Summary: 2nd in series on discipleship. Expanded outline
DISCIPLINES FOR DISCIPLES 2 Perseverance (A few points are borrowed, but I have misplaced the sources)
In Hebrews chapter 11 we read account after account of men and women, heroes of the Christian faith, who trusted God, who believed He was faithful, and who were blessed by God. We read of godly leaders, who were blessed greatly by God. They are the men and women we hear stories about when we are children.
After hearing of those many godly men and women who have gone before us, the writer of Hebrews then says, beginning in Hebrews 12:1:
Read. Then have them read v1 with me.
> Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us…
If you were to ask King David, he would tell you, “God is faithful.” If you were to ask king Solomon, he would tell you, “God is faithful.” If you were to ask Noah, he would tell you, “God is faithful.” If you were to ask Abraham, he would tell you, “God is faithful.” If you were to ask Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul or John, they would all tell you, “God is faithful.”
You and I know people who have lived as Christians. We know people who have wandered from the faith and fallen into trouble. At the same time, we know people who have walked with God during their entire lives, and at the end they could faithfully say, “God is faithful.”
We have seen the blessing of faithfulness, and the disappointment of disobedience and luke-warmness, and yet in verse 1 the writer finds it necessary to remind us to run the race with endurance, or perseverance. He finds it necessary to tell us to hang in there, to keep on keeping on.
Why is that? Why is it that some people give up on the Christian faith? Why do some people quit? Why do some people give up on God?
I believe there are a number of reasons people fall away from the church. I believe there are a number of reasons people get away from God.
REASONS PEOPLE WANDER
1. People wander because they’re Distracted
- Matthew 13:7,22
If you remember, this is the passage where Jesus tells about the seed that is sown, and how the seed does differently in different soils. In verse 7, Jesus talks about seed that falls among the thorns. He says in verse 22 that this represents those who hear the Gospel, but who get distracted by the cares, worries, and things of this world.
Let me tell you my friend, the Devil will send everything in the world he can, to try to get your eyes off the Lord.
Advertising – How do you get out of debt? Quit watching as much TV, and quit reading as many magazines. Those people don’t buy those adds for nothing. They know they’re going to have an impact on you.
People – Solomon, his wives led him astray.
Children, their activities can consume you.
Bills, good things (doing good works but forgetting the time with God).
2. People wander because they’re Disobedient
The sin that so easily ensnares us. Some people choose to sin. They choose, knowingly & willfully, to break God’s commands because sin is fun. “For a season”
3. People wander because they’re Disillusioned
In John 6, Jesus is talking to a large crowd of people about what it means to follow Him, to be a disciple of His. In Verses 53-66, He talks about eating His flesh & such.
Some people think of the Christian life as a sprint. They think, “OK, I’ve said the prayer. Everything is hunky dory. They don’t realize the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Some people have never examined the commands of Jesus. They have never realized the high cost that goes with being an obedient Christian, a true disciple of Jesus, so when they begin to hear that discipleship requires a commitment, that growing requires study, and service & sacrifice, some become disillusioned and wander off.
4. People wander because they’re Disappointed
Some people wander because they’re disappointed. When they became believers, they thought that life from that point on was going to be a bowl of cherries. They thought, somehow, because God has promised to protect us and to provide for us, that from that day on we wouldn’t have to worry about sickness anymore. Perhaps they thought they wouldn’t have to worry about money problems anymore. Some people, forgetting that God gives every person free will and choice, thought that when they became a Christian that it ensured their children would turn out fine, God would protect their marriage.