Things To Come

Posted by on Dec 30, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

December 30, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Things To Come”

 

Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:20-22

Introduction:

 

A.   There are at least three stages of a believer’s life during which his or her faith in God is manifest.

1. Of course, faith is manifest at the point of salvation.

2. In fact, a person cannot be saved without faith (faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross).

3. The Bible says in Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

4. The Bible also says in Rom. 10:13-14, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved….How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?”

5. And so, first of all, faith is manifest at the point of salvation.

 

B.   Faith is also manifest in a believer’s life after salvation.

1. I never cease to be amazed by how many believers seem to think that faith is just for getting saved.

2. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

3. In fact, there is no way that we please God with our life after we saved without faith.

4. Notice again Heb. 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

5. The Bible also says in at least three different places that “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38)

6. And so, faith is manifest in a believer’s life after salvation.

 

C.   There is at least one more stage of the believer’s life during which faith is manifest, and that is at the point of death (when a believer is getting ready to depart this life).

1. (Illus.- Matthew Henry, the famous English preacher and Bible commentator, once said, “Though the grace of faith is of universal use throughout the Christian’s life, yet it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has its great work to do at the very last, to help believers to finish well, to die to the Lord so as to honor Him, by patience, hope and joy so as to leave a witness of the truth of God’s Word and the excellency of His ways.”)

2. (Illus.- Someone else has said, “God is glorified when His people leave this world with their flags flying at full mast!”)

3. If anyone should die…

-well,

-triumphantly,

-with both joy and confidence,

it should be those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior!

4. This is why the Bible says in Psa. 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”

 

D.   The three patriarchs mentioned in our text, this morning, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, certainly died well (demonstrated their faith as they were getting ready to depart this life).

1. Now it is true that they were saved by faith.

2. It is also true that they lived their lives by faith.

3. However, for some unknown reason, the writer of Hebrews places the emphasis on the faith that they manifest as they were preparing to depart this life.

4. For the sake of today’s message, we will call this “dying faith.”

 

E.   First of all, this morning, let’s notice….

 

I.       The Dying Faith Of Isaac.

 

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 20 of our text, “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”

 

B.   Now there are a couple of things that we must understand here before we go any further.

1. First of all, we must understand that the promises that God made to Abraham (in Gen. 12:1-2), God reaffirmed those promises to Isaac.

2. Turn with me to Gen. 26:1-4, “And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar….And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:…Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;…And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;”

3. If you remember Gen. 12:1-2, then you know that these were exactly the same promises that God made to Abraham many years earlier.

4. And so, first of all, we must understand that the promises that God made to Abraham were later reaffirmed to Isaac.

 

C.   The second thing we must understand is that God had made it clear to Abraham that these promises would be inherited by his son, Jacob, and not Esau.

1. Turn with me to Gen. 25:21-23, “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived….And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD….And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

2. Now ordinarily, the younger would serve the elder.

3. Ordinarily, the first born would receive the birthright, as well as the patriarchal blessing.

4. Ordinarily, the first born son, Esau, would have been the one who would have inherited the promises that God had made to his father (Isaac) and grandfather (Abraham).

5. However, in this case, God made it clear to Rebekah (and I’m sure she told Isaac) that God had other plans, and that Jacob, the younger of the two boys, would receive the promises.

6. That was God’s plan.

 

D.   However, it appears as though Isaac, at least initially, had other plans.

1. How do I know?

2. Turn with me to Gen. 27:1-4, “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I….And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:…Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;…And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.”

3. Apparently, even though God had told him earlier that Jacob would be the dominant son, Isaac was prepared to pronounce the patriarchal blessing upon Esau instead.

4. But then the Lord intervened and used the trickery of Rebekah and Jacob to make sure that Jacob got the blessing instead of Esau (you know the story).

 

E.   But what I want us to see here is the faith that Isaac manifest when he realized what had happened.

1. Look at Gen. 28:1-4, “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan….Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother….And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;…And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”

2. Even though Isaac didn’t actually die until much later, the last recorded act of his life was an act of faith.

3. Just like his father, Abraham, he died without seeing the fulfilment of these promises, yet he saw their fulfilment through the eyes of faith as he passed them on to his son, Jacob.

4. That was the dying faith of Isaac.

 

F.    Now let’s take a look at…

 

II.      The Dying Faith Of Jacob.

 

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 21 of our text, “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”

B.   Jacob’s life was, in many ways, like his father’s life.

1. It was up and down spiritually,

2. Sometimes he walked by faith, and sometimes he stumbled by sight.

3. He had times of great faith and times of fear and anxiety.

4. However, when he came to the end of his life, just like his father, Isaac, God gave him dying faith.

 

C.   Jacob’s dying faith can be seen in Gen. 48:21.

1. Jacob had just finished pronouncing a blessing on Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

2. I’m sure you remember the story.

3. Jacob was sick and nearing the end of his life.

4. He was still in Egypt, where his son, Joseph, had brought him and nourished him during the great famine.

5. When Joseph heard of his father’s illness, he visited him, bringing both of his sons with him.

6. When Jacob saw his two grandsons standing before him, he asked the question, “Who are these?” (“Joseph, who did you bring with you?”)

7. Joseph said, “These are my two sons.”

8. Jacob then said, “Bring them close to me so that I can bless them.”

9. Joseph obeyed, and his father proceeded to pronounce a blessing upon his two grandsons, pronouncing the greater blessing on Ephraim, the younger of the two.

 

D.   What I want you to notice now is what Jacob then told Joseph in Gen. 48:21, “And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.”

1. Both Jacob and Joseph were in Egypt when Jacob made this statement.

2. While Jacob never saw the Promised Land again with his physical eyes, he was beholding it through the eyes of faith and was confident that God would one day return his family to that land.

3. That was the dying faith of Jacob.

 

E.   Now, finally, this morning, let’s take a look at…

 

III.    The Dying Faith Of Joseph.

 

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 22 of our text, “By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.”

 

B.   I am assuming that most of us know the story of Joseph.

1. Joseph had spent all of his adult life in Egypt.

2. Although he was a fourth generation heir of the promises that God had made to Abraham, he had not even sojourned in the Promised Land, much less inherited it.

3. It had been some two hundred years since God made His covenant with Abraham, yet when the time came for Joseph to die, none of Abraham’s descendants (that is, the descendants of promise) lived in the promise land.

4. Because of the great famine, they all lived in Egypt.

5. Yet Joseph, when he neared the end of his life, could see Canaan (the Promised Land), not with his physical eyes, but through the eyes of faith.

 

C.   Turn with me to Gen. 50:24-25, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob….And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.”

1. In other words, “I will never see the Promised Land again, but you (your descendants) will. Just remember that when you leave here headed for home, take my bones with you.

2. Many years later, when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they took the bones of Joseph with them.

3. This was the dying faith of Joseph.

 

Conclusion:

 

A.   All three of the men whom we have considered, this morning, had several things in common.

1. First of all, they were all recipients of the promises that God gave to Abraham

2. Secondly, they all failed to see the fulfillment of these promises in their lifetimes.

3. Finally, they all died in faith, looking forward through eyes of faith to the future fulfillment of these promises.

 

B.   And so, there are three stages of a believers’s life during which his or her faith in God is manifest.

1. At the moment of salvation.

2. After salvation.

3. And then, last of all, at the point of death (when a believer is getting ready to depart this life).

 

C.   May I ask you a personal question?

1. When your time comes to go out into eternity, will you…

-die well?

-die triumphantly?

-die with both joy and confidence?

2. How we live is important, yes, but it is also important how we die!

3. We will only die “well” if we have the kind of faith that Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had, a faith that looks forward with great anticipation to the fulfillment of all the wonderful promises that God has made to us.

4. Do you have dying faith?