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Summary: To encourage the discouraged hearer to look beyond the difficulties in order to embrace the possibilities before him/her

ENDURING HARDSHIP

Hebrews 11:32-12:2

TEXT: And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the proph-ets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endur-ance the race that is set before us 2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

PROPOSITION: To encourage the discouraged hearer to look beyond the difficulties in order to embrace the possibilities before him/her.

INTRODUCTION:

I. OCCASIONAL HARDSHIP IS TO BE EXPECTED IN EVERY CHRIST-IAN’S LIFE v,36-39

Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and im-prisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,

1 Peter 4:12,13 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Romans 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Application: Occasional hardship is most certainly a part of everyone’s life, even the Christians. In fact, simply doing the will of God will sometimes bring hardship into your life. God gave this as message to the children of Israel:

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Application: He gave this message of encouragement to them immediately after telling them that they were about to go to war for Him. God knew that some of those hearing this message of encouragement would be wounded or even killed. They were God’s chosen people yet God was going to lead them to the place of suffering.

II. HARDSHIP IS SUCCESSFULLY ENDURED BY FOCUSING UPON THE GOAL RATHER THAN THE RACE v.12:1,2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of wit-nesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Application: If you forget where you’re going and the joy that awaits you there, it become very easy to get very weary of the trip …

Illustration: A two hour drive with the kids going to the amusement park – they don’t mind the trip going because of the fun that awaits, but they com-plain, fuss, and carry on about the trip home because they have nothing to look forward to.

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