Sermon:  Faith that Moves You (Part 3)


Summary:  True biblical faith stands strong in the face of hostile opposition and challenges.  When necessary, faith will stand fearlessly against ungodly opposition, stand with the people of God even if it means ill treatment, and stand on God's side because he will deliver and save his people and defeat the oppressors.  True biblical faith looks past the difficulty to the reward God grants who stand faithfully with him and his people.


Know:  True faith in God will stand up to oppression, hostility, and intimidation and remain faithful to God and his instruction for us.


Feel:  Boldness in faith for all situations


Do:  Discuss the various ways believers have faced opposition in their faith in scripture, history, and contemporary times.  Share times of opposition you have faced in your faith, reflect on how you handled it and how might handle it differently and why. 


Text:  Heb 11:20-31


Scripture Reading:  Ps 37:1-3



1.  I remember going into the Air Force

            a.  Day before, group of us at the hotel shipping out the following day

            b.  Playing pool and chatting.  One of the girls was from York, NE

                        - She graduated from High School there

                        - Said she didn't like those stupid Christian people at the college

            c.  Asked about me and my background

                        - Should I tell her I went to York College and was a Christian

                        - I told her, and she called me a couple of names

                        - Conversation was done

            d.  Following day, we processed in,

- I was the group leader because of my rank going in.

- TWA notorious for late flights and missing connections, we did

- She softened a little by the end of the trip, I got everyone there ok

2.  You ever felt intimidated because you were a Christian?

            a.  Maybe it was among people who used to be your friends

            b.  Maybe it is among family

            c.  Maybe it is at work

            d.  How does a faithful Christian deal with intimidation and hostility

3.  Text - Heb 11

            a.  In the middle of the chapter on faith

            b.  Have seen that faith is believing in what you know IS so

            c.  Have seen the true faith is a faith that moves you

                        - To worship, walk with God, and work faithfully

                        - To go or stay where God says, to look beyond this life, to be

  emotionally invested in God's future, and to give it all up to God

            d.  Today's text continues with aspects of faith

4.  (Heb 11:20-31) True faith moves you to stand firm in the face of hostility. 

a.  How does faith do this?

b.  From the examples in the text, will highlight three ways...


I.  By standing against intimidation (v.23)

            A.  When threatened or intimidated, true faith does not waver

            B.  Moses' parents are given as an example of this

                        1.  Story is in the first two chapters of Exodus

                                    a.  Pharaoh was afraid of the Hebrews

                                                - They grew numerous and were everywhere

                                                - They might overpower the Egyptians

                                                - They might side with enemies and overcome them

                                    b.  Pharaoh made a slave class out of them

                                                - Afflicted them with hard labor

                                                - Lives of the Hebrews became bitter with hard labor

                                                - But it backfired, Hebrews multiplied even more

                                    c.  Pharaoh instruct midwives to kill newborn Hebrew males

                                                - Only allowed to let females live

                                                - Midwives feared God, so they disobeyed

                                                - Excuse to Pharaoh, babies born before get there

                                    d.  Pharaoh tries mass infanticide

                                                - Commanded all his people to kill all sons

                        2.  Moses' parents disobeyed and hid Moses for three months

                                    a.  They saw Moses was (lit: Acceptable, well pleasing, well

                                          formed, beautiful)

                                    b.  They didn't fear the King's edict

                                    c.  They trusted God

                        3.  Bible is full of instances where people stood their ground in faith

                                    a.  Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego - Dan 3

                                                - Everyone ordered to worship golden image

                                                  Nebudchadnezzer set up

                                                - Those who did not, thrown into furnace of fire

                                                - They said - "God is able to deliver us from the

                                                    furnace, but if not , we still not worship your image

                                                - Thrown in, but delivered from the furnace

                                    b.  Daniel and his practice of prayer - Dan 6

                                                - Men got Darius to pass law saying anyone who

                                                   petitions a god other than Darius cast into lion's den

                                                - Daniel heard about it, still pray three times a day

                                                - Did so with window open toward Jerusalem

                                                - Delivered from lions den

                                    c.  The Apostles and the council of Jews - Acts 4-5

                                                - Ordered them not speak any more in name of Jesus

                                                - They did, thrown in prison, angel let free, preached

                                                - Arrested again, brought before council, then flogged

                                                - Said, "we must obey God rather than men"

                                    d.  Whether it was worship or evangelism, they stood fast

                        4.  Why?  Several reasons

                                    a.   (Mt 10:28) - Don't fear those who kill only the body

                                    b.  (Lk 6:23) - Woe to you when all speak well of you, this is

                                         how they used to treat the false prophets

                                    c.  (Rev 2:10) - Be faithful to point of death, receive crown

                                    d.  (2 Cor 4:7-11) - Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck

                                          down - But not crushed, despair, forsaken or destroyed

            C.  ILL:  Following Sunday worship on Jan 8, 2006 in Turkey

                        1.  Five young men attached and threatened to kill a minister

                        2.  They ambushed him after church and beat him severely

                                    a.  Lost consciousness several times

                                    b.  Kept telling him to deny Jesus and become a Muslim

                        3.  His response was - "Jesus is Lord"

                                    a.  Every time he said, "Jesus is Lord" they beat him more

                                    b.  One of the attacker pulled on a knife and threatened him

                        4.  After the incident, he praised God

                                    a.  What do you think he praised God for?

                                    b.  Not because he saved him from death

                                    c.  He said he thanked God for helping him not to deny

                                         Jesus in the shadow of death

            D.  Many of us are intimidated in one-way or another due to our faith

                        1.  Have you ever been intimidated because you're a Christian?

                                    a.  Maybe it is ridicule, outright hostility, ignoring you

                                    b.  It could result in loss of status, money, security

                        2.  True faith sees things as they really are

                                    a.  You are not the outsider

                                    b.  All those opposed to God are the outsiders

                                    c.  Since we stand with God, we are the insiders

                        3.  True faith stands tall in the face of hostility


II.  By standing with the people of God (v.24-27)

            A.  Faith does not distance self from brethren

                        1.  Doesn't do like some kids do with parents

                                    a.  They say, "I don't know you"

                                    b.  Distance self in public from parents

                                    c.  Used to get told it is because we looked too "normal"

                        2.  Faith identifies with family regardless of how world sees family

            B.  Moses himself is an example of this

                        1.  Could have had a very comfortable life

                                    a.  He was raised as a part of Pharaoh's family

                                    b.  Could have enjoyed all the perks of being an insider

                                    c.  Imagine, a life of privilege

                                                - Could have engaged in intellectual pursuits

                                                - Could have become a leader of some sort

                                                - Could live in a fine, respectable house

                                                - Could receive respectable greetings

                        2.  Made conscious choice to stand with God's people

                                    a.  He "left" Egypt

                                                - This is more than a physical leaving of Egypt

                                                - When he stood of for his Hebrew brethren, he left

                                                - He disengaged emotionally and socially

                                    b.  Instead of serving Pharaoh or gods of Egypt, he chose

                                         God and his people - the slave class

                                    c.  This meant ill treatment along with them

                                    d.  Many would distance themselves not to be caught up

                        3.  Earlier, text says that they stood with people of God (10:32-34)

                                    a.  Brethren were suffering, thrown in prison, persecuted

                                    b.  They were making an example out of their brethren

                                    c.  But they didn't distance themselves, but stood by them

                                    d.  They didn't do like Peter did

                                                - Denied Christ three times

                                                - Distance self from Christ

                                                - Peter learned from this, and no longer denied him

                                                - Was considered worthy to die for Christ

                        4. We see example of this with Christians in apostolic age too

                                    a.  2 Tim 1:16 - Paul praise Onesiphorus for standing by him

                                                - Said, "He was not ashamed of my chains"

                                                - Imagine if your preacher, elder, member in prison

                                                - Not because stole something, kill someone, etc.

                                                - But because of - teaching Bible, sharing faith, etc.

            .                       b.  2 Tim 1:8 - "Do not be ashamed of testimony of our Lord

                                                or of me, his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for

                                                the Gospel according to the power of God"

                                    c.  Not ashamed of Christ or of the brethren

                                    d.  We stick to and stand by each other even in persecution

            C.  ILL:  March 2009, gang broke into a minister's house in Jos, Nigeria

                        1.  Going to kill the minister, but only wife home.  They tortured her

                        2.  Year later, broke in again, minister home, dragged him outside

                                    a.  Surrounded him with machetes and clubs

                                    b.  Were going to kill him

                                    c.  Minister, name was Benjamin, asked to pray first

                                    d.  Knelt in the dirt and began to pray

                        3.  Then felt someone holding his hand, open eyes, it was his wife

                                    a.  She could have run, but broke through line of same

                                         people who attacked her a year before to stand with him

                                    b.  She prayed with him, knowing her life was over too

                                    c.  Then he felt someone hold his other hand, it was his son

                                    d.  Begged his teen son to leave, but he wouldn't

                        4.  They looked up, they were alone.  Attackers all left. 

                                    a.  They are sure they will probably come back

                                    b.  Why did they leave?  Not sure. 

                                    c.  But they are sure God displayed his manifold wisdom to

                                         the powers and authorities in the heavenly realms  

                                    d.  Perhaps they became afraid and left

            D.  True faith stands with the people of God

                        1.  When not in worship, your brethren are still your brethren

                                    a.  If you are at school, you stand with your brethren

                                    b.  If you are on the job, you stand with your brethren

                                    c.  Brethren are your eternal family - Blood of Christ runs

                                         deeper than the blood of previous generations of family

                        2.  Somebody once told me that the brethren didn't matter to him

                                    a.  Closer to the brethren in his firm than to Christians

                                    b.  Said it almost accusingly, but he never made effort

                                    c.  The way he treated the brethren reflected this

                                    d.  He no longer is faithful, the last I knew

                        3.  You have more in common with your brethren than anyone

                                    a.  You are connected by blood - blood of Christ

                                    b.  You will be with each other for eternity, not just this life

                                    c.  You subscribe to a common faith, rule of life, philosophy

                                    d.  You are truly brethren

                        4.  We stand together from here to eternity.  What does that mean?

                                    a.  We do so both in good times and difficult times 

                                    b.  We look after each other, we reach out to each other

                                    c.  We encourage each other, support each other

                                    d.  We don't sit back and complain, but instead reach out


III.  By standing with the deliverer (28-31)

            A.  We stand with our Lord and savior, only he is both Lord and savior

            B.  Several examples of this in this section of the text

                        1.  Moses and the Passover

                                    a.  By faith, he obeyed the provisions given by God

                                    b.  Sprinkled the blood of the lamb on the doors

                                    c.  Hebrews all spared from the final plague due to the blood

                        2.  Passing through the Red Sea

                                    a.  They were scared, but followed through the sea

                                    b.  Pharaoh pursued, but God kept wall of fire between them

                                    c.  Enemy drowned, Hebrews were saved

                        3.  The conquest of Jericho

                                    a.  Battle plan drawn up by God - March around city

                                                - For seven days!

                                                - What kind of battle plan is that?

                                    b.  Even though not seem to make sense, they did it in faith

                                                - Walls fell on the last day

                                                - Gained the land that was promised

                                    d.  Rahab was spared due to her faith

                                                - She lived in the land of promise as well

                                                - She recognized that God was with them

                                                - She assisted them

                        4.  What all these have in common?  Victory/deliverance from God

                                    a.  We are saved by the blood of the lamb - Jesus

                                    b.  We pass from bondage through the waters - baptize

                                    c.  We are in a spiritual battle

                                    d.  God has promised to give us a home with him eternally

            C.  ILL:  Used to have trees growing up around edge of fence & house

                        1.  I would cut them down, but they kept coming back

                                    a.  Each time, branches kept spreading out even more

                                    b.  I cut it, sawed it covered it up with dirt, kept coming back

                        2.  Only solution is to deal with the root

                                    a.  The root is still there

                                    b.  Meant the tree is still alive

                        3.  Same with the problems in our lives

                                    a.  World offers all kinds of solutions

                                                - Eliminate poverty, education, better laws, etc.

                                    b.  All kinds of people promise to be deliverers

                                                - Politicians, motivational speakers, gurus, etc.

                                    c.  But they just chopping down the surface

                                    d.  Problems keep coming back

                        4.  Only Jesus deals with the root of the problem - sin

                                    a.  Can not find deliverance any place else

                                    b.  Jesus only one who could die for our sins

                                    c.  Jesus the only one perfect

            D.  Our faith leads us to look to him for deliverance as Lord and Christ

                        1.  This means we order our lives according to him - stand with him

                        2.  This means we let him define the problem - stand with him

                                    a.  Some identify immaturity, greed, or selfishness

                                    b.  Bible sums it up with one word - sin

                                                - There are different kinds of sin

                                                - Various sins have various ways they twist things

                                                - But it is still sin

                        3.  This means we look to him for the solutions - stand with him

                                    a.  Marital, family, friends, or other relationship problems

                                    b.  Job, career, financial issues

                                    c.  Emotional, attitude, perspective

                                    d.  God has instruction for all of life in his word

                        4.  Solution begins with the blood of Christ - stand with him

                                    a.  Deal with the problem first - release from bondage to sin

                                    b.  When you pass through the waters, he forgives your sin

                                    c.  Then he begins to transform you inside out

                                                - If you transformed, then your family transformed

                                                - If family transformed, neighborhood transformed

                                                - If neighborhood transformed, then city transformed

                                                - If city transformed, then state is transformed

                                                - If state transformed, then country is transformed

                                                - If country is transformed, your continent transformed

                                                - If all of these are transformed, transform the world

                                    d.  Truly Jesus is the only deliverer



1.  Have you faced opposition in your life?  Because you have faith

            a.  Stand up to intimidation

            b.  Stand with the brethren

            c.  Stand with the deliverer

2.  Perhaps you haven't committed yourself to the deliverer (inv)

3.  If you have, then you are a person of strong faith that stands firm

4.  Maybe faith feels weak, then ask God and brethren to strengthen you today


Small Group Notes:  Faith that Moves You (Part 3)


Summary:  True biblical faith stands strong in the face of hostile opposition and challenges.  When necessary, faith will stand fearlessly against ungodly opposition, stand with the people of God even if it means ill treatment, and stand on God's side because he will deliver and save his people and defeat the oppressors.  True biblical faith looks past the difficulty to the reward God grants who stand faithfully with him and his people.




-  When do/have you felt most intimidated?



Explore:  Heb 11:20-31


1.  For each phrase that begins with "By faith ... ," discuss the characteristic of faith the text is illustrating.


2.  Second only to Abraham, this chapter spends more time on Moses than anyone else.  Why do you think this is so?  What stands out about Moses that the text wants to emphasize?


3.  Did any of these people in this text struggle in their faith?  In what way? 


4.  In what ways does the Moses in the movies, the strong, stern, imposing leader, compare to the Moses in chapters 3 and 4 in Exodus?


5.  God waited till Moses was old and no longer eager before calling him to deliver his people.  Why do you suppose God did this?  What does this teach us about faith and God?





6.  Which aspect of faith from this study do you find most difficult and challenging?  Why?


7.  Share your story:  Describe a time when you have been intimidated, ridiculed, opposed, oppressed, etc., because of being a Christian.  How did you handle it?


8.  In what ways will this study together help you to strengthen your faith in times of hostility for your faith?