Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith._2

Pastor Ino

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This is the second message from Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Jesus experienced the suffering on the cross to be the perfector of faith. The suffering is accompanied by shame, and as in verse four, it is also the work of God who fought against sin and resisted until shedding blood. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who has suffered for us. Today, I would like to focus on suffering and trials and consider the meaning that God allows us to experience suffering in our lives. Now, please read Hebrews 12: 1-13.

  In the second half of verse one, it gives us challenge, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” When you compete, you have to prepare yourself for that beforehand. You will probably reconsider your priorities and get ready for the competition. The same can be said when we face trials and difficulties. Hebrews 12:3 says,「Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.」
‭ First of all, it is important to remember the suffering of Jesus when we face trials. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who loves us and suffered on the cross to free us from sin. Let us all remember this Bible promise, especially those who are facing trials and sufferings. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says,「And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.」
God is the one who prepares the way out so that we can endure trials.

 From Hebrews 12: 5, it explains the reason why Christians should be disciplined. First, it shows that there is a true love relationship between God and Christians in a way like father and child relationship. Verse 6 says,「The Lord corrects the people he loves and disciplines those he calls his own.”」(‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭CEV)‬‬
This passage is a quotation from Proverbs 3:11-12. Proverbs Chapter 3 includes wonderful message. It begins with this recommendation,「My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,」(‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬)
This passage teaches us a way of life that is graceful and true, and to trust the Lord. Please read this chapter. Proverbs 3:12 says,「because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.」(‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NIV)‬‬
Because of the true love relationship between the Father and the child, Christians receive training and trials from God the Father.

 Secondly, we Christians are trained and challenged to learn obedience to God (verse 9). The word obedience sometimes feels too strong and makes us feel uncomfortable. However, our perspective changes when we understand that we human beings are creatures, so we can trust in our Creator, the Lord, and live trusting him. We have this Creator who loves us with the love of agape. We have this God the Father who accepted the prodigal son. There is God the Father who promised to prepare a way out for us along with the trials. When we face various difficulties, let us leave the steering wheel that we hold to God and have the courage to follow His guidance.

Thirdly, the reason Christians are trained is to share in God’s holiness. The second half of Hebrews 12:10 says,「but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.」
It is important to share in the holiness of God, and that’s what we should aim for. To understand holiness, we need to have both divine perspective and a human perspective. God’s perspective is written in 1 Corinthians 6:11. It says,「And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.」
No matter how we lived before, God now sees us who believe in Jesus as holy and righteous by the grace of God. At the same time, we have not been completed while living on this earth. We should seek God’s holiness and ask for His help to begin a life of sanctification. God sometimes tries to share His holiness through trials. Hebrews 12:14 says,「Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.」It takes effort to live in peace with everyone. We sometimes struggle with forgiving others. It is important to admit the difficulty of forgiveness, and at the same time we should remember how great God’s forgiveness is. With the help of God, believers begin to walk the life of sanctification.

 Fourthly, God allows discipline and training in our lives to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace. (‭‭Verse 11‬)
Righteousness here represents the right relationship between God and us. In order for us to have peaceful, righteous relationship with God, He allows trials and difficulties in our lives. Even if we are suffering from them at this moment, it will bear the fruit of peace and righteousness later. God is interested in our growth in each season of our lives. Let us seek after the life that bears the fruit of righteousness. Verse 12 gives us a challenge,「Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.」Let’s stand firmly with faith even when we feel we have feeble arms and weak knees. We live in the love of God. God treats us as His own children. The purpose of our lives is to learn obedience to God and to live a life of sanctification. And let us live a life that bears the fruit of peaceful righteousness.