November 5, 2023, by P. Kevin Clancey
All right, good evening. Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth, who have set your glory above the heavens, and out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength because of your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens and the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, the Son of man that you visit Him. You have made Him a little lower than the angels, you have crowned Him with glory and honor. You have made Him to have dominion over the works of your hands. You have put all things under His feet, all sheep and oxen, even beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the sea. Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth.
1 O Lord , our Lord, How excellent is your name in all the earth, Who have set your glory above the heavens! 2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength, Because of your enemies, That you may silence the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, The moon and the stars, which you have ordained, 4 What is man that you are mindful of him, And the son of man that you visit him? 5 For you have made him a little lower than the angels, And you have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 you have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord , our Lord, How excellent is your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:1-9, NKJV)
I’d like you to praise God this evening, He is excellent and He is good and we have the opportunity to worship and you know there’s one thing that, there’s things in heaven that we’re not going to be able to do that we can do on earth, right? Can’t share Christ with unbelievers in heaven, you get to do that now. You can’t worship in the middle of pain, struggle and hardship in heaven. You can now, you can now. And so every one of you brought troubles into this building at one degree or another and just praise God in the face of those, alright? Praise God in the face of those. So let’s stand and worship God tonight.
Holy Spirit come, we do not want to just go through religious motions, no sir. We want you God. Fill us tonight with your word, fill us with your manifest presence, fill us with the body and blood of Jesus. Holy Spirit come, as we take this sacrament Lord, use it as a means of grace, use it as a time to meet with us and to transform us. Lord, we want to be students of Jesus, we want to be like Jesus. I know we’re promised that one day you will complete that work and we will be like Him, but Lord, for the rest of the time we have on this planet, we want to see how far we can walk down that road.
And so we ask tonight Lord that we would leave this place more like Jesus than when we came in. On the night that He was betrayed, He took bread and He broke it, gave it to His disciples and He said, this is my body which is given for you. And in the same way after supper, He took the cup and He poured it out, He gave it to His disciples and He said, this is my blood which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. As often as you drink of this, do this in remembrance of me. I invite you to Jesus’ table tonight, or better yet, He invites you to His table tonight. Amen.
All right, Aiko, here’s the word. Write down your breakthroughs. This has been a breakthrough. You’ve probably had others where you’ve seen remarkable answered prayers, and I don’t know if you write them down, if you journal them. You do? Good. You might even publish that. But just keep record, keep record of the testimonies to, yeah, and you were one of those. Keep record of those testimonies, okay? All right? You’re going to get more breakthroughs. I just speak it in the name of Jesus. I just speak those breakthroughs in the name of Jesus, Lord. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lord.
All right. Hebrews chapter 11, we’re going to make it. Make it through the book of Hebrews. You know, I’ve been pastoring for 40 years, I still, it’s like, man, so much Bible to preach still. I haven’t preached through Romans yet. I’ve preached through three of the four Gospels, but I haven’t, I’ve done a class through the Gospel of Matthew. I’ve never preached through the Gospel of Matthew. I want to do a whole year in the Psalms. I just want to preach through the Psalms, and next year we’re going to chronologically go through the Bible. So we’ll just do, all right, let’s do it, you know? Let’s do it. I’ve had, you know, how about six nights a week, protracted revival meetings? Just Monday off, or I’ll just take Monday off and, you know, you guys can rotate the preaching schedule.
So, all right, Hebrews chapter 11. I’m glad, it’s been fun for me, I don’t know about you, but it’s been fun for me to preach through Hebrews and we’re getting toward the end, but this is a, this is a famous chapter in Hebrews, the kind of the hall of fame of Old Testament saints or the real, the story of faith in the Old Testament. And the author to Hebrews, as he writes about faith in the Old Testament, he’s kind of, you remember Hebrews has two main themes, all right? The first theme is better. The new covenant is better. The new priesthood is better. Jesus is better than the angels. Jesus is better than Moses, all right? Better things. The temple is better, all right? The heavenly temple is better. Our access to God is better. And so it’s better. And now he goes back and he talks about faith and he uses all these Old Testament saints to describe what faith looks like because they were looking for something better. And they had faith in the better that was to come. And the implication, He doesn’t even say it, but the implication is obvious. If you now know the end of the story, right? You know that God sent His Son. You know that He died on the cross. You know that He rose again from the dead. You know now this great hope that they could only see in a distance, that they only saw, you know, with far off misty-eyed vision, and yet they persevered in faith for our sake as well as for theirs. If you know that, how much more should you walk in one of the three great virtues of the Christian life? Right?
Paul tells us that there are three great virtues, three great things. He says, these three remain, faith, hope, and love. And so here is the chapter on faith. And he starts off by saying, faith, well, I’ll read it to you. How about that? I said, good, pastor, you should read the Bible.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. For by it, the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith, 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. By faith, 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, being dead, still speaks. By faith, 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. But without faith, it’s 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. By faith, 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 righteousness, which is according to faith. By faith, 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. By faith, 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. For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith, Sarah herself also received strength, conceived seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 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. All these died in faith, 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. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland, and truly, if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 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.”
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith 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 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 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 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. 7 By faith 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. 8 By faith 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. 9 By faith 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; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith 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. 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, 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. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 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. (Hebrews 11:1-16, NKJV)
God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight. Oh, Lord, our rock, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen.
All right. So faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It’s the conviction of things hoped for, of things that aren’t seen with our natural eyes, that aren’t smelt, tasted, touched, that aren’t available, that aren’t heard, that aren’t available to our five physical senses. And yet, we believe them, and because we believe them, we please God and we inherit them. They become ours. The conviction of things hoped for, that we do not see. Faith believes what God has said. Faith believes what God has said. Not by sight, but by faith, the Bible says. We walk by sight, not by faith.
I had a cousin one time, and he was a quarterback for Butte College before Aaron Rodgers. Actually, he went both to, he went to Aaron Rodgers High School and Community College and played quarterback for them years before Aaron Rodgers did. And one day, he had a rough day at Butte Community College on Saturday, threw three interceptions, and he was at a Bible study that next Monday, and he was feeling kind of bummed, and his best friend, as male best friends will do, they’ll encourage you with sarcasm. And he said, yeah, Kip, you pass by faith, not by sight. Actually, if he did, it might have turned out better.
And so, faith is being able to believe those things we do not see. We put our hope and our trust in what God has said. And let me tell you something, this is how we win God’s approval. This is how we win God’s approval. And this is not how we normally win approval. And that’s why it’s a little foreign to us. We typically win approval in our life by, not what we believe, but by our behavior. Right? You know, if you have faith you’re going to get an A, but you don’t study, you typically don’t receive the teacher’s approval. It’s not faith that got your mother happy with you, it’s that you actually cleaned your room. It’s in the doing of things. Now there is a connection, by the way, between faith and doing, as we’ll see. But what I’m saying here is, God is looking for people who will believe in Him first. He’s looking for those, He says, if anyone, you have to believe in God, and then He says that God, what, rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
The Bible says we are justified by not being really good, not being the best in the class, not by living the most moral lives, and it’s not that those things don’t matter, but we are justified, we are made right with God by faith. By trusting in Him, believing in Him, He’s not just an idea written about in a book, He is a living, resurrected Lord, He is the king of the universe, He has existed from time, from the beginning, He’s before time, and He is all powerful, He is all knowing, He is all good, He’s real, but you can’t see Him, can’t taste Him, can’t touch Him, can’t audibly hear Him. I mean, some people have experiences of all those things, but that’s not the norm, right? That’s not the norm. And so we have faith. We recognize by our faith God’s power in creation.
3 By faith 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. (Hebrews 11:3, NKJV)
you see, here’s the deal. The physical universe neither proves nor disproves the existence of God. Science about the physical universe neither proves nor disproves the existence of God. I’m very much of the mind that science in the 21st century is very much on our side in terms of the existence of God, but it doesn’t prove the existence of God, it implies, I think it strongly implies a theistic universe.
Having said that, why don’t the smartest people in the world believe that? Their answer would be, Kevin, you’re wrong. You’re not one of the smartest people in the world, we’re smarter than you, and the evidence doesn’t point in that direction. My answer would be, you’re right, I’m not as smart as you, neither am I as proud as you, and your pride has given you blindness, while my faith has given me sight. Which is a pretty smart answer for a guy who’s not one of the smartest people in the world. But that’s what Hebrew says. Hebrew says it is our faith that allows us to see when we look and count the stars.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV)
When we look at, we were flying out of Denver the other night, and I tell you, man, you get out into the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains and stuff, you’re in Washington, and the beauty is not in sunsets and sunrises, you never see one. The beauty is in eagles’ waters and water and trees, snow-capped mountains. But you get out on the plains, and I discover this, you know, people say the Great Plains are ugly. The Great Plains aren’t ugly, you just don’t look down, you look up.
And we got on that plane and there was a sunset over the Rockies, as we kind of topped the Rockies. And, you know, you look at that, and what does the believer say when the believer looks at that? How can anyone not believe? My mother-in-law says that all the time. How can anyone not believe there’s a God? Well, the reason she says that is not because she is scientifically acute. The reason she says that is because she has faith. And faith gives her the eyes to see the artist behind the art. And that’s what Hebrew says. By faith, we recognize the power of God in creation. That’s what Christian theologians have said for years. It is not knowledge seeking faith, but what? It’s not understanding seeking faith, it is faith seeking understanding. Our starting point is our belief. And from there, we gain understanding.
And so that’s what faith is, it’s a belief in God. It’s a belief in what God has said. It’s a belief in what God has done. And when we do that, we win God’s approval, and we see the universe, we see the world with whole new eyes. If you were converted as an older teenager, as an adult, you’ll recognize that, right? I mean, for me, it’s very clear. I became a Christian, and it was like, this is an analogy that will tell you how old I am. It was like going from black and white TV to color TV. Everything just started coming alive to me. Everything was like, wow, wow, wow. It was like I was walking in darkness before, right, and the light came on. And I started understanding things like I never could before. That’s what faith does. He’s the light of the world.
Now, what happens is when we walk in that for a while, or when we grow up in that, we forget. And then we start getting mad at the world for being blind. Start getting mad at blind people for being blind. And we start saying, why can’t they just see? Because they’ve yet to believe. When they believe, they can see.
All right, so that’s what faith is. And then he goes on and he starts giving us the roll call of famous people of faith in the Old Testament. By the way, Hebrews calls it the Hall of Fame of the Old Testament. It’s not the Hall of Fame of the Old Testament. It doesn’t have David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego. It doesn’t have Deborah. It leaves out lots of people who walked by faith. And at the end of it, He kind of just says, oh, there’s a bunch of others. There are a bunch of others. But He’s going to center on mostly those that appear in Genesis and Exodus, and we’ll go from there.
And so He talks about these three ancient, even before Abraham, even before Israel, these three ancient characters of faith. And the first one is kind of interesting. He brings up Abel. It’s like Abel doesn’t seem to be like a great man of faith. He just seems like a guy with a bad brother. But in fact, He says, Abel, his blood still cries out to us. Abel brought a sacrifice that was pleasing to God, and he did that by faith. Cain’s sacrifice was not pleasing to God because he didn’t do it by faith. He did it by obligation. Abel brought the best to God as a sacrifice, as an offering to God, which is a sign, what, of trust. It’s a sign of trust. When you bring your tithes and offerings, this is… I tell people this all the time. This is not a collection for the church. It’s not like passing the hat at the baseball game so you can keep the youth league alive. I don’t know if they still do that, but they used to do that back in the old days. They’d have… You know, you had to pay for your kid to get in the league, and then they have the snack shack which supported the league. But none of those quite measured up.
And so, you know, you’d sit there, and you’d be watching the kids’ game, and somebody would take off their hat, and they would pass the hat like an offering plate. People would throw in their change like people do in offering plates. And, you know, that would help support the league. And so sometimes people look at church like that, like, oh, they’re taking an offering because they got to, you know, pay for stuff. There’s truth to that, right? There’s a budget, all right, to pay for stuff. But really, what an offering is, is an act of spiritual worship, which is what Abel brought to God. He brought the first fruits, the best, and basically what he’s saying is, I’m not feeding my family with this. I’m offering this to you who doesn’t need it. God doesn’t need barbecue. I’m offering this to you because I believe that you’ll feed my family, that you’ll care for me and mine. I trust you. And because of his simple act of faith, in a sense, he became the first martyr for his faith. And his blood still speaks to us.
And then there’s Enoch, who we don’t hear a lot about in the Bible, except that he was really old, and he’s one of the few guys, along with Elijah, that doesn’t die. He just gets transported, beam me up Scotty. The Bible says that Enoch walked with God. We use that phrase right for our faith. We walk with God. Well, what does that mean? That means faith is not a one-time event, but it’s a daily practice.
21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24, NKJV)
Story of a dear grandma who was a woman of faith and all her grandkids and kids knew she was a woman of faith. They knew she was close with God, but she was so close with God, they thought, my gosh, why does she have to pray every day and read her Bible every day? She’s close. She already made it. She’s already good. They went to her and said, Grandma, why do you pray every day? There’s that time where you go away and you sit in your rocking chair and you open up your Bible. John Wesley’s mother used to do this. She had 18 kids, but there was a time every day where the kids knew. She would go off to the corner of the kitchen, put an apron over her head for about a half an hour, and nobody bugged Susanna Wesley. That was her time with God. So this dear old grandma would do that. She’d sit in her rocking chair. Grandma, why do you spend every day? Every day, same time, you go to that rocking chair, you open your Bible, you read your Bible, you say your prayers. Why do you do that? Grandma said this. She said, life sure is daily. Life sure is daily. The Book of Lamentations says, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, every morning.
22 Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV)
So Enoch is commended as a man of faith. Why? Because he walked with God every day for a long time. He walked with God. He talked with God. I don’t know if you know this, but Jesus has another name as well. I mean, there are many names for God in the Bible. This one’s not in the Bible, but it is deep in our culture, and that Jesus’ name is Andy. We know that because, and he walked with me, and he talked with me, and he told me I am His own. Yeah, so he’s Andy. All right. Do you like that, Sophia? Good, good. I’m glad. All right.
Now, Noah believed and obeyed God in building the ark. Now, you have to realize Noah’s location in the world. Noah built an ark in a desert. All right. He built an ark in the desert, and it took a long time to build that ark before the rain started coming, and Noah was probably mocked for building that ark. What are you doing? I’m building a boat. There’s no water around here, Noah. The sea is way over there. You know, back then, especially, when you didn’t have transit, it was a big boat.
He built the boat by the water. He’s building the boat out in the middle of the desert. Noah wasn’t in the Pacific Northwest. If God would have said to somebody in the Pacific Northwest, it’s going to rain for 40 days and 40 nights, we’d go, so? It’s November. Yeah. Duh. Of course it is. But, no, he’s in the middle of the desert, and it took a long time to build that boat. A long time. No rain. You know, maybe a few drizzles, but, no. No flood.
But He’d heard the voice, and He obeyed the voice, and because of that, he was saved and his family was saved, and the animal kingdom was saved. Not all of them. You think all of them were, but the unicorns were rebellious. As were all the dinosaurs, rebellious. Jackalopes were rebellious. Yep. So not all animals were saved. All right. He obeyed God.
See, faith does have… We talked about, you know, our culture approves by what we do. Faith motivates what we do. If you have faith, you’ll act on your faith. If you don’t, if your faith… That’s why James says, faith without works is dead. He’s not saying that there’s this kind of syncretism that you’re justified by your faith and you’re justified by your good deeds. What he’s saying is that real faith leads, then, to an obedient life because you trust. That’s what faith is. You trust God. And so you obey Him because you know that in obeying Him…
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17, NKJV)
I had somebody tell me, you know, I moved to Washington out of… It was an act of faith, all right? I believed, and people can doubt this, but I believed that I heard God say, leave your job, go to the Pacific Northwest, plant a church. I want you to plant… Actually, churches. I want you to plant churches. Thank you, Paul’s bow. You are an answer to that prayer. I can now add an S on the end of that. Churches. I want you to plant churches in the Pacific Northwest. I want you to plant power churches in the Pacific Northwest. I said, okay.
And I left and I came up here as an act of faith. And I remember one pastor one time, he was being complimentary to me. He said, man, that must take a lot of courage to leave a secure job, move up to where nobody knew you and plant a church. I said, yeah, yeah, I guess it did. I said, it would take a lot more courage not to, right? If I really thought I heard God, really the safe thing to do is what God says, right? That’s what I always try to tell my kids. Like, really, life will go better for you if you do what I say. Right, Jamie? I thought you were gonna turn to seven and say, that’s right. Life will go better for you if you do what I say. Do what I want and life will go better.
Man, if you do what mama wants, life goes better for everybody in the house. It’s just good that way. All right. So Noah believed and he obeyed the ark. Long time coming. Long time coming. We are a fast food culture, man. We are an instant gratification culture. I am the worst of all. I am a culprit, man. When I’m hungry, I wanna go get something to eat. When I want satisfaction, I wanna go get something to eat. When I want satisfaction, I want satisfaction. I got the remote control, man.
Women, you know this. If you have a husband who watches TV, you know this to be a fact. Men do not wanna know what’s on TV. They wanna know what else is on TV. And that my wife can’t watch TV with me because I’m always jumping around. All right, but why? Because I’m an impatient man. Well, the Bible says love is patient, but you know what else is patient? Faith is patient. And God makes promises on Sunday, doesn’t mean they’re gonna come to pass on Tuesday. And we persevere, and Noah persevered. And so he’s commended for his faith, and his family is saved.
And then we get to the hero of faith in the Old Testament, Father Abraham. Three, the three largest theistic religions in the world all trace their roots back to Abraham. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Father Abraham. Father Abraham. Now, I love Genesis chapter 12, verses 1 through 3, the call of Abraham when he was still Abram. And God just says, God just says, Abram, leave your family, leave your land, and go to a land I will show you. And then He gives him these incredible promises. I’ll bless you. I’ll bless those who bless you. Whoever curses you, I will curse. In fact, this is gonna be so huge, I’ll give you a child, I’ll give you a land, and I’ll give you a people, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by what you do. Isn’t that great?
1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3, NKJV)
But here’s the verse that really blows me away. Everybody loves Genesis 12, one through three, the call of Abraham. I love Genesis 12:4, it’s a real short verse. Here’s what it says. So he left. That’s faith. Leave your retirement. He’s an old man in the Ur of the Chaldeans. He had a good view of the Euphrates River. He had possessions. He had people. He had a wife. He was living out his final years, and he hears this voice, and it says, leave, and these great promises attach to it, but the great promises are connected with the risk of leaving. What if I didn’t really hear right?
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Genesis 12:4, NKJV)
What if that really was? I mean, there’s no place in the Bible that says Abraham was a believer and the one true God. Israel hadn’t existed yet. He’s the start, right? Isaac, Abraham Isaac, He’s the start. It wasn’t until His great, or until His, Isaac, Jacob, until His grandson, that Israel even got in the name. He’s the beginning of this whole thing, because He left, and so Abraham, just like Moses, He obeyed God. He obeyed when He was called. He did it. He left the known secure life for the promised inheritance, and that’s what Jesus has called all of us to do. Follow me.
Well, Lord, what about, right? Anybody, you got your whatabouts with God? What about my job? What about my family? What about my friends? And you know, when I give God the whatabouts, He never gives me the answer, right? He never says, oh, yeah, here’s what I’m gonna do about that situation, and here’s what I’m gonna do about that situation. You know what He does for me? I don’t know if He talks to you this way, but you know what He does for me? Follow me. Yeah, but what about, follow me? In other words, He requires me to walk by faith. Follow me. I mean, right? He tells Peter how he’s gonna die, basically. He says, one day you’re gonna get bound up and be taken away. Peter looks at John and says, what about him? I love what Jesus says. What’s that to you? It’s not gonna change how you’re gonna die.
John was just jealous, or Peter was just jealous of John because John beat him to the tomb. I saw a meme the other day. Some of these memes are so funny. There’s this meme, and John and Peter, from The Chosen, the actors, are standing outside of the empty tomb, and John looks at Peter and goes, I won! And Peter looks back at John and says, who’s ever gonna know? And then the little bubble down beneath says, everybody, for all time. It got put in the book. Poor Peter.
You have to leave to follow Jesus. Listen, there’s no such thing as laying hold of the great inheritance without leaving the puny one. You know how to get rich in America? I don’t know if this will be true in the future, but it’s certainly been true for a long time. Take a secure amount of money that you have been given and put it into something that you can use and put it into something that is not guaranteed, called the stock market or real estate, and just keep adding the secure little amount of money into that, and the promise is that it will compound, and when you get ready to retire, you can retire early and you’ll be rich. And you know what? It works. Not that I did it, but it works. That’s really, that’s.
Now, I don’t know if it’s gonna work. I don’t know. I’m not telling you to do this. I’m not telling you to, you know, I’m not telling you to, you know, take 10% of your money and invest it and put it in a 401K. I don’t know if 401Ks will, you know, be good 60 years from now. All in those last 100 years, that that’s been the way to get rich in this culture, is take the secure thing, right? Bird in the hand. Give it away to something else that promises it’ll make you more, and it does. But you can’t have both. You can’t keep it and invest it, can you? You can’t hold on to the security and walk a life of faith. You can’t stay in the Ur of the Chaldeans and go to the promised land.
Let me say a word about common sense. I believe in common sense. I married a woman who believes in common sense. And I think the Holy Spirit guides us by common sense. I’m a charismatic Christian. I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe in signs and wonders and miracles. I believe in dreams and visions. I have no problem at all with physical manifestations, with people falling, shaking, laughing. In fact, I love it. I was just at Trinity Church in St. Joe, Missouri, and those saints, man, they just want to get a little bit of a kick in the butt. Man, they just want a dose of the Ghost when I show up.
And I wasn’t even gonna do it this time. I’ve been there a few times, and I wasn’t even gonna do it. I was just gonna preach the word. I wasn’t gonna do it, but halfway through the service, God’s like, no, start, man, start. They nicknamed me the flamethrower, so from the firehouse church. I like that name. And I started laying hands on people, and they started boom, boom, boom, boom, falling everywhere, you know, and started prophesying and started getting into that flow, and I just had fun and had a great time, and I don’t even know what my point is anymore. I had so much fun there. I don’t know what my point is. What was my, what point was I making, people?
You gotta leave for the promised inheritance. I don’t see how that ties in. Giving it away, I don’t know. It was good, though. I had fun. I had fun, and whatever my point was, just let you know that I had fun. I think it’s true that it’s not the case. Yeah. You can’t just give it away. Oh, you can’t, yeah, you gotta give it away. You gotta give, that’s true. By the way, that is true of anointing. That is true of anointing. You cannot, you know, one of the biggest quinces of revival in the church is we keep it inside the church. That is just true of the kingdom, by the way. Whatever, whatever you want, give away. Whatever you want, just give away, but I still don’t remember what that had to do with Trinity Church, so. Sorry out there, people. Those of you in Trinity, if you wanna text me and remind me what my point was, you can.
All right. Faith is courageous. Faith is courageous. We already talked about that. You spell faith, R-I-S-K, risk. It takes courage to walk by faith, but again, I happen to think it’s the safest thing you can do, right? I use that investment analogy again. It takes courage to give away your money and put it into a fund that you don’t have access to when you have small children at home and you wanna feed them. It takes courage to live on less, but in fact, what you give away comes back 30, 60, 100 fold. What you give away comes back 30, 60, 100 fold, and so it is courageous.
Abram left. It took courage to go into a land. I love what God said. Go to a land where? I’ll show you. I’ll show you. It’s persistent. I’ll give you, Abram, I’ll give you a child. I’ll give you people. Great, nine months from now. I know. I know exactly how Abraham and Sarah interpreted that. Wow, in nine months, we’re gonna have a baby. God said we’re gonna have a baby. They smuggled in the nine months, and 24 years, three months later, she was pregnant. 25 years, they held onto that promise. 25 years, they held onto that word that God is gonna give them an offspring. Now, they slipped up a few times. They weren’t perfect, you know? We have world problems happening right now today because they didn’t perfectly trust God. I mean, Ishmael and Isaac are still fighting. But they believed Him, and God created a people, and through that people, He gave us a Son, and through that Son, all the nations of the earth are blessed.
And so, He persisted in His faith. He was dependent upon God for the impossible. You’re gonna get pregnant. If I went home tonight and told my wife, honey, we’re gonna have a baby, she would say either no, or get behind me, Satan, or something like that. It’s not possible anymore. It’s not gonna work, but it worked. In fact, there’s a theme that runs throughout the Old Testament that starts with Abraham, doesn’t it? The impossible child. Till it reaches its climax at how can I have a child? I haven’t yet even been with a man. And Mary says these great words of faith. Let it be unto me according to thy will. Let it be unto me according to thy will.
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:34-38, NKJV)
And so, faith believes in God for the impossible. And then, he talks about these qualities of some of the other faithful in the Old Testament. He’ll get back to those, but faith gave them confidence. Faith gave them confidence, because when you walk by faith, you’re walking believing that God is with you. And so, faith gave them confidence. When you walk by faith, you’re walking believing that God has said it, and therefore, it is true. And you can walk with confidence.
There ought to be something in us that unbelievers in our lives, they look at us, and even though they are still rebellious and maybe still don’t wanna believe in God, they look at us with some envy. Unbelievers should be looking at us and going, you know what, I think that guy’s crazy, but they’re sure happy. Or I think, they act like they know where they’re going and what they’re doing. They can’t know what they’re, you know? There ought to be a sense, and I’ve actually had people say, you know, I envy you people of faith. Well, you don’t have to, you can become one of us. Or, here’s the greatest compliment you can receive, somebody saying, I knew you were a Christian. Or, what is it about you that’s different? And it’s not that we’re holier than thou, that usually turns people off. It’s that we have this confident faith that we walk with joy in the midst of trials.
And I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, the biggest difference I’ve noticed between unbelievers and believers is at funerals. And it’s this confidence, right? Believers, we’re still sad, we’re still gonna miss them, it’s not that, but oh, we know. We know that this story does not end in that box. That’s not the end of the story. And unbelievers, they just kind of go with the cultural line, oh, he’s in a better place, yeah, maybe, maybe not. No comp, but there’s no confidence there, right? There’s no confidence in faith.
They’re witness. When you have faith, you go against the flow. All right? When you have faith, you go against the flow. The flow of the world is not the flow of faith. I love the intro to the TV show or the series, The Chosen, when they show when the fish get life, when the fish get color, they start swimming upstream. All right? You know what happens when you swim upstream? You get beat up, man. It’s rough swimming upstream. But I just got to tell you something. When you swim upstream, you’re swimming with God. You’re moving toward life. And just, here’s the deal, and I get this way. I get so upset with the culture because they don’t like us, you know, and they lie about us. And some of those lies, there’s some Christians out there who actually fit those stereotypes, but most people don’t. You know, when I hear people say, why do you guys hate gays? Like, I don’t think we do. Well, you don’t want them to get married. Well, because it’s not marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s how God made it. I don’t hate people who are attracted to the same sex.
The Bible says God hates divorce. We got divorced people in church. I don’t hate them. And the Bible doesn’t say God hates divorced people. It says He hates divorce. God hates fornications. We got a church full of fornicators. I don’t hate the fornicators. All right? All sorts of things God hates. Don’t hate those people. But the world will say, oh, no, you do, you do. And they’ll lie about us. And we’re like, oh, it’s not fair. They’re picking on us. Yeah. Suck it up, buttercup. That’s the way it is. Go against the flow.
In fact, if they’re not mad at you, according to the book, you must be doing something wrong. He says you’re blessed when you get slandered. One of my biggest concerns is not enough people talk against me. You know, or otherwise people who do talk against me, it never gets back to my ears. I asked a pastor recently, I said, have you ever heard anybody, any other Christians, you know, kind of talk bad about the firehouse church and what we’re into and what we do? He says, no, I haven’t. I was like, disappointed. Dang, we got to get better at what we do. We got to make some enemies.
Now, I’m not saying go out and be there. There are Christians who have enemies because they’re jerks. All right, that’s true. But Jesus was pretty clear. If we’re faithfully following Jesus, that will not gain us the approval of the world. Our witness, the word witness and martyr, same word. Our witness will be a bright light leading some to salvation and Paul says will be a stench in the nostrils to others. The aroma of death. They’ll want to get rid of us. They’ll want to stop us. They’ll want to silence us. Faith keeps going.
It does. Oh, I’m sorry I offended you. No, I’m not sorry. I’m sorry if I behaved offense, if I behave wrong toward you. But if I didn’t behave wrong toward you and you’re simply offended because I said Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I’m not sorry about that.
One woman from my past likes to argue with me on social media and I forget I put something about, you know, convincing people of Jesus. We’re not trying to convince unbelievers of this, are you? And I said, of course I am. You in particular. Yeah, of course I am. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I tell you if you’re walking toward death to turn around and walk toward life? Why wouldn’t I tell you if I was a beggar who found out where their bread was? What kind of beggar would I be if I didn’t tell the other beggars there’s an unlimited supply of bread over here and it’s warm and it’s safe? Come with me.
What, are you saying you’re better than me? No, I’m just not as hungry as you are anymore. I eat bread. There’s bread. Come get the bread. Who do you think you are? Are you saying my way of looking for bread is wrong? I’m just saying it’s over here. Lots of it. We’re gonna kill you. But I like the bread. You’d like it too. Go against the flow, people. Don’t be alarmed. Don’t be alarmed if they don’t like you. It’s okay. It’s a good sign.
Their quest, they’re looking for a better land. All right, all these, their discernment, they’re playing, they’re playing for this life is a losing game. Their security, they’re God-rooted and their hope is in Him. Listen, that’s how we live. We don’t live for this world. We live for a better hope. We live, it’s in all of us. It’s in believers and unbelievers alike. There is this sense, right? Something’s wrong with this world. Something’s not right. We’ve got to fix it, all right?
God came. He sent His Son. He said, here’s the problem. You keep looking for the, you keep saying the problem’s out there. You keep saying the problem is the Republicans or the problem is the Democrats or the problem is the Chinese or the problem is the terrorists or the problem is men or the problem is women or the problem is people of that race or that ethnicity or that religion. And God came to the world. He said, no, wait a minute. Time out. That’s not the problem. Let me tell you what the problem is. It’s you. But I got great news. I’ll forgive you and save you and I will bring you to the world as it always was meant to be. The new Eden.
I will bring you to the place where the three great enemies of the human race are ultimately and completely destroyed. Sin, Satan, and death. And you will live life forever. As I always intended it as my child, as my co-heir. And you will rule and reign on the new earth. And we will have family and fellowship together and there’ll be no more crying, no more death, no more suffering, no more pain. And I know the world you live in now has all those things. But if you will hang on in faith and if your quest, if your vision will take you to that new homeland and you will go against the flow, I tell you that promise is coming every day. It’s 24 hours closer. I’ll tell you what, man, the older I get, the less I put my hope in this world, right? The less I put my hope in this world, it’s like stuff. Man, I have reached the age. And if you haven’t reached that age yet, you’ll reach the age one day you go stuff. No, no, not more. Less. Less stuff. Deaccumulate. I got too much stuff. And yet I still buy stuff. Why? Because it still feels good for a minute to buy stuff. But no, no more stuff. Maybe a few more goatskin Bibles, but other than that, no more stuff. Look at that. That just, that just brings the anointing right there.
All right. We’re looking for a homeland. We have discernment. This life doesn’t work. We have a quest and we put our hope in God. Our security is rooted in God. It is rooted in His promises. It’s rooted in His word. It’s rooted in our experiences of Him. And we live our lives that way. And the message of the book of Hebrews is that this is the better hope. This is the real promise. Therefore, here’s the takeaway. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again before I get done with Hebrews. Here’s the takeaway. Don’t quit. There will be good days and bad days, but there is a finish line. Run through it. And there is a promised reward and it is abundant. Don’t quit. And if you need help, not quitting, we’re here. Church, we’re here.
My wife, we’re in Haiti years and years ago. She was in better shape, but neither one of us have ever been accused of being in great shape, you know, cardiovascularly. And we’re walking up these hills to this church in Haiti and these hills do not stop. And Haitians are thin and they’re small, they’re light. They just bounce up those hills. Big Americans. I’m not saying my wife’s big. She wasn’t that big, but, you know, she’s walking up this hill and she’s huffing and puffing and she’s bending over. She’s walking up this hill and this little Haitian man got behind her. And honest to goodness, the only man who ever put his hand on my wife’s rump that I wasn’t offended by, but he just put his hand right on her behind and he just helped push her up the hill. And she was like, she was like divided. She’s like, stop that. Well, no, maybe not. You know, it’s like, hey, what are you? Okay. Okay. She kind of sat up for me. She said, you know, it helped, Kevin. It helped. I said, you know what? I wasn’t going to stop him. I saw that, you know, it was, it was working. So, you know, and I, I was, I wasn’t in good enough shape to catch up with him and do it myself. So I just let him do it. And so there it was, you know, and so metaphorically, that’s what the church does. All right. Metaphorically, that’s what the church does.
We have a dear friend dying of cancer. We don’t know your dear friend. We know and love you. We’ll help you get up the hill. We’ll join you in those prayers. We’ll join you in those prayers. Got a prodigal child. I don’t know your child. We’ll join you in those prayers. Why? Because we don’t want you to quit.
And when it comes the day where I feel like quitting, you give me a gift for pastor’s appreciation and you say you’ll help me with stuff around my house and take my wife to the movies. And my wife said they ain’t cleaning my house. But she did say next summer you can help me paint my deck. So that’s, so we got the, we got the job. The job got nailed down. So yeah. Yeah. No, I knew that. I knew, I knew that that was going to be, no, if they’re going to come clean my house, that means I have to clean my house before they come to clean my house. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’d have been, the thing to do would have been not tell her when she goes out of town, come and do it.
And then I’ll tell her that strangers did it. That would have been the lie that would have worked. I could have, I could have told her that I did it, but the, the, yeah, I actually, I did that one time. She’s out of town for a month and I paid somebody to come in and clean the house. And she walked in and there was a, uh, there was a blanket that was perfectly folded and draped over the Ottoman.
And that was like a dead giveaway. She’s like, you would never do that. It’s like, no, of course not. Why? Why? So he said, you, you had somebody clean the house. I said, yes, for you. And, uh, and then she goes, well, how much did it cost? It’s like, Oh brother, here we go. All right. What’s that? That’s what I should have said. Anyway, it was good. So, but, but right back to my point. I remember my point this time, that’s being the church that’s saying, Hey, we want to help our brother because if we’re not going to quit, we got to do it together. We got to bear one another’s burdens. We got to carry our own load whenever we can.
Don’t be whiners and saying, Hey, you guys, you have to come help me eat my breakfast. No, you can eat your own breakfast. You can get your own job. But when life, when life hits you, our life hits a dear one. We do it together so we don’t quit. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Go in at peace to love and serve the Lord. Amen.
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’ (Numbers 6:24-26, NKJV)