061022 No Pain – No Gain – No Glory Hebrews 12 1 3 Dale Wells

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<ul><li><p>No Pain No Gain No GloryDale WellsPalm Desert Church of ChristOctober 22, 2006</p></li><li><p>The distorted gospel vs. the true gospel Distorted gospel: Come to Jesus and be happy. To be a Christian guarantees prosperity. </p><p>True gospel:</p><p>Come to Jesus and struggle.To be a Christian guarantees adversity.</p><p>You and I have to choose between these gospels, and I pray that we may choose wisely. </p></li><li><p>There is an overlooked teaching in the NT:Christianity is a fight to be fought, a race to be run &amp; a struggle to overcomeIt is toil, sweat, tears &amp; blood The path to glory is sufferingActs 14:22 NIV "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God" ...</p></li><li><p>Todays text is summed up by J.C. Ryle (1816-1900): There are no gains without pains.</p><p>No pain No gain</p><p>Is there a key to keeping going a secret to practical Christianity that helps us face all the things life throws at us? </p></li><li><p>Hebrews 6:11-12 NIV We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. (12) We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.</p></li><li><p>Hebrews was written to a church that was struggling They were tired and dragging.Hebrews 12:12 NRSV Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,</p></li><li><p>The context begins at Hebrews 10:32-36 NIVRemember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. (33) Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.</p></li><li><p>The context begins at Hebrews 10:32-36 NIV(34) You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (35) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. (36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.</p></li><li><p>It continues through Faiths Hall of Fame</p><p>Hebrews 11 lists people who believed Gods promises &amp; went the distance The point of Hebrews 11 is that faith &amp; perseverance cannot be separatedSome were great many werent all were flawedWhat kept them going was not great faith, but faith in a great God</p></li><li><p>Hebrews 11:39-40 NLT All of these people we have mentioned received God's approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. (40) For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can't receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.</p><p>Then comes the great imperative </p></li><li><p>Hebrews 12:1 NIV Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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.</p></li><li><p>1. The Christian life is a race</p></li><li><p>Everybody knew about the Greek games Hebrews 12 pictures the Christian life as a racePaul also used the games as a picture of the Christian life1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. ... (26) I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. </p><p>Every city had its amphitheater in which athletes displayed their prowess in view of a stadium filled with spectatorsHebrews pictures the Christian life as a race, not because we are competing with one another, but because the Christian life demands perseverance in the running of it and self-discipline in the preparation for it</p></li><li><p>Race is agona from which we get agony Demanding, grueling, agonizing The imperative is RunWere in the race of our lives!Agony: not defeat, but victory!</p><p>It takes self-discipline, determination &amp; perseveranceIts a race to a finish line and everything hangs on itSome are spiritual joggers, not committed runnersWere in the race of our lives!ABCs Wide World of Sports (Jim McKay voice over) The human drama of athletic competition the thrill of victory the agony of defeat</p></li><li><p>2. The race is marked out for us</p><p>The picture is of a cross-country runA flag here, a mark there, to chart out the pathWhat an encouragement that the God who starts us in the race has already marked out the course our race must takeHe has prepared the way for our good and for his glory</p></li><li><p>We cannot run anyone elses raceWere not the judges, but the runnersWe compete against ourselvesWe only answer for how we runWhere am I in the race God has marked out for me?</p><p>Get preoccupied with the performance of others, look over your shoulder, and youll drift out of your lane and trip up</p></li><li><p>3. The race has been run successfully by others</p></li><li><p>Faiths predecessors are our spectatorsThe picture is the amphitheater, with tiers of spectators Hebrews 12:1 MSG Do you see what this means--all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?</p><p>Athletes spurred on by spectators, particularly friends &amp; relativesRemembering spectators spurs us on to live up to our heritage that they have passed on to usAbel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc., cheer us along our route: I finished &amp; you can, too! They proved that the life of faith is the life that deliversThey are at the finish line encouraging us to do what they did &amp; finish the race</p></li><li><p>Run like them is the messageAlong the route are people who have run before us saying You can win by faith They ran &amp; now its our turnTheyre there to inspire usTheyre waiting for us</p><p>Calvin: A small spark of light was enough to lead them to heaven, whereas for us the bright light of the sun of righteousness shines </p></li><li><p>History is waiting for us to finish the raceHebrews 11:40 NLT For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can't receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.</p></li><li><p>4. The race requires discipline</p></li><li><p>Hypomone spiritual staying power Hebrews 12:1 NLT let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.</p><p>Were not in it for the 100-yard dash, but for the marathonThat requires discipline and determination</p></li><li><p>1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. (25) All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. </p></li><li><p>1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG (26) I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! (27) I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.</p></li><li><p>All athletes go into training Hebrews 12:1 NLT let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.Hebrews 12:1 MSG Strip down, start running--and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.</p><p>They undergo a strict regimen of food, drink, exercise &amp; sleepWithout this, they are not fit for the gamesTragically, some Christians expect to run the race well &amp; persevere to the end without any self-discipline. It is absurd.</p></li><li><p>Some things have to be jettisonedAthletes get rid of unnecessary weight that slows themChristians must get rid of things that hinder us Athletes get rid of encumbering clothing that would trip them upChristians must get rid of sin that trips us up</p><p>Athletes get rid of unnecessary weight (body fat, training weights) that slows themChristians must get rid of things that hinder us Athletes get rid of encumbering clothing that would trip them upOur word gymnasium comes from Gk. gymnos, which means nakedChristians must get rid of sin that trips us up</p></li><li><p>John Wesleys mother once wrote to him Whatever weakens your reason, or impairs the tenderness of your conscience, or obscures the sense of your God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.</p><p>What hinders you? It may be innocent, but it weighs you down, trips you up, saps your enthusiasm for the things of GodIt may be career, home, sports, hobbies, status, or a host of thingsThe question is not Is it sinful?, but Is it in the way of greater faith, love, purity, humility, self-control? Not Is it a sin?, but Does it get in the way of you running for Jesus?Some of us are hanging on to things that weigh us down, pride, priorities, habits, relationships, fears, worries, or a load of other excess baggage</p></li><li><p>Hebrews 12:1 MSG Do you see what this means--all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running--and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.</p><p>Things can encumber us, sin can trip us upThe definite article implies the sin What is it for you that most distracts you in the race? Pride, ambition, status, worry, sexual preoccupation, it could be any of a number of thingsOr, perhaps, what the writer has in mind is the one sin that hinders us all at some time unbelief doubting God</p></li><li><p>Hebrews 3:12-13 NIV See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (13) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.</p><p>You can live with unbeliefAbout your sinfulness - Im not really all that badAbout Gods wisdom and mercy - Does he really love me?About whether he knows best - Is he in control? Distraction creates doubt; doubt creates discouragement; discouragement makes runners quittersWe need to throw off entanglementsRemember the spectators, focus on Jesus, go into strict training &amp; run with perseverance.</p></li><li><p>5. The race has been run by Jesus</p></li><li><p>Focus on Jesus, who stands at the finish lineHebrews 12:2-3 MSG Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. </p></li><li><p>Focus on Jesus, who stands at the finish line(3) When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:2-3 MSG </p><p>We might "glance" at others (cf. Heb 11), but we are to "gaze" upon Jesus. He is where our eyes should beMake all your life calculations based on what you know about him, then everything falls togetherWhy? Because he is the greatest winner of allThe OT heroes of Hebrews 11 were heroes of faith; Jesus is faiths epitome</p></li><li><p>Formula For Spiritual SuccessLook within and be distressedLook back and be defeatedLook around and be distractedLook ahead and be dismayedLook up and be delivered!Colossians 3:1-2 NIV Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.</p></li><li><p>Remember his faith &amp; perseveranceHe endured much more hostility from sinners than we ever will and it led to a crossMany heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 died as martyrsJesus was more than a martyrCompared to them and especially to him, we have nothing to complain about</p></li><li><p>Acts 2:25-31 NIV David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (26) Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, (27) because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (28) You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'</p></li><li><p>Acts 2:25-31 NIV (29) "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. (30) But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. (31) Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.</p></li><li><p>Jesus endured the cross &amp; despised the shameHebrews 12:4 MSG In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through--all that bloodshed!</p><p>Jesus... "endured the cross" (the physical pain) "despised the shame" (the emotional and spiritual agony)</p></li><li><p>Hebrews 13:20-21 NLT And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. (21) May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to him. Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting covenant, signed with his blood. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.</p></li><li><p>Our faith owes all to Jesus faithHebrews 5:8 NLT So even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.</p><p>We sometimes think it was easier for Jesus to run the race because he was God; that in some way our race is harder. Not true! He lived his life on earth in the same way you and I live by faith in Gods word.</p></li><li><p>Look where his faith took himHebrews 12:2-4 NLT He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. </p><p>The only place in Hebrews where the cross is mentioned, but suddenly it fills the picture not to explain salvation, but to provide us the motivation for faithful living.He voluntarily did this in our place for us, but we havent had to go that far</p></li><li><p>Look where his faith took him(3) Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. (4) After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. Hebrews 12:2-4 NLT </p><p>The only place in Hebrews where the cross is mentioned, but suddenly it fills the picture not to explain salvation, but to provide us the motivation for faithful living.He voluntarily did this in our place for us, but we havent had to go that far</p></li><li><p>Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ </p><p>Some say It wasnt that bad. It was!To Gentiles, the cross was disgraceful.To Jews, it was the curse of God.</p><p>This is where the race of faith took the Son of God for the sins of the world. </p></li><li><p>The Christian life is lived in the shadow of the crossWhen people criticize you When people let you down When pain seems unbearable When you feel like a failure </p><p>When people criticize you, remember that they called him a glutton, a drunkard &amp; a deceiver. When people let you down, remember that his associate betrayed him; his chief-of-staff denied him; his intimate friends crept away. When pain seems unbearable, remember th...</p></li></ul>