Wednesday, February 11, 2009, Part 1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

IDEA: Jesus lived and died as we must: He lived by faith.

PURPOSE: To help listeners realize that the Christian must live by faith.

Do you think that when most people think of the "mood" of Christians, they immediately think of "joy"?

When you think of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), does it surprise you that right after love is joy?

It's surprising that when Jesus went to the cross, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says that He did it with joy.

I. Jesus was able to endure the cross and its shame and the rejection of those He died for because of the "joy that was set before Him." What joy was He talking about?

It was the joy of "sitting down" at the right hand of the throne of God.

What does "sat down" at the right hand of God mean? He had finished His mission and now is honored.

Do you think that Jesus felt no pain because of the joy He experienced?

What do you think the passage means by "the joy that was set before Him?"

II. What does all of that have to do with us?

When we are tempted to lose heart because there seems to be no end to the difficulties we have to bear, consider Him.

We have never suffered as He did.

He suffered hell and the hatred of sinful people without complaint.

He did this because He knew the glory that lay ahead.

Jesus lived and died by faith.

It was Jesus' faith in the Father's will and the Father's ultimate reward that enabled Him to persevere to the end.

That can be true for us as well.

Do you think this is realistic?

Do you know anyone who went through painful experiences and yet did it with joy?