Honoring Our Cloud of Witnesses

I am thankful for the faithful Christians who have gone before me. Had it not been for their sacrifice I may never have heard the glorious message of Jesus Christ. Their lives are a witness to us today. Their witness made a difference in history, a difference delivered to us in the twenty-first century through the great sacrifice of their suffering. They did not consider their suffering “…worthy to be compared with the  glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8.18). Their suffering was and is to the glory and honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that those who come behind us will find us just as faithful.

Hebrews 11.1-40 is a great reminder of their selfless sacrifice for their Soveriegn King.

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of  things not seen. 2 For by it the  men of old gained approval.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared  by the word of God, so that what is seen  was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith  Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he  obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his  gifts, and through faith, though  he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith  Enoch was taken up so that he would not  see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who  comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith  Noah, being  warned by God about  things not yet seen, in reverence  prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of  the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith  Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to  receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in  the land of promise, as in a foreign land,  dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob,  fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for  the city which has  foundations,  whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even  Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him  faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and  him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

13 All these died in faith,  without receiving the promises, but  having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and  having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out,  they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a  heavenly one. Therefore  God is notashamed to be  called their God; for  He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith  Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had  received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “ In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that  God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a  type. 20 By faith  Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith  Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and  worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith  Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith  Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the  king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses,  when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to  endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the  reward. 27 By faith he  left Egypt, not  fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as  seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that  he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they  passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, weredrowned.

30 By faith  the walls of Jericho fell down  after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith  Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spiesin peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of  Gideon,  Barak,  Samson,  Jephthah, of  David and  Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith  conquered kingdoms,  performed acts of righteousness,  obtained promises,  shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire,  escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong,  became mighty in war,  put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also  chains and imprisonment. 37 They were  stoned, they were  sawn in two, they were tempted, they were  put to death with the sword; they went about  in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted,  ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holesin the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith,  did not receive what was promised, 40 because God hadprovided  something better for us, so that  apart from us they would not be made perfect.

All Scripture quoted from the New American Standard Bible

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