Our Lord said, I am the Truth, and again He said, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Truth therefore is not hard to find for the very reason that it is seeking us. Truth is not a thing for which we must search, but a Person to whom we must hearken. This is taught or taken for granted in the record of Gods dealings with men throughout the Sacred Scriptures. After the sin in Eden it was not Adam who cried O God, where art Thou? but God who cried Where art thou? as He sought for Adam among the trees of the Garden. Abraham heard God speak and responded, but it was God who was the aggressor. God appeared unto Jacob before Jacob came to appear before God. And in the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses. Again and again did God take the initiative. He sought for Gideon and found him on the threshing floor of Ophrah. He showed Himself to Isaiah when there is no evidence that Isaiah was seeking Him. Before Jeremiah was born God laid His hand upon him, and He opened heaven to let the discouraged priest Ezekiel see a vision and hear a voice. Amos said he was not a prophet neither a prophets son, but the Lord took him as he followed the flock. Again God was the aggressor. In the New Testament things are not otherwise. True, multitudes came to Christ for physical help, but only rarely did one seek Him out to learn the truth; and even that rare one usually turned away when the truth was told him. The whole picture in the Gospels is one of a seeking Savior, not one of seeking men. The truth was hunting for those who would receive it, and relatively few did. Many are called, but few are chosen.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers:
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 “All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares theLord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Stephen Preaches to the Council
Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
“and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’
“Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.
“And God game him no inheritance in it, not even enought to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.
“But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would sojourn in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.
‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’
“Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eight day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.
“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him
“and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt and all his house.
“Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance.
“But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
“And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh.
“Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people.
“So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers.
“And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
“But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt
“till another king arose who did not know Joseph.
“This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live.
“At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months.
“But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son.
“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
“But when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.
“And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian.
“For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.
“And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile with them, say, ‘Men, your are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’
“But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?
‘Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’
“Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.
“And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.
“When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him,
“saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers— the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look.
‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
“I have certainly seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” ‘
“This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.
“He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
“This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’
“This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give us,
“whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,
“saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’
“And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifces to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
“Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets;
‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals
and sacrifices during forty years in
O house of Israel?
Yes, you took up the tabernacle of
And the star of your god Remphan,
Images which you made to worship;
And I will carry you away beyond
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,
“which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David,
“who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.
“But Solomon built Him a house.
“However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says
Or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all these things?’
“You stiff-nescked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
“Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,
“who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”
When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right had of God!”
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;
and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Hebrews Chapter 11
Defination of Faith
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visable.
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
By faith Enoch was translated so that he did 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 who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude— innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For those who say such thngs declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Thereofre God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promised offered up by his only begotten son,
of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,”
accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
Joshua and Rahab
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
Many Other Heros of Faith
And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jepthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:
who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked 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, became valiant in battle, 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.
Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, 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 mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not recieve the promise,
God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Faith Proves Itself by Works
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
and one of you says to them “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe– and tremble!
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called friend of God.
You see then that a man is justified by the works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believe, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall you descendants be.”
He did not waiver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to ferform.
And therefore ”it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Are there yet the treasures of wickedness
In the house of the wicked,
And the short measure that is abomination?
Shall I count pure those with the wicked balances,
And with the bag of deceitful weights?
For her rich men are full of violence,
He inhabitants have spoken lies,
And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
“Therefore I will also make you sick by striking you,
By making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satified;
Hunger shall be in your midst.
You may carry some away, but shall not save them;
And what you do rescue I will give over to the sword.
“You shall sow, but not reap;
You shall tread the olives, but not
anoint yourselves with oil;
And make sweet wine, but not drink win.
For the statutes of Omri are kept;
All the works of Ahab‘s house are done;
And you walk in their counsels,
That I may make you a desolation,
And your inhabitants a hissing.
Therefore you shall bear the reproach
of My people.”
Woe is me!
For I am like those who gather summer fruits,
Like those who glean vintage grapes;
There is no cluster to eat
Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires.
The faithful man has perished from the earth,
And there is no one upright among men.
They all lie in wait for blood;
Every man hunts his brother with a net.
That they may successfully do evil with both hands—
The prince asks for gifts,
The judge seeks a bribe,
And the great man utters his evil desire;
So they scheme together,
The best of them is like a brier;
The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge;
The day of your watchman and your punishment comes;
Now shall be their perplexity.
Do not trust in a friend;
Do not put your confidence in a companion;
Guard the doors of your mouth
From her who lies in your bosom.
For son dishonors father,
Daughter rises against her mother,
Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
A man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
Therefore I will look to the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me.
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The LORD will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the LORD,
Because I have sinned against Him,
Until He pleads my case
And executes justice for me;
He will bring me forth to the light,
And I will see His righteousness.
Then she who is my enemy will see,
And shame will cover her who said to me,
“Where is the LORD your God?”
My eyes will see her;
Now she will be trampled down
Like mire in the streets.
In the day when your walls are to be built,
In that day the decree shall go far and wide.
In that day they shall come to you
From Assyria and the fortified cities,
From the fortress to the River,
From sea to sea,
And mountain to mountain.
Yet the land shall be desolate
Because of those who dwell in it,
And for the fruit of their deeds.
Shepherd Your people with Your staff,
The flock of Your heritage,
Who dwell solitarily in a woodland,
In the midst of Carmel;
As in days of old.
“As in thhe days when yu came out of the land of Egypt,
I will show them marvelous things.”
The nations shall see and be ashamed
of all their might;
They shall put their hand over their mouth;
Their ears shall be deaf.
They shall lick the dust like a sperpent;
They shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth.
They shall be afraid of the LORD our God.
And shall fear because of You.
Who is a God like You,
And passing over the transgression of
the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forver,
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.
- Free from the Stronghold of Arrogance (ptl2010.com)
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.
He will subdue the peoples under us,
And the nations under our feet.
He will choose our inheritance for us,
The excellence of Jacob whom He loves,
God has gone up with a shout,
The Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have gathered together,
The people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is already exalted.
that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God,
and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
For this is the word of promise: ”At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac
(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteous with God? Certainly not!
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”
So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy,
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared in all the earth.”
Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
and that He might make know the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
”And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
’You are not My people,’
There they will be called the sons of the living God.”
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.”
And as Isaiah said before:
”Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
As it is written:
”Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
It’s easy to give everything when you have nothing to lose. It’s much harder when you fear losing what you have.
I am not talking about money, I am talking about ourselves. I am talking about love, life, liberty, who we are. And I am not talking about giving to others either.
I am talking about giving to God.
When you are dying or you have reached the bottom in whatever situation you are in, giving yourself to God, costs you very little and what you gain is enormous. When you have no one and you are so lonely that you can not stand it and someone tells you that God loves you, it is easy to reach out for him. When you are broke and you have nothing, it is easy to give it to God.
But what about all the other times in our lives?
When you are at the top of the totem pole and business is going good, it is not quite as easy is it? After all, you worked hard to reach this point in your life. When you have found happiness in a relationship or with your children, it is much harder to make time for God, especially if your time with your family is limited.
It’s not as if you aren’t giving your portion, or you are not going to church. You are doing your part, aren’t you? But are you?
Do you sometimes feel resentment when someone in your church needs some time or some help? Do you give more in the offering plate than just what is required? Do you leave your family to make time for your church?
Do you really have faith in God? Faith that He will provide what you need? Or do you hold back?
There is no greater reward than the love of the Father and the joy that we receive back from Him. What better example can we show than the example of ourselves. If people were to see the faith, joy, and love that we give and receive would not this be a greater testimony that simply stopping by their door and inviting them to come in?
I am not trying to make you feel guilty, I am trying to remind you of how you felt when you gave your all to God. Do you remember the joy and peace that you felt when you first accepted Him in your life? Do you want that relationship again?
What is it worth to you? Are you letting the world hold you back from God? What about when you pray? Do you feel as if your prayers are not reaching Him? Or are you really trying? Is your relationship with Him first and foremost in your life? Or is it an afterthought?
Hebrews 6:9-20 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
And so, after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise.
For men indeed swear by the greater and an oath for the confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by the two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.