September 4, 2005
Run With Perseverance
- “BE NICE TO ME. I HAD A HARD DAY”
- "How can you tell this early in the morning?"
- Craig Larson - “the Boston Marathon,
o Heartbreak Hill.
o mile thirteen - a number of hills,
o climaxing at mile nineteen with Heartbreak Hill.
o longest, steepest hill in the race.
o world-class runners "hit the wall" around mile eighteen or nineteen.
§ depleted the glycogen stored in the muscles
§ replaced with lactic acid.
§ muscles are screaming for oxygen.
o Heartbreak Hill tests runners to the very core of their determination\
- Heartbreak Hills in life.
- Life is not on a level grade.
- We have problems. We have bigger problems.
- at times we face Heartbreak Hill.
- your “heartbreak hill?”
o loneliness, fear and loss.
- Hebrews 12:1 - “run with perseverance.”
o sometimes life is tough
o requires perseverance.
o “the race marked out for us”
§ each of us has a different path
§ we are all in this race
§ we all need to persevere.
- What are the perspectives which can help us?
- What point of view is important?
- The rest of the passage helps answer that question.
I. Consider Him Hebrews 12:2-4
- ill-fated mission of Apollo 13,
- critical course correction.
- If they failed, they might never return to Earth.
- shut down the onboard computer
- a thirty-nine-second burn of the main engines.
- How to steer?
- Jim Lovell determined that if they could keep a fixed point
- focal point turned out to be their destination--Earth.
- 1995's hit movie, Apollo 13,
- By not losing sight of that reference point, the three astronauts avoided disaster.
- Hebrews 12 -the fixed reference point that we need to “run with perseverance.”
o Verse 2 - “let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”
o verse 3 - “consider Him.”
- How does considering Jesus help us “run with perseverance?”
A. Christ Endured
- Hebrews 11 - heroes of faith - persevered
o Abraham longed for a country not his own,
o Moses left the pleasures of royal life in Egypt
o an encouragement.
- example of Jesus
- What does His life and example teach us about difficulty and suffering?
- text - Jesus “endured the cross, scorning its shame.”
- What did that mean for Jesus?
o physical suffering
o cannot dismiss the suffering - he was God
§ Jesus was fully human and suffered physical suffering as much as any of us do.
o spiritual suffering
§ He was God
§ the sinless one taking the sins of the world upon Himself
§ we will ever experience and can hardly imagine.
o Jesus endured the cross.
o willing to experience it and of course, He did it for us.
B. Look To Him
- How does this suffering of Jesus encourage us to endure?
- we have not suffered as much as Jesus suffered.
o verse 4 it - “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
§ encouraged to endure.
- He understands our suffering.
o He knows what we are going through.
o Anne Ortlund - “A young pastor friend has ... been through trial
§ recently, he asked me, "What do you do when God doesn't say yes--doesn't give it, doesn't make it happen?"
§ "Through agony I've gotten to know God better; I love him more. ..."
§ "Look to his face, not to his hand."
- What gave Jesus the ability to face such suffering?
o “who for the joy set before Him.”
o the hope and joy of what it would accomplish
o We have similar promises.
§ Looking to Jesus helps us because he has given us eternal life.
- vs. 3 says, to “not grow weary and lose heart.”
- perspective - looking to Jesus.
- I invite you to consider Him.
II. Endure Hardship As Discipline 12:5-11
- another perspective in being able to “run with perseverance.”
A. The Lord Disciplines Those He Loves
- what it means to be parents.
- the love and concern we have for our children.
o When they do well, we are proud of them.
o When they struggle, we find it hard to watch.
o When they make poor choices, what do we do?
§ younger, - discipline
§ mature, - speak wisdom into their lives
§ because we love them.
- why would we think that God is any different?
o He is our Father.
o He loves us.
o allows us to go through hardship so that we will learn
o Hebrews 12.
§ Verse 6 - “the Lord disciplines those he loves.”
§ Verse 7 - “God is treating you as sons.”
§ verse 10 - “God disciplines us for our good.”
§ verse 8 - if we are not being disciplined- we are illegitimate children.
- What kind of a difference does it make for you to know that the hardships God allows into your life are for your good?
- our lives are in the hands of a loving Father who is seeking to draw us to Himself?
- As human children, - we respect our parents for the way they guided us
- adopt the perspective that God is disciplining us for our good
- submit to Him and to the discipline he brings into our lives.
- Can we respect God for His discipline?
o One writer says, “there is no discipleship without discipline.”
o A.W. Tozer - if a violin has loose strings,
B. What Discipline Produces
- What precisely is the intention of God’s loving discipline in our lives?”
1. Life vs. 9
- submit to God’s discipline, we will learn to live.
- Sin feels like life, but leads to death.
- Discipline, hardship feels like death, but leads to life.
- Hugh Latimer - “For like sauces make the stomach desire to receive meat, so affliction stirs up in us a desire to Christ.”
- God’s discipline will make us desire Him and desiring Him, we will find life.
!!! 2. Holiness vs. 10
- God’s intention is to create a holy body of His followers.
- discipline of God accomplishes the task of sanctification in our lives.
- Verse 10 - that “we may share in His holiness.”
- George Whitefield - “We must be made perfect by sufferings. If we do not meet them in our younger days, we shall certainly have them in the decline of life.”
3. Righteousness vs. 11
- Verse 11, - God will produce in us “a harvest of righteousness.”
- If you plant wheat seeds, you will harvest wheat.
- If you plant corn, you will harvest corn.
- If God plants discipline in us, it will result in a harvest of righteousness of doing that which is right.
- a process.
o You put the right things in the soil and then you wait. then there is a harvest.
o spiritual world. - discipline, - the right stuff into our life. -waiting - a harvest which is righteousness.
4. Peace vs. 11
- Psalm 46:10,
o context of hardship and struggle
o “be still and know that I am God.”
o as we put our hope and trust in God.
o A person who has suffered has ceased to feel resentful and rebellious; he has stilled and quieted his soul.
- Bruce Waltke
o rescued a wren from the claws of our cat
§ helping, struggling to be free
o daughter's recent trip to the doctor.
§ "No Daddy. No, Daddy. No, Daddy."
§ gripped me tightly around the neck.
- Pain ought to make us more like a sick child than a hurt bird.”
- perspectives on suffering,
o consider Jesus
§ endured suffering
§ in hope
o consider the value of suffering
§ teach us holiness and righteousness and peace,
- be encouraged to run with perseverance.