Speaker: Rev. Dr. David Joynt
Date: May 21, 2017
Dreaming Together For Tomorrow
Text: Hebrews 12: 1-3
After rehearsing the names and stories of those Old Testament characters who lived by faith, the writer of Hebrews turns to a word of direct application. Since they live by faith, so can you.
The main clause of the passage above is in verse 1: 'Run the race.' But it's not just an encouragement to run--it's an encouragement to run well. To run with perseverance. The writer wants these Christians to run the race without growing weary or losing heart.
Run the race . . . but run with perseverance; do not grow weary and do not lose heart.
On any given Sunday, churches are not likely to be populated by people who have carefully considered their faith and decided that they no longer believe it. What is far more common is that people grow weary and lose heart.
Discouragement is more prevalent than disbelief. How does this happen?
Some fall away because of tragedy, or pain, or loss:
Some fall away because of boredom; they settle into religious habits that lost any significance or meaning - the same thing over and over and over again.
Some fall away because the church let them down; they're disappointed with the realities of a flawed faith community.
The message for us from this text is simple: don't grow weary. Don't lose heart.
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 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
FOR REFLECTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS:
1. In addition to the reasons above, can you think of other reasons that Christians become weary and lose heart?
2. The text reminds us that we are surrounded by "a great cloud of witnesses." How has the heritage of faith or the examples of other faithful people been a source of encouragement to you?
3. We are told to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" as we run the race of faith. How does the presence of a community help us to do this? Asked another way, will we do this if we try to follow Jesus in isolation from others?
4. Jesus is said to be the "author" or "pioneer" of our faith, as well as the "perfecter." How do these images speak to you? In what is Jesus both the source and the goal of our faith?
5. What are some of the other things in this world that we often "fix our eyes" upon?
Lord Jesus, we pray today for all who are growing weary and losing heart in their walk with you. Help us to be a community to each other, surrounding one another in the present in the same way the faithful of days past surround us. We will keep our eyes on you--the source and the aim of our faith. Grant us grace to run well, we ask in your name. Amen.