When I was growing up, I had two heroes in my life. The first hero was the Bionic Man. He was strong and could do just about anything. I would make that noise they always made when he was using his super strength to pick something up when I would pick something up. My second heron was wonder woman. I will never forget, when I was about 7 years old I was riding my bicycle down the sidewalk and jumped of while it was still going yelling ďwonder womanĒ and then my bicycle fell in half.† Ah the funny things we do as children.
Of course these were my heroes of my youth, but now I have completely different idea about who my heroes are now. Before I get to that, I want to define what a hero is:
Hopefully as adults, we know the difference between heroes of fantasy and heroes of reality. For example, we know that Superman is a hero of fantasy, and a man or woman who runs into burning building to rescue someone is a hero of reality. While many heroic acts by men and women can properly be labeled as a hero, the top heroes in my life are those who refuse to compromise Godís truth no matter what the cost. They are the people who are willing to proclaim Godís truth and do the right thing even when it is not popular. Some of heroes are living and some of them of have been dead for many years.
For my time this morning I want to focus on some of my heroes that are no longer living, but still influence me today and give me the courage to press on and remain faithful to God. Of course all these heroes of mine can be found in the Bible.
My first hero is Abraham:
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Imagine living in a city with your family all around you. Everything is good, you are providing for your family and they are all happy with where they are. They donít have to worry about their future because they are well established where they are.
Now imagine God asking you to leave what you are familiar with to go to place you have never seen not knowing what challenges might face. Now some might view this as adventure, but most would be very hesitant about leaving the familiar. Since Abraham was willing to put his faith and trust in God and to pack up and go makes Abraham a great example for me. When I consider how he lived his life for God, his faithfulness makes him a hero in my eyes. Especial when he above and beyond what most of us would be willing to do as read in:
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,† 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"† 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
Can you imagine being asked to sacrifice you son or your daughter to God? Can you see yourself being as faithful as Abraham? Knowing that he had the level of faith in God to put Him first even above his flesh and blood shows why he is a great hero of mine and why I look up to him. While God never have us kill one of our children, I want to have his faith when it comes to anything that God asks me to do in His Word, donít you?
My second hero is David. He was man after Godís on heart, but we can also relate to him because he struggled with sin throughout his life, but in the end he always repented of his sin and got back right with God. I guess what stands out the most for me with David was his courage as a young man as faced Goliath when no one else would. As David met him on the battlefield, we read:
1 Samuel 17:45 Then
David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear,
and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God
of the armies of
Davidís courage that came from his faith in God teaches me that no matter what giants I may face in my life they are never bigger than my God. They cannot keep me down as long as I put my faith and trust in God to deliver me from them. Since Davidís faith in God allowed him to be so courageous against insurmountable odds, he is my hero.
Also, Davidís 3 mighty men show us courageous they were even when everyone else ran away in fear:
2 Samuel 23:8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.† 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated.† 10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.† 11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. Then the people fled from the Philistines.† 12 But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. And the LORD brought about a great victory.
Imagine yourself facing a great enemy and then all of sudden you see you fellow men running away out of fear. It would be very tempting to run with them, but a true hero will stand his ground like the mighty† men of David did. Because of they kept their faith in tact they were able to accomplish great things with the Lordís help.
Again this teaches me that I should not run from my problems, but stay and fight them head on knowing that God has my back and will help me be victorious in the end. If these men could do what they did by themselves with the help of God, I know that I can do great things by myself with the help of God as well.
My next heron is Esther. She was a woman who saved her people because she was willing to put her life on the line. Haman had already talked the king into signing a decree to destroy the Jews in his kingdom, which could not be undone. Their only hope was for Esther to go see the king and make another decree for the Jews to be able to protect themselves. We learn how heroic she must be in order to go before the king in:
Esther 4:10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai:† 11 "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days."† 12 So they told Mordecai Esther's words.† 13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.† 14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"† 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:† 16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
It would have been easy for Esther to remain silent and let her people be slaughtered, but she found courage to stand up for her people even if it meant death. She understood that even if she died trying at least she did something. That what being a hero is all about. It is doing the right thing not matter what may happen to you. It is speaking out even when you are scared.
Esther teaches me that I should have the courage to stand up for my fellow brethren and not be afraid to speak out for righteousness.
Daniel is another hero of mine because he remained faithful
to God even when he was very young. When he was chosen to become a servant of
the king of
Then later under king Darius (duh-rye-us) we read:
Daniel 6:10 Now
when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper
room, with his windows open toward
You see king Darius had been tricked into signing a decree that no man could make a petition to any God or other man than Darius. If they did, they would be fed to the lions. Daniel knew full well that praying to God would land him in lions den, prayed anyway because he refused to allow anything to keep him from praying to God.
He teaches me that I should never be embarrassed about praying to God. Even if people look at me weird or laugh at me I know that I can pray anyways because Daniel could pray knowing that he might be eaten alive. †
I also consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego my trio of heroes because they were brave enough to stand before the king and tell him face to face that they would not bow down to his golden image even though they would be thrown into a firry furnace heated 7 time hotter than normal. Notice their response to the king:
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.† 17 "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.† 18 "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Their faithfulness teaches me that there is never a time that we should compromise Godís truth even if it means dying a horrible death to keep the faith.
There are many other faithful men and women in the O.T. that are my heroes, but for the remainder of our lesson I would like to name just a few of my heroes from the N.T.
The first one that comes to mind is Stephen the first martyred Christian. The reason the man stands out for me is because not only was he willing to proclaims the truth to these Jews that were confronting him, he shows me how to have a forgiving spirit while he was in midst of being stoned to death:
Acts 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;† 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.† 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."† 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
While it is not easy to not hold a grudge against someone who is doing you wrong, his example shows me that if I trust in God and follow the example of Jesus as Stephen did that I can learn to be a person that has forgiving spirit and who willing to forgive those who repent.
Paul is also my hero because he teaches me that I can endure one hardship after another as long as God is on my side. He teaches me that the cause of Christianity and the furtherance of the Godís kingdom is more important than me.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;† 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed --† 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.† 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.† 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.† 13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak,† 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.† 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.† 16 ∂ Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.† 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,† 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Paul teaches me that I no
matter what I go through on this earth, when I remain faithful to God it will
be worth in the end because eternity in heaven is far greater than anything we
have to endure on this earth.
His attitude was to let the will of the Lord be done (Acts 21:14).
Of course my greatest hero in Bible was a man who lived, died, and was raised again. Yes, Jesus is my number 1 hero. He has all the faith and the courage of all the other heroes I have mentioned combined. Knowing that He gave up the riches of heaven to come to this earth and live like us and face severe persecution and then all the pains associated with scourging and dying on a cross just to make it possible for me and you to have the forgiveness of our sins when we did not deserve it, makes Him the ultimate superhero.
Notice a few passages that show us the love He had for us:
John 10:17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.† 18 "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.† 13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.†
Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed,† 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."† 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.† 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
These verses teach us that Jesus was in control of when He would die. This is why when read through the Gospels that you see many times where Jesus escapes death because it was not His time. When it did come time, He would have loved to have skipped the pain He was going to have to endure, but He knew there was no other way and that is was time for Him to show just how much He loved us by giving up His life so that we might live.
I hope that Jesus is also your number 1 hero because not greater hero has ever existed or will exist in the future. The question becomes, will you live for Jesus and set the example for others around you so that you can be like the many heroes that we have talked about in this lesson?
Peter tells us:
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:† 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth";† 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;† 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.† 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
My hope is that you will live for God and follow in the footsteps of Jesus no matter what the consequence. When you do this and you remain faithful to God, you to will be one of my heroes.