Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pentecost 11 - Proper 14

August 8, 2010
Pentecost 11 – Proper 14
Hebrews 12:1-3
What Faith Can Do For You

We talk about the wonderful things it is to have faith. This indeed is true. For the average church member faith is something you should have but you do not always know why. What difference would faith make in your life? Does faith have any practical help for your life? The writer to the Hebrews tells us what faith can do for you -

1. Faith is the assurance of spiritual realities. 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. v.1
A. We can persevere when we remember the witnesses.
1. There are witnesses in both the Old and New Testaments for us to remember.
2. You are not alone in this race. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon all 26 miles! The number of Christian runners is large also today.
B. Their witness is encouraging.
1. There’s nothing new under the sun. Those who have gone before us experienced some of the same burdens and sins as we do. We’re not alone.
2. By faith we are able to lay ever hindrance aside.
3. The burdens cares and troubles of this life soon will be no more. Paul would write to the saints in Rome theses encouraging words - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. –Romans 8:18 And to the Philippian congregation he would say, What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

Transition: Faith assures us of certain spiritual realities. It helps us discover that God is present in our lives.

2. Faith gains God’s approval. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. v. 2
A. We will make it when we fix our eyes on Jesus.
1. Christ endures much worse suffering that we will ever be required to endure.
2. Yet, He persevered for us by keeping the final joy in view. The cross, and empty tomb are now the marks of your salvation.
B. He is faith’s enabler.
1. He authored your faith when in Baptism He started us in the race.
2. He will perfect and finish what He has begun in you.

Transition: Throughout this entire ordeal God is teaching you.

3. Faith enables you to understand God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. v. 3
A. There will come a time when you are tempted to think that you can’t go on any more. This happens to even seasoned runners. What happens when you hit that brick wall?
1. When sickness and troubles come, we may begin to think that God has become the enemy.
2. When such challenges come we commit ourselves to God.
B. Your Savior uses every circumstance to draw you closer to Himself.
1. He has a deep love for you.
2. He has both your temporal and eternal good for you.

We can persevere in our Christian walk when we remember the witnesses, submit to the Father’s discipline, and most important, we fix our eyes on Jesus.

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