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From the days when Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, people have been in need of a mediator who could bring them back to God.

Jesus Christ is the one Mediator between God and Man.

This week we are continuing our series on Sunday nights titled “Jesus Christ as Our High Priest.”

The book of Hebrews isn’t the most popular book in the New Testament.

In many respects it is neglected.

The Jewish, or Old Testament, back ground that permeates every chapter has probably contributed to its neglect by many pastors.

The book of Hebrews portrays an exalted concept of Jesus Christ.

This week we are talking about,

An Exhortation to Remember.

Text

Hebrews 12:1 (AMP)

Jesus, the Example

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,

Scripture Reading.

Hebrews 12:1-29 (ESV)

Introduction 

In the letter to the Hebrews, the new covenant through Jesus Christ has been introduced.

The last two chapters of Hebrews are messages of exhortation.

Four special exhortations are found in chapter 12, readers are encouraged to heed a race to be run, a chastisement to be endured, a challenge to be accepted, and a city to be experienced.

  1. A race to be run. Hebrews 12:1-4.

The Christian life may be compared to an athletic contest that takes place in a massive stadium.

The Christian is the athlete, and the Christian life is the contest.

  1. The witnesses. 

Hebrews 12:1(AMP)

Jesus, the Example

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,

The race is to be run in a stadium infant of many spectators who share an unusual feature.

Just as the race is a test of faith, so all who witness it are people of victorious faith.

The great cloud of witnesses refers to people of faith who are noted in chapter 11.

B. The race.

Again Hebrews 12:1 (AMP)

Preparations must be made for the race.

Just before the starting gun is sounded, the runner must remove the training weights.

In the case of this race, these are the sins that so easily trouble us.

The runners conduct during the race must be that of patient endurance.

The course is planned by someone else, and the runner is disqualified if they move from the designated field. 

C. The example.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (AMP)

2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [a]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Young athletes study the form and mannerisms of those who have succeeded in their field.

So we study the life of Jesus Christ.

He is the pinnacle of spiritual success.

He both authored and finished our faith.

If we are to live by faith, we must study Him with the desire to be like Him. 

D. The goal.

Hebrews 12:4 (AMP)

A Father’s Discipline

4 You have not yet struggled to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

The goal of all Christians is to so resist sin and temptation that they will shed blood if necessary to be successful.

2. A chastisement to be endured. Hebrews 12:5-11.

Discipline plays an essential role in raising children.

It is also necessary in a Christian’s spiritual development.

Believers are challenged to endure chastisement from the Lord.

  1. The fact.

Hebrews 12:5 (AMP)

5 and you have forgotten the divine word of encouragement which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not make light of the discipline of the Lord,

And do not lose heart and give up when you are corrected by Him;

The Lord disciplines His own.

Chastisement is part of the parent – child relationship.

B. The reason.

Hebrews 12:6-8 (AMP)

6 For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves,

And He punishes every son whom He receives and welcomes [to His heart].”

7 You must submit to [correction for the purpose of] discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 

8 Now if you are exempt from correction and without discipline, in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate children and not sons [at all].

God disciplines His children because He loves them.

Parents must share their experiences with their children.

Discipline is a system that encourages children to respond to their parents.

This applies to our relationship with the heavenly Father as well.

C. The result.

Hebrews 12:9-11 (AMP)

9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we submitted and respected them [for training us]; shall we not much more willingly submit to the Father of spirits, and live [by learning from His discipline]? 

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for only a short time as seemed best to them; but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 

11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose].

God disciplines us so that we might learn from His experiences.

He wants us to partake of His Holiness.

3. A challenge to be accepted. Hebrews 12:12-21.

The heart of exhortation is the challenge to be victorious in daily living.

The readers are encouraged to have the proper walk, attitude, and guide.

  1. Proper walk.

Hebrews 12:12-13 (AMP)

12 So then, strengthen hands that are weak and knees that tremble. 

13 Cut through and make smooth, straight paths for your feet [that are safe and go in the right direction], so that the leg which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather may be healed.

Circumstances tend to push believers towards defeat, but they are exhorted to strengthen their feeble hands and knees.

The readers are encouraged to help other believers who have faltered so that the fallen may be healed.

B. Proper attitude.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (AMP)

14 Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. 

15 See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Three relationships are given in this passage.

Individuals must seek to maintain peace with others.

They must always be aware of God’s grace.

And they must protect themselves against bitterness.

C. Proper guide.

Hebrews 12:16-21 (AMP)

16 and [see to it] that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 

17 For you know that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance [there was no way to repair what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], even though he sought for it with [bitter] tears.

Contrast of Sinai and Zion

18 For you have not come [as did the Israelites in the wilderness] to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging windstorm, 

19 and to the blast of a trumpet and a sound of words [such that] those who heard it begged that nothing more be said to them. 

20 For they could not bear the command, “If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it will be stoned [to death].” 

21 In fact, so terrifying was the sight, that Moses said, “I am filled with fear and trembling.”

Some allow fleshly impulses to guide their steps, as Esau, others choose to follow the way of God, as dis Moses.

4. A city to be experienced. Hebrews 12:22-27.

In this passage believers are given a glimpse of their glorious future.

  1. A heavenly scene. 

Hebrews 12:22-24 (AMP)

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels [in festive gathering], 

23 and to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are registered [as citizens] in heaven, and to God, who is Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect [bringing them to their final glory], 

24 and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant [uniting God and man], and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]..

The heavenly scene is depicted as Mount Zion.

There is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the vast company of angels.

Praise His name.

B. Earthly acceptance.

Hebrews 12:25 (AMP)

The Unshaken Kingdom

25 See to it that you do not refuse [to listen to] Him who is speaking [to you now]. For if those [sons of Israel] did not escape when they refused [to listen to] him who warned them on earth [revealing God’s will], how much less will we escape if we turn our backs on Him who warns from heaven?

The readers are exhorted to accept this heavenly scene as a future reality.

The materialism of this world often obscures future hopes unless faith in Jesus Christ intervenes.

C. Godly judgement.

Hebrews 12:25-27 (AMP)

The Unshaken Kingdom

25 See to it that you do not refuse [to listen to] Him who is speaking [to you now]. For if those [sons of Israel] did not escape when they refused [to listen to] him who warned them on earth [revealing God’s will], how much less will we escape if we turn our backs on Him who warns from heaven? 

26 His voice shook the earth [at Mount Sinai] then, but now He has given a promise, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the [starry] heaven.” 

27 Now this [expression], “Yet once more,” indicates the removal and final transformation of all those things which can be shaken—that is, of that which has been created—so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

The author warned of God’s judgement to seal the great truths of Christianity in the reader’s minds.

Conclusion.

Verses 28 and 29 challenge believers to serve God acceptably with godly fear and reverence.

This exhortation is emphasised by yet another reminder of God’s awesomeness.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (AMP)

28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, and offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 

29 for our God is [indeed] a consuming fire.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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