May 5, 2024. Hebrews 12:12-17

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WHAT IS LOST CAN’T BE REGAINED. Hebrews 12:12-17. 5/5/2024. #45.

12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

1. A choice to respond

                a. After Hebrews speaks of the chastening (training) of the Lord, he speaks of our response to it

                                a1. Like Israel, God can chasten, but we must respond (Genesis 4:1-7)

                                a2. Training is only effectual with cooperation of the one being trained

                b. Must strengthen what is spiritually weak

                                a1. Strengthen (make straight) limp hand and feeble knees

                                a2. Just as the body can become flabby via lack of exercise, so our spiritual lives can

                                       become feeble through lack of commitment to the Lord (Word, prayer, service)

                c. There are areas where we are spiritually lame

                                a1. May be worldliness, inattention to Lord, laziness, carnality, prayerlessness…

                                a2. If we do not strengthen the weak areas,

                                       we will dislocate them, causing permanent disability

                d. We can change before it is too late

2. The fruit of a spiritual life

                a. Hebrews lists several qualities of a spiritual walk

                                a1. Pursuit of peace with all men

                                                b1. Not agreeing with all men

                                                b2. A gentle non-confrontational spirit

                                a2. Pursuit of holiness (being separate)

                                                b1. Purposeful separation from carnal and worldly pursuits

                                                b2. Separated to the devotion to God and spiritual pursuits (not just a side plate as a part time pursuit)

                                a3. Unless one is separated to God, he is unable to see God

                b. Do not want to fall short of the grace of God

                                a1. God has so many blessings for us, but they come through discipline and obedience

                                a2. Those who ignore spiritual life for worldly life lose forever the blessings of grace

3. No redoes

                a. Heb. warns against a root of bitterness

                                a1. A poisonous root leads to poisonous fruit

                                a2. By taking in the world, the entire tree (you) becomes toxic (bitter fruit)

                b. Rejecting the chastening and way of the Lord ruins us

                                a1. Defiles (pollutes, corrupts, contaminates) us by tainting the holy with the unholy

                                a2. Fornicators = those who are sexually defiled and morally stained

                c. Esau is a prime example

                                a1. Esau was profane (outside the temple) = not meaning “blasphemous”, but not concerned about the things of God

                                a2. Esau’s focus was on hunting, marrying local women, manly prowess…

                                a3. He thought so little of his inheritance that he sold it for a pot of soup and morsel of bread

                d. Esau bitterly tried to regain what he had lost = gone

                                a1. Once we spend our lives in useless pursuit it can’t be regained = lost forever

                                a2. Ecclesiastes 12 bitter regret won’t change choices

                                a3. Wood, hay, and stubble are burned up

                e. Only change that can be made in the present

Key passage: Genesis 4:1-7

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Apr 28, 2024. Hebrews 12:5-11

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BOOT CAMP FOR SAINTS. Hebrews 12:5-11. 04/28/2024. #44.

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,

Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;

6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,

And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

1. Training

                a. We like the rewards and goodness part of God’s promises, but not the trials and chastening part

                b. We understand the trials of this world which comes from living in a fallen nature

                c. We even understand when God must correct us because of sin

                d. We are not as keen on the chastening of the Lord

                                a1. “Chastening” is not the word for punishment, but the word for training

                                a2. Every child must be trained to know right from wrong, correct from incorrect, and proper from improper

                e. Beyond training in proper behavior, there is training in patience, fortitude, enduring hardship, perseverance, focus, and boldness of conviction

                                a1. These traits can’t be done via instruction alone, but by testing and experience

                                a2. The molding of a soldier or athlete (II Timothy 2) takes much discipline and deprivation

                f. Heb. quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 don’t despise the chastening of the Lord, for every father chastens his son

                                a1. One of the proofs that we are children of God is that God chastens us

                                a2. A father does not chasten someone else’s children, but just his own children

                g. A good father molds his son into a godly honorable person, to show respect, reverence, and reliability

                h. Those who are not chastened are not true sons

                i. At times, discipline seems harsh (Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joseph, Paul, Peter…)

                                a1. This is the only way to achieve holiness

                                a2. A soft Christian is a weak Christian

2. Embrace the chastening

                a. We are told to endure (Eng. word gymnasium) God’s chastening

                                a1. An athletic term = to push self to limit

                                a2. To be spiritually exercised

                b. The discipline of the Lord is to our profit, not for arbitrary general principles or to inflict pain

                c. God knows what discipline we need, even if we think that He is being overly harsh (Job)

                d. To accept trials and hardships is to learn from them and to learn from them is to be effective for God

3. The finish line

                a. Chastening must be viewed from the results

                                a1. Unpleasant and distasteful, but faith requires trust in Lord (Job 13)

                                a2. God will turn the disciplined saint into a praise to His glory (Romans 8:28-39)

                b. For a short time, our trials are very uncomfortable, but for eternity, they yield the joyful peaceable fruit of righteousness (partakers of His holiness)

                c. Reward is not only in what we do, but in being faithful in tribulation and trials along the way

                                a1. We are to be an example of righteous endurance to others as the see Christ work in us

                                a2. It is not the journey that matters, but the destination, making the journey worthwhile

                d. A spiritual saint has been trained and his trust is seen

Key passage: Romans 8:28-3928 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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.