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FOUR MOTIVATORS TO FAITHFULNESS

 

Looking unto Jesus

Hebrews 12:9-11

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     The writer just finished a lengthy section about Old Testament examples who manifested faith in God.

 

B.      In this chapter, he reminds his readers of these Bible greats, but then points them to one even greater, Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

 

C.     The inspired penman also notes three other things that he hopes will encourage these Christians to remain faithful under great pressure to apostatize.

 

D.     Outline:

 

i.                    LOOKING UNTO JESUS (Heb. 12:1-4)

ii.                  LISTENING TO THE SCRIPTURE (Heb. 12:5-13)

iii.                LEARNING FROM AN OT CHARACTER (Heb. 12:14-17)

iv.                 LAUDING THEIR PRESENT SITUATION (Heb. 12:18-29)

 

I.                   LOOKING UNTO JESUS (Heb. 12:1-4)

 

II.                LISTENING TO THE SCRIPTURE (Heb. 12:5-13)

 

A.     The Reminder (Heb. 12:5-6)

B.      The Relationship (Heb. 12:7-8)

 

C.     The Reality (Heb. 12:9-10)

1.        Fathers of the flesh (Heb. 12:9a)

 

Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence…

 

a.       Correction:  “…we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us”

1)       Almost every human being can attest the truthfulness of these words.

2)      They used several different ways to correct (train, teach) us:  words, restrictions, chores, and beatings.

3)      Many of the ways used were not pleasant.

b.      Veneration:  “…and we gave them reverence”

1)       Reverence

a)      Strong (1788):  to respect

b)     Thayer:  to reverence a person

c)      Vine: to feel respect for, to show deference to, to reverence

2)      We did not hate them.  We did not turn from them.  We did not run away from them.  No, we honored them.

2.       Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9b)

 

…shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

 

a.       God is not the Father of our flesh. He is the Father of our spirits (See Eccl. 12:7; Zech. 12:1).

b.      We should give Him reverence and honor just as we did our physical fathers. 

c.       The way to bestow that honor is by being in subjection to him.

1)       Subjection

a)      Strong (5293):  subordinate, to obey

b)     Thayer:  to be subject, to subject oneself to, to submit to one’s control

2)      This was the problem the Hebrew Christians were having.  They were facing persecution which was leading to disobedience.  Just as they were disciplined by their earthly parents and continued to obey, they needed to do the same with their heavenly Father.

d.      “…and live.”  Their spiritual lives depended upon it.

e.       Question:  When God disciplines, how do you respond?  With honor through subjection?  Or, with dishonor by disobedience and distance?

3.       Forms contrasted (Heb. 12:10)

a.       Fathers of the flesh (Heb. 12:10a)

 

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure…

 

1)       Time:  “for a few days” 

a)      Fathers have their children for a few days.

b)     From birth until 18 to 22 years of age is all the time they have to truly discipline their children.

2)      Technique:  “after their own pleasure”

a)      Fathers pick when and how they will discipline their children.

b)     Sometimes they do it well.  Sometimes they do it wrong.

c)      Sometimes they do it with the proper motives.  Sometimes the motive is selfish in nature.

d)     Sometimes they can control their passions.  At others times, their passions get the best of them.

b.      Father of spirits (Heb. 12:10b)

1)       Technique:  “but he for our profit”

a)      The Lord does not discipline us after His own pleasure.

b)     He disciplines for a purpose.  The discipline we receive of him is for our profit (our betterment or our advantage).

2)      Target:  “that we might be partakers of his holiness.”

a)      God has an end in mind when he chastens His children.

b)     He wants us to be partakers of His holiness.

a)      He wants us to be set apart from the world.

b)     He wants us to be vessels that can be used in His service.

c)      To purge and purify us, He sometimes has to discipline us.

 

D.     The Reward (Heb. 12:11)

1.        The Downside (Heb. 12:11a)

 

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous…

a.       The chastening itself is not positive.

1)       Barnes:  “It does not impart pleasure, nor is this its design” (e-sword).

2)      It inflicts pain.

3)      It causes negative emotions:  embarrassment, shame, anger, and guilt.

b.      It is “grievous.”

1)       Strong (3077):  sadness                :- heaviness, sorrow

2)      Thayer:  sorrow, pain, annoyance, affliction, of persons mourning

c.       LESSON

1)       This used to be one of the deterrents of bad behavior.  Chastening involved pain.  If you did not want pain, you were obedient.

2)      Sometimes there is the infliction of pain to discipline even though we have not transgressed.  (Ex., two-a-days in football, wind sprints, etc.).  This, too, is grievous.

2.       The Upside (Heb. 12:11b)

 

…nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 

a.       After the pain, there is a positive side to suffering.

b.      It “yieldeth.”

1)       Strong (591):  it gives back

2)      Thayer:  to give back, to requite, recompense in a good sense

c.       The yield is “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”

1)       Definitions:

a)      Peaceable

-          Strong (1516):  pacific

-          Thayer:  relating to peace, loving peace, bringing peace with it

b)     Righteousness

-          Strong (1343):  equity (of character)

-          Thayer:  the state of him who is as he ought to be, the condition of being acceptable to God…correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

2)      Barnes:

a)      “Fruits of ‘righteousness.”  They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive unto God.  And they are

b)     “’Peaceable.’ They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul.  They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace.

d.      These fruits are promised to those who are exercised by chastisement.

1)       It can be either physical or mental exercise.

2)      The word involves training for the games in the gym.

e.       LESSONS:

1)       The rewards are not immediate.  It takes time to develop speed, muscle, and stamina as one trains.  The same is true of spiritual discipline.

2)      This is a universal truth for all Christians.  Regardless of how horrible the trial, it ultimately yields fruit. 

3)      Patience, less sin, more hope for heaven, strengths, skills, an increase in knowledge, and an additional talent are some of the fruits individuals have gained through suffering (See Ps. 119:67, 71, 75).

 

Before I was afflicted I went astray:  but now have I kept thy word…It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes…I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

 

E.      The Renewal (Heb. 12:12-13)