Hope of Heaven
The Hope of Heaven
October 8, 2008
Hebrews Chapter 10
We currently live an easy life.
Times can get tough, and I believe they will; maybe in our lifetimes.
Most Christians face really difficult/persecuted lives.
God has a great call to us!
Are you ready to do amazing things in the middle of tough times?
You say, “I’m just a ‘nobody’ or too weak to battle this world”. I’m thinking about giving in to the world and just be a ‘quiet’ Christian. Maybe this will ease my ‘suffering’.”
This was what the Hebrew Christians were facing.
Similarly, I need something to “hold on to”, to envision, to keep me trusting God in the “hard” or “blah” times.
We are going to look at the solution for Christians who are having a hard time doing great things with Jesus. This is a fundamental whether or not you are having difficulty at this time. You must have this or you will sink in trusting God; sooner or later. What is it? The Hope of Heaven!
Now I want you to focus on the key element for this study: HOPE.
You’re going to see many passages that you are familiar with and you’ll focus on the wrong phrase or idea based upon your past studies.
In order to understand HOPE, we have to divorce ourselves from the common American usage of this word.
Biblical HOPE is primarily: the confident expectation of HEAVEN.
Another Biblical word is FAITH. Its basic meaning is: TRUSTING GOD
The writer of Hebrews (Paul, as you’ll see by the end) has just finished describing how Jesus has done and is doing a great work allowing us to hang out with Father God. But though that’s true, it’s hard for us to stay there!
|Hebrews 10:19-25 (NKJV)|
|19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,|
|20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,|
|21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,|
|22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.|
|23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.||What is promised?|
|24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,||The next chapter will describe these.|
|25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.||“The Day” is a Biblical term for the return of the Messiah to earth to make things right and take His people to heaven.|
|Hebrews 10:32-11:40 (NKJV)|
|32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:|
|33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;||A sample of their difficulty|
|34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.||There’s the motivation; the confident expectation of heaven!|
|35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.||The confession of HOPE v. 23Reward comes later…|
|36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:||HOPE enables endurance v. 35 And here comes the promise:|
|37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.||Confident expectation of going to heaven!But what do I do in the mean time?|
|38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”||Beyond “saving faith” (“that whosoever believes in Him” in Jn 3:16): actively TRUSTING GOD in everything.|
|39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.|
|11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.||Substance and evidence follow something: the confident expectation of heaven! So, HOPE comes first, then the actions of trusting God (faith) follow which is more evidence of what you already know to be true.|
|2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.||Now we enter the Hall of Hope. Watch for the confident expectation of heaven that each godly person possesses. Verse 6 will be our first pointer that will explain what we read now…|
|3 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.|
|4 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.|
|5 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.|
|6 But without faith (TRUSTING GOD) it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.||What reward? Heaven!|
|7 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (TRUSTING GOD).|
|8 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.||The founder of THE faith, sets an example for us by being called to another place that’s much better and one that God prepared for him.|
|9 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;||What promise? Read on…|
|10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.||HEAVEN!|
|11 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.||Interwoven in the confident expectation of heaven is the expectation of the preparation God is doing to get us there: a chosen people and a messiah/mediator.|
|12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.|
|13 These all died in faith (TRUSTING GOD), not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.||All the numerable physical and spiritual children of Abraham have not received the promises today! Yet they had and have the confident expectation of heaven (HOPE).|
|14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.||HEAVEN|
|15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.|
|16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.||The city Abraham waited for v. 10: HEAVEN.|
|17 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,||Future preparations for heaven would require Isaac, Abraham knew. He was very confident!|
|18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”|
|19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.||Even in the difficulty of death, Abraham had the confident expectation of heaven.|
|20 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.||Ultimately: heaven!|
|21 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.||Confidence in God’s plan brings worship|
|22 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.||Knew what had to happen so planned for it.|
|23 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.|
|24 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,|
|25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,||Here is the challenge we find ourselves in today|
|26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.||…and the solution: the confident expectation of heaven|
|27 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.||…and it’s not temporary.|
|28 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.|
|29 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.|
|30 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.|
|31 By faith (TRUSTING GOD) the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.|
|32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:||…so see the big picture and put yourself there|
|33 who through faith (TRUSTING GOD) subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,|
|34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35a) Women received their dead raised to life again.||Yesssss! Great things! Warriors: physical and spiritual|
|35b) Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.||the confident expectation of resurrection to heaven|
|36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.|
|37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—|
|38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.||Speakers of truth; great in God’s Kingdom!|
|39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith (TRUSTING GOD), did not receive the promise,|
|40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.||We are still included in the promise. We will all receive it together as we pass out of time. Therefore, we must also have the confident expectation of heaven and we can do great things too!|
|Philippians 3:8-21 (NKJV)|
|8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ|
|9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith (TRUSTING) in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith (TRUSTING Him);|
|10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,|
|11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.||Desperate for heaven like Hebrews 11:35|
|12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.||Jesus’ purpose was to bring saints to glory and that’s what Paul wants.|
|13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,|
|14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.||Upward call to heaven!|
|15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.|
|16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.|
|17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.|
|18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:|
|19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame— who set their mind on earthly things.||…the contrast|
|20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,|
|21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.||This is the vision that drives our actions in TRUSTING GOD.|
|2 Timothy 1:8-12 (NKJV)|
|8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,|
|9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,|
|10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,||…living in heaven!|
|11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.|
|12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.||In the middle of suffering, in difficult times, Paul has the confident expectation of heaven that drives him to do great things with the Lord.|
Hebrews 6:9-12 (NKJV)
9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
- Paul is preaching to me here too! Do not be sluggish in actively doing great things with the Lord!
- Looking to heaven will bring endurance in following Jesus
- Embrace trials and suffering as opportunities to triumph and do great things!
- Remember, without HOPE we won’t have active FAITH
- So banish the saying that says, “You’re no earthly good since you’re so heavenly minded”.
- Be heavenly minded always!