Summary: This sermon is a call to perserve into 2008 and beyond with practical guidance to aid us into the year ahead from the Bible.
Heb 10: 19 -39. “Don’t give up!” in 2008 and beyond
Here we are at the turn of a New year and millions of people around the world will have made new year resolutions to turn over a new leaf, to try something new, to commit themselves to something which they hope will bring lasting change.
A boy once told his father, "Dad, if three frogs were sitting on a branch that hung over a pool, and one frog decided to jump off into the pool, how many frogs would be left on the branch ?"
The dad replied, "Two." "No," the son replied. "There’s three frogs and one decides to jump, how many are left?"
The dad said, "Oh, I get it, if one decides to jump, the others would too. So there are none left."
The boy said, "No dad, the answer is three. The frog only DECIDED to jump."
Does that sound too often like our New Year resolutions? Great inspiration and great resolutions, but often times we only decide, and months later we are still on the same branch of do-nothing. SOURCE: http://irsweb.com/ Citation: Help4Sunday, January, 1999.
I hope we will get passed the deciding stage to make a new year resolution and actually implement a resolution of some sort or the other. If I’m honest I really struggle with new year resolutions, oh yes I’ve decided what they are going to be and I’ve also implemented them up to a point, but I can honestly say I’ve often given up, a few months down the line, I’VE SIMPLY JUMPED BACK ONTO THE BRANCH.
Are you like me?
Whether it’s the resolution to keep fit and start jogging or going to the gym, which has given in to the easy chair and the remote control or the special diet which has given into one too many cream cakes. The resolution to stop smoking has been curtailed after a beautiful meal.
As Christians reading the Bible, prayer , worship and fellowship are a big part of our lives and so each new year I make the resolution to systematically read through the Bible and commit myself to a time of prayer to meet more regular and to worship God afresh. Yet I have to confess as the days roll onto weeks and the weeks roll onto months I find myself neglecting prayer, neglecting reading the Bible, neglecting meeting with others and worship of God becomes a form and not a heart experience.
Yes I still do all those things but not in the way that I had set out to do, I’ve given up that initial passion has been lost, other things begin to squeeze into my time it becomes a low priority rather than a top priority. And so I give up those initial intentions and lose something which I once had.
We all tend to give up don’t we,I suppose its a human trait we all share.
But this sort of lifestyle can have very serious consequences because it can lead if not checked to utter apostasy (falling away from the faith Heb 2:1-4, 3:7,4:11 6:4-8, 10:26-31,12:14-17) ....
How many people do you know who said” I used to be a Christian, but this, that or the other happened”..... Maybe your struggling with a particular sin in your life right now and your are simply ignoring it be careful you could end up in complete apostasy V26 .
It could be that you have become like a boxer in the ring who has started so well but over time he takes so many punches his opponent starts to get the better of him. You’re on the ropes, you’ve been beaten into a pulp, the trainer has nothing else to do but to throw in the towel. You’re nearly down and out.
v26 -31 Paul here is calling these early Christians not to give up but to persevere to keep on going in the face of difficulties it is clear that there were those who had given up meeting together v25 and turned away from holy lifestyles to unholy lifestyles v26
V32 – 39 Paul doesn’t want the others to go the same way, to abandon the faith, he expects better things of them, so he points them back to their conversion and testimony, to their unity shared v32 to the hard times they have experienced and stood together for Christ, the suffering, the public insults and the persecutions all points them to the fact that their endurance is a real sign that their faith is real and not imitation v35 So do not throw away your confidence it will be richly rewarded: you need to persevere.
This New Year I would like to share from God’s word some practical steps if practiced will enrich our Christian lives and prevent us from “giving up!” Also if you are in the horrible predicament of approaching apostasy, submerged in a sinful lifestyle right now if these steps are applied to your life you can be restored to God in 2008.