Faith - Keep On Keeping On!

Hebrews 10:19-39
Westney Heights Baptist Church – March 12, 2023


Hebrews 10 (ESV) - 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
    and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.


Hebrews 1 – Jesus is superior to angels
Hebrews 2:1-4 – Warning: Neglecting Jesus’ message far more dangerous than neglecting the angels’ message
Hebrews 2:5-18 – Jesus had to become man so He could wholly save mankind
Hebrews 3:1-6 – Jesus is superior to Moses
Hebrews 3:7-4:13 – Warning: Don’t let a hardened heart keep you from entering God’s promised rest
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 – Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood
Hebrews 5:11-14 – Warning: Don’t despise doctrine, keep on learning
Hebrews 6:1-12 – Don’t. Stand. Still. Press. On.
Hebrews 6:13-7:18 – Jesus is a high priest in the order of Melchizedek, without beginning, without end
Hebrews 7:19-10:18 – Jesus instituted a superior covenant, His superiority to all things previous assures us that faith in Him is not misplaced
Hebrews 8 – The covenant Jesus instituted is superior to the Mosaic covenant
Hebrews 9 – Jesus’ sacrifice of atonement is once for all, not annual
Hebrews 10 – The Holy Place Jesus entered is superior to the Holy Place of the temple
Hebrews 10:19-39 – Warning: Don’t shrink back, keep on keeping on
Hebrews 11 – By faith these have stood, received both good and bad, yet did not receive what we have
Hebrews 12 – By their example be encouraged, even through tough times and God’s discipline
Hebrews 13 – Parting comments & benediction



  • Most likely before the temple was destroyed (70 AD) since the writer writes of temple sacrifices as being things that are still taking place.


  • Not an eyewitness of Jesus but speaks of having heard the gospel from witnesses just as did those to whom Hebrews is addressed.
  • Leader in the church, or a highly respected teacher.
  • Clear thinking, excellent grasp of theology
  • Expert in rhetoric, the development of a convincing argument.


  • Hebrew converts to Christianity
  • Had not developed their faith as much as they should have, “by now you should be teachers”
  • Understood basic foundation of the faith, needed encouragement to mature
  • Perhaps, based on being Hebrews and repeated warnings to be faithful, they were tempted to forsake Christianity and return to Judaism
  • May also have faced persecution from Hebrews living under the Levitical system, of which there is ample proof elsewhere in the New Testament
    • Opposition to Jesus during His ministry and His crucifixion
    • Peter and John arrested by the Jewish leaders and flogged
    • Stephen is arrested by the Jewish leaders, questioned and stoned to death
    • The "severe persecution against the church in Jerusalem"
    • Paul, and his associates, driven out of many towns
    • Paul is stoned nearly to death
    • Paul is arrested in the temple in Jerusalem to be killed
    • Paul’s own testimony “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned.
  • Readers were given convincing proof for Jesus but reality of God and the truth of the Bible are considered unquestionable
  • Responded joyfully to persecution, theft of possessions & position
  • Parallels between 1st c Christian Jews & 21st c Christian Gentiles: Despite temptations to falls away, we can have confidence in Jesus because He alone is our perfect Messenger, Priest and Sacrifice


Evidence - Jesus is PERFECT!

  • Better than Angels
  • Better than Servants
  • Better than Priests
  • Better than animal sacrifice
  • Jesus was made perfect through obedience
  • The heavenly temple He purified is infinitely superior to the earthly temple purified by the blood of animals

Confidence - Jesus IS the way, He is the ONLY way

  • Jesus' superiority over all who came before Him (and all who will come after Him) assures us that the hope that is put in Him is not misplaced

Endurance - Jesus WILL return, let us remain faithful

  • Peter - Acts 10:9-16 - Teach the Gentiles
    • Paul – Philippians 3:12-16 – “I press on toward the finish” – a follower of Jesus for about 30 years but he still did not see himself as having ‘arrived’
  • John - 2 John 1:5-10 - Always turn to God, no matter what
  • Hebrews 6:1 – “let us press on to maturity” – that is, not being satisfied with or constantly reacquainting ourselves with the fundamentals of the faith but increasing in knowledge of God so we can teach and encourage others

Primary Points

  • Pivot Point - Hebrews 6:1 - Leave behind the elementary things which were foundational to salvation and press on to maturity
  • Main Point - Hebrews 10:1 - Maturity: New covenant replaces old, we can enter Holy Place through Jesus’ sacrifice; symbolized by the torn veil – Matt. 27:51 – which opened the way into fellowship with God
  • Most Famous Point - Hebrews 11 – FAITH! – Describes people who trusted God to do what He promised; despite any evidence that said otherwise. Faith in God + not circumstance
  • Application Point – Hebrews 12 – Given the example of those who came before, let us carry on in the same way, looking always to Jesus, who is the Founder and Perfecter of our faith and who endured persecutions and the cross for the joy that He was looking forward to. – Hebrews 13 – Remember & encourage the brothers; do not be distracted by this world’s temptations; honour the leaders, both spiritual and earthly
  • Seven warnings – Always couched in terms of “you haven’t fallen yet, keep on keeping on”

Faith – When we were here last Sunday we celebrated communion together. Together, we ate the bread that symbolizes Jesus’ body, broken for us. Together, we drank the wine that symbolizes Jesus’ blood, poured out for us. What we did together here last week was a communal act of faith. In participating in communion we proclaimed our faith that Jesus’ sacrifice has washed us clean from all our sin. We proclaimed that Jesus’ sacrifice has made us righteous in the sight of God. And we proclaimed that we believe that it is Jesus’ sacrifice alone that can accomplish this.

But how can we be assured that what we said we believe is actually true? How can we know for certain that we really are forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice? What is the proof that can satisfy us that what we proclaimed together last Sunday is actually true?

These are the same question that the Hebrew Christians were asking: “How can we know that what we believe is true?”

And it’s this question that the writer answers: “Here’s what you need to know to be convinced that what you believe is true.”

Of all the books in the New Testament, only Romans mentions “faith” more often than Hebrews. And Hebrews 11 is one of the best known passages of the Bible, perhaps second only to Psalm 23, the poem of the Good Shepherd, and 1 Corinthians 13, Paul’s magnificent discussion of love. Hebrews 11 is the Bible’s great chapter on faith, and it is without doubt the most famous part of the book of Hebrews. Who among us couldn’t quote at least a few of it’s opening words?

Hebrews 11 (ESV) - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Faith, the writer says, is not some blind leap into the dark, hoping for something land on. Faith is the firm assurance that what we believe is absolutely and undoubtedly true and utterly worthy of the trust that we place in it. Faith, in other words, is supported by indisputable fact.

But how can we be certain that it is Jesus who is The One in whom we can put our faith?

Proof – The writer of Hebrews is writing this letter to people who are asking the same question. The writer’s audience were Hebrews, Christians who had come to Christianity from Judaism and the writer went through great lengths to confirm to these Hebrew Christians that Jesus was worthy of their faith and superior to every witness and messenger and system that came before Him.

First, in Hebrews 1 & 2, Jesus is shown to be superior to angels in that:

Second, in Hebrews 3, Jesus is shown to be superior to Moses:

Third, in Hebrews 3 through 10, Jesus is shown to be superior to the Levitical system:

In each of the above comparisons of Jesus to what came before Him He is proven to be superior, and the proof that is used is taken from the Old Testament, the Bible that the Hebrew Christians would have known. Foundational to the writer’s proof are two facts that the writer knew were beyond dispute:

God Is – The writer believes that God exists and that God’s existing is not a thing that can be denied. If you’re familiar with the story of Joseph, the son of Isaac, and his slavery in Egypt you’ll recall how the wife of his master had attempted to seduce him. His response has always intrigued me:

Genesis 39 (ESV) - But he refused and said to his master's wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

What intrigues me about Joseph’s argument is the simplicity of his answer: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” He does not use irrefutable logic or claim unwavering loyalty to his master, he simply says “I can’t sin against God.” Joseph’s answer shows that he believed that God exists and that God’s existence is a fact beyond question. And it was because God existed that he couldn’t and wouldn’t give in to his boss’s wife’s seduction.

This same belief is owned by the writer of Hebrews. In fact, this same belief is owned by all who’s writings appear in the Bible. At no point do any of the Bible’s writers make any attempt to prove that God exists. God simply is and the fact that He is cannot be doubted. God’s own name for Himself is “I AM”. This is His name that He told to Moses at the burning bush and the nature of this name places His existence beyond question.

The Bible is True – The writer of Hebrews also believes the Bible to be truth, that the words the Bible says about God are true whether they came from the poems of King David or the writings of one of God’s prophets and is able to believe this because the Bible is itself God’s own words to His creation. If the existence of God is indisputable then His words to man must be true as nothing else can be.

The writer of Hebrews knows that God exists and that the Bible is truth, and also knows that the readers of Hebrews know and believe the same. Hence the writer doesn’t attempt to prove that God exists or attempt to prove that the Bible is truth but instead uses these foundational facts to prove that Jesus is superior to anything and everything that came before Him

Confidence – Because of this, the Hebrew Christians could have confidence that Jesus was the one in whom they could put their faith and not be afraid that He would fail them. And we can have the same confidence that Jesus is competent to achieve the forgiveness of our sins and enable us to stand before the perfectly Holy God without stain or blemish or fear of punishment. The writer of Hebrews had previously gone through great lengths to show the superiority of Jesus over every other messenger of God, over every other covenant of God, over every other high priest of God. The writer did this to make the point and prove it beyond doubt that, because Jesus is superior over every other thing Christians can have confidence that Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to save.

Maturity – There can be no doubt that once we put our faith in Jesus our sins have been forgiven and our lives have been saved and we have been cleaned. Yet the writer of Hebrews says things like “by now you should have been teachers” and “I am feeding you with milk when you should be eating solid food”. There is no question that those to whom Hebrews was addressed were saved. If they had not been then the writer would have used far different words and would indeed have gone on to instruct them in the elementary things of Christ. The writer is not complaining of their lack of faith but is encouraging them to grow, to mature in their faith. To not just say “Yes” to Jesus but to walk with Jesus. To be instructed by Jesus. To be guided by Jesus. To be faithful to Jesus as Jesus was faithful to the Father; regardless of what other teaching may be encountered.

Opposition & Persecution – There is reasonable evidence in Hebrews that one of the risks that its audience, Hebrew Christians, faced was the temptation to return to Judaism and to the Levitical system which they had left behind them when they put their faith in Jesus. But they would also have faced the temptations to water down their faith that would have accompanied persecution, abuse, loss of property, loss of position. Things that you and I face on a daily basis to a greater or lesser degree. How many of us been tempted to downplay our faith for the sake of a friendship? How many of us have been tempted to change where we put our faith because of seductively appealing words? How many of us have been tempted to hide our faith so we could keep our job? How many of us believe lies that weaken our faith because of their pretty words?

These are the same things that the readers of Hebrews faced, and more. And the writer of Hebrews is encouraging them to hold fast to the faith. To press on. To mature. To be joyful in persecution. To look to their great High Priest who suffered more than they ever could and was not defeated. To have faith that their great High Priest, because He lived as they live, was able to give them the help they needed when and where they needed it.

Examples – And in Hebrews 11, after convincing the readers of the superiority of Jesus over any other thing that the readers might be tempted to rely on, the writer gives them a list of examples of Godly men and Godly women who believed what God told them despite astounding evidence to the contrary and lived according to their belief:

These are spectacular examples. These are the examples we like to remember when things get tough. We want to remember people like Abraham and Rahab for whom things went well on account of their faith. But the writer also gives us other, less spectacular examples. Examples like these believers:

But these are also spectacular examples, not because of the magnificence of their success (no city fell at their feet) but because of the beauty of their faith. They trusted God for something more than Earthly success, despite the fact that, from the world’s point of view, everything was against them. Their faith has made them inheritors of God’s promise just as much as Abraham and Rahab and us.

The book of Hebrews is an encouragement to the Christian to be steadfast, to live for God, despite persecution from man and discipline from God. An encouragement to do more than simply say “Yes” to Jesus, which is sufficient for salvation, but is insufficient for growth and Christian ministry. The Hebrew Christians were being told that Jesus was insufficient for their salvation and that they needed to return to the law, the priests and the sacrifices of the old Levitical covenant to assure a right standing with God. We who are Christians today are told that our faith is outdated, that it is hateful, that it doesn’t explain the world around us.

To both fist century Christians and twenty-first century Christians, the writer gives encouragement to hold on to God’s word even when popular truth and human reason seem to argue against it:

In the face such opposition, the writer of Hebrews gives us a list of those who lived by faith (Hebrews 11) and encourages us to look at their example and follow it as runners running a race:

Hebrews 12 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

And, being encouraged by their example, to live a life of faith ourselves:

Hebrews 12 (ESV) 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

Because, as was made abundantly clear in chapters 1 through 5, Jesus is superior to all that came before Him and He is the perfection to which all that came before Him pointed:

Hebrews 12 (ESV) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

The writer then concludes the letter by giving a few practical examples of how the Christian can live in a way that expresses their faith:

Hebrews 13 (ESV) 1 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them …. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

And since the writer has from the beginning been encouraging Christians to follow the example set for us by Jesus, here is what Jesus Himself has to say on the matter:

Luke 6 (ESV) - 27 “I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

And remembering again the examples of faith shown to us in Hebrews 11, whether what is measured back to us is given to us in the life to come or is given to us in this life as well, we can hold fast to the confidence that it will be given to us because Jesus, who promised that it would be given to us, is perfect and better than anything and everything that came before Him. He is utterly trustworthy and we can have the assurance that we can trust Him with our lives, come what may.

This is what we proclaimed together in our celebration of communion last Sunday: We have put our faith in Jesus and we are trusting Him with our lives.

Knowing that we can have the utmost confidence that Jesus is worthy of our faith, and being encouraged by His example and the example of those who have gone (and go) before us, let us live in such a way that our words, our thoughts and our actions may give God pleasure and shine the glory of God into the part of the world where we live and work and play.

Hebrews 13 (ESV) - 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.