Summary: There is an association of the faithful spoken of in Hebrews that provides a cloud of witnesses for us. Chapter 12 provides 5 tools for endurance that all begin with the letter "A."
It was England’s greatest nightmare. The German army was taking over Europe and the British were being bombed regularly as they advanced toward them. Winston Churchill addressed the people with these words: Never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up! This could be our finest hour!
Quitters are a dime a dozen, but those that never say die… They are the chosen few.
Jesus made it clear. He who endures to the end will be saved. Listen to Matthew 24: 9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. 10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. 11 "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12 "And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 "But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. 14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.
Christians who start down the path toward heaven and then drop out make hell rejoice and heaven weep. There are few things in life more encouraging than a Christian who faithfully endures struggle and pain and difficulty and keeps on keeping on for Jesus. There are few things in life more discouraging than having a brother or sister in Christ give in to the world and give up their walk with the Lord. Today we look at another chapter in the book of Hebrews that exhorts us to be faithful no matter what.
He gives us several instructions that are practical and extremely important for maintaining and building up our walk in the Lord. Let’s look at this together and make observations as we go… Today we look at the A’s of Endurance:
12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
The first A is Attention on Jesus:
What kind of people do you surround yourself with? That’s the first point here. Chapter 11 gives us the kind of people we need to be surrounding ourselves with. Men and women of faith seek out fellowship and encouragement from other men and women of faith. If your closest friendships are made up of people who are not pursuing Christ, watch out! Quitters surround themselves with excuses, and other quitters who compare quitter stories. Those who excel in their lives look up to others who excel. This leads us to the next point in this text: Jesus. Looking unto Jesus! He’s simply the best. He’s the author and finisher of our faith! Jesus wrote the book on faith! More than that, Jesus walked the road of faith, cut the trail of faith, crossed the finish line of faith, and he invites you and me to join him!
What does the road of faith look like? Ask Jesus. It’s not a road for wimps and quitters. The road of faith is tough. The climb is steep and the way is rough. But listen to me now… there is joy at the end of the path that outshines the sun. There may be tears on the trail, but there’s eternal glory at the end. Never, never, never, give up!
Whenever you become discouraged, look at Jesus. Think about the opposition he endured for you. Jesus endured the cross; he endured the shame, the pain, the betrayal, the mockery, the abandonment of his disciples, the false accusations, the condemnation to die a horrible death, the guilt of our sins, and the punishment we deserved. Jesus paid the price. Now look at him! Exalted to the throne of glory, he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And he’s coming back some day. Jesus, our Lord will return. Look to him now and listen to him. Learn from him. Lean on him. Jesus is pulling for you!
So why do I have to go through all this hard stuff? Why is life so hard? What is it with the struggles in life? Hey! Don’t think you are above difficulty. Besides, when you suffer God is up to something. And if God is involve in it, it will ultimately be good.