JESUS IS OUR FAITH Heb12:1-3
PRESENTED BY STEVEN SCHILLER
To our beloved: Amanda,Emily,Arron,Josh,Casey,Kerry,DeeAnne,Allison,Madison,Josh G.,Shana,Rusty,Greg, LCS
Also all to who the gospel of JESUS CHRIST has been proclaimed by our holy GOD
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Some running the race of unbelief, some only glory in themselves. Faith is the substance of all things hoped for the evidence things unseen. He 11:1
Throughout our study, we have noted the emphasis on being steadfast in our faith...
The warning against developing unbelief - He 3:12,13,14-15
The need for a faith that endures - He 6:11-12; 10:36,37,38-39
In chapter eleven, we were reminded of many who had this kind of faith
This emphasis continues, with our own life of faith described as a race...
In which we are "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" - He 12:1
The "cloud of witnesses" refers to those mentioned in the previous chapter
I.e., those Old Testament saints like Abraham, Moses, etc.
In what way are they "witnesses"?
While the word can mean "spectator", it is not likely so used here
That would suggest they are now "looking down" on us from heaven
But there is no indication the dead know what is going on earth - cf. Ec 9:5
While they may have "memory" of what happened (Lk 16:28), their attention is focused upon their present condition - Re 7:9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16-17
The word can also refer to those who "bear witness"
By their lives, they have borne witness to the value of faith - He 11:1-40 Chapter 11
By their exemplary lives, they encourage us in "Running The Race Of Faith"!
As we seek to follow in the footsteps of others who have successfully "run the race of faith", there are three things necessary as presented in our text. The first one is...
WE NEED TO LAY SOME THINGS ASIDE (1)
NOTE THE COMPARISON TO RUNNING...
The runner who seeks to win:
Loses as much weight as possible without hurting performance
Wears clothing that is light and allows freedom of movement
Excess weight, chafing clothing, etc., can be the difference between victory or defeat!
WE TOO MUST LAY SOME THINGS ASIDE...
I.e., things which slow down our spiritual progress
Such as "carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life" - Lk 21:34,35-36
Also, "anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language..." - Col 3:8; 1Pe 2:1-2; Jm 1:21
Such things make "running the race of faith" difficult, if not impossible!
"the sin which so easily ensnares us"
Any and all sins should be laid aside
From the context, I understand "the" sin to be the "sin of unbelief"
The epistle was written to encourage faithfulness to Christ and His covenant
We've seen warnings against unbelief - He 3:12-13
When one no longer believes, the race is lost! - He 10:26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38-39
With a full assurance of faith, and with every hindrance laid aside, we can "run the race of faith" as God intended. But as we comprehend the true nature of the "course" set before us, we can appreciate the need for the element of endurance...
WE NEED TO HAVE ENDURANCE (1)
THE "RACE OF FAITH" IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT...
It does not require one quick burst of energy, in which the race is soon over
This "race" requires a sustained effort over a long period of time
ENDURANCE IS A NECESSARY QUALITY...
Jesus often taught His disciples concerning the need for endurance (i.e., patience)
In the parable of The Sower - Lk 8:12
In preparing the disciples for the Limited Commission - Mt 10:22
In His discourse on the Mount of Olives - Mt 24:13
The writer to the Hebrews had stressed this virtue earlier
In which he appealed to the example of Abraham - He 6:11,12,13,14-15
In which he quoted from Habakkuk - He 10:36,37,38-39
We can develop such patience with the help of the Scriptures - Ro 15:4
As we read of the faithfulness of God Who fulfills His promises
As we read of the ultimate end of those persevered in faithfulness
[Paul wrote that eternal life would be given "to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" (Ro 2:7). Therefore, endurance is required for successfully running this "race of faith"!
Equally important is where we have our mind focused as we run the race...]
WE NEED TO FOCUS ON JESUS (2-3)
WE MUST "LOOK UNTO JESUS"...
Our focus must be upon the Lord as we "run the race"
We might "glance" at others ( He 11)
But we are to "gaze" upon the Lord Saviour
As suggested by this "Formula For Spiritual Success":
If you want to be distressed -- look within
If you want to be defeated -- look back
If you want to be distracted -- look around
If you want to be dismayed -- look ahead
If you want to be delivered -- look up! - cf. Col 3:1-2
For Jesus is "the author and finisher of our faith" - cf. He 2:10
He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega - Re 1:8,11
He has blazed the trail for us...
By having run the race Himself
As a forerunner He has entered the heavenly sanctuary - He 6:19-20
He has opened a "new and living way" for us - He 10:20
And now He helps us to finish it ourselves - cf. He 7:25
He succeeded in running the race by looking at "the joy set before Him"
The "joy" that inspired Him was likely that privilege of being seated at God's right hand - cf. Ps 16:9,10-11; Ac 2:25,26,27,28,29,30-31
With the anticipation of such "joy", Jesus...
"endured the cross" (the physical pain)
"despised the shame" (the emotional and spiritual agony)
-- Just as Jesus looked at the joy set before Him, so we must look to Jesus!
WE MUST "CONSIDER HIM"...
We must consider how He endured, not only on the cross, but even before! - He 11:3
How He "endured such hostility from sinners against himself"
This hostility is something He experienced frequently - cf. Lk 4:28-29; 11:15-16,53-54; 16:14
Meditating upon our Lord will prevent us from becoming "weary and discouraged in your souls"
We cannot run with endurance if we become weary and discouraged
But as we consider the Lord and His example (in itself a form of "waiting upon the Lord"), we shall not grow weary nor faint - cf. Isa 40:31
"Running The Race Of Faith" requires both negative and positive elements...
Negatively, we must lay aside things which would hinder us
Positively, we must keep our focus on Jesus who has made our salvation possible
In both cases, the Word of God (the Bible) is crucial...
For in it we learn what sort of things we must lay aside
For in it we learn about our Lord, what He endured, how His example should inspire us
Have you lost your endurance? Have you grown weary in "Running The Race Of Faith"?
Let the Bible help you examine what "baggage" should be left aside!
Let the Bible help you learn about Jesus whose own example can encourage you to continue on with perseverance!
Remember what we read earlier...
"For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise..." (Hebrews 10:36)