Heb. 12:1-4 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” This week we will finish our series on being “cross-eyed”, or living our life focused on the cross and the finished work of Jesus Christ. Let's get into God's Word.
So far we have covered: 1. A great multitude of past witnesses surround us, and by their testimony, cheer us on to finish our race. 2. That through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can cast off every weight (distraction) and sin that tries to trip us up. 3. That we all have a race set before us to run, and that we should run to win. 4. That we need to look to (focus on) Jesus at all times. 5. That He is the beginner and the finisher of our faith. He will complete the good work He started in us. 6. That we need to endure (be in for the long haul) just like Jesus. 7. That we need to disesteem whatever temporary suffering we may be going through, knowing that a great reward awaits us.
The next section of Scripture says that Jesus has now sat down at the right hand of God. What does this tell us? 1. That Jesus accomplished His mission. He did not get distracted. He stayed focused and finished the job of redeeming (Buying out of slavery to the devil) mankind. “It is finished”. What is? The righteous requirement of the law being fulfilled. The paying of the price for sins. The reconciling of man to God. All finished. Done. Don't try to add to Jesus. He sat down. He accomplished the work. You just need to believe it and receive it, and stop trying to earn it. God absolutely will not accept one ounce of your good deeds for salvation. Your only hope of eternal life is placing faith in Christ Jesus alone as your Lord and Savior. That's the way God said to come to Him – and that's the only way your going to come to Him.
2. His sitting down shows us that there will be an eternal rest for us as believers when we finish our mission. Although no athlete likes the pain and sacrifice it takes to become the best at what they do – they certainly all like the reward. A million squats and push-ups doesn't feel good – but a gold medal on your neck sure does! This is the Christian life. Persecution and rejection does not feel good at the time, but the eternal reward for being faithful to Jesus is worth all of the suffering. That is why Jesus told us to count the cost.
Whatever choice you make about Jesus will cost you. The only question is, will it cost in the short term, or in the long term? Will it cost you temporary discomfort, or eternal torment? Staying committed to Jesus now will cost you short term tribulation – but long term glory! Indeed, count the cost!
We must consider Jesus, who endured such affliction for us. Have you resisted to blood shed, fighting against sin? Have you given your life for Jesus? Not if your reading this! So what is Paul trying to say here? Hang in there! You fight until the end! You run until the end! You don't slow down! If you still have a breath left in you, you need to be serving and praising Jesus with it. Sprinters are taught to run through the ribbon – not to the ribbon. You need to be going full blast for Jesus when your heart beats it's last beat. Basically Paul is saying, “Are you dead? Because if you ain't dead, you got no excuse for not running after Jesus!”
God trains us through trials and persecutions. He doesn't try to destroy us – that's the devils work. However, if we will let Him, He will work all things together for our good as believers in Christ. If He loves you, He will chasten (child train) you. If you receive no training from God, you are not His (Heb 12:6-8). Of course persecution doesn't seem pleasant in the midst of the trial, but the result is righteousness and patience and maturity being worked out in you (Heb 12:11). God cares more about your character than your comfort. This is what Paul's letter to the Hebrews is about. He is trying to get them to understand that there will be temporary sufferings for naming the name of Jesus, but that the eternal glory so far out weighs the suffering that there is no real comparison. Just keep your eyes on Jesus! Keep your eyes on Jesus! Keep your eyes on Jesus!
Lift up the hands that hang down! Strengthen the weak knees! Let Jesus heal your hurts! Don't turn back! Don't turn away! Don't give up! Keep fighting! Keep running your race! Keep believing! Never quit! Keep confessing God's Word! Keep believing God's promises! Keep loving Jesus! You can do it! Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!