Hebrews (05): Faithfulness of All the Saints (Heb. 11)

Date: 11/4/2018
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Organization: All Saints
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Hebrews 10:35ff - Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. . .

The Faithful Witness: Jesus - The fierce warnings against apostasy in ch. 10 and indeed through the book thus far, lead directly into the call for fidelity. This faith which produces ongoing faithfulness is shown in a number of OT characters, running from Abel through “the prophets” (11:4, 32). These all, by their faith, solemnly testify—-martyreo—“attest” or “witness” or are “commended” (11:2, 4, 5, 39). All this serves to illustrate the faithfulness of Jesus. It was Jesus who: “made purification of sins” (1:3), suffered death (2:9), was perfected through suffering (2:10),  was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (4:15), “learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (5:8), “obtained eternal redemption” (9:12),  “offered [Himself] once to bear the sins of many” (9:28), “offered one sacrifice for sins for all time” (10:12),  and thus has “perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (10:14), and it is Jesus who currently and ever “lives to make intercession” for us (7:25). “He was faithful” (3:2, 6). “The endurance called for has a very specific foundation, the faith exemplified by the heroes and martyrs of old and perfectly realized in Jesus” (Attridge, Hermeneia).

The Faithful Witnesses: All the Saints - Like Jesus the faithful high priest, like Jesus the faithful sacrificial victim, so those who have gone before have been faithful witnesses to the covenant Lord who keeps faith forever. This great “cloud of witnesses” (12:1) chronicled in ch. 11 overcame adversity by faith and showed faithfulness though they did not “see” or “realize” the promised blessings which were “perfected” in Jesus. The conclusion is that “all these, having gained approval (attested, martyreo) through their faith, did not receive what was promised” (11:39). Even so Jesus’ great victory must be received by faith so as to realize the fulfillment of His promised salvation.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more