Never Give Up
“Never, never, never give up” said Sir Winston Churchill to his student audience; which is really the theme of this section of the letter to the Hebrews written to those who were considering “throwing in the towel” so that – “you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Spiritual weariness and discouragement is often caused by a sense of being alone, so it is good to be reminded that we are – “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,” the great heroes of the faith mentioned in the previous chapter. They are more than spectators rooting for us from the heavenly grandstand; instead they bear witness to the fact that as God brought them to the race’s finishing line, so he will do the same for us.
Pause 4 thought – Do not dismiss the “cloud of witnesses” because they are all Old Testament saints with no perceived relevance. They can encourage us and their example has much to teach us (Romans 15 v 4.)
In the light of being “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” three active responses are called forth as signified by the words – “LET US.”
1 – Throw off (Fling.)
“Everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” are to be discarded and thrown away. Anything that gets in the way of our running an effective Christian race, good or bad, is to be tossed away; and any sin, especially that of unbelief, is to be jettisoned so that it does not cling and ensnare.
2 – Run with perseverance (Finish.)
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We are not to give up and abandon the race; instead they are to run until we break the tape and cross the finishing line and receive our reward. This is a marathon not a sprint! (2 Timothy 4 v 7.)
3 – Fix our eyes on Jesus (Focus.)
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” This is not to be a fleeting glance or an occasional look, but a fixed gaze, a firm focus. We are not to look at ourselves, or at our circumstances, but at Jesus. When we do we shall see Jesus the:-
Pioneer – the one who initiates faith bringing many sons to glory.
Perfecter – the one who desires to bring his work to completion (Philippians 1 v 6.)
Perseverer – the one who endured the shame and suffering of the cross by keeping his eye on the joy that was to come, only to be rejected by his own people (John 1 v 11.)
Priest – The one, who’s saving work complete, is now enthroned in the heavenlies forgiving our sin and making intercession for us.
Challenge – So “let us” throw off anything that hinders progress in the race; “let us” run with perseverance that we might finish the race; and “let us” focus our gaze on Jesus, allowing him to fill our vision.
Theme: “Never Give Up”
Reading: Hebrews 12 v 1
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes
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