Summary: Now that I belong to Jesus, what do I do about my struggles?
• SLIDE #1
• Isn’t it great that when you become a Christian, life is easy and there are no struggles!
• You do realize that if you are struggling in life that God must not be shining His love and grace upon you! ? NOT!
• Whoa, wait a minute!
• Those of us who live in the real world know that life is full of struggles. We struggle with sin, we struggle with our health, we struggle with our relationships, we struggle with our weight, among other things.
• In our final message in our WHAT NOW series, we are going to examine the issue WHAT ABOUT MY STRUGGLES!
• Here is how we will handle this subject today.
• If we spent the time to talk about EVERY type of struggle we deal with, we would be here all day, with no lunch break ?.
• The contention I am going to build upon today is that all the various struggles we face more or less are a struggle with being faithful to God and His Word.
• No matter what I am dealing with in life, the real question is, am I going to stay faithful to Jesus, am I going to be faithful to His will for my life, am I willing to trust Him when trusting Him in a particular area of struggle makes no human sense?
• I am going to do the right thing, I am going to stay faithful.
• From that we are going to build upon the notion of what about my struggles.
• Throughout chapter 11, we see some of the great people of the faith and how their faithfulness to God was pleasing to God.
• Even when they died for their faithfulness, they won with God.
• Listen, life can be a struggle, for the saints of listed in the Hebrews Hall of Faith, life was not easy, but these ordinary people, lived out an extraordinary life because of their determination to stay faithful to God, no matter what the cost.
• I our passage today, we will experience a mix of encouragement as well as so counsel as to how to overcome the struggles of life that could cause us to abandon our faith in Jesus.
• Let’s look at the first part of Hebrews 12:1
• SLIDE #2
• Hebrews 12:1 (CSB) Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,
• SLIDE #3
I. The baton has been handed to you. (1a)
• Look at the first part of Hebrews 12:1 again
• Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
• The passage sets up a backdrop of a race that is being run. This race has the contestants as well as the crowd surrounding the track watching the race.
• Who are these witnesses and what does it mean that they are surrounding us?
• There are a couple of conventional thoughts.
• Now the direct context seems to indicate these witnesses are those saints mentioned in the chapter 11 Hebrews Hall of Faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Rahab, among others as well as those who were killed for their willingness to stay faithful to God.
• Now if these are the only ones in the crowd, then it may give us some guidance as to what the word witness means.
• The word WITNESS can mean “people who have demonstrated their faith.”
• The point is that these Old Testament heroes in chapter 11 were approved for their faith by the testimony of God, and their experience now stands as a testimony to us as to what pleases God.
• So, they may or may not be “watching”.
• The other plausible explanation, and the one I currently subscribe to personally is this.
• That at the minimum, the cloud of witnesses includes those in Chapter 11, and these “witnesses” have lived their life, they have run their race, and their lives stand as a witness to us, to encourage us to run in like manner.
• The word for “WITNESS” also does not mean a passive spectator, (although in 1 Timothy 6:12 and Hebrews 10:28 it seems to lean that way), but rather to be an active witness to something. It denotes someone who sees an event and reports what happens.
• Their lives encourage us, and they are cheering for us.