September 23rd 2018: Gaius Douglas

Gaius - Sept18Hebrews 12:1-3

Throughout Jesus’ life Satan tried to thwart His plan. Jesus willingly went in obedience to His Father, ‘I have finished the work which you have given Me to do.’ (John 17:4). Isn’t that marvellous! Satan could not slay Him, death could not hold Him, Jesus is risen from the dead.

Hebrews is just like all the books in the Bible, in that we realised what a loving Saviour we have. What does it teach? Quite often we may have our own thoughts and ideas of what we want from the Bible. We don’t change our thoughts to man’s teaching, we look to the Bible. People around Jesus didn’t like the things He said. He did the things the Father told Him to do. We have to stand up for what the Bible teaches.

Hebrews 12:1 begins with ‘Therefore’ indicating something has occurred previously. In the previous chapter we read of great men and women of faith who went out saying, ‘I will go.’ Abraham went, not knowing where he was going to go. He went because God told him to go. God led him (Hebrews 11:38-40).

‘Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’ (Hebrews 12:1). We need to be part of this verse, to bring us into a greater nearness to our Saviour. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – brothers and sisters who have gone before, surround us, encourage us. Those who have gone before us have fought the fight and finished the fight. They saw something so great in Christ, they carried on.

We are to look ahead. It matters not what others are doing, our eyes are fixed on Christ. We are looking at the one who has gone before, who accomplished all, who came in obedience to His Father. Look unto Him, not to Him, unto Him. He humbled Himself. He says He has made it possible for us to reach the goal and we will! We will get there because it is not by our might or power, but by the Holy Spirit. Because He lives, we will live also. Let’s be encouraged. We’re going to get there. The eyes of the Father sees us perfect in Christ, one in Christ.

Let us set aside every weight. The Bible says set aside those things that will hold us back from following the Lord. Focus upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Sometimes we bring things that become a dead weight – traditions, practices, encumbrances, unprofitable conversations – which hold us back and become a drag. Even though we want to go on, we are held back. These things stop us from following Jesus. So often we miss out. What is stopping you and me, holding us back?

The Lord Jesus Christ went and sat by a well and spoke to a lady no-one else wanted to speak to because He wanted to win her for Christ. Nervousness is a weight which prevents us from speaking about Christ. So often we are not bold for Christ. Let us set aside every weight. Jesus reassures us, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy leaden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus willingly laid aside every weight and He spoke for His Father, even in the most extreme circumstances, when His life was threatened.

The Bible says, ‘Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ (Hebrews 8:12). Sin entangles us and it ties us up in knots. Satan says ‘You can’t go.’ Sin that so easily entangles us, nags at us – Satan is a nagger. You don’t want to go or say something because you remember that sin, it nags us. The Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us of all sin and He has chosen to forget. Every time Satan brings these things to memory, we should remember this. Do you think there is a sin in your life Jesus Hasn’t forgiven? You cannot lose your salvation. You are safe and secure because the blood of Jesus Christ saves us from all sin, ‘ But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship on with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1 John 1:7). Sin ties us down and traps us from going on. If sin holds you back, it shouldn’t. Put it behind you because He’s done it already. ‘But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:13-14).

Let us run with patience. It does not come easily. Patience takes us to the foot of the cross. We see the one who was patient in every aspect of His life, the one who went to Calvary’s cross. Time and time again they tried to stop Jesus, yet He waited patiently. Everything happens at the appointed time (John 12).

So often we want to run ahead and do everything our own way. My Saviour has all the energy, all the power, all the might, yet He waited until the appointed time. He could have just said the word but He waited (John 11). He was patient and did everything at the appointed time.

So often we says ‘Let’s go ahead and see what happens,’ and want the Lord to catch up. We strive to be in the position we want to be. We need to be patient. Sometimes we are impatient and go ahead, sometimes the Lord allows it. We then wonder why it goes wrong. ‘Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.’ (Psalm 25:4-5). Wait upon Him, learning patience. Patience marked His footsteps. He was the creator, the Word who became flesh, who went to Calvary’s cross, patiently waiting. Be patient. ‘But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’ (James 1:4)

In the fullness of time Christ died. He will renew our strength and bring us to blessing. Let’s lay aside every weight and wait on Him. What is holding us back? What are the entanglements in our life that stop us from doing what He wants us to do. Let Him lead us into truth.

June 10th 2018: Alan Davison

alan davison-june18‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Hebrews 12:2)

The word ‘author’ comes from the Greek ‘archegos’ and only appears four times in the scriptures: Acts 3:15, Acts 5:31, Hebrews 2:10 and Hebrews 12:2. The word has been translated in different versions of the Bible and includes prince, captain, leader and founder. It is a word so heavy in meaning that lots of different words can be used to describe it. Today, we will focus on three of these descriptions: author, pioneer and captain.

Jesus is the author of our faith. In literary terms the author is the one who determines the story, how characters are introduced and interact and how the story ends. Before creation, the trinity had already planned how humanity would be redeemed.

In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read that our faith is a gift of God. Jesus is also the finisher of our faith. Our faith is also of Christ, not just the start but the ending. It is ongoing. This is a great encouragement to us to know our faith is of God Himself.

In Hebrews 12:1 we read that those who have gone before us cheer us on as well as Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate encourager. He has ascended, further glorified, and now resides in heaven in His resurrection body. The joy that was set before Jesus is also the joy He sets before us. Christ is watching over us, just as is the great cloud of witnesses. We are to run race by looking to Jesus – He’s not only watching us, but watching us from the finishing post. Distractions for us tend to come from the side or from within. We are to lay aside every weight, every sin. Jesus alone is the one we are to look to along the race of life.

Author can also be translated as pioneer – a pathfinder or a trail blazer, someone who goes first. We see this in 1 Corinthians 15. As our pioneer Jesus has gone first. He has experienced first what we will experience.

Jesus became our captain through being our pioneer and leading our way. Jesus is the perfect model that we are to follow but He also makes it possible for us to follow Him. Jesus had to suffer on our behalf to make our salvation complete and perfect. He left nothing to chance, it doesn’t depend on our works. As He blazed the trail He endured the cross, obtaining salvation for His people. Jesus is to be revered as our prince.

As our pioneer Jesus shows us that death is not the end – it’s the path to glory. True followers of Christ will suffer. We shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. Following in the footsteps of the pioneer, Jesus wants us to be able to face the trials ahead. We panic when something happens that distresses us. Yet God watches over us. At a whistle from God, Satan scurries away. We will all face troubles in our lives. Every day, God watches us, He is always there, looking after His children.

As He continues to lead us, He does so as a captain. We are to be looking unto Jesus as we set out on this race of life. There is also a military connotation. We need God’s guidance in our individual lives but also as a group. Jesus will lead His troops home. Jesus’ wounds were necessary to make the victory for us. We gain entry into heaven because He laid down His life for us. His death resulted in victory – resurrection and salvation for all His people.

Jesus is also a model of obedience – He followed His Father’s will. He has ascended. He is now exalted for what He has done for His people. He has returned to a position of supremacy. His earthly ministry is complete, yet His work goes on. He now sits in glory and knows His earthly work is complete. He planned all that came about before time. He is our captain, leading us forward in our Christian lives, the author of our faith and our salvation.