John Hammett, special revelation is the revelation of God or information God desired to communicate given to particular individuals at particular times throughout history. Therefore, by definition, it's not universal.
It's not available to everyone, only to certain people at particular times. He goes on to say the purpose of special revelation is relational. God giving information about himself in order that a relationship of personal knowledge, intimacy and trust may be established. The two best examples of special, excuse me, of particular revelation or special revelation are Jesus when he walked the earth and revealed God to us in person.
He was doing it at a particular time to particular people. And the other is what? The Bible. You see, only a few people were privileged to live at the time of Christ and not everyone on the planet has access to the Bible.
But guess what? We do. We are privileged to live in a country where we can study the Bible openly without fear of arrest. We have complete access to the Bible. We have access to sound preachers explaining it. So we truly have what?
No excuse. Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, well, how about those who did not live at the time of Christ or those who don't have access to a Bible and they've never heard the gospel? How about the native in the jungle?
What about him? You get that question all the time. Well, here's what I believe. If the native in the jungle believes in the universal revelation that God revealed to him in creation. In other words, if the Indian in the jungle looks up at creation and goes, you know, there's a God in heaven and he believes that. You think God's going to leave him in that condition? What's he going to do? He's going to reveal himself either like he's doing with the Muslims right now in person, read Visions and Dreams by Tom Doyle if you want to see that. In other words, Jesus is appearing to them in dreams to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Muslims. You heard that on the news recently.
Not going to hear it on the news. Or he sends a what? A missionary. God cares more about the man in the jungle than you or I do. And ultimately it's God's choice to reveal himself to ever he wants to and however he wants to. All you have to do is worry about who?
You. So back to you and me. As a man begins to open up God's Word, the Bible, and read it, his faith develops. And so as this man begins to understand as he reads the Bible and hopefully believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. So in other words, he begins to believe, you know, as he reached Genesis that God actually spoke and creation came into existence. God actually made something out of nothing. This is what the Bible says men, and this is what I have believed since I read it when I was 10 years old. I just, I don't take credit for this because I believe that our faith is a gift from God, but when I read it I believed it.
And as this man continues to, maybe this is describing you, as this man continues to study God's Word, he comes to realize that the only way to please God is to trust him completely, to take God at his Word. I don't know if y'all counted how many times the word faith is used in Hebrews 11. Anybody count that up? How many? A bunch. 25 times in my Bible.
And here's the bottom line. God can see into your heart and he knows when he sees genuine faith. What did Jesus see when he looked at the thief on the cross? The one who believed. Genuine faith. What does God see when he looks in your heart? There are many millions of people who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Does that save you?
No. You've got to trust in him. You've got to look in the mirror and say I'm a sinner who needs a savior and Jesus is the only way. All of these people in Hebrews 11 trusted God to deliver on his promises.
In other words, they took God at his Word. As your faith grows, you become more and more aware that without faith it's impossible to please God. And when your faith reaches the point where it is sure and certain, you also begin to realize that, you know, the Bible tells me that he's got an inheritance for me, waiting for me, a place, a city, a home. And this is what gives you hope when you go through dark days.
Here's Mark number two. Now listen, a worthy life is marked by a holy fear of God. Look at verse seven. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By this faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by what? Faith. And what does it mean to have a holy fear of God? Well the New American Standard version translates this word for holy fear as reverence.
It literally means to have a devoted concern for the things of God. Listen, Noah so respected God and lived his life in such holy awe of him that he dropped everything he was doing to obey Him. God commanded him to build an ark to build an ark in a dry desert hundreds of miles from the nearest body of water. Furthermore, apparently at this point it had never rained. The earth was watered from the ground up.
Noah didn't know what rain was. He had no experience in shipbuilding and it took him how many years? 120 years during which he preached the coming judgment of God and how many people believed him?
Zero. Proverbs 1 7 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of what? Knowledge or wisdom. This fear of the Lord refers to a loving reverence for God that includes submission to His lordship and submission to His commands in His word. So what is a worthy life? It is a life that is marked by a confident faith in God and a holy fear of God. Does this describe your faith?
Mark number three. A worthy life is marked by an obedient heart. And here I want us to look at verses 8 through 12 and then we'll skip down and look at 17 through 19. Verse 8. By faith Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob who were heirs who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.
Can you imagine what that city looks like? By faith Abraham even though he was past age and Sarah herself was barren wasn't able to become a father because he considered him faithful who'd made the promise. And so from this one man and he as good as dead came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. Verse 17. By faith Abraham when God tested him offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son even though God had said to him it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Don't you find it, I mean Abraham, God why do you want me to kill my son?
I thought it was through him. But see Abraham reasoned in verse 19 that God could raise the dead and figuratively speaking Abraham did receive Isaac back from death. So what does it mean to have an obedient heart? It means to listen to and to submit to God. The word trust is closely associated with the word obedience.
When we trust God that sets us free to obey Him because we know that our lives are in His hands and we don't have to worry about the future because He as we're just saying He holds the future in His hands and He knows your future. So what should you do? Go to bed at night start worrying? No, trust Him.
By the way I got bed last night and worried. So this is what I have to preach to myself first okay. One of the faithful men in this chapter is Enoch. The Bible doesn't say a lot about him but what it does say about Enoch is telling. In Genesis chapter 5 verse 24 it says Enoch walked with God. That's what we should have on our tombstone. Enoch walked with God then he was no more.
Why? Because God took him away. Enoch never experienced death. Apparently his life was so pleasing to God that God just brought him on home to his real home heaven. That is what it means to live a life that is pleasing to God.
He walked with Him. You walk with Him in obedience as you trust Him with every aspect of your life. All right look at verse 5. By faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away.
For before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God. So let me ask you a question. In what area of your life right now is God asking you to trust Him? Perhaps God has asked you to trust Him for the very first time. Maybe you've never put your faith in Him.
Do it. Perhaps God has asked you to trust Him with your dating life or your marriage or your finances or your career or your health. You won't have God directing your life every day and when you mess up He straightens the path out. Proverbs 3 5 and 6 says trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and hear what? Make your paths what? Straight.
He's had to straight mine out a bunch but I'm trying to not give him too big of a task the rest of my life. Okay mark number four. A worthy life is marked by an eye towards heaven. Look at verses 10 and then 13 through 16. For he, talking about Abraham, was looking forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God. And then verse 13 it says all these people were still living by faith when they died.
They did not receive the things promised. That's why you don't listen to these prosperity preachers guys because they're not they're feeling you full of lies. Following Jesus is difficult and often it's always costly but the rewards are going to be so great. What does it mean to have an eye towards heaven? It means to have a heavenly mindset. It means that you look at everything through the lens of Scripture. You just look at the world and your decisions and you just look through the Bible. In other words you're looking at everything from whose perspective? God's because remember He holds what?
The future. The Bible makes it clear that we are aliens and strangers here. This earth is not our home in case you didn't figure that out.
Aren't you glad? Therefore we should have an eye towards our homeland while at the same time we should have an eye on those around us who need a savior. And what should we be doing?
We need to invite them to our home. Which is where? Colossians 3 verses 2 and 3 says set your minds on things above not on earthly things for you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 2 Corinthians 4 18 says so we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. The men and women listed in Hebrews were longing for a better country a heavenly one. Therefore God was not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them and guess what? If you're in Christ, He's prepared a city for you and me. And I believe one day men, I mean I know this. We're going to all get together up there and have a special men's study meeting and we're going to talk about, remember we were down there in that sanctuary?
It's going to be great. Lastly mark number five, a worthy life is marked by death. Now here we're going to look at verses 24 and through 26 and then 31 through 40.
So follow with me. By faith Moses when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. I love this says he chose to be mistreated along with the people of God because he was a Hebrew rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to what?
His reward. Now skip down and skip down to verse 31. By faith, y'all look at who's, don't you, you see who God saves. If you go back and look at the line of Christ, you've got people like Rahab and then what?
Like us. By faith the prostitute Rahab because she welcomed the spies was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell to tell about Gideon Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised. Who shut the mouths of lions, 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. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned. They were sawed in two. They were put to death by the sword. Sounds like the prosperity gospel.
Some of that's not in there. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them.
They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. Why? Because God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. So what does it mean when I say that a worthy life is marked by death? Well let me give you Jesus' words.
He explains it better than me. In John chapter 12 Jesus says I tell you the truth unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single seed. Okay that? Think about that. Even you know from agriculture. You've got to put that seed in the ground right for it to multiply.
But if it dies it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it while the man who hates his life in his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. And then Jesus says whoever serves me must follow me. That's what it means to be a Christian. You're a follower of Christ. And where I am my servant also will be.
My father will honor the one who serves me. So to follow God then we must die to self. And that is a very difficult thing to do.
You can only do it with God's help. We must be willing to lose our lives. What did Jesus mean by this? Well to follow Jesus requires self-denial. Complete dedication and willing obedience. And guys I'm not a perfect example of this by any measure.
Okay? When the Lord asks something of you there will always be a cost. The choice to obey Him will require something from you such as your time, your money, your reputation. And for many people around the world it will cost them their lives. However it is in following Jesus' men that we discover a new way of life filled with joy and peace and contentment.
It's what the world is looking for. And so to lose your life is actually how you find it. How do you die to self? You surrender your entire life to God. All of it. Everything.
Your checkbook, your health, your family, everything. You say the same thing that Jesus said when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said, Father not my will but your will be done. He didn't want to go to the cross in His flesh. And when an opportunity arises to serve God in some way you simply say, Hear my Lord. Send me.
Use me. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies. It remains only a single seed.
But if it dies it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, Lord I thank you for the lives of those five men. I thank you Lord that they died but they were instantly transported up to paradise and joined this hall of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11.
Their names could be right in there with all these other saints. And Lord I pray that right here in this sanctuary tonight that you will motivate and inspire one man, two men, many men to die. To become that seed that goes into the ground.
To be willing to give it all up so that many seeds will sprout and many will be in heaven one day because of these men who are willing to die to self. Jesus we love you. We need you. We thank you for everything you've done for us. All your blessings Lord. The fact that you love us, that you died for us and that one day you're coming back for us to take us to be where you are.
Lord we love you. We ask you dear God to expand your kingdom here in Raleigh. I pray that you'll bring more and more men here to hear the truth. That these men will go out and invite friends to come and hear this truth. That many might be led to you Lord. That one day we can celebrate in heaven as one big men's study. Have our own little corner there in heaven Lord. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. Being a Christian is not about being religious but about having a dynamic alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
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