Summary: How to Persevere in the Christian Life
The Challenge of Perseverance
How to persevere
Remove Obstacles (Hebrews 12:1)
Receive Encouragement (12:1-4)
From the People of faith(12:1)
From the Jesus (12:3-4)
From the Word (12:5a)
Receive Discipline (12:5b-11)
Welcome to Hickory Creek today.
We are in the midst of a New Testament Challenge.
If you are joining us for the first time today, we are, as a church, reading through the entire New Testament over 63 days.
We have nearly finished 5 books of the New Testament so far: Matthew, Mark, Acts, Romans and 1 Corinthians.
If you would like to join with us, I suggest that you start with Tuesday’s readings in Luke and 2 Corinthians and then do the part you skipped at the end.
Well, if you have been with us from the beginning, you have probably faced some times when you wanted to quit. Maybe you were falling behind and thinking, “I can’t catch up, so forget it.”
Or life has been invading and you just have been struggling to find the time to read.
Well, I want to let you know that you are not alone. I am sure that many have felt overwhelmed at one point or another.
But I want to encourage you to keep going because God has been doing some great work in the lives of those who have been continuing along in the readings.
People are experiencing peace and joy in difficult circumstances.
People are drawing closer to the Lord.
People are being challenged with steps of faith.
God is working powerfully.
And I want to encourage each of you today, if you have given up because you are behind or if you feel you can’t keep going, I want to encourage you to persevere.
And that is what we are going to be speaking about today.
The challenge of Perseverance
We are going to talk about how we can persevere
not only in this New Testament Challenge,
but in living the Christian life as well,
because there are times that life seems to overwhelm us and living the Christian life seems too hard for us and we think about giving up, turning our back, not persevering in it.
We need to persevere.
Turn with me to Hebrews 12:1-11 (p. 852)
We are going to read about how the author of Hebrews tells us to persevere and apply that to ourselves today.
If you remember, in Hebrews 11, the author has just finished going through a list of faithful men and women, who lived their lives by faith and faced many times in life when it would have been easier to
quit on God,
quit on living a godly life,
turn to the ways of the world,
but they did not.
Instead they persevered.
And now, the author begins chapter 12.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Race like Tour de France
The author of Hebrews starts out in this text and compares the life we are living to a race.
Now, some like to compare this to a marathon, but I like to compare it more to something like the tour de France.