10th March 2023
Read - Exodus 13:17-14:21, Hebrews 11:29
Message Alan Burke
I hope you have been blessed by the word of God as we have worked our way through Hebrews 11, we’ve still some weeks to go so we are by no means finished. What we have been brought face to face with throughout is sinful men and women, who are held out to us to model their behaviour for they were ultimately sinners who were saved by grace though faith. While Hebrews doesn’t go into their faults and failures, instead it commends them because despite of the sometimes reprehensible people that they were, the carnage that some of them left, they were blessed by God because it wasn’t about them, it was about the kingdom of God and the coming Christ, the Messiah the one to whom they looked. In each instance it talks about saving faith, not a temporary one.
As we’ve been looking Hebrews once more we have been focusing on the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea and Hebrews tells us “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land” you’re maybe left scratching your head. If you’re familiar with the account of what took place you will know time and time again, before and after they left Egypt, in the main these people were not people of faith, more of unbelief, God said “they have not known my ways” (Ps 95:10), even though God displayed his glory before them. The apostle doesn’t say anything of what follows about their unbelief.
Hebrews 3:7 also warns of the unbelief of the people in that generation, taking the words of Ps 95 in V7-11 and in verse 12 tells us “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Heb 3:12). Hebrews 11 in each instance talks about saving faith not a temporary one what do we do with the faith of the people many of whom even in Hebrews are a warning to us of unbelief?Well I think the answer is as follows, when it speaks of the people in v29, in how by faith the people it is not speaking of all, it is speaking of those whom among them died indeed have faith, Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua to name some of them, it is speaking of the believing remnant among the people of God. There were a great multitude of the visible people of God, the Israelites were well over two million but God by his grace granted because of the faith of the few that the whole people should pass through the Red Sea.
All those who left Egypt were part of the visible people of God, they were part of the visible church if you will but not all were part of the invisible people of God, ie those who believed, the invisible church. Some among the multitude were but not all. Today it is likewise possible to be part of the visible people of God, part of the visible church that is seen walking through the door, or pretend you are because you have your name on the books, but it is a very different thing to be part of the invisible church. You today might do all the kind of things believers in Christ do, you might partake of the sacraments, you for all intensive purposes are here and no different but unless you actually posses faith in Christ then it is for naught.
It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved, there is no other way, we are reliant as much on the work of God for eternity as the Israelites were that day for God to work to give them another day. The Egyptians on the other hand though their military strength was enough, they had confidence in themselves, they had it all but before the Lord God none of this mattered, only faith saves, faith in Jesus Christ, we are ever dependant on the work of God for our salvation. Many people put their trust in what they have, in their strength, wisdom, riches, but none of these can save us, were the whole realm of nature mine it would be an offering far to small as the hymn writer puts it, what matters is faith, saving faith in Christ alone.
Q97 What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’ s supper?
It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’ s supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’ s body, (1 Cor. 11:28–29) of their faith to feed upon him, (2 Cor. 13:5) of their repentance, (1 Cor. 11:31) love, (1 Cor. 10:16–17) and new obedience; (1 Cor. 5:7–8) lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves. (1 Cor. 11:28–29)