Summary: "Fix your thoughts on Jesus" the writer of Hebrews tells us. Why? The answer is powerful and life changing.
OPEN: The NCAA college basketball competition begins this week, so I thought we might start our sermon today with a bit of trivia.
Do you know who the world’s best basketball free throw shooter is? (various people in the congregation took guesses).
I guess it wasn’t a fair question to begin with. You’ve probably never heard of this man unless you had read about him in The Guiness World Book of Records. His name was Tom Amberry! And back in 1993, this 71 yr. old foot doctor, set world’s record by shooting and making with 2,750 freethrows in a row! He’d have gotten more… except they had to close gym for the night
What’s his secret? When questioned, he replied "Concentration! The more I read about it and looked into it, the more I realized the only way you do it is practice. You have to perfect all parts of your technique; then it’s just focus and concentration. You have to put all other thoughts out of your mind."
He’d bounce the ball three times, focus, shoot ... and swish!
APPLY: In Hebrews 3:1 we’re told: “fix your thoughts on Jesus!” Put all other thoughts out of your mind and simply focus on Jesus. As Christians, we need to Focus on Jesus and Jesus only.
I. Fix your tho’ts upon Jesus because unless you FOCUS your attention on Jesus…
… something else will always be more important to you
… something else will draw your attention away
… and you may miss out on what God wants to give you
FIX YOUR THO’TS UPON JESUS
In Hebrews 3:7ff we’re told that if we don’t fix their tho’ts on Jesus we run the risk of repeating what the Israelites did in the wilderness. Turn to Hebrews 3:7-14. The writer here has just gone telling us why Jesus deserves to listened to:
"…as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, (now talking about Jesus) do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me/ and for forty years saw what I did.
That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’"
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”
What’s he mean by this? He means if we fix our tho’ts upon Jesus, if we determine to listen to Him and obey Him in all that we do we’re not going to get into trouble. Our hearts won’t become hard. We’ll avoid developing a sinful, unbelieving heart that will turn away from God. And we’ll be assured of entering His rest.
If you fix your thoughts upon Jesus, the temptations of this world will lose their attraction.
ILLUS: Paul R.Van Gorder tells the story of a young man went off to college for the 1st time.. When his mother visited him at Thanksgiving, she was not surprised to find his room in total disarray. Papers and books were scattered all over the place. But what shocked her the most were the obscene pictures hanging on the walls.
At Christmas time, she sent her son a box of presents, including a portrait of Jesus. He thanked her for the gifts but didn’t say anything about the picture. In the spring, when she visited the school again, her son was eager for her to come to his room. Upon entering, she found on the best wall space the picture of Christ. All the other pictures were gone.
Wisely she said, "Jack, there is something different about your room.
Did you get a new rug?" "No."
"Is this new paper on the wall?" "No."
“When I was here before, it seemed to me you had more pictures than now."
"Yes, I did, Mother, but those other pictures seemed out of place after that one of Jesus came into the room."
When we fix our thoughts on Jesus everything else will seem out of place. His presence will help us stay away from the influences that will cause us to sin.
II. Fix your thoughts upon Jesus - not only because it will keep us from sin but because He deserves our sole attention. Nothing else should even come close to demanding our allegiance
ILLUS: A young man was seated next to his girl in church one Sunday and his intentions were more upon her than upon the message. Leafing through his hymnal till he found what he wanted, he placed it in her lap and pointed to the hymn: "I need thee every hour."