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Never Give Up, Part 2

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

Never Give Up, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 8, 2021 8:00 am

We can’t just ignore the struggles we face in life. But Dr. Tony Evans explains why those realities are also reminders that we can trust the Lord to carry us through, no matter what. Find the strength you need to hold on when you feel like giving up.

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You can't ignore life's struggles that make you tired.

They're 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. In the face of tough times, we've been told that it's the courage to continue that counts. Well, today Dr. Evans shows believers just where to look to find that courage.

Let's join him as he begins. 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.

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. 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, I'm 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. 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. So these approved people in chapter 11 are the ones, not Christians in general, but these approved people are the witnesses that God uses to keep us going by faith.

So, the first thing are the witnesses. The second thing is you, verse 1 of chapter 12, laying aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles us. He says, I want you to remove encumbrances, he says, plural, and he says, I want you to remove the sin singular.

Now, let's move between the plural and the singular. An encumbrance is something that is extra baggage, something holding you down. You notice in a race, they may warm up in a jogging suit, but when it comes time to run the race, they take off the jogging suit and their clothing is very light because now in running a race, the jogging suit would become an encumbrance. It's extra baggage. When they are working out, they will put weights around their ankles, but not in a race.

They take those weights off because that weight will slow them down. 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.

So what are some encumbrances? People can be encumbrances. See, you got the wrong folk in your life. They can hold you back with human thought, with secular thinking, with faithless points of view.

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. Don't let the wrong folks who are not spiritually minded people slow you down from moving you forward by faith. You got to shed them because they are encumbrances.

Let me tell you another encumbrance. Your past. Don't let the rearview 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. Paul says, forgetting those things which are behind, I press on to the high mark of the calling in Jesus Christ. I know yesterday wasn't great.

I know there were failures yesterday. You confess it, you repent of it, and then you move on by faith. Samson is in the hall of faith. How's Samson gonna be in the hall of faith?

Because he was able to shed yesterday and end with a bang. So that instead of sampling, he accomplished more from God at the end of his life than he did up to that point. And he made it to the hall of faith. You know what that means?

That means for you and me, it means it's not too late. So you keep going by faith. Dr. Evans will tell us more about how to do that when he continues our message in just a moment. First though, I want to let you know that today's teaching is part of a special package that includes Tony's current series, Heroes of the Faith, as well as his new book, Kingdom Heroes. Both of these powerful resources take a look at very ordinary people who became some of the most familiar characters in the Bible simply by their obedient faith in God, believing what he said and staking their lives on the fact that he tells the truth. They're perfect for your personal study or to share with your church or Bible study group. In fact, if you request these resources today, we can even include the companion Bible study as an added bonus. You can get this Kingdom Heroes package, including all 13 messages from the two-volume Heroes of the Faith CD and MP3 series, as well as our gift in appreciation for your contribution toward Tony's ministry. Just visit us at TonyEvans.org and make your online donation and resource request.

It's very easy to do. You'll see a link to the special package right there on the homepage. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. Or call us any time of the day or night at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our resource team members help you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans, we'll come back with more of today's lesson right after this. I'm in the portion of the church where they believed Paul Gotha was originally located, where the greatest event by the greatest person ever took place. Dr. Tony Evans travels to Israel to experience firsthand the places Jesus walked, preached, and ministered while on earth.

You're invited to relive his inspirational journey in an upcoming big-screen Fathom event. We're at the Church of Immotivity here in Bethlehem. I'm seated here in Nazareth. I'm here in Bethany, coming into the Garden of Gethsemane. I'm sitting on the southern steps that would lead up to the temple. More than just a captivating travelogue, Dr. Evans discusses the biblical and historical significance of each stop along the way and what it means for us today. As I sit on these steps, I'm reminded of another name of our Savior. He is the sacrificial lamb that satisfies the wrath of God against you and me. November 15th, 16th, and 17th. Join Dr. Evans for a captivating journey with Jesus.

Visit tonyevans.org for theaters, showtimes, and to learn more. So people can be encumbrances. The past can be encumbrances.

Playthings can be encumbrances. Things that are not wrong, but things that hold you back. If there's so much TV that you don't ever read your Bible, if there's so much entertainment that you don't spend time in prayer, if you'd rather be away from the people of God, that slows you down because you're not walking by faith if you're a selfish Christian. Then he says, the sin.

The sin that he has been talking about all Hebrews long, that he focuses on, of course, in chapter 11 and in chapter 12, is the sin of unbelief. If you solve the problem of faith, you've greatly impacted the problem of sin because you haven't gotten entangled in unbelief. And remember, by belief, we're not talking about first your emotions. We're talking about your footsteps, the decisions that you make to say, I'm going to trust God with this situation even though I don't see the outcome yet.

He said, lay it aside, push it to the side. The sin, the distraction, the excess baggage that so easily holds us back. The last thing he wants to talk about, 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. Jesus Christ got you started when you got saved. He's going to bring you to completion when this life is over, and he's available for you to piggyback on on the ride there. He says, if you will become fixated on Jesus, if you will become an obsessed Christian, not a casual Christian, not even fixated on God, the Father, he's talking about a Jesus fixation.

He says, fixing your eyes, your spiritual perspective on Jesus Christ, who got you into this at salvation, who's going to get you to completion when life is over and who can walk you along the way. Like many of you, when I used to get on the treadmill, after a while I lose heart because I get weary. You're walking, you're sweating, you're getting weary, you lose heart. So I have the television in front of me, usually the news, and I fixate on the news. I'm weary on the treadmill because I'm tired. If I do not look at the TV when I'm on the treadmill, I won't stay on the treadmill as long, because all I'm thinking about is how tired I'm getting, how much I'm sweating. But if I find something interesting on television, it creates a distraction while I'm walking on the treadmill.

And I can typically walk a lot longer on the treadmill fixing my eyes on the TV than I could on the treadmill fixing my eyes on my treadmill. 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' 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' 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 bearing 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 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 got saved. We accepted Jesus Christ into our lives, so we enrolled. So come on, Jesus. Jesus says, no, you need to graduate. That is, you complete the process. I am walking you through. He closes with, consider him.

Keep your mind on him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself so that you will not grow weary and so that you will not lose heart. In the 1992 Olympics, the British team had a runner named Derek Redmond. The British team was smoking. They were moving. But coming around the track, Redmond tore his Achilles tendon, a painful injury, and it snapped, and he fell to the track in excruciating pain. He lay there beaten, broken, defeated, hurting, struggling. And as the cameras zeroed in on him, as he was part of the 4x400 British relay team, they showed him weeping on the track because he was hurting so bad, already weary from running, and now he was defeated.

The team was defeated because he tore his Achilles tendon. But then something happened. An older gentleman came from the top of the stadium, came down on the track. One of the security guards tried to stop him, but he refused to be stopped. And he came over to Derek Redmond. He told the guard, this is my son.

He grabbed Derek Redmond, put his arm over his shoulder, and carried him across the finish line. You see, there was somebody high who loved him, who saw down low he was broken and weary, who left where he was up there, came down here, and still helped him cross the finish line. 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. So you keep the faith because you've got a cloud of witnesses. You've got some decisions to make, and you've got King Jesus who's here to help you. We'll be right back.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, coming up next time, a special treat. We'll be airing more of Tony Evans' Top 40, 40 Powerful Sermons Over 40 Years. These are some of the messages that have made a huge impact on listeners through the years, and you won't want to miss hearing them. I hope you'll be back for that. 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 05:04:32 / 2023-08-13 05:12:15 / 8

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