Heroes of Faith
From Hebrew 11:1-5 we are talking about the faith of the men of old. Let's see what we can learn from them.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".
It's the only evidence you will be holding to of what you are believing for.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.
What was the difference between Cain and Abel in the sacrifice they brought before God?
Some scholars have suggested that it was because Cain brought the fruit of the land, which God has cursed, whereas Abel brought a lamb, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Though this is correct, but I posted a question before the Lord that, "suppose Cain had also brought a lamb for sacrifice, would he have been accepted?" i.e if both of them had brought a lamb each, will both have been accepted?
God asked Cain "if thou doest well will thou not be accepted?" What the Lord was saying concerning Cain was not about what he brought, but the heart that brought it!
For instance, if one person gives offering of a million dollar to a church, and another person gives offering of ten dollars, does the million dollar mean a lot to God?
Remember the Lord Jesus pointed out this about the widow who gave two pennies in the temple while others gave larger offering. Christ said she gave more than them all, because of her heart. Out of her penury she gave all that she had. I want you to know something, if the woman had a lot of money, I am confident she would not have thrown all her money into the offering on that day. Like everybody else, she also would have contributed something, substantial perhaps, out of her money. However when she came to the point that she had only two pennies, she still had the heart of wanting to give to the Lord. God looks at the heart and not how much you give.
A man that gives a million dollar may also have a good heart. It is not the size of the offering, but the heart that brought the offering. God is not demanding your 100 percent as if to say you must give all your salary. But let your heart be right when you give the 10 percent that you give, have a heart that loves the Lord, willing to give to his course.
Some are giving for show, to be seen of men: they have already received their reward. Some give with grumbling as if God is taking all of their money.
Back to the story of Cain and Abel, God had seen a wicked heart in Cain. That is why whatever he brought cannot be accepted. The scripture says "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord, how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked heart." ( Prov. 21:27 ). God is looking at the heart. If you have a wicked heart, that wishes evil, plans evil, God hates such a heart. A heart that loves to be righteous, a heart that loves to do good, a heart that wants to please God always: no matter what sacrifice it brings to God, God will accept it. It is the heart that matters. God said of King David that he was "a man after my own heart".
(Gen 4: 6- 7) "And the Lord said unto Cain, why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."
Cain had not been doing well. So whatever he brought could not be accepted by God. So what kind of heart do you bring before God my friend? This is my challenge to you today. What kind of heart do you have? Is it a heart that is searching after God? Are you a man after God's heart, wanting to be like Jesus, Searching the scripture to find out what is acceptable to God? That is the heart that is always yearning after God.
The bible says "seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near."
He that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. That means, hunger and thirst after God. Take time to study his word, trying to be like him.
Psalm 1: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly .. … "
You are blessed when you are a man after God's heart. To be godly means to do things the way God will want you to do it.
Further on in the book of Hebrews chapter 11 we read about Enoch.
Heb.11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.
God glorified Enoch by taking him out of this planet alive that he should not see physical death. That was the highest reward God bestowed to any mankind as we can tell. This is the glorification of mankind. This is reserved for the Christians also at this end of the world. This is written in 1 Thesalonians chapter 4 where apostle Paul wrote that "we that are alive and remain shall be caught up with them (the dead in Christ ) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." That is the glorification of the believers. God has purposed this for the believers at the end of time. The end of time is getting closer. To be one of them that will go in this rapture, you must strive to please God just like Enoch of old.
The bible said "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. "
First, you must be born again. Then, you must obey the scriptures searching out what is acceptable unto the Lord. "And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Rom.12:2).
Enoch walked with God. You also must walk daily with the Lord in daily communion, worshipping and praising the Lord, ever living in God's presence - God consciousness.
I went to a village to preach the gospel one evening and after I preached for a while, an old man called my attention and said: "Several people come to this village to sell us something and I am not interested. Only one thing will interest me. If you have the solution to 'old-age' and 'death', I will be interested."
I replied, "that is exactly what I brought to you; the one and only solution to physical death, diseases and old-age, is the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ". Christ said "Verily, verily, I say unto you; if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death".
You want to overcome death? You do not want to go to the grave. The answer is only found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the highest reward, like I said concerning Enoch, and God still wants to give out this highest reward to anyone that is worthy. Christ said, "if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
The Lord not only gave us the hope that Christians at the end of time will be raptured and thereby never die, but also he gave his word that anyone who will keep his saying can live forever and never die, (Jn.8:51), even if the end of time is not yet, and by his declaration in John chapter 11:26, when he said, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall never die. Believeth thou this?"
Someone may say "why is the Lord not giving this to many people?" My answer to this is that "it is the highest reward to mankind. Let's give analogy. There is technology in the world at present, which is available to everybody. Take for instance the transportation system. Some people can only afford a bicycle. Therefore they are limited in how far they can travel and how fast they can move. But in this world there are cars, motor-vehicles, and air planes. Without money you very likely cannot get a taxi not to talk of buying your own car; Whereas there are jet-planes for those who can afford it. It's the same with the technology of God. Overcoming physical death is available. There's a bigger prize to pay. Christ has made it reachable to every believer. But you must still "buy ". He said, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eye with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." (Rev.3:18).
You can also be translated that you will not see death. It is a transportation system, which God has ordained in the universe. Human being will need to tap into it. This transportation system is known only by spiritual science and not by physical science as yet. Who knows, maybe it is accessible via the physical science some day, like the radio waves and electricity which mankind finally tapped into in this generation. Mankind did not create them, we only discovered them. God has ordained them since the foundation of the world.
Enoch was one of the descendants of Adam, and he was the only one recorded who was able to walk with God and please God in his generation and God gave him the reward. He paid the prize.
The Lord Jesus has brought it closer to mankind, so that after we are born again we are given the power to become the sons of God. That means, we have the power to walk with God and to please him, if only we will diligently walk with him. "Verily, verily, I say unto you; if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death". It means an individual can walk with Jesus and keep his saying to receive this highest reward from God. I mean, if Elijah the prophet could claim it, why not many of us who have the grace of Jesus Christ?
I am taking the time to explain this message, because the answer the old man wants is in Jesus. To overcome old age, Jesus is the answer. To overcome death is in Jesus. Again Jesus said, "I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Rev. 1: 18). Understand me correctly! It is not a general gift to everybody. But is available to every believer. For example, you are born in America makes you an American, and means you have access to the market where you can buy a car, if you have the money! Being American does not automatically gives you a car. You still must build up your wallet to be able to buy the car. Similarly, because you are a believer does not mean you will automatically get this translative power like Enoch to bypass the grave. But it is reachable only by a believer in Christ Jesus.
You have to build up your wallet of "faith". "Verily, verily I say unto you; if a man keep my saying he shall never see death". He has that power to keep us alive that we shall never die, if we will believe. We've got to be ready to pay the prize. The prize is to keep his saying, and walk with God.
The man said, if you come to my village with the solution for "old age" I want to listen. Christ is that solution to old age. Even Moses was said to be 120 years old, and his strength did not abate, nor his eye dimmed, because the glory of God was covering him. He walked with God. I want you to know this: it is not a general gift for everybody. This is the race spoken of by Apostle Paul: "know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receive the prize? Run therefore that ye may attain!". Individually we have to aspire to arrive at this goal of the overcomers. I am commanded to preach it to rouse up faith and zeal in you. The saints are to be edified and perfected until "we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:11-13).
"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and he was not found for God has translated him. … But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that come to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him". That is, you can also be rewarded with the highest reward of translation if you diligently seek God to the pleasing mark. This is the faith that was revealed to Enoch. God has revealed it to us and we are making it known to you also. You may say "how can we walk with God to this pleasing mark? Walk with him in the prophets' way. What is the prophet's way? You always see the prophets of old regularly on the mountain worshipping God. It is one on one with God, praising and worshipping him. It is a narrow road and few there be that walk therein, saith the Lord.
I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ kindle his light of revelation into your heart and give you the zeal to want to aspire to this goal of the overcomers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bro. Julius Adewumi
Gospel Distribution Ministry