"Endurance for the Year Ahead"

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
There is a wonderful encouragement that we read about of enduring faith in Hebrews chapter 10:35-39.
Hebrews 10:35–39 ESV
35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
What is so amazing is that this passage actually comes to life and is beautifully illustrated in the lives of the faithful saints in Hebrews chapter 11.
-By faith Abraham.
-By faith Jacob.
-By faith Moses. These men lived lives of faithful endurance. And there were others.
Hebrews 11:32–34 ESV
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
With that being said we see that all of this is now repeated and explained again at the beginning of Hebrews chapter 12 of which we will look at this morning. The theme here is that of endurance and that is what I want to talk to you about this morning as we now begin a new year. The reason why this is so important for us to address this morning is because so often we can start the year off going strong and even making new habits and new goals, but it is so easy to become weary and fainthearted along the way. How many folks do you know today who have dropped out of the Christian race or who have gotten sidetracked? I want to encourage all of you today as you begin to think about the year ahead, to run with endurance. But exactly how do we do that? I mean so often things seem to be sailing along and then comes a crisis or a health issue, or a strong temptation to give into a particular sin. So, how do we remain strong? How exactly can we run with endurance. Let’s dive into God’s Word and see.

1. The Christian Life is to be Ran with endurance.

Hebrews 12:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
The therefore that starts this verse shows us the wonderful survey of the Old Testament people of faith. They are a great cloud of witnesses that are testifying from God’s Word that God is faithful. These ancient believers also bear witness on God’s behalf that He can be trusted.
As believers today we should be motivated by these faithful witnesses to keep running the Christian race. As runners we should be inspired by these godly examples who have gone before us. Why? Because they have lived their lives in such a way for us to look at, and say God help me to be faithful and persevere in my christian race as others have who have gone before us.
The “Let Us” here shows us that these Hebrews had made a profession of faith, but had not gone all the way. In other words they had not yet started the race. They knew about the race and had heard about the author and director, but had not yet SALVATION. The author of Hebrews invites them to accept salvation in Christ, and begin to run with Christ. You may be here today and have never started the race. You don’t have a relationship with Christ yet. Will you call out to Him today and confess your sin and your need for a Savior?
If you are a believer today and know Christ, your are in the race and this next part is so vital. Notice what the author tells us. There are several things we must lay aside. In other words, here are some things to get rid of so that you can run with endurance.
First of all, lay aside every weight. Now this is a different word from the word sin. What was weighing down the Hebrews at this point in the church, was that of the Old levitical system or legalism. These were all the outward things that the religious leaders at the time were imposing on the people or adding to salvation. So, my point here in explaining this too us is that we as runners need to strip off or get rid of the extra weights that can cause us to get weighted down and not continue on in the race. So every weight, but also sin.
The second thing we must lay aside is Sin. Sin ensnares us, it tangles us up and binds us from competing and running. There are many sins today that entangle us from running this life with joy and peace. Anger can weigh us down, pride, the lust of possessions and money. Sexual sin, worry, un-forgiveness and even bitterness. These things can drag us down and cause us to get off course or even stop completely. That is exactly what the enemy wants. So, watch out for these things, lay them aside and run with endurance.

2. In the Christian Life we must Fix our attention on Christ!

Hebrews 12:2–4 ESV
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
In order to run with endurance there are some things we must cast off, however the key too endurance in the race is looking to the founder and perfecter of faith, Jesus. Let me ask you this morning where is your attention focused on? What has your heart and mind most days? Is it the Lord or other things?
Christ is the originator and object or our faith. He initiates our faith, He has already run the race ahead of us, and brings our faith to it’s goal. How has he done this? God back with me to chapter 10 verse 14.
Hebrews 10:14 ESV
14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Jesus’ sacrifice has perfected for all time, those who trust in him. Today Jesus has set the pace of enduring faith. When we come to the Lord and recognize that we are a sinful people and trust in Christ, we rely on the blood of Jesus and His righteousness as we recognize our own unworthiness.
The joy here in verse 2 means that Jesus kept going, He kept persevering all the way to the cross, so that He might receive the joy of accomplishment of doing His fathers will. In everything Christ did while he was here on earth, He did it to obey his father and to exalt him and bring Him glory and honor.
With that being said, as we start this new year we must consider Christ. This is what verse 3 is pointing us too. Jesus was, has been and is a great example for us in regards that He was willing to suffer and die as well as many other difficult things.
-He faced angry hostile people who were always against him.
-He faced the cruel death of the cross.
So, as we think about these things that Christ experienced throughout his life we need to understand that this same opposition will come to those who follow Jesus as well. Here is what I mean by this. There will come times in your life as a believer where you will face pressure, trials, struggles, stress, exhaustion, and even persecution. The world in which we live today will not like what believers stand for. They will think God’s Word is outdated and irrelevant. But as believers we stand on God’s Word because it is truth and it dispels all darkness. God’s Word tells us difficult things because we are sinners and we need to hear those things. So, don’t get weary and discouraged. Look to Jesus and consider all the things he went through, so that you don’t get discouraged this year. When we meditate on the Lord’s sacrifice it put’s our own trials into perspective, fortifying our hearts against self-pity and hopelessness.

3. Throughout the Christian Life don’t forget that God’s Discipline is Proof of His love for His Children.

Hebrews 12:5–8 ESV
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
The author here in verses 5-6 is quoting from Proverbs 3:11-12. The point here is that trials and suffering do come from God. Now of course there are other reasons that these may come about in our lives, however there are times where God allows them to happen. God uses these to teach us, to train us, and to discipline us. But remember here that this happens for a reason in a believers life. It happens to a believer only because God loves us and doesn’t want us to stay in the same place. It is also evidence of His love and care to show us that we are truly His children.
Verse 6 “God disciplines those whom He loves.” Here in these verses we see the mention of son quite a few times. The point is as God’s children, as sinners and as imperfect that we are we need discipline and training. But again this is for our good. You may say yeah but I don’t see it right now. That is because in the struggles and trials we don’t always see it, so remember to look to Christ. Also the world or unbelievers will not get this. Discipline will not make sense to them. Verse 8 tells us that if you are without discipline then you are illegitimate. You are not a Christian. This is the only time this word is used in the entire New Testament, but it is also used in Greek literature. It is used to describe people who are born to slaves or concubines. Like Ismael was born to Hagar in Genesis 16. Abraham’s concubine Hagar gave him an illegitimate son in that of Ismael. So, today let’s remember that along this journey wether we like it or not discipline is needed and is proof of God’s love for us.

4. In the Christian Life we submit to our Heavenly Father because His discipline is for our greater good.

Hebrews 12:9–10 ESV
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
There came a time in my life after I left the house and went off to college where I finally saw why my father disciplined me. I realized just how much I needed it, and I did respect him for it. This is what the beginning of verse 9 is telling us. But we also see here something else. The word subject or subjection here in verse 9 is a respect and fear of God. It means that there has come a time in your life that you have submitted to God and not to live however you want to live. When we fully trust the Lord and submit to Him and even His discipline eventually that produces in our lives a rich and more abundant life.
Psalm 119:165 ESV
165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
So, our earthly fathers discipline us for just a short time because that would be while we are young or still at home. They try to correct their children, however their discipline can be imperfect at times. However, God can continue to discipline His children because He is perfect and His discipline is for our profit or our good. God will discipline us in just the right way at the right time. Why? Here is why.
-So, we don’t continue in hurtful and harmful things.
-So, we don’t hurt others. Or ourselves.
-So, we can grow into maturity and help others and encourage others along the race.
-So, we can ultimately bring honor and glory to Christ.

5. Enduring faith looks beyond the painful present to a fruitful future.

Hebrews 12:11 ESV
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Most people are going to look at suffering and even discipline and say this stinks, this is not pleasant. And you would be right. But this light momentary affliction is preparing for us as believers an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison. In other words something better is yet to come.
So, discipline is not always a joyous thing. But it does yield or bring with it a peaceful fruit of righteousness. Here is how James puts it.
James 3:18 ESV
18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
As we under go God’s wise and loving discipline throughout our lives we should patiently expect and look forward too a harvest of the peaceful fruit of righteousness. So, this is why we have to be trained by the Lord’s discipline.
We train and are disciplined so that we can run this race that is set before us.
1 Timothy 4:7–8 ESV
7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Enduring faith is tough and strenuous, but it gives us an assurance today, and throughout this race, of our Father’s love for us as His children.
Closing: As we look to God’s Word and think about all the Old Testament men and women as well as the apostles and those who lived during the time of Christ, we see that even down through church history every generation of Christians faced a time of opposition. There have been so many that have gone before us who have throughout their lives persevered in following Christ. Clearly the earthly church fathers understood that being a Christian was not going to be easy. Sometimes this came through the hostility and anger of sinners and men and women who were not believers. Sometimes matters escalated to financial difficulties, physical harm, imprisonment, and even death. So, this is why the author of Hebrews is so adamant about looking to Jesus and His Words every time we get weary and discouraged. To get up and get going and to run the race of faith laid out in front of us. The faithful witnesses that have gone on before us are our motivation to keep running, to keep going and know that they are in heaven cheering us on. But, even more so to look to our faith’s founder and perfecter, Jesus. We look to Jesus today and even in our present pains as we struggle to hold fast to our faith which show us of his love and perfect plan for our eternal well-being. As your Pastor today I want you to know we must look to Christ because as we do we can remember our Father’s encouragement is their to supply us with strength and motivation to run the race all the way to the finish line.
(Close and lead into Communion)
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more