Teaching Outline Week 36

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)


Faithful Exhortation

Hebrews 12:12-17 


As we grow ever closer to the end of the letter our author’s intention is clear; draw near to God, run the race, finish well. Our text is an exhortation with its basis founded in the preceding verses. The race which all Christians are called to run is nothing less than living out the Christian life through faith, with endurance, amid hostility. The great encouragement offered is the understanding that God is in control. Hostile enemies come against us but we need not wonder regarding the outcome. God disciplines every true child. This discipline has a most profound purpose; our holiness, without which none will see God.

We come to the stark realization that the commands in this letter are not offered as a means to gain God’s favor or coax God toward our benefit, but an exhortation based on the fact that God is already at work in our life, and that is all the encouragement necessary to finish the race with joy.

Now we know that God is for us and actively working, don’t fail to receive this grace. This grace will make strong, drooping hands and weak knees. This grace will make your path straight. Like a runner beginning to fade in the home stretch, we as Christians need encouragement. We need to know its all worth the effort. We need to know that just as Jesus went to the cross for the joy set before him, we too can finish well with the same joy. We have a race that is steeped with responsibility. It can only be run by faith, trusting that God is doing, and will do, all that he promised. Joy can only be found in this responsibility.

The Truth about God Matters 

What gives strength to drooping hands and weak knees? (vs 12)

God loves those he disciplines (vs 6-7)

What makes our path in life straight? (vs 13)

Through discipline we share His holiness (vs 10b) 

How do we pursue peace and sanctification? (vs 14) 

            Join God in his work in our life (vs 11)

How do we not grow bitter? (vs 15)

Understand that all Christians run this race (vs 8)

How do we understand the picture of Esau? (vs 16-17) 

            No desire for God leads to death


Joy is only found in Responsibility

Find what God is doing and join Him

Teaching Outline Week 35

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)


The Suffering Faithful

Hebrews 12:3-11 


The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. To truly know God in His fullness, one must take in the whole story; from Genesis to Revelation. If you have taken the complete journey, I feel safe saying, you have experienced a full range of emotions in this most extraordinary view of who God says He is.

For most, taking hold of the promises in God’s Word that reveal love, joy, peace, and rest without the mention of suffering is automatic. Many, however, bulk at the idea of love, joy, peace, and rest coming through suffering. The idea of God working in the lives of His people in sovereign purpose through suffering, ultimately for good, will receive a fair amount of resistance.

The book of Hebrews, in particular our current text, is a very sober look at pain and suffering in the Christian life and the endurance in takes to finish the race well. This view of God is not one that most naturally gravitates toward.  One commentary states it like this…In other words, the more easy and pain-free your life has been, the less you will cherish the kind of spirituality taught in this book. And the more you have suffered, the more you will cling to the precious teachings of this book – if you are willing to believe them. 

We will study this text with three primary objectives: Identify and confirm the pain and suffering in this text / Identify where the pain and suffering comes from / Identify if there is a purpose or design in the pain and suffering.

Seeing and Understanding the Suffering

Suffering can cause you to lose heart (vs 3)

This suffering was experienced by Jesus, and you will experience it also (vs 3)

Suffering is bad and could get worse (vs 4)

Current suffering seems sorrowful with little hope (vs 11) 

Where the Suffering is Coming From 

The hostility of sinners (vs 3-4)

God’s Discipline (vs 5-7)

Do not forget the understanding of discipline

God is not passive in suffering

God’s Loving Design in Suffering 

Our suffering is the effect of God’s love toward us (vs 6)

In suffering we are being treated as a child that is loved ( vs 7)

Suffering is for our good, our holiness, our peace, our righteousness (vs 10-11)


To KNOW God is to KNOW self

Learning the art of “sorrowful yet always rejoicing”

Teaching Outline Week 34

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)


Run the Race of the Faithful

Hebrews 12:1-2 


My youngest child turned thirty last week. This milestone gave me reason for reflection. My thoughts focused on how quickly thirty years can pass; in the blink of an eye. Memories flooded in of one adventure after another with this son of mine. He never sits still. From the time he could crawl he drags me along on almost every adventure. It was, and is, a great way to live. However, I found myself thinking about how old I have become. Suddenly the adventurous memories made me grow weary. I began to justify slowing down a bit. By the time this reasoning had reached its apex, I was semi-retired and coasting.

I nearly got away with it until I came to Hebrews chapter 12. Our author’s words, “let us RUN!” shattered my portrait of relaxing in the recliner. Our cultural view of a successful life is a short sprint culminated by years of ease discussing the glory days. The author of Hebrews, on the other hand, views the life of faith as an enduring marathon.

With 11 chapters under our belt, we now see that this letter is addressed to a church that is most likely getting old and allured into retirement. Our author’s warnings are those that would confront any Christian more concerned with recliners and rest than the Gospel. Chapter 12 opens with the reason we have just studied the life of so many Old Testament saints.  The main point of this chapter is one command…RUN! Everything else supports, explains, and gives motivation for it. Run the race set before you. Don’t coast, don’t stroll, and don’t wander about aimlessly. Run as in a race with a finish line and with everything hanging on it.

Let’s Run!  (vs 1)

Things to lay aside (to help us run)



We have motivation

Cloud of witnesses (vs 1)

Race is waiting on you (vs 11:39-40)

Jesus is for us (vs 2)

Author/Perfector of faith



The lowest form of question in the life of faith:

“Is it a sin?”

The highest form of question in the life of faith:

“Does it help me run?”


A Marathon is only successfully run with a plan

Tonight’s Study – The Life of Faith

Let’s face it, our external circumstances often determine how we feel about God and how we perceive God feels about us. Tonight we study the closing verses of Hebrews chapter 11. The picture painted in these verses is of our God and how he works in the lives of his faith-filled and loved people. This look at who our God is and how he works in our lives is as valuable as any practical understanding can be. This passage is tremendously important at shedding light on what faith is and what kind of life it guarantees.

If you have ever felt that God was happy with your performance because life was good or God was dissatisfied because life was hard and getting harder, then this study is for you. Hope to see you tonight at 6:00PM Arizona time (7:00PM Mountain; 9:00PM Eastern).

Here’s the link to the GoToMeeting session if you want to participate online…


Teaching Outline Week 33

The Joy in Responsibility

(An In-Depth Study of Hebrews)


Faithful Love of God

Hebrews 11:29-40 


It would be easy to get lost in the number of names of Old Testament saints that pepper the final thoughts of the author of Hebrews as we come to the closing verses of chapter 11. I believe it would be a mistake to focus too closely on each person of faith mentioned even though their stories unfold in thrilling fashion. Instead, I feel our author is making a much needed point at a level much higher than any one individual mentioned.

The picture painted in these verses is of our God and how he works in the lives of his faith-filled and loved people. This look at who our God is and how he works in our lives is as valuable as any practical understanding can be. This passage is tremendously important at shedding light on what faith is and what kind of life it guarantees.

I see these final verses as icing on the cake. I also see them as a crushing blow to the corrupt thinking that if you have enough faith you would be healthy and wealthy. Our author wants us to know that despite our external circumstances, the faith-filled heart is loved by God, approved by God, and ultimately rewarded by God.

God provides escape from suffering (vs 29-35a) 

By faith we see:

Miracles and Deliverance

Amazing Efforts and Victory

God does NOT provide escape from suffering (vs 35b-38)

By faith we see:

Killed by stoning

Killed by being sawn in two alive

Example from Acts chapter 12:

James is killed

Peter is set free

Having faith is not the ultimate factor in whether you live or die; God is!

The Faith-filled believer NEVER need think:

I’m dying because my faith is lacking… 

The Faith-filled believer always knows:

To live is Christ, to die is gain! (Phil. 1:21) 


God rewards ALL people of faith

People of faith are a gift to the world