The Roll Call of Faith (Part 2)

(This is the second half of the lesson entitled “The Roll Call of Faith.” Part 1 was presented on Sunday morning, July 17, and is available at this site.)

The writer of Hebrews is led by God to remind the Hebrew people of the great heritage of faith that they posses in their ancestral line. Names like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, Sampson, and David highlight the list along with many others. They were all men and women who walked in faith in spite of their human frailties and failures and they all held a place of high regard in Hebrew history. They were faithful (at times imperfectly) to the God Who was perfectly faithful to them.

In the first 2 verses of Hebrews 12, we are transported to an Olympic Games stadium. Those faithful Hebrews mentioned in Chapter 11 are the ones in the stands. They have run their race and now they are cheering for and encouraging those on the field. The Hebrews to whom the epistle was written are taking their places on the field of competition – and, by extension, so are we.

Our “race” is the living of the Christian Life. Our race is well defined. In Hebrews 12:1, the Greek word usually translated “race” or “struggle” is ἀγών – agón. It is the root word from which we get the English words agony and agonize. The race would be more like what we would call an obstacle course. Euripedes indicated that these competitions could be so grueling that they led to the collapse of the strongest of competitors. Furthermore, our Christian Life obstacle course is not a triathlon with 3 segments or a decathlon with 10 segments. The Christian Life is more like a centathlon with a 100 segments and that could be within the first hour of the day.

On the field with us is our coach – Jesus. He is the originator of the race called the Christian Life. He has run the race perfectly and, having successfully finished the race, He is our greatest source of training, instruction, tactics, inspiration, and encouragement. In fact, He fills us with His Spirit so that He runs the race not along side us, but in us – empowering us before, during, and after each segment of the race. We can try to run the race without Him, but we will fare no better than those athletes of old who simply collapsed mid race in agonizing defeat.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (TPT)

1As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.

2We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, July 24, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Proclaiming the Superiority of Jesus

The letter we know as Hebrews was intended for Jewish Christians – Christians who were first Hebrews. At the beginning of the church all of the Christians were Jews. Even Jesus was a Jew. When you grow up in a household of faith, you become familiar with the ways of that faith – the practices, beliefs, and basic tenets of that faith. Those aspects of faith were at the heart of their Christian worship and beliefs. Christianity in its early stages was a sect within the Jewish world. The writer of Hebrew saw a problem with the Hebrew Christians holding on to their old ways of living out their faith and not allowing for grace alone through Christ alone. They quite naturally maintained their Old Way of thinking even though Jesus had come to show them a New Way – a Better Way – a Superior Way.

In this study we see that Jesus is better revelation of God. In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself in many different ways and through numerous people. However, Jesus is the exact representation of God in human form – a Better Revelation.

In this study we see that Jesus is a better High Priest than those who served through the centuries in the tabernacle and temple. He is in the one true Temple and intercedes on our behalf – a Better High Priest.

In this study we see that Jesus is a better sacrifice than those offered by the priests for the atonement of sin. Jesus Himself was the perfect sacrifice and the final sacrifice. And his sacrifice not only paid the price necessary to cover our sins, but it moreover removed those sins from those who trust in Him. He paid the price once for all so that we don’t have to keep getting redeemed all over again. His work is finished and our salvation is complete. Truly He is a Better Sacrifice.

And, because He is a Better Revelation, High Priest, and Sacrifice, He is the BEST hope for the world.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, July 10, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas