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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - December 20, 2007
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December 20, 2007

Hebrews 11-13
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Hebrews
Chapter 11
  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 report.
  3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
  4. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
  5. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
  6. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  7. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
  8. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
  9. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
  10. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
  11. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
  12. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
  13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
  14. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
  15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
  16. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
  17. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
  18. Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
  19. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
  20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
  21. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
  22. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
  23. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
  24. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
  25. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
  26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
  27. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
  28. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
  29. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
  30. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
  31. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
  32. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
  33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
  34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
  35. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
  36. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
  37. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
  38. (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
  39. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
  40. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


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Hebrews
Chapter 12
  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
  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.
  3. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
  4. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
  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:
  6. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
  7. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
  8. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
  9. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
  10. For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
  11. 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.
  12. Wherefore 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.
  14. 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;
  16. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
  17. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
  18. For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
  19. And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
  20. (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
  21. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
  22. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
  23. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
  24. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
  25. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
  26. Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
  27. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
  28. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
  29. For our God is a consuming fire.


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Hebrews
Chapter 13
  1. Let brotherly love continue.
  2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
  3. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
  4. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
  5. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
  6. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
  7. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
  8. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
  9. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
  10. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
  11. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
  12. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
  13. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
  14. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
  15. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
  16. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
  17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  18. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
  19. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
  20. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
  21. Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  22. And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
  23. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
  24. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
  25. Grace be with you all. Amen.
    (Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy.)


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Thought for the day:
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 Hebrews chapter 11 is probably one of the most famous chapters in the Word of God. It is all about faith, and how a belief in the reality of the promises of God allowed men and women of the Old Testament to accomplish great things for the Lord. Near the end of the chapter the author mentions that sometimes people that walked by faith had terrible struggles. Some were martyred. Some wandered the earth without a place to call home. The world did not deserve to have such faithful believers living among them (11:38), yet they severely persecuted them because of their faith. After commending these believers, the chapter concludes:

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Of course, the something better was Jesus Christ.

 This leads into chapter 12. Having revealed all that those who did not have as much as we do (completed Scriptures, indwelling Holy Spirit) were able to do and endure by trusting in what they did know and have, the author says,

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 "( 1-2).
There are four things that we as believers are instructed to do in this passage. First of all we are to Learn. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Though many good men teach it, I do not believe that this means that the saints in Heaven are watching our every move. I believe that the saints in Heaven, through the lives they lived, are witnesses to what can be done if a person simply chooses to believe God. They are not witnessing us, they are witnessing to us. Thus, we need to study their lives and see what they believed. We need to understand how they were able to trust God in the most difficult circumstances. We need to see from them that we can follow Him when the path leads to outward success and when it leads to our own physical death.

 Second, we need to Lay Aside. We need to get rid of the sins in our lives if we are going to be the servants that they were. Not only are we going to have to purify ourselves from sin, but we are also going to be required to put away from us those things which are not inherently sinful, but keep us from accomplishing all that we could. To continue with the racing metaphor, a sprinter may work out with ankle and wrist weights, but he doesn't keep them on when he goes to the race because they will slow him down. Likewise there may be things in my life that are not unScriptural, but the fact is that they hinder me in my Christian walk. I need to get rid of those things too.

 Third, we are to Labor. After being encouraged by those who have gone before, and having removed sins and weights, it is time to get started doing something for the Lord. The Christian road may be a long one, so we need to run patiently, but we need to start working at it today. Note that we are running; we are not sitting in the car being driven there. God expects us to put out some effort if we are to accomplish His will.

 Finally, we are to Look. Once we get started we need to keep our eyes completely focused on Jesus. If we start comparing ourselves to other runners we will either get complacent or concerned. If we watch the crowd we will lose sight of the goal. If we focus on ourselves we will think about how hard the race is. But if we look only at the Lord, the One Who willingly allowed Himself to be shamed and executed for us, we will run the race as He desires us to.

 Hebrews 11 proves that it can be done, Hebrews 12 shows us how. Let's get busy and do it.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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