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Hebrews 12:3-17: A Word to the Weary Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 February 2017

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Probably all of us have had particular times where we have been extremely weary. So let me ask you as we begin this morning: when was the most tired you have ever been physically? For me, I could mention a few times. Obviously, as I told you about last week, I was exhausted after we finished our half marathon a few years ago. I can also remember a few times of helping people move with many of you that have left me weary physically. I spent this past Monday cleaning up leaves in my backyard and I was pretty tired when I was done. What about you? What time you most weary physically? Sometimes we can grow weary emotionally and spiritually. We have words to describe these times: depressed, discouraged, low. Can you recall a time when you felt weary spiritually? I have experienced that as a pastor and as a follower of Christ. I have grown weary in the fight for enduring faith. So what can we do in those times?

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The author of Hebrews is continuing to encourage us to endure in the faith. He has called us to run with endurance the race that is set before us. We are to find encouragement in the faith of those who have gone before us (ch. 11) and lay aside everything that gets in our way. And ultimately we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (v. 2). He continues this argument in our passage this morning. Look at verse 2. We are to look to Christ, we are to consider him, stay focused on Him, remember all that He has done for us. Building upon this call to consider Christ, the author goes on to give us three reasons why we should not grow weary in our fight against sin and opposition.

We should not grow weary because we have not yet suffered like Christ (v. 3-4)

In considering Christ, what do we see? Look at the rest of verse 3. Our Savior endured from sinners such hostility against himself. We saw this just a moment ago as we ready through Markís account of the crucifixion. They mocked Him as a king and made Him wear a crown of thorns. They struck Him and they spit on Him. Then they nailed Him onto a tree. While He was dying, people hurled insults at Him and made fun of Him. Even the religious leaders of the day mocked Him as He died for our sins. This is the hostility that Jesus faced. These are the sufferings that He endured from the hands of sinners. The author of Hebrews is once again telling us to consider His endurance so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. We consider Him and we press on.

The author goes on to remind his readers that they have not yet suffered as much as Christ did, for they have not yet shed their blood. Look at verse 4. These professing Christians have suffered for the faith. They were publicly exposed to reproach and affliction (10:33). But they had not yet given their lives for the faith. They had battle with sin and with sinners, but they were not yet martyrs. The author tells them to look to Christ and remember His great suffering so that they wonít grow weary in what they were presently facing. Brothers and sisters, we have yet to even face what the original readers were facing, much less to the point of shedding blood. How much more should we not grow weary when we consider all that Christ suffered for us?

We should not grow weary because discipline is evidence of sonship (v. 5-13)

The sufferings and difficulties that we face in this life are a result of sin. Sometimes they are the result of our own sin, either consequences or the means that God is using to drive out our love for sin. Sometimes they are the result of the sinful actions of others like what Jesus faced on the cross. Sometimes suffering is just a result of living in a fallen world, groaning under the sins of man. Yet, all of these difficulties are a form of Godís discipline in our lives. He is using every ounce of suffering for His glory and our good. Such discipline means that we truly belong to His family as sons and daughters. This is the argument that the author of Hebrews makes next.

He begins by quoting a passage from Proverbs. Look at verses 5-6. The author comments on these verses in verses 7-8. Look at those with me. The Lord disciplines those that He loves. In fact, He did this with His only begotten Son, namely Jesus. Look back at 5:8. Jesus is the Son of God. Yet, he learned obedience through what he suffered. Jesus, Godís own Son, faced the discipline of suffering. Do you doubt the Fatherís love for Jesus? If not, then you should not doubt His love for you when you face discipline and suffering. In fact, such discipline should be a constant reminder that you belong to the Lord.

We see the idea of loving discipline in our earthly relationships. Look at verses 9-11. Earthly fathers love their children by disciplining them. Such a truth has fallen on hard times in our culture. Many believe and teach that true love will let kids do whatever they want. But such an approach will never work in a fallen world because what we want will lead to our own destruction. Thus, the only loving thing that we can do is correct our children when they are in the wrong. It is always most loving to correct a wrong. To think or act otherwise is to ignore the wisdom of the Bible. Thus, I encourage our fathers to lovingly discipline our children. And I encourage our children to do their best to recognize such discipline as loving, when indeed it is done in the fear of the Lord.

Of course, we have not all had godly fathers, nor we will always be godly fathers. The truth is, earthly fathers are limited in how much good they can do through their discipline. It will always be flawed and imperfect. But not so with God. His discipline is perfect. His plan for our lives is exactly what we need to be conformed into the image of Christ. Through the loving discipline of God in our lives, we are becoming holy like the Lord. That does not mean that suffering will be easy, but it does mean that it will never be pointless. God will never waste a drop of our pain. He will use it all to later yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Therefore, we should not grow weary when facing discipline. Look at verses 12-13. When we are tempted to let the difficulties of this life slow us down in following Christ, we must remember what the author teaches us here. We must rise up and keep going. We must not look to the left or to the right. We must stay on the narrow path that leads to glory. We must endure. As sons and daughters of God, we must trust our Father and the discipline He brings. It is what we need to be conformed into the image of our Savior.

We should not grow weary because holiness is necessary for Heaven (v. 14-17)

Perhaps we might think: ĎIf it takes suffering and discipline to be holy like Jesus, then maybe I donít want to be holy.í The author warns us against such a conclusion in verses 14-17. Look at verse 14. We should lay aside our sin of division and strive for peace. We should not let our disagreement over secondary issues outweigh the peace that we share in Christ. But we cannot think that this will just happen for us. No, we must strive for peace. We must be willing to humble ourselves and consider others as more important than ourselves. We must seek their good above our own. We must strive for peace. And we must strive for holiness. We must make war on our sin and endure any discipline that the Lord uses to make us more like Christ. Why? We should strive for holiness through faith in Christ because without we will not see the Lord. We will not make it to glory without conformity to Christ. We must suffer with Christ if we are going to be glorified with Him (see Romans 8:17). The idea of carnal Christians is completely foreign to the Bible. If your faith in Jesus is not producing the fruit of holiness, which often comes about through suffering and difficulties, then your faith is dead.

Do not miss the severity of this warning. In order to drive home his point, the author reminds us of the story of Esau. Look at verses 15-17. We must not presume on the grace of God. We must not let sin go unchecked in our lives. We must make war on bitterness and sexual immorality. We must not let love for the stuff of earth come between us and God. That is what happened in the story of Esau. He was the first born. He was the one who was supposed to receive the greater blessing and inheritance. But he traded his birthright in for a bowl of soup. Talk about the epitome of folly. He gave up the blessing of God for one meal. He was so caught up in the moment, so caught up in what his flesh wanted, that he walked away from his future inheritance. We face the same temptation. Anger and bitterness are easy and pleasing to the flesh. Sexualy immorality is everywhere in our culture. But do not trade your eternal inheritance in for a cup of soup. Donít throw the eternal blessings of God for a Ďgood time.í Esau later realized his mistake, but it was too late. I plead with you, do not make the same mistake. Repent while you can! Strive for holiness through faith in Jesus while you can.

The author of Hebrews has given two options in chapters 11-12. We can either have enduring faith that does not grow weary like those listed in chapter 11 or we can walk away from Jesus for earthly comforts and end up like Esau. Are you willing to trade eternal joy for passing pleasures? Is a night of drugs or sex or whatever worth an eternity in Hell? You must decide for yourself. Following Jesus is not easy. Enduring faith is difficult and it involves discipline. But such discipline is simply evidence that we are Godís children and that He is making us holy so that we can dwell with Him forever. Put your faith in Christ today and do not grow weary in running hard after Him. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 01 March 2017 )

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