Endurance | Pt. 2

So the Holy Spirit continues to deliver the message of endurance —  Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…

Yesterday, we saw that endurance is a gift and we need to be asking God as the giver of gifts to give us endurance, and in doing so he enables us to fulfill his commands – like we see today to “run with endurance.”   Note how we are to do this “Laying aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely.”  This is a vital clarification, we cannot run very fast and endure very long if we are carrying around weight (guilt?) and sin (idols of the heart?).   We must put them down, but put them down by the power of what Jesus did on the cross.  Speaking of Jesus, this passage indicates that Jesus is our model. No one has ever had to endure more than Jesus did on the cross – bearing the sin of the world and a brutal sacrificial death for us, to the glory of God.  And in that…the Bible says that was JOY for Him to endure for us.   That is a man on an unshakable mission.  He is our model.

Why do we have to endure?  Look at Hebrews 12:7 – “It is for discipline that you have to endure.”  God disciplines us…trains us up in the way that we should go, bringing us to maturity.

Then the author of Hebrews launches in to a series of commands…I love it when the Bible does this…Heb 12:12-16

  • [therefore…in light of all this…]
  • Lift your drooping hands
  • strengthen your weak knees
  • make straight paths for your feet
  • strive for peace with everyone, and holiness [BBW=sanctification]
  • See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God [be diligent in pointing to salvation in Christ]
  • no root of bitterness springs up [isn’t Christmas a good time to apologize and reconcile relationships?!]
  • sexual immorality [sex before marriage/outside of marriage/outside of God’s design] = NO

Therefore [again with the therefore…] v28…

let us be grateful in receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship [service] with reverence and awe.

 

Advertisements

Endurance

So, as I was thumbing through one of my other Bibles this morning in search of a different translation of a verse, I noticed a bulge of papers in the front cover.  I found a a chapter of a book that someone had copied for me a few years back.  That person was Camlon Rooke, now in the Navy, but formerly our Youth Pastor and one who had a tremendous effect on me and many others during his time with us.  In fact I was just out to dinner the other night with another local pastor who commented…”Man there was a time where disciples were just pouring out of your place….who was that?!”  That…was Pastor Cam.  I am really missing him right about now.

Anyway, these last few days for whatever reason, things haven’t been “clicking.” My wife says that I have been “on edge”…yet not sure why.  I keep searching the Word, praying, confessing, repenting…but there didn’t seem to be any momentum there.  Until I read that old copy of a chapter in the front of an old Bible.  The book it was copied from was The Roots of Endurance, by John Piper. In it he says many wonderful encouraging things.

He starts by confronting the misconception that life is supposed to be a pain-free and trouble-free existence. You may have already knew that, but it’s a good reminder. “Frustration is normal, disappointment is normal, sickness is normal. Conflict, persecution, danger, stress – they are all normal.”

Piper asks a key question “How can we keep on loving and serving people when life has so much pain and disappointment? What are the roots of endurance?”

As Hebrews 10:36 says “We have need of endurance.” YES I DO. 🙂 How ’bout you?

So, what do we do? We need to remember that endurance and perseverance are a GIFT from God and we need to beg him for more – to not live for ourselves, but for Him. (2 Cor 5:15)

PRAY for endurance. Like quite possibly my favorite hymn “Come Thou Fount”

O to grace how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be

Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Piper calls us – “Pray this.  Seal my will to your with an unbreakable application of your eternal covenant! Keep me! Preserve me!”

This then, is a command of God that he enables us to do.  (Heb 13:20-21)  “He promises to do for us what he commands from us…it is not a “just do it” ethic, it is not a moral improvement program, it is not a “Judeo-Christian ethic”…it is a deeply cross-embracing life that knows the Christ of the Bible as the Son of God.”

Amen.  Thank you God. Thank you Jesus.  (and thanks, Pastor Cam…I miss you brother.)