HEBREWS-JESUS IS BETTER: Children Not Peers
HEBREWS-JESUS IS BETTER Children Not Peers Pastor John Weathersby Sunday September 9, 2018 Hebrews 12:3-12 Today we get encouragement to: Focus on Jesus. Fight against sin. Pray to God as a child. And we need it, because this life can be a distraction and become the main thing. Perspective helps us know that is NOT the case, we live for something greater! Hebrews 12:3–11 (ESV) Do Not Grow Weary 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Last week we talked about keeping our eyes on Jesus as a way of following the race of life without being distracted along the way. Jesus’ example of life was a way through life something to orient on, the cloud of witnesses was a kind of proof the we can make it through this life, and if we’d get distracted thinking others were doing better than us and why do we struggle so much when they have an easy ride, we’d look to Jesus - the author and perfector of our faith. How? Considering his words to us, such as John 14:27 (ESV) 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. And, by better training ourselves as worshippers. Praying at the start of service for God to give our minds the attention to pay attention to His Word, by not taking and capturing references, by going back to the study during the week and considering it, and by considering the lyrics of the songs we sing - this helps us orient our lives on Jesus and run the race of life focused on Jesus. Today the author of Hebrews gives us a different encouragement for running the race of faith. It begins with Jesus and this, “Consider him” statement and then works it way out to us with an encouragement to endure the life of faith. Verse 3 again: Hebrews 12:3 (ESV) Do Not Grow Weary 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. “Consider him”. When is the last time you’d say you “considered him (Jesus) who endured from sinners personal hostility in a way that caused you to be less weary and/or faint hearted? One translator said: “For consider by way of comparison the One who has endured opposition by sinners against himself, in order that you do not become weary, fainting in your souls” The NASB: “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The NKJV: “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” We need encouragement because life delivers discouragement. Focusing on others - they’re doing better than me, can be crushing, focus on Jesus. But another strong temptation, can be to focus on ourselves. No one feels worse for me, than me. The author says consider Jesus. He doesn’t say it in a way that assumes it would be a good idea over the course of our life to consider Jesus - he uses something in the Greek called an Aorist Imperative - a Greek reader and us today, have our attention taken here. If it was a television show, the inflection of the one doing the narration would change so that we’d know we’re to take stock of Jesus now, thinking about considering and examining his sufferings point by point again and again. Why? As we read the gospels, as we consider Jesus’ life, we’ll undoubtly find that our suffering is much less than his. It will help us win this race, it will help us when our eyes drift to others and we think, “why do they have it so easy, why do things just come together for them” they’re not the aim of our eyes - Jesus is who is a suffering servant. It will help the Christian life be in perspective - Philippians 1:29 gives us hints that help. 1 Peter 2:19-23 gives us help with perspective. Philippians 1:29 (ESV) 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 1 Peter 2:19-23 (ESV) 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. We’re after a perspective on life that builds our faith. Wrong perspective, gives the wrong picture. Where you focus is the key. Have you ever heard of fish fingers? They make your fish look huge -but they’re deceptive. When we don’t put our focus on Jesus, our lives are like fishing fingers - and so the author-pastor of Hebrews helps us avoid the fish fingers effect on our lives on our suffering by rightly placing our perspective on Jesus, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 - and encourages us NOW to consider His suffering. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Notice something here…. “in your struggle”. I think we may have a perspective in our minds that we just coast/float through the Christian life…. Do we? Are you frustrated that your “Christian walk” is more like a forced ruck march than a stroll? In your struggle… there is an assumption there isn’t there. There is an assumption that you DO struggle, that there is struggle in your life - Church maybe some of us, need THIS perspective too, maybe we need some struggle, maybe we need to pick issues and make our walk more purposeful - maybe we need to determine some goal areas - what are some areas of struggle we’ll take up THIS week? The author knows you’ve not resisted to the point of shedding blood. Maybe you’re thinking ok, ok - I get it, Jesus suffered way more than me, I can chose some areas to work on in my life - but the author-pastor doesn’t move on, so buckle up champ: 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.” The amplified version says: And have you COMPLETELY forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons…. As children under a parent. As someone to be corrected, led and guided. Maybe you thought you were in charge, or I get it God now let me get going in my life… no you’re a child of God, not a peer of God’s, and I think we get that wrong. Wuest translates this: “And you have completely forgotten the exhortation which is of such a nature as to speak to you as to sons, Son of mine, stop making light of the Lord's discipline, correction, and guidance. Stop fainting when you are being effectually rebuked by Him.” The Lord chastise every son whom he receives - this is encouraging. We have to remember we’re not peers of God, we’re children, we NEED his direction, we need his guidance. Again, it’s about perspective. We live our lives, we progress from baby, to toddler, to child, to adult to parent and we think we have things fairly well figured out after 18, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years - and effectively live like peers of God. We no longer need prayer to ask for help on decisions, or direction, or with our fight against sin - we no longer need a fathers correction - we’re adults- it’s fishy fingers, it’s wrong perspective, we don’t appreciate the distance between us and God and so we see ourselves as larger. Focus on Jesus. Fight against sin. Pray to God as a child. 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. This makes discipline from God then, the reminder we’re HIS 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. 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. Church this is gold. Be encouraged to endure discipline from God. That can be circumstances, that can be struggle against sin, it can be consequence - trust, by faith, looking to Jesus as author and perfector, that God is at work in you. And keep perspective, you’re a child. Christian, let me help you with another area that this can give perspective on. Maybe you’ve been frustrated that another Christian didn’t serve as hard as you at…. What ever that is. Maybe you’re been frustrated that another Christian did….. What ever that was. Your perspective is skewed. Look to Jesus. What if you lived a life where you fought against sin? Hebrews 12:4 assumed you’re doing that. What is an area this week of sin or sinful tendency in your life that you turn to God to arm you up to fight against? Talk about those areas as a home group. I’m kidding - don't. BUT, you can talk about approaches you take, consider fasting. One way to discover areas that need God’s help is fasting and praying let me give you my fasting approach: I start my fast after dinner - wake up and have coffee, skip lunch - and break that fast at dinner. Home groups you can break a fast together and talk about what God did in your day, what was your experience like and talk about Jesus’ own suffering Perspective has to do with special relationships it’s a way of considering things. We need perspective on Jesus- to understand his life and suffering, which helps us understand our own and we need to consider His suffering immediately - it’s good for us a children to do that. Keep yourself reminded this week you’re a child of God, not His peer - and consider the many things that means? Read Romans 8:37-39 and remember children of God are more than conquerors. Romans 8:37-39 (ESV) 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So live Christian lives of JOY! Let your walk, your March, your fight, and your discipline be a source of great encouragement because we live for more when we have right perspective. So: Focus on Jesus. Fight against sin. Pray to God as a child, and live for something greater! • Do we fast, and can we as a group fast together? • Read Philippians 1:29 and 1 Peter 2:19-23 this week and together as a group • This week, consider Hebrews 12:4's assumption - we're fighting areas of sin. Gain Perspective!