Subject: Focus Makes Us Firm and Steadfast
Text: Hebrews 12:2-3
- The text we selected was preceded by an enumeration of great people of faith who remained firm and steadfast in the faith in spite of oppositions, persecutions, difficulties and hardships they have encountered in their life. Some had shown victorious conquest while others were jeered, flogged, stoned, and ended up in chained, in prison, and in death (Hebrews 11).
- They never wavered on their faith and continued on despite the above-mentioned experiences. How they did withstand such extreme challenges? They did not lose FOCUS on God’s promises on them, though some did not received what had promised while living, because He had decided on an even better plan for them (Heb. 11:39-40)
- The text admonished us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, being the author and perfecter (finisher) of our faith for the same reason. And consider the situations he endured for our sake. So, let us do our part on how not to lose FOCUS on Him and gain the benefits for doing so. What does it mean to focus on Him?
II. Main Message
- No other but Jesus, who endured the scorn and shame, the pain and suffering of the cross for our sake (12:2) and gave His life because of His love for us (1st John 3:16)
- He has been faithful to God even up to the point of death and therefore, we are to be faithful too. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death (Philippians 2:8)
- The love of the things in the world is what takes us out of focus on Him. So do not love them. Otherwise, you become the enemy of God (James 4:4; 1st John 2:15-16)
- Even in secular matters, Jesus should be in the picture in our life. “Whatever you say or do, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17)
- As the bible implores, obedience is better than sacrifice; for disobedience is rebellion and arrogance againt God and as bad as witchcrarft and is as sinful as idolatry (1st Samuel 15:22-23)
- Doubt may arise and the situation may not be agreeable to God’s commands, but we still have to follow and obey Him trustingly. As in the case of Peter and his companion/fishermen, who worked hard all night long and caught nothing, and knowing the absurdity of Jesus’ command to go further in the deep water to cast their nets, obeyed “because you say so, I will let down the nets”, the result was miraculously astounding (Luke 5:4-6)
- The famous evangelist Rev. Billy Graham had testified “that there are many instances in my life that I could not totally comprehend God’s command, but because He said so, I just trustingly obeyed Him”. And so we must obey too.
- It is not a temporary engagement or for a time being only. Just as in marriage, it is “For better or worst; till death do us part”. That should be the case in our relationship with Jesus. It is all through out, whatever the condition is. Commitment does not depend on favorable condition, or lest be called a “fair-weathered friend”. Many have gone astray because of difficulties and hardships. Mark was once like that but he learned the lesson and returned to his original commitment (Acts 15:37-39)
- “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). “None of you can be my disciples unless you give up everything you have” (Luke 14:33).
Commitment costs and calls for sacrifices and self-denial. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). “But whoever holds out to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22; 24:9)
- Apostle Paul displayed his commitment when he said “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24)
- Our association with Him does not hinge on the material things and possessions that we may gain; or the prestige and popularity that we may achieve. No personal motive must be in mind. “Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another…looking for one another interests, not just for your own” (Philippians 2:3-4). The best example is Jesus Christ, himself (2:5-8)
- “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1st Corinthians 10:24); as in the words of Apostle, “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1st Corinthians 10:33)
- Continue to serve Him gladly and with reverence (Psalms 2:11; 100:2). This is our calling as believers in Christ.
- “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1st Corinthians 15:58)
- “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9)
Why are we to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ?
Firstly, because we were raised to life with what Jesus did on the cross. Our real life is Christ; that when He appears the second time, we will appear with Him and share in His glory (Colossians 3: 1-4). Secondly, so that we will not go weary and lose heart or get discouraged by the things that surround us or be lost in this troubled world. Victoriously, we will remain firm and steadfast in the faith!