September 11, 2016
Hebrews 11:1-16 ESV:  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.  Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.  These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Genuine faith includes a joyous anticipation of what we will experience when we finally get to be in the immediate presence of God.
- Those of faith died not experiencing the full realization of their faith.
- As people of faith, they never expected this life to provide their deepest fulfillment.
- Those with genuine faith give evidence of their anticipation of heaven.
- Those with faith never want to go back to life before.
- Those of faith live anticipating the perfect, joyful, promised life in heaven.
- God is not ashamed of those who are anticipating the perfect, joyful, promised life in heaven..
- God has prepared a perfect eternity for those of us who treasure Jesus.
Life Group Questions:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
How would you summarize 11:1?
How would you summarize 11:1-12?
What’s the relevance of these illustrations of faith dying before they received the things promised?
What’s the significance that these faithful folks “acknowledged that they were strangers and aliens”? In what sense were they strangers and aliens?
How did they “speak” that made it clear they were seeking a homeland? How did they give evidence that they considered themselves strangers and aliens?
Why were they not thinking about the land they had left?
What “better country” were these illustrations of faith desiring?
Why is God not ashamed to be called their God? Be precise.
Why does the author conclude this paragraph by saying that God, has in fact, prepared “for them a city”?
How would you paraphrase the big idea of 11:13-16?
HOW DOES IT APPLY?
When you think about heaven, where do your thoughts go?
When you think about heaven, how do you feel?
Who have you known that unmistakably demonstrated they were looking forward to heaven? How did they display their hope that the best is yet to come?
Do you find yourself being tempted to find more comfort and security in this life than you would like? Explain.
Are others, family, friends and work associates able to see from your life that you are convinced the best is yet to come?
In the past, what has helped you gain more confidence in the reality of heaven?
What do you think you could do to help you, in the best sense, become more of an alien now, because you are more joyfully anticipating being home with Jesus?