Faithlife Sermons

Helping the Faltering Finish

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I. Strengthen and encourage one another. (Vv 12-13)

Isaiah 35:3–4 ESV
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
· Metaphor of race (12:1-2) arms by side, knees trembling, on the verge of collapse.
· Picture exhaustion and discouragement
· Your hands, your knees is actually the hands and the knees. Speaking to church as a whole.
o Look for those who are exhausted and discouraged. Strengthen and encourage them.

Help one another finish the race. (Vv 12-13, 15a)

§ Help them find the determination to finish the race.
· How do we do that?
o .
§ In context he is encouraging God’s suffering people with news of God’s ultimate salvation. God will intervene.
The context is verses 1-2. Drooping hands and weak knees depicts exhaustion and discouragement. Picture a runner with hands down by his side and knees trembling. To lift and strengthen is to be determined to press on to the final goal.
§ “God knows your situation and salvation is coming.”
· God’s gonna help you.
· I’m gonna help you.
o Verse 13a: Stay on the narrow way. Remove obstacles to make the journey as smooth as you can.
Verse 13: Make straight paths for your feet. Your is plural. Remove obstacles and make the journey as smooth as possible. The goal is that the one who has faltered will gain strength and stay in the race, not drop out.
§ We want to keep them moving forward in the right direction.
§ This means we do more than just encourage with our words. We come alongside to do anything we can to lighten the load of those who are weary.
Verse 15: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God. Do all you can to make sure no one fails to persevere in the faith. We have to see it as our responsibility to make sure we all finish the race.
o Take their pain seriously!
· Transition

II. Pursue the goal alongside one another. (V 14)

Philippians 3:14 ESV
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

III. Take responsibility for one another. (Vv 15-17)

Deuteronomy 28:18–19 ESV
Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
Deuteronomy 29:18–19 ESV
Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.
Deuteronomy 29:18–19 ESV
Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.
Strive - go after with much effort. Everyone in this context is all believers, everyone in the church. Peace in the church is a healing atmosphere for the hurting. We can’t fight and love one another at the same time.

Big Idea: Help the faltering finish.

Deuteronomy 29:18-19

2. Keep pushing one another toward perfection. (Vv 14b, 16-17)

Verse 14b: The idea is not that if a person doesn’t achieve holiness on their own they will not go to heaven. Christ is the one who makes us holy. But our pursuit of holiness will culminate at his return when we will be made perfectly holy. The pursuit of holiness is the character of a believer. To abandon that pursuit would be to cease to follow Christ.
Esau is an example of someone who sought immediate gratification. A person who abandons holiness and gives in to sexual immorality is doing the same thing. And like Esau they can end up as an apostate.
V 15: root of bitterness. Someone who poisons the church by disrupting peace and promoting unholiness. Such a person is a stumbling block for all people, especially those who are struggling.

Big Idea: Help the faltering finish.

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Study Guide
What are some things that can cause followers of Christ to falter? How serious do you think the average church takes their responsibility to help these? Explain.
What are some things that might keep us from being aware someone is struggling? Why might someone be afraid to admit he is struggling? How can we as a church remedy this problem?
Read . Why should the anxious not fear? How is this different from telling someone, “You’re strong! You can make it!”? How can this help us strengthen and encourage those who have faltered?
Read . How does maintaining peace in the church help us to help the faltering? How does an absence of peace in the church become a stumbling block for the faltering?
Read . Why is it important that we encourage the faltering to pursue holiness? Are we trying to get them to depend on their works for acceptance with God? Explain.
What are some practical ways in which we, individually and as a church, can help those who have faltered? What are some things that would be counterproductive?
Write a prayer that you might pray for someone who is faltering? Take time and consider what such a person really needs? Keep in mind the message form last week. Be prepared to share your prayer with the group.
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