Message from Sunday, August 11th, 2019
"Jesus Is Our Great Hero"
Hebrews 11: 1- 16
I’m sure most of us are familiar with superheroes. There is Superman and Batman. Maybe you remember those. There is a Spiderman. I remember watching him when I was a little boy. Even today he is still watched by many children. Many other superheroes have come into existence. I can’t think of all their names, but their number has grown throughout the years.
One thing that sticks out about these superheroes is that they fight for justice and battle against evil or a villian who embodies evil. They possess supernatural powers. Superman, for instance, can fly and crash through walls. His strength is amazing. He can bend steel and stop moving trains. Spiderman is quite acrobatic. He can run circles around his opponents. All these superheroes use their powers to fight against evil.
Many little children idolize these figures. They look up to them, maybe not so much because these superheroes fight for justice, but because they possess extraordinary powers. Many little children wish they possessed the same powers. Then they could do extraordinary things as well.
Another group of figures that children—and maybe even adults—idolize are professional athletes. Many kids want to be sports stars when they grow up. Our society encourages this because sports stars are successful. Who wants to be associated with losers? Sports figures are winners. Quite often I see people wear the number of their favorite player, or hero should I say. Again, people want to be associated with winners and not losers.
This tells us what people really value in our country. Throwing a ball for a touchdown, slam dunking a basketball, and striking out a batter are skills that are much more valued than belief in God. This is what our society would have us believe.
Instead of going along with this kind of thinking, we need to not go along with it. There are times when we get caught up in all of this. Our values aren’t where they should be. They should be centered on God and what He values.
In our text, we get a good idea of what God values and what He looks at in a person. It certainly isn’t whether or not that person can stuff a basketball or throw a ball for a touchdown or hit a baseball out of the ballpark. This isn’t what God looks for in a person. He is looking for genuine faith in a person, faith in Him.
Our text is really a list of superheroes, of people we ought to emulate because of their faithfulness to God. The list has some big names on it: Enoch, Noah, and Abraham. If we were to read on, the list has even more big names on it, like Joseph and Moses. It even has a woman listed, Rahab.
I think we know why these people were considered to be heroes of the faith. Enoch was an extremely righteous man. He didn’t experience death as a result. God took him alive into heaven. Noah and his family were the only ones saved during the Flood. They were the only ones left who believed in the Lord. The rest of the world had fallen away from God. Abraham was chosen to bless the world through his offspring, Jesus Christ. Abraham believed God’s promises and remained faithful to the Lord his entire life. Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God used him to bring the Ten Commandments to the people. Rahab was a prostitute who turned from her ways to serve God. If you remember, she hid the Israelite spies, showing her support for the people of Israel.
These are the real heroes. They believed in the Lord when it wasn’t popular to. They remained steadfast in their belief in God Almighty. These are the people we ought to esteem and hold up in honor, not the athletes and others in our day and age.
The greatest hero whom I haven’t mentioned yet but whom we should worship and honor with all our being is Jesus Christ. None of the superheroes I mentioned earlier can compare to Jesus, the ultimate superhero. No hero has done what He has done and is capable of doing. None of the superheroes has ever risen from the dead for the forgiveness of sins. No superhero can create a perfect world like Jesus can and will do. No superhero can ultimately defeat evil like Jesus has done. The superheroes who fight for justice and against evil aren’t able to do so in a universal sense. They’re limited in their fight. But not Jesus. He defeated the devil once and for all on the cross. The devil no longer has any power over us and our eternal destiny. Jesus has the power over us. And He deals with us from the perspective of love. He doesn’t wish to destroy us as the devil does. He wishes that all people would be saved. That’s because He loves all people.
Now if we’re looking for someone to idolize or emulate, it should be our Savior. It shouldn’t be athletes or the superheroes we watch on TV. Some athletes are not good examples when it comes to moral living. Why should we look up to them? Many of them don’t believe in the Lord. Why would we want to idolize someone like that? Our Lord Jesus is the one we look up to.
Now, there are good examples of people to emulate. We don’t worship them or consider them God. We simply follow their example of faith in the Lord. And the Lord has given us examples of people to emulate, for example, in our text. They were people like us, tempted just like we are. Of course, they sinned and needed God’s forgiveness just as we do. But they remained faithful to the Lord all throughout their lives, to the very end. The Lord was a very significant piece of their lives. This is what we try to emulate. We follow their faith in the Lord. They serve as good examples for us because they too were human beings who encountered trials and temptations yet remained faithful to the Lord.
Maybe some of you admire someone for his/her strong faith in the Lord. Their witness has made an impact on your life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to emulate their faith in the Lord. As a matter of fact, I would encourage us to emulate the faith of all those who have been faithful to the Lord. They are a much better example to follow than that of the many athletes who have no regard for the Lord.
I hope that we ourselves will be a good example for the next generations. Once we’re gone, what will they say about us? Will they say that they admired our faith in the Lord? Or, will they say that our Christianity was weak, maybe almost non-existent? How will our children and grandchildren view us?
I pray that the Lord will give us the strength to be solid examples of what it means to be a Christian. I hope that if our text for today were rewritten, our names would be included on the list of heroes of the faith. May we be good examples for others to emulate.