Summary: When you’re tempted to give up your faith, look up to Christ; look within at your own heart to make sure you are truly trusting Christ; and look around to other believers for the help you need to keep going.
Bryan Wilkerson tells the story of a time when his kids were young, and they were at a themed restaurant with TV’s all over the walls. The TV’s were playing cartoons with no sound, and his youngest son, about four at the time, had his eyes glued to one of the TV screens. He was viewing a continuous loop of Road Runner cartoons, watching as Wile E. Coyote strapped on rocket-propelled roller skates, or shot himself out of a cannon, or launched himself from a giant slingshot in pursuit of the elusive Road Runner. After watching intently for a long time, he had an epiphany. Without taking his eyes off the screen, he quietly announced to our family, “No matter what he does, he's never going to get the chicken.” (Bryan Wilkerson, "What's Your Story?" www.PreachingToday.com)
Wile E. Coyote reminds me of a lot of people who are in pursuit of the good life, but they never get it. Some try accumulating wealth or friends on Facebook, but it leaves them feeling empty. Some even try Christianity, hoping that God will give them the good life, but life gets hard for them. They lose some of their friends. They are mocked, and Satan attacks, because they are no longer on his side.
Then they think, “I’m not sure following Christ is working for me;” “I’m never going to get the “chicken.” So they’re tempted to go back to their old way of life and give up on Christ altogether.
Does that describe some of you? Are you about ready to give up on Christ? Please don’t, because you’re not alone. Many people since the early days of Christianity have felt that way, but they found the strength to persevere. They found the grace to keep on following Christ until He became more precious to them than anything else.
In fact, there’s a whole book in the New Testament written to people who are tempted to give up on Christ. The original readers of this book were Jewish believers in Jesus, whose faith in Christ ostracized them from their families. Some of them lost their jobs. Most of them lost their status in the community, and life got real tough for all of them.
As a result, some of them seriously considered setting their faith in Christ aside and returning to the old Jewish religious system. They wanted to leave their new way of life in Christ and go back to the way they used to live.
It is to them, and to anyone who is tempted to give up on Christ, that the book of Hebrews was written. So if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Hebrews 3, Hebrews 3, where it tells you what to do when you’re tempted to give up your faith.
Hebrews 3, starting at verse 1 “Therefore” – because of who Jesus is in chapters 1 & 2, because Jesus is the Crowned Sovereign of the world and your Complete Savior.
Hebrews 3:1-2 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. (ESV)
When you’re tempted to give up your faith…
LOOK UP TO CHRIST!
Consider Jesus very carefully. Focus your attention on Him.
He is the Apostle – i.e., the one who represents God to us (chapter 1). He is also the High Priest – the one who represents us before God (chapter 2). And He is faithful to carry out the duties assigned to Him just like Moses was.
However, Jesus is so much better than Moses. Jesus is so much better than any hero you could admire. Writing to a Jewish audience, who revered Moses as their greatest hero, the author of Hebrews says…
Hebrews 3:3-4 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (ESV)
Jesus is God who built the “house”; Moses is just a stone in the “house”, so to speak. Jesus is the Creator; Moses is just part of the creation.
Hebrews 3:5-6a Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. (ESV)
Moses was a servant IN God’s house. Jesus is a Son OVER God’s house.
If you went into a house with servants, you would have no trouble telling the difference between the servants and the son. The servants would be busy cleaning the bathrooms, dusting the furniture, and vacuuming the floors, among other chores. On the other hand, the son might throw his books on the table after school, raid the refrigerator, and plop down in front of the TV. Sure, he would have work to do at times, but there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind who was the heir and who was the servant.