Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 52
Hebrews 11:24 – 12:17 – Part 2
I had one young lady write a while back saying, “I saw you on television for a minute or two and I thought, how boring, and so I moved on.” She continued, “Several days later I happened to catch you again and I thought, ‘well maybe I should listen,’ and in five minutes I was hooked. Now I watch you every day.” I imagine a lot of people see this program and think, “How boring. No music, no entertainment.” But anyway, we appreciate all your letters and your prayers and your financial help because, after all, it does take money to pay the bills. So now coming back to where we left off in Hebrews, chapter 12, let’s start at verse 2.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” So we continue on with this whole concept that Christ is not only our Savior and our Lord – He is the author, He is the file leader of everything that we believe and “for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame…,” (and as a result of having finished that glorious work of the cross, He what?) sat down.”
Remember several month’s ago I said that twice in all of human history God did something so perfect, so flawless that even He Himself could add nothing to it. And what did He do?He sat down, and rested. The first time was after creation. The last verse of Genesis 1 says, “and He looked and it was very good.” Which in the Hebrew just means, it was perfect. He couldn’t do another thing to make it any better. And then we don’t have that repeated until the book of Hebrews when it says, “and after He had purged us from our sins” or He had finished the work of the cross, again it was something so perfect, so flawless. Something to which nothing could be corrected or improved upon and again, there was nothing left to do but what? Sit down. It was done.
And so all through Scripture then we have this constant repetition that after he had finished the work of the cross, He sat down at the right hand of the Father having finished the work of the cross. And here’s another one – in fact, the first one, just flip back a few pages to Hebrews chapter 1 verse 3, because this is what we have to realize, that when He finished it, it was so perfect that He could sit down. But, you see, that was not enough for mankind. And people have come along, and have preached and taught “But you’ve got to do that, you have to do this.” No. If that’s the case, then He didn’t finish it. If you have to do something else besides believe it, then it was not perfect. There was something left to be done. But it was finished. And we dare not try and add to it, or Christ will profit you nothing. All right, Hebrews 1 verse 3 says it even plainer than Hebrews 12:
“Who (speaking of God the Son) being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty of high;” Why? Because it was perfect. There wasn’t anything more to be done. And so all through the book of Hebrews we have this emphatic statement that He was the Son. He finished the work of redemption and when He finished it, He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” All right, now then, let’s move on into Hebrews chapter 12 verse 3.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” In other words, go back and experience some of the things he went through leading up to the crucifixion. And Paul says to these people:
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” What’s it speaking of? I think it’s speaking of those sweat drops of blood that came on His brow as He was approaching the work of the cross. Now verse 5;
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:”Now of course, Paul as I’ve said so often, can shift gears. Now all of a sudden he’s coming back to the response of the people to whom he’s writing and he says, “You haven’t gone through anything like this, but you have forgotten a lot of things, one of which was that God is going to chasten the one that He loves.” Now many people don’t like to accept that. But you see, whenever God puts the believer through a hard situation, it isn’t because He doesn’t love Him; it isn’t because He has left off taking care of him – but rather it’s for what purpose? To increase their faith. It’s to increase our trust that, come what may (yes it may entail suffering, it may entail some sickness, it may entail the loss of a loved one, but), through it all what’s the promise? “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” He’ll never leave off being all that He has claimed to be. All right, so he says, “Don’t despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked.” Now here’s the reason in verse 6.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” He’s going to discipline us from time to time. And He’s going to “scourge every son whom he receiveth.” Now it isn’t because of meanness. It isn’t because he likes to see us grovel and suffer, but He is disciplining us in order to have us walk a stronger walk of faith. And again, you take all the witnesses of chapter 11, they didn’t have a rose-petaled pathway and I’ve used that expression over and over on the program. When we become a believer it is not that all of a sudden everything is going to go our way. Most of the time it’s the opposite. It’s tougher to be a believer than it is to be out there in the world, because we’ve got all the opposition of satanic forces against us. Satan has hated everything that pertains to God ever since Adam and Eve were in the Garden and that hasn’t changed. And so we have to be aware that things are going to come up in our lives that we think are rather uncomfortable. Some of it God permits as a chastening process to increase our faith, to increase our Christian discipline. All right, verse 7:
“If ye endure chastening,…” He’s going to use the example of physical parents. Why do we discipline our kids? Why, because we love them. Not because we love to disappoint them. We discipline them because we love them. All right, and he’s bringing it right into the Christian experience.
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” If a father never disciplines, he’s not a father. His kid becomes a wastrel. All right, verse 8:
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, (illegitimate) and not sons.” “If you be without chastisement…” In other words, if nothing ever happens to make you run to the Lord for help, then we have every right to doubt that maybe we’re not a child of God, because we’re going to have problems. Satan’s not going to leave us alone if we’re a true child of God. Now verse 9:
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh (see, here he brings it into the earthly experience) which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:…” I bet I can make everyone in this room smile. When did your parents lay the switch to you? Sure, every one of you can remember. I can remember one in particular, and I imagine I can strike a cord with all of you. After Dad had given me a good whipping, I’ll never forget, he sat me on a concrete well base where the water pump stood and he says, “Give dad a hug.” I wouldn’t do it. (Laughter) And so he told me what had happened was because he loved me. And you’ve all been there. Every one of you.
And so parents do these things because they love their kids, and a child should respond knowing that this is why they got it, for their own good. All right, Paul is saying the same thing spiritually. See? So he says, “We’ve had fathers in the flesh which corrected us” or spanked us, whipped us, switched us, whatever the case may be. I always say switched because my Mom’s favorite weapon was a willow stick. Have you ever been hit with a willow stick around the calf of your leg. Yeah, stings like fire. Doesn’t hurt you all that much but it sure stings. All right, that’s what God does to us – He chastens us. All right, now then, if our earthly fathers got that kind of response:
“…shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Now verse 10, he comes back again to the earthly scenario.
“For they (our parents, our Mom and Dad) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; (that was their responsibility. But, what was their reason?) but he for our profit, (for our own good) that we might be partakers of his holiness.” Now verse 11 – oh, this is so true.
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Is it joyous to chasten? Of course not. When we were kids and we got that whipping, we cried our eyes out, right? It was awful. But the end result, hopefully, was for our good. All right, now Paul is bringing it right back into the spiritual, “Nevertheless afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Verse 12. What’s the first word? “Wherefore.” In other words, learn the lesson that as a child is disciplined for his own good, God does the same thing with us, to increase our faith.
Now ,I’ve always made a warning as long as I’ve been teaching – always be careful that when a believer is going through hard times, that you don’t say (in your own mind, or even speak it to others), “Well they must be guilty of some sin and God is spanking them.” No, not necessarily. Because there are two reasons God brings adversity into the life of the believer – two, not one. The one is, yes, he needs disciplining and needs to be brought back into fellowship and God will discipline for that. The second one is as Abraham was told to give up Isaac – it wasn’t because Abraham needed discipline. What was the purpose? His faith. To exercise his faith. And so always remember that. If a believer is going through hard times (health, finance or whatever), God may be just doing all this to increase their faith, and just strengthen them spiritually. And I always tell people, the individual himself knows what it is. The individual believer knows if God is spanking him because he’s been a disobedient child. He knows it. It’s not for you and I to determine and so we just look at it that God in His own purposes deals with the believer as He sees fit. Now verse 12.
“Wherefore (because of what we should learn from this experience) lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13. And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” In other words, bring all of these things into the right perspective. Now verse 14, and admonition in our everyday experience.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” Now, I’m going to come down quickly to the next verse because here’s to me, the meat of this chapter.
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau,…” Now you’ve got to reflect back. You go all the way back to Genesis again. What was Esau’s problem – if you remember my teaching back in Genesis? He was destitute of faith. Esau never saw any good in anything that God said. He may have been a nice guy (you know I’ve said that over and over. Esau was probably a nicer young man than his brother Jacob), but he had no faith.
What God said meant nothing to Esau. Now if you have a man destitute of faith, what is he – not always – but what is he most apt to be morally? The pits. Because faith is what maintains biblical morality, and without it there’s no constraint. That’s what’s the matter with the world today. They no longer believe this Book. It’s no longer relevant. And so, consequently, their morality is accordingly. All right, that was Esau. Esau had no biblical morality, and the reason he didn’t have any morality was because he had no faith. All right, and so this is the example:
“Les there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat (food) sold his birthright.” Well, why did he give up the tremendous future opportunity of the birthright for a bowl of beans? Because he had no faith. That birthright didn’t mean a thing to Esau because it was a spiritual thing. And spiritual things mean nothing to people who have no faith. And so Esau is the perfect example through Scripture of a man destitute of faith – and, consequently, becomes immoral and he counts for nothing spiritually. And so that was Esau. He gave up the birthright for a bowl of red beans because he saw no value in it. But Jacob, with what little faith he had, knew that there was something to be gained spiritually, not materially, but spiritually. And Esau said, “Who cares?” Now verse 17.
“For ye know how that afterward, (after he had given up the birthright for a bowl of beans, then sometime later you remember,) when he (could have or) would have inherited the blessing, (which was the material part of the estate,) he was rejected:…” Now of course, you’ve got to go all the way back and pick up the story. It was literally preordained by a Sovereign God that this should fall into place – but you remember how Jacob sort of befuddled Isaac, and got there before Esau and got the blessing. Now here comes Esau. The spiritual aspect meant nothing to him, but the material? Hey, that meant everything. Look what he did:
“…when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” He cried his eyes out as a man. Why? Because he lost the material part of the estate that was going to be his. Now you have to read this verse carefully when it says that he was rejected “for he found no place of repentance.”It wasn’t that Esau was looking for repentance for himself. Who was he expecting to repent or change his mind? His father. See he was trying to get Isaac to change his mind and Isaac wouldn’t. And so this is what the Scripture is showing us. Esau isn’t trying to repent himself. Esau is only trying to convince Isaac to change his mind and take it back from Jacob and give it to Esau – but it was all for nothing. And so even though he sought it carefully with tears, well, what’s the lesson? Don’t be caught in unbelief. Unbelief is devastating. Unbelief causes people to lose the peace with God, the tranquility, the joy of this life – but far more important, eternity. In fact, come back with me to Romans chapter 5 verse 1. And see, this is what we have to learn from examples like Esau. He was destitute of faith – spiritual things didn’t mean a thing to him. Oh, he was a tremendous deer hunter. Didn’t take him long to go out and come home with the venison. But, spiritually he had nothing, so he couldn’t care for anything spiritual. But for us who believe, look at the difference – Romans 5 verse 1 – my, what a promise.
“Therefore being justified by (what?) faith, (the same thing we’ve been talking about here in Hebrews 11) we have (in the here and now) peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” What more could we ask for? To be at peace with the Sovereign, Eternal, Ruler of the Universe, Who no longer has one ounce of controversy against us. Why? Because we’ve believed. We’ve placed our faith in that finished work of the cross.
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” I have to always go from here right over to Romans 8 verse 1 – one of my favorite verses.
“There is therefore now no condemnation (do you see that? Because of what he’s just been saying, including this verse in chapter 5. Therefore, there is now no condemnation) to them which are in Christ Jesus,…” Isn’t that a fabulous position to be in? God cannot make one accusation against us because it’s under the blood. Our faith has caused Him to cancel it. Now that’s not license. That doesn’t tell us to go and do as we please. Quite the opposite. But, nevertheless, this is that whole concept of faith that causes God to give us peace with Himself and takes away all condemnation. And that makes us totally opposite, coming back to Hebrews, of people like Esau. Now remember, Esau isn’t the only man like this. This is the world in general. The world, in general, is more like Esau than they are anything else. They have no faith. They have no concern about what God says. My, they’ve got money in the bank and got a roof over their head and food to eat. That’s all they care about. But for us who know better, our faith becomes everything.
“For ye…” Never forget that Paul is speaking to these Hebrews, and is trying to convince them that the whole concept of salvation is through grace by faith alone! It is so much better than the Law and Judaism and all the things that came from the Old Testament believers.
“For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire,…” Where’s he taking them? Back to Mount Sinai – and what happened at Mount Sinai? The Law was given. And he says, you’re not under that.