Lesson 11

Jesus, Our Assurance

(Hebrews 11)
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Introduction: Hebrews 11, the "faith chapter," is probably the most famous chapter in the book of Hebrews. What is the relationship between faith and assurance? What examples of faith should we consider? What is the explanation when faith seems to let us down? How can we still be assured when things have gone terribly wrong? What has Jesus done for us that gives us ultimate assurance? Let's jump into our study and find out.

  1. The Argument for Assurance.


    1. Read Hebrews 10:32-34. What does v.32 suggest that we are involved in? ("A great contest.")


      1. Who are the contestants in this contest?


      2. Obviously, the contest was not going well for the "good guys" at one time. Did that matter?


        1. If not, why not? (The good guys knew they had better possessions.)


        2. What are the "better and lasting possessions" that comforted the good people?


    2. Read Hebrews 10:35-36. What reward, what promise will be given to us who persevere?


      1. What is the danger warned against in verse 35? (Giving up on your faith.)


        1. Is this a real issue in your life?


        2. What, in this context, do you think we must do to "persevere?"


    3. Read Hebrews 10:37-39. How is verse 37 the answer to the questions about our "better possessions" and our "reward?" (The Second Coming of Jesus brings the better and lasting possessions. It not only brings our reward, it is our reward.)


      1. What is the goal of our life? (To live by faith. To continue to trust in Jesus and His Second Coming even if things are not going well in our life.)


      2. What is the object of our faith? (This is all linked together. Jesus' return is the object of our faith. Our goal in life is to hold on to this faith. Holding on to this faith in Jesus makes the contest of life worthwhile and gives us ultimate victory.)


  2. Examples of Assurance.


    1. Read Hebrews 11:1-2. Is faith blind hope? Doesn't the text say that faith is what we hope for, but do not see? Isn't that blind hope?


      1. The text says we are "sure" of what we "hope" for. If we "hope" for something, do we have it? (No.)


      2. The text also says we are "certain" of "what we do not see." If we have not seen something, how can we know it exists? (These are parallel concepts. We are "sure" and "certain" of what we do not have and what we have not seen.)


      3. How is it possible to be so certain of that which cannot be seen or possessed?


    2. Read Hebrews 11:3. How does the Creation meet our definition of faith? Is our belief in Creation "blind hope?" (We were not there, we did not see it. Even if we had been there, the Creation was not made out of "what was visible.")


      1. Are all other accounts of the origin of man "blind hope?" (Yes. No human was present at Creation. (Adam and Eve showed up at the end.) Evolution teaches that something came from something else. But no one has actually seen this. This text says that God created everything from nothing.)


      2. The writer of Hebrews is building an argument for assurance, an argument for faith. Why does he start with Creation? (Three reasons. First, the Creation is a prime example of something that we did not see, but hope is true. Second, the Creation is God's first claim to our allegiance. He made us. Third, this is the logical beginning for faith. When I am tempted to think, "Do I really believe in all this?," I go back to the question of how I think we got here. I was listening to a TV discussion about the general stupidity of the U.S. population. The public was asked, "What accounts for Mt. Rushmore." The most popular answer was "Erosion." The TV group was howling with laughter to think that the carvings of the presidential faces could result from erosion. It seemed much more likely to me that these rock images were the result of chance than the original living, breathing presidents were the result of chance. Yet, I imagine everyone in the TV group believed in the evolution theory.)


    3. Read Hebrews 11:4. What about Abel's offering showed more faith than Cain's offering? (It not only reflected obedience ( Genesis 4:2-7), Abel's offering of an animal reflected belief in the coming Messiah who would die on his behalf.)


    4. Read Hebrews 11:6. Why is it impossible to please God without faith?


      1. It makes sense to me that you would not please God if you did not believe that He existed. Why is it necessary to also believe that God rewards those who seek Him? (God is not merely interested in our belief that He exists. He wants us to believe that He will win the contest against evil and be in a position to reward us.)


        1. Do you believe in your reward? How important is your reward when you experience suffering on earth?


        2. What is required for your reward, other than faith that God will win? (We must earnestly seek God.)


  1. The Reward


    1. We are skipping over several examples of faith recited in Hebrews 11:7-12. I suggest you read those although we will not discuss them. Read Hebrews 11:13. We just discussed that we must believe in our reward. What makes that more difficult? (The heroes of the Old Testament did not, on this earth, receive what was promised to them.)


    2. Read Hebrews 11:32-35a. We have been talking about people who did not receive the results of their faith on earth. What about these examples? (These are great victories of faith - right here on earth. These are the stories we love to tell.)


    3. Read Hebrews 11:35b-38. What happened to these people despite their faith? (They are the stories we do not want to hear. Horrible things happened to them on earth despite their faith.)


    4. How do you explain that some that showed faith had great faith victories on earth and others who showed faith had no victories at all? For example, some "administered justice" (v.33) while others suffered injustice (v.37). Some were judges. Others were judged unfairly. What is your explanation for this unequal treatment?


    5. Read Hebrews 11:39-40. How can the writer of Hebrews say that "none of them" received what had been promised? Didn't the "good story" people get what was promised to them? (The only logical conclusion is that we have not been promised that our faith will be rewarded here on earth. Sometimes life goes very well. Sometimes it goes very badly. The reward is not here. Our reward is only through Christ, who gives us the assurance of eternal life.)


      1. What do you understand verse 40 to say? What does this "only together" statement mean? (It means that only when we are all in heaven with Jesus will we enter that perfect state of life.)


    6. Friend, how is your life right now? If things are not going well, Jesus asks you to "persevere." Determine to hold on to your faith. You are not alone in history. Not only did Jesus suffer here, but the great heroes of faith did not realize on earth the promises God made to them. Because of what Jesus has done for you, through faith in Him you can have assurance of your reward.


  2. Next Week: Jesus and the Christian Walk.

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