Heroes of the Faith

Hebrews 11 is commonly referred to as the roll call of faith and is the most familiar chapter in the book. The first verse of the chapter is seen by many as a great definition for saving faith. Although the verse gives us great information on what saving faith looks like, a definition of faith could never be contained in one verse. Saving faith is a gift from God and the key to our salvation. To get to the heart of what the author of Hebrews is seeking to communicate in this chapter, we need to look at the chapter in the context of the whole letter. He is writing to a group of Hebrew Christians that have been facing some escalating persecution. And in the future, the persecution would only increase. Some would even lose their lives for the sake of Christ. It seems that Hebrew Christians to whom the author had addressed this letter where slipping back into the Judaism. They had faced some difficulty and reverted to their former religious traditions. The writer of Hebrews is urging them to focus on Christ because He is all they need to not only save them from their sins, but to sustain them in the face of persecution. Christ is everything! In chapter 11, the author focused on the kind of faith that is required to stand firm in the face of persecution. It is a type of faith that has Christ and His work as a foundation for future promises. It is a type of faith that has spiritual eyes to see the unseen spiritual realm of God’s power that is working for His glory and the good of the church. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV) After giving this definition, the writer gives a long list of Old Testament examples that have displayed this type of faith in God. For while they did not fully understand what God would do in the future, they trusted him and His promises and lived faithful lives. Beginning Sunday, November 5, we will look at Hebrews 11 in the morning sermon time. Join us for this series and allow the words of Scripture to strengthen your faith. If you are unable to attend or live in another area, you can catch the sermon through video each week at: https://vimeo.com/anthonylangley

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Solar Eclipse

I remember the going outside with some solar eclipse viewers that we made at school when I was a kid to watch the sun as it was partially covered by the moon. How small I felt thinking about the sun and the moon and the universe. Those were days when what we learned about the universe was learned from books and adults who were in the know. Occasionally you could find some information on a TV show, but we only got three channels and didn’t have a DVR! These days, you can google and find out when all the solar eclipses were for the last 200 years. And you can even watch a real time animation on the internet. Things have certainly changed. One thing I have noticed is that with all the social media coverage of the event, people seem more excited than ever for this rare and mysterious event. On Monday, most in the US will be able to see the moon partially cover the sun and in some places, the sun will completely vanish from sight. It will be dark in the middle of the day!

I’ve seen many posts lately about the solar eclipse, and some are speculating that this may have something to do with the final days and the return of Jesus. It would do us well to remember that Jesus said in Matthew 24: 36 that no one knows the hour of His return. While Jesus could return at any moment, it seems unlikely that His second coming will coincide with this event for several reasons. First, we have had eclipses before and Jesus has not returned. The only difference between this eclipse and many others that we have experienced in the US is that it will be able to be seen as a total eclipse from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts. Second, it is taking place in the western hemisphere over the United States. Now, I love my country as much as the next guy, but the US is not the center of biblical prophecy and never has been. The biblical prophecy centers around the Middle East and the land of Israel. If the eclipse was going to be part of the events surrounding the second coming, I feel sure it would be one that took place in the East. By the way, a total solar eclipse over Israel doesn’t appear to take place in the next 150 years. Third, the people that are publishing articles about the solar eclipse and the end times, or coming of Christ, are using this event to generate web traffic. This is pure speculation and click-bait.

Could Jesus return Monday? YES! But he could also return tonight. We should be ready! If you are worried about the future or the coming of Christ and don’t feel ready to meet the God of the Universe, I would l love to talk to you and tell you how you can encounter Him. He bore the cross and took the wrath so that you could have life eternal. BE READY. But don’t “buy in” to the hype surrounding the solar eclipse. Just sit back and watch the beauty of our Father’s creation as He shows it’s magnificence.