Summary: Fifth, and last sermon in a series of sermons on dealing with difficult times.
Handles for the Hard Times
TEXT: Heb 12:4-11
· This is last in a series of 5 sermons on “Handling the Hard Times”
· Have provided 7 handles to hold on to when the difficulties come & many of those handles have to do with the perspective we have, or the way we look at the trials in our lives.
· Handle -#1: Accept it as an appointment rather than an accident
( I Thess 3:3 - “destined for trials”
· Handle #2: Accept it without knowing the reason why
( G keeps some things secret & won’t know until heaven
· Handle #3: Believe that God is in charge, even of the trial
( Even though circumstances may point otherwise
· Handle #4: Attitude - have the right one
( Not positive thinking, but optimistic attitude based on confidence in G (David & Goliath)
· Handle #5: Remember that God doesn’t change – He is an anchor firm & secure
· Handle #6: Unite with God’s ability
( Admit our need; Bible, dig into it; Christian fellowship, be a part of it; Depend on prayer
· Handle #7: Determination - Don’t leave home without it
I. HANDLE #8: ACCEPT THE HARDSHIP AS DISCIPLINE
A. Perspective becomes important here
1. Put the trial in the framework of, and realize that God wants to use the
trial as discipline in our lives
B. Heb. 12:7: “Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
1. Writing to Xns
2. G wants to use hardships (trials) as discipine in our lives
C. God’s purpose - vss 10-11: “...God disciplines us for our own good that we
may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but
painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness &
peace for those who have been trained by it.”
1. He wants us to share in his holiness
2. Wants to produce a harvest of rtns & peace
D. To be trained by it, it is helpful if we ask ourselves 4 questions
1. What sin is there in my life G is showing me I need to repent of?
a. In difficulties, sin we aren’t aware of may come to the surface
b. Selfishness, idolatry, sexual immorality, arrogance, greed...
c. Confess & repent
2. What C-like characteristic is he trying to develop?
a. Love, joy, peace, gentlness, self-control, etc. (Gal 5)
3. What is G showing me about himself?
a. What of his character, his attributes?
b. F.B. Meyer: “ When we follow the path he has clearly indicated,
the difficulties we encounter do not prove that we are wrong but
only that he has some fresh revelation to make of himself.”
(1) Trials don’t mean we’re out of His will or have lost
favor, but that He wants to reveal Himself in the
midst of it
4. Am I being obedient to God right now?
a. Easy for us to think, “Boy is God going to use me in the future to
put me thru something like this now.”
b. Lose sight of obedience right now ‘in the midst’ of the trial
c. Xn leader wrote, “We have an idea that G is leading us to a
desired goal - he is not. His purpose is that I depend on him &
his power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil, calm &
unperplexed, that is the end of G’s purpose. G’s training is for
now. This minute. Not something in the future. If we have a
further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the
immediate. When we realize obedience is the end, then each
moment is precious. God never gives strength for tomorrow
or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”
d. Am I being obedient now?
E. While asking ourselves those 4 questions & allowing God to train us, we
latch on to Handle #9
II. HANDLE #9: ETERNITY, KEEP IT IN VIEW
(IL) Pete and Tony were great baseball fans. They were talking about baseball
one day & Pete says, “I wonder if there is baseball in heaven.”
Tony replies, “I don’t know.”
Soon after, Tony dies. One day he calls Pete from heaven and they’re
talking and Pete says, “Tony, you gotta’ tell me. Is there baseball in
Tony says, “Well, I have some good news & some bad news. The good news
is that there is baseball in heaven. The bad news is that you’re pitching
A. How often do you think about eternity?
1. Not as an escape from problems, but to look at them in a realistic
2. Eternity & heaven are real
B. Looking long-term is the way to go