Phasellus mi Footnotes must have a space before the opening parenthesis and after the closing one. ipsum, vulputate non pulvinar eget, sodales rutrum nibh.
H2: Fusce commodo sapien vitae purus sollicitudin rutrum.
Suspendisse semper risus at arcu iaculis in malesuada sem mollis. Sed iaculis pretium gravida. Morbi eu purus orci. Aenean venenatis viverra congue. Etiam porta leo eu sapien imperdiet aliquam. Phasellus varius, neque sed ultricies posuere, dolor nunc vulputate justo, non egestas quam orci at enim. Fusce cursus lacus sed felis sagittis mattis. Aliquam ligula est, tristique eleifend gravida eu, vulputate sit amet arcu. Donec in ultrices urna. Aenean et diam turpis. Maecenas rhoncus nisl hendrerit tortor aliquet sed ullamcorper mi ornare.
H3 Aenean malesuada consequat semper Integer tempus magna id nibh placerat sed ultrices libero fermentum.
Curabitur tincidunt eros ut eros aliquet pellentesque vel id mi. Donec posuere placerat lorem, in semper dui tempus sit amet.
BLOCKQUOTE: “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, footnote in a blockquote I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,” (Matthew 25:42, ESV)
Integer tempus magna id nibh placerat sed ultrices libero fermentum. Suspendisse quis felis commodo tellus congue vestibulum. Cras vel tortor vitae turpis gravida semper.
H4 Morbi justo sapien, iaculis quis congue sit amet, malesuada eget nibh.
Vestibulum ac laoreet augue. Pellentesque scelerisque lacus quis nibh pulvinar mollis. Mauris placerat adipiscing accumsan.
H5 Nulla nec dui nunc, ut vulputate est Donec eros libero, posuere a molestie vitae, bibendum at odio. Nulla luctus leo nisl..
Praesent quam erat, varius at sollicitudin eget, vulputate in ante. Aliquam porttitor consequat rutrum. Quisque facilisis, sem vel iaculis adipiscing, quam leo ullamcorper nibh, ut imperdiet turpis sem sit amet massa. Suspendisse quis felis commodo tellus congue vestibulum. Cras vel tortor vitae turpis gravida semper.
H6 Sed pulvinar volutpat massa, et posuere neque aliquet sit amet Donec eros libero, posuere a molestie vitae, bibendum at odio. Nulla luctus leo nisl..
- Donec eros libero, posuere a molestie vitae, bibendum at odio. Nulla luctus leo nisl.
- Vestibulum tincidunt porta erat, vitae placerat eros pellentesque eget. Ut ornare est sit amet quam vulputate non suscipit metus congue.
- Pellentesque feugiat ultricies velit, et luctus nisl iaculis eget. Ut at nunc in diam consectetur varius.
- In purus sapien, cursus vel interdum et, malesuada non neque. Sed in nunc quam. Donec non justo orci, eu imperdiet sem.
In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Suspendisse commodo sollicitudin velit sed pellentesque. Sed rutrum, justo in pellentesque semper, nisl justo hendrerit risus, quis hendrerit magna justo et urna. Fusce faucibus interdum quam, eget bibendum leo semper ac. Pellentesque tincidunt, leo eu dignissim sollicitudin, augue odio tincidunt odio, et feugiat est augue sed mauris. In purus sapien, cursus vel interdum et, malesuada non neque. Sed in nunc quam. Donec non justo orci, eu imperdiet sem. Pellentesque egestas aliquam sollicitudin. Donec sed eros sapien, lobortis tristique odio. Suspendisse gravida sapien quis nulla tristique sed fermentum lectus ultrices. Ut vel purus ante, sed vulputate purus.
Curabitur porta dapibus erat, ac semper risus porta volutpat. Vestibulum porttitor diam sit amet nulla rhoncus in volutpat sem pellentesque.
Ut ornare est sit amet quam vulputate non suscipit metus congue. Aliquam mattis convallis eros at lacinia. Aenean fringilla arcu quis lorem congue ac mattis risus tincidunt. Nullam et ligula sed felis malesuada blandit. Morbi sapien ipsum, convallis vel tincidunt id, euismod ac metus.
Mauris a scelerisque erat. Pellentesque eleifend, libero nec tincidunt fermentum, ante ligula tempor nunc, id bibendum ligula est a tortor. Vestibulum tellus neque, auctor ut convallis quis, congue a lacus. Phasellus quis orci sit amet magna dapibus convallis. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Suspendisse commodo sollicitudin velit sed pellentesque.
tincidunt, leo eu dignissim sollicitudin, augue odio tincidunt odio, et feugiat est augue sed mauris.
Indent BOLD Donec non justo orci, eu imperdiet sem. Pellentesque egestas aliquam sollicitudin. Donec sed eros sapien, lobortis tristique odio.
Ut vel purus ante, sed vulputate purus. Proin eu odio at nisi bibendum volutpat at sed nibh. Maecenas non urna in tellus egestas eleifend quis ut nibh.
Centered Morbi pellentesque, nibh id aliquam lacinia, est urna accumsan purus, aliquam adipiscing tellus arcu eget ligula. Nam eu tellus dui, non sodales mauris.
Right aligned Phasellus mi ipsum, vulputate non pulvinar eget, sodales rutrum nibh. Fusce commodo sapien vitae purus sollicitudin rutrum. Suspendisse semper risus at arcu iaculis in malesuada sem mollis. Vivamus bibendum ligula quis est consequat tempor. Sed iaculis pretium gravida. Morbi eu purus orci. Aenean venenatis viverra congue.
H2 The Race called Life
Now that we understand that God’s plan is to use the gymnasium of life to train us, we are ready to talk about stamina. Let’s read Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
When old enough, a young Greek or Roman man would show off his gymnasium training by participating in intense foot races in stadiums full of spectators.
OPEN SANS 400, 16px: As all athletic competitions demonstrate the mental and physical discipline that has been developed through training, a Christian’s responses to life’s challenges demonstrate the outcome of their spiritual training. Our author likens a race to our whole lives. But unlike this athletic race we are not to focus on winning but rather on enduring the stress with the faith that God will fulfill His promises. The goal is to finish life with endurance of faith that all can see.
H4 The race course is clearly marked
ROBOTO 400, 16px: It’s interesting to note that the Greek word translated “race” in verse 1 is actually similar to the English word agony in sound and meaning. God acknowledges that life is a tough challenge. But it’s not a course we get to choose. Each of us has our own course to run, our own ordeals. We can’t anticipate all of life’s major twists and turns, but the course we need to pay attention to is the one set right in front of our noses, the things you and I are facing today. This reminds me of Jesus words
… do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
H4 Don’t run with weights
Roman soldiers would sometimes race several miles dressed for battle and carrying 40 lbs of weapons and armor. That would certainly leave me face down in the dirt and in a doctor’s care. However that’s not the race we are called to run. We must run with the least load. God’s instruction is to dump anything that keeps us from distrusting God because it will wear us out or cause us to fall. Why try to demonstrate endurance of faith by loading yourself up with personal desires and goals that don’t demonstrate God’s trustworthiness? I wonder if the church in America is so weighed down with things they love that they don’t realize that their weakness of faith is their own doing. The author mentions getting rid of sin, but how much endurance of faith in God can be seen in you while you try to carry on your back your beloved house, car, or some other attachment that seems so essential you won’t give it up without a fight?
H4 Run like Jesus did
Jesus focused on God’s goal for His life, enduring an agonizing death and people’s abuse while trusting God’s promise that what was ahead of Him was far better than anything this creation has to offer. He said to us
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master.” Matthew 10:24–25a
The cloud of witnesses Chapter 11 held up as examples of faith didn’t lead perfect lives. They failed at times, but overall each one endured hardship and obedience to gain the reputation that they lived by God’s power. That’s our goal. The cloud of witnesses isn’t watching, it’s waiting. It’s the people around us who are the spectators in our stadium. They’re the ones God wants to be challenged by His trustworthiness as they watch our lives.
H3 The author has thrown down a challenge.
Are we willing to see life’s events, including the unfair ones, as opportunities for developing our faith muscles so we can demonstrate endurance of faith to the end of our days? Only you know the answer.
H2 Endurance of faith is a family affair
It would be easy to stop here and leave you thinking that enduring your training and your own race is just between you and God. But verse 12 beckons us on with “therefore.” Because of what we’ve just learned “therefore” we are to do certain things. They are not recommendations but commands addressed to each Christian without exception so it’s vital that each of us hear them with open hearts, and a willingness to obey.
H3 Verses 12-13 give us the image of the race as a sports doctor sees it.
12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”** **
Verse 12 is probably an allusion to Isaiah 35:3-4
Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”
Verse 13 is likely an allusion to Proverbs 4:26–27:
Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.”
H3 Teaching the Bible is only part of what keeps people trusting God during the race of life.
H4 People need practical assistance too.
It’s not hard to get our eyes off Christ and turn into the rocky terrain of doing things our own way or letting ourselves get exhausted with worry. In our author’s terms our arms become too weak to function, our knees too feeble to walk and we find ourselves on the physician’s bench. On one job I wrote software 12 hours a day for six months straight. One day I woke up and found my forearms were so weak I couldn’t grab anything let alone type. I had to get help, rest and get better furniture so I could have better posture. Without all that I would have been disabled much longer. Strengthening limbs, binding the pulled muscles and clearing the path for people means providing practical help, removing some of their obstacles, directing them back to the path God wants them on until they can stay on it on their own. There are many ways churches can do this; recovery workshops for divorce, addiction and loss of a loved one, providing financial aid, meals, shuttle service, advice, discussion groups and many others. Each church has to do what is needed by their congregation and community but this text clearly says that it is not optional to care for the spiritually injured! It’s doing what Paul commanded in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
H3 Pursue peace without compromise
Verses 14-16 are one sentence in Greek governed by one verb, pursue. Let’s start with the main command: pursue two things.
12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
The sentence presents an interesting combination that we have to be very careful about. Sanctification means being set apart. It often refers to a Christian’s moral standards being different from people who don’t follow Jesus. However notice that the second part of verse 14 does not tell Christians to pursue this kind of a general sanctification meaning pursuing better and better behavior, but uses the phrase “the sanctification” and then tells us what it means, the one without which no one will see the Lord. No one can see the Lord without denying the world’s perspective and values to adopt God’s. So what the author means is that all Christian people are to seek peace with everyone we come into contact with but without compromising what makes us distinctively God’s children. Many churches today are doing the opposite. They are putting the values of the world above Christ’s in order to avoid conflict. Jesus never did that and does not expect His followers to. Our author now launches into a short list of things every church must do to maintain their essential distinction while seeking peace. They aren’t the only things, but are necessary.
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” Hebrews 12:15–17
H4 Get involved!
The Greek behind “see to it” or “take care” as some Bibles put it, isn’t the way this is said anywhere else in the New Testament, though it’s hard to find another way to put it just a few English words. The only other place this word appears is in 1 Peter 5:2 describing the job of church elders.
shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight…”
H5 The single Greek word behind the phrase “exercising oversight” comes from the verb to visit.
That makes sense. When I was an manager I often dropped by my people’s offices and desks and occasionally took a break with them to find out how their work was progressing and what kind of help they needed. I visited them. Unlike Peter’s letter however, here this instruction is not addressed just to elders but the entire church. In that light we are all expected to get involved with each other with a spiritual purpose, not only to make friends.
H6 The Greek grammar clearly reveals that the purpose of this oversight is to keep each other from compromising with the world.
Since we are commanded to watch for three specific issues, I assume that when this doesn’t happen in a church that otherwise teaches sound doctrine, that church may die. That means if you ignore the work involved in watching for these in your own life and in your brother’s and sister’s you may be responsible for the death of your church.
H4 Don’t let anyone fail to find God’s grace
Verse 15a See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God;”
At a minimum this means that the grace of God in the Gospel is clearly and repeatedly preached and reinforced. I suspect the author also has in mind something he already mentioned in the familiar verse Hebrews 4:16:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
In the context of our whole passage I take the author to be saying that each of us should be agents of God’s grace, giving assistance when needed and especially helping one another come before God in prayer in each trial of life to make sure we are taking full advantage of the offer of grace to help in time of need. God does not want anyone, anyone at all, to go without this kind of care if they will accept it.
H4 Don’t let bitterness grow
Verse 15b [see to it] “that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;”
Have you ever tried to get rid of rust? If you don’t get every last microscopic spec of it, no matter how much paint you put over it, the rust will just come back usually worse than before because the paint just hid rust’s destructive work. Bitterness is like that. It will spread throughout a family or a congregation and destroy the pleasant aroma of the Spirit. It’s easy to become bitter when you feel someone or some circumstance has kept you from achieving something you want or think is right. That root gets planted in our lives when we refuse to see life’s losses through God’s perspective or are unwilling to forgive. We may be able to hide the root for a while but eventually it will send out shoots of sharpness and anger that everyone can see because it’s in its nature to produce bitter fruit instead of the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Because it’s a root that can hide deep in our soul there are times when we all need help to see its signs and remove it through forgiveness and trust that God’s provision is all we need.
H4 Don’t let people making immoral choices
The last of the three signs of compromise with the world we are all to watch for and help one another avoid are immoral and Godless choices because they may have life-long consequences.
Verse 16-17 [see to it] that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”
The point of using Esau’s example is not one about losing salvation or a warning to the unsaved. When you consider that marriage is a covenant you can see that immorality is showing disrespect for that covenant. Similarly Esau made a momentary decision to disrespect the covenant God made with his grandfather Abraham and was to be honored by his descendants. Instead of upholding it as was his responsibility as the first-born son, Esau sold that right for the pleasure of a single meal. Just as Esau didn’t lose his place in Abraham’s family, a Christian doesn’t loose their place in God’s family over a bad decision. However just as Esau couldn’t get back the right to His role as the family keeper of the covenant a Christian can make a choice that has irreversible consequences in this life. Esau was godless in two ways. He showed momentary contempt for a sacred covenant being passed through his family and he failed to depend upon God for his needs. It does not mean he was godless in all his life. The author of Hebrews is using the story of Esau to show us what God wants in the church. He wants His children to care enough to lovingly confront people headed toward these kinds of choices before they cause irreparable damage in that person’s life. A church that fails at this will allow moral compromise to spread in ruin the church’s ability to attest to the power of God’s gospel to the world.
H4 Despite the fact that the wording is very strong here that not one person is to escape notice, this is not a justification for officious or authoritarian leadership.
If these three issues were used to judge people and remove them from the church, all our churches would be empty. The intent is to encourage us all to care about one another so that everyone has an opportunity to get loving concern and sensitive care.
H2 So now we see why life is full of challenges.
They are all opportunities to build a relationship with our tutor as He trains us to face every trial no matter how hard or evil with so much trust that we have a peace that passes all understanding. And so we can finish life with the reputation that God is trustworthy and by that glorify Him before all those who are perishing. But I hope you’ve also seen that God doesn’t want anyone to race without help. Let’s determine to help one another finish our races with endurance left over so we can take our place with those who are waiting for us.