Temple Baptist Church - 6-3-2020
A. As we finish God’s “Hall of Faith” in chapter 11, I want to tie that chapter into chapter 12. The last verse of chapter 11 speaks of the generations that would follow. This includes us!
B. Chapter 11 is our Example. Chapter 12 is our Exhortation.
1. Our forefathers who obtained victory in this life through faith.
2. Our forefathers who did not obtain victory in this life but continued in faith.
C. Chapter 12 begins with our “great cloud of witnesses.”
1. This does not mean that these afore mentioned individuals are looking over the bannisters of heaven and watching how we do.
2. It means that their sterling examples of faith witness to us that, if they could endure in faith, so can we.
D. What I want to look at the phrase “that they without us should not be made perfect.”
E. What good was their example if those who follow them do not continue in faith?
1. If you and I will not continue in faith, then who will?
2. If our posterity sees nothing in us, to who shall they look?
F. Three things I want to look at in chapter 12, verse 1.
1. Remembrance “Witnesses”. Let Us Observe.
a. “we also” – Inclusive. As we sit here tonight, God’s people are still suffering around us. This is a universal problem with both the normal trials of life and the persecution of our faith.
b. “compassed about” – Universal. To be encircled. We are in good company! Though often we feel alone in our spiritual battles, everyone that is saved has struggles.
c. “with so great a cloud” – Visible. This root word for cloud is found only once in the Bible. It does not mean to look at the sky and see a cloud or many clouds. It is the “cloud” of an overcast day where all that we see is cloud. The masses of people who have and are struggling is innumerable! Someone once said that men “live lives of quiet desperation.” We are not desperate, but we are all suffering to some degree daily with self, sin, or sorrows of this life.
d. “Witnesses” – Accountable. Someone who has seen or experienced something. If these can endure, we can endure! We have the same grace, strength, and guidance that they had or are having. We are better equipped than most because we have “that which is perfect,” the completed Bible.
2. Removal. “every weight, and the sin” Let Us Lay Aside.
a. The Removal of Weights. Weights are not necessarily sinful but things that hinder us in our service to the Lord. There are so many things clamoring for out attention; so many “voices” that we hear; so many things that we enjoy that become distractions in our lives. I John ends with the admonition of having idols, both mental and metal, that take precedent over spiritual things.
Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
b. The Removal of “The Sin” – each of us struggle with our flesh, our thought life, etc. Paul said, “In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing … when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
c. Realization. “which doeth so easily beset us” Let Us Be Vigilant. Everyone has certain weaknesses of the flesh: some visible and some not visible. We tend to look down on or preach against that which can be readily seen but the most dangerous and wicked sins are often hidden to the public eye.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
3. Resolve. “with patience the race that is set before us” Let Us Run.
a. It is a Personal Race. Everyone of us has a specific work to do; a place to be. I did not know 44 years ago, when I was saved, that I would spend most of my life in another state and town. I am glad that I am here tonight.
b. It is a Perilous Race. Every individual race has its ups and downs, mountains, and valleys. There are both physical and spiritual dangers to be dealt with. When you know that life is hard, you can make it!
c. It is a Patient Race. As tribulation worketh patience, hard times and places cause us to never give up the battle. By God’s grace, I intend to finish that which I was apprehended for.
d. It is a Persuasive Race. We become a part of the “cloud of witnesses.” People, family—friends—acquaintances—strangers, watch us now and remember us later. Our “dying in faith” will either help them or one day haunt them.