"Do Not Grow Weary"
It is easy to quit. It is easy to throw away all the good that has come to you simply because life is not fair or sin has tempted us deeply. The calling is to look to Jesus.
Do Not Grow Weary
A. This congregation is almost 53 years old. I have been the preacher here for 21 of those years. It has afforded to me the opportunity to learn some of our members. As a church we stand upon their shoulders. Without their faith and their willingness we would not be worshiping here.
B. It was my privilege to know a few of those charter members. I remember sitting in the home of Thelma Keller and listening to her tell stories of people meeting in her home before we began, it was inspirational. Spending time with Sarah Sindorf as a part of my family was a light into our past that has helped to me see a bright future. I remember Agnes Bendel and the love and joy she brought to this congregation. We are blessed to still have with us today Mary Stewart and Delano Aptiszch who were here as the church began to worship in this building.
C. They were and are people of faith. Hebrews 11 tells us about people of great faith. People who walked with God, but did not have a home. People who could have had every material blessing, but chose instead to be blessed by God. People who died for what they believed by faith. Their stories ring out for our encouragement.
D. My point is that sometimes we need the great cloud of witness cheering us on. Because you and I are in a spiritual race we need reminding of how to best run that race.
I. How To Run
A. The reason for stories in chapter 11 is to help us see faith in action. The opening of chapter 12 is the application of our own faith. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witness. That is fact. It not there just to make you feel good, it is there to help you see what it means to run. The cloud of witnesses helps us to see that running the race is not about succeeding in this life, but succeeding before God.
B. Heb. 12:1. Therefore…! When you look around this congregation, what do see? What do you feel? What do you experience? Brethren, we are a blessed church with a blessed heritage, but also with one another. We are today surrounded by a cloud of witness – that is also you. You are ought to be a part of my cloud of witnesses.
C. Come back to our text. Not only are we surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses and need to be that great cloud for others, but we also need to lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely. Many of us have our sinful stronghold – those sins that we seem to struggle with. Sometimes those sins are socially acceptable and sometimes we hide them hoping no one will know. Our text says that we must throw off (lay aside) everything that hinders and the sin entangles us (NIV).
D. Let’s not play games with these words. Sin surrounds us, clings to us and entangles us. Sin has but one desire – to kill us. That’s it. Satan and evil surround us because they don’t want you to experience the goodness of God in this life or be in heaven with God in the next. We have to learn to get sin out of our everyday life.
E. When Jesus dealt with sin he went to extremes. His teaching was if your right eye causes you to stumble do what? (pluck it out) If your right hand causes you to stumble do what? (cut it off) Why? Because God wants you to spend eternity with him in heaven. The focus of our writer is about the race in which we run.
II. Behold the Lamb
A. Heb. 12:2. Look to Jesus. Understand what he has done for you by going to the cross. He paid your debt. You deserve to die and spend eternity in hell. But the reason you are in this race is because you love Jesus.
B. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he twice used a phrase that is important. John 1:29, 35. Look to the Lamb. What was the purpose of a lamb throughout the OT? This idea of “found and perfecter” of our faith is that Jesus began it and completed it. The start and the finish is Jesus.
C. Look to the one who went to the cross and showed you what it means to finish the race. Look to the one who saw “joy” in being God’s servant even though there was pain in process. Look to him because Jesus not only didn’t quit but now serves as our advocate, seated at God’s right hand.
A. Why do we need to look to Jesus? READ vs 3. Losing heart, growing weary is easy when you the trials and burdens within this fallen world are something you face day in and day out. Yes you run, but some days you are so tired spiritually you don’t know how to pray let alone serve. It’s not that you don’t want to be a Christian, it’s simply difficult to keep on keeping on.
B. In verse 2 we are told to “look to Jesus” and in verse 3 we are told to “consider Jesus.” The focus is Jesus. I won’t tell you that being a Christian is without difficulties. The rest of this section even calls some of those difficulties “discipline.”
C. It is the idea of keeping on in the race despite the difficulties that the writer is trying to encourage us to do. Just as Jesus did not quite before the cross, our need to keep on in the difficult times is just as important.
D. John Williams Smith has written two wonderful story books – My Mother Played the Piano and My Mother’s Favorite Song. He tells a story in one of those books about a time when he was at a cross-country track meet for the regional champions. Tell the “Run, Tami, Run” story.
E. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, but more importantly, we see Jesus, the one who runs with us when life is difficult. The one who gives strength for the journey because he has already completed it is for us. If you need someone today to simply surround in you, pray with you, and give you spiritual strength, then come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, Minister