"For you have need of endurance (patience) so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." Heb.10:36
"Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay." (Heb. 10:35-37 Amp.) In the Greek the word for patience or endurance is hypomone and it means steadfastness, constancy, endurance and in the NT it is the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. Remember, the Jewish believers in Jesus were being persecuted and tempted to go back to the Old Covenant which had now been superseded by the New Covenant in the blood of Christ. So the author of Hebrews is telling them and us to press on in faith in order to please God and receive our full inheritance at the Judgment seat of Christ. (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-11)
The journey of faith is an inward journey to become more and more like Jesus Christ which is God's goal and glory and our highest spiritual and eternal good. A good leader helps us grow and progress by convincing us that where we are (spiritually, in this case) is not a good place and then gives us a vision of a better place (to be more like Christ) he wants to take us. Once we are saved, the "world" (the system that ignores God and/or is against God) is no longer a good place for us because: 1) It can no longer satisfy our soul; seen clearly in Ecclesiastes; 2) living for this world is wood, hay and straw (trash) and will bring us suffering and loss at the Judgment seat of Christ; 3) in our inner man (our true new self in Christ) we delight in pleasing God and want to receive His praise now (John 5:44) and when we see Him face to face.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance (hypomone) the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb. 12:1-3) As we continue to look at the witnesses of faith in Hebrews 11, this week we will focus on the patient endurance and the inspiration and motivation for such endurance as seen in these good examples from people living by faith.
"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." (See Heb. 11:8-16) ["Why did Abraham hold such a light grip on real estate? Because he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He did not have his heart set on present, material things, but on the eternal. In the original there is a definite article before both city and foundations-the city and the foundations. In the reckoning of faith there is only one city worthy of the name and only one with sure foundations. God is the architect of this heavenly city and He is its builder as well. It is the model city, without slums, polluted air, polluted water, or any of the other problems that plague our metropolitan centers. The patriarchs all died in faith. They did not live to see the fulfillment of the divine promises. For instance, Abraham never saw his numerous progeny. The Hebrew nation never occupied all the land that had been promised to it. The Ã¯Â»Â¿OTÃ¯Â»Â¿ saints never saw the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah. But their telescopic vision brought the promises near, so near that they are pictured as waving at them in joyful anticipation. They realized that this world was not their final home. They were content to be strangers and pilgrims, refusing the urge to nestle to make themselves comfortable. Their desire was to pass through the world without taking any of its character upon themselves. Their hearts were set on pilgrimage (Ps. 84:5, Knox). Their lives indicated plainly that they were seeking a homeland. Faith implanted a homing instinct in them which was never satisfied by the delights of Canaan. There was always a yen for a better land which they could call home. In saying that they were seeking a homeland, the writer wants to make it clear that he is not referring to the land of their birth. If Abraham had desired to go back to Mesopotamia, he could have done so, but that was no longer home to him. The true explanation is that they were seeking a heavenly homeland. This is rather remarkable when we remember that most of the promises to the people of Israel had to do with material blessings on this earth. But they had a heavenly hope as well, and this hope enabled them to treat this world as a foreign country. This spirit of pilgrimage is especially pleasing to God."  KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994, S. 2570 OT Old Testament ]
["So, you see, as long as you're only a pilgrim here just be patient. Don't invest too much in this world. You know, it's better to spend Saturday making a Christian man out of your son than making $10,000 for your bank account. It's better to spend Sunday morning teaching little girls about Jesus than shopping for the newest fashions and spending money and time for leisure vacations. Order your priorities, work for the stuff that really matters." John MacArthur on Hebrews 11]
"By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen." Moses patiently endured because he was looking forward to his reward (from God, not in this life but in heaven) and because he saw (spiritually) God Who is invisible. We are told to do the same. "Looking away [from all that will distract] and unto Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]." (Heb 12:2 Amp.) We must not set our hearts and minds on the things of this world but on Christ and heaven (Col. 3:1-4). When running a race we need to look at the finish line not at our feet or even other runners. We must look at Jesus and at eternity for all of our hopes and motivation for faith and obedience not at this temporal world which will soon pass away.
"And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; Others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." Note that some who lived by faith experienced victory and blessing in this life and some didn't but none of them received (all) the things promised. The important thing was not if they had victory in this life but that they gained approval from God by trusting in His promises to reward them for obedience now or in heaven. ["God has borne witness to the faith of these Ã¯Â»Â¿OTÃ¯Â»Â¿ heroes, yet they died before receiving the fulfillment of the promise. They did not live to see the Advent of the long awaited Messiah or to enjoy the blessings that would flow from His ministry. God had reserved something better for us. He had arranged that they should not be made perfect (complete) apart from us. They never did enjoy a perfect conscience as far as sin was concerned; and they will not enjoy the full perfection of the glorified body in heaven until we are all caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess 4:13-18). The spirits of Ã¯Â»Â¿OTÃ¯Â»Â¿ saints are already perfect in the presence of the Lord (Heb. 12:23), but their bodies will not be raised from among the dead until the Lord returns for His people. Then they will enjoy the perfection of resurrection glory."  KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994, S. 2570 OT Old Testament ] ["Made perfect" means "made complete." This completion, the realization of all of God's promises in Christ's coming kingdom, awaits all believers." Radmacher, Earl D. ; Allen, Ronald Barclay ; House, H. Wayne: Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville : T. Nelson Publishers, 1999, S. Heb 11:1]
"Now faith is the assurance (or substance) of things hoped for, (faith is always about the future) the conviction (or evidence) of things not seen (faith is always unseen). For by it the men of old (e.g., OT saints seen here in Hebrews 11) gained approval (from God)." Heb. 11:1) "And all these, having gained approval (from God) through their faith, did not receive what was promised." (Heb. 11:39) The important thing to learn about true faith is that God always rewards obedience but only in heaven will we experience all the things God has promised us. "For you have need of endurance (patience) so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." (Heb.10:36)
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. In Philippians 3:12-14 how does Paul express where he is (spiritually) and where he wanted to be and what inspired him to go forward? Share how this speaks to you about your desire and motivation to grow in Christlikeness.
2. Why do we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and how do we fix our eyes on Jesus in order to run our faith race well? How did Abraham, Moses and the martyr's model looking to Jesus?
3. The important thing was not if they had victory in this life but that they gained approval from God by trusting in His promises to reward them for obedience now or in heaven. Read 2 Cor. 5:9-11 regarding Paul's motivation for obedience and discuss how the incentive of pleasing God (gaining His approval) and eternal rewards are, or can be, a great motivation for you to obey the Lord.