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SERIES: The Book of Hebrews
TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-17
MESSAGE: “Learning to Endure”
Angela Duckworth wrote in her book “Grit”: “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” And this statement is very relevant for the Christian life.
 
“There’s never been a culture with a lower pain threshold than ours…where people scream faster…(but also a culture that) gave us fewer resources for dealing with the brutal realities of life and death than ours.” 
Timothy Keller
 
TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-17
What must we learn so that we will endure in the Christian life? 
 
We are taught three lessons: (1. The Harsh Reality 2. The Loving Father 3. The Effected Community)
 
    1. The Harsh Reality (v. 1-3) 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:8-9
 

“The image of running emphasizes that Christ followers have a course to complete or a goal to reach, and must exert effort if the Christian life is to be lived faithfully…yet thankfully it is not only the path that the believer sees. We are called to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…It is Jesus who provides the ultimate basis for a Christian’s perseverance.” — George Guthrie

  1. The Loving Father (v. 5-11)

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

  1. The Effected Community (v. 14-15)
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…”
“The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace.” ― Charles Spurgeon — v. 15: “…see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God…”
TAKEAWAYS: What can we learn?
  • Expect various challenges and trials
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” 
— James 1:2-3
 
“We need to realize that the trials are not joyful in and of themselves, but they are joyful when we realize they are under the authority of a sovereign God who is accomplishing his purposes through them.” – David Platt
  • Believe that growing pains are necessary

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
– Romans 5:3-4 

“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” – Charles Spurgeon 

  • Understand how our holiness affects others
  • Trust that Jesus’ ran for you
  • “Jesus was a revolutionary…since he did not offer an ideology, but Himself.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer
v. 4 — In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”