“THE REGISTER ROCK                                By Pastor YAU

Text: Hebrews 11:29-12:2                                  May 16, 2010.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    Names on a rock: Along the Oregon Trail in Idaho, there is a landmark---a gigantic lava boulder known to locals as Register Rock. It’s located in an area which was one of the favorite overnight camping sites for westbound immigrants who traveled west in the early 19th century. Travelers often inscribed their names on this rock as a memorial to their passage of the famous trail. The Register Rock stands as a monument to their courage and tenacity.

2)    Names in a book: Hebrews chapter 11 is also a Register Book, not for immigrants traveled to the Old West, but for pilgrims of faith traveled to God’s Kingdom. People like Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, Samuel and a host of others in the Old Testament, they all had left their names on the Trail of Faith on which Paul traveled thousands of years later. Each one of us has our own Register Rock, a record of pilgrims who inspired our courage in our spiritual journey.

 

TRACING THEIR COMMON TRAITS: There are common traits between the westbound immigrants and the Christian pilgrims.

1)   They all have a dream: Many achievements began from dreams. When people begin to dream, to see things beyond their present environment, looking for more and higher, that is the starting point of their pursuits. While the immigrants dreamed for a better life in the West, Christian pilgrims dreamed for a higher purpose of life God has planned for them.

2)   They all are courageous: No journey of dreams is ever an easy ride or smooth sailing. All pioneers in all areas of pursuit must be people of great courage: they won’t run in the face of setback or difficulties. While pioneers to the West drew courage from their dream, Christian pilgrims draw their courage from God. If you are easily discouraged in your journey of faith, easy to give up in the face of challenges, you won’t get very far in your pursuit and most likely you will be left undone. Read chapter 11 again and you will see their invincible courage in display.

3)   They seldom travel alone: Few immigrants, if any, had traveled that Oregon Trail as lone rangers to arrive at their destination. Most of them traveled in bands and groups for obvious reasons. God knew that we are vulnerable as individual Christians in this world, so, He created the church where we can congregate, learn and find support from each other along our journey to heaven. It is God’s will that His people join together in churches to support each other to achieve the goals of life God set for them.

4)   They arrived at their goal: History has proven and verified that those who are brave and persistent will achieve their goals. The immigrants who traveled the trail and the pilgrims who traveled their trail and both arrived at their goals with victory. Both the immigrants and the pilgrims traveled their paths to the unknown territories with faith, commitment and courage. Those who had courage, pushed forward with persistence and put their faith in God had arrived at what they first started for. Don’t be afraid to go the distance, launch to the deep if you know that’s what God wants you to go. Learn from Abraham and you will get there.

 

WHO WERE THESE PEOPLE? (Ref. Hebrews 11:1-38)

1)   They had never-fading faith: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (11:1-2) All the names in this chapter were recorded because of one outstanding character: faith. Among all other virtues they might have, faith is the supreme trademark of their lives. God recorded their names here to show us how important our faith is to Him. God wants us to know, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (11:6)

2)   They had a higher goal of life: “They were looking for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (11:16) Looking higher for a better city, a place closer to God is the theme of their pursuit. Their faith in God and desire of God helped them push forward and upward to reach their goal. Thousands of years later, Apostle Paul said this: “Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:16)

3)   They aimed for greater reward: “He disregarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasure of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (11:26)Many of us embark on difficult endeavors for rewards but rewards have different values. People of faith in God looked for the best reward God had reserved for them. Paul said this in his letter to Titus, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day----and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (1 Tim. 4:8)

4)   They were in good company: “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.” (11:32)Today, you may pay a fee to have your name and life story, you may write anything, to be included in publications such as Who Is Who in the South, or others like that. Publications like these were first printed to make known of outstanding figures in the community. It was a real honor to be included in those lists because it means you are of some distinguished class. But none of any such lists of names may come close to the honor of the list compiled by God here.

 

NAMES GOD DESIRES FOR US: (Hebrews 11:39-12:2)

1)   Names of good reports: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith.” (11:39, KJV) A name of good report is very important to all God’s people. One of the qualities of those who were chosen to serve tables in the early church is people of good names. (Acts 6:3) As witnesses for Christ, the reputation of our names, as others know us, has a lot to do with the glory and honor of Jesus Christ and the effectiveness of our service. 

2)   Names perfected in God: “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (11:40) The Bible has many listings on “better” and “perfect” to describe God’s desire in His people and the ministry God has given them. God described His work as good and perfect in the creation story. He always desires us to be good, to do right and to attain perfection without stain and wrinkles. (Ephesians 5:27) This may be a lofty and unreachable goal for us. But it is a goal all of us should have in our mind for our perfect Lord and God.

3)   Name in the Hall of Fame: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (12:1)After he listed all the giants of faith, Paul asked that we do something to free ourselves so we may be included in the honor roll of God. Throwing off all hindrances and sins so we may be qualified to be among all the saints is a glorious goal for our life. No list of name of honor is worthy of our pursuit except this list of God’s best people. This is the Spiritual Hall of Fame to honor God.

4)   The name above all names: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (12:2) Again the Bible says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)No name, yours or mine or anyone else’ may compete with the name of Jesus Christ. His name is superior to all names. And it is for His name we live, serve and grow to glorify him.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Life is a journey: Nobody disagrees that life is a journey from one end at birth to the other end, at death. The differences between one person to another rest on how and for what the person lives for. For what is about the purpose of life while the how is about the way one lives. We all have only one chance to travel the life journey, so, it is very important that we choose the path wisely and carefully

2)    Your name matters: Just as the names inscribed on the Register Rock and the name in the Book of Hebrews, they are more than ordinary names, they are witnesses of something much bigger: an important history of a nation and that of the faith journey of God’s people. We all will leave our names behind to others who will travel the path we have just completed. What kind of life, message and influence our names presents is vitally important. What do you want to see how your name others may know?

3)    The ultimate list: The Bible says there is a Book of Life (Phil.  4:3) in which God records the names of those who have eternal life through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate place we all want to register our names in. So, place your faith in Jesus Christ, ask Him to forgive your sins and invite Him into your heart to give you new life for eternity and guidance of life in this world. Do not wait for another day because you can’t be sure there is another day.