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Heb 11:1-3     Notice in this chapter the record of the “men of old” who had faith to the preserving of their souls; what definition of such faith does the author give in Heb 11:1?  Note: “assurance” is often translated as confidence, and is used in business documents as the basis or guarantee of business transactions; “conviction” refers to the evidence or proof by which something is known.  What assurance do we as Christians have that we shall receive the promised eternal inheritance?  What proof do we have that that for which we hope but cannot see is real?  What does it mean that the men of old “gained approval” (Heb 11:2)?  See Heb 11:4,5, and 39 for the same word.  By what means does one “gain approval” with God, or “obtain a witness” or “testimony” that he is pleasing to God?  Why is that?  I.e., why is faith of supreme importance in one’s fellowship with God?  See Heb 11:6.  What fundamental difference between people of faith and people of the world is revealed in Heb 11:6c?  Do we believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him?  What does Heb 11:3 teach us about where the world came from?  I.e., from what did God create the world?  Note: the Latin term used to express this concept is ex nihilo—out of nothing.  What brought about the existence of the material universe?  Consider Einstein’s famous formula E=mc2 that relates energy, matter and the speed of light: a small amount of matter can be changed into the enormous amount of energy released in an atomic bomb—or vice versa; what does this teach us about the enormous power of our God who by His word (the Word) brought into being the entire universe as we know it?  Cf. Heb 1:3.

Heb 11:4-7     What three antediluvians are mentioned in these verses as epitomizing that faith which will preserve the soul?  In what way would the faith of Abel have been especially significant to the original readers in their present circumstances?  Hint: consider that the state persecution confronting Christians could be avoided simply by offering a sacrifice of incense to the Roman Emperor.  In what way would the faith of Enoch have been especially significant to the original readers in their present circumstances?  Cf. Rev 3:10.  In what way does the faith of Noah epitomize the saving faith that we as Christians must have to the preserving of our souls?  Have we been warned about things not yet seen, such as the final judgment that will overtake the wicked?  See, for example, Jude 1:14-15.  Have we in holy fear “prepared” the ark of the Lord Jesus for the salvation of our household by forsaking the busy-ness of the world to learn for ourselves and impart to our children the knowledge of the truth that leads to salvation?  Does the author say that it was Noah’s hell-fire and brimstone preaching that condemned the world?  What about him did condemn the world?  What is the sure sign that the practical outworking of our faith in daily life is likewise condemning the world?  See Mat 5:10-12.

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