Jesus: Author and Perfecter of Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3

A Man and his Wife are Expecting a Baby.
He finally gets the call while at work and starts
driving to the hospital. As he gets closer, he gets
more and more anxious, thinking about the baby,
his wife, whether it’s a boy or a girl, etc. But as
he’s driving he hits a curb. The car’s springs break,
jutting through the floor and impaling him through
the legs with twisted steel and aluminum. He can
tell he’s losing a lot of blood, so he calls his wife
and tells her what’s going on. She hangs up and
says to the nurse, “my husband is so sweet, he just
called me to say ‘the suspension is killing me!'”

Over the past few weeks we have studied the faith of our
fathers. We have looked at OT heroes like Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Joshua. While each of these
saints are praised because of their great faith which was
credited to them as righteousness, there is one who is
greater than all of these. And that, of course, is Jesus
Christ.

Our text is found in Hebrews 12:1-3.

Let’s start by discussing the
Cloud of witnesses surrounding us – these are the ones
we just mentioned, the men and women from the Hall of
Faith in Hebrews 11.

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, describes the setting as a
race taking place in a coliseum. The seats are
packed with the saints who have already completed
their race. They have come to cheer on the ones
who are currently running the race.

Notice that the Hebrew writer doesn’t advise his reader to
worship or even focus on them. He writes, since we have
them surrounding us, do these 3 things

Lay Aside Every Encumbrance and Sin

It’s much more difficult to run while carrying something.
In the lens of a race, and in the context of this text, the
reader understood that runners competed naked. They
didn’t want anything slowing them down, especially a
robe flapping in the wind as they ran around the track.

The phrase lay aside is mentioned in several other places
in the NT. let’s look at a few of them.
Ephesians 4:22 “that, in reference to your former
manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is
being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of
deceit”

Colossians 3:8 “But now you also, put them all
aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive
speech from your mouth.”

James 1:21 “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness,
and all that remains of wickedness, in humility
receive the word implanted, which is able to save
your souls”

I Peter 2:1 “Therefore, putting aside all malice and
all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,”

Each of them describes the casting off of something
negative, the old self, malice, anger, wrath, filthiness, etc.
As we run, we need to get everything that can distract us
or slow us down out of the way.

Sin easily entangles us. It latches on and won’t let go.
Jesus said that everyone who commits a sin becomes a
slave to sin. We have to understand that sin is a slippery
slope. It seems fun and full of pleasure, but it is a cancer
that eats us from the inside out.
The reason it is so tough is because it is birthed out of
the desires of our flesh, and our eyes and our pride.
We must confess our sin and ask God to forgive us of all
our sin.

Run the Race with Endurance

The Hebrew writer understands that life is a marathon.
We must run at a pace that we can maintain for long
distances. That being said, throughout a race, there are
places when you have to speed up and places where you
slow down. The key is to keep the pace and don’t give
up.

Here’s the good news. We don’t have to do it in our own
strength. Christ is going to strengthen us.
2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart,
but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner
man is being renewed day by day.”

Fix our Eyes on Jesus

The Greek verb for fix means to turn from other things
and fix the eyes on something, (here the focus is Christ).
The prize for those who competed in the games was a
crown of leaves. Although it was coveted, it was not of
significant monetary value. What was desired was
everything that came with winning the race. People
would know your name, they would recognize you as the
one who finished first.

The Hebrew writer uses Jesus as the focal point.
He is the one we are racing towards.
It’s not about us. It’s about honoring Him with our lives.
When we keep Him as our focus, the things of the world
don’t matter so much.
Our goal is to store up treasures in heaven.

The Hebrew writer calls Jesus the:
Author of our Faith
Strong’s dictionary defines author this way – chief leader,
one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an
example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer.

Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith.
He is the foundation upon which our faith is built.

The Hebrew writer also calls Jesus the:
Perfecter of our Faith
This word is only used this one time in the Bible!
Again, let’s consider Strong’s definition of Perfecter –
one who has in his own person raised faith to it’s
perfection and so set before us the highest example of
faith.

Jesus is the perfect example of faith, but that only
scratches the surface of the meaning.
Jesus completed faith. He finished it.
He is the beginning and the end of faith!
He started it and He brought it to completion by His
death and resurrection from the cross.

Next, the Hebrew writer mentions Jesus:
Endured the Cross
Jesus didn’t start out on the cross and then use His
power to bring Himself down from the cross.
He remained on the cross, taking on the fullness of God’s
wrath, enduring the punishment of death for our sin.

He gave His life, in place of ours, so that we might be
reconciled to God in Him.

The Hebrew writer also writes that Jesus:
Despised the Shame
There was nothing pleasant about hanging on the cross
naked, being insulted, spit on and cursed at. He despised
the shame and even asked the Father to forgive them of
their sin because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Verse 2 ends with Jesus sitting down at the right hand of
the throne of God. Jesus:

Completed the Work

Sitting down is a sign of completion.
Jesus completed the work of our salvation by His death
and resurrection.
Also, He has conquered death and hell and secured the
future of all who believe in His name and confess Him as
Lord. All who call upon His name will be saved.
We will spend eternity in heaven with God.

So, let’s talk for a moment about how God wants us to
respond to this text.

APPLICATION

Remain Focused on Christ

If we are going to remain focused on Christ we will have
to take the focus off of everything that isn’t Christ.
This doesn’t mean we can’t look at anything else, but we
can’t worship anything else. He has to be our number
one focus.
Above our family, our job, our status, our possessions.
When we focus on Him we will continue to become more
and more like Him.
He is holy. We are called to be holy just as He is holy.
The Holy Spirit lives in us to guide our thoughts, words
and actions.
When we keep Christ our focus, we live on mission for
Him and His glory.

Do Not Lose Heart

True believers will never lose heart, one of the marks of a
believer is that they will endure to the end. They will
continue to serve the Lord throughout their life.
In I John 2:19 we read about those who went out from
the believers and never came back, John says they were
never really believers.
If you truly believe in Christ, you will continue to believe
in Him forever.

He will strengthen you so you do not grow weary or lose
heart.