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Pilgrims & Strangers, Part 1

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2022 7:00 am

Pilgrims & Strangers, Part 1

Sound of Faith / Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy

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January 21, 2022 7:00 am

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Greetings friends and new listeners and welcome to The Sound of Faith. This is Sharon Otz thanking you for tuning in today because we know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Just shy of his 91st birthday. Like the elders of Hebrews 11's Faith's Hall of Fame, by faith he obtained a good report. In pilgrims and strangers, heaven on the horizon. Glory to God. As you know my father went home to be with the Lord.

Friday 8-28. His favorite verse, Romans 8-28. Amen. And he departed on 8-28 to be with the Lord. So let's begin this morning in the 11th chapter of Hebrews. Let's look at verses 1 and 2. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. We know this verse well.

Everyone loves this. It's probably the verse about faith. And this entire chapter 11 of Hebrews is what is known as Faith's Hall of Fame. And one after another God allowed the writer Paul beginning with faithful, righteous, able to make a list of the worthies in Faith's Hall of Fame in the Old Testament. Now naturally he didn't name every one of them but he highlighted many of the ones that might be the greater luminaries we might say.

He grouped them all together in this word. By it the elders. The elders obtained a good report. And you know the word elders in the Greek is presbyterus and we bring it into the English as presbytery and we think of it's the clergy, it's the ministry.

Amen. And the Greek word actually means someone could be elder in age, a senior citizen or it could mean that they are higher in rank. And I say this without hesitation that I believe that my dad was both of these. I know he was elder at age 90. In fact his 91st birthday would have been this week. So definitely he was elder and the fact is he outlived most of his church except for the new generation that's come in within the last 20, 40 years.

Even some of them he's outlived. Amen. And I would have to say that the Lord put him in an office that was of great esteem and of great honor. And so by faith the elders like my dad and many other renowned men and women that we have seen in our lifetime, they obtained a good report. And that means to give evidence to, to bear record, to have an honorable testimony of a life well lived.

My dad's life was a good report. Amen. And he leaves us with a rich legacy of both faith and faithfulness which has inspired all of us and will continue to do so.

Amen. Let's drop down to verse eight. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed and he went out not knowing whether he went or where he was going. And so by faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God. Abraham, he's called by Paul in chapter four of Romans, he is called the father of the faith and we are told in Romans 4 12 that we are to follow in his footsteps, the footsteps of faith.

And that's exactly what my dad brother Hardy did. You all know he loved Abraham and he loved to preach about Abraham and to tell us we need Abraham's kind of faith. Amen. The story of Abraham was of great inspiration to him and probably his favorite Old Testament character was Abraham because now Abraham began his journey of faith in the city of Ur of Chaldees. And that was a very significant city, in fact it was a capital city of over 100,000 residents. So therefore they had all the amenities that we would expect for that time.

They would have great museums and libraries and arenas for amusements and entertainment and educational places. But God told Abraham you've got to leave this place. Now today if you're wondering where that is it would be located in modern Iraq. And so he started off on the journey and all together from Ur of Chaldees to get to Canaan land was over 1500 miles. And really it was probably a lot more than that because the 1500 miles is measuring by straight lines. So in other words he went from Ur to Haran and Haran to another place to another place. And how many know when you travel you rarely get to go into a straight line.

You know you want to go back there but the interstate goes here and then here and then here and then back there. And so it was well over 1500 miles that they had to travel. And they would have done this on foot and with camels and probably dunkies.

Amen. So they would have had to stop many many times along the way and set up camp. And they camped, it says tabernacles but the word means tents.

So they were always stopping and putting up their tent and then taking down their tent and moving on. And it would have been a very harsh, arduous trek through wilderness places and arid lands. So it was Abraham and his wife Sarah and it was his nephew Lot and his wife and children and many servants that he had because Abraham had a lot of cattle. And if you have a lot of cattle you have to have people to tend to them and to herd them. And Abraham also had men for protection. When you go traveling like that you know there were a lot of bandits waiting to rob people along the way. And so he had men that were trained to help protect everyone. Several hundred because we know that when he went after Lot when he was seized in Sodom that Abraham took 318 men with him.

And you know men have women and men and women have children. So there were a lot of people in that caravan. And so they were traveling. It would have been a great caravan of faith.

Because why? He didn't know where he was going. And God was sending him and telling him leave everything that is familiar to you.

Your home, the place where you have been your entire life. And I want you to go and the word says he sojourned. And the word sojourned is kind of archaic but what it basically means is you're a foreigner in a strange country. And it means you're passing through.

You're not going to stay there. And so they would take their tent and put it up and stay for a while and they would take it down and move on to the next place. Now the very first stop that they went to was Haran. And it was 600 miles to get there. Now I'm not saying they didn't stop overnight here and there along the way or a couple of nights. But when they got to Haran they actually settled down a little bit. His father Terah died there.

Now maybe he was sick and they had to stop we don't know the details. But they stopped in Haran and while they were there Abraham's father died. And the Bible tells us in Joshua and in other places in Genesis that Terah was an idol worshiper. So he worshipped the gods of the Ur of Chaldees.

An idol worshiper. However I did a little research and I found in the Jewish writings of the Midrash the Jewish writings tell us that Terah was not only an idol worshiper but he was an idol manufacturer and seller. And he had his own store where people came and bought his idols. And there is a story in the Midrash that says that one time that Terah had to leave and so he left Abraham his son in charge of the store to sell the idols. But when the people came to purchase their idols Abraham talked them out of it. And he told them why do you want to buy these idols and worship them.

My father just made them today. Why do you want to worship something that my father made with hands. And so he would convince them not to buy. So he didn't sell any that day. And he went another step further. He took an axe and he destroyed every idol in that store.

Except for one. He spared the largest one and he took the axe and he put it in the hands of that idol. And when his daddy come home and said what happened here. Did you destroy these idols what happened. Abraham said well this idol destroyed all the rest of the idols because they were having a fight because one of the worshippers came and brought an offering and they were all fighting over who should get the offering. So this idol destroyed all the other idols. And his father said such a thing is impossible. And then he realized that he had just admitted that the idols were powerless.

Amen. So this is the kind of man that God chose when he chose Abraham. So Abraham and Sarah journeyed on towards the land of Canaan just like God instructed.

Now with his father gone the very last tie to his homeland was gone. And he was pressing forward on this journey to the new land where God said I will show you. But we read we read that it said he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. That had foundations whose builder and maker was God. Now that doesn't sound to me like an earthly city.

Do you think? I mean it doesn't sound like any city that I know of on planet earth that the foundations thereof and builder and maker is God. So that means that the city he was looking for the words builder and maker means a designer and architect and the designer and architect of the city that Abraham and Sarah were looking for was not an earthly king and was not a human architect. Let's look at verse 11. Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered a child when she was past age.

That's age 90 in fact. Because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one and him as good as dead so many as the stars of the sky in multitude and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable. You know the story well Abraham was 100 and she was 90 and that's what it means when it's spring out of his loins and spring out of her womb as one who was dead.

Reproductively speaking they were dead. Amen. But God brought forth the child of promise and said through this seed you will have seed that will be so numerous innumerable like the stars in heaven and like the sands on the seashore. In fact when Abraham was kind of struggling in that journey of faith one time God brought him outside and said look at the stars. Can you count them Abraham.

Can you count them because that's what your seed will be. Verse 13. These all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They died in faith not having received the promise. So I'm saying what you're telling me they did not receive the promise we just read. They had their son of promise.

They had Isaac when she was 90 and he was 100. They had that promised child and you're saying and yet they did not receive the promise but they saw it afar off. Yes because they had another promise in mind. They had another city in mind. They had the city whose builder and maker is God. And so they confessed something and their confession was they declared we are strangers and pilgrims. We're on our way to Canaan land but we're not looking at the Canaan land on the earth because here we're nothing but strangers and pilgrims. Now the word stranger the Greek word means to be a foreigner means to be an alien in a land that's not one's own. And the word pilgrim means to be a temporary sojourner. A foreigner passing through a strange land and living amongst its natives.

Now are you ready for the New Testament metaphor? Christians are pilgrims and strangers. We are passing through this earthly land and we are living amongst its people. But we are not natives of this land. Amen. Oh no because our birthplace is in heaven. We've been born from above. Amen. We've been born from above. This world is not our home and that's why we don't feel comfortable here.

We don't honor and observe the customs of this world and its worldly people. Amen. No because we are just pilgrims here and strangers here.

That's why my dad always used to sing and a lot of times ended his sermon with my heavenly home is bright and fair. I feel like traveling on. I'm traveling on. I'm a pilgrim on a journey. I'm a sojourner on this earth. Amen. I'm just traveling through. I'm a child of eternity.

Right now I'm caught. I'm stuck in this thing called time. But time is only relegated to this earth. Amen. But I'm a child of eternity. My never died eternal soul.

Hallelujah is longing to go back to its birthplace. Hold your place in Hebrews and quickly let's turn to Ephesians chapter 2 and look at a couple of verses there. Ephesians 2 and verse 11. Wherefore remember that you in times past being Gentiles. Remember a Gentile is anyone that's not a Jew.

No matter what your ethnicity, your color, your race, it doesn't matter. If you're not a Jew, you're a Gentile. Gentiles in the flesh who were called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh made by hands.

That simply means it's just reiterating the same point. Uncircumcised were Gentiles. They did not practice circumcision in that ancient world. Only the Jews did. So if you're uncircumcised, you're a Gentile, you're not a Jew.

If you're circumcised, then you were a Jew. So how many understand that? That at that time you were without Christ being what? Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and what? Strangers having no hope and without God in the world but now.

Somebody say but now. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were sometimes afar off were made nigh by the blood of Christ. Hallelujah. Drop down to verse 19. Now therefore you are no more strangers than foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.

I used to be a stranger. I used to be an alien from the household of God in the commonwealth of Israel because Jesus came to his own. He came to the house of Israel. Amen. But Paul, if you read the whole chapter, you know he's going to tell you but something happened up on that cross. Something happened on that cross. Amen.

Because on that cross, he broke down the middle wall between Jew and Gentile and made us both one in the body of Christ in the household of God. Amen. And I have been born again and now I'm a citizen of heaven and therefore it makes me a pilgrim and a stranger in another sense. Now it's in the sense that I'm not a part of this world. I'm not a part of this earth.

I'm like Abraham and Sarah. I'm on a sojourn and I'm looking for a city. Hallelujah.

I'm looking for a specific city. I'm looking for a particular city whose builder and maker is God. Amen. Let's go back to Hebrews, verse 14. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

They that say what things? What we read previously in verse 13. They confessed we are strangers and pilgrims. Notice it doesn't say we are strangers and pilgrims in the land of Canaan.

It says on the earth. Amen. And because they said that, then we're told in verse 14 that plainly explains to us that they're not talking about an earthly country. They're not talking about an earthly city.

Amen. Because they said we're strangers and pilgrims on the earth and they're looking for another country. Now the word country in Greek is Patres. P-A-T-R-E-S and we bring it into the English as patriotic. And that means to be devoted to your country. You're a patriot.

It means in Greek one's fatherland and that means it's the place of your birth. How many in the natural here today were born in the United States? Okay. I probably should have asked it the other way. Anybody here not born in the United States?

Okay. Everybody is born in the United States. So this is your native land and the land of your birth. But now we're going to go take it where Abraham and Sarah are.

Amen. See it says those who say I'm a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth, they're plainly saying that I'm looking for a certain country. What do you mean they're looking for a country and the place of their birth? Because remember the word country there means fatherland place of your birth.

What? They left the place of their birth. They left their land of Chaldee. They left Ur the place of their birth and their native land. Did they not leave it? So they left it. So why would they be looking to go back to it?

Let's look at verse 15. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. So they weren't looking to go back. They weren't looking to go back to Ur of Chaldees. They weren't looking to go back to the place of their birth. Because if they were, had they gotten homesick, had they wanted to turn around and go back, they could have just turned around and went back. But no, they said we're looking for a particular country.

We're looking for a particular city whose builder and maker is God. They were not looking to go back. In fact, later on, remember when it was time for Isaac to have a wife and we know that Abraham told his servant Eliezer. He said I want you to go back home to where I am from and where Sarah is from and from our family and find a wife for Isaac and bring her.

He didn't want Isaac to marry any of the heathen and the pagan around them. He wanted him to go back to their own people. And he told him, he said go back and find a wife for Isaac.

He really trusted that guy, didn't he? He said, however, if you are not able to convince or persuade a young maiden to come with you to marry my son Isaac, do not ever, ever let him go back to the land where God called me out of. And he told him it twice in Genesis. Twice he said, you have to swear to me now. You have to promise me that if you don't bring a wife home for Isaac, later on, after I'm gone, do not allow Isaac to go back to my home. Maybe he thought if Isaac went back there possibly to visit relatives or find himself a wife that he might have settled down and stayed there.

He said God called me out of that land and I don't want my son to ever go back there. Amen. Amen.

Amen. I hope you're inspired by this heartwarming herald, pilgrims and strangers, heaven on the horizon. On August 28th, my dad, R.G. Hardy, went to be with the Lord six days before his 91st birthday.

The following Sunday, I was in the pulpit preaching this soulful sermon, missing my dad, but rejoicing in his long awaited homegoing. He loved to preach on Abraham and Sarah. He wrote a book, Abraham's Kind of Faith, that chronicled their journey from Ur of Chaldees in modern Iraq to Canaan in modern Israel. Hebrews 11 Faith's Hall of Fame reveals that they were looking for a city with foundations whose architect and builder was God. This does not describe any city on earth. It certainly was not the city of their birth or they could have returned.

Nor was it Canaan. While a beautiful place flowing with milk and honey and lush resources, it was not built by God. We are plainly told that they look for a better country, a heavenly country. Thus, their confession was we are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Likewise, Apostle Paul said, for our citizenship is in heaven. The past few years, my dad was longing for heaven.

And if you are a citizen of heaven, you are too. Pilgrims and strangers, heaven on the horizon can be ordered on CD for a love gift of $10 or more for our radio ministry. Request SK215, Mail 2, Sound of Faith, P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland 21203. If you order by mail, we will include Brother Hardy's book, Abraham's Kind of Faith. This offer is only good for mail-in orders. Send your minimum love gift of $10 to P.O. Box 1744, Baltimore, Maryland 21203. You can also view Brother Hardy's beautiful home-going service, including my eulogy, on YouTube, Sound of Faith Ministries. That's Sound of Faith Ministries. Till next time, this is Sharon Nottsen, Maranatha.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-05 07:53:48 / 2023-05-05 08:03:07 / 9

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