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Faith Endures: FaithWorks (4)

. 4 min read

Hebrews
12.1-3, with Isaiah 40.28-31

Review: Hebrews 11

“God’s classified” “Wanted: Someone to dream big, dare big,
risk and give everything, just like the heroes and saints of ages past”.

Faith commended to us, faith commending us to God
Faith risks – Abraham
Faith abused – Moses

To a people experiencing renewed persecution and urged to
ENDURE.

Today’s theme: Faith endures.

Open: 1992 Barcelona
summer Olympic Games

            400 meter
semis

            Derek
Redmond takes the lead, blow hamstring on backstretch

            crumbles to
the track as all others run past him

            medics with
stretcher, gets up and hobbles/hops

            dad, Jim,
in the top of the stands, runs through security and joins him

Difficulty: Endure hardship as discipline

            we hear “punishment”
and put this into the “fault” category

                        what
did I do to deserve?

                        This
happened because of my sin/mistake

            CONTEXT: an
athletic metaphor (not an explanation for suffering)

                        “Discipline”
– athletic discipline – character revealed thru adversity

                        “Endure
hardship AS discipline” – how we receive and live it

                                    Make
us bitter or better?

            CAUSE: wide
range of biblical reasons given for suffering

                        typically
specific to the event itself

                        many
biblical hardships are unexplained, in terms of cause

                        includes
randomness, and the pervasiveness of evil

                                    That’s
why we ask: If God is good, why?

Not a reason to give up on God, but
a sign of justice and peace that God desires, and a desire given to us by God

            CHILDREN:
lit Greek “sons” (good to translate as “children”)

                        Greek
text echoes “son” in Hebrews 5.8 (Craddock)

“Although [Jesus] was a Son, he
learned obedience through what he suffered”

Focus section:

“For the sake of the joy” (Craddock)
            older
translations, “instead of” – cross OR heavenly joys

            newer
translations, “for the sake”, poses another problem:

                        what
is the relation between the suffering of the cross and JOY?

                        our
salvation, to be both “pioneer and perfecter” of our faith

No matter how tough the road, there is JOY ahead

“Set before us” (2x)

            the race,
for us … we do not choose the path or the obstacles

            the joy,
for Jesus (and for us who endure)

cancer, grief, mental health, addiction,
financial struggles, HIV, divorce, job loss

No matter how difficult the journey, one who LOVES us
sees ahead

STORY: Spectating at pick-up soccer

“Looking to Jesus”

            Jesus as
Model, rare in NT, though not limited here to Model

            twice,
Jesus “endured”; once (same word), us (“persevere”, 12.1)

                        “Hostility”
(12.2)

                        “The
cross” (12.3)

            he is not
simply waiting for us at the finish line, as our goal

            he – who
understands every human weakness – joins us on the track

                        (Jim
Redmond with Derek)

No matter how dark the moment, we are never left ALONE

Look to Jesus

            If you lost
your focus

            In the
Sacrament

            In your
joys

            In your
struggles

Resources:

Derek Redmond and father Jim, 400 meters:
http://espn.go.com/espn/espn25/story?page=moments/94
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L0AwASILbo

Fred B. Craddock. 1998. Hebrews in The New
Interpreter’s Bible, Vol XII.
Nashville:
Abingdon Press.