Hebrews Chapter Twelve is introduced by exhortations to the believers in order for them to accomplish God’s purpose in their lives. There was an –
A. Exhortation to Fearlessness. Hebrews 10:19-39 They were called to remain –
1. Confident. Hebrews 10:35
2. Patient. Hebrews 10:36,37
3. Faithful. Hebrews 10:38,39 This led directly to the –
B. Exhortation to Faithfulness. Hebrews 11:1-40
C. Exhortation to Fortitude. Hebrews 12:1-11
We have learned of the exhortations to fearlessness and faithfulness in this race. Now we are prepared to receive the –
D. Exhortation to Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-13:17
1. The Meaning of Fidelity. Hebrews 12:12-17
The definition of fidelity is as follows:
accuracy, exactness, precision, correctness.
An example of fidelity is found in the church in Antioch –
Acts 11:21-26 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord
(because of God’s Word and God’s work in the lives of the people) .
Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem:
(They heard what others had seen)
and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
(looked for others to join in the work, to be a blessing and be blessed).
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Who were those people? They were ‘Christ ones’, having an ‘exactness’, a ‘correctness’, in their likeness of Jesus Christ. When people saw them, they saw “Christ in them”.
Paul told them to present Jesus to the world in their lives by being an example through –
a. Courage. Hebrews 12:12
‘Wherefore’, they were to remember the instruction they have received from the Lord – being coached in their running and corrected in their relationship. Paul challenged them to have courage, strengthening –
1). Their grip. “..lift up the hands which hang down…”
Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
We are to listen to the Lord’s admonition –
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Keep both hands on the plow,(lift up those hands and use them for the Lord!) your eyes on the Lord, not standing still but moving forward, which he speaks of next –
2). Their gait. “…the feeble knees…”
Paul instructed them to do as he was doing –
Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
As they were strengthened in their courage, they were to be aware of their –
b. Conduct. Hebrews 12:13-17
1). Commitment – to the right way. 12:13
The description of this right way was given by the Lord –
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Remember that Jesus is the strait gate (the Door). This word used here “strait” does not mean the same as the word pronounced the same way “straight”. It is not like a straight line or made up of straight lines. It means that it is a tight fit. Whosoever believes in the Lord can enter in, but only one at a time. We get on the “narrow way”, the path of life, one person at a time. Once on this path, we begin our race as has been described by Paul in 12:1-4.
We are to –
a). Consider your way. “Make straight paths for your feet…”
“…make straight paths…” this means ‘wheel tracks’
Referring to –
Proverbs 4:25-26 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Knowing what you believe and where you are going! Know right doctrine –
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
b). Consider others. “…lest that which is lame be turned out of the way…”
In our conduct having a commitment to the right way and also having –
2). Compassion – to help others. 12:13b,14
“…but rather let it be healed.”
How is this to be carried out? We learn that it takes –
3). Conviction – to know and teach the Truth. 12:15-17
“looking diligently…” overseeing, watching out for anything that will trip you up “trouble you”
There are those like Esau who had little respect or value for God and His will.
They look at the Lord and His as church something to –
a). Treat – come to church to receive a reward
b). Trade – when a thing they value appears (pottage)
c). Take – tonic for an ailing life
The five thousand were not seeking food when they came to Jesus in the wilderness. The four friends were not seeking healing for their friend, they were seeking salvation for him (the healing was for the benefit of others that they would know that the Lord did have power to forgive sins). As a matter for the record, Jesus told many that they should not tell others what He had done for them! He was not using gimmicks to gather a crowd.
Do not get this wrong! God does reward His children, and God does supply their needs, and God does heal spiritually, emotionally, and physically – but what if He did not? Would you leave the Lord if none of these blessings were given? Would we be like Esau, envious and angry with others, seeking what they have in order to consume it upon his own lusts?
Do you consider the church as a place to receive a treat, to trade for a favour, or a tonic for your health, or do you consider the church a –
Is the Lord precious to you today?
Is the Lord’s church precious to you today?
Are you a ‘Christ-One”? Does your life have an ‘exactness’, a ‘correctness’ presenting a likeness of Jesus?
Can you say with Peter today –
1 Peter 1:18-23 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.