A Problem of Focus
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-4
ETS: Paul encourages the Hebrew believers to keep focused on Christ.
ESS: It is of vital importance that believers keep the proper focus in life.
OSS: Christians will repent of having an improper focus in their lives; and commit to refocusing on Christ.
PQ: What do the scriptures have to say about the issue of focus in the believer’s life?
Topic: “A Problem of Focus”
A- Video of mouse on wheel
B- It is important that you and I maintain the proper focus in life.
I. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING THE RIGHT FOCUS?
A. The scriptures instruct the believer to maintain the right focus. (Text)
1. The instruction given is to look away from the world or anything else that can distract and fix your gaze upon Christ (Αφορωντες·).
B. The scriptures give examples of people that we can emulate
1. Abel (Vs. 4)
2. Enoch (Vs. 5)
3. Noah (vs. 7)
4. Abraham (vs. 8)
5. Moses (vs. 23)
C. Focus determines outcome.
1. Jonah provides a classic example of the negative side of this principle
“1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious.
2 He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from [sending] disaster.
3 And now, Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city.
6 Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant.
7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.
8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “[Yes,] ” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die!”
10 So the Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night.
11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”
2. Moses provides a classic example of the positive side of this principle
23 By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter
25 and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin.
26 For he considered reproach for the sake of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward.
27 By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for he persevered, as one who sees Him who is invisible.
II.THE DANGERS OF HAVING THE WRONG FOCUS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. (v.3).
A. Having the wrong focus will result in weariness.
1. Weariness from drawing on the wrong source of strength.
a. κάμνω = to grow weary, be weary
1) Physically weary
2) Mentally weary
3) Spiritually weary
B. Having the wrong focus will result in a defeated attitude.
1- εκλύω = to despond, become faint hearted
a)Defeated because of negative outlook
b) Defeated because of personal weariness
C. Having the wrong focus will result in falling into sin and its consequences.
1- Resentment builds up toward God and other people.
(Hebrews 12:15 ) “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, defiling many.”
2- Rebellion against God sets in.
(1 Samuel 15:23 KJV) “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.”
III. WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF DEVELOPING A WRONG FOCUS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE?
A. Making people the focus instead of Christ (v.1-2).
§ Elijah’s problem with focus lead to a defeated outlook.
(1 Kings 19:9-10) “ He entered a cave there and spent the night. Elijah’s Encounter with the Lord Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts, but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.”
I. Assuming a role that does not belong to you (thinking you must control circumstances instead of relying on Christ). (v.1).
§ Abraham & Sarah tried to control circumstances when Sarah gave her handmaid to Abraham for a wife.
(Genesis 16:2-5) “ Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps I can have children by her.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. [This happened] after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she realized that she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for my suffering! I put my slave in your arms, and ever since she saw that she was pregnant, she has looked down on me. May the Lord judge between me and you.”
II. Refusing to deal with sin in the scriptural way. (v.1).
§ Adam & Eve tried to pass the blame for their sin.
(Genesis 3:8-13) “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?” 12 Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me [some fruit] from the tree, and I ate.” 13 So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.”
III. Deciding that you are not going to persist in running the race Christ has for you. (v.1).
1. Have you ever met a “Uster”?
o “I uster be active in church.”
o “I uster be a Sunday School Teacher”
o “I uster be a Deacon”
o “I uster be a preacher”
2. Has there ever been a time when you were closer to the Lord than you are now?
IV. THE WAY TO DEVELOPE THE RIGHT FOCUS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. (VSS.1-4)
A. Glance at people, but focus on Christ.
1- ἀφοράω = to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.
B. Make a careful comparrison of your life with that of Jesus.
1- “Consider Him” = ἀναλογίζομαι = to think over, consider, ponder, make a close comparison of.
a. Make a close comparison of your life to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Nothing I experience comes close to what He endured.
C. Release the weights and worries of life to Jesus.
1- “Weight” = ὄγκος = whatever is prominent, protuberance, bulk, mass, hence a burden, weight, encumberance.
2- “the sin” = ἁμαρτία = that which is done wrong, sin, offence, a violation of divine law.
3- “encumbers” = εὐπερίστατος = to skillfully surround, to entrap (besetting).
D. Deal with sin through repentance and confession.
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
D. Remind yourself of the reality of the finish line and the goal. (TEXT)
3. Commit to persistently run the race until you cross the finish line.
(Philippians 3:13-14 KJV) “ Brethren, I count not myself
to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting
those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, (14) I press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
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