Preacher's Pulpit by Dr. Joe Tims

Choose to Change #3: Perserverance

Heb 12:1

INTRODUCTION

Last week we talked about the importance of faith over worry.

I want to talk about another important choice we must make in order to be successful as an individual in life, as a believer in our personal walk with the Lord, and again, corporately as a Bible believing local Baptist church.

We must choose perseverance over defeat.

Many a battle is won in the mind before it is ever fought on the battlefield.

Now, I am not promoting the power of positive thinking in the sense that we can do anything we put our minds to do.

But, we cannot dismiss the fact that God's Word emphasizes right thinking!

Right thinking will lead to right actions or righteousness.

(Prov 23:7) "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee."

How can we persevere in our lives?

I. KNOW THE COURSE YOU'RE CALLED TO RUN.

(Heb 12:1c) "...and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."

A. The course which requires so much "perseverance", is the new life we have received in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

B. Paul states, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor 9:27).

C. The goal of the race or new life in Christ is this: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31).

II. DON'T LET ANYTHING SLOW YOU DOWN

(Heb 12:1b) "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us..."

A. There two kinds of hindrances.

1. First, (weight) there are the "unnecessary" things that can tie us up

a. Lack of preparation

b. Lack of commitment

c. Lack of goals

2. Second, there are "unrighteousness" things that can trip us up.

a. Carnal lifestyle

b. Sinful lifestyle

B. Failure to deal properly with the weights and sin can keep us from running the race (living the right kind of life) for Christ.

III. WE TO REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE FINISHED WELL (v.1a)

(Heb 12:1a) "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..."

A. Hebrews 11 is full of these witnesses.

B. Those who have paid the price for doing what is right have laid down an example for us to follow.

C. This can be an important source of encouragement when weariness and exhaustion set in on the course that is set before us.

(Gal 6:9) "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

IV. OUR GREATEST EXAMPLE IS JESUS

(Heb 12:2) "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of Our Faith; Who for the Joy That Was Set Before Him Endured the Cross, Despising the Shame, and Is Set down at the Right Hand of the Throne of God."

A. We must learn to value that which is valuable.

1. Christ is our ultimate example of what it means to do what is right, trusting fully in God regardless of the cost.

2. Deferred Pleasure.

"...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross..."

3. The "cross" was painful, but there was the assurance of "joy" that was to be realized on the other side.

B. We must learn to put other things in proper perspective.

1. Pain

a. We often allow pain to play too big a role in our decision making.

b. We must "think less" of pain and more of "God's approval".

C. People.

(Heb 12:3) "For Consider Him That Endured Such Contradiction of Sinners Against Himself, Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds."

1. Jesus faced a continuous movement of disapproval and opposition from people.

2. He obviously thought less of their approval than God's.

3. If we are to do what is right in the race that is set before us we too must worry less about the world's thinks and more of what God thinks.

CONCLUSION

We must realize that much of our lives are determined by the choices we make.

We must choose to follow God's purpose for us, and we must choose to persevere.

Don't quit! Don't give up! Keep serving God and living for Him!

Realize also that failure is not final.

One of the most subtle and effective attacks of the enemy is to use our failures to cause us to quit altogether!

The illustration is one of a race. What is most important is not how fast we run the race, but that we keep our focus on the finish line!

There will be obstacles in our paths, and there will be failures...but don't give up.

There is a stadium filled with battered and beaten teammates who have already crossed the finish line.

They are cheering us along.

Then, perhaps most important, there is the Coach who is telling us to "Come on!"

Don't choose to be a used to be or a has been. Choose to keep on "pressing toward the mark."