Faiths view of Trouble
Reading Hebrews 11:1-28
I want to speak to you this evening on the topic of faith, specifically on how the faith that you possess in the Lord Jesus Christ should determine your perspective, your view, of trouble. And of course trouble is something that we all experience (These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.). Specifically the trouble that comes upon us as we serve the Lord.
Hebrews 11 is a passage of Faith,
V3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,
V4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
V7 By faith Noah, . . . . . built the Ark.
V8 By faith Abraham obeyed
It a divinely given record of Faith from the beginning of time. Here are men and women – v11 By faith Sarah herself; v31 By faith the harlot Rahab; v35 Women received their dead raised to life again.
Faith directed the lives of these folk, led them in paths they would not have otherwise walked, brought them to trials that would not have otherwise encountered and even to deaths they would never have chosen – Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 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. V35 – 36
We read this chapter and we marvel at the faith of these Old Testament Saints – but we need to grasp is not just the faithfulness of these folk but the fact that the faith they held is the same faith that you and I hold to – yes it is true that they didn’t have the full revelation that you and I have, but they held firm to the promises of God, they grasped tightly the promise of a Redeemer, a Redeemer who would Justify, Restore and Empower. Their faith was our faith!
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, v39. They died without seeing the Promised object of their faith. But their faith was the same as yours and mine.
There are several points that I wish to set before you this evening, and I want to draw them out of this passage.
1. Faith is Known by the Choices it makes and always has been
We see this in our reading – Abel chose to worship God in the way God delighted, he chose the Lamb (Gen.4:3-5), and I suspect in a way that was revealed to Adam and Eve, who would have taught it to their children - And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
Both Cain and Abel made a choice in what offering they would give to the LORD. Faith is known by it choices! And here is a reality that ought to impact upon everyone of us and especially those of us who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith makes a choice, indeed the very first action of faith is a choice – regeneration shows itself in two action:-
a. Faith – a gift of God, God’s Spirit works within us, brings us to see our sin and its consequences, to see God as our only hope and bring us to
Faith chooses Christ!
Faith chooses Christ, chooses Christ’s people, chooses God’s way - By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 24-26 Faith is always active in the way of God. True faith always acts in a certain way!
2. Moses’ Believing Choice Brought Him into Trouble
To believe God and act in faith according to his Will is not easy. To act in Faith will always be a challenge, difficult and always bring difficulties and troubles. Choices of faith lead to trouble we see this in v24-26.
V25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God – that word affliction, is a compound verb in Hebrew, it’s made up of more than one word, it has the meaning of ‘Having / possessing Harm with others’. And it tells us something about the choice that Moses made – He chose the troubles of the people of God his own – he embraced them as his own, He named them as his people, he chose to be numbered amongst them. Don’t pass this thought by without a pause – he, Moses, was raised as a son of Pharaoh, He had the wealth and the privilege of the mighty Egyptian empire at his finger tips and he chose to be one with the people of God!
To be viewed by the world as they were, to be put upon by the world as they were, to be trodden under foot as they were, and what were they, these people of God? Slaves of the Egyptians!
True faith always acts in a certain way – God’s way!
The society we live in has little time for Christ and his people, sadly it would seem that some within the body of God’s people share this view that the world has of the church, There is abuse if you are faithful to God’s way, there is trouble if you are faithful to God’s way and I have no doubt there are those who change sides so that they can have an easier life. But true faith always acts in a certain way and it’s not the way of an easy life – I can almost hear voices whispering in the ear of Moses – stay where you are, you can do more good in the court of Pharaoh than in the deserts of Midian – but that was not God’s way. Dear brother, dear sister be careful in the reasoning of your heart when you make decisions with regard to your walk with God, the easy way may sound more attractive but it is seldom God’s way. Moses choose to suffer the troubles of the People of God – he entered a place of hardship, of labour, of pain, of burden and he set aside the ease of the life of a son of Pharaoh.
Faith is known by the choices it makes! choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God – Before the picture of the dire situation that Moses embraced gets you too depressed, just let me add this – he was part of the people of God – there is majesty in this term – here are a glorious people, they belong to God, God’s name is stamped upon them. There is no more glorious a title given to any people than this – in the world they are abused, tormented, slaves – but God’s people are never highly esteemed by the world.
Think of the words penned by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor.4:11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. An apostle set aside by God to deliver His word to His people, to establish His church – a man blessed and called and yet a spectacle to be abused in the thinking of the world.
My dear Brother and sister in Christ, don’t think it a strange thing that trouble comes upon you – 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; It is not strange for the people of God to suffer.
True faith always acts in a certain way – God’s way. Look again at Hebrews 11 at v26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;
3. Moses Believing Choice brought him to Partake in the Reproach of Christ.
It’s not who the people of God are by nature that cause the world to despise, mock, mistreat them – it is because of who they are regeneration – it is because they ARE God’s people. Because they are identified with Him, with Christ.
Moses chose to embrace the hatred of Christ – the unbelieving world hates God’s Word, hates God’s doctrines, Hates God’s Christ and Hates God’s people.
When we align ourselves with Christ – remember this is the first choice of faith –we immediately are brought into opposition with the world – the world turns against us – Matt.10:24-25 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! In the manner they treat Christ they will treat his disciple.
This should not shock you, it should not surprise you – Matt.10:34-36 do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 for I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' What is the great dividing matter here? Christ and the Cross!
There is a movement in our land that seeks to bring peace where there can be no peace – they seek to rob Christ of His Cross, they endeavour to see all faiths as equal, all leading to God – many church people hold to this – they know nothing of true faith. They believe in and teach a Christ who is no threat to anyone.
But look at v28 By faith he(Moses) kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. Out side of the shed blood God brings death! Outside of Christ who shed His blood for the remission of sin – there is only the wrath of the eternal God, who hates sin with a perfect hatred!
By faith he(Moses) kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. By Faith Moses kept the Passover – Faith saw what the slaying of that Lamb represented- and looked down the centuries to the Lamb of God whose blood was to be shed to deliver men and women from angel of death of God’s wrath. Turn in your bibles to Luke 9:28ff, here we have the account of the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus - And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. It’s interesting to note that they talk about His ‘Exodus’. Moses knew the connection between the Exodus and the death of the lamb and the God who would come to take away the sin of the world.
4. Moses Believing Choice brought into Conflict with the King
V27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Moses chose by faith to obey God and align himself with God’s people and this brought down upon him the wrath of the King. In many lands today there are brothers and sisters in Christ who know, from personal experience, the wrath of civil authority – for no other reason than the believing choice to follow Christ. One of those countries is the Maldives, a favourite holiday destination.
The Christian is to be a model citizen, to obey in all things except when it compromises the revealed will of God. The choice of faith means that we cannot obey laws which contradict God’s word, we cannot see homosexuality as being acceptable, etc.. A day comes even in our land, when civil authority may turn it gaze upon us because we have chosen to align ourselves with Christ and will bow to it.
Often when trouble comes, we find ourselves confronted with an alternative – a more attractive alternative!
V25 suffer affliction / pleasures of sin
V26 reproach of Christ / treasures in Egypt
Moses could have chosen an easier path – but it would have been the path of disobedience – he could have argued that to stay in Pharaoh’s favour would give him greater influence for the good.
There is always an easy alternative to the path of faith! We are told that he endured and this implies that through his life there were always easy alternatives to his walk of faith but that he continued to walk the path God set before him.
5. Moses Believing Choices were the result of deliberate thinking
V26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; He esteemed, gave careful consideration – the way a judge would before pronouncing Judgement – the reproach of Christ greater riches!
He prized the eternal more than the temporary – v5 he chose to suffer rather than embrace the passing pleasures of sin, - that is the choice of all true faith, Phil.1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
He chose to reject everything marked by sin – the treasures of Egypt – Faith chooses God over sin, God’s people over the world.
The choices of faith run contrary to those of the world – the world would compromise, would choose the riches of Egypt, would rationalize by saying more influence, more opportunity for doing good – but faith chooses the way of God, trusts God and follows His way. Some say that faith is blind, but that’s not true faith has greater sight - faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. V1. Faith sees into eternity, it sees things that the natural eye cannot see, it sees the glory that awaits. Moses looked to the reward.v26.
The apostle Paul writing to the Philippians (3:14) speaks of pressing - toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus – I’m running forward, not looking back, pressing ever onward with the goal in sight - forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,v13 Both Moses and Paul – Endured! How? They had a vision of God!
The unbelieving world tales no account of God, but God is visible o the eye of faith – Paul and Moses lived with a vision of God and it enabled them to endure, to persevere and to win!
It wasn’t easy – at one point Moses found the burden of it all too much and asked God to kill him Num.11:14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now. Lord kill me I can’t carry these people anymore! Overwhelmed by the choice he had made – but by the grace of God he endured.
When we by faith have chosen to serve God and trouble comes, we need to see God, not to turn back and choose another route.
How did Moses see God? As the God of Justice and Redemption! By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.V28. He went out of Egypt with the vision of God who is perfectly Holy and inflexibly Just – but a God of infinite mercy – and he endured.
Your choices in life reflect whether or not you see God.
Are you willing to bear the reproach of Christ, of His people to live as Moses lived – choices of Faith.