1. The first section of Hebrews (1:1-4:13) emphasizes "the superiority of Christ as God's spokesman." 2. The second section (4:14-ch.10) emphasizes "the superiority of Christ as High Priest." 3. The third section (ch.11-13) emphasizes "the superiority of the Christian faith." a. (ch.11) Faith is explained and illustrated. b. (ch.12) Christians are exhorted to persevere. 4. (12:1-13) Christians must exercise "patience" and demonstrate "endurance." Discussion: I. (12:1-3) CHRISTIANS ARE TO RUN THE RACE WITH PATIENCE
A. (vs.1a) The cloud of witnesses from ch.11 is a great source of encouragement. B. (vs.1b) However, to run the race successfully, we must lay aside: 1. every weight 2. the sin that so easily besets us (3:12-13). C. (vs.2-3) While running the race, we are to look unto Jesus. 1. (vs.2a) He is the author and finisher of our faith. 2. (vs.2b) He demonstrated perseverance by enduring the cross. 3. (vs.3) We must consider His example lest we fall away. II. (12:4-13) CHRISTIANS MUST ENDURE GOD'S CHASTENING
A. Chastening may be defined as "instruction and discipline that are designed to promote virtue and eliminate wrong doing." 1. God chastens through: a. His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) b. afflictions that He allows (Psalm 119:67, 71; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). 2. Possible responses to God's chastening include: a. refusing to heed it b. admitting mistakes and making necessary corrections. 3. In order to persevere, Christians must endure God's chastening. 4. The Hebrew Christians were being chastened by God through: a. this letter b. some type of affliction. B. (vs.4-6) The Hebrew Christians: 1. had not resisted unto blood (vs.4) 2. had forgotten the exhortation about having the proper disposition toward God's chastening (vs.5-6; Proverbs 3:11-12; Revelation 3:19). C. (vs.7-8) We must endure God's chastening to be His true Children - those who will not accept His chastening are not His true children. D. (vs.9-10) God's chastening is compared to a father's correction of his son (Deuteronomy 8:5). 1. A father disciplines his child because of his love for the child (Proverbs 13:24). 2. A father's discipline is designed to: a. drive away foolishness from the child (Proverbs 22:15) b. deliver the child's soul (Proverbs 23:13-14). E. (vs.11) God's chastening is profitable. 1. When it is first administered, chastening is not joyous. 2. Those who are exercised by it will make improvements in their lives. F. (vs.12-13) Properly understanding God's chastening will encourage Christians to be steadfast.