Obtaining That Good Report

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us  should not be made perfect.

This chapter teaches us so much.  Different people in different times accomplished much by God through them. There is a common denominator in this hall of faith. That’s what this chapter is called and that common theme is faith. Here we are now. When we think of Abraham and Sara or Isaac and Jacob or Samuel and the prophets we might say “I’m not a Moses” or “I’m not a Daniel.”  No we’re not “Abel” but we are “able.” God has made us so.

The history lesson of faith was concluded in this chapter but not complete. They without us are not complete. They were God’s people of their age just as we are God’s people of our age. God referred to himself to later generations as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It didn’t end with the death of Abraham. All these entered into their rest and the door is still open. Why want to be like Moses or Daniel? God wants me to be Bob and you to be who he saved you to be.  They obtained a good report through their faith. Through ups and downs and troubles and trials each one obtained a good standing with God….through faith.

Sure faith means regularity but you have to keep the faith.  It’s what keeps us saved. We read of those in the Bible who detoured from the faith.  Even some listed in this chapter did but they had enough faith to realize they needed to get back on the straight and narrow. That’s our incentive to help us know we can be successful and obtain a good report.

When I went to first grade I didn’t go in with the goal of graduating high school. It wasn’t even on my mind. School was scary. As Christians we have to grow just like we did in school.  We were born again and our goal is to obtain a good report. There’s a lot of learning to do and we do it by faith. We owe it all to Jesus because we don’t earn a thing. The goal of every school year is to succeed with a good report. Too often I didn’t want to do my school work. I made teachers mad.  You can’t do that to God. No matter how we try to fake our grades, God has our scorecard. We have no excuse for failing with God. Faith causes faithfulness and it will show. Fruit will be produced. I had what it took to make A’s in school but I didn’t do it. We have to take responsibility for our actions and the report we’re building now. We can’t let up until we breathe our last breath. Our graduation is never down here.

The education standards are set so that everyone can pass.  We can also succeed with God. It’s not in us but through Him. Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. If we start failing we cannot begin making excuses. He’ll tell us to read Philippians 4:13 again. Abel passed. If Rahab, a prostitute, can pass we can.  I sort of feel the paddle tonight. There is no excuse not to excel. It’s challenging but not impossible.

When we went to school we had things furnished for us. We had a schoolhouse. We had textbooks. We had a teacher. The tools were given to help us. God has done the same.  We have a church house provided for us. Our textbook is the 66 books of the Bible. Our teacher is the Master and his name is Jesus. The Holy Spirit is our guide. They still teach us. We have the tools.  I never did like homework. Why couldn’t we leave school at school? That’s what people want to do with Christianity. We don’t leave it at church. We serve him daily and apply what we learn and practice it.  Life is full of its own pop quizzes and we can pass them if we keep faith in God.

Every year in school got more difficult and challenging. I used to wonder how some made straight A’s. Didn’t they do anything else but school?  What they did was buckle down and study. We’re coming up on the “senior” year of time in Christianity. We can’t fake it. Those who did well had faith in themselves and many we thought wouldn’t make it did.  We can all do it. With faith in our Teacher and the Textbook we can do it. It takes us all but it takes all of me and it takes all of you. Many we thought who wouldn’t amount to anything for God have. It took 20 or 30 years but we know one prime example and he’s the pastor of Liberty. His name is Jimmy Taylor.  

Is your goal to be a self-success or to obtain a good report in the eyes of the Master?  Stick with this. Don’t be a dropout. Accept the challenges from the teacher to make your years count not just for yourself but for others.  Obtain that good report.

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