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Summary: Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Before you answer let’s look at God’s Word together today. Our text today shows us two ways that we can know that we are following Christ.

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Hebrews 12:12-17

Purpose: To describe how a Christian should live his life.

Aim: I want the listener to find needed changes in their walk with Christ.

INTRODUCTION: Today we are going to look a text that is imbedded in the book of Hebrews. We find the word THEREFORE three times in this chapter. The first two will help us understand the verses we will look at today. In verse 1 THEREFORE points back to the first 11 chapters of fascinating truths about God and what He has done for us. The second THEREFORE that introduces our text points back to the first 11 verses of this chapter.

An Overview of Hebrews 12

Vs. 1-2 The command: Run the race for Christ

Vs.3-11 The preparation: Train in order to run the race for Christ

Vs.12-27 The practice: What the race looks like

Vs.28-29 The goal: Pleasing God

Imagine a marathon runner who after two miles stops running because he can’t figure out what it was that he was supposed to be doing. Jesus tells us: Mark 8:34 ... "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (NAU) What does that look like? How do we know if we are following Christ?

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Before you answer let’s look at God’s Word together today. Our text today shows us two ways that we can know that we are following Christ.

Vs.12-13 I. God’s Servants Focus on Helping Others

Notice that we have instructions here that apply to all Christians. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (NAU)

When we focus on helping others it strengthens us in return. 2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. (NAU)

Obeying the Great Commission does a lot to purify our everyday lives. Matthew 28:19-20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NAU) If you want to get closer to Christ find someone else you can encourage to get closer to Christ.

Vs.12a A. By challenging the lazy "strengthen the hands that are weak"

STRENGTHEN means to "restore, to straightness" Doctors used this word when they resent a dislocated joint. So we need to be willing to help the WEAK to get back where they can be useful to the Lord.

WEAK means "to disregard, neglect, or to relax." When we notice that believers have gotten distracted from following Jesus then we need to challenge them to get refocused. Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (NAU)

We can help them by asking good questions like:

1. How’s your thought life?

2. How are you handling the balance between work and home?

3. Have you been in the Word over the last few days?

4. What has God been teaching you recently?

5. How are you doing in handling God’s provision of time, talent, and money?

Vs.12b B. By encouraging the fearful "strengthen the...knees that are feeble"

Sometimes the problem is different. The word FEEBLE in Greek means "a relaxing of the nerves" and means to paralyze. When the hands don’t work it’s due to laziness, when the knees don’t work is because they are paralyzed by fear.

The solution to fear is prayer. Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, (NAU)

When someone is paralyzed by fear they need hope. Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (NAU) Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NAU)

When someone is fearful point them to the God of hope. When our God speaks He brings peace and courage to those who trust Him. Isaiah 41:9-10 ... ’You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. ’Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (NAU)

Vs.13 C. By setting an example for others "straight paths for your feet"

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