SERMON SUMMARY. The primary focus of this sermon is to encourage all of us – men in particular – that despite all we’ve endured, all our successes and all of our defeats, God has provided for us the formula for success. We must always remember that we are here with purpose . . . We are God’s men and God’s women. We are children of the most high God. And, we must submit ourselves to the will of the Father. This – submission – can be challenging, particularly for men. But it is through our relationship with God and our endurance and submission to his will for us that we have victory and success.
This community in Hebrews was struggling under persecution. They were struggling with their faith and some were considering going back to their old ways. The whole book is a book of encouragement (see 13:22). Here the author reminds us that although it has been a challenge, we have not – like Christ – resisted unto death. We are still here; there is more we can do. The author then reminds us of who we are. We are the sons and daughters of God. He plans for the success of his children. If we follow his direction (even his discipline) we will experience the good that God has for us.
Men and Community. We discussed a few statistics. When a mother is first to church, the family follows her 17% of the time. When a man is first to church, the family follows 93% of the time. What does that mean here where Wisconsin leads the nation in Black male incarceration and over 50% of Black men in Milwaukee are in unemployed.
- Reflect on the implications of these statistics on our community?
- How might these manifest in the lives of Black boys? Men?? Women?
- Consider Hebrews 12:12. Do we ever find ourselves fatigued with our challenges?
Remember You’re Still Here/You Can Do More (v4). The Hebrews community was fatigued and perhaps overwhelmed. The writer reminds them that although they have fought, others have fought more. They have not resisted -as Christ did- unto death/blood. It might not feel like it; but they have more they can do . . . more to give.
- Consider your most weary days, when you thought you couldn’t go on. What did you find out? Was it over?
- The readers were thinking of giving up on their new faith. Have you ever considered going back to “the old way” of doing things?
- Consider the two thieves on the cross. Both likely saw their lives as over. Was it all over for them?
Remember Who You Are – God’s Son/Daughter. The writer spends a lot of time referring to the readers as sons of God. He is reminding them that they are not just anybody but they are children of the living God.
- What are some ways that people or the world try to tear us/you down?
- Do you ever feel “less than” . . . like what people say your are?
- But, who does God say we are? (See also Psalm 139:14, Gen 1:27, 1 Peter 2:9)
- Remember that doesn’t free us from hardship or discipline. Some examples of realities of hardship/persecution: James 1:1-2, 1 Peter 3:13-17, 2 Cor 12:10, Acts 17:11, 2 Tim 3:12, Matthew 5:10; 5:11
- We must endure as sons submitting to righteous discipline.
Remember to Submit to God Our Father/Discipline . . .it will bear fruit (v 9-11). We mentioned earlier the challenges we have with submission-particularly men.
- Why do you suppose we have problems with submission?
- What do the verses says about sons and fathers and submission?
- What is the fruit of submitting to our father . . . our God? (v11)
Children cannot always knows what their parents are trying to do. But, if they know they are loved and trust their parent, they can follow that parental leadership. God will not allow us to have more than we can bear. We can endure hardship and resist temptation. We must submit to his direction and watch as he brings us through with more of his peace and more of his righteousness.