Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part VI: The Response Of Faith To Christ's Superiority, Hebrews 11:1-13:19
H. Living By Faith Applied, Hebrews 12:1-13:25
1. The Exhortation To Follow Great Examples Of Living By Faith
(Hebrews 12:1-2)
  1. Introduction
    1. God calls us Christians to live by faith in Him and His Word to enjoy the blessings He has for us.
    2. The trials we face in life may seem daunting, though, so we often need encouragement to trust God in the face of such trials, so the author of Hebrews gives us practical examples to heed (as follows):
  2. The Exhortation To Follow Great Examples Of Living By Faith, Hebrews 12:1-2.
    1. In Hebrews 12:1a, the author of Hebrews drew an application from the observations he made about Old Testament saints back in Hebrews 11 who lived by faith in God and His Word, thus calling his readers to follow their example. Th e "cloud of witnesses" of these Hebrews 11 saints (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Hebrews 12:1) spurs us to follow their example, and we briefly review their record to do so:
      1. By faith we should hold that the universe was created from nothing by God's Word, Hebrews 11:3.
      2. By faith we should offer to God proper worship like Abel even if it costs us life itself, Hebrews 11:4.
      3. By faith we should please God and walk with Him in our lives like Enoch of old, Hebrews 11:5.
      4. By faith we should heed God's warnings to escape the world's judgments like Noah did, Hebrews 11:7.
      5. By faith, we like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob should live where God directs that we live, Heb. 11:8-10.
      6. By faith we like Sarah should trust God to do His impossible will with our bodies, Hebrews 11:11-12.
      7. By faith we like the patriarchs must trust God though we not live to see His full blessing, 11:13-16.
      8. By faith we like Abraham who offered up Isaac should trust God with our children, Hebrews 11:17-19.
      9. By faith we like Isaac, Jacob and Joseph must trust God to bless our distant descendants, He. 11:20-22.
      10. By faith we like Moses' parents must trust God with the future of our infant children, Hebrews 11:23.
      11. By faith we like Moses can forsake the world to heed God and cross our own Red Seas, Heb. 11:24-29.
      12. By faith we like Israel can trust God to make the walls of our Jericho obstacles fall, Hebrews 11:30.
      13. By faith we like Rahab can trust God to save us from sin and guilt by faith, Hebrews 11:31.
      14. Indeed, by faith we like the other saints in that Hebrews 11 chapter can subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, overcome physical dangers to God's will for us, deal with lethal foes, or face great persecution and suffering for the faith with God's equipping, Hebrews 11:32-37 KJV.
    2. In following these examples of this cloud of witnesses, we must take several practical steps, Heb. 12:1b-2:
      1. First, we must lay aside every hindrance to living by faith, especially the sin of unbelief that so easily besets us, Hebrews 12:1b; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Hebrews 12:1.
      2. Second, we must run with "perseverance" (hypomones) "the race marked out" in our lives by the Lord for us to run as His personal assignment for us, Hebrews 12:1c NIV; Bible Know. Com., N. T. , p. 809.
      3. Third, we must look unto Jesus, Who is both the Author and the Perfecter of our faith because He "pioneered" the life of faith in God for us Christians in particular (cf. 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6), and He then "reached its end successfully," Ibid.; Hebrews 12:2a.
      4. Fourth, like Jesus, we must stay focused on the joy of God's reward that is set before us as motivation to keep pressing on in our walk of faith, Hebrews 12:2b. In Jesus' case, that joy was ruling in His Kingdom, and in our era it involves God's enormous influence for Christ as per Revelation 3:21 (see our extensive notes on how the Revelation 3:14-22 message to the Laodicean Church is for our era).
      5. Fifth, like Jesus, we must endure the cross of trials faced, despising the shame involved, anticipating God's reward for ultimate victory, and keep pressing on in the life of faith, Hebrews 12:2c.
Lesson Application: We must follow the lead and examples of Old Testament saints and our Lord in living by faith in God and in His Word. This involves laying aside hindrances to such a walk and unbelief itself, and applying Jesus' example of focusing on the joyful reward of God for doing His will as the means of working through the trials we face en route to the reward of God that lies ahead.