This broadcaster has 365 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
January 3, 2022 1:00 am
If you would turn in your Bibles once again to Hebrews chapter 12. I trust that all of you were able to get a handout that I hope will be beneficial if you do have a handout, you see several passages that I will not have you turn to but I'm hoping that you'll elect to do so on your own little bit later. Let's read the text again and then we'll get into what the Lord have a share tonight. Hebrews chapter 12 verses 1 to 3. Therefore, we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. By way of introduction, I want to place our text and context and were not going to read this but if you would go back to Hebrews 1032 through 39 SS is saved by describing why the author is encouraging these people to run the race at set before them and that reason is their past perseverance. These folk being addressed in Hebrews chapter 12 123 had gone through tremendous trial and they had persevered, that stuck. By the stuff by the grace of God. We not only see what they gone through, but we find in Hebrews 11. The first two verses faith defined now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen for by yet the elders obtained a good testimony faith defined. John MacArthur says the faith described here involves the most solid possible conviction.
The God-given present assurance of the future reality. True faith.
Beloved is not based on observation or experience, but on divine assurance and it's a gift of God not everyone preaches that but we certainly do here. We believe that faith and repentance. Both are a gift of God and thank him for his grace and that and then with we see not only faith defined by faith display in Hebrews 11 again. Verses four through 38 lists several commendable examples of faith that persevered right up to their death as they focused on the promises of God in the common thread that runs through each of their lives was based on conviction, courage, and consistency. No matter what the circumstance. And again we could read Hebrews chapter 11 and and I would just jump out to you very different life's very different lives, but some commonality that will address a little bit later. Some showed their faith amidst glorious triumphs, other showed their faith through grievous trials. They placed their faith in the person and promises of God when they could not understand his providence and isn't that the way it needs to be for us. We at times. Do not what know what God is doing in our lives. But as we grow in our knowledge of who we as we go on our confidence when severe trials come our way. When severe mercies come our way. We see faith defined in our introduction and displayed within faith, declared notice in verses 39 through 40. In Hebrews 11 and all these speaking of the ones that we refer to having obtained a good testimony through faith did not receive the promise of God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. What was the promise.
The promise was the Messiah and his superior priesthood and beloved, we can look back on that is historical fact and we can praise God for what they look forward to it by faith. Considering their past perseverance. The examples given in Hebrews 11. The writer now calls his readers to join him in seriously running the race that is set before him, and I want you to notice Hebrews 12 verse one. In light of the things that we just looked at he says. Therefore, we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight in the sin which so easily ensnares us.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, and the first thing that I would have us notice is the examples from history range from patriarchs to a prostitute and we find that in Hebrews chapter 11 we find that in Hebrews 12 one.
The examples from history range from the patriotic arcs to a prostitute. Kenneth Wiest in his commentary states this that the cloud of witnesses, refers to a great mass of cloud covering of the entire visible of the heaven visibility of that. It doesn't have a form and what is getting at here is the host of fatal examples from the past is immeasurable. I've heard some preach and say this cloud of witnesses is like people in stands going up and the more I thought about this and and read different commentaries. I think Kenneth Wiest has what is pointing out as the vast number you know when you think about it.
Why would they be watching me run the race in the presence of God. You know, I think I think for the first umpteen million years. We are going to be enraptured in the presence of God Almighty in the presence of Christ.
The word witnesses does not mean spectators listen to this carefully.
Our English word martyr comes directly from the Greek word translated witness.
These people are not witnessing what we're doing, rather their bearing witness to us that God will guide us through our circumstances just like you guided them to theirs.
God more witness of his faithfulness to them and their lives bear witness to us. The second thing we look at not only the examples from history range from patriarchs to a prostitute with the exhortation of those Hebrews and to us is twofold. First of all, were to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares, you know, it's amazing to me that we can take for granted the need to really get serious about running the Christian life and get rid of anything that would hinder us from doing our very best, whatever that may be. I know of Olympic swimmers that will shave the hair off their legs and arms just to get 1/10 of a second.
That is serious stuff and what our writer is telling us is we need to be serious about this race is not just a Sunday afternoon job. He's saying lay aside every weight in the sin which so easily to set ensnares a sleigh aside every weight wears be in his commentary says everything that hinders our progress. This might even be something that's good in the eyes of others, but a winning athlete does not choose between the good and the bad. He chooses between the better and the best and I want us to get this tonight because I think it's so critical. Performance is directly tied to preparation performance is directly tied to preparation Bobby Knight is a former basketball coach at Indiana. I would have to struggle for the bull for America if he was coaching American the Olympics.
That's how little I think of him. His first character, but he did get this right.
He did get this right performance is directly tied to preparation. Here's what Bobby Knight said the will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare folks listen to that again.
The will to succeed is important, but what is more important is the will to prepare will could you give us an example of that.
The will to prepare is getting up before dawn to have devotions the will to prepare is to pray for God to give you wisdom and grace and strength to have convictions encourage the will to prepare is more important than the will to win the will to succeed often tall my soccer players and practice and some of you will remember this, we pay a price when the stands are empty so they pay a price when the stands are full say how hard know that's just Mark, we pay a price. With no one watching us so that we can play our best. When the stands are full well you have a biblical example of that about David the shepherd a bear, a lion, and then Goliath. He prepared by killing a lion and a bear with no one watching and then he took on a 9'9" giant with two arms watching in the point being folks had he not prepared in private he could not of been performed in public and I use that term perform carefully the Christian life is not about performance. The Christian life is pastor Kay said earlier, is about faith. She said this morning, and yet because we love the Lord were grateful for what is done in the lives we want to live our lives in a way that would honor and glorify him. He says lay aside the weight.
Secondly, lay aside the sin which so easily ensnares us the sin.
Maybe the any evil propensity that you have a could be different for every one of us matter. Matthew Henry understands it to mean that sandwich we are most prone or to which we are most exposed from habit or age or circumstance.
Whatever Twitter trips are switch.
We need to lay aside.
James 114 James says each one is tempted each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lot desires and enticed them when desire has conceived gives birth to sin and sent when it's full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren, and folks the death that he's talking about could be physical, but it could be the death of her relationship.
It could be the death of the ministry could been the number of deaths, a safe cessation of something we need to lay aside the things that tempt us and we need to run with patience the race that set before us when we say this, Satan doesn't play fair. I want to quickly give an analogy of that that is somewhat funny. I don't mean it to be put, the very nature of it is cousin of mine and I went fishing for this huge bigmouth bass. He was over in our neighbors Bo house and you can see that fish is sitting up in the shallow water of about 3 feet deep. Just daring us to throw a lure and we tried everything under the sun, and that fish disdained everything with you at my uncle was well-off as far as buying fishing tackle and he had the best of it. That's how that fish got as big as he did so my cousin had this bright idea and we want this house and he got a spear 3-prong spirit, we put it on the end of the pole and I snuck into that Bo house and I told the teens I felt like terrorism doing this, but I snuck in that Bo, Hassan, I got in the front of Boaz and I thrust that spear down into that fish. He said that's not playing fair to write. I cheated it wasn't a bite on any conventional things so desperate men do desperate things.
We kill the fish and it was struggling. I got up out of the water and let a bell around me and my uncle said her my cousin said be quiet man it's illegal to spear game fish in New York State. In all, thanks for John and what it I do handed him the spear, but the point is this, though.
All kidding aside, Satan does not play fair. He didn't play fair in the garden and he won't play fair in your life or mine.
He knows what buttons to push. And we have to take this race seriously lay aside every weight in the sin which so easily ensnares us.
The word ensnares her easily ensnares or easily beset us as a translation of the Greek word meaning readily definitely cleverly sin can encircle her claim to us before we know it and I can make a devastating impact on our ability to run the race. The second thing that were told to do is not only lay aside these things, but were run with endurance the race that set before us.
You know, in light of Wiest and others saying that this cloud is not a bunch of saints that have gone on before watching us from layered in the stadium like setting.
In light of that, I like to think of the Christian race is a cross-country race and why do you say that well if you ever run cross-country its rugged terrain. There are obstacles that vary with each individual course. Every course is different and you have to pay attention what you're doing. You won't even finish the race and I'm going to give it a personal illustration at the end of the message. Nine but even though the race is different with each course. There are some similarities they characterize every Christian's race. There's some things that are going to be the same for you as they are for me and we have those listed in your notes. The first is the race's personal like Christ. They were born into history when God ordained it for his purposes. Folks you were born into history for such a time as this is taken from the book of Esther, but is true of all of us were born in history when God decides and I might add, not only with the patriarchs and the prophets and the apostles born in the history when God decided, but the lives of wicked individuals that God used to bring about his purposes were also a favorite verse of mine is Psalm 3723. The steps of a good man are ordered or established or fixed or prepared ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way and what I want you to get under this heading the race's personal God equips each of his own with natural talents and spiritual gifts, he equips each of us with natural talents and spiritual gifts to run our race effectively for his glory and were not look this up. You can find this just one text Exodus 31 one through 11 talks about craftsman that God gifted with the ability and the building of the temple and if you read that text and it's in Deuteronomy. Also but it's it's fantastic that God gifted these men to make the temple that honored him. Not only does he gift us with talents, but he gifts us was spiritual. Guess first Corinthians 12 were tells that the spirit bestows spiritual gifts as he sees fit with the good of the church. Here's the point that I want you to get tonight on young people you but really all of us be yourself, but the LU should be. Don't try to be someone else. Be yourself but be all you should be pursue excellence that is in line with potential pursue excellence that is in line with your potential illustration eight men or women are in the finals of the hundred yard dash in the Olympics. One of them wins the goal. One of them comes in last place. The last-place person is one of the eight fastest men or women in the world.
It's a matter of perspective and I would convey to you that if they did their best. There were one so what we want us to get at the races. Personal God equips us as he wants you to be equipped to do his will.
And secondly, be yourself pursue excellence that is in line with your potential.
Spurgeon put it this way when we speak of Psalm 3723 steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. He said this all his course of life is graciously ordained and in loving kindness all is fixed settled and maintain no reckless fate no physical chance rules us are every step is the subject of divine decree. The race is personal. But secondly the races predestined in length and for us believers. This is very encouraging. God decides the day this life rate. This race ends for every individual. He decides that doesn't mean that we don't use the means available us to address sickness by going to a doctor taking medication but market down folks. God is in control of when were born and when we die and I'll give you two text among men Psalm 139 16.
David said your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed and in your book.
They were all written the day's fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. That word fashioned means to determine or purpose. The days purpose. The days determine for me, when as yet there were none of the Job 14 five is speaking to mankind in general and Job wrote this since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you. You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
If you lose a loved one to death in whoever that may be. Don't ever think you could have done more when God puts it. On a person's life. It's over.
When God puts it.
On the person's life. It's over it's over for his purposes, and we need to bow the knee to that.
Does that make it easy, necessarily knowing that that is true no, but she gives us grace and that is a truth that we can going to the third thing the race is personal.
It's predestined in length. It's prioritized it's prioritized in the lives of every commendable Christian and we won a rate run the race for God's glory and we want to give that race top priority list in Philippians 313 through 14 and just try to envision a runner doing this. Paul writes brother and I do not count myself to have apprehended or arrive.
I haven't gotten altogether but one thing I do, forgetting those sweet things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Can you see him pressing for the finish line. Paul was single-minded in pressing for the mark and what was that Mark what should that Mark be for you and for me, well done, thou good and faithful servant you've run well you've done your best, that should be the goal of every Christian. Unfortunately number for the race is painful and is not just cross-country races that are painful any race of any length or really even spread if the race is pain first Peter chapter 1 verses six and seven Peter wrote the persecuted Christians.
He said in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while if need be. You have been grieved by various trials. Why that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes though it's tested by fire may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Beloved, there are times when the Christian race is painful. There's no getting around and that pain can come in a multiplicity of ways. It doesn't have to be physical, it can be emotional, they can be spiritual. Number five. The race is progressive.
I I trust that it is. And again I collude back to what Pastor Kay said this morning about justification and sanctification sanctification. The race is progressive. Second Corinthians 318 Paul writes but we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in the same image from glory to glory, just as by the spirit of the Lord. How do you relate that to a race well. The bottom line is we faithfully run the race that God has set before us. He will grow us as we progress closer to the finish line that is ordained for us if were faithful to run the race that he set before us.
He will grow us as we progress closer to the finish line with each passing chapter of our lives. We are now becoming one day be. I have said that I do not know how many times countless times the young people and I'm afraid that it probably takes getting the middle age crisis before we realize that's true. I am now at 71, becoming who I will one day be the only thing yes I have no idea how long that will be.
So what is your point. I need to press every day as though it's my last. I need to press to finish strong. Every day as though it is my last that the race is progressive, the more we exercise herself on the godliness the more mature in the Lord and effective. We will be, and finally the race is profitable thank the Lord. First Peter 31325 Peter writes, Blessed be the God and father of Lord Jesus Christ, according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled. It does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed at the last time beloved the trophy if you will, the thing that will receive the honor that will receive whatever way you want to put it is profit.
The best is yet to come for the believer, you know, I have the opportunity to visit the hospital often to visit some of our people and on numerous occasions I have made the statement I don't know what people do without the Lord, you have a lay on her back in that bed with no hope of most of you, if not all of you know I had a heart attack June 21 June 20, 21, over a year ago. Whichever one of what you think I get it 20 and 21 but flip-flop it. Either way, it's in my rearview mirror. But as I lay in that bed by myself because of covert. It hit me. I may never see my family again decided glory may never. I was a complete peace that does not mean that I didn't have a motion not as much or may why because where I'm headed is the basis of our hope, but for my family and yet I couldn't help but think what do people do that don't have the assurance that Christians have that settled and confident that if I don't wake up in recovery. I will wake up in heaven.
Little did I know when they do what they did to me. They don't legislate they let you stay awake during the whole thing. But honestly, I thought I don't wake up in recovery. I wake up in heaven we have that promise, that profitable objective ahead of us, then III would look at the examples we looked at the exhortation of those Hebrews and DOS. Now the enabling that is ours in Christ, enabling that is ours in Christ. Notice verse two looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and a sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Christ's example of faith that finishes he tells us the writer tells us, looking unto Jesus the Greek word for looking means to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something that also means to consider attentively is just not well we know Jesus is our Savior know were looking intently at him were studying what we know of him in the Bible and seeking to bring our lives in the line we see of him in the Bible, Marvin Vincent's expository dictionary of the New Testament says the word author is made up of the Greek word meaning to lead and the Greek word meaning the first and when you put them together.
The compound word means.
The chief later one that takes the lead and anything and thus furnishes the example he is our example and in our passage. It describes Jesus as the one who is preeminent in faith gives us a whole series of people in Hebrews 11 they can't touch his shoestring when it comes to faith and I'll mention this later. Just think of his faith and Gethsemane and Gavin in Golgotha is no comparison in John 17 for Jesus prayed. I have glorified you on the earth.
Notice this, I have finished the work which you have given me to do. He stated that in the past tense and yet the cup of wrath still lay ahead. How do we do we justify the fact that he said I finished the work Christ determination to finish the race strong to finish the race strong nothing but nothing would turn him back, and I'm gripped in my soul when I know that I love him. I have finished the race, and yet I see him so exercised emotionally. He bleeds, as it were great drops of blood. I mean, when you try to put those two things together. The determination yet the grief that he experience its jar. John 1930 so when Jesus had received the sour wine he said it is finished. I finished my race. It's finishes over a bout his head and gave up the spirit.
The apostle Paul connected keeping the faith of finishing the race at 7402nd Timothy 470 said. I fought the good fight notices I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And when we speak of the faith in this verse is talking about the truce and standards revealed in the word of God.
Secondly, under this enabling we say Christ's enabling of true faith to his death, burial and resurrection. Hebrews 210 is referred to as the founder of our salvation was made perfect through suffering and that WordPerfect means complete the ESV version refers to Jesus as the founder and perfecter of our faith and again that word perfecter means to carry through for perfect completion, as we trust and obey his will in his word is were praying he is refining us more and more HA work were being exercised on the goblin and then finally under this Christ's exaltation. Hebrews 12 to also reveals Christ focus the joy that was set before him. I copied this word for word from Marvin ventured in the fence and I'm going to read it slowly, because it's profound thing and I want you to think of the joy that Jesus had in eternity past, and the joy that Jesus was looking forward to as written in Hebrews chapter 12 verses 1 to 3. Listen to this. He said the joy was the full divine utmost bliss of his pre-incarnate life in the bosom of the father, the glory which he had with God before the world was in exchange for this, he accepted the cross and the shame their heroic character of his faith appears and is renouncing a joy already in possession in exchange for shame and death. The words is set down or in the perfect tense in the Greek text, the idea being that he after his work of providing salvation was finished, sat down and he remained seated he need never rise and repeat his work on the cross for sinners. It's a finished work. He's not only seated but he occupies a position of preeminence at the right hand of God. In other words, Jesus is once again enjoying the glory that he had with the father before the foundation of the world. I don't know about you but that for lack of a better word is awesome when we think of the perfect joy that he experienced and what he exchanged for that and then who for the joy that lay before him a joy he knew he endured the cross number for our final consideration the night. The encouragement we find in considering what Christ endured on our behalf. The encouragement Hebrews 12 three for consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. The word endured in Hebrews 12, three means to stay under, or remain to undergo the bear trials have fortitude to persevere, to abide to take patiently to suffer the struggle of running a race brings with it the temptation to slow up or quit. And if you've ever run. It's there way back in the day when I coached early on in my coaching I would start running before the guys came for practice August 1. You know some folks North Carolina and August is hot in North Carolina in August. Running by yourself hotter and what goes through your mind is stupid. You're never going to get the game why you doing this to yourself other school Clearwater overhear a number of things go through your mind, but there's that temptation not to endure, but to quit. What would make you go on a view of the price ahead of view of the price ahead in the case of running for players to gain the respect in the case of running for God out of gratitude out of gratitude and the desire to have the father say son well done, well done.
The word hostility. I would just take it. Isaiah 50 and I do want to read this verses three through five.
Consider him who endured such hostility he is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from he was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows that we esteem him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed, jarring, jarring text of Scripture and I want you to consider Jesus in three venues. First, in Gethsemane. What happened there, folks. He endured emotionally like no other man and I just lift one verse for each of these Luke 2244 and being in agony he prayed more earnestly than his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground that capillaries under his skin burst because of stress and blood came to his pores and commentaries will tell you that you could wipe your hand across his flesh to get that bloodied flux wipe and on something wide and it would stain that is stress Jesus endured emotionally like no other man consider him a gap of the endured physically like no other man. Isaiah 50 verse six I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheek to those who plucked out the beer that's the problem with our English translations from Hebrew or Greek that were plucked doesn't get it done. It's equivalent of them grabbing him by the beard and yanking it out. It was not only to inflict pain, but it was to inflict shame. He said I did not hide my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 5214 just as many were astonished, so his visage, his countenance was marred more than any man and his form more than the sons of men. These were people who were accustomed seeing crucifixion that they were astonished at what they did to Jesus and finally consider him in Golgotha.
He endured spiritually like no other man. Imagine the perfect son of God, saying, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.
Beloved, if some of these things that you know already, don't rekindle a flame to run faster and farther you to be concerned. We need to think about the fact that we don't know how long our race is it could be done tomorrow. James tells us post not yourself. What profound inspiration to keep on keeping on, is found in just two words.
Consider him that to make us keep on keeping on. By way of application I want to share an event for my passage reminded me of this and this is what I want you to get from the illustration I idea God expects my best and nothing less. God expects your best and nothing less. As I told the teens last Wednesday night.
Your best is always good enough for God blessing your best is never good enough for God your best done for yourself is never good enough for God your best done for God's glory is always good enough.
Be yourself and be the best you can be. Here's the illustration John Stanley was the best cross-country runner in my high school is one of the best in our conference. I was an average runner at best.
During one practice.
The coach gave us instructions to run along the circular route with the starting line in the finishing line with the same spot as we took off. Stanley went one way and the rest of the team started in the opposite direction. I chose to follow Stanley our best runner. Instead of sticking with the group.
It soon dawned on me that I would finish the race. Not knowing how the rest of the team was progressing until we approached the finish line from the opposite direction.
In addition, there was no pack of runners that I could comfortably blend into his things got tougher and they would to my great surprise, as long as I stayed focus upon Stanley's back and tried my best to match his stride and tempo.
I kept a respectable distance behind him in spite of burning Long's leaden legs in the nagging desire to slow up.
I was determined persevere.
Even though I could never beat Stanley the result of doing my best. That day was the best time I've had what was the point. It's a physical illustration of the fact that we suppress we might surprise ourselves and what we could do and as long as I kept focused on John Stanley and tried to match his stride and tempo I lost to him, respectively.
If I can put it that way will how do you make an analogy spiritually, spiritually speaking in Christ we have the greatest example of finishing one school the greatest example.
The course may involve running opposite from the majority.
The key to personal victory is acknowledging Christ is our example in all of our way and seeking to do our best for his glory in the race. He said before we acknowledge him in all of our ways and give our best. We need to run our race in 2022. In such a way that when we look back at our performance.
We will not have to say what might've been if I'd only done this or that each individual, each of us should run in such a way that we can say I gave my best to follow Christ and I praise him for enabling me to do so. Galatians 69 Paul warns and let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart