Welcome to Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz and her introduction to today's message, A Call to Live by Faith in God.
Would you keep your focus on your purpose? It's to bring glory to God, and if He's given you success, you just lay it at His feet and see how you can use it to achieve the greater purpose, which is to bring glory to Him. Thanks for joining us today and every week for Living in the Light with the Bible Teaching Ministry of Anne Graham Lotz. In her previous message, Anne brought to our attention the contrast between two brothers, Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam. Abel made the decision to live in contrast to the rest of the world of his day. While everyone around him rebelled against God, Abel turned to him and he was commended by God as a righteous man. His faith still speaks today, remembered throughout all the generations as one who lived by faith in God. In today's message from Hebrews 11, Anne introduces us to many who lived by faith in God.
Here's Anne. The second one on the list is Enoch, and I see Enoch expressing his purpose through devotion. And you find Enoch in Genesis chapter 5, and Enoch was 65 years old when he had his first child.
And I don't know what it was about having a little boy. He named him Methuselah. I can't imagine naming a child Methuselah. But anyway, he had this little baby named Methuselah, and it says when Enoch had his son that he began to walk with God.
And don't you bet. It was because he brought a baby into the world, and it was Cain's civilization. He was living in wicked, provoking the judgment of God, and Enoch must have thought, how can I raise my son in this civilization to know God and to trust God and to live by faith?
And so he knew, well, I better develop my relationship with God if I'm going to have that impact on my child. And so Enoch began to walk with God. I told you this afternoon one of the ways I relax is by walking, and I usually walk with friends. And we have two rules, so we don't walk together. And the first rule is that we have to walk at the same pace.
Second rule is that we have to walk in the same direction, or we don't walk together. And walking with God, those same two rules apply. You have to walk at his pace, which is step by step obedience to his word. You have to walk in his direction, which is the absolute surrender of your will to him. Or you don't walk with God.
So now think about Enoch. Every day, moment by moment, obedience to God's word. Surrendering his will and his desires and his life to God. Moment by moment, every day of every year. How long?
300 years. That's a lot of walking. That's a long devotional life. And in the end, Enoch just kept right on walking. He walked right into the presence of God. One day his faith just became sight.
How's your devotional life? Inconsistence. One day you do it, one day you don't. How can you be moment by moment obedient to God's word if you're not reading it every day?
How do we know what he says? How can we be obedient if we're not in it? Surrender of your will.
Have you ever done that? Are you still clinging tightly to what you want? And if you're not walking with God, expressing the devotion of your heart, lived out every day, then I question whether you're purpose driven. The next character was Noah. He expressed his purpose through deeds. And we know Noah. He came at the end of that list in Genesis chapter 5 and we find him in Genesis chapter 6. The only man alive in all of the planet earth who is right with God. You ever feel sort of lonely in your Christian witness?
Only feel like you're the only one in your family, the only one in your neighborhood, the only one in your job? You know, well Noah was the only one in the whole world who was right with God and blameless in his generation. And Noah walked with God it says. One day he was walking, God said, Noah I'm just fed up and I've just had all the wickedness I can take and I'm going to send judgment on the world. And God shared with Noah what was on his mind, two things on his mind. Judgment and salvation from judgment. And he said, Noah I want you to build me an ark.
And you know something? Noah obeyed God and it took him 120 years to build that ark. And I don't think Noah had ever seen a boat. It had never rained up until that time.
He'd never seen a large body of water. I know he wasn't a zookeeper. I doubt he was a carpenter. And yet Noah dedicated his life for 120 years to doing exactly what God told him to do.
And aren't we glad? If Noah hadn't been obedient, if he hadn't done what God told him, we wouldn't be here today. Because it was through Noah's deeds that the entire human race was saved through his family when he and his family went onto that ark.
And they were saved from God's judgment that fell on the whole world. And Noah expressed his devotion through deeds. What are you doing for God? What are you doing for God within your home? I've just had a sign that's carved to go over my kitchen sink. I'm in the middle of remodeling my kitchen by the way. If I wasn't busy enough I just decided to add that to it. Over my kitchen sink I've had a sign carved that says Divine Service will be conducted here three times daily.
It's the same sign my mother had over her kitchen sink. And I thought, you know we can do our housework as under the Lord and it can be doing deeds for him. The way we raise our children, the way we keep our house, certainly what we do outside the home. And I think at a certain point in your life when your children are a little bit older, as wives, as mothers, as women, we ought to be doing at least one thing outside our home that we wouldn't do except we love Jesus. The next person on the list is Abraham and I'm just going to sort of summarize Abraham. Living in Ur of the Chaldees God just invaded his life and said, Abraham I want you to follow me and if you follow me in a whole lifetime of faith I'm going to pour out my blessing upon you and I'm going to send through you a seed through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. And we saw earlier that Abraham looked through that promise and he could see Jesus.
Jesus said he saw my day and he rejoiced. And so Abraham was determined to possess everything God had for him. And he wanted to possess the fullness of God's promises.
And so Abraham expressing his purpose to bring glory to God, but specifically as he determinedly claimed the promises of God and pursued God in his life. And we see him leaving everything behind, don't we? His country, his kindred, his father's house, leaving Ur which was a very sophisticated city in that day. They had running water, central heat, whitewashed walls that were painted in pastel colors.
It was an international city with a large library and medical university. And he left all of that to go live who knows where in a tent. And he left everything behind. And I see Abraham as someone so determined to pursue the promises of God that he let everything go.
All of the things the world would have to offer. And he lived like a soldier in our pilgrim in tents wandering from place to place looking for a heavenly city. Knowing that this world is not his home. And willing to let go of this world and all the things that it offers because he wanted something better. He wanted the fullness of everything God would have for him. And I see him just claiming the promise of God when God said, Abraham I'm going to give you a seed and it was impossible. His body was as good as dead, his wife was barren and yet he believed God and God counted it to him for righteousness we know from Genesis 15. And then God gave him Isaac and that promised seed. And then we see Isaac when he's a young man. God's saying Abraham I want you to take your son, your only son, the son whom you love, Genesis 22.
And I want you to lay him on the altar. And Abraham didn't mention it to Sarah or I'm sure she would have talked him out of it. He just packed up his donkey, he took the wood, the knife, he took his son, he took his servants.
They walked three days to Mount Moriah. He told the servants you keep the donkey, I'm taking the wood and the knife and my son and he says we will come back. And you can see his faith and Hebrews tells you what was going through his mind. He fully intended to sacrifice his son because God told him to but he believed God was going to raise him from the dead because all of God's promises rested in Isaac. And so he takes Isaac up and Isaac says on the way up, Father where's the lamb for the sacrifice? You have the wood and you have the knife but where's the lamb? And Abraham the father says my son God will provide himself a lamb. What a beautiful picture of God the father sacrificing his own son. And Abraham the father laid his son on that altar and Isaac discovered he was the lamb at that point. And he was bound and Abraham raised the knife to slay his son going through that sacrifice and the full intent of his will.
He would have sacrificed Isaac except God stayed his hand and said Abraham don't sacrifice your son. I don't want you to sacrifice Isaac. I just wanted your willingness to lay everything down. You've left everything behind. You've let everything go.
Now I just want you to lay it all down. And Abraham did. And God blessed him, poured out his blessing and blessed him not only with Isaac, blessed him with descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens or the sands in the desert and through Abraham ultimately sent Jesus the redeemer who would take away our sin because the father didn't stay his hand at the cross and the full force of his wrath came down on his son who was bound to that altar and Jesus was the lamb that the father had provided for your sin and mine. And that lamb, the lamb of God was a descendant of Abraham. And Abraham at the end of his life had not only his son and the promises of God but he had a personal relationship with the living God that God in Deuteronomy said is a friendship. And Abraham didn't say God is my friend.
God said Abraham is my friend because Abraham had been so determined to pursue everything God had for him that he was willing to leave everything behind, let everything go, lay everything down. Listen to me, what are you clinging to? What are you refusing to leave behind? You've pulled some of your old life into your present life, you just can't let it go. You can't let go of the world's opinions and the world's pleasures and the world's honor and all that kind of stuff. And what is your Isaac? The thing you're still clinging to, your most precious possession.
You'd lay it all down but not that. The next three people on the list express their purpose through a departing witness. Each one of them on their deathbeds gave witness to their faith. And the first one is Isaac. And Isaac was sort of a, well I hesitate to say this, I was going to say sort of a mediocre person sandwiched in between two great men, Abraham and Jacob, and here's Isaac. His most shining moment was when he lay submissive on that altar and allowed his father to sacrifice him. And of course the sacrifice didn't go through as I've just said but that seemed to be the pinnacle where he was such a beautiful type of Christ.
But he sort of laid back and at the end of his life he gets a little selfish. He has two sons, Jacob and Esau, and he loves Esau the most because Esau is outdoorsy and he's a man's man and I think he was everything that Isaac wasn't. And Rebecca, his wife, loved Jacob the most because he was the more spiritual and the sensitive of the two boys. And anyway, Isaac knew that the blessing of God that he had gotten from Abraham, in other words all the blessings and the promises that God gave to Abraham were passed down to Isaac and Isaac was to pass them to Jacob and he knew that. God had told him. And that Jacob would be the one to inherit the blessing and the promises of God.
But because Esau was Isaac's favorite, he determined that he was going to give those blessings to Esau who despised spiritual things. So he said, Esau, if you'll bring me the parge that I like to eat then I'll give you the blessing. Esau went out to fix the parge. Rebecca overheard what was going on. She grabbed Jacob. She fixed some parge really quick and she dressed Jacob up to smell and feel just like Esau. And Jacob went in to give the parge to his father and he fooled his old father. And the father thought it sounded a little strange. It didn't sound like Esau but it smelled like Esau. And so he gave the blessing to Jacob.
Jacob leaves. A few minutes later here comes Esau with the parge and he says, Father, now bless me. And the father says, I just did. He said, no you didn't.
Here's the parge. And the father said, I've just eaten. And Esau figures out it was his brother who had deceived his father and stolen the birthright from him. And so Esau for 20 years was in such a rage that he couldn't get over it. But Isaac, to his credit, realized that he was trying to thwart the will of God and that God had kept him from doing it. And that God had allowed Jacob to do that deception. Even though God wasn't pleased with that, God had allowed it because God never intended the blessing to go to Esau. And so Isaac, when he realized what he had almost done, he was shaking like a leaf in the wind, trembling violently. And his boys saw him trembling in fear before God. And so Isaac called Jacob in and then blessed him and confirmed the blessing he had just given him. And he called Esau in and he gave Esau a blessing.
Esau didn't care about spiritual things anyway. He just wanted the material possessions which he ended up getting. But Isaac blessed both of his sons, basically on his deathbed. And those boys, by the way, were reconciled years later at their father's deathbed.
They both buried their father. And so it was a beautiful story of reconciliation at the end. But Hebrews brings out the thing that Isaac is commended for was that he blessed his sons. And then we have Jacob, Isaac's son that he had blessed. And Jacob, it's interesting how he reaped what he sowed. And he was deceived in his old age and his sons deceived him and gave him a bloody rag. They said the wild animal had torn apart Joseph, his favorite son. He played favorites with his boys too.
And you know the story. Joseph hadn't been killed by a wild animal. He had been sold into slavery by his brothers. And it was years and years later that Jacob realized the deception.
But Jacob, in the meantime, had become a very spiritual man. And Jacob, when he went down to Egypt, when Joseph was then prime minister of Egypt and he took his family down to Egypt, at the end of his life he's on his deathbed and you have this beautiful picture of this old man leaning on his staff and calling for his grandchildren to come in, little Ephraim and Manasseh. And he calls them in and he blesses his grandchildren. And those two grandchildren become two of the strongest tribes in the nation of Israel. They had their grandfather's blessing. Are you a grandfather?
Bless your grandchildren. And then we have Joseph, the next person in the list. And Joseph was the one who was sold into slavery. You know he had done what his father told him, to take lunch to his brothers who were out in who knows where and he had to go the extra mile to find his brothers because they weren't exactly where he was told they would be and his brothers saw him coming and they hated him, they resented him because he was the father's favorite and they sold him into slavery. He got down to Egypt, strange culture, strange language, strange people.
It must have been terrifying for a young teenager. And then he was bought by Potiphar and pretty soon Joseph remembered the dreams that God gave him that he would be a leader and he set out to be a leader in Potiphar's household. Pretty soon Potiphar trusted everything to Joseph. And then Potiphar's wife had an eye for him and tried to seduce him and he refused to fall for the seduction and so she was so angry at him, she accused him of rape and he was thrown into prison. So now he's been enslaved and he's imprisoned for doing the right thing. And 13 years enslaved and imprisoned before that prison door opened and they called him out and said, Joseph, a king has a dream he needs interpreting and we're told that you can interpret dreams.
What does this dream, and just like that within an hour's time he goes from being a prisoner and a slave to being the prime minister of Egypt. And on his deathbed he says, listen to me, don't bury me in some pyramid. You can mummify me if you want but I don't want to be left out here in Egypt because I know God's not going to leave his children down here in Egypt. We want to go back to the promised land. We want to go back to Canaan. So when God leads you out of Egypt and you go back to Canaan, take my bones with you. I want to be buried in the promised land.
I want to identify with the people of God. And Joseph, do you know something? 400 years later when his descendants and the children of God leave Egypt under Moses's command and they go back to Canaan, they carry with them Joseph's bones, his mummy, and they bury him in the promised land and he's witnessing to his descendants 400 years later, witnessing to children and grandchildren and descendants for years to come. The next ones on the list are not named by name but Amram and Jacob are their names. Moses's parents. And Moses's parents were living in Egypt and the king issued an edict. He was concerned because all these Israelites were multiplying and it was becoming a nation within a nation and he was afraid they were going to rise up and defy him. So he not only put them in slavery but he decided that when the babies were born that all the baby boys that were born to the Israelites they would kill at birth. And so Amram and Jacob decided to defy the king's order and when their baby boy was born they hid him and they put him in a little basket and they floated him in the bulrushes on the Nile River and we know the rest of that story.
Their baby boy was Moses. But you know there comes a time when we have to defy the king's edict and this politically correct culture when we're told we can't name the name of Jesus or we can't present the gospel or we can't take our Bible here or we can't pray there, we just have to say I'm sorry. I care more about the king of kings than I do this king and I have to obey him, not you. And we defy the king's edict. And Moses as a result was not only born but he was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter who found him on the Nile River and took him into the house and we see Moses raised in Pharaoh's household.
Now that's no small thing. Then in verse 24 it says, by faith Moses when he had grown up, that means in the full vigor of his manhood when he would be wanting, you would think in his flesh to succumb to temptation and enjoy all this and Moses would say, in the opposite end of the spectrum, the full vigor of his manhood with all the power and wealth of Egypt at his disposal. Look at him. He disassociated with the world's position. He refused to be known as the child of the Pharaoh's daughter. In other words, I wonder, was Moses in line for the throne of Egypt?
And he disassociated himself with the world's position, refusing it. Verse 25, refusing the pleasures of sin for a short time. And you know something? I bet Egypt made sin look fun.
Don't you bet? Made it look attractive and desirable and he refused to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Verse 26, he refused the possessions, the treasures of Egypt. He said he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt. All the magnificent things that we've seen in these exhibits and he just disavowed himself from those because he regarded disgrace for Christ's sake of greater worth than the treasures of Egypt.
Boy, does he have his perspective. Political correctness, verse 27, by faith he left Egypt not fearing the king's anger and whatever the king thought, the political correctness of his day was a never mind to him because he had disassociated himself from the world's position, pleasures, political correctness and even the world's perspective when they said that judgment wasn't coming and after all those plagues you would think they would have learned and in the end God took the firstborn of all the Egyptian families and would have taken the firstborn of the Israelite families too except for the blood that they put over the doorpost and Moses, possibly the greatest man. Abraham is as great as any man who's ever lived. Moses certainly is great and he taught them to guard the Red Sea and lead them in the wilderness and led them where they experienced being fed by man in the morning and the quail in the evening and opening up rocks to have water and he got the tablets from Mount Sinai and he taught them the law and the ceremonies and he set up the tabernacle and there's not a greater man than Moses and yet Moses, the Bible says, was the meekest man in all the world totally submissive to the authority of God in his life if he wanted to be saved from judgment he needed to be under the blood.
And what more shall I say? I don't have time to tell you about Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah and David and Samuel and the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms like Joshua and administered justice like Daniel and gained what was promised like Ezra and Nehemiah who shut the mouths of lions like Daniel who quenched the fury of the flames like Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego who escaped the edge of the sword like David and whose weakness was turned to strength like Samson who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies like Jehoshaphat women received back their dead raised to life again like the widow of Zarephath and we don't have time to talk about all these all these who kept their focus on the purpose to live their lives to the praise and glory of God when they were successful and would you keep your focus on your purpose is to bring glory to God and if he's given you success you just lay it at his feet and see how you can use it to achieve the greater purpose which is to bring glory to him and we see these were focused not only when they were successful but when they weren't when they were suffering verse 35 others were tortured and refused to be released so that they might gain a better resurrection they're living for something better than just comfort and health and wealth and prosperity and the glory of God and some faced jeers and flogging while still others were chained and put in prison they were stoned they were sought into they were put to death by the sword they went about in sheepskins and goatskins destitute, persecuted, mistreated the world was not worthy of them they wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground and all the while they kept their focus when the promise was unfulfilled verse 39 these were all commended for their faith yet not one of them received what had been promised what was promised? Jesus all of these characters lived before Jesus they didn't know his name they didn't know who he would be he was just a promise to them and yet look at the way they lived and not only when the promise was unfulfilled but when they didn't know the plan verse 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect the thing that was better that was planned was the cross and they looked forward to the cross and we look back to the cross but it's the cross that brings us together as a family of God and we place our faith in the cross we place our faith in Jesus Christ in order to have a personal right relationship with God and they did it through those shadows and the symbols and the sacrifices in the Old Testament and in the center but they just didn't know all that would you choose to know God by experience? He's given you the ticket the ticket is Jesus now here's Ann with this final word praise God for the cross how thankful I am that I live on this side of it but I'm also grateful to God for the men and women who lived on the other side before Christ yet serve as models for you and me God is always looking for good men and women men and women who are willing to go against the current of popular opinion to hold firm convictions in a world where anything goes to speak the truth when it's not politically correct to live their lives blamelessly when the world says character doesn't count to walk with God when everyone else is running away from Him God is looking for those who believe that what He says is more important than what anyone else says that what He thinks is more important than what anyone else thinks that what He wants is more important than what anyone else wants that His will is more important than their own God is looking for another Enoch another Abraham another Moses another Noah another Meshach, Shadrach or Abednego are you what God's looking for? well know who you are because you will stand out from the crowd listen to me don't bend, don't bow, don't even slouch stand up, speak out a person with faith in God stands in good company you can hear Living in the Light with Ann Graham Lotz weekly and for ways to experience the God filled life as you pursue your personal Bible study go to anngramlotz.org she'll help you get started with free resources you can use and share with others join us here each week for Living in the Light
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