The Trials of Faith

Text: Hebrews 11:35b-40
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: January 14, 2007

The latter part of Hebrews 11 offers two contrasting portraits of the life of faith. Last week we considered the triumph of faith in Hebrews 11:32-35a as we examined the exploits of people who won great victories and experienced wonderful deliverances. This week we will look at the second portrait of faith in Hebrews 11:35b-38 which describes the sufferings of God’s faithful people. While some escaped the sword (11:34b), others were put to death with the sword (11:37c). Some received back their dead by resurrection (v. 35a) while others were tortured to death (v. 35b). Why?

  • Did those who suffered have less faith?
  • Did God love them less than those who escaped suffering?
  • What was God’s purpose in their suffering?
  • Why do we in America suffer so little?
  • Are we prepared for the suffering which may yet come?

Our text concludes with a final summary (11:39-40) of what Hebrews 11 teaches about faith. Both those who experienced victorious deliverance and those who endured suffering relied upon God’s promise and gained God’s approval. Because the promise they anticipated has become a reality for us in Christ, we ought to endure in faith all the more (which leads to Hebrews 12:1ff).

Posted on January 14th, 2007 | Permalink