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Something Better He 11 40

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Something Better

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

God Disciplines His Sons

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

                                                                                HEBREWS 11 40 (in loc)

Something better is a rule of God’s work in us and for us.

Our lives have all the characteristics of the sea: always moving, sometimes calm, frequently disturbed; but in the deeper reaches of the ocean there are more fundamental currents – patterns laid down by the Creator Himself.

It is so with our spiritual lives too.

Having catalogued the remarkable witnesses to the power of an enduring faith the writer to the Hebrews declares:

God had planned something better for us

1.     It is a principle we may see in God’s people of old

2.     It always leaves room for improvement

3.     It focuses our gaze on Jesus – for there is nothing better.

A.  It is a principle that we may see in at work in others

Chapter 11 is full of the evidence.  I am glad that you have been celebrating it on Wednesday nights.

When the writer lists the people who trusted in God he covered a great deal of ground.

Yet one of his constant conclusions is that, no matter how much they proved God, no matter how good He was to them – there was always a greater God and a greater good just out of sight. Yet not unattainable.  Something better that they would one day share with all who trust in Him.

Theirs was a faith that was characterised by PERSISTENCE

-                     against all odds

-                     often in the dark

-                     frequently when suffering

In the earliest examples he quotes we have this refrain:

4      By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain did. … by faith he still speaks even though he is dead.

It may not be something Cain recognised – but the deep principle was there – even though dead – he speaks to today.

There is a persistence about the faith of this earliest of men.

The same principle of persistence is seen in Abraham:

enabled to become a father because hea considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

One of the great things about Abraham’s faith is that it crosses the boundary between the OT and the NT.  The principle of justification by faith becomes the unifying principle of faith in all of Scripture.

Moses – about whom you have heard so much of late – is brought right into the New Testament:

26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Nothing outlasts such faith.  It is the mark of a relationship with God.

Look at all these examples – the surrounding “cloud of witnesses” and know that God’s purposes are set and definite.

Over time nothing endures like His promises.

We live in an INSTANT WORLD – instant coffee, meals, credit, gratification…

With the rich fool who had a prosperous harvest the world seeks to eat drink and be merry – with no thought of tomorrow.

The examples given us here did not live like that.

They were in there for the long haul.

Of course there are dramatic moments, true we can sometimes trace an actual moment of “decision” – but life of faith MOVES ON.   It is based on PERSISTENT PROMISES

And it is PROGRESSIVE

There is, if you like, an evolutionary principle here. A movement not haphazard but definite – from good to better and to best…

This too is a mark of those mentioned in the chapter:

They were those who looked for constant improvement:

Abraham   travelling to a distant land

                seeing God at work in his descendants

Joseph      anticipated future events

Moses       was counting on a better reward

Always      looking beyond

                believing in the present

Only          fully satisfied in His presence.

Behind all those mentioned here – and so many since – is the immutable purpose and plan of God laying down our Destiny in Christ

God has planned something better!

Yet sadly our lives are so often marked by FIXED POINTS rather than MOVING POINTS – we are easily satisfied with what we have attained – not so willing to live in the light of something to be PRESSED ON FOR.

Worse still – we look back rather than forward.  And especially as we get older we become preoccupied with what was – when the better lies ahead.

B.  It is this principle that always leaves room for improvement

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about …

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

It is not that God dangles a carrot before us to keep us going!

He has planned progress into our life specification.

It is a crucial part of our spiritual experience to progress from better to best.

This is THE RULE OF GROWTH

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines more and more to a perfect day…”

                                                                        Proverbs 4 18

When you look at the catalogue in this chapter you see it over and over.

Growth over time – like an investment gaining interest, like a growing living thing.

But am I aware of growth?

A deepening knowledge of Him?

A greater experience of His ways?

A clearer vision of the things that really matter to God – and so to me?

It is also THE RULE OF HOPE

This is the light which illuminates the promises of God and casts shadows across our disobedience.

Like miners trapped in a tunnel we were one time in total darkness –

Then the Saviour came and a small chink of light appeared. We knew that our rescue was possible – even though we were in the dark.

But that light does not stay as a small chink – it grows as hope dawns on us – and the “prison blazes with light”

But even so the fullest radiance is beyond – in His presence.

Are you hopeful?

Are you full of hope?

Are you living as one who has a great future?

Or have you slipped back into the shadows – persuaded by difficulty or setback into believing that things are getting worse rather than better?

Doubting, dismal – possessed only of tunnel vision?

It is also THE RULE OF LOVE

“Love is not love that alters where it alteration finds…”

Real love, says the Apostle NEVER FAILS – it keeps going.   It is always exploring new avenues of joy.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

God has SOMETHING BETTER!

C.  It focuses our gaze on Jesus

2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

                                                                Chapter 12 2 and 3

v 10  v14 v26

10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

You notice the progression – from a gaze fixed on a city, to those looking for a country, to one looking for a reward …

Until in the case of Moses in v 26 CHRIST enters the field of vision.

So we are not surprised that the writer of this magnificent catalogue should climax with the words:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,                   (2 v 1)

God has SOMETHING BETTER for us

It is all realised in CHRIST and in CHRIST alone.

I rejoice, that in the end it is not only a principle of God’s working – but the PERSON OF GOD’S SON

You notice what the writer says about Him:

Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,

The One who is Alpha and Omega – who is the Way and it’s destination

who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,

Who by His own example sought something better

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

AND ARRIVED!

The writer knows that the race is hard – and that progress is often impeded. We need such a One to look forward to Who understand BETTER than any other the forces ranged against us – but ENDURED

3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We have two principles then : A principle we may see at work in the great people of faith.

A principle that always leaves room for improvement.

but most of all

SOMETHING BETTER

so:  2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,

Who is the perfecter – the “MAKING SOMETHING BETTER” of our faith.

If we really believe He is Our Saviour –

that He loves us dearly and has surrendered His life for us

then we CAN’T TAKE OUR EYES OF HIM

You want SOMETHING BETTER?

He IS it.

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