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Summary: PENTECOST 13(C) - Fix our eyes on Jesus because Jesus is the Author of our faith and Jesus is the Perfecter of our faith.

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FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS

Hebrews 12:1-13 - Sept. 7, 2003

HEBREWS 12:1-13 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

"My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holi-ness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

This morning we are going to talk about focus, and we are going to ask ourselves, "What have we focused on since we have been up today? What have we looked at?" The miracle of sight is a great blessing indeed. There are many things that we look at and probably don’t stop to think much about them. We focus on many different things. Is our focus today short-range or long-range? In a world like ours we can find many attractions or distractions to focus on and to look at. At times in this world and in this life our focus or attention is distracted from Christ Himself. It is easy as we sit here today in church and say, "My focus ought to be on Christ." But we also have to ask ourselves during the week what are we focusing on? What are we looking at?

The Apostle Paul realized that. When Paul was changed from a persecutor of Christians to a proclaimer of Christianity, his focus was always one thing--that was on Christ and to share the Gospel. In Philippians he reminds us: "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"(PHILIPPIANS 3:14). So his focus, no matter what day of the week it was or no matter where he was, was to always focus on that prize yet ahead, that goal of heaven itself realizing that God had called him there. That is to be our focus as Christians every day that we live. That focus is not always easy as we find that our text reminds us to fix our eyes on Jesus. We are going to use this as our theme, the words of our text—

Fix Our Eyes on Jesus:

I. Because He is the Author of our faith.

II. He is also the Perfecter of our faith.

I. Jesus is the Author of our faith

This letter to the Hebrews was written to the believers who were strongly with the past. At times they thought more of keeping the Law, than listening to the grace of God’s Gospel. The writer here wants them to focus not so much on the past, but on what is yet to come. He wanted them to focus on the pre-sent. In the last part of our first verse, he said: ’and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ He is trying to get them to focus on the fact that Christ had died for their sins, that He had set before them a race that they need to run with perseverance rather than be overly concerned about the past.

This is how our text began: ’1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of wit-nesses,’… In the chapters of Hebrews before our text the writer mentions many great men of faith. He didn’t want them to be so caught up with that great cloud of witnesses that they would forget the race marked out before them. In that same verse he says, ’but we have to run the race that is marked out for us.’ He tells them how to do that. He says, ’Throw out everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.’ So hopefully we catch the feeling of the writer here in this chapter. We can look at the wit-nesses around us, those great men of faith. Also he says we must throw out those things that entangle us: the things of the world, the sin and everything else that hinders us. We must concentrate on the race, the path that God has placed before us. In other words as he says in the next verse: ’2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.’ There was a problem with these believers in the fact that they always wanted to talk about the sons of Abraham, how they really liked Moses, Jacob and all those great men of faith; and it was still hard for them in a sense to connect with Jesus, the Son of Mary and Joseph, this carpenter’s son. Yet He was the Author of their faith. Without Jesus, they would not have any faith at all. He describes for them this Je-sus: ’2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.’ The believers were to remember Jesus’ sufferings. They remembered the fact that Jesus died unjustly, because He had not done anything wrong. Yet, Jesus went willingly. Jesus consid-ered it a joy because He did it for His believers, ’ who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorn-ing its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ The writer continues to remind them that Jesus did not just die on the cross. But Jesus also came back to life and ascended into heaven and sits at God’s right hand. This is the Author of their faith. This is the one they are to focus on--Jesus, the Son of Man but also the very Son of God.

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