Summary: The struggles of life

INTRO: W.A.Criswell, long-time beloved pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, told a story about an evangelist who loved to hunt. The man bought two setter pups that were topnotch bird dogs. He kept them in his backyard, where he trained them. One morning, an ornery, little, vicious looking bulldog came shuffling and snorting down the alley. He crawled under the fence into the backyard where the setters spent their day. It was easy to see he meant business. The evangelist’s first impulse was to take his setters and lock them in the basement so they wouldn’t tear up that little bulldog. But he decided he would just let the creature learn a lesson he would never forget. Naturally, they got into a scuffle in the backyard, and those two setters and that bulldog went round and round and round! The little critter finally had enough, so he squeezed under the fence and took off. All the rest of that day he whined and licked his sores. Interestingly, the next day at about the same time, here came that same ornery little bulldog—back under the fence and after those setters. Once again those two bird dogs beat the stuffing out of that little bowlegged animal and would have chewed him up if he hadn’t retreated down the alley. Would you believe, the very next day he was back! Same time, same station, same results. Once again after the bulldog had had all he could take, he crawled back under the fence and found his way home to lick his wounds.

“Well,” the evangelist said, “I had to leave for a revival meeting. I was gone several weeks. And when I came back, I asked by wife what had happened. She said, “’Honey, you just won’t believe what’s happened. Every day, at the same time every morning, that little bulldog came back in the backyard and fought with our two setters. He didn’t miss a day! And I want you to know it has come to the point that when our setters simply hear that bulldog snorting down the alley and spot him squeezing under the fence, they immediately start whining and run down into our basement. That little, old bulldog struts around our backyard now just like he owns it.’”

-He got the prize he so long awaited, the backyard of those Irish Setters.

Question: What prize are you waiting on?

TITLE: The Prize Awaits

TEXT: Hebrews 10:35-36

I. Background. This book was written to Christians who were wavering in their faith because of the taunts and jeers of their persecutors. As a result some of the Christians were falling away. They were going back to the old ways.

A. Do not throw away – what they were confident in, that is Christianity.

1. At one time these folks stood their ground in the face of persecution for Jesus. They were beaten and mistreated, their land was being confiscated.

-But now they’re losing their confidence and they are starting to drift, to throw away what they stood for.

Example. I’ve had close dear friends that I’ve ministered with simply give up and walk away from the Lord and want nothing to do with him, who in early years helped me lead ministries and face persecution and do what’s right.

-What they’ve done is throw away their confidence in Christ to turn and go back to their old ways.

2. Literally to throw away means “a reckless rejection.” That is exactly what happens when you backslide.

Question: Can you imagine having a reckless rejection of Christ?

TS: Look what happens when you don’t backslide.

B. You will be rewarded – if you do not throw away your confidence in Christ.

1. Any hardship or difficulty that we encounter God will reward us for doing his will.

-In the text today the author mentions we will receive the promise.

TS: Before I talk about the promise, I want us to take a look at the process of reaching a promise.

II. The Process. (Read James 1:2-4)

A. There will be a test. Maybe you thought you were done with tests. I’ve got some good news for you, you will get to take tests for the rest of your life and Lord willing I hope you pass them all.

1. These tests or trials, just think of the concept of problems.

Question: What do problems do for you? They will build endurance in your life if you will allow them to and will draw you closer to God if you respond correctly.

2. God uses problems to equip us for what lies ahead.

B. Perseverance or endurance – must finish its work so we can be mature and complete.

1. The way to being a whole person, or to be what God wants us to be, has to travel the road called perseverance.

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