Jesus Is…!

Jesus Is. . .!

Hebrews 11:14-38

September 10, 2017

Have you ever met an athlete or musician you admire?  Sometimes they seem bigger in life than in your mind.  It can be a little intimidating.  It’s kind of like going to the Hall of Fame.  You see pictures and videos of people while they were excelling in their craft.  It’s like being a little kid, walking through the Hall of Fame and looking at all of these amazing people.
Sometimes we may wonder if we will ever measure up to our heroes.  Will I ever make it?  When we look at Hebrews 11, we also have a Hall of Fame.  The accomplishment for these folks is their faith.  These are people who lived such amazing faith-filled lives that they have been mentioned in God’s Hall of Fame.  As we walk through His Hall of Fame, we wonder if we will get there, too.
Some of these people are like Enoch, who was so good that he never died in this world.  Or they had such faith that they built a huge ship during the dry season, taking years to build, like Noah.  There’s a young couple, he’s 100, she’s 90, and they laugh with delight that God has given them a little boy.  That same father and son would later walk up a mountain where the father was willing to sacrifice the life of his son to that same God.

Let’s face it.  When you look at people like Moses, Sarah and Abraham, Noah, Enoch and others, it can be pretty intimidating.

Understand a couple of things.  People are people.  The world isn’t divided in God’s eyes between super duper saints and groveling saints.  God doesn’t divide the Christian community into the haves and have nots, the popular and the peons. In God’s family everybody is – – – – plain, old human.

None of us can walk on water.  We need to remember that when we come to a passage like Hebrews 11.  We’ll think those people lived in another kind of world than we live in.  They’re not half human / half angels.  These people were totally, 100% human and that’s all.

Also, remember this . . .  God is God.  He wasn’t more God back in the first century than He is today.  He wasn’t more a God to Moses than He is to people today.  God doesn’t change. We’ll look at this more in a few weeks, when we look at Hebrews -8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

He’s the same.  He wasn’t more Christ back then.  He wasn’t more significant or more inspiring or more miraculous or more powerful than He is today. God is God.
Ever have the feeling God got personally involved in those lives but He doesn’t get involved in the same way today?  He bailed people out of the greatest misery back then – and He still does today.  That’s His specialty.  God works on sinners.  We all qualify, because people are people, nothing more.  God is God, nothing less.

And miracles are miracles, nothing else.  We’re living in such a sophisticated world that people try to explain miracles away.  That’s not God.  They say – that was an earthquake that caused those walls to crumble.  It wasn’t a miracle when they cast the nets on the other side.  Scholars say Jesus saw a school of fish on the other side of the boat and used common sense and said, “Hey, cast over there.”  So they cast their nets over there and naturally they got fish.  It’s not a miracle.

A number of years ago, a group of kids were asked ‘does God understand nuclear energy?’  64 percent said no.  Let me tell you God understands nuclear energy better than any scientist.  He created it!

Miracles still occur today.  God still intervenes.  That still goes on.  Miracles defy explanation and they deny duplication.  A human being cannot do them.  Miracles are rare.  They’ve always been rare.  They happen at  unpredictable times.  They’re God things, not human things.  So – – understand this . . .
A miracle is a miracle, nothing else.  God is God, nothing less.  People are people, nothing more.  It can all be very intimidating.  You may feel like you’re inadequate for God to do anything in your life.  But don’t believe that.

Every person is a sinner that has been delivered by the grace of God.  With all that in mind, let’s start looking at the last half of Hebrews 11.  In Hebrews 11:29, we read this about the people of Israel ~ 29 By faith THE PEOPLE crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
Just who are THE PEOPLE?  They must have been great people for this to happen. Their faith must have been super powerful.  They must have been bold, firm, faithful – – to have been blessed with a sea that parts by the very word of God.

Let’s go back to Exodus and check out who these people of verse 29 are – who experienced the power of God.  They survived the 10th plague, the death of the first born, and now they’ve crossed the Red Sea.  It’s amazing, it’s a miracle.

They’re hours removed from leaving slavery.  And now they’ve arrived at the Red Sea.  There’s a mountain range to the south.  The Sahara desert is all around them.  They have an angry group of Egyptians coming up from behind them – – – and they have the Red Sea splashing in front of them.  They’re surrounded by enemies.  Mountains, deserts, chariots or water.  Pick your poison.  You’re going to die!

Let’s look at Exodus 14, in the Old Testament, and pick up some of that story ~ 6 So Pharaoh made ready his chariot and took his army with him,
7 and took six hundred chosen chariots AND ALL the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.SLIDE10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly.  And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord.

I can identify with that.  That’s what I would have done.  They’re scared.  We’re going to get slaughtered and if they don’t kill us, life is going to become even more miserable.  There was no escape.  They’re surrounded.  So they cry out just like we do when we’re backed against the wall.  Listen to their cries – – –
11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?
What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?

12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’?
For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Do you hear a little ‘Moses, we told you so?  We were really pretty content with being slaves.’  Do you hear panic, complaining, doubting, blaming, second-guessing, and fear?  These are our kind of people.  It’s right where we live.  These are THE PEOPLE of Hebrews 11:29.  And if you forget that, you’ll be intimidated when you read Hebrews 11.
People are people, nothing more.  BUT – – God is God, nothing less.  Let’s keep going through Exodus 14 ~

13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me?  Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
Sure.  You know what’s forward?  I have never been to the Red Sea, but I’ve seen huge bodies of water.  I’ve been to oceans.  I’ve never seen water part, ever.  Every time I step into water I sink into the sand.  So, God told Moses ~ 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.

I’ve seen dried up river beds but never ones that dried up in an instant.  God told Moses ~ You’re going to cross that sea walking on the bottom, on dry land.  God is God.
What happens? When Moses lifted up his staff, the waters parted. Now understand this.  This is REALLY, REALLY important.  The waters parted, not because of what Moses did, but because Moses believed what God told him.  ‘Lift your staff and I will part the waters.  Stop, be still and believe – have faith!’

The waters were like a wall.  There’s no way any person with all the trick photography can describe or display what this was like.  Water a quarter of a mile high, held back by an invisible wall as THE PEOPLE walked on dry ground.  A miracle is a miracle.

Can you imagine what they said when they walked through?  Can you imagine the awe?  Their eyes were as big as possible looking at the water held high only by the hands of God.  They walked through the Red Sea, on dry ground.  It was a miracle.

Some of you are under such intense pressure.  You feel the stress every day.  The adversary, satan, is working overtime with his Egyptian army closing in on you.  You feel boxed in.  Whatever you do, whichever way you go, there’s an enemy in your face.  You have an absolute impossible situation in front of you and the pressure is rising like the tide.  You’re only a person.
But God is God!  You wait upon Him, and who knows what miracle He’ll perform.  Maybe it will be the parting of the Red Sea.  Maybe it’s the destruction of your enemies, maybe your heart will

soften.  Whatever it is, God is God.  Miracles are miracles, nothing else.  And you will be changed!

Let’s go back to Hebrews 11.  And work are way toward the end. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

I can go over the stories of Joshua and how after circling the encampment in Jericho, the walls came crumbling down.  One archeologist wrote ~ “The city was protected by a double wall of brick.  A six-foot thick wall was built in the edge of the mound, the outer wall.  The inner wall was separated from it by a space of 12 to 15 feet and was 12 feet thick.  Yet when the trumpets sounded after walking around the city the walls came tumbling down.

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
I can talk about Rahab and her faith, which saved her and her family. And you do know who Rahab turned out to be? She’s the great, great grandmother of King David.  And she is part of the genealogy of Jesus.

Let’s go on ~32 And what more shall I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets —
33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection.  Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.

36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.  They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — 38 of whom the world was not worthy — wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. – Hebrews 11:30-38

These people served God despite their fears and insecurities.  At times there were disastrous consequences for being obedient to God.  Many of them died martyrs deaths.  They didn’t receive all the glory hoped for on this earth.  But they received God’s glory in death.  They received God’s glory by serving God.
If we go back and look at the walls of Jericho, sometimes we feel like there are these impenetrable walls which have been erected which either don’t allow us in or they actually work to keep people out of our inner lives.

Some of those bricks represent our angry, disappointment, bitterness, hate, unresolved conflicts – – walls so high and so thick that we couldn’t climb over them if we tried.  Then we wonder – – ‘how am I going to get over that wall, how can I tear it down?’  We do stuff like that.  We think things like that.

You know some people like that?  Are you one of them?  Nothing seems to penetrate their thick skull and heart of stone.  What’s it going to take to bring the walls down?  It’s going to take a miracle, a miracle.

Those walls came crumbling down because it was a miracle of God.  God told the people to walk around that city for 7 straight days, and they did, and God did what He said He would do, take down the walls.

Can I also remind you of a miracle?  A humanly impossible event that occurs in the natural realm apart from natural causes for the glory of God.  There was an event which happened on some crazy night in Bethlehem.  A couple of young honeymooners arrived in town, she was ready to give birth, and they had their child in some barn.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this kid was a big deal.

He was and is the Savior of the world.  It’s a miracle, nothing else, because God is God, nothing less, and He did it for you and I, because we are nothing more.
You need an escape from pressure?  Count on God to get you through the sea.  You to break down a wall, maybe it’s yours, maybe it’s someone else’s.  Wait on God to penetrate the wall.  Trust in God.   God is God.  And who knows – – – just maybe God has a miracle in store for you, because you know, trust, believe and have faith.

Most of us can say, life is not necessarily as we planned it to be.  We pictured something different.  That doesn’t mean it’s not good, it’s just different.  But we can’t bail out on God.  We’re like those Israelites who saw the seas part, the walls crumble.  It’s the glory of God which we receive through Christ.  It’s the promise that God will always be with us.

That Hall of Fame of Faith – – it may seem like a longshot that your name will ever make it in.  But you’re not being voted on by some committee.  You have a committee of ONE, and that committee of ONE looks at you as a child, created in love, created with a purpose, called to live a life of faith, knowing you are fallen, but lifted by the power of God’s grace, mercy and love! Because, after all, you’re created in His image.

Do you know Him?  If you do, if you are faithful to Him . . . then remember this – –
People are people – nothing more

miracles are of God – nothing less

God is God – and He died for you, nothing less!

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