Summary: When we come into relationship with Jesus Christ we are brought into an unstoppable momentum that brings us into the kingdom of God and propels us forward to finish the race we started.
I am so excited to begin a new sermon series this morning called UNSHAKEABLE. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at Hebrews chapter 12. In this study we will look at the big picture of God’s wonderful kingdom.
• Hebrews 12 teaches us to grab hold of an unstoppable momentum that propels us toward an unwavering obedience to Christ because of His unconditional love for us.
• This all leads to the reality that, as believers in Christ, we have been brought into a kingdom that cannot be shaken by the troubles of this world or the whims of humankind.
This morning we are going to take a brief look at some background on the book of Hebrews and then jump right into the first message in this series: UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM.
Have you ever had a moment where you witnessed greatness? For many of us when we think of greatness we gravitate toward sports.
• The unbelievable comeback of the Red Sox over the Yankees in the 2004 world series.
• Who could ever forget the first time you saw Michael Jordon play for the Chicago Bulls – you just knew this guy was superior to anyone in the game of basketball.
• Mary Lou Retton (who I had the privilege of meeting in 1986) winning gold in the 1984 Olympics…
• Or, this moment in history…
They were not supposed to win against the USSR. They were not even supposed to make past the first few games. They were a bunch of college players who had never faced the Soviet powerhouse of hockey. But Herb Brooks pulled this team together and many of us in here today remember the result.
(TRANSITION) In all sports and in all history there are moments of greatness and there are people who do great things. These people, whether they are athletes or politicians, are looked at as the supreme image of greatness in their particular field.
If the book of Hebrews could be summed up in one word it would be BETTER. More specifically JESUS IS BETTER (supreme/sufficient)
The entire book is written to a group of Jewish Christians who were being tempted to turn back to Judaism instead of pushing forward in their faith in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews doesn’t just present Jesus as an alternative to be considered against the ritual and tradition of being a Jew. The writer asserts with clarity and confidence that Christ is SUPERIOR in every way JESUS is superior to Judaism.
JESUS is not just superior like an athlete or historical figure. These people will be replaced. JESUS is supreme over everything – the ruler over everything and His REIGN (Kingdom) is without end and will never be replaced with something better – it is the model of BETTER
According to the writer of Hebrews JESUS as better than Moses, better than angels, better the OT priests – JESUS is the central focus of the writer’s message.
When this book was penned Christians were under tremendous persecution; especially those who had converted from being Jewish to a relationship with Christ.
But now the persecution seems to be so hard that they are tempted and some have already gone back to the Law. They are being snared back into the trap of religion and away from the freedom found in relationship with JESUS CHRIST.
By the time we get to Hebrews 12 the writer has already demonstrated the superiority of Jesus to the system they had left behind. Now he turns his attention to encouraging these beleaguered saints to persevere.
HE ENCOURAGES THEM TO REMEMBER THAT CHRIST IS AN UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM THAT WILL CARRY THEM THROUGH THE PERSECUTION TO AN UNSHAKEABLE KINGDOM
RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST PULLS US FORWARD INTO THE FUTURE – WE ARE SWEPT INTO THE UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM THAT IS CHRIST’S KINGDOM
Let’s read Hebrews 12:1-3
• The writer is summing up everything he has written in previous 11 chapters. He is telling the reader – because JESUS IS SUPERIOR YOU CAN MAKE IT…
“…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”
• Image of a sports arena (think persecution/thumbs up/down)
• Who are these witnesses? To understand we have to look back at Chapter 11 where the writer gives us a list of those who acted in faith – looking for a day when Christ would come. They did great things for God with only the hope that Christ would come. Abraham, Enoch, Isaac, Noah, Jacob and more are witnesses to the fact that we should…
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
• We can throw off every hindrance = load or weight (KJV)
• What does this mean – for the first readers of this it is probably a reference to the legalistic load of Judaism’s traditions