Hebrews Chapter 12

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

There is a race set before us.

While running the race one can grow weary and lose heart.

We must run the race with endurance.

It is easier to run the race when we don’t have any encumbrances.

We must lay aside the sins that easily entangle us.

We must run the race fixing our eyes on Jesus. That is, we must see how Jesus ran the race and run like Him.

Jesus focused on the joy set before Him.

Jesus endured the cross.

Jesus despised the shame.

Jesus endured the hostility of sinners.

So many others have run the race before us, and we can encourage ourselves by their stories.

Jesus is the author of our faith in the sense that we must believe what He did.

Jesus is the perfecter of our faith in the sense that He guides us through temptation successfully.

4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM. 6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES." 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

When you strive against sin you have to resist even to the point of shedding blood.

The Lord scourges every son whom He receives.

The Lord reproves and disciplines us.

We should not faint when we are disciplined.

Nor should we ignore such discipline.

9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

God does cause us pain at times. But it is for our good, so that we may get what is most valuable in the universe – His character.

11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Okay, may be you’ve had some rough times in the recent past, and you’ve lost a lot of things that are valuable to you, because God took them away to discipline you. Don’t let that trouble you. Look at the big picture, and let God get His way with you, and you’ll find yourself glad in the end. If you side with God you will never lose.

12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself but get up from your mess and set things straight and begin living right again.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Don’t give people who rub you the wrong way a reason to fight with you but go out of your way to be at peace with everybody.

Walk away from sin; otherwise, God will walk away from you.

15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no * immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Don’t be proud and put yourself in a position where God cannot help you.

Don’t become bitter because temporal and material things that you greatly desired didn’t come to pass. Don’t let bitter people cause you to fall away.

Don’t causally throw away valuable things, like God’s favor or God’s anointing, just so that you can enjoy earthly pleasures. You may find that once you’ve given it away you cannot get it back.

18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, "IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED." 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling."

The Old Covenant was very tough on the Israelites and on Moses.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

The New Covenant is so much better. There is so much good stuff to lose: access to God; access to the tree of life; a mansion in the New Jerusalem; the fellowship of the saints; the availability of angels, and so much more.

The whole atmosphere of the New Covenant is so much better. The blood of Abel sought vengeance but the blood of Jesus cried out for forgiveness.

Be like the person who wants to do what is right, and is willing to endure God’s discipline so that he can be as perfect as possible, even if he suffers the loss of all temporal things.

25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, "YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN." 27 This expression, "Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

God shakes the heavens and the earth.

Only those things that cannot be shaken will remain.

We must ensure that we don’t refuse God when He speaks to us.

28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

We receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

We must show gratitude.

Our God is a consuming fire.

Our service to God must be accompanied by reverence and awe.

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