"… Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,…" Hebrews 12:2
Hebrews 1:1-4; 4:1-11; 11:1-16; 12:1-3; 13:14
How is your faith and that of your churches?
Key point: The people Hebrews was originally addressed to struggled with some of the same things that we struggle with today. We are faced with stress, laziness and complacency; we have leadership transitions and prideful people just as most church leaders throughout all time. They were in imminent danger of backsliding away from Christ and into their old ways and even sin. They needed a lesson on the preeminence of Christ and encouragement to persevere and carry on what Christ had given them. We are called today to boldly preach, teach and proclaim (Heb. 6:19; 11:10; 12:4; 13:3-17).
We all have a call to get right with Christ, and move on with our faith is a call that we must heed, model and impart (Heb. 4:11-16; 6:1; 10:19-25)!
These passages in Hebrews are about encouraging Christians that forgot we have the God Who is here, the One who speaks. He is the God of promise and fact; He has an inheritance and an Inheritor for us. We have a call to affirm one's faith and hope in Christ, not in empty trends, rituals and lies of the world. We are never to forget the foundations of our faith, that Jesus is the One upon Whom our faith rests and depends, from start to finish. Know your personal purpose and be challenged and encouraged to spiritual development and maturity in Christ, so to resist temptations and buildup of your churches mutual faith and knowledge of Christ.
Jesus is the Son and the eternal Sovereign God; God wants the entire universe to recognize Christ's Sonship and LORDSHIP and rule--that includes you!
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. All that came before pointed to Him. This Book tells us of the Supremacy, Sufficiency, Pre-eminence, and Divinity of Christ. Jesus is Superior in His Name, His role, and His purpose; He is the Ultimate Word of God! Because He is so, He can give us redemption and purify us from our sins. These have been given by God for Jesus and presented to us.
The value and role we have in Christ is greater than any reality we may think we have.
- By faith? Christian living is about our lives being centered in Christ and trusting Him for our provision without waiting around, doing nothing.
- Now faith is. This refers to the truth that faith is not just a reward, it is a duty for us to embark on here and now. Our faith is based on the knowledge given by God through His Word, and it is evidenced in His creation and people's testimonies. Faith is not just simple trust. Faith is not blind trust, either, because we know the One who is leading! We as people of faith must live by faith as this is the only thing we can do to show to others that Christ is real and concrete (1 Cor. 1:22-30; Heb. 11)!
- Being sure/assurance. This is a title deed; it is substantial evidence like an important business document in which we can trust. What we have in Christ has a real basis and foundation. In contrast, a lack of faith will lead one to hopelessness and despair, which leads to bad choices because of our sin and refusal to place God first in our lives. God's promise is real and tangible even when we do not see it (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-11; 10:14-17; Gal. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; James 2:14-26).
- We hope/things hoped for. This is our confidence in God for our future that is in His hands. Faith sees what is ahead when our eyes and thinking cannot. If we see what He has done in the past, we can have hope for the future, too. This also refers to a future time when we are with God for eternity. It is a Jewish metaphor for Heaven. This is an unshakable conviction in what must be, such as the North Star that guides ships; without it, a ship would be lost, but we know the Star will not go away. This is where we get the assurance of faith. Faith is not mere belief. It is real, as in genuine and authentic so we are sure in Whom we trust and to whom we go to live for righteousness.
Life comes at us hard and fast. When we are not prepared by the development of our faith, we will fail at the deployment of our faith and our call and opportunities and suffer needlessly as a result. God wants us to succeed in life and faith and gives us instructions, encouragements, and warnings to get lined up to Him before it is too late (Hebrews 10:32).
We are to show our response, the importance of our emergent spiritual maturity, to know and grow in the power of God and His Word.
They Early Church was also struggling with bad ideas and false doctrine, Why is this so important? They were not to seek anyone or anything to replace Christ as so many Christians are doing today. People in the early church and today will not compromise Christ' status to appease others. The Bible makes it clear: Christ is All in All and His Word is far more infallible and more binding than anything else. We all can be equipped and encouraged to move on in the faith for His glory and our mutual benefit as a Church. This is so we may draw nearer to Him and, in so doing, be the example for others to do so, too.
The sufficiency and importance of Christ; His sacrifice is all that is needed and it is complete. Here is imagery of perfection.
Perhaps the writer, to further make his point, used residues from Plato's teachings of the perfection of heaven and that all that is on earth are mere shadows of feeble replicas. The Gnostics picked up on this and said we must escape the earth's corruption by centering our minds on God; what our bodies do is irrelevant, thus providing an excuse to sin. But Plato was referring to reason alone; Christ is our reason, faith, life, our all in all, and He is perfect. Heaven and the Temple in Heaven are perfect. The earth's Temple was a mere copy as the writer previously stated. Now he gives hope that our true home is Heaven, as we were not made for this world.
While we are here, we have a duty to learn and grow, but our true home is still to come. We are to make the most of life now as we wait either for His return or for our homecoming into eternity before He comes and all of its rewards because of our trust in Christ (Heb. 10:1-18; 11:1-3: 12:1-3).
These people were once growing and thriving Christians who had stopped or had become lethargic in the furtherance of their faith.
Many people in this early church were taking their new faith for granted because they thought grace was a license for apathy and irresponsibility. Indifference and sluggishness will cause us to drift away from the Word of God and His wondrous precepts and call and the opportunities He has for us, too.
Remember your call to imitate the faith of our forerunners and build anew upon Christ as our LORD!
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/