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Never Give Up, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2021 8:00 am

Never Give Up, Part 1

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 7, 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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If you and I are going to not quit, give up, throw in the towel, we must learn to live by faith. Dr. Tony Evans says our faith needs to be more than just a once upon a time memory. 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. 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.

In March of that year, I caught pneumonia. And at the same time, how do we meander through the challenges of a church that no longer can meet? Fielding phone calls from congregants and people outside of our local congregation, asking questions that there is no definitive answers to. Is this God's judgment? How does this relate to end times? What does the Bible say about pestilences?

Trying to feel that as well as trying to find out how to negotiate. Do we lose members because they are afraid in this uncertainty? 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. And then the sick, those who caught COVID and were struggling or had elongated symptoms.

The worst of all, those who lost loved ones and couldn't have a normal funeral. It's been a complex set of scenarios that we're still trying to work our way through because of the implications of it. In the middle of all that political chaos, Christians being divided between Democrats and Republicans and the fighting verbally vindictiveness on both sides that occurred, it was a year to remember. And it would not be hard in that kind of year to become discouraged and to lose heart, whether it's because you're becoming claustrophobic because you couldn't go anywhere or it was risky to try to. It was easy to lose heart, to want to throw in the towel emotionally or circumstantially.

The statistics went through the roof about people who were having to take anxiety and depression medication. Parents had to figure a way to keep their kids educated while they still try to provide because schools were shut down and kids were getting behind and it was daunting. And sometimes when things get bad enough, you want 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. My challenge for me, as I preach to me, as I preach to us, is simply to never give up. As hard as things have been, as hard as things are, the author of Hebrews is telling them and is speaking to us, and he's saying never give up. In chapter 10, for example, he says in verse 35, Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has great reward, for you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.

Verse 39, And we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the persevering of the soul. What he is simply saying is, don't give up. As hard as it is, as challenging as it has been for me, for you, and I speak to us, 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 to help you and me and us, in spite of all the turmoil we're in personally, ecclesiologically, culturally, racially, politically, socially, economically, never give up. 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, therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Now whenever you see the word therefore in the Bible, you must ask what it's there for.

Therefore means, in light of what I just said, that's what I'm getting ready to talk about, but it's predicated on what I just said. Now 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. He says these witnesses are surrounding us, present tense. They're right here, right now, and they will testify. Many of you who grew up in the old church remember the preacher saying, can I get a witness?

What he was asking was, is there anybody who can confirm what I'm saying? Well, Dr. Evans will come back with a multitude of witnesses when he returns in just a moment. Before he does, though, I want to tell you about Tony's newest book. It's called Kingdom Heroes, and it's the perfect follow-up to what we've been learning today. It's a close look at the Bible's Faith Hall of Fame, ordinary people who did extraordinary things by taking God at His word. Those witnesses proclaim spiritual reality is much more than we can see or touch.

They're an example of how much we can endure, overcome, and accomplish when we act as though God is telling the truth. We want you to be one of the first to receive a copy of this new book as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on the station. Along with it, we'll send you the companion Kingdom Heroes Bible Study workbook and all 13 messages in Tony's Heroes of the Faith series as a bonus.

You can get the messages from both volumes on CD or digital download, whichever works best for you. But this offer ends tomorrow, so be sure to get in touch right away to get the details and make the arrangements. You can do that online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. Or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you right after Part 2 of today's lesson and this. Dr. Tony Evans talks about his first trip to Israel. A photograph became a motion picture so that I was now seeing and living color the atmosphere, environment, the feel, the excitement, the learning of what the Bible describes. Now you can have that same experience along with Tony in a new motion picture coming to theaters in November, Journey with Jesus.

A lot of people want to go to Israel and it is an expensive trip and we did not want those people denied the experience that we had while being physically there. You'll travel with Tony as he explores actual sites where the most powerful events in the Bible took place, not just helping you see them but understand what they mean and how they can change your life. We want this to be a biblical experience, not merely a sightseeing tour. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th.

Visit tonyevans.org for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. The author of Hebrews says there is a cloud of witnesses. There is a body of people who will testify that you can make it and that you ought never give up. That testimony is given by men and women who are described in chapter 11.

Now obviously time will not allow us to go through 40 verses in chapter 11 over each person, 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. 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.

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. 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. He says in Romans 14 23, whatever is not of faith is sin. He says in 2 Corinthians 5 7 that we walk by faith, not by sight.

So if you're from Missouri and you need to see it first, then you will be subject to the circumstances around you and be limited by them. Since we have a cloud of witnesses, witnesses testify. You know, when they have a professional boxing match, heavyweight boxing match, previous champion come into the ring and shake the contestant's hands. Previous heavyweight champions come in and shake the hand and this guy in this corner, the guy in this corner. What they're saying is, I've been in this ring. I've fought here before and I'm here to testify you can come out a winner. They bring past heroes to give testimony about a present battle. 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, I'm often asked the question, do people in heaven know what we are dealing with? Is there an awareness in another dimension of what we're going through in this dimension? The Bible is clear.

We're going to do a whole series on the other dimension. He goes into it in more detail later on in his book in chapter 12, this same chapter, when he begins to talk about verses 18 through 24, you can read that on your own, but he says, we've come to Mount Zion and he says that we've come to a place with burning fire. And he says in verse 23, we've come to the general assembly of the church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven. He says, we have come to a place where folks have already gone. So there is in some mystical way, a place of contact between heaven and earth.

It's another dimension, so we don't see it and feel it, but it's real. So when he says in verse one, we are surrounded, there is a sense in which in the intercessory work of Jesus Christ, those who have been faithful to God, who have gone before, partner with him in continuing us moving in faith. There is a point of contact, the details of which we can't get into today, but the point is these witnesses are here to give testimony, don't you quit. And I don't know about you, but I need that testimony on some days. So yes, it's the testimony of God, it's the testimony of his word, but it's also the testimony of being surrounded. When he talks about Abel in chapter 11, he says, Abel who was dead still speaks.

There is a voice, even though he had already died. So there is this point of linking between the dimension of the physical in which we live, but the contact with the spiritual in which we are to exist. And so when I worked my way through this chapter 11 and was reminded of all of those who had to struggle by faith. Now some of these people, you don't know how they got in here. You don't know how they got in here.

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. He talked about creation. He says, 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. 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. Dr. Tony Evans with an encouraging message from the Bible's Faith Hall of Fame.

He'll come back with another relevant observation in just a moment, so stay with us. If you've never taken the step of looking to Jesus and putting your faith and trust in Him, there's no better time to do that than right now. Visit tonyevans.org and click on the link that says Jesus. There, Tony will explain what it means to be a real Christian and how you can start a brand new life. That's tonyevans.org. And while you're on the website, don't miss the chance to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier. There's a three-part faith resource package, including all 13 messages from Volumes 1 and 2 of Tony's current audio series, Heroes of the Faith, along with his new book and Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. They're yours with our thanks when you make a donation to help keep this listener-supported program coming your way. Just visit tonyevans.org to make the arrangements, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by to assist with your request.

This offer is only good through tomorrow, so contact us right away. The number again, 1-800-800-3222, or online at tonyevans.org. In the face of tough times, we've been told that it's the courage to continue the counts. Well, tomorrow, Dr. Evans will show believers just where to look to find that courage. Right now, though, he's back with this observation. During the pandemic, everybody wanted to hear what Fauci had to say. And Fauci was talking about something you can't see. But we wanted to hear what he had to say about what you couldn't see, because what you couldn't see could affect you. We adjusted because he said so. We went six feet because he said so. In other words, we gave his word authority. But if you give a man authority who's trying to find stuff out like you are about something you cannot see, how much authority should we give the Word of God who has no mistakes and is not trying to learn something? 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 / 2023-08-13 07:58:54 / 2023-08-13 08:07:01 / 8

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