Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial to the Heroes Of Faith Hebrews 11:1-40

Memorial to the Heroes Of Faith

Text: Hebrews 11:1-40

Audio Link


When the Lord told Joshua to build a memorial from the stones taken from the middle of the Jordan river as they passed over on dry land, He told Joshua the purpose for all memorials.

Joshua 4:6-7
 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?  Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Memorials are meant to remember the past and to shape the future. By remembering those who gave their all, we today are inspired to live our lives in a manner worthy of the service of those who went before us. Memorial Day should serve that purpose for us as Americans and Hebrews 11 was written by Paul to serve that purpose to the Hebrew Christians in his day. It can continue to serve that same purpose for us today.

Paul was building a memorial hall of faith, to convict the Hebrew Christians to stay faithful to Jesus Christ and not draw back into empty, legalistic Judaism. They were under great pressure and persecution to renounce Jesus as their Messiah and Savior and Paul wrote and said, “Look to the heroes of our past, look at their struggles, look at their faith and live your lives today to honor their sacrifice.”

Purpose of Faith - Hebrews 11:1-3

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. 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.

Defining Faith

Paul defines the faith that will motivated and drove the heroes of faith. The same faith that will keep the Hebrews from drawing back, from deserting the cause of Christ. This faith, Paul tells them how the heroes of faith obtained a good report.

Paul says that faith is the substance of things hoped for. In Greek the word translated substance is is hupustasis. RWP says it is that which “stands under anything (a building, a contract, or a promise.) Faith then is the title of things hoped for. It was the deed to the future that God had promised them. Faith made that promise, tangible, something real, a substance that they could hold and that deed to the promises of God moved them to be heroes of faith.


Next Paul talks about the lives of these heroes. He builds a memorial for them, with his words instead of with stone.

The Passion of Faith - Hebrews 11:4-12

 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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  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.  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.

First Names On the Walls

Paul now names some of those “elders”, these heroes of faith, who obtained the report of faith held title to the future and lived because they knew God’s word and promises were true.
He names Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah

Firstfruits of Faith

I think that in these heroes we see faith’s beginning, growth and ultimate purpose.

Abel’s faith shows us a faith that begins with repentance for he knew that only through the shedding of blood is there remission of sin.

Enoch’s faith demonstrates a faith that walks with God. I love the phrase in the OT that describes the translation of Enoch. “and he walked with God and was not for God took him.”

Noah’s faith tells us that true faith is a witnessing faith. For over a hundred years he built the ark in a world where rain had never fallen. For over a hundred years he preached repentance to a world fatally sick with sin. How could he bear it? Through faith he had evidence that God was sending a flood.

Abraham’s faith points us to a faith that moves at God’s command. God told Abraham to go to another country and leaving all he went because he had heard the report of faith. So he went looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.

Finally Sarah’s faith speaks of the passion of faith. Sarah who laughed at the promise of God for her to have a child, but then believed and when that child was born she named him Isaac which means laughter. She had gone from the bitter laughter of a doubt the joyful laughter of a believer passionate in God’s purpose for her.

The Promise of Faith - Hebrews 11:13-16

 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.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  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.

Seeking A Country

Paul now talks about the country of faith’s title deed.
Paul looks at these heroes of faith and says they died not having received the promises but having seen them afar and were fully persuaded and convinced therefore they embraced the vision and committed themselves to God’s calling and then confessed boldly that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. In doing so the Bible tells us that God was not ashamed to be called their God and He waits for them in the city He has prepared, where that promise will be finally fulfilled.

Seekers of the City  

Are we today living as they lived, seeking a heavenly country and a celestial city? Have we hearing faith’s good report? Have we grabbed hold of faith’s title-deed? And are we, like these ancient Biblical heroes, looking for a city who builder and maker is God?
This is the promise of Faith. It was God’s promise to them and it is His promise to us. How can you discern if you are living in that promise? How can you know you are seeking that city of God?

Here are the signposts along the life of a child of God who is holding the promise of the title-deed of heaven. We must have repented of sin like Abel, trusting only in the shed blood of Jesus Christ who died in our place. We must then walk like Enoch, daily seeking and growing in the company of our God. We must strive to be a witness like Noah, willing to do what God has commanded no matter if we must do it alone. We must go at God’s command like Abraham, wherever He directs and we must have passion like Sarah, finding joy in God’s gifts.

If we are doing these things then we honor the memorial Paul built in Hebrew 11 and we show that we are people of the promise, seeking that city. I fervently pray that when other look back at our lives, it may said of us as Paul said of the first Heroes of Faith, “God was not ashamed to be called their God.”


I should stop here, right here, right now, but I can’t. I have to finish the chapter because this outline is just too good. You would be even sadder than me, if I didn’t give you all 5 points. We’ve looked at the Purpose of Faith, the Passion of Faith, and the Promise of Faith, now lets continue with the Power of Faith and then conclude with the Penultimate of Faith. I know you can’t wait so lets get to it.

The Power of Faith Hebrews 11:17-31

 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.  By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.  By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.  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.  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Faith’s Empowered Action

Paul now looks at the actions of the heroes and the source of their power to accomplish such great acts.

By Faith, Abraham offers up Isaac, believing that God would resurrect his son to fulfill the promise given him.
By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. Isaac whose blind eyes could not tell one son from the other was still able in faith to see the future of those sons and believe that despite their problems and weakness God would bless.
By Faith, Jacob when he was dying blessed both the sons of Joseph. He worshipped and leaned upon the staff, too weak to stand in his own strength yet this dying man saw blesses from God for the son’s of Joseph.
By Faith, Joseph when he died gave commandment concerning his bones. He told the Hebrews to take his bones from Egypt and rebury them in the Promised Land, believing that one day they as a people would go home and he would go with them.
By Faith, Moses parents hid their son, though Pharaoh had ordered all newborn males to be killed. By that same faith, Moses, after he was grown refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose the suffering of his own people rather than the pleasures of sin for a season.
By faith, Joshua and the children of Israel knocked down the wall of Jericho and conquered the Promised land.
By faith the Gentile, pagan, harlot Rahab lived through the destruction of her city, saved her family and entered into the lineage of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Faith’s Power To Act For God

In all these examples we see that faith, if it is real to us, if it is more than just empty words or creeds, is the power that gives us the ability and the capacity to take action in God’s work and at God’s command. Faith is not abstract, remember it is a substance, a reality and therefore it is not merely an ethereal belief, but because it is real then it must be a followed by real acts.  

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
If we are inspired by the Memorial of Faith, Paul has built in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, then we must act as they did, in the power of faith.

I will be able to point to the time of my salvation as my first act of faith.  Then to the baptismal waters that showed my faith in my resurrected Lord. I will be able to show how the talents and resources, that God has given me, were empowered by faith and used in His service.
It will be in the power of faith that my children, and my grandchildren will be shaped and molded. Faith will win the battles. Faith will enable my service and my sacrifice. Faith will help me to bear witness of God, and it will be faith that will make my life count even after that life has ended on this earth.

The Penultimate of Faith - Hebrews 11:32-40

 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:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  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.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  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;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  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.

 “What more can Paul say?”

Paul lays the next to last finishing touches to his memorial. He says, “Look at these great men and women of faith! Faith ruled their lives. Faith drove them to action. Faith sustained them in time of trouble. Faith gave them courage in time of catastrophe.”

In verse 28 he says, “Of whom the world was not worthy.” Their faith made them something that this world could not understand and that this world did not deserve.

He concludes by saying, “these all having obtained a good report, (they heard the testimony of faith and then seized the title-deed to the future God promised. Yet they) received not the promise. The end of their life did not bring the fulfillment of the promise from God, but the end of their life was not the end of their faith.

Paul tells us the OT saints did not see the culmination of all that they had believed God for, something was still lacking it was not complete.
What was left then? He goes on, “God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be perfect, (not be complete.”) In other words, they were the penultimate Heroes of faith. The hall of Faith’s Heroes is not yet complete.

The More We Must Say

Do you realize what Paul was telling those frightened, weary Hebrew Christians all those years ago? Do you also realize that it is the same thing the Holy Spirit is telling us today?
Here is the final, the ultimate message, God is not finished building Faith’s Memorial. His work didn’t complete with the closing of the Old Testament and these great heroes of faith. God had a part for the Hebrew Christians of Paul’s day to complete and He has a part in this great work of faith for each of us to act on even today.

Listen to what Paul said, “That they without us should not be complete.”
God’s work is not over. There are still great things to be done in the name of God through the power, the passion and the people of faith. We will not have our name recorded in the Bible Hall of Fame, here in Hebrews 11 but what we do for God is being recorded in a book kept eternal in the heavens and that book is still open, the record still being written in a much greater, eternal, Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame.


Today you and I must determine, must choose, what is being written down in the Book of Heaven, the ultimate Faith Hall of Fame In our actions, of and by faith, we are determining what is being written in those pages. Written about us, about our church and about this generation of Heroes of Faith. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

First Church 3 - A Visionary Church Acts 9

First Church: Seeing Christ

Text: Acts 9

Video Link

Introduction: I am told that the following is a true story it happened about several years ago at a United Airline terminal in Sacramento while the play was making a connection from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Due to the press created by the event United Airlines was forced to make a public announcement on the local news to clear up the matter. 

Here is the incident in the words of a man who witnessed it. “I was flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  By the time we took off, there had been a 45-minute delay and everybody on board was ticked. Unexpectedly, we stopped in Sacramento on the way.  The flight attendant explained that there would be another 45-minute delay, and if we wanted to get off the aircraft, we would reboard in 30 minutes.
Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman who was blind.  I noticed him as I walked by and could tell he had flown before because his Seeing Eye dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of him throughout the entire flight.  I could also tell he had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached him and, calling him by name, said, "Keith, we're in Sacramento for almost an hour.  Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?" Keith replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs."

Now picture this: All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot, wearing his Ray Ban dark sunglasses, walk off the plane with the Seeing Eye dog!  People began to run to the ticket counters. They not only tried to change planes, they also were trying to change airlines!

No one had to tell the passengers the importance of vision for the pilot of the plane.  Without vision no plane can fly and no churh can a flourish and grow. Go with me to Acts 9 and look a the role vision played in the life of Paul. I believe, what made Paul the man and servant of God that he was, came from his vision of Christ.

The Sight  Acts 9:1-5

Acts 9:1  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven  4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Saul (Paul) Sees Jesus


He fell to the ground in the glory of the vision of Jesus.
Saul’s Vision of Jesus Christ on the Damascus road changed everything, it changed Saul ultimately into Paul, it changed the church from surviving in Jerusalem to thriving in all the known world, it ultimately would change the world itself as Paul’s life and message were recorded by Luke and Paul’s own letters which the Holy Spirit inspired into scripture, doctrine and discipline.
Quote: Oswald Chambers, “The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, "Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine."
That day Paul, was not given not just a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. There would be nothing there without that vision and personal relationship. Paul was then devoted to a Person, not just to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ's. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else but to tell others of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Philippians 3:8-10  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Seeing The Savior

We need to see Jesus today, no not with our physical sight, nor some ecstatic utterances or a prophetic revelations. The vision we need in our church and in our lives today is to see Jesus Christ with the eyes of our faith and the sight of our heart, because unless I see Jesus dying on the cross for my sin, there can be no salvation. Unless I see Jesus walking before me as guide in life, I will not live faithfully. Unless I see Jesus at the end of the church aisle waiting for me to respond to His invitation, I will not give my life in service to Him.

We must see and hear Jesus, it may not be as dramatic or historic as Paul’s vision but it must be just as real as Paul’s vision. I must see Jesus impacting my life and directing my path or I will not have what I must have to really serve Him.

Illustration: Billy Sunday Converted Baseball Player

One Sunday afternoon in Chicago, a group of ballplayers entered a saloon. When they emerged, they saw a group of people playing instruments, singing gospel hymns, and testifying of Christ’s power to save from sin.

Memories of a log cabin in Iowa, an old church, and a godly mother raced through the mind of one of the ballplayers. Tears came to his eyes. Presently he said, “Boys, I’m through! I’m going to turn to Jesus Christ. We’ve come to the parting of the ways.” Some of his companions mocked him, but others were silent. Only one encouraged him. He turned from the group and entered the Pacific Garden Mission.

Later the ballplayer told what occurred. “I called upon God’s mercy. I staggered out of my sins into the outstretched arms of the Savior. I became instantly a new creature in Him!
That ballplayer was Billy Sunday the most influential evangelist from the 1890s to the 1930s. He thundered against evil from the Gay Nineties, the roaring 20’s and the speakeasy’s of the Great Depression. He would say, “I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. When I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition.”

Transition: Paul saw Jesus but the vision was just the beginning of Paul’s experience. It was not enough to see Jesus, he also had to surrender to Jesus. 

The Surrender  Acts 9:6-9

6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  7  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.  8  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.  9  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 

Saul (Paul) submits to Jesus

He did not fully understand but he did fully submit. “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
He had no others share his vision but he still obeyed the Lord’s direction.  “Arise and go into the city.”
He was changed physically, emotionally and spiritually by the vision of Jesus. He lost his sight of this world, he lost appetite for the things of this world and he began to pray, seeking the things of the next world, where Jesus appeared to him.

Seeing is Surrendering

Do we Jesus when we come to church?  Do we hear his voice in the message?  Do we see His supernatural work in the changed lives around us?
If we don’t see Jesus power in the events of our life, it may be because we have not taken the next step after seeing our vision of Jesus. We have not fully surrendered to His will and way. We have seen Him, we may have even been saved by Him, but we have not yet submitted to Him and without that surrender, our vision of Jesus will begin to fade in the world around us.
We must submit and we must serve, because if we have seen Jesus, then it is our service that will show others that same vision of our Lord and Savior.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Eph 1: 22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
If the lost are going to see Jesus in their lives it must be the body of Christ on earth, the assembly of the firstborn, the pillar and ground of the truth, that show them Jesus.
When we really see Jesus, then like Paul it will not matter if we understand everything but we will still dedicate ourselves to service. We will be blind to this world but we will see what Jesus wants us to see. We will not need others to go with us, we   our lifehimwill obey because we have seen Jesus. We will lose our desires for the things of this world and we will wait on the Lord.
Seeing the Lord, must always be followed by surrender to the Lord. 

Illustration: Isaiah’s Vision Brings Isaiah’s Surrender

Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.  Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.  Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

So it was and is with all those who see the Lord, sight must bring surrender and so it must also be in our lives and in our church. If we have seen Him then we must submit to Him.
Transition: Paul saw a vision of Jesus that day, but if you don’t look closely you may miss another vision in the passage, the vision that Jesus saw in Paul.

The Service and the Suffering - Acts 9:10-16

 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,  And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.  Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Jesus Sees a Vision of Paul

Jesus told Ananais that we would show Paul another vision. This was not a vision of Himself to Paul but a vision of Paul. A vision of a man shaped and formed in the fires of sevice and suffering for the cause of Christ.

Paul’s vision of Jesus on the Damacus Road that day, changed him. It drove him to his knees in surrender to the Lord, and it would drive him much, much further than he could ever have imagined. He would travel the world on Roman roads and sail in Roman ships preaching the Gospel of the Resurrected Christ. He would preach to Jews in their synagauges, to Gentiles in the market places and to King in their palaces. He would serve greatly and in that service he would also suffer greatly and he would be changed even more.

Paul recounts some of what he suffered in 2 Corinthians 11:23 as he defends his commission from the Lord against other Christians who were attacking Him.

2 Corinthians 11:23-30  Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?  If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Paul in his service and suffering was shaped and molded until he became the vision that Jesus saw in him when he struck him down on thet Damascus road.  In the last letter Paul is know to have written he now sees the vision that Jesus had of Saul who would become Paul all those years ago.

2 Timothy 4:6-8  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Becoming What Jesus Sees In Us

Have you ever thought of the person Jesus sees us to be?
Let me tell you about my 6th Grade Teacher, Mrs. Trojanovich. LeeOra and I grew up in Miami, Arizona a small copper mining town that back in the 1900s had been the most important copper producer in the United States. Because there was such a huge operation they needed lots of workers and they imported them from place like Crotian, Wales, Cornwall, and Yugoslavia. We grew up with family that had names like Gergovich, Tabor, Jonovich, Vucsonovich and Cole. Not to mention Sanchez, Moreno and Padilla. One of my teachers was Mrs. Trojonvich and yes she was a tough as her name sounds. Mrs. Trojonovich left a lasting impression on me as all good teachers do, but this was in one particual instance after I had turned in a notebook that was the minimum required to get a C. I got my notebook back and she had put a big red “C” on the front cover and then she wrote. “Kris, when will you begin to live up to your potential?” I realized in reading that reprimand that Mrs. Trojovich saw in me more than I saw in myself.

Don’t you know that Jesus sees in us more than we see in ourselves? Jesus see what we can be if we would only surrender and serve. Yes He also see that we will suffer in that service but His vision of us, can only be molded through the experiences of sorrow, pain and even loss.
We must decide if we will we let the Lord, beat and shatter, melt and mold, shape and mend us until we become the vision He sees in us?
Paul seems to look back at his Damascus Road Vision and then to see beyond it to the vision of Christ for him in …

2 Corinthians 4:6-18  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.   We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul says all we have suffered, all we have lost, all we have wept over and been beaten and humiliated for is nothing, it is but “a light affliction.” Nothing more than a skinned knee or bruised arm. He says it is nothing because he has seen the final vision of Christ for him, of “a far more and more exceeding, eternal weight of glory.”

Paul is saying, “The burden of suffering I carry here is worth it because in comparison to the burdern of eternal glory I also carry, it is nothing.

Paul did all he could to live up to the vision, the potential that Jesus saw in Him. I pray that everyday we strive to do that in our own service to the Lord. “Fulfill the potential, Jesus sees in everyone of His disciples.”

Conclusion: Be Thou My Vision

Perhaps the oldest hymn still being sung today dates back to 700 AD. It is an old Irish Hymn originally written in Gaelic and translated in 1905 into English.  It is noteworthy that such an enduring hymn is about seeing Jesus Christ.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.