We will start in Hebrews 11:8 and this chapter is called “The Faith Chapter”.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
This place is referring to the physical land or country that God gave Abraham and all of his natural descendants. This place is an earthly land, a country, and the land is called Israel. The inheritance was physical because the natural land was there.
Two types of Abraham’s descendants
Spiritual – They are all like Abraham who received the Holy Spirit. You have to receive the Holy Spirit to become the seed of Abraham, and this is when you become born again, it is a work of the Holy Spirit. This is the Second birth
Natural – They are Hebrews (Genesis 14:13) also called Jews, Israel, not all of them have the Holy Ghost. Jesus tells some of these people during his time that if they would have did what Abraham did that they would have believed on him. This is the first birth.
Abraham had great faith
When God made the promise to Abraham, Abraham had no descendants (no children) but God promised Abraham that he would give him a land for all of his descendants to dwell in. Abraham believed in God and believed that God was going to give him a son, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. to dwell in the land that he would show him. When God told Abraham about the land, he was in southern Iraq, and when God told him where it was Abraham knew how to get there, as he seen the caravans and traders traveled that way, and it was a long way and very dangerous because there were thieves, and robbers; and you had to travel in groups to have soldiers there for protection.
Abraham told others about what God told him and those who believed him, they followed him, and became his converts, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. I’m sure when Abraham told some they laughed at him and scorned him because the land was too far and the only ones who went there were those who traded and traveled in caravans, to go to this unknown country was foolish to them.
When Abraham lived in southern Iraq they lived in houses but, when they moved to the new land they lived in tents. This took a lot of faith and the land was called Canaan at that time. Later it was called Palestine. Abraham had property and he was not poor.
When Abraham and his people came into the land the Canaanites were then in the land (Genesis 12:6) but still he didn’t doubt God. Abraham staggered not at the promises of God (Romans 4:20) so sometimes it might look one way but, you got to believe God for the other way because if you keep looking at what you see (discouragement) you won’t get the promises of God.
Do not stagger at the promises of God
Be like Abraham and do not stagger at the promises of God. Don’t stagger at the promises of God. It may look one way but, you got to keep on believing. How do you keep on believing? You get on your knees and pray. How long do you need to pray? Depends on what you need the Lord to do will determine how long you need to pray. Some people say all you have to do is believe, but you still got to pray. Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit to be upon him and Elijah said, “You have asked a hard thing.” (2 Kings 2:9-10).
What do you want God to do? Is it a hard thing? Just stop crying and pray and believe. Asking equals prayer and prayer equals asking. Elijah prayed that it would not rain 3½ years, it was a drought (1 Kings 17:1, 18:41-46; James 5:17-18) and he asked God to send the rain again. He prayed earnestly.
Have you been praying earnestly for that thing you need God to do. I know that prayer or asking changes things but it depends how you ask or pray, depends on how bad you want it, and don’t ask God for things that he doesn’t intend on doing like asking God for all the money in the bank. We must pray according to his will. (1 John 5:14) Get this in your head and don’t pay attention to how they pray on TV where they say without earnestness, “Dear Jesus….” and then they ask God what they need.
The Holy Ghost will help you to believe
How did Abraham have the audacity to believe in such a huge promise like this? Because Abraham had the Holy Ghost. God gave Abraham the Spirit before he left Ur (Genesis 12:1-3). The Holy Spirit helps you to believe God for the things that seem or are impossible. There are some things that are impossible that without the Holy Spirit you just cannot believe. You may attempt to ask or pray to God for two or three days and then after that you will say, “It is not going to work, there is no change.”
I prayed every day for years that the Lord would send the sewage line down the road to the church [Pool of Bethesda] and the Lord did it. Every now and then the evil spirit would say, “This is ridiculous” but I would say, “No, we need this and we have to have this.” The members of the church would help pray for it, and what I was asking the Lord to do, God simply was not going to do it in 24 hours. I know God can do anything but don’t be ridiculous. I have seen some people be so deep that they become crazy, you don’t want to be silly about it. It would be foolish to have all the church believe that God was going to put all those pipes in there in 24 hours and overnight it is going to be there. Of course God can but, he doesn’t normally work that way, He has to go through City Hall, downtown, because all of those things are on the planning board and the city has it scheduled when they are going to take on projects, so I knew God was going to work that way.
When does God get around to doing things? When God sees your prayers are earnest. Among some of the Canaanites there were some giants but, Abraham was not deterred from that because the Holy Spirit enabled him. This faith from the Holy Ghost helps you to keep asking and praying, and gives you the determination to not give up. Asking plus prayer equals faith. You could ask while you are driving through the freeway, but you got to spend more time with prayer. What is faith? Substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1-2).
The Holy Ghost helps you to obey
The Holy Ghost helps you to obey and when people do not obey they do not have the Holy Spirit. They don’t even obey their parents. Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1) A very disobedient person does not have the Holy Ghost he has the devil in him because it has a trait to it. If a child steals a cookie, keeps on stealing, then it turns into shop lifting and they call your parents to take your children home. That’s a spirit because it establishes a trait and becomes part of someone’s personality and they become that way. You want to nip it in the bud before that person gets an evil spirit. Same thing with lying, you become very convincing after telling so many lies. You got a lying spirit then, and that calls for prayer so you can get delivered. Read Hebrews 11:9-10
- The land (Canaan) – when Abraham saw the Canaanites, he said, “Oh no, this is not the city in heaven”. This was the first goal.
- The Holy City (New Jerusalem) – it has foundations. This was the second goal. If Abraham and his followers didn’t have this goal they would have been mindful of where they came from but because they were looking for another city that God made they were not mindful where they came from. Sarah could have said take me back to Babylon (Southern Iraq), if they didn’t have this goal.
John describes what Abraham was looking for. Read Revelation 21:11-21. Abraham comes to possess the land (Canaan), he knew the city (2nd & most important goal) was in heaven.
Read Hebrews 11:14-16. Mindful is to keep on thinking about it. Some things are not good to keep thinking about, but these saints in Hebrews 11:15 were mindful of those things in verse 15 and 16. Do you believe God prepared for you a city? If you believe that, you want to incorporate that into your prayer sometimes where you tell the Lord something along the lines of this, “Father you are in that holy city and Jesus you are up there with him.” You have to say that because you have to believe that. Satan does not want you to believe in this. Satan will cause you to think, “Why do we have to come to church to pray? Can’t we just go home and pray?” The devil makes you question anything about God and Jesus and you say the bible is hard to understand because it has too many thous and thees.
Our goal is to get to the Holy City and to be there for Jesus’ appearing. You didn’t get saved to just have Christ in your life. You were saved for another purpose to live with Jesus and to reign with him. This City does exist. If you are not mindful of this goal you will be mindful of the country (your lifestyle) that you came out of.
The thing that keeps you from going back is pressing towards this goal. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, most preachers will preach Christ death but they tend to leave off Christ’s resurrection and ascension because it’s very easy to believe that Christ died because they did crucify him but it takes more faith to believe that he came out of the grave after three days and three nights, he rose and ascended. That is when your salvation becomes complete. (Romans 4:25)
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Philippians 3:13. You’ve got to leave your old life behind like Abraham and his followers did! They were not mindful of it. That’s what happens with people who go back into the world; they keep thinking about it and you keep associating with unsaved people. And if you don’t win them they will win you (1 Corinthians 15:33).
You need to come out from among them (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) The unclean thing is that which will cause you to be mindful of that old life. Some commercials are made to entice you, and you almost have to turn the TV off when it comes. The things Paul had to not be mindful of are in Philippians 3:5-6, but you have your own list (old life style). Abraham wasn’t mindful of his country he came from. Read Philippians 3:5-8, you have to have a goal so you won’t be mindful of your past, He brought you out of your past. You have to be mindful for your future (second goal), it is soon to come. Jesus is coming.
Bishop Joseph White
Dr. Joseph White teaches biblical seminars throughout the year. The outlines are available for anyone to download and study from. When he is not traveling, Dr. White is teaching and preaching as pastor of Pool of Bethesda, CLGI located in Columbus, Ohio.