Apr 21, 2024. Hebrews 12:3-4

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ENCOURAGED & ENABLED. Hebrews 12:3-4. 4/21/2024. #43.

3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

1. Correct Calculation

                a. The Hebrew Christians looked backward

                                a1. They wanted to bring the Law with them

                                a2. They were dismayed that both Jewish worshippers and pagan Gentiles disdained them

                b. Heb. had given them a list of faithful saints to follow

                                a1. Many were persecuted and some were martyred

                                a2. I Peter 4:12-16 trials and opposition in the life of believers is normal and enabling

                c. Consider (analogizaethe; English word: analogue) = to calculate or sum up

                                a1. Only time this word is used in NT

                                a2. A math term = to come to a right total

                                a3. Compare Jesus with any other path of life and see if He is not greater than any other life

                                                b1. He endured more, accomplished more, and delivers more than all others

                                                b2. He enables us to follow Him

2. Trials and Triumph

                a. Endured (hupomenos = remain under) hostility from sinners

                b. 2 different readings: hostility of sinners opposed against Him or hostility of sinners opposing themselves (opposing Christ against their own benefit)

                c. Even though Christ suffered greatly, He gained more through suffering than by safety

                d. Christ’s endured the hostility

                                a1. Endured = in the perfect tense (continued to endure)

                                a2. Christ didn’t give up until His task was over

                e. Endurance in the Christian faith must be a core value and constant commitment

3. Battered but not beaten

                a. By focusing on Christ’s example, we are told not to become weary (worn out by labor)

                                a1. Not to become fatigued in our souls

                                a2. Galatians 6:9 do not become weary, for you will reap if you do not faint

                                a3. James 5:15 do no weary in sickness

                b. There must be a fortitude of a soldier within us that drives us forward beyond pain, persecution, and pessimism

                                a1. A determination of will to continue forward despite temptation to quit

                                a2. Christ laid out our path through suffering that by example and enabling empowers us

                c. Do not be discouraged (athumeo = to lose passion)

                                a1. Thumos = to heat up (English words: fume, thermos, thermometer, thermal…)

                                a2. To be disheartened or dispirited

                                a3. When you feel drained of all feelings and emotion, one must choose to continue on

                d. Christ is the example of finishing in the midst of extreme opposition and suffering

                e. We have yet to resisted to shedding of blood (giving our lives) for the cause of Christ

                                a1. There are many who have been martyred

                                a2. We have not resisted to the point of giving up our lives (there is more for us to do)

                f. We are not finished striving against sin

                                a1. Striving = struggling (antagonizomai; Eng. word antagonism)

                                a2. Not only is opposition a struggle, but also wrestling against our own sins

                                a3. There are enemies within and without

                                a4. Romans 7 Paul was concerned about wrestling with the sin within him (doing wrong things and failing to do right things)

                g. Even in the midst of discouragement, failures, and setbacks, we continue forward in power of Christ

                h. An unwavering commitment to persevere

Key passage:  I Peter 4:12-1612 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

Apr 14, 2014. Hebrews 12:1-2

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RUN WITH ENDURANCE. Hebrews 12:1-2. 4/14/2024. #42.

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1. A cloud of witnesses

                a. We are encompassed by a cloud of witnesses

                                a1. Can mean “spectators” as in there are many going before us watching us

                                a2. More likely: testimonies of faithful saints preceding us are witnessing (Eng. word martyr) to us by their enduring legacy

                b. Hebrews 11 lists just a few godly people who were used to do great things for God, many dying for it

                c. The witnesses who came before us demonstrate that believers can endure hardship and complete their course well

2. Running the race well

                a. Every serious athlete trains and prepares to compete

                                a1. He uses weights to strengthen his muscles

                                a2. He runs great distances to build endurance

                                a3. He denies his body those things which

                                       might hinder his performance (foods, alcohol, late night carousing…)

                b. Race time is focus time

                                a1. An athlete doesn’t carry weights into the race, but totally focuses on the task to hand

                                a2. Weights and hindrances can be many things

                                                b1. Distractions, doing good works that have little benefit (I Corinthians 6:12)

                                                b2. A distracted church is not effective

                c. 2 TIM. 2:1-7 running the Christian race is an intentional choice to deny self to focus on serving the Lord

                                a1. The Christion life is a marathon; not a sprint

                                a2. A believer must steel himself to endure hardship, rejection, and trials

                d. Our main enemy is our own sins (James 1:12-16)

                                a. Our sins easily ensnare (entrap, entangle) us, preventing us from advancing

                                b. Laying aside literally means to look away from (to not be distracted from main focus)

                                c. So many things can distract us that are not sins of themselves, but can become sins if they keep us from serving God (technology, social media, hobbies, sports, entertainment, laziness, possessions, careers…)

                c. Endurance (hupomenos = to remain under) is used 21 times in Hebrews 11 (patience, longsuffering)

                                a1. Seeking to avoid the difficulties of serving the Lord prevents serving Him at all

                                a2. A true Christian soldier expects to face opposition and difficulties and prepares himself

                                a3. Not being weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:7-9)

                d. The Lord has set forth a race for us to run

                                a1. Each believer has been given gifts, tasks, opportunities, callings, and challenges

                                a2. Faithfulness in our race determines our eternal rewards (II Timothy 2:20-21)

3. Jesus, our example

                a. Jesus is the author (archegon; chief, originator, head, source; Eng. words monarchy, archeology) of our faith

                                a1. Jesus not only made our salvation possible, he set forth how we are to live for him

                                a2. Jesus is both our savior and commander

                b. Jesus is the finisher (teleoton, perfecter, bring to maturity, completer; Eng. word telescope) of faith

                                a1. Jesus brings those things into our lives to bring us to maturity and spirituality

                                a2. The rate of our maturity is up to us

                c. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him

                                a1. The gain was worth the pain

                                a2. Despising (discounting) the humiliation

Key passage: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

Apr 7, 2024. Hebrews 11:35-40

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A BETTER RESURRECTION. Hebrews 11:35-40. 4/7/2024. #41

35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

1. On the other hand

                a. After listing OT believers who did great feats (defeated large armies, stopped the mouths of lions, walked unharmed, escaped the sword, performed great signs and miracles), he speaks of those who

                     were tortured and martyred for their faith

                b. “Others” = other people of a different type (hetaeras)

                     as verses others of the same type (allos)

                                a1. Some were delivered from death while others were delivered to death

                                a2. The difference between those delivered and those who were not was not in their faith, but in the divine purpose of God

                c. Daniel 3 the faith of the believer does not determine the outcome of the challenge to their faith

                d. Acts 12:1-10 James was beheaded, but Peter was released (Stephen was stoned, but Paul revived)

2. Reward beyond rescue

                a. Many were offered to be delivered from death if they would recant their profession of faith

                                a1. They looked for better resurrection

                                                b1. Eternal life and reward rather than rescue from martyrdom

                                                b2. Turned down reprieve for reward

                b. There were many ways the witnesses were abused

                                a1. Mockings = derisive torture

                                a2. Scourgings = floggings and beatings

                                a3. Imprisonment and chains (Joseph, Jeremiah)

                c. The witnesses were impoverished and tormented

                                a1. They wore rough clothes (animal skins)

                                a2. They had little possessions and no homes, but lived in caves and dens

                d. They wandered over deserts and mountains

                                a1. They carried their messages to far places and had to flee to wilderness areas for safety

                                a2. They weren’t well received by great and small

                e. Often they were martyred

                                a1. Some died by the sword

                                a2. Some commentators teach that wandering in sheep and goatskins refers to death by wrapping a victim in fresh skins so when sun dried the skins they were shrink and crush the victim to death

                                a3. Sawn in half (tradition has Isaiah being sawn in half in a hollow log by Manasseh

                f. None received The Promise of reward on earth

                                a1. Heb. 6:15 Abr. did not receive The Promise

                                a2. The permanent inheritance = not on earth

3. He included us

                a. OT saints couldn’t receive The Promise without us

                                a1. Until God completes His plan = no rewards

                                a2. God made the church necessary in plan

                b. The OT believers had to await the Incarnation, the church, the rapture, and the Tribulation before the Millennial Kingdom and Eternity could arrive

                c. The great can’t inherit the kingdom without the small and the mighty couldn’t do so without the weak

                d. The great saints set an example for us to follow, but they can’t arrive at their destination without us

                e. We have something better = salvation in Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and a complete Word

                f. He made them great to give us something greater

                                a1. Astounding love and grace is given to us

                                a2. We must complete the journey they started

Key passage: Acts 12:1-101 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. 5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

Mar 31, 2024. Easter 2024

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A WORD FROM THE CROSS. LK. 23/JN 19. 03/31/24.


            a. The first 3 utterances from the cross had to do

                with man – forgiveness, redemption, & compassion


32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 ]Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Luke 23:32-34


                        a1. Christ died for mankind & dealt with man

                              from the cross, even though He was dying

                        a2. Looking down form the cross, He took pity

            b. The forgiveness offered from the cross was not

                 for salvation of those who crucified Him

                        a1. Not to hold the crucifixion to their account

                        a2. Our sins put Christ on the cross – Jews,

                               Gentiles, & all people share the blame


39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Lk. 23


            c. The first convert was actually the criminal on a cross

                        a1. The criminal moved from mocker to believer

                        a2. At the point of death, he was given life

                        a3. Conversion started at the cross

                        a4. Jesus’s focus was on others, not Himself


25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. Jn. 19


            d. After Jesus looked out at His abusers & across at

                     the thief, He looked down on His mother

                                a1. As the oldest son, Jesus was responsible

                                       for the care of His mother (Joseph died)

                                a2. Jesus’s brothers were not yet believers

                                       (no record of them being at the cross)

                                a3. Jesus fulfills His responsibility by placing

                                       His mother in the hands of John (the only

                                       disciple at the cross)


            a. After Jesus looked downward, finishing His earthly

                 ministry to man, He looked upward to His Father


45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mt. 27


            b. Most teach that God turned his back on His Son

                                a1. Forsaken = to abandon; to leave stranded

                                a2. Christ became sin on the cross & God

                                       judged sin in His Son, who knew no sin

                                a3. Sin separated Father & Son at the cross


            a. Jesus fulfilled prophecy by expressing His thirst

                     (Ps. 22) & then finishing His task (Is. 53)


28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Jn. 19


                        a1. It is finished (tetelestai) = paid in full (sin

                                     debt was completely settled with 0 balance)

                                a2. In 6 hrs. Jesus did what man could not do

                b. At the completion of His task, Jesus was released


44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was [m]darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last. Lk. 23  DONE!

Mar 24, 2024. Hebrews 11:32-35

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FAITH BEYOND TELLING.  Hebrews 11:32-35. 3/24/2024. #40

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

1. Men of weakness; men of faith

                a. Hebrews doesn’t have space to list all deeds of faith

                                a1. Many varieties of miracles recorded

                                a2. Each faithful act was in obedience to God

                b. God strengthened weak men

                                a1. Gideon, a farmer, was doubtful throughout his calling, seeking signs and assurance (the fleece signs were from disbelief, not faith)

                                a2. Barak refused to go to battle without the judge Deborah coming along, even though he was general of the army

                c. Samson was of dubious moral character

                                a1. Samson was immoral, willful, prideful, disobedient, selfish, and cocky

                                a2. Samson’s trust in God was presumptuous

                                a3. God still used Samson to subdue the Phil.

                d. Jephthah was a rogue who made a rash vow that adversely impacted his daughter (dead or a virgin?)

                e. God’s children are not perfect, but they trust God

2. Faith that changed history

                a. Samuel was the last of the judges, a prophet, and king maker

                                a1. Sanuel faithfully obeyed God and judged Israel

                                a2. Since Samuel’s sons were wicked, Israel demanded a king (a father like Eli)    

                b. Unlike Saul, David was faithful to God

                                a1. He was an adulterer and murderer

                                a2. God forgave David and He conquered kingdoms and subdued armies

3. Too many to name

                a. Hebrews now alludes to random deeds, events, traits, and stories that demonstrated great faith and courage

                b. Prophets are mentioned in general with allusion to certain deeds that the author had in mind

                c. Subduing kingdoms: God blinded the Syrian army before Elisha, so he turned away their sword and Syria was defeated

                d. Worked righteousness can refer to many deeds, from Amos and Ezekiel to Daniel, Isaiah, and Haggai

                e. Stopped the mouth of lions refers to Daniel, but also, Samson, David, and Benaiah

                f. Quenched the violence of fire refers to the 3 Hebrews captives who refused to bow to Neb.’s image (Daniel 3:16-25)

                g. David, Gideon, Elijah, and others escaped the sword

                h. Out of weakness, God gave them strength: Gideon, David, Jeremiah, Esther, Job, and Jacob

                i. Against great odds, Joshua, Gideon, and Jonathan put their enemies to flight

                j. Women received their sons back alive

                                a1. I Kings 17 the Syro-Phoenician woman, who served Elijah during the famine

                                a2. II Kings 4 the Shunammite woman who ministered to Elisha

                k. Though many great deeds were accomplished  through faithful, but weak and flawed, people, God continues to work through His faithful saints today

                                a1. Not always showy, like fire from heaven or water from rock, but still effective

                                a2. Through faithfully serving God, He directs our path, provides protection, gives

                                        strength, and overcomes evil against us

                                a3. The same God works today as in the Old Testament

                l. We do not need to worry about results

                                a1. Our task is humble obedience and trust

                                a2. A walk of faith testifies to the glory of God

Key passage: Daniel 3:16-25

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”