I. (1-5, 12-14) So that others may see God, pursue peace & holiness, strengthen self, walk straight path, be healed
1. Others are watching – shed weight of sin & endure
2. Fix eyes on Jesus: pioneer & perfector, cross to glory
3-4. Focus on Jesus’ suffering/endurance: yours =/= bloodshed
5. Don’t scorn God’s discipline or give up
12-13. Strengthen self + walk straight path, be healed
14. Pursue peace + holiness so that others see God
- Others are watching
- Fix eyes on Jesus – how he ran the race
- Goal = finish the race = holiness
- Train, endure, pursue peace, be healed
- Am I running the race (living out my faith) with the reality that others are watching?
- Who do I follow as my life coach?
- Am I training as if preparing for a race/marathon or resting?
II. (6-11) God disciplines His children to holiness as a father disciplines his loved ones
6. Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts
7. All fathers discipline their sons – God treating you as a son
8. If no discipline => not a son of God
9. We submit to discipline of earthly fathers => same w/ God
10. Earthly fathers disciple to make better, God disciplines to make holy
11. Disciplines is painful @ times but leads to fruit, peace, righteousness
- Disciplines is done in love for growth
- Earthly discipline is for improvement
- Holy disciplines is for holiness
- There is pain in discipline but the reward is fruit of peace and righteousness
- Is my view of discipline one of love or one of anguish?
- In discipline, do I learn and grow or just gripe? Do look forward through the discipline to see the fruits of peace or righteousness or is my focus only on the discipline itself?
- Am I able to distinguish discipline from punishment or am I viewing discipline as punishment?
III. (15-29) Help other to not underestimate God’s full glory & grace – He shakes away heaven and earth’s “created things” as a devouring fire, only the unshaken remain.
15. See to it that others don’t become weeds
16-17. See to it that others don’t underestimate God’s blessing
18-19. Faith in God is not small or trite, it is large and powerful
20-21. Israelites could not approach God on Mt. Zion, even Moses trembled
22-24. But you can come directly to God through Christ
25. Take care: Do not refuse, if Israelites did not survive earthly warning, why think survive heavenly
26. His voice shook the earth, now shakes heaven and earth
27. Shaking = purification, but only once more
28a. We will receive an unshakable kingdom
28b. Give thanks, worship, devotion and awe to God
29. Our God is indeed a devouring fire
- Believers have responsibility for others
- Our access to God is unprecedented in history
- Take care to not refuse or ignore the warning signs
- Heaven & earth will be shaken “once more” to remove that which is shakable
- The heaven we inherit is unshakable
- Give thanks, worship, devotion and AWE to God
- Do I accept my responsibility as part of other Christians’ faith walk?
- Am I “taking care” daily?
- Am I unshakable? Jesus is!
Summary: So that others may abide with God, the faithful must endure, be strong and not shaken
There are a lot of metaphors in Hebrews 12: running, endurance, training, pioneer, discipline of fathers, bitter roots, shaking and unshakable and comparisons between our relationship with God and that of Abel, Moses and the Israelite nation at Mt. Zion. But each is woven together in an attempt to adjust the thinking of the Hebrew audience (and ours today).
This life is not the competition to be won. We don’t come out of it as the winner if we “do better” thank others. We don’t achieve what God has in store for us by sitting back and taking it easy, taking life “as the sands through the hour glass.”
Life is training camp. Life is where we accept the jersey to play on the team and train along side others. Unbelievers are not our opponents, they are those standing on the sideline who have not yet accepted the call to be part of the team.
And like training camp, others are watching. Other players. Others on the sidelines. Our coach and owner. Training is hard. And we aren’t training to just be “better”. Our coach and our owner is training us to become perfect, to become holy. We are part of a team. It is not our own performance alone, but our example and leadership and compassion to others on the training field as well.
Our access to our coach, Jesus, is unprecedented in the history of the world. The chosen people of God and even Moses trembled at the base of the mountain, but Jesus has walked among us and talked with us. Our ability to see and know and follow His example is an amazing gift, but also one to not be taken lightly.
A time of shaking is coming. Once more God will shake the heaven and the earth. That which is shakable/impure, will be cast out, but that which stands strong will inherit the unshakable kingdom.
Train hard. Train knowing that others are watching, constantly. Train not as if it were a job, but as if it were your life on the line, and not just this life, but life for all eternity. The harder you train, the harder the training, but the harder the training, the stronger the ability to stand with arms high.