Summary of Hebrews 12:
Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (the faithful mentioned in Chapter 11) let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who endured the cross and its shame so that we may not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle, you have forgotten the encouraging words that the Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts as children. We must endure hardship since God is treating us as His children just like we were disciplined by our parents. For God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. Albeit discipline is painful, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who endure.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy for without holiness we cannot see God. Make sure no one misses the grace of God and no bitter root grows. Make sure no one is sexually immoral or godless.
You have no come to the mountain that is burning with fire, darkness and gloom or heard a voice that was so great it begged no further words be spoken. Instead, you have come to Mount Zion to the living God, the judge of all men and to Jesus whose blood provided us salvation.
Do not refuse God who is granting us a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Instead, be grateful and worshipful of the Lord.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 4: Hebrews 12
9) Personal Question. My answer: This world is about making it to the next world with Jesus, and if Jesus, who was entirely perfect, could endure pain and suffering, why can’t we, who entirely deserves it?
10a) “God disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Discipline shows we are true children of God, and like a parent, God disciplines out of love. Hardship is discipline as well. We should respect God for loving us enough to discipline us because he wants us to walk in his ways, for our good, and so that we can share in his holiness.
Discipline, albeit unpleasant at the time, produces righteousness and peace.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I have to be disciplined enough to obey and not disobey as Satan is calling me to do.
11) Part personal question. My answer: Jesus, who had perfect faith, suffered, and so should we, who have an imperfect faith and deserve suffering. We have come to God through Jesus, our mediator, so we must not refuse him. We are receiving an eternal kingdom so we must be thankful and worship God with reverence and awe. My response is I need to be more grateful, more dutiful, and obey more. Suffering is part of life, and instead of bemoaning it, I should grow from it as God wants me to do.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 4: Hebrews 12
Such a classic passage in Hebrews that I never tire of reading. Running the race of faith that God has set before us is a daily challenge for most of us. But as your faith grows, the race gets easier and you are freer. We endure because Jesus endures, and that is worth anything this world throws at us.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 16, Day 4: Hebrews 12
Running Life’s Race
The analogy of a race is something many of us can relate to. There are great prizes for those who persevere in the race, and merely living by faith builds strong character. No one loses this race; all you have to do is finish to be rewarded. Jesus is the ultimate standard of our faith; fix your eyes on him when you need faith.
The champions of faith from Hebrews 11 are watching us and cheering us on in our walk. We are also under angelic observation (Ephesians 3:10-11), and the world watches our faith and conduct. Sin and other hindrances in our lives hold us back. What are your hindrances?
The words “easily ensnares” translates the ancient Greek word (euperistaton) four ways: “easily avoided,” “admired,” “ensnaring,” or “dangerous.”
We must run the race (what other choice do you have?), and you must be steady in running. In Acts 20:24 Paul pictured himself as a runner who had a race to finish with joy.
Race is the ancient Greek word agona, a word used for conflict or struggle of many kinds, and a favorite word of Paul (Philippians 1:30, Colossians 2:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7).
The Greek word for ‘looking’ is a much fuller word than we can find in the English language. Look into Jesus and nothing else.
Daniel 12:2 says that shame will be an aspect of the terrors of hell: And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Jesus bore this hellish shame to accomplish our redemption.
As Paul wrote, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:17)
Knowing that Jesus doesn’t ask more of us than what He has Himself experienced, and that He knows exactly what we are going through keeps us from becoming weary and discouraged in your souls.
These Jewish Christians were so discouraged because they started to experience significant social and economic persecution (though not yet the shedding of blood).
In times of trial or stress, many Christians forget some of the basics. They seriously wonder if God is still in control or if He still loves them. We must admit that God does allow everything that happens; so He must at least passively approve of it, because He certainly has the power to stop bad things that happen.
God can never be the author of evil. But He does allow others to choose evil, and He can use the evil choice another makes to work out His ultimately good purpose, even if only to demonstrate His justice and righteousness in contrast to evil.
Discipline is His loving tool of correction, and we should receive it gratefully. This is the training we need to run the race we must run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2).
God allows difficult times so that we can, at a later time, comfort someone else with the same comfort God shows towards us in our crisis (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).
God is to His people as a loving, good father is to a son or daughter. The all-knowing God can chasten us perfectly, with better and more lasting results, than even the best earthly father.
Purpose of Discipline is to Bear Fruit
The reason why many experience one crisis after another in life is because they are either blind to God’s chastening or they resist it. They are not trained by it and therefore the peaceable fruit of righteousness is not evident.
“Trained” in the ancient Greek language is a word from the world of athletics. The training of an athlete is marked by some agony and so is our training as God’s “spiritual athletes.”
God has a purpose for training you. David faced a lion, so he then could face Goliath.
Note that in this section on discipline the author never pointed to Jesus as an example. This is because Jesus never needed to be corrected by His Father. Jesus suffered, but not for the sake of correction.
We must walk right with both men and God, even when we don’t feel like it.
Spurgeon described four types of people who try to get on without holiness:
- The Pharisee: Confident in outward ceremonies instead of true holiness.
- The moralist: Feels no need for holiness because his life is so good.
- The experimentalist: Their entire Christian life is lived inward, never looking to outward conduct but only to feelings.
- The opinionist: Their Christian life is all about believing the right doctrines and is unconcerned about the way one lives.
Coming to Mt. Sinai was terrifying. Exodus 19:10-25 explains what it was like when Israel came to Mount Sinai.
- If you trespassed on the mountain, you died.
- There was no sex and you had to bathe.
- There was thunder, lightning, and a strange cloud.
- There was the sound of the trumpet.
- There was smoke and earthquakes
We have no reason to fear. We come to God’s other mountain: Zion, the name of the hill upon which Jerusalem sits. The law came to Sinai; the cross was on Zion. Zion has Jesus who gave his life for us all.
Mount Zion is completely different than Mount Sinai:
- Mount Sinai was marked by fear and terror – Mount Zion is a place of love and forgiveness.
- Mount Sinai is in the desert – Mount Zion is the city of the Living God.
- Mount Sinai spoke of earthly things – Mount Zion speaks of heavenly things.
- At Mount Sinai, only Moses was allowed to draw near to God – at Mount Zion, all can draw near.
- Mount Sinai was characterized by guilty men in fear – Mount Zion features just men made perfect.
- At Mount Sinai, Moses was the mediator – at Mount Zion, Jesus is the mediator.
- Mount Sinai brought an Old Covenant, which was ratified by the blood of animals – Mount Zion brought a New Covenant, which is ratified by the blood of God’s precious Son.
- Mount Sinai was all about exclusion – Mount Zion is all about invitation.
- Mount Sinai is all about Law – Mount Zion is all about grace.
Consequences for rejecting Jesus are profound and eternal. God shakes things to remove our materialism and to test us. However, with Jesus, you cannot be shaken.
God consumed judgement and our guilt with fire.