Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


Various Heroes of the Faith


Hebrews 11:32-40


Introduction:

·         This chapter concludes by mentioning various heroes of the faith including Samuel and David.

·         Many who go unnamed- yet God knows them all!

·         Two spectrums of faith

o   Subduing kingdoms

o   Enduring affliction

I.                    Faith that subdues kingdoms

a.      David- He is mentioned before Samuel, though Samuel was older.

                                                              i.      David's faith is seen throughout Scripture.  As a young man, he defeated Goliath, the Philistine giant.  He said to King Saul, "The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (I Sam. 17:37).

                                                            ii.      Throughout the book of Psalms, we see David saying over and again, "O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust" (cf. Psalm 7:1).

b.      Samuel: He is the last hero mentioned by name in this chapter (Heb. 11:32).

                                                              i.      Samuel was the last of the judges, and he was also a prophet.

                                                            ii.      Samuel was a great man of prayer.  First Samuel 7:9 says, "Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him."

c.       II Samuel 8:1 says, "And after this it came to pass that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them" (cf. Heb. 11:33).

d.      Joshua, David, and other military leaders "subdued kingdoms" - "through faith" (11:33).

e.      By faith these men of faith "quenched the violence of fire" (11:34). This refers to the miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:27).

f.        They "escaped the edge of the sword" (11:34).   David escaped frequent attacks from King Saul.  Elijah escaped the murderous Queen Jezebel. Elisha escaped from the king of Syria, and many other of God's servants were providentially protected by the hand of God.

g.      The key is out of weakness, they were made strong-

                                                              i.      Remember Gideon’s excuse? How about Moses?

                                                            ii.      Each of these men had failures!

                                                          iii.      illustr- that they were merely imperfect vessels in the hand of a might Sovereign God!

h.      Paul taught us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness

i.        By faith, they "stopped the mouths of lions" (11:33).  This would refer to the incredible story of Daniel in the lion's den (Dan. 6:22). It could also include young David, and perhaps even Samson

j.        We need to see some kingdoms subdued in our day and age! We need to obtain promises, and be valiant in the battle! We need to see God bring dead things back to life once more!  We need this type of faith!

II.                  Faith that endures terrible persecution- v. 35-38

a.      There are some believers who, while kingdoms are being subdued, and the dead are being raised-have to simply endure.

b.      By faith some were victorious over their circumstances

c.       But also, by faith some were victorious under their circumstances!

d.      Endure- “hupomeno

e.      These endured terrible persecution!

                                                              i.      Tortured- they would not renounce their faith!

                                                            ii.      There are some interesting contrasts here.  Some were raised from the dead.  However, there are those that were martyred for their faith

                                                          iii.      Another contrast: some believers "escaped the edge of the sword" (11:34), but others "were slain with the sword" (11:37).

                                                           iv.      In Acts 12, God allowed wicked King Herod to kill James with the sword.  But the Lord sent an angel to rescue Peter.

                                                             v.      Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).

                                                           vi.      "Bonds and imprisonment, stoned" (11:36b).    Many believers, like the prophet Jeremiah, were unjustly imprisoned.

                                                         vii.      "They were sawn asunder" (Heb. 11:37).  A horrible way to die!  Tradition has it that Isaiah the prophet was killed this way by wicked King Manasseh

                                                       viii.      They did not enjoy the comforts others enjoyed.  They were pursued by wicked oppressors.  They had to hide in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves, but they would deny their Lord.

                                                           ix.      "Of whom the world was not worthy" (11:38).

f.        Two spectrums of faith

                                                              i.      Subduing kingdoms

                                                            ii.      Enduring affliction

g.      In one case it conquers the enemy, or the circumstance by destroying it. In the other, there is no deliverance from the trouble, and yet faith conquers in that it strengthens and empowers us to endure proving that it is superior to anything man or devil can do!

h.      Those who succeeded, and those who we might be tempted to say did not see success. And yet, God honors these unspoken heroes and their faith which brought them through. Their faith lifted them above all the pains that earth can afflict them with!

i.        “Better resurrection”the triumph of this faith is that though it bears a temporary defeat, it really secures the greatest victory! You may have won the battle, but we win the war!

j.        This is a noble army of martyrs- men and women who were rejected and despised by the world but loved by God. They counted the will of God far greater than earthly happiness.

k.       Romans 8:18- For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

III.                God has provided some better thing for us

a.      God has given us these examples so that we might learn how to bear our lesser trials! Their faith in extraordinary suffering should strengthen our faith in ordinary suffering.

b.      “Some better thing for us…”

c.       "Better" is the key word in this epistle, found thirteen times (cf. 11:16, 35; 12:24).

d.      They had the promise we have its fulfilment. They had the shadow, we have the Substance- the Lord Jesus Christ!

e.      OT saints received not the promise- they didn’t see the better and perfect work of Christ as our High Priest. What to them were promises, are our present possessions! So we should have a greater joy, and nearness to God! Sadly, this is not always the case. We do not accept the possession with the same intensity and fervor that they accepted the promise!

f.        The Old Testament believers did not enjoy the privileges we enjoy.  They lived on the other side of the cross.

g.      They did not have a complete Bible, or a local church.

h.      They did not enjoy the permanent filling of the Holy Spirit

i.        The Old Testament believers anticipated the first coming of Christ, whereas we look for the second coming of Christ.

j.        Though we today have many advantages over these Old Testament believers, we often fall short when it comes to living by faith.

Conclusion:

·         What can we learn: If we are willing to forsake all, we will inherit all!

·         We have even more reasons for faith, more reasons to hold on to faith, than these heroes of the faith did.

·         Illustr- unknown heroes are all known to God! Tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington, VA

·         “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”