[SW346] 09/29/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
Your Required Sacrifice
Text: Hebrews 12:1-17, etc.
Oh, beloved, today is a good day for you to make your required sacrifice. Today is a good day for you to obey the Lord by asking Him to crucify your sin nature, so you cease from struggling against sin. He longs to have you ask Him!
Verse 1 —
There is a great cloud of witnesses before you, who did not receive the promise of seeing the Christ, but now are with Him in the kingdom of heaven. When Christ came, He was crucified on a cross so, when you believe into Him, your past sins are forgiven, and you are saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to Him.
Now, you are required to ask Him to crucify you — that is, your sin nature. You are required to offer yourself entirely to Him. That is what is meant by the second half of this verse — to lay aside (vigorously cast off) every encumbrance (burden, weight), and the SIN which so easily entangles (thwarts our attempt to run the race)! The burden of the sin nature must be cast off so sin no longer entangles you.
If you will obey Jesus Christ and stay and wait to be filled with His Holy Spirit, you will able to run the race that is set before you, pressing on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God, in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). The sin nature must go, or you will be endlessly entangled by it, and unable to complete the race (more about that in Verse 14).
Verse 2 —
Fix your eyes on Jesus, consider Him attentively! He is the Author and Perfecter of faith. He endured a cross for the joy set before Him. What joy? He saw the cloud of believers who would be not only saved and reconciled, but filled and serving as His witnesses here!
He is the Author of your faith, the One by whom you are saved. He is the One who perfects (completes, fulfills) your faith when you obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Beloved, you will be amazed at what He does in you when you ask Him to crucify your sin nature, and then through you, when you become His witness here by obeying His command to be filled with His Spirit! I tell you the truth, beloved, when you see your heart’s poverty, you will immediately ask Him to purify your heart and fill you, for the joy set before you!
Jesus Christ fully surrendered to His Father’s will. Because of the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning the shame of it, and is now glorified at the right hand of His Father in heaven! He gave selflessly to you. He was the required sacrifice. Now it is your turn!
You will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, when you are set free from slavery to sin (1Peter 1:8, John 8:31-36) and empowered to be Christ’s witness to a lost and dying world, and to His wandering sheep!
Verse 3 —
Consider Him attentively! Consider, understand, perceive, contemplate, apprehend the truth! He has endured such (true) hostility from sinners who rebel against Him, then and now.When you look at His sacrifice, the hostility you endure will seem slight in comparison.
When He fills you with His Spirit and your sin nature is crucified, you will not grow weary, nor will you lose heart. The world will hate you (John 15;19), but you will press on. You will not be able to stop speaking of what you have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)!
Verse 4 —
But here was the problem for the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews — the Jewish believers who were scattered because of persecution. They had not yet resisted (withstood) to the point of shedding blood in their striving (struggling) against sin.
What does that mean? A spiritual crucifixion of the sin nature! The blood of the sin nature must be shed, or they (and you) will struggle against sin and lose the battle.
Some commentators say Verse 4 refers to persecution, but I disagree. If they are able to set aside the tenets of their denomination that can influence their interpretation, and look at this in context, it clearly pertains to crucifixion of the sin nature. They are not struggling against persecution — they are struggling against sin!
Verses 5-6 —
The writer of Hebrews says, You have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you, as His children — “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him, for those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every child He receives (see Proverbs 3:11-12).”
He disciplines you today, beloved, for you have not yet (withstood) to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin. But some believers do not even strive against sin, because they are told they don’t need to strive against sin. Beloved, that advice goes contrary to the Word of God! Run from those who tell you such things!
You are His child. He loves you. Therefore, He disciplines you today. He scourges (admonishes, convicts, tells a fault, rebukes, reproves) you today, for He has received you as His child. Do not disregard His discipline. Do not faint when you are rebuked by Him, when He tells you that you have a fault, that you need something you do not have.
Verse 7 —
If you endure (undergo) chastening (disciplinary correction), you are being dealt with by God as His child, for even in the natural, fathers discipline their children. But if you have not been chastened by Him, though all of His children have been chastened, then you reveal that you are illegitimate (false, a bastard) and are not His child!
Heed these words, beloved! You will likely never hear these truths from most of the teachers and preachers and prophets of today’s church. They will tell you, “God loves you! He is just love! He will not correct you. You don’t need to be filled with the Spirit. You don’t need to worry about sin. Once saved, always saved!”
Verse 8 —
If you had a good earthly father, and he disciplined you, how much more should you submit yourself to the discipline of the Father of spirits, your perfect heavenly Father, AND LIVE (have eternal life)? Will you revere Him as you revered your good earthly Father? Or will you reject this word?
The recipients of this letter are Hebrews who have believed into Jesus Christ. But they are still willfully disobeying God —
— They worship angels (Hebrews 1:1-14)
— They heed the words of Judaizers who urge them to follow the Law of Moses (Hebrews 8:13)
— They discount sin (Hebrews 3:17), as their fathers did
Their salvation is at stake. Either they will submit to Him and keep the eternal life they received when they believed, or they will lose it. Your salvation is at stake, O believer in today’s church. Will you submit, or will you reject this word?
Verses 10-11 —
If you had a good natural father, he disciplined you for a short time, as seemed best to him. But much more so, your perfect Father in heaven disciplines you for your good, so you may share in (become partakers of) His holiness.
How do you become a partaker of His holiness? You ask Him to fill you with His Spirit, and thus crucify your sin nature. Then you become a partaker of His divine, holy nature.
These words of discipline do not give you joy right now, but rather sorrow (cause you grief). But to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields this peaceful fruit (fruit of good effect), the fruit of His righteousness. When you are filled with His Spirit and the Son and the Father dwell in you permanently, so does Their righteousness!
Verses 12-13 —
Therefore, though you are shaken by these words, strengthen your weak hands, strengthen your wobbling knees! Make straight paths for your feet (Matthew 3:1-3, John the Baptist quoting from Isaiah 40:3), so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, a reference to Jacob’s wrestling with the Lord (Genesis 32:24), until the Lord touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh, dislocating it and leaving Jacob with a permanent limp.
The writer of Hebrews and I say, submit to your Father! You are spiritually lamed by your sin nature, unable to walk as Jesus walked in this world. But He will heal you of your lameness, by crucifying your sin nature! Then you will walk as He walked, and will be as He is (1John 2:8, 4:17)!
Verse 14 —
The writer of Hebrews now issues two commands —
— Pursue (endeavor earnestly to acquire) peace with all men. Part 1 of “all men” refers to the church. Within the church, do not stir up strife. You know that such things are the result of the sin nature. When you pursue God and ask Him to change your heart, you will no longer stir up strife among the brethren, for your sin nature will be crucified. Part 2 of “all men” is to proclaim to everyone the gospel of peace with God through Christ.
— Pursue (endeavor earnestly to acquire) the sanctification (purity of heart) without which no one will see the Lord (Matthew 5:8)! Only He can do it in you. Ask Him to crucify your sin nature, and He will replace it with His pure, divine nature!
Verses 15-17 —
Another set of commands is given. See to it — look diligently — to ensure that no one lacks the grace of God. Remember, grace is the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.
The lack of the divine influence on your heart will be evident if you bear the fruit of bitterness (poison), which springs up in Christians whose sin nature is alive and well. By their bitterness, many are morally contaminated and made unclean in the eyes of the Lord! Many then, and many now!
Paul exhorts the church at Corinth —
2Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain —
Look diligently, also, to ensure that there be no immoral or profane person among you, no one like Esau, who sold his birthright for some stew Jacob had made (Genesis 25:29-34). After Esau sold his birthright, he did not inherit the blessing of God, even though he sought it with many tears. Instead, his father, Isaac, bestowed the promise of God on Jacob.
Paul exhorts the Corinthians —
1Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one.
Do not sell the blessing of the infilling of the Spirit and freedom from slavery to sin, in order to have what your sin nature now craves. If you sell it by refusing to give your required sacrifice, you will come short of it, and will fall, just as many did in the wilderness wanderings after their Exodus from Egypt —
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of (lack) it.
Hebrews 4:11 Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest (resting from our struggle against sin), so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
Submit yourselves to this word from your Father in heaven! Ask Him fill you with His Spirit and thereby crucify your sin nature. Then you will have given your required sacrifice! You will have shed blood in your struggling against sin, and it will be entirely removed from your nature! Amen!