Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God calls us to strengthen the weary hands and feeble knees of those who are wearied by the cares of life.

Strength For The Weary

Hebrews 12:12-17

Life can be mighty wearisome at times. If we had no relationships in this life, and therefore no other heartache or sorrow to deal with but our own, then there would still be enough pain, sorrow, and struggle to make us weary. Hypothetically we might create a world where we have no relationships, no ties, no heartfelt love for others, but the fact of the matter is that we do have many relationships in life. God has created us with a heart that is open to love others, to share in the burdens of their lives, as well as to try and rise above our own situations.

During the past few weeks we have been studying the twelfth chapter of Hebrews and learning about “running with purpose,” “running with endurance,” and “the blessing of discipline.” We have learned that our hardships are not circumstantial or coincidental, but they are the product of the Father’s love for you and me. Our troubles, binds, dilemmas, and other hurdles are part of the Father’s training program to mature us, mold us, and shape us into the image of His Son. The writer of Hebrews wrote in the last section of Scripture that we studied,

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Hebrews 12:7 NIV)

The troubles that we face, the trials that are before us, they are there so that we might reach the end of ourselves and trust in Almighty God to accomplish His will in our lives. The troubles that we face are used by God to teach us to trust in Him and to welcome His Sovereign hand that desires to use us, change us, and see us through this life. Through God’s training program we can come to know the Lord with greater trust and faith than we have ever known before.

This does not mean that our troubles and trials are not difficult or that we should just shrug our shoulders and piously say, “Well praise the Lord anyway.” God knows that our training is strenuous. He knows that our training is labor intensive and can easily wear us out. God knows that apart from His grace and mercy we will find ourselves wrung out and giving in to our fatigue, heartache, sorrow, and pain. God does not desire that we be left undone by our troubles, but He does desire that through our troubles we might learn to cry out to Him, cling to Him, and trust Him to accomplish His will in our lives. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the reason why the writer of Hebrews and the Apostle Paul so often used the athlete as an illustration of our race of faith and the training that we must submit to in order that we might become His “set apart” people.

When we come to the section of Scripture that we are studying this morning, the writer of Hebrews uses the little word, “therefore” once again. The very first word that we run into in this section of Scripture is the word, “Therefore.” We ran into this word in the very first verse of Hebrews 12, and if you will remember, “therefore” is a transitional word that offers us a resounding finale to the section of God’s Word that precedes it. What truths preceded this “therefore?” The entire section of Scripture that precedes it begins with “endure hardships as discipline” and ends with “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”

It is so encouraging for me to know that God’s Word doesn’t downplay the cost of discipline in your life and mine. God’s Word doesn’t make light of the exhausting, demanding training regimen that we have undertaken as we pursue the call of God to be His holy, set apart people. Let’s take a look at this next section of Scripture.

12 Therefore, 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. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. (Hebrews 12:12-17 NIV)

Pastor John Piper has written about the “therefore” of God and our need to heed His exhortation. Pastor Piper writes,

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