Hebrews - Part 14 - A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Study of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:02
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Sermon Jul 2020 - A Great Cloud of Witnesses. Heb 12 Most heard messages from Hebrews 1 to Heb 11 - let's recall the main points? A Brief recap of Hebrews 1 to 11 Why was the Book of Hebrews ever written? Heb 1. Long ago God spoke many times to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. Heb 2: A Warning against Drifting Away. Jesus Is Greater Than Moses, so follow Jesus. H.3 There is a Promised Rest-those-follow Jesus H. 4: Christ Is Our High Priest. H. 5: A Call for Spiritual Growth H. 6: God's Promises Bring Hope H. 7: Jesus Is like Melchizedek H. 8: Christ Is Our High Priest H. 9: Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice H.10: A Call to Persevere (The righteous children of God will live by faith in Christ Jesus - so it's all about Jesus.) 11: Great Examples of Faith-Able, Enoch, Noah Abraham (I'm going to read all of it first Heb 12:1-11) Easy to Read version) Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great 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. v.2 We must never stop looking onto Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and He is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy He could see waiting for Him. And now He is sitting at the right side of God's throne. v.3 Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at Him. Think about Him so that you won't get discouraged and stop trying. 4. You are struggling against sin, but you have not had to give up your life for the cause. 5. You are children of God, and He speaks words of comfort to you. You have forgotten these words: "My child, don't think the Lord's discipline is worth nothing, and don't stop trying when He corrects you. 6 The Lord disciplines everyone He loves; He punishes everyone He accepts as a child. 7 So accept sufferings like a father's discipline. God does these things to you like a father correcting his children. You know that all children are disciplined by their fathers. 8. So, if you never receive the discipline that every child must have, you are not true children and don't really belong to God. 9. We have all had fathers here on earth who corrected us with discipline. And we respected them. So it is even more important that we accept discipline from the Father of our spirits. If we do this, we will have life. 10. Our fathers on earth disciplined us for a short time in the way they thought was best. But God disciplines us to help us so that we can be holy like Him. 11. We don't enjoy discipline when we get it. It is painful. But later, after we have learned our lesson from it, we will enjoy the peace that comes from doing what is right. ********************************** Why was the Book of Hebrews ever written? It spells out the Great Christian Race to Perfection. It encouraged the "followers of Jesus" who are getting persecuted to stop following the Law of Moses and to accept the New Covenant and follow Jesus. (It's the same for us today) It's one of the most stirring passages in Scripture. It is uplifting to all of us to run and to keep on running in this Christian race. Q; If someone asks you- Why would you run the Christian race? .It's a race of FAITH heading towards heaven. . It's the race of FAITH to live with God forever. . It's the race for no more suffering, no more corruption, no evil, ,and no more death. . It's the race to eternal life in God's Kingdom. . It's the race of FAITH to the Promised Land, to be with God forever. . It's the race to live in the new heavens & new earth as co-heirs with Christ where we can communicate with God directly, both now and in the eternal future.. To me it's one of the most stirring passages The Book of Hebrews encouraged the people of old during those times of persecution and it is encouraging us now to endure to the bitter end to run by FAITH, then we shall be escorted into the very presence of God. Soon, this Promised Land shall become a living reality for us. What more stirring passage can one get? How do we know this? Because of the Promised Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah has come. He died to remove our sins. He has been raised to speak on our behalf before God. (Intercedes for us) Therefore, we shall live forever in the Promised Land, in God's glorious presence, in His love, we shall worship, and serve Him. The ultimate goal of our Christian race is so awesome and majestic. The Book of Hebrews demands our attention: the great Christian race has been spelled out. Therefore, it needs to be studied in the Bible and understood by all who are willing to run the race, and we all need to run this race of FAITH. 1 Peter 2:21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps. Heb 12 v.1. Says there is a great cloud of witnesses. It still surrounds us today. The FAITH-heroes mentioned in chapter eleven, have participated in this race. They are very interested in how we run the race. Also Jesus participated in this race, He participated for the joy of winning. He disciplined Himself, He endured to the point of death. And He received His reward and now He speaks to us: "come and follow Me". v.2 Jesus is the supreme example of endurance. v.3 It's a controlling factor: focusing and keeping our minds on Jesus' endurance. v.4 The demand is great, by FAITH we must resist temptations- even unto the shedding of blood. The people in Heb 11 had great faith and endured. It should stir up and inspire us to endure to the end. These heroes never doubted their FAITH. ⇒ They endured against great temptation-against thinking, feeling, looking, and saying things that would hinder their race. They did not give in to temptation- at least not for long, it wasn't their lifestyle. They endured in their FAITH against great trials-against problems, trouble, sufferings, loss of possessions, hunger, disease, mockery, abuse, persecution, threats, and even in the face of martyrdom-they kept their FAITH believing in God and God's glorious promises. They endured against opposition from family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, civil leaders, and even religious leaders. No matter the opposition, they believed God and endured in their FAITH in God and in His Word. James 5:7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. (Patience and Endurance like Jesus). Christ endured so much more than what we have to endure. Let's look at Jesus' life: ⇒ being born in a stable, ⇒ being born to poor parents ⇒ having no home, no place to lay His head ⇒ being hated and opposed by religious leaders ⇒ being charged with demon possession ⇒ being opposed by His own family ⇒ being betrayed by a close friend ⇒ being left alone by all His friends ⇒ being tried on a charge of treason ⇒ being executed by crucifixion, the worst possible death. This is our Savior "come and follow Me" Matt 24:9 Nations will hate you because you are My followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. Heb 12:5-11 God's Discipline proves His love for us as His children, (physically and Spiritually) God corrects believers. He rebukes believers. God does not want the trials and sins of life to defeat us; He wants them to strengthen us. He wants to use them to discipline and teach us endurance. He wants to teach us to trust and depend upon Him only. But we have to let God work in our hearts and use the trials to strengthen us. Do not wallow around in the mud or self-pity. We must turn to God- truly turn to God and ask Him for help and strength. • God will teach and discipline the believer as a growing child to trust and depend upon Christ and to fellowship and communicate with Jesus more and more. • God will teach and discipline the growing child to endure more and more, making him stronger and stronger. • God will use the endurance and faith of the growing child as a testimony, even that of death. When we fail and cave in to sin, God lets us reap what we have sown, but still rescues us because of His love for us. He loves and works with us, convicting us by His Spirit to repent. >>>> He is calling us "come and follow Me" God takes the sufferings that are caused by trials and sins and uses them to correct and discipline us. The headline in my Bible reads: God's great discipline to prove His love for us. Galatians 3:13 Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. Many of us suffer so much in this life? We are to take heed and trust Jesus. As we do, life will be victorious. He wants us to grow and move through life to become stronger and stronger within our inner being. Therefore, every time we go astray or begin to faint under trials, God corrects us. He loves us as our Father. He is disciplining us the same way as a loving father here on earth. Heb 12:8-11 God disciplines us to assure us that we are His children. If a person is not disciplined, then it's not a child of God. When a person get instructed, disciplined, and corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, then we are a child of God. God disciplines us for our good, to make us partakers of His holiness. His Holy Spirit dwells in us to make us more like Jesus. As long as we are on this earth, we shall never become perfectly holy. But we are to grow more/more to become like Jesus. Day by day we are to let His holiness and purity shine through us. God disciplines us. Why? So that we can be corrected and do all we can for the sake of peace and righteousness. This discipline and correction may be grievous and painful to bear at first, but it will bring peace and righteousness when we endure to the end. The Book of Hebrews was written to people who were severely persecuted or killed because they moved away from the Law of Moses and accepted a new belief in Christ Jesus. It was a major change from the visible to the invisible. From the physical to the Spiritual and it can only be done by FAITH in Jesus. And the example for us today is seen in the Cloud of Witnesses as mentioned in Heb, 11 Today we live in a world that lost its way, and we are going to see more and more persecution because of our belief in the unseen Jesus. Heb 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him (the Lord) who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him (the Lord) who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him (Jesus) who warns us from heaven? Heb 1:1 now in these final days, God has spoken to us through His Son This Book to the Hebrews was written to the people of old to have total FAITH in Jesus. This Book of Hebrews was written for us today to stress the fact that it's all about Jesus. He wants us to come out of this world because He said: Come & follow Me, together we are going heaven bound. How awesome is that. I encourage you to read all of Hebrews again. It's very inspiring to say the least. Amen. 1
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