26th January 2021 Canvey Methodist Church Bible Studies



Canvey Island Methodist Church Bible Study- 

Walking in  Faith, Hope and Love

 

Bible Reading:

 

Hebrews 11 New International Version (NIV)-  Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 

Footnotes:

a.Hebrews 11:5 Gen. 5:24

b.Hebrews 11:11 Or By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he

c.Hebrews 11:18 Gen. 21:12

d.Hebrews 11:31 Or unbelieving

e.Hebrews 11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;

 

Comment:

 

When it comes to the fruits of the Holy Spirit, (or those attributes that God grows within us as Christians), the three that St Paul picked out as being the most important and the most long lasting fruits were, in 1Corinthians chapter 13 and in verse 13, those of faith, Hope and love, and of these, love is the fruit that trumps all the others put together. However, that said, and as can be seen from the above Bible Reading from Hebrews 11, Faith is nonetheless pretty high up on the list of attributes that give us resilience as Christians to the challenges of daily living that come our way. The writer to the Hebrews provides a huge list of people who lived by faith and by so doing, achieved incredible things. I wonder, if you and I were to write our own list of more recent heroes of faith, who would we include in this as people who are our heroes of faith?  

Cannon J.John, the Anglican evangelist, has recently been writing accounts of those that he considers to be  “Heroes of Faith”; people like, William Wilberforce, John Bunyan, George Muller, Helen Keller, Corrie Ten Boom, Edward Jenner, Amy Carmichael and Lord Shaftesbury. I expect that you would include others who have inspired you!

Well, here’s a thought, in God's eyes, when you and I put our faith, trust and hope in Him, He sees us as “Heroes of Faith”. Who me? - Who you?-  Yes, incredible as it seems, as you and I live life in the strength and love of Jesus Christ, His grace, hope, power and light are revealed to others through us.

As I write today, it is against the very sad backdrop of news of over 100,000 people who have now died from this dreadful Coronavirus infection. Perhaps, more than ever, this is a time to be strengthened and sustained by faith and hope in the love and providence of Almighty God. 

 

Songs:

I believe - Rhydian Roberts

https://youtu.be/uOXHvnSeoAo

 

Have faith in God - Joystrings-

https://youtu.be/KEOxlor_h3o


 

The “Cambridge English Dictionary” defines faith as : “Having great trust or confidence in something or someone” and It defines believing as, “ to think that something is true, correct, or real”:

 

Like a candle flame though, it sometimes seems that our “flame of faith” tends to  flicker wildly in the face of bad news or in the winds of adversity and doubt. If that is you, then you are in good company because putting faith into practice always involves “going out on a limb”, testing faith, keeping faith, and continuing to trust, even, and especially when all the evidence seems to be pointing in the other direction.

Dr Micha Jazz, in the “Every Day with Jesus” devotional booklet, in commenting upon the attributes of “faith, Hope and love”, as described in 1Corinthians 13v13, speaks of how resilience through “testing” is grown in and through these “flickering candle” moments.

He writes that such resilience “offers the skill and the ability to ride out life’s fiercest storms, and then to bounce back from the experience”.

All of those people named by the writer to the Hebrews had experienced such tough times but had nonetheless grown in faith through them.

Following Jesus is always about faith. In fact Jesus said as much on a number occasions.

 

Mark 11:22- So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Matt21:21- So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.

Luke 17:6-  So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Luke 17:19-  And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Luke 18:42-  Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”

 

Exercising Faith in Jesus, then and having faith that the Holy Spirit is moving through us, whilst definitely not being a guarantee of having a trouble free life, will lift us to areas of hope, love, service and practical experience that may well be beyond our wildest dreams. Normal life can, indeed, sometimes seem like “climbing a mountain without a map” but the wonderful  truth is that, our lives in God's hands are in very good hands and that Jesus has promised to see us all through, both in this life and the next. Here are just some of these promises he gave:

 

Matt 5:24-   “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

John 6:35- And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

John 6:47- Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

Matt9:28- And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

John7:37-39- The Promise of the Holy Spirit.  37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those [g]believing in Him would receive; for the [h]Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 11:25-  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

John 12:46-  I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

 

May God sustain us all as we place our faith in Him for the week ahead. May this faith in Him be our “confidence in what we hope for and our assurance about what we do not yet see”. May God Bless us all .

 

Songs:

 

I am trusting thee Lord Jesus,

https://youtu.be/alElqxcAsp4

 

We walk by faith, 

https://youtu.be/x0-eljXhRMM


 

Prayer:

Almighty God, Lord of Faith, Hope and Love, we thank you that, amidst the mountains surrounding us, you are with each of us now in the valleys and byways. Your love is the same yesterday, today and forever. We look to you in faith for the present and hope for the future; that we will see the mountains ahead levelled and know your strength, grace and guidance as we walk the pathways ahead by faith. May we tread in the footprints that you have made for us in the sand.

 

In Jesus Name

 

Amen

 

In Christian Love

 

Colin