Calling to remembrance the former times

Scripture: Hebrews 10:32-39

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Looking back upon former days in our lives is a divine injunction. While it behoves us to be ever “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” 2 Peter 3:12. (Matt 25:5.) We are also called upon to look back. It is something that God constantly calls His people to do. Of course, we have need of such calls for we are so forgetful. This is especially true of the good and the blessed things we have experienced. Matt 16:5-10.

What is it God would have us remember? “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no,” Deuteronomy 8:2. All of God’s dealings with us are worthy of recall.

Here in the passage before us, it is a call to remember the days at the beginning of the pilgrimage of the Hebrew Christians.

Remembering the former days will serve to:—

I. EMPHASIS THE NEED SINNERS HAVE OF ILLUMINATION

Often we are puzzled by the opposition of sinners. If we recall what we were like we will not.

1. Remember your own darkness and ignorance.  The eyes of our soul dwelt under the blackest curtain of ignorance. “For ye were sometimes darkness,” Eph 5:8. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son,” Colossians 1:13.

2. Illumination was the first grace bestowed.  Verse 16 lists the blessings of the covenant. Illumination is first.

3. It was an illumination in the knowledge of Christ. The word means to light up, Rev 18:1. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, II Corinthians 4:6. In the light of Christ’s glory, like Saul, we saw our own sins clearly.
Remembering the former days will serve to:—

II.  SHOW THAT AFFLICTION IS PART OF BEING A CHRISTIAN
We had no trouble from the world before we were saved. But that changed very swiftly upon our conversion. Affliction and trouble are an integral part of the Christian’s journey. “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22.  “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto,” 1 Thessalonians 3:3. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” 2 Timothy 3:12.

1. The character of their affliction. “A great fight of afflictions.”  The word fight comes from athleo, a Greek word meaning  participation in public games.

2. The precise nature of their affliction.  “Gazing stock,” (brought upon a stage). “Spoiling of their goods.” These are two very heavy burdens to bear.

3. The reason why they were made to suffer.  They became companions of the despised servants of God who were the companions of the despised Jesus, verse 33. It is His reproach the child of God is required to bear. Hebs 13:13. No reproach — no affliction. Something modern Christianity is most anxious to avoid!!
Remembering the former days will serve to:

III. REMIND US OF THE  SECRET OF SUCH VICTORIOUS LIVING
Those who lived in victory in the past may not be doing so now. People who achieved much for Christ in the past may not be doing so now. Looking back may mean the recovery of that victory which has been lost. Look at verse 32. They had endured a great fight. Look at verse 34. There was a “joyful acceptance” of the “spoiling of their goods.” This joyful endurance of affliction sprang from a “knowing in themselves “that they had “in heaven a better and an enduring substance,”  v 34.

1. The secret was the abiding and real sense of heaven’s glory. From day to day they lived with a greater sense of heaven than of the earth. Do you remember days like that?

2. To them heaven’s glory was enduring  while earth’s was passing away.  Heaven was “an enduring, lasting substance.”

3. To them heaven was substantial. The word means wealth, goods, property.  The only other place this word occurs is in Acts 2:45. “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” They had no real attachment to them anyway. This is what enabled them to rejoice as they had their earthly goods taken from them. They had that which none could ever take from them.
Remembering what we once were like arouses desire for a return to that spirit.
May God be pleased to send an awakening against to us like there was in former times amongst God’s people.

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