-The great cloud of witnesses refers back to the saints that have gone before in the faith walk. Because we have this great cast of witnesses we need to lay aside every encumbrance (priority issues, not necessarily sinful things, but things that impede our spiritual progress), and the sin which can entangle us. We are instructed to run with endurance the race (it’s a marathon, not a sprint) that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, who is the author (originator, founder) and perfecter (completer, finisher) of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). The joy of reconciliation and glory ahead allowed Him to endure the cross and all of its suffering and shame (Hebrews 12:2b). *Application* We are told to consider Christ and His endurance and faithfulness for the purpose of not growing weary and not losing heart (Hebrews 12:3). Life can be difficult with all kinds of tribulations and tests, but we must look to Christ and His example to carry on. Because He garnered the victory, we can look ahead as well and know that He is working all things together for the good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
-Discipline is the topic for consideration as the chapter develops. We are not to take lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when reproved by Him (Hebrews 12:5). His discipline is a sign of His love for us and that He receives us as children to produce holiness (Hebrews 12:6-10). “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).” In light of this, we are to straighten up and strengthen up where we are feeble for the purpose of God’s healing in our lives (Hebrews 12:12-13). We are to “pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification (growth, and being set apart) without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).” If we do not live a disciplined life accepting the fruit of God’s righteousness we will not enjoy God’s grace and a root of bitterness could spring up causing trouble and the defilement of many (Hebrews 12:15). *Application* Don’t give away your reward! Stay strong in the Lord even when He may chastise you or seem to forsake you. Don’t be a sell out like Esau (Hebrews 12:16-17).
-Our Mount Zion and city of God is the heavenly Jerusalem because of Jesus, the mediator of a New Covenant with sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:22-24). Don’t refuse Him. If we do neglect His plan, we will not inherit the promises. If we abide in Him, we will receive the unshakeable Kingdom as we offer our lives by faith with reverence, awe, and gratitude, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:25-29). *Application* The point is this: Let God consume you with His holy fire for purification and redemption. Receive His Kingdom and all the discipline and duty it entails. Not receiving Christ as your Savior will end up putting you in the lake of fire for a wrathful consumption (Revelation 20:10-15). I don’t think any of us have any time for that! (Don’t you love the Sweet Brown referenceJ)
Verses to memorize- Hebrews 12:1-2, 11, 28-29