“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was 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 endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
God Temporarily Chastens Every Son That He Receives
The author of the Book of Hebrews spoke of many things, but in chapter 11 he especially speaks of the servants of God who lived by faith. He says, “If I were to talk about Moses, Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets among your ancestors, I would not have enough time to talk about all of them. Our ancestors of faith believed in God. And how many predecessors of faith have there been? Haven’t there been a great number of ancestors of faith? Although they suffered in order to keep their pure faith, did they not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Did they not suffer hardships while they lived, all the while thinking of the glory they will share in order to receive a more wonderful resurrection? So, Rise Up by faith again. In some ways, the cause of your suffering while the people of the world are persecuting you is because you have somehow lost Jesus Christ and have united with the world. Think of it as a disciplinary action from God the Father for His beloved child. The fact is that God disciplines every child He receives into His bosom.”
It is written in the Book of Proverbs chapter 3 verses 11 and 12, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” The servant of God who wrote the Book of Hebrews cites the Word of the Old Testament and admonishes us saying, “God chastens every child He receives. God has chastised everyone of His children He has taken into His bosom and has chastised each one of them when they go astray in the way of destruction, all because they are His children. Did God not do this to the Israeli people? This is the reason why God chastises every one of His children. God won’t try to kill you or whip you or allow for you to be sold into the hands of gentiles so to live in a gentile country and receive terrible sufferings all because you have done wrong. Let’s rather look to Jesus who makes us perfect. Jesus endured the Cross for He was not concerned with the extreme embarrassment because of the joy that was before Him; and He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This is the gist of the whole passage here. Punishment doesn’t feel good at the time one is reprimanded, but one comes to know God’s will later through this punishment and returns to God. This is why it is written, “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” God said, “Stand firm in your faith and live your spiritual life faithfully. Strengthen your tired hands and weak knees and rise up.” The pain that the Hebrews or the Israeli people suffered as they were being dispersed throughout the world cannot be described in words. At that time, the servant of God sent this letter and chastised them and made them look to Jesus Christ and race toward Him, and the results were that their faith rose up like a raging fire.
He admonished them saying, “Let’s look to Jesus who has made us perfect. We become perfect whenever we look to Jesus Christ, the perfect One. Therefore, never be discouraged. Strengthen and rise up those tired and cramped hands and knees. Let’s pray with faith in our hearts and go before the field of the Lord and live out our precious spiritual lives by faith again. And let us hereby depend on God, depend on Jesus Christ, become victorious in our faith, and receive much blessing while we live in this world as well.” This is the Word that applies to all of us here in the same way spiritually. It is the same for us who have received the cleansing of all our sins by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; all because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ although we were once Gentiles.
There are times, no doubt, after receiving the remission of sins that we also feel weary and tired and sometimes our knees become weak due to our own weaknesses and we get waylaid to a twisted and wrong path. There are also times when we forget the righteousness of Jesus Christ and there are times it seems like we will never be able to return to Jesus Christ. But in times like these we must look to Jesus Christ and look to His work of how He blotted out all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe strongly again from the heart, be thankful, and depend on it as we carry on living in this world.
We must throw away all our cares and worries and look to the Lord by faith. Only then can we become a perfect person and strengthen our weak knees firmly and come to follow Jesus Christ by faith, and become the perfect people before the presence of God, and receive the blessing both spiritually and physically from the hand of God. We are also weak people. The things the Hebrews experienced, and we are experiencing, are similar. All the people that are recorded in the Book of Hebrews chapter 11 are in fact our predecessors of faith. Therefore, we must follow them and run this race of faith with our eyes set on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We absolutely must possess perseverance to run this race of faith. We must run this race that is before us with perseverance.
We Need Perseverance in Our Spiritual Lives
We need faith in our spiritual lives, but we also need perseverance. Romans 5:3-4 says, “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” We need perseverance as we live out our spiritual lives. God demands perseverance from us and teaches us to endure and bestows His blessing upon the people who endure. Although we are weak, we can strengthen our weak knees and stand firm again as the people of perfect faith whenever we look to the righteousness of the Lord. We can really stand on our two feet and live out our spiritual lives by faith and run the race of faith.
The Jews written about in the Book of Hebrews were dispersed throughout the entire known world and they started to live well there. Why? Because of loosing their nation and knowing they would receive even more persecution if they did not live well fleshly like others there. There are many peoples that lived well in the world, and the Jews lived amongst them. But many Jews did not know or believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our God will chasten them at some point.
In the midst of hardship they will once again know that Jesus Christ is their Savior and repent and return to having the correct faith. Many difficulties are drawing near to them gradually as we see it. We must pray for their salvation and for Jerusalem. As we read the latest news on our TV’s, we can see that many Jews live in the United States as well. Thankfully, there are many among the dispersed Jews who believe in Jesus.
We must pray for them. Why? It is because, in the Book of Hebrews chapter 12, our Lord spoke to the people who believe in Him. Jews must also return from their sinfulness and repent and return to Christ. They must also return to Jesus Christ because they are also the descendants of Abraham. God clearly said that He will reprimand them in the end times and make them return to Him. And so, God wants to raise up the servants of God who are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and He will definitely do this. In the Old Testament God said that He would send the Savior. God said that the King of kings would come to this world. Thus, those among the dispersed Jews, who have seen or read our sermon books, and the people who have the Holy Spirit in their hearts, preach the gospel to others.
While I was speaking about “the two olive trees” in the Book of Revelations, I said that God will raise up His servants from amongst the people of Israel. And so I preached that they will preach Jesus Christ to their own people, who will come to know and believe, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah they have been waiting for, and then they will receive salvation and God’s will shall be fulfilled. This is true.
We must pray for the Israeli people to be saved from their sins and to live by faith. There are as many trained soldiers as the clouds now, but we must see if there are any who have fallen into the world and going astray to a wayward path, and going astray to the way of fighting against us and the righteousness of God. Living this spiritual life is difficult but we must, nevertheless, endure and run the race of faith. It is the proper spiritual way of life, and if we continue to run this race we will reach the goal line. But it’s not a proper spiritual life if we give up in the middle of the race and do not reach the goal line. We must always look to Jesus Christ, who is our Lord, and we must always run this race and follow Him no matter what. Is the Church a place where one comes and repents about the money he or she has swindled? Is the Church a place that makes a person quit smoking? These are the things that one must not do anyway to follow Christ. Concerning these things, we do not need to tell people “You must not do these things.” They must know it is wrong.
There are many people who are not Church people but live a more upright life than those who go to Church. There are many people in the world who are upright in a fleshly way. Is the purpose of believing in Jesus to become a Good Samaritan? Did Jesus come to this world, receive the baptism from John the Baptist, be nailed to and die on the cross, by shedding His lifeblood, resurrect from the dead, and ascend back the Kingdom of Heaven for that? Did Jesus accomplish all these things just to make you and me an upright person? Again, did Jesus come to this world, receive the baptism, die on the Cross by being crucified, resurrect from death to make us upright because there are so many evil people in this world?
Jesus Does Not Want Us to Become only Good and Moral People
Certain churches run a clinic for the elderly and do many things; like gathering the homeless together and giving them food and clothing. If they do these things, should our Church do the same things? Did Jesus come to this world, receive the baptism from John the Baptist, die on the Cross, and resurrect from death just to make us become such people? This is so wrong. If we just stop and think about this for a moment, we can realize that the Lord did not come to this world to make us ethically upright people only.
What He is telling us is to receive the remission of sins by believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is Jesus Christ who has told you and me to receive the cleansing of sins and become the children of God and receive eternal life. However, the people who have the wrong faith suffer like the dispersed Jews in the world. But Jesus said “You are the light of the world,” so we are actually the light of the world that we currently live in. There aren’t any people around who illuminate the light of the Truth in this world as much as we do.
We also need to undertake this race of faith and run by believing in God like the ancestors of faith, who ran this race before us. In any case, we must continually pray for salvation of the Israeli people. We do this because God said the Israeli people will repent and return to Jesus Christ. This will happen sooner than later because the world has changed so much. Beloved saints, we must look to Jesus Christ and raise our tired hands and strengthen weak knees. And we must make straight paths so to walk our righteous way.
Aren’t there times when our hands, feet, and knees become tired while serving the Lord? We need perseverance during these times. Believe me, we need perseverance. It is written, “Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3). We would not need perseverance if we did not experience any hardships and our plans were not fulfilled immediately, but we need perseverance if they are not fulfilled right away. God wants to teach us faith also, but He wants to teach us perseverance even more.
God has given me the faith that says, “It will absolutely be fulfilled if it is God’s will.” And so, I have faith that God’s will shall be fulfilled. Therefore, I never become disappointed, fearful, discouraged, or disheartened when I think it is God’s will. God’s will shall absolutely be fulfilled. It is God’s will for us to do world missions. Then, wouldn’t this be fulfilled? It will definitely be fulfilled. It will be fulfilled if we do it exactly like this by faith. We must not doubt, for it will be fulfilled. It is not the perseverance of the faith to quit just because it is not going well with you now. The people who truly believe in God need perseverance of living by the faith of believing wholly in the Word of God.
We must believe in the righteousness of God, and wait patiently in order for God to work through us. God works through the people of faith. God does fulfill His work through those who have many talents, but that is just momentary. God also does His work through the people of faith, who believe in the righteousness of God, and does the work through those who persevere by faith, fulfills His will through them, and blesses them. Therefore, we must have perseverance of faith by believing in God’s Word. We must have perseverance.
The thing we absolutely need in living this spiritual life is perseverance. True faith and true perseverance is, believing, “It will definitely come about like this if it is God’s will. It will definitely turn out like that if God promised it will be like that.” I want God to give such faith and perseverance to you in abundance.