Summary: Dieting has become the number one thing among people living today. Everyone has taken the initiative to become more and more concern about there physical weight and not the spiritual weight that is bounding them.
Define: Weight (Webster): anything that blocks progress
Weight (Greek): OgkOs, ong’ - kos, a
burden or hindrance
I. Weight - Faith IN Depth
A. Before we can examine the text here in Hebrews 12, we must go back to chapter 11. Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives us the identity of how losing weight produces the absolute faith and favor of God.
B. The Jewish Christians to whom the Epistle to the Hebrews is addressed were demoralized and discouraged. Christianity had proven difficult for them. It was radical. It set aside centuries of tradition. It emphasized a new but troubling kind of spiritual freedom. In short, it incurred the wrath of the Jewish religious establishment. Many converts were not ready to turn back and to leave the eneasy, uncharted waters of faith for the comfortable, familiar life of works and moral effort. This was the choice they faced: depending on the Law or following Jesus, trying to appease God or trusting in Him, a complicated religious system or a simple relationship with the living God through Christ.
After reminding these immature believers of the superiority of Jesus Christ, the writer of Hebrews, beginning in 10:19, demonstrates for them the superiority of faith. Faith means we cannot see the outcome; we are not sure what lies ahead. "We’re not sure what the future holds, but we know who hold the future." Faith means clinging to the hope that God will eventually triumph; He will come back to earth in judgment, to reward those who have sought after him. And so we obey. We do God’s bidding, even when submission is hard.
It is the response of obedience that qualifies the characters in ch. 11 as people of great faith. Abraham and Sarah believed God; consequently, they obeyed Him, regardless of the consequences. It is the kind of willing trust that pleases God. Anything less will not do. Those who do not have faith cannont see past the physical world around them. They are limited by their temporal circumstances and are blind to what God is doing. But those who open their spiritual eyes can see the spiritual realities, which transcend this world. Their hope is in God’s strength to endure. When it comes to faith, the world scoffs. Faith, at best, seems like a great waste; at worst, it seems mose suicidal. Do we really want to give up all the pleasures of this world for something elusive and ethereal?
C. v. 1 - Many have misconstrued Hebews 11 for many years. This verse is not a definition of faith, but a description of faith does. Substance means "essence" or "reality" in this text. Faith treats things hoped for as reality. Evidence here means "proof" or "conviction." Faith itself proves that what is unseen is real, such as the believer’s rewards at the return of Christ.
D. v. 2 - The elders are the believers of the Old Testament. Good testimony refers to God’s approval; He considered them righteous because of their faith.
E. v. 3 - worlds: Faith understands that the invisible God created the vast universe.
F. v. 4 - Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God because of his faith, and he was therefore declared righteous. Evidently Cain offered his sacrifices without faith. Abel still speaks to us because his righteous deeds have been recorded in Scripture.
G. v. 5 - The word comes is used repeatedly in Hebrews to refer the the privilege of drawing near to God. Here the author of Hebrews explains that faith is mandatory for those who approach Him. Rewarder: God rewards not only those who seek him, but those who do God works in the Holy Spirit’s power.
II. As we venture back to chapter 12 of Hebrews, we are going to find ways to lose weight and run the race of faith.
A. v. 1 - The cloud of witnesses refers to the people of faith whom we just discussed in ch.11 of Hebrews. They are not actually spectators watching us, they are witnesses testifying to the truth of the faith.
B. We as believers must understand that even those faith warriors had weight on their shoulders. That is why they come over to ch. 11 of Hebrews and give their testimony.
C. Unless there’s a test, there can’t be a testimony. Adam’s weight was disobedience. The testimony or the results of his weight produced bad things for us as believers. That is why we sin and that is why we all have to die.
D. Understand this, originally, we were created to never die. The bible lets us know in Romans, through Adam’s disobedience, sin entered the world. Adam’s testimony shoud have been, "I repent for messing up your lives." Does this mean that we should continue in sin? "NO!" That is why the law was made of none of effect because God came back in Romans 6:1 and he discussed this sin situation and he let us know that we should not continue in sin because grace has abounded.