Hebrew 11 is a beautiful chapter, it is connecting the promises of the old testament to the fulfillment that is Jesus in the New Testament. We see a list of people with faith in Hebrews 11, it says, by faith Abel offered the better sacrifice, by faith Noah built the boat, by faith Abraham received the covenant, by faith Moses took the Israelites, by faith the Israelites endured, by faith the judges and the prophets spoke God’s Word to difficult times. And the chapter 11 ends like this, it says, that although they were committed by God for their faith, none of them saw fulfillment of the promises that they were waiting for. They didn’t get to see Jesus, they didn’t get to see the fulfillment of the promise, but they were faithful. They were committed for their faithfulness. They finished their races.
The end of chapter 11 says, “only together” with those saints is His plan made perfect. We are all part of that “together”. Chapter 12 starts with these verses, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. Abraham, Moses, Noah, all these people are in that great cloud and many of the people who we know, who served Jesus, are also in that great cloud. Our parents, our grandparents, our fellow brothers and sisters, they are in that great cloud of witnesses, cheering you, saying ‘be faithful, finish your race’, ‘Come on, be faithful, you can do this, you can make it, finish you race.’ The great cloud of witnesses cheering you on. The chapter 12 continues, “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. Everyone of us are in this race, you might be on a different juncture, but you are in the race. Whether you are 8 or 70, you are in this race, and it says, “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. Your race is not my race, my race is marked off for me.
Verse 2 says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Chapter 11 says about some great people who finished, some amazing people of God who finished. But Jesus is the fulfillment of promise of each of these prophesies. Jesus finished His earthly job, He went to the Cross, He rose again. If He hadn’t gone to the Cross and rose again, He would be the world’s biggest lair. Jesus finished His earthly race, and He didn’t have an easy one either. His race, your race, my race, God has a race marked out for each of us. And the Word says, look to Jesus because He did it, look to Jesus because He finished His race, consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Life is difficult sometimes, there’s been hurt, there’s been pain, there’s been things. And this is so encouraging when author says, you might be tempted to get weary, things are going to get hard but look at Jesus, so you don’t get weary and give up. I born in a strong Christian family, but I’ve watched throughout the years, I’ve watched people give up, I’ve watched people quit. Look at Jesus, He finished, don’t quit, don’t give up, doesn’t matter whatever is happening, it is not worth you are quitting on the race. Run you race, don’t loose your heart.
We are great starters, but remember we are talking about finishers here. Statistically, only 60% of the students who enter college graduate. Rest just don’t finish. The new years resolution is met with a lot of excitement on January 1st, we are all good starters, but do we finish? Kids who grow up in church, 70% of those students statistically walk out of church and very few come home. We got to finish, we can’t just start, we got to finish. Starting is amazing, but finishing is where the prize come.
Verse 4 says, “in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Jesus shed His blood for you, I don’t see blood in your race, get up and run. The author continues in verse 5-6, “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.’” When God disciplines us don’t make light of it, don’t loose your heart, that is not what God is trying to say to you when He disciplines you, He is trying to say, ‘keep running’. He is a good coach, He wants you to win, He’s is saying that it’s okay you messed up a little but get back on track, you can do it. Run. He chastises us, He refines, He purifies us. Because He loves us as a son, He purifies us.
In verse 7-8 it says, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” We all discipline our children and we know that we are doing it because we love our children.
Verse 10-11 says, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” The writer of Hebrews in verse 14 reminds us that without holiness we won’t see God, but here is the deal, we cannot make ourselves Holy, it’s only when we submit to the authority of God that I can share in Jesus’ holiness. This is not a salvation that I can earn, I am not good, never will be, I can’t be. I can attend any church, but I will never be good enough. I can’t be holy, but He is holy. And if I can get close to Him, I can share in His holiness. Verse 11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.” All discipline is painful. Nobody wants to be told that they did something wrong, nobody does. It’s painful for a while but here is the good news, verse 11 continues, “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Here is the deal, we’ve a decision to make when God discipline us, we’ve a decision to make when God purifies and justifies us. The enemy is not going to tell something good for you because he wants to steal, kill and destroy everything that you are. So, if it’s a good thing, it’s God’s voice. You’ve the ability to completely rebel against it. You know when you give your child direction or discipline, they’ve the right to take it or to rebel against it. And so, do you, when God decides to speak something in your life, you’ve the ability to take it or rebel against the discipline of God.
All of us are still in the race, God still wants to discipline you, He’s still trying to put you on path, none of you are done. But if you will be trained on it, you’ll reap a harvest of His righteousness and peace. This world is looking for peace desperately, people want to do anything to get some peace. If you hear the correction of God in your life, you’ll reap peace and His righteousness. If you will allow yourself to be trained by His discipline, it’s your decision. You can defiantly stand up against what God wants you to do and no one will ever know. Bible says God knows your heart, that is scary because you can look so good from outside and your heart can still be so defiant.
Verse 12 says this, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” It’s time for run. Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees, it’s time for run. It’s time to run towards Jesus. It’s time to keep your eyes on Him, not on the things you are going through. Keep your eyes on Him, He finished His race and you can finish too.