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The Ultimate Giant Slayer - Hebrews 12:1-3

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The Ultimate Giant Slayer
Hebrews 12:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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Hunting Giants

There are giants in the land. They are not easy to recognize like the literal giants of the Old Testament, "tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks" (Amos 2:9, NIV), but they can be just as dangerous. And we must have the courage to destroy them. In this teaching series, Skip Heitzig explores literal and symbolic giants throughout the Bible and the heroes who slayed them. Daniel challenged the giant of conformity. Nehemiah obliterated the giant of apathy. Esther executed the giant of self. Courage starts where confidence ends.

Study Guide

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Connect Group Guide: October 17, 2021
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: “The Ultimate Giant Slayer”
Text: Hebrews 12:1-3

Main Point
Sadly, many ignore the news of the century: through Jesus, God entered the world as a man. He conquered death and rose again. Throughout this series, we’ve considered men and women in history who faced seemingly insurmountable giants. In Hebrews 12, after citing several examples of those who exhibited overcoming faith, the writer points to the ultimate giant slayer, Jesus—the greatest example of courage and faith. He was able to accomplish and finish what no one else could. He did this with focus and with joy. In this message from our series Hunting Giants, we examine four aspects of Jesus the giant slayer’s sacrifice, and we get the courage needed to endure the hardships of life (the race) by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” —John 15:13

Talk about It
  1. Thinking over the Hunting Giants series, talk about the giants you’ve allowed Jesus to slay in your life.
  2. What trips you up or slows you down in your relationship with the Lord? What steps can you take to get rid of pursuits, habits, debt, associations, etc. that hold you back and distract you from running your race?
  3. We can either live to please God or live concerned about what others think and comparing our race with others. Discuss the differences between and results of living with these mindsets.
  4. Jesus never lost sight of where he was headed; he stayed focused to the end. Why is it important to joyfully endure with patience and active persistence? What have you, or could you, put in front of you to motivate you to be joyful as you suffer?
“Don’t get distracted by life or entangled by sin. Fix your eyes on Jesus and run!” —Pastor Skip

Make It Practical
  • Welcome trials. The only way to develop endurance, patience, and perseverance is through hardship. Paul said in Romans 5:3, “Tribulation produces perseverance.” We need endurance, because the Christian life is not a fifty-yard dash; it’s a marathon.
  • Sit down. Maybe you’re still standing on your feet, busy earning your salvation by trying to be good person. Trade in your stand-up religion for sit-down salvation.
  • Consider Jesus’ courage and life of faith when running your race. Read how Eugene Peterson and J. B. Phillips render Hebrews 12:3 below.
“When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (MSG).

“Think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and you will not lose your purpose or your courage” (PHILLIPS).

Poem

Hast Thou No Scar?
by Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

Cross references: Isaiah 45:22; 53:11; Matthew 7:14; 13:20; John 15:13; 16:21; 21:25; Romans 5:3; Philippians 1:12; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 11:1; 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 4:14-15; 6:20; 10:11-12; Jude 1:24

Transcript

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The Ultimate Giant Slayer - Hebrews 12:1-3 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

It's been a fun series, hasn't it? Let's turn in our Bibles for this final message in the series to Hebrews chapter 12. Did you bring one of these?

Yes.

Yeah, good. So that's smart. That's good that you did that. Let's turn to Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12. As we bring this series to a close, Hunting Giants, let me remind you that on December 17th 1903, something happened that changed human history when two brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina discovered they could take their little machine that they built and actually fly.

You know about it, Wilbur and Orville Wright. And they didn't fly very long. The first flight was only 12 seconds, and then they did it again, and that was a 15-second flight. They did it again, it was for 59 seconds, just under 1 minute. That's 1903, and they flew 120 feet.

Well, they were so stoked. They were so excited. They telegraphed their sister, Catherine, back in Dayton, Ohio with a simple message. We have flown 120 feet. And that little telegram ended with this. We'll be home by Christmas.

We've flown 120 feet, we'll be home by Christmas. Well, she was so excited at the news that they have flown that she ran down to the newspaper with the telegraph and showed the words to the editor of the paper, and he read what they wrote. Have flown 120 feet. We'll be home by Christmas, and all he could say is, oh, how nice.

The boys will be home for Christmas. What a statement. He has just overlooked the news of the century. That people have flown. Now, that little illustration illustrates what is happening right now.

Most people are overlooking the news of the centuries. They're driving up and down Osuna and I-25 and all around town. Most of them aren't in church, most aren't interested in spiritual things, and they have overlooked the news that God stepped into human history in the form of a human being faced death, and conquered it by Resurrection. So the news of the centuries.

It is overlooked. Jesus Christ is without doubt the most influential personality who has ever lived. Somebody estimated that Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50 years, Aristotle for another 40 years, or a combined total influential teaching of 130 years. Those three philosophers. Jesus ministry was only 3 and 1/2 years, yet, by far, his influence is greater than all those guys.

This shows up in encyclopedia Britannica. That encyclopedia used 20,000 words to describe the life of Jesus Christ. 20,000 words. That's more words than they use for Caesar, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Buddha, Cicero, Confucius, and Muhammad put together. Jesus never wrote a book personally, but books have been written about him that fill libraries.

He never composed a song, but some of the greatest composers like Handel and Bach, Mendelssohn, Beethoven of all used him as their subject matter. Jesus, as far as we know, never painted a painting. But some of the great artists like Michelangelo and Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt have all composed on their canvases various scenes from the life of Christ. And did you know that Jesus redefined what a hero is?

You see, in ancient history, heroes were typically killers. Somebody who vanquished other people with armies. Those were ancient heroes. Caesars were heroes, Pharaohs were heroes.

But now, centuries later, thousands of years later, society esteems saviors as heroes. The fireman who rushes into a building to save a child. The nun who works in the ghetto. The doctor who gives up his or her opulent lifestyle to serve the needs of the poor.

Those we call heroes. It is Jesus Christ who explains that shift, so that if your idea of a, hero somebody who is humble, somebody who serves, and somebody who is self-sacrificing, that has been shaped by Jesus, who said, greater love has no one than this than to give up his life for his friends. Even Napoleon said this.

Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I myself have founded great empires, but Jesus alone founded his Empire upon love, and to this very day, millions would die for him, and then he wrote, for Jesus Christ was more than a man. Now, here we are in Hebrews chapter 12. It's the final installment in this series.

Let me just sort of tell you about Hebrews chapter 12 and where we're at. The author of this book in the previous chapter, chapter 11 gives several examples of courageous faith. These are heroes of the faith. They have run the race of faith before us.

Now, in chapter 12, he hands the baton to you and to me to us, and he says, now it's your turn. Now, you're on the racetrack in the arena, and it is your turn to run the race of faith. Others have gone before you. He writes about them in chapter 11. Now, it's your turn.

And in doing so, he also points to another final example, the ultimate example, the giant slayer himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, who faced the enemy of shame and suffering and death and one. So what I want to do is go through this little section with you, Hebrews 12, just three verses. And actually, we're only going to look at one verse, and I'm really glad it's familiar scripture so we can delve into it.

I want to show you four aspects of this giant slayer's sacrifice. Let's begin in verse 1. "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. 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.

For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." So I want to give you four aspects of his suffering. First, he furnished an example.

See, what the author is doing is giving examples but then saying, but now, we're looking under Jesus. And then in verse 3, consider him. Consider him. Look to him.

As I mentioned, chapter 11 is a litany of heroes of the faith. They have run that race before us. They are courageous. Their names are Abel and Enoch and Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Gideon, Beric, Jefa, David, and finally, he says Samuel and all the prophets.

So that's a whole list of good examples to follow. That's what we've done in this series. We've not selected all of them but a few of them and others, people like Nehemiah and John the Baptist and Gideon and Esther and several others that exhibited courageous faith.

But now, we come to the ultimate example of both courage and faith, because Jesus faced a hostile crowd. One of the things we note about the life of Christ is that, while he was growing in his popularity, he was also growing in people's animosity toward him. I mean, Jesus faced a cancel culture before that was even a thing.

They wanted to cancel him permanently. They wanted to cancel his life and destroy him. And so the author-- we don't know who the author of this book is, some say Paul, some say a number of others. I say, I don't know, but it's written.

It's inspired scripture, and in verse 1 of chapter 12, the author places us on the racetrack. Now, I've always noticed that Paul and others loved to use sporting analogies for the Christian life. I don't know if Paul loved Monday night chariot races or what it was, but he uses Olympic analogies from the games to talk about our life, whether it's boxing, I fought the good fight, or running, I've run the race.

But here, he chooses or the author chooses the idea of running. And again, Paul does this a lot. 1 Corinthians 9, he says, don't you know that all who run in a race, they all run, but only one gets the prize. So run in such a way that you might win the prize. So here we are. We're on the racetrack.

That's the setting here, but notice it says in verse 1, "Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses." Now, let me just stop you right there, because I've heard so many sermons on this text through the years. The typical interpretation goes something like this.

We're in a stadium, and in the grandstands are all of the saints who have died and gone to heaven and they're in heaven looking down on us on the Earth and they're cheering us on and they're rooting us forward in our race of life. If that is how you have interpreted this, I would like to banish that completely from your mind. That is not at all what the author is speaking about.

In fact, did you know the Bible nowhere says that when you get to heaven you're looking down and watching people on the Earth. Although you hear it all the time at funerals. I know he's in heaven, but he's looking down. No, he's not.

That's not heaven. I don't want to go there and look down on anything going on here. I've gone through enough. I don't want more of it when I'm up there, and you'd be glad to know the Bible says nothing about us communicating with people or acknowledging what is going on the Earth.

You're in the rapture of heaven. You're in the glories of God. You won't be looking down telling others, come on, you can do it. So what does he mean when he says we're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses?

Easy answer. Everybody he just mentioned in chapter 11. In other words, they've run the race before us and they are witnesses, not of us on the Earth, they are witnesses to the value of a life of faith.

There's a payoff to it. It's good to live this way. They are the great cloud of witnesses. They show the value of the life of faith. So we're surrounded by this Nephele, this cloud, this mass of witnesses who have given us the examples already.

Then he says this. "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us." Now, that's a picture of a runner stepping out onto the racetrack and stripping down to bare essentials for the race. So if you're out there on the racetrack and you got your warm up suit on, you take that off when you run the race.

If you have weights on your ankles, which sometimes people train with, you get those off before you run the race. You strip down to bare essentials. You strip aside every weight and sin which encumbers you. There's an old saying, if we would travel far, we must travel light.

And nobody knows this better than an athlete. Athletes train to get weight off, to get as close to 0% body fat as possible. They become a lean mean running machine. And they have to be very, very careful about what they eat and how they exercise, because they want to stay in running shape.

I read a story about an Olympic runner who came to the United States to compete. He had been called the world's fastest human. He came to the United States to compete. He ran in the preliminaries and was immediately disqualified. You know what the problem was? He gained too much weight.

He was, at one time, the world's fastest human, but he didn't exercise as much over time, he ate a little bit too much, and he was not in prime shape. So the thought then is get rid of what slows you down in your pursuit in this Christian life, this race, toward Christ likeness. Whether it's a habit or debt or a pursuit or an association.

Get rid of it. And as you're running, you've got to look at something. You've got to have your eyes fixed somewhere, and he tells you that and the next little statement. "Looking unto Jesus," verse 2, "the author and finisher of our faith." That's where we look.

Now, the word author, archegos, the Greek word, could mean originator. It could mean leader. Some translations say he's the founder or the champion or the pioneer of our faith. I think a better way to look at this is he is simply the chief example. He is the ultimate example.

It's like, look, I've given you a whole bunch of examples in chapter 11. Now, let me give you the archegos, the chief example. The author of our faith. So as you run, don't get distracted by life, don't get entangled by sin, but fix your eyes on Jesus and run. Fix your eyes on Jesus-- just like the song we just sang.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. You know that's how we get saved. In a word, you get saved by looking to Jesus. You don't look to yourself. You look to Him.

You trust Him. He does it for you. Do you remember that crazy story in the Old Testament when Moses was with the children of Israel and they were complaining, and so a bunch of snakes came to the camp of Israel and killed a bunch of. People remember that story?

And so Moses is like, God, these people are dying. I need a vaccine, so had to throw that in.

[LAUGHTER]

So God said, well, I'll tell you what we'll work. Make a snake made out of brass and put it on a pole and put the pole up in the air and tell people to look at it. And if they look at it, that's your vaccine. They'll be cured.

And I'm sure Moses is going, you've got to be kidding, right? OK, but it worked. And Jesus said this, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

That's how we're saved. We look to Jesus and he saves us. But that's not only how we're saved, that's how we run. That's how we run. We run by looking in the right direction. Looking ahead at Jesus who has run before us.

If you want to lose a race-- not that you ever would-- look down at your feet while you run. You'll stumble pretty quickly or look at other runners on the race track or look at people in the grandstands who are looking at you. If you're looking at any of those things, you'll probably get hurt.

I learned this in early days of mountain biking. I always had to look just ahead of the front tire and wear that trail was going. If I try to look at scenery, I would end up in the scenery. But some people look at their feet while they run.

Some Christians are preoccupied with themselves. Others look at the people in the grandstands. They're concerned what others think about them, or they compare their running to other people. Well, I'm faster than he is, or well, she's faster than I am, or she has a lot cuter outfit on.

Her running outfit's better than mine. Listen, the best way to run the race of life is to end every day with a simple question, did I please God today? Makes it simple. Not, what do others think or how are my feet when I run, but did I please God today?

Looking unto Jesus. So He is the best example. We look to Him to see how to live. We do that quite literally when we read the four Gospels. We read the life of Christ.

We see how Jesus made choices. We see how Jesus suffered. We see how Jesus faced temptation. We see what Jesus thought about death and how he faced his own death.

If you want to know any of those answers, you study his life. He's our example, the author and finisher of our faith. So He furnished an example. That's the first aspect.

Second aspect I want you to notice is that He faced the Intolerable. Notice what it says that he endured the cross. He endured the cross.

Now, there's a theme running through this book and especially this chapter, and it's a theme of endurance. I'll tell you how I know how. Verse 1, says, "Let us run with--"

What does it say? You can talk in church. Look at verse 1. "Let us run with--"

Endurance

Endurance. And then verse 2, "Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross." Second time. Look at verse 3, "for consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners."

And then if you were even to skip down to verse 7, which we're not going to cover, he says, "if you endure chastening." So it's pretty clear that one of the things that He wants His audience to do is to endure. Let me tell you what the word means.

The word endure is-- the same word is often translated in our Bibles endurance, patience, or perseverance. They kind of all mean the same thing. Endurance, patience, perseverance. The word in the original Greek language is [SPEAKING GREEK]. Comes from two words, [SPEAKING GREEK] under, and [SPEAKING GREEK] from menno, to abide.

It means to abide under or literally to bear up under. To bear up under the pressure of something. That's patience. That's endurance. So it means to preserve under difficult circumstances with a steady determination to go on.

A steady determination to go on. Endurance is like a postage stamp. It sticks to one thing until it gets there. I've always loved the story about Thomas Edison, the inventor.

It is said that Edison tried 200 different substances to find the right substance to make a filament for his light bulb. His incandescent bulb. He tried 200 things and failed 200 times.

Failed, failed, failed. Finally, his assistant said, I think you should quit. I don't think this is going to work. I know what you have in mind, but I don't think it's possible, so just quit.

Edison's response was classic. He said, quit? I've just discovered 200 things that won't work.

[LAUGHTER]

And then he said and I will find one that will. And he did. And the only way he did it is by endurance. So four times in this little section of seven verses, he says, endure, endure, endure, endure. Why is that?

Because he's writing to young Hebrew believers. The book of Hebrews is to young Hebrew Christians who have discovered that Christian life is hard. That's why. And why was it hard?

Because they're surrounded with people who hate. They're surrounded with people who oppose what they believe. They're surrounded by people who want to cancel them and persecute them. And by the way, this is why people backslide.

This is why people fall away from the faith. If you wonder why do people apostatize from the faith? It's like they love Jesus one day and then they want nothing to do with them the-- why? In a word, because it's hard.

It's not easy. And whatever expectation they had, that expectation wasn't fulfilled, whatever line they were fed or told, that didn't happen, so bye. Jesus said in Matthew 13, "He who received the seed on stony places is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no route in himself but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises, because of the word, immediately, he stumbles."

That's why. Skip, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. You've been telling us all the time that it's all-- you get peace and joy and purpose when you give your life to Christ. You do. You do.

You get all of that, but at the same time, it's hard. And two things can be true at the same time, right? You can have peace and joy and purpose. I experience that every day, but I'm here to tell you it's hard at the same time.

Remember, Jesus said narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life. So brothers and sisters, you and I need endurance. It's a good word for us. By the way, the only way to develop endurance. You know how to develop endurance for hardship? Have hardship.

That's how you get it. You get it through hardship. There's no such thing as three easy steps toward endurance. Nothing easy about it.

You don't get endurance and patience and perseverance by reading a book about it or going to a seminar about it. Romans chapter 5 verse 3 says, "tribulation worketh patience." Now, that's an old King James rendering, I think.

A newer version says, "tribulation produces perseverance." I've told you before about the young impatient man who went to the older saint, the older believer and said, would you pray for me? I'm so impatient. Would you pray that God will give me patience?

The old guy said, sure, I'd love to. Laid his hand on him, said, Lord, send this young man trouble, tribulation, trials, heartache, and hardship. And the guy pulled back and said, whoa. I asked you to pray for patience, not problems.

The old guy quoted to him Romans 5:3, "Tribulation worketh patience." It's how you get it. So you want patience?

We're not so quick to raise that hand after that, but you need it. You need endurance, because the Christian life is not a jog. It is not a sprint. It is not a 50-yard dash, it is a marathon.

It is long obedience in the same direction. So Jesus furnished an example and He faced the Intolerable. Let me give you a third aspect of His sacrifice. He focused on the joyful.

It's odd, really, when I read this verse for the first time years ago and continues to be odd every time I read it since that looks out of place when it says, "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." Now, let me do something here. Death by crucifixion was regarded as one of the most painful methods of execution known to man. In fact, did the very word in English excruciating-- talk about excruciating pain.

The word excruciating literally means from the cross. And it is because crucifixion deliberately delayed the victim's death so that the victim would receive maximum torment. That's why they did it. They did it so that he would live on in suffering for hours and even days. So what do we know about Jesus' crucifixion?

Well, he was arrested in a garden after sweating great drops of blood. In that weakened condition he stands before authorities for not one trial, not two trials, but six individual trials. When he is finally convicted, he carries the upper part of his cross known as the patibulum and weighed about 75 pounds. He had to March with that toward his place of execution. Didn't make it all the way, he was so weak.

When he finally got there, they took long tapered spikes, and they stapled them in between his radius and ulna, the two bones of form a hook in the wrist so that it wouldn't just tear the flesh, and they did the same placing spikes in his feet. And then when that victim is placed upright, it doesn't take long before muscle cramps set in and it's difficult to breathe and the only way to breathe is to pull up on those spikes to get a breath and let it out and usually the victim will die of suffocation.

On top of that, Jesus was forsaken by the Father for he said on the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Now, I have a simple question after that description. How can there be any joy in any of that? Where's the joy?

Well, let me piece a few texts together for you to answer the question. One is this text, "who for the joy said before Him." makes us wonder, OK, I don't get it. Where's the joy?

Now, back in the Old Testament, Isaiah chapter 53, you're familiar with that? It's the most complete prophetic description of what would happen in Jesus suffering on the cross. It says in Isaiah 53 verse 11, "He shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied. My righteous servant shall justify many." In other words, Jesus looking at what that death would accomplish in making people justified before God brought satisfaction.

Let me give you another text. Jude verse 24, "Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Don't misread that. It's not talking about your joy. Oh, you'll have plenty of joy, but it's not talking about your joy, it's talking about His joy.

The joy that Jesus will have in presenting you to the Father as a trophy of salvation. So putting all those texts together, the joy that was set before Him was the joy of anticipating your salvation. Even though you were yet unborn, He knew that one day you would believe and be His disciple and that one day he will have the joy of presenting you to the Father as a trophy of salvation.

That's the joy that was set before Him. Now, keep in mind, that is for a point that the author is making, and that is this. He is encouraging his audience to joyfully endure a very hard life, a difficult life.

By the way, I didn't even tell you this yet. He talks about running the race here. There's a word that he uses for race, and when I tell you the word in Greek, you're going to hear a word that it sounds like in English. The word for race here is agona.

What does that sound like? It's where we get our word agony. So it's a hard, difficult race. It's a competition. It's where you sweat.

That's the race we're in. It's an agona. Now, I'm I used to run, but I'm not like a real runner, but I had plenty of guys that I knew and gals I knew who are so serious about running competitively, and I always noticed it was hard.

I look at their faces when they run. They're not smiling.

[LAUGHTER]

It's agh. And they work out, and they don't eat fun stuff. And they train their bodies so hard, and so you've got to wonder, why are you doing that? I mean, there's got to be some joy somewhere.

There's got to be some payoff for that, and what is the joy of running a race? It's winning. So the joy they have or the joy that a runner has is deferred joy. It's not joy while you're running the race, it's joy when you have completed the task and you've won the gold.

That's the joy. It's deferred joy. We understand this principle. Anything in life that is hard to do has to have some payoff, otherwise you don't do it. Why do women have babies?

It's not because they're thinking, I cannot wait for labor. I've always dreamed of that pain. No, it's deferred joy.

Jesus spoke about this. John 16, "A woman when she is in labor has sorrow because her hour has come, but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish for the joy that a human being has been firstborn into the world." Now, here's my exhortation to y'all.

Learn to put something joyful before you to motivate joy as you suffer. Put something joyful before you so that you can endure the suffering. It'll take the edge off.

It could be a simple thought of, I'll become more mature when I get to the other end of this trial or I'll become a more patient person. I've been praying for patience. This is going to happen.

Or once I get through this hardship, I'll be more understanding and compassionate to people who are suffering in a similar manner. Do you remember when Paul and Silas went to Philippi, and they got arrested, and they got beaten with whips. And they get chained to a prison.

It says, at midnight, Paul and Silas did what? They sang. They sang. They what? They sang praises to God?

There's blood on their back, they didn't get what they expected. They're chained up, they can't go anywhere, and it's midnight, darkest time of the evening, and they sing? You only thing in prison if you're a dork or you have some joy that is set before you. And Paul wrote about that joy. He goes, I believe everything that has happened to me has happened for the furtherance of the gospel.

God's behind this, I think something's going to happen. And it did. The prison guard got saved, et cetera. Charles Hadden Spurgeon wrote these words, "Any fool can sing in the day.

It's easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight, but the skillful singer is he who can sing when there is not a ray of light to read by. Songs in the night come only from God." Joy helps you endure the race. A little bit of faith can take your soul to heaven, you realize that?

All you have to do is look to Jesus. You believe in Him. You trust that His work is enough. That's enough to save you if you really believe that.

A little bit of faith will take your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.

[APPLAUSE]

It brings joy. So he furnished an example. He faced the Intolerable, he focused on the joyful. I'll give you a fourth and final essential, and we'll close this series out. He finished the essential, because look what it says in verse 2.

"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. Now, we read through that and we don't really pick up what that means, so I want to explain that to you, because to me, it's maybe the best part. There's a word in the book of Hebrews.

Just trust me when I tell you without reading through it all. It appears 13 times in the book. It's the theme. It's the word better. We have something better than what anybody else had before us. We have a better sacrifice in Christ.

We have a better covenant in Christ. We have better promises in Christ, and we have a better priesthood in Christ. He is called our great high priest in this book. And why is he a better priest?

What makes Jesus better? He sat down. He sat down. Why did He sit down? Because He was done. He was finished.

Now, keep following me. Don't let me lose you. In the Old Testament in the tabernacle, you remember that tent structure where they worshipped in the Old Testament? There were articles of furniture.

So there were altars, there were laborers, there were tables, there were curtains. There was all sorts of pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, but there was one piece of furniture that was not in the tabernacle. You know what it was? A chair.

You know why? Because priests never sat down. They'd go in every day, kill an animal, take its blood, sprinkle it, say prayers, light a candle or oil lamp, go through their ritual, go out, do it again, do it again.

Did it morning and evening every single day, every single week, every single month, and then there were festivals like Passover, where they killed-- it was like a butcher shop. They killed lamb after lamb. Josephus, the Jewish historian said, at one Passover during the time of Christ in a two-day period the Jews killed 250,000 lambs.

It was endless. It was like groundhogs day every day. Get up, kill the lamb, kill the lamb, kill the lamb, kill the lamb. So they were standing up until now. I want you to turn back really quickly to Hebrews chapter 10.

Just go two blocks to the left, Hebrews chapter 10. We'll piece this together. We'll bring this to a close. Hebrews chapter 10, verse 11. "And every priest stands, ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices--" notice this. "--which can never take away sins.

But this man, after he offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down at the right hand of God." He sat down, because he was done. It's finished. There's no more work to do. It's over.

That's the significance of on the cross. Jesus saying, it is finished. It's another way of saying, I can pull up a chair.

[APPLAUSE]
Judaism is a stand up religion. Your salvation is a sit down salvation. Some of you are still on your feet working hard. Working hard to get saved, working hard to get right with God. I want to invite you to forsake your stand up religion for a sit down salvation, one where Jesus said, you don't have to do anything, I've done it all.

I want to give a word in closing to my fellow giant hunters. This is war. We have made that pretty plain in this weekly Bible study of hunting giants. We face enemies every day we have to endure, and here's why. We're following the one who was crucified.

And you can't follow the one who was crucified without getting some battle wounds, right? Jesus did say, listen, if they hate me, they're going to hate you. If they persecuted me, they're going to do it to you. If the world is against me, don't be surprised when they're against you.

So there is a poem that I've always loved by Amy Carmichael, the missionary to India. She gave her life there, and she wrote so many great things. But she wrote a little poem that I've loved, and if you don't mind, I'd like to close by reciting that poem to you. It's called hast thou no scar.

She said, "Has found no scar? No hidden scar on foot or side or hand? I hear this song is mighty in the land. I hear them hail by bright ascending star. Has thou no scar? Has thou no wound?

Yet, I was wounded by the archers. Spent. Lean me against a tree to die and rent. By ravenous beast that compass me, I swooned. Has thou no wound?

No wound, no scar? Yet, as the master shall the servant be and pierced are the feet that follow me. But I in our whole, can he have traveled far who has no wound or scar?"

See, if you follow Jesus, you're going to get scarred up. Wear them as a badge of honor. Listen, the series on Hunting Giants is done. But we've just begun hunting giant. Father, we want to thank you for the truth in your word, the examples we've considered over the last few weeks.

People like Daniel, John the Baptist, Nehemiah, Esther, Gideon, Stephen, but now the ultimate example, Jesus who is the author, the finisher. The best example and the one who finished to the end, because there was something that motivated Him, a joyful motivation of what His sacrifice would produce in terms of some who would follow.

Lord, and I pray this morning as we close for some others who might follow. Not follow a Jesus made up by some person's religious ideas, but the Jesus of the New Testament who will take anyone the way they are and not expect them to come cleaned up already but cleaned them up once they come to Him. Change their life once they come to Him.

Give them purpose once they come to Him. Give them a sense of depth of joy once they come to Him. I pray that others would come to you. Lord, that's what brings you joy. You talked about the angels of heaven rejoicing when one person comes in repentance. That has to be part of your joy as well.

So I pray for those who may be with us seated in this auditorium, watching online, listening on the radio, sitting outside. Doesn't matter where we are. What matters is where we are with God with you. And if we're not right with you, if we're not close to you, I pray that would change today.

So if you're gathered here and you've never invited Christ to be your Savior, I mean really, authentically, personally surrendered your life to Christ or you've maybe wandered away from Him and you're not following Him today. You're not walking in obedience to Him today. You need to come back to him.

If that describes any of you, either of those descriptions, rather you're coming to Christ for the first time or rededicating your life. If you're willing to surrender to Him today, I want you to slip your hand up in the air. If you're in this auditorium, just slip it up.

Raise it up in the air so I can see it. I'll acknowledge you, and we'll pray for you and close this service out. Just raise your hand if you're saying, Skip, pray for me. I'm going to give my life to Christ. I'm going to surrender or come back to him. Just raise it up high in the air. Any one at all, you could be outside.

I'm getting down so I can see. Sometimes, people raise their hands like this. Just raise it up high. And great, if nobody's raising their hand, it just means you're all saved and you need to bring someone who isn't next time.

Give them that opportunity. Father, thank you for your people. Thank you for the joy that we have. Thank you for the meaning and purpose that we have, and Lord, we do thank you for your plan for our lives. I pray you'll give strength and courage to everyone who's going out from this place hunting the giants in their lives in Jesus's name. Amen, let's all stand.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Additional Messages in this Series

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8/15/2021
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The Giant of Conformity
Daniel 1:5-16
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
There are giants in the land, both moral and spiritual, and we need courage to confront them! Truth is, the world around us is not at all sympathetic to the Christian cause. In fact, they would like nothing more than to silence us and make us conform to their standards. As our Lord said, “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you” (John 15:19, NLT). Daniel and his three friends were pressured to conform, but they refused. Let’s find out the source of their strength to make such a courageous stand.
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8/22/2021
completed
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The Giant of Silence
Matthew 14:1-10
Skip Heitzig
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"Silence is golden," says the old adage. But that is true only sometimes. Many other times, to be silent is to be complicit in the evil that is being committed around us. John the Baptist, one of the most outspoken prophetic voices in history, helps us navigate the need to speak out against evil and immorality. He confronted a powerful political leader of his day, pointing out where he had violated God’s law. John was imprisoned and executed as a result. Should Christians enter the public square to dialogue about moral issues? Yes, but let’s see how.
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8/29/2021
completed
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The Giant of Apathy
Nehemiah 2:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The Oxford Dictionary defines apathy as “lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” It’s the state of being indifferent to something that should otherwise arouse, provoke, or motivate you. It has been noted that cooling down a fanatic is easier than warming up a corpse. When a person ceases to care, that person ceases to attempt change. Though Nehemiah had it made in terms of his earthly status, the condition in his homeland wouldn’t let him stay silent and inactive. Let’s explore the five steps he took to overcome the giant of apathy.
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9/5/2021
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The Giant of Fear
1 Samuel 17
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most paralyzing of all human emotions is fear. It can rob us of reason and faith. It makes a bad situation worse than it really is, and it saps us of energy and confidence. David would write later on, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). But in our story today he faced a fearsome giant (literally) that his country was in dread of. Let’s consider how fear works and by what means it can be defeated.
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9/12/2021
completed
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The Giant of Self: How One Person Can Make a Difference
Esther 4:13-17
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
On this weekend that commemorates the tragedy of September 11, 2001, we especially honor those who gave their lives in trying to rescue others, especially the first responders in law enforcement and fire departments, as well as citizens. Journalist Geraldine Brooks reminds us, “September 11, 2001, revealed heroism in ordinary people who might have gone through their lives never called upon to demonstrate the extent of their courage.” Today we look at the story of Esther’s choice to put self aside and make a difference for those facing death. Here we see the extent of her courage!
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9/19/2021
completed
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Addressing Deconstruction and Cancel Culture
Sean McDowell
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Sean McDowell is a sought-after international speaker on cultural, ethical, theological, and apologetics topics, and he retains a PhD in Apologetics and Worldview Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored and co-authored over one dozen books and study guides, including So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World and Chasing Love.
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9/26/2021
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Skip Heitzig Interviews Cissie Graham Lynch, Vince Torres, and Lenya Heitzig
Skip Heitzig
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In this special service, Skip Heitzig interviews Cissie Graham Lynch, Vince Torres, and Lenya Heitzig. Cissie Graham Lynch is the host of the podcast Fearless, in which she discusses living with a fearless faith in a compromising culture. Vince Torres is president of the Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, and he joins us to discuss political issues facing Christian families today. Finally is Reload Love founder Lenya Heitzig, who speaks about the global efforts to fight terrorism and how everyday people can help.
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10/3/2021
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The Giant of Overwhelming Odds
Judges 7:1-15
Skip Heitzig
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By now you have discovered that we who are Christians are surrounded! There seems to always be more who are against us than who are for us. We face the reality (and we feel it, too!) that we are living in enemy territory. That doesn’t give us permission to be adversarial or combative, for we’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar (see 2 Timothy 2:24-25). But Christians are either overcome by their unbelief or they are overcomers because of their faith. How do we navigate through life when the odds are stacked against us and circumstances seem overwhelming?
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10/10/2021
completed
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The Giant of Religion
Acts 6-7
Skip Heitzig
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Religion might not seem like a giant to overcome unless you’re an atheist. But did you know the source of much persecution and oppression around the world is religious groups? The prophets, the apostles, the early church, and even Jesus Himself all had run-ins with religious leaders and formalized religious systems. Some of you come from a very religious background but now enjoy the freedom of a relationship with God through Jesus. How does one successfully stand up to religious pressure while impacting it with the gospel? Let’s see how Stephen did it.
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10/31/2021
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A Courage Revival
Psalm 31:24
Johnnie Moore
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Johnnie Moore is an author, businessperson, and itinerant pastor who is best known for his religious freedom advocacy all around the world. His latest book, The Next Jihad, is about the persecution of Christians in Africa. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the prestigious Medal of Valor from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. He has been twice appointed to the US Commission for International Religious Freedom by the president of the United States.
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There are 10 additional messages in this series.
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