Persevere Amid Difficulty Hebrews 12:1-8, 12-16, 28-29 Nov. 19, 2006
Have you heard the story about the man who saw another man about to jump off a bridge. He talked with the man and tried to reason with him, but after hearing all the man’s difficulties he jumped with him? Some times it does seem difficult to Persevere Amid Difficulties. Let us look at how confirmation, chastening, carefulness, and confidence will help us persevere.
1. Persevere Amid Difficulty Encouraged By . . Confirmation. 12:1-2
A. The . . Removal Encouraged By Those Confirming. 12:1-1a
1 Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, . . .”
B. The . . Race Encouraged By Those Confirming. 12:1b
“. . . and run with endurance the race that lies before us,”
C. The . . Required Encouragement By Those Confirming. 12:2-3
1. A Requirement To Look at The . . Work of Jesus. 12:2a
2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame,. . .”
2. A Requirement To Look at The . . Welcome of Jesus. 12:2b
“. . .and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.”
3. A Requirement To Look at the . . Way of Jesus. 12:3
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won't grow weary and
Do you know relatives or friends that could be called your great cloud of witnesses? I think of my grandparents, mother, and former pastors. They would encourage me to remove, or lay aside certain sins, and to run the race set before me. We would receive confirmations from this cloud of witnesses to look at Jesus’ work, welcome, and way as He authors and finishes our faith. As we look at Jesus we realize anew He lived victorious over all kinds of hostility. He strengthens us through the power, and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Many Christian will testify how looking to Jesus encourages them to press on in the midst of a storm, and then found the sunlight and calm on the other side.
2. Persevere Amid Difficulty Encouraged By . . Chastening. 12:4-8
A. The Proper . . Attitude About Chastening. 12:4-5
4 In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten the
exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord's discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him;
B. The Proper . . Appreciation About Chastening. 12:6-7
6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. 7 Endure it as discipline: God is
dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline?
C. The Proper . . Authentication For Chastening. 12:8
8 But if you are without discipline — which all receive — then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
If we persevere while receiving chastening from the Lord we will want several actions. We need the proper attitude, appreciation, and acknowledgment of our chastisement. The proper attitude encourages us to not despise the Lord’s chastening. The proper appreciation causes us to think on the fact the Lord chastises those He loves. My mother said she only spanked me because she loved me, and I thought I was one of the best loved kids of our block. Looking back on my mom’s discipline I am grateful she cared enough. Now thinking of authentic chastisement; the Lord only chastises His children, so we can Persevere Amid Difficulty.
3. Persevere Amid Difficulty Encouraged By . . Cautiousness. 12:12-16
A. Cautiousness About . . Strengthening. 12:12-13
12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is
lame may not be dislocated, but healed instead.
B. Cautiousness About . . Shortcomings. 12:14-15
14 Warning against Rejecting God's Grace Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness — without it no one will see the
Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it,
C. Cautiousness About . . Sacrilege. 12:16
16 And see that there isn't any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal.
What needs to be strengthened in our Christian life? The author calls for hands and knees to be strengthened. Some baseball players say the knees are the first part of the body to become weak. If one can not lift their hands or depend on the function of their knees they certainly need strengthening. Could this include the hand lifted in prayer, and the knee supporting one in prayer? We must be cautious that we do not come up short in receiving the additional graces of God or become irreverent like in the sacrilege of Esau.
4. Persevere Amid Difficulty Encouraged By . . Confidence. 12:28-29
A. Confidence About The . . Foundations. 12:28
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God
acceptably, with reverence and awe;”
B. Confidence About The . . Fire. 12:29
29 for our God is a consuming fire.”
When all the world around us seems shaken we can remain confident in Christ as the foundation of our faith. Some are shaken by every wind of turmoil, and political change, but this need not be true for the Christian trusting In Christ. The text tells us God is a “consuming fire,” but we have confidence this fire will not affect those “In Christ.” With all of these blessings; we can Persevere Amid Difficulty. Amen? Amen!