Hebrews 13:8a
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted,
were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins
and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts,
and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
(Hebrews 11:36-38)

The clause for our consideration is found in the passage of the “Heroes of Faith” in Hebrews 11. The author of Hebrews (whom I believe to be the Apostle Paul) was discussing how the saints of the Old Testament were persecuted for the faith. Some were killed. Others were imprisoned and tortured. Still others had to experience mockings, slanders, ostracism, loneliness and exile because of their stand for the Christian faith.

The same is true of the New Testament saints. Paul himself testified that as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, he was “in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

Similarly, in the book of Revelation, we see how the world during the Great Tribulation will hate the two witnesses that God will send to prophesy and judge the world. Instead of repenting, the men of the world will kill the two witnesses and leave their bodies in the streets. In the eyes of sinful men, the saints have no worth to the world.

However, God’s perspective is different from the world’s. The saints are precious in His sight. They are not only God’s chil-dren, but also His messengers and witnesses to the world of darkness. The presence of believers in the world is proof of God’s mercy and longsuffering to wicked and sinful men. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) In fact, the proclamation of the Word of God through God’s servants is a privilege that the world does not deserve. The reverse is true – the world is not worthy of the saints!

This clause in Hebrews 11:38a is thus a wonderful encouragement to anyone who is suffering for the sake of Christ. The incessant insults, scorn and persecutions can at times be extremely discouraging to believers. Though we know that the world may look down on believers, all labour that is done for Christ is not in vain. Calvin astutely noted that “though the world may cast Christians out as offscourings”, they can be comforted “that the same things happened to the prophets, who found more clemency in wild animals than in men.” The Christian knows that it will be worth it all when life’s journey is over for he will be in the presence of Christ and find eternal rest in his Saviour.

On the other hand, these words also serve as a warning to all those who are mired in worldliness. Why seek the world when the world is not worthy of the saints! Thus, God’s Word declares – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17). A Christian ought to be characterised by love for God’s Word in-stead of the world. He must set his affections on things above and not the things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). How about you?

A believer ought to reject worldly philosophies and ideas, and pursue after godliness. However, the Scripture warns us that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), for we live in a world that hates Christ and His Word. Therefore, when persecution comes, remember the words proclaimed by Christ on the Sermon on the Mount – “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12) We are treading the same path as the saints of old. The world is not worthy of the saints!

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew



(Adapted from Teenz RPG 17 April 2016)

The late Rev. Timothy Tow, founder of the B.P. Movement in Singapore and the Far Eastern Bible College, often related this quote by John Calvin to his theology students. It is said that when asked about what requirements one must have in studying theology, John Calvin’s reply was, “Humility, humility and humility.” None of us can say that we are humble enough, and so we must constantly seek the Lord for humility and more humility.

In the study of God’s Word, humility is most needed. First we need humility to examine ourselves and honestly confess our many sins and evil conduct before the Lord. Sins are filthy, loathsome and detestable in God’s sight and we should have abhorrence to it. Once we have such an attitude and seek to cleanse ourselves of a mind full of sensuality and wickedness, we are able to receive truth with greater force. As James 1:21 clearly tells us, we must first lay apart all filthiness and sin first, before we can begin to receive God’s Word. Purity of heart and mind is the best preparation always for seeing and receiving truth. Without humility, a proud person would always approach God’s Word with a “not me!” attitude, deliberately ignoring all calls to repentance and refusing to have his sins pointed out in the flawless mirror of Scripture.

A humble spirit thus receives the Word of God with meekness. Meekness, gentleness, docility, are vitally required in receiving the instructions of God’s Word. When we approach the Bible with such a manner, then the Word of God will be firmly engrafted or implanted in us, leading to fruits of righteousness, to the glory of God.

Are you proud of your human intellect and wisdom, causing you to question what God says in His Word? It is time to say to yourself that if God says it, I will believe it. Don’t doubt anymore. As you prayerfully meditate on what God says in His Word more and more, you will soon find that you cannot deny the supreme truth it holds.