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Never Give Up

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2021 8:00 am

Never Give Up

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 3, 2021 8:00 am

Sometimes, it feels like life slaps us down so hard, there’s no chance we’re getting back up. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will explain why there’s always hope while God is part of the equation as he talks about what it takes to revive defeated Christians.

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You can't ignore life's struggles that make you tired. There are realities that you can't ignore. But Dr. Tony Evans says those realities are also reminders. Every time life closes in on you, take a peek at Jesus.

Because Jesus' job is to carry you through that difficult, painful period you are going through. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. There are times when the going gets so tough, we're tempted to throw in the towel and say, I quit. But today Dr. Evans points out there are things we can do to help keep us moving to a strong finish.

Let's join him as he explains. 2020 will be remembered as a year of discouragement. Pain, struggle, frustration, fear, uncertainty on various levels for all of us.

Because all of us in 2020 and beyond have been affected by realities outside of our control on personal as well as collective levels. I began the year funeralizing my wife. A month later or so, my daughter Priscilla had half of her left lung removed for cancer. Then the pandemic hit and everything shifted churchwide. How do we meander through the challenges of a church that no longer can meet? One of my frustrations, humorous as it is, was having to learn what it means to become a Zoomologist and try to meander keeping things intact with staff and ministry while coming up with ways to let the flock know we still know their names and haven't forgotten them.

It was a year to remember. It was easy to lose heart. To lose heart means to quit, to throw in the towel, to run away, to abandon the circumstance in one way or another. That's what the Bible talks about when it talks about losing heart. The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were losing heart.

This is a book written to discourage Christians who didn't know whether it was worth it to keep going. The struggle was too great. The difficulty was too daunting. The pain was too palpable. And the question was, is it worth keeping going? And many wanted to quit.

They wanted to go back to the old way. They wanted to abandon Christ, to abandon Christianity. So the author of Hebrews writes the book to challenge them not to lose heart. So we find ourselves in Hebrews chapter 12, where he says, Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." The word of the Lord for today in the reset that He is doing is don't give up. Now that's easy to say, and I'm sure most would agree with having heard it, but a lot of things are easier to say than to do, especially when you're overwhelmed by life's negative realities. So he's going to say three things.

The first thing he wants to say is to encourage you never to give up. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, you have to read all of Hebrews 11 to get his point about the cloud of witnesses. A witness gives agreement or testimony to something.

A witness in a courtroom gives testimony to the reality of what is being said. He calls them a cloud of testimony givers or witnesses. Now obviously time will not allow us to go through 40 verses, but I will sum it up with the first couple of verses of chapter 11. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, for by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. The cloud of witnesses that he goes on to describe, he will say the words, by faith, then he'll give the name of the witness, and then he'll tell you what the witness did. He will say by faith this witness, Abraham, Abel, Noah, Enoch, Sarah, Rahab, on and on, and then he'll tell you what they did by faith. So the testimonies that he gives in 11 leading him to talk to us beginning in chapter 12 is a testimony that the key to making it and not giving up is learning to live by faith.

So that's the key. The way you're going to make it in spite of the headache and heartaches of life is to learn what they modeled and that was learning to live by faith. He says faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It involves an expectation, hope. It is being confident about the expectation and the way you know you're confident about the expectation is that you move in faith even though you haven't seen it yet. So you don't see it, but it's real and you have to move by faith in light of what you do not see. Or as I've defined it many times, faith is acting like God is telling the truth. Or another way, acting like it is so even when it's not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so. As we have stated so often, faith is measured by your feet, not by your feelings.

Your feelings are the caboose. Your movement is the engine. You can feel faithish and have no faith because you're not moving.

You can feel no faith, but be full of faith because you are moving. He says, let me illustrate what I'm talking about. He says we know that the worlds were created by the word of God. But I don't know that anybody has seen God. So what you see, the world, came from somebody you don't see. In other words, we know God is real not because we've seen God, but we've seen what He can do. I've never seen Picasso, but his work speaks for his name.

I've never seen Mozart, but his work speaks for his name. There are many things we believe that we've never seen. The source of. If you and I are going to not quit, give up, throw in the towel, we must learn to live by faith. And faith is not merely the event when you got saved. It is supposed to be the lifestyle that you live now that you are saved. Romans 1 17, for example, says that we are to go from faith to faith for the just shall live by faith. Faith is supposed to be a lifestyle, not an event alone. Chapter 11 is full of men and women who went through what we're going through in different times, different sagas, and they give testimony. I've been there. I've heard where you've heard, struggled where you struggled, been rejected where you've been rejected, but I'm here to testify you can make it by faith. Now, some of these people, you don't know how they got in here. You don't know how they got in there.

You say, they don't belong in here. But that's the good news. You can start where you are. You can start where you are and say, the rest of my life, I'm going to live by faith. I'm going to act like God is telling the truth, even though I don't see the result yet. I don't see what I'm expecting, praying for, desiring, wanting.

I don't see it yet, but I'm going to move like it's real. Says, he talked about creation. He says, when we live in a world created by somebody you don't see, but you don't say God doesn't exist because I don't see Him. So when men want to deny God, they go to evolution, fairy tales for adults.

That everything has come out of nothing from nobody. So his challenge is a faith challenge. All of the people he names are from the Old Testament. So this is one of the reasons you read the Old Testament. It's full of stories, but it's full of narratives designed to challenge you to live by faith in the New Testament.

Now, one other thing about this first point. It concludes by saying at the end of chapter 11, verse 39, having gained approval through their faith. 1139 says they gained approval. In Canton, Ohio is the Football Hall of Fame. These are the creme de la creme of the NFL, the men who gained status. Almost 2,000 men a year are playing in the NFL, but only a few get to the Hall of Fame. That is, get approved because they have to be voted on to get a bust in the Hall of Fame.

Just because you played doesn't mean you're going to make it to the Hall. And just because you saved don't mean you're going to be approved. To be approved, you must finish by faith. Dr. Evans will have more on how to avoid weariness and defeat when he comes back in a moment to continue this lesson from his new series, Divine Reset. This powerful ten-part collection explores the reason we experience divine disruption and how you can use that knowledge to initiate a life-changing reset, breaking loose from habits and hang-ups you thought you'd be stuck with forever. You can get all ten full-length messages in this series on CD and digital download as our gift when you support the Ministry of the Urban Alternative. And for only a few more days, we're including with the Divine Reset audio collection the added bonus of Tony's insightful booklet, Winning Your Spiritual Battles. This quick read will offer you hope as it helps you identify areas of spiritual weakness and prepares you to stand firm against the devil's attacks on your life. Visit us today at tonyevans.org or call us at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements.

I'll repeat that information later on. In the meantime, stay with us. Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's message right after this.

Coming to theaters this November. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem where it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred. You'll travel with Dr. Tony Evans as he retraces the life and human journey of the greatest being to ever walk this earth. Well, we're here in Capernaum, a place where Jesus did most of His miracles, and it is in this place that He demonstrated He truly is the Son of God. You'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues that Jesus walked and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place. It is highly likely that much of what we read about Jesus' ministry in Galilee happened right here. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th with Dr. Tony Evans.

Visit tonyevans.org for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. The second thing is you, verse 1 of chapter 12. Laying aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles us. An encumbrance is not a sin. An encumbrance is simply baggage that's keeping you from moving forward by faith. It's slowing you down. It's hindering you. It's limiting your spiritual progress. And so it is an encumbrance.

See, some of us are held back because we got the wrong friends. Listen to the wrong folk who are slowing us down. They're not propelling our faith.

They're challenging our faith. Let me tell you another encumbrance. Your past. Don't let the rear-view mirror of yesterday keep you from the windshield of tomorrow. We all have regrets.

We wish we coulda, we shoulda, we didn't. And that can so control your mind that you don't move forward because yesterday owns you. Then he says, the sin. Now we should all be seeking to address sin in our lives, but he is speaking more specifically, a specific sin. The sin that he has been talking about is the sin of unbelief. He calls it an entangling sin that entangles us.

The last thing he wants to talk about, first of all, you got some witnesses that are here to testify. Then you've got a responsibility to get rid of anything holding you back from walking by faith. And then he comes to the main point. He says, fixing our eyes on Jesus. Look at your witnesses, look at yourself, but get fixated on Jesus. The author and perfecter of our faith. You are not living this faith life alone. He calls Jesus the author, that means the originator.

The perfecter, that means the completer. He says, fixing your eyes, your spiritual perspective on Jesus Christ, who got you into this at salvation, who's gonna get you to completion when life is over, and who can walk you along the way. You can't ignore life's struggles that make you tired.

They're realities that you can't ignore. He says, but don't fixate on them. Every time life closes in on you, that is a reminder, take a peek at Jesus. Because Jesus's job is to carry you through that sweaty, weighty, difficult, lonely, traumatic, painful period you are going through. He is there to help you, fixing your eyes on Jesus.

Now watch this, how do I do this? He says, for the joy set before him. Okay, he bringing up Easter. Friday was a tiring day in Jesus's life. Okay, he's already sweat, tears like drops of blood, because of what he's getting ready to go through on the cross, which included being separated from his father, and it meant burying the sins of the whole world.

All he could say, like you and I, coming through this past year is, let this cup pass from me. I don't want any more, it's too hot to handle, it's too overwhelming, give me a break. That's what Jesus was saying, I need a break from this. In my humanity, I don't want to have to deal with wearing the sins of the whole world and being separated from my father. I don't want to have to go, however, not my will, but thy will be done. So he made a faith decision in a frustrating circumstance. He says, I'm going to do your will, even though I don't want to.

You ever been like that? You don't want to do God's will. You tired of trying to do God's will, but you make the decision to walk by faith in spite of how you feel. He says, Jesus made that decision, but the question is, what was his motivation in his humanity to make that decision? It says, for the joy set before him.

All the time he was struggling with Friday, he was thinking about Sunday. Now I know we got, you know, we have sanitized the cross. That was a nasty situation.

That wasn't fun and games. That was bloody and gory. You saw the movie, The Passion of the Christ. It gave you a much more realistic vision of what was involved with the cross, but he kept his mind on Sunday and beyond. On Sunday, he was going to get up from the grave. After Sunday, he was going to ascend 40 days later to his father.

Then he was going to be seated on the right-hand side of his father. Then the prophecy is that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to the glory of God, the exaltation of Jesus Christ. So he kept looking at what God had in store.

And while he was looking at that, he was able to deal with this. I would love to be one of those preachers who could prophesy you don't get sick. I'd love to be one of those preachers who could prophesy you never going to have a financial breakdown, that you never going to be lonely, that you never going to struggle, but that would be a lie because we know better. No matter how spiritual you are, you're human spiritual, which means life hits you.

And sometimes it breaks your heart. But he says, without denying the reality of Friday, don't miss the reality of Sunday, that God is taking you somewhere if you will keep going by faith. He says, keep your eyes on Jesus.

Look to Jesus, talk to Jesus, pray to Jesus. You don't get a diploma because you enrolled. You get a diploma because you completed. See, a lot of us want Jesus to show up because we enrolled. We got saved. We accepted Jesus Christ into our lives and we enrolled, so come on Jesus. Jesus says, no, you need to graduate.

That is you complete the process I am walking you through. Sometimes life will knock you down. Sometimes you'll tear with a broken heart.

Sometimes you'll be in broken circumstances. But I know somebody, even though he lives up there, he's willing to come down here and take the broken and the beaten and the abused and give you a divine reset so that he can still take you, your family, take us, the church, across the finish line. Dr. Tony Evans, with the good news of God's love for his children.

And if you've never accepted the Lord's offer of adoption into his family, if you've never asked him to forgive your sins and come into your life, then log on to tonyevans.org and click on the link that says Jesus. There, Tony will tell you all about what it means to be a Christian and walk you through everything you need to know to start your brand-new life. Check it out today and discover the amazing difference it can make in your life. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Today's lesson was taken from Tony's powerful new series called Divine Reset. It contains 10 messages in all, focusing on how God can use seemingly chaotic conditions in order to help us turn our hearts and minds toward what really matters. As I mentioned earlier, this collection is yours with our thanks when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. Along with it, you'll get the Winning Your Spiritual Battles booklet I told you about earlier. So visit us today at tonyevans.org, where you can make your contribution and request your copy of this helpful resource package. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you.

Again, 1-800-800-3222. Many people think of eternity as something disconnected from our time here on earth. But on Monday, Dr. Evans points out that eternal life begins with our enjoyment of God's presence in our life right here, right now. But before we go for the weekend, we want to share this quick shout-out Dr. Evans received in celebration of 40 years of God's faithfulness to the ministry of the Urban Alternative.

Hey, Dr. Evans, O.S. Hawkins and Jack Graham here, just thanking God for you and your 40 years of ministry. We've been in this city together with Dr. Evans and his wonderful church all these years, 30 years plus for me and you, 25 years. And we've just seen God do incredible things in your life, not only in this community where you are loved and appreciated, but through the Urban Alternative and the ministry of your church around the world. I love you.

I respect you. I thank God for you, Dr. Tony Evans. And Tony, let me just add that today as Jack and I sit here just to wish you a happy 40th anniversary of ministry. As Asaph said of King David, you've led your people with the integrity of your heart and the skillfulness of your hands. Just want you to know your love and appreciate it. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 15:53:00 / 2023-09-08 16:01:40 / 9

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