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[Footsteps of Faith 9] Perseverance and Promise of Faith - Hebrews 11:32-40

Questions for Group Discussion

Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s study or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?

Begin your study in prayer. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews specifically mentions other individuals whose lives demonstrate the perseverance and promise of faith. Some of these achieved amazing victories, others are referred to as those “of whom the world was not worthy.” This lesson spans generations and gives us insight into the mystery of God’s ways.

Approval

All of these heroes gained God’s approval [Gk dokimazo— to prove or test with a view to approval] through their faith. This word is used in the process of refining metals, in which the ore is placed in a furnace and heated to very high temperatures to remove the dross and impurities, producing purified gold, silver, or other metal. God is the refiner, and trials and circumstances are the means chosen by Him to refine your faith, which is more precious than gold. He keeps His eyes on the timer and His hand on the thermostat, filtering every event in your life through His fingers of love, until He can see His Son’s image reflected clearly in your faith. The proof of your faith will result in praise, glory, and honor at His revelation (1 Peter1:6–7). Faith gains His approval.

Keep your eyes on the Refiner, not the fire! Study to show yourself approved to God!

Read Hebrews 11:32–35

1. This passage specifically names Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah. Using the corresponding references listed, review the life of one or two of these examples of faithfulness. Organize your observations on the following charts by briefly describing their circumstances, recording at least one act of faith and noting if there was any failure recorded. How does God remember them now? What can you learn from their example?

Gideon Judges 6–8

Samson Judges 13–16

Jephthah Judges 11–12

 

         

      Name of Character:

      Circumstances

       

      Act(s) of Faith

       

      Any Failures?

       

      How does God remember Gideon?

       

      What lesson do you observe from his faith?

       

 

       

    Name of Character:

    Circumstances

     

    Act(s) of Faith

     

    Any Failures?

     

    How does God remember Samson?

     

    What lesson do you observe from his faith?

     

      2. Read Heb. 11:36–40. List as many kinds of difficulties as you can find in these verses experienced by faithful people in past ages.

      3. How does the Scripture describe these people? (Heb. 11:38)

      4. Read Matt. 5:10–12 and John 15:20. How did Jesus prepare His disciples to understand persecution and difficulty?

    What does He promise to those who suffer?

      5. Read 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Timothy 3:11–12, and James 1:1.

      A. What do you learn about difficulty and persecution from these verses?

      B. How might you connect these verses with the verses from Hebrews 11:36–40?

      C. How might you see these applying in your life or the lives of others?

      D. Can you think of a time when you suffered for the sake of Christ?

      E. While none of us seeks difficulty, how might these verses encourage you to endure when you face trials and persecutions?

      6. What additional insights do you gain from any of the cross-references on the perseverance and promise of faith in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?

      7. What one insight or lesson do you hope to remember from your study of the perseverance and promise of faith? Write it below to share in class, and then write it on the journal page entitled “Lessons Along the Way” at the back of your study guide.

      Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it.

      Each one of the individuals in Hebrews 11 is remembered by God and commended for his faith. Their faith, as well as the faith of all believers, is refined and developed within the unique circumstances designed by God, despite the personal failures, entangling encumbrances, discouragement, weariness, and the sin that so easily entangles us all. When you stumble and are overwhelmed with circumstances or sin, fix your eyes on Jesus, confess and repent, get up and resume the race by running with endurance. Your faithful finish and victory of faith as a child of the King is assured, and He sees you right now, as you are reading this sentence, seated with Christ in glory!

      Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment

      Perseverance and Promise of Faith—Hebrews 11:5, 32–40

      Faith is demonstrated in the lives of men and women, boys and girls. Utilize your word-study tools to examine the meaning of the following words. List the insights you learn from the related scriptural cross-references. How do these insights enhance your understanding of the response of faith despite circumstances and possible consequences, and the reward of faith of gaining the approval of God?

      Response of Faith: Faith Obeys God Despite Circumstances and Consequences

      The list of heroes in Hebrews 11 is not exhaustive, and many other heroes of faith grace the pages of the Bible. What do you learn about faith refined within the circumstances of these individuals?

      Paul—2 Cor. 6:4–10

      Job—Job 1–2

      Jesus—Phil. 2:5–8

      Reward of Faith: Approval of God

    Approval (a good report, KJV) [Heb. 11:39]

      Heb. 11:2

      Heb. 11:39

      Prov. 17:3

      Rom. 14:18

      2 Cor. 10:18

      1 Thess. 2:4

      2 Tim. 2:15

      Phil. 1:10

      1 Peter 1:6–9

      James 1:12

      The Lord approves and refines the faith of His children. Believers are responsible to seek His approval, to approve the things that are excellent, and to study the Word to show themselves approved to God as excellent workmen. You, too, can become a hero of faith, refined and approved by the Lord. Persevere faithfully in obedience to Him within your circumstances, despite the consequences, keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

Related Topics: Faith, Curriculum