Andrew Fountain - Endurance (plus Testimonies)

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Sermon notes - Endurance (plus testimonies)

  • What does the word “Endure” mean?
    • Not give up
    • Keep going even though it is hard
    • suffer something unpleasant for the sake of a worthwhile result
  • Three motivations to Endure: The context of this part of Hebrews
    • Future Joy (12:2–3)
    • Faith developed & rewarded (11:1–12:1)
    • Training (12:5–11)

1. Future Joy: Heb 12:2–3

  1. keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
    For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
  2. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.
  • We are the joy that motivated Jesus!

joy

joy

Prospect of Future Joy

Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (1970)

  • Used children age four to six as subjects
  • The children could eat the marshmallow, but if they waited for fifteen minutes without giving in to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow.
  • Only 1/3 managed to wait.
  • 10 years later they followed up the children: those who had waited were doing significantly better.
  • One of the boys who succeeded was asked how he did it:
    • I promised myself I would put both marshmallows in at once, and that kept me going!
  • Have you ever had a situation where the joy of the future keeps you going through unpleasantness in the present?
    • An example (of which I have no personal experience!) is childbirth
    • Studying for an exam
    • Working hard for a promotion
    • Saving up for something special

Alla & Anatoly Bakhtinova

Alla & Anatoly Bakhtinova

  • Captain in Russian Army: Alla Bakhtinova
    • She joined the military to find her husband Anatoly who went missing in Chechnya, in 1999.
    • She jeft their infant son with her mother, joined the army and went to Chechnya.
    • Her husband Anatoly and his group were freed from the rebels and the couple was reunited.
  • So the first Motivation we have to Endure is “Anticipated Joy“:

Motivations to Endure

  1. Anticipated Joy
  2. Faith

2. Faith developed & rewarded

  • Faith is like a muscle that needs developing
  • A step of trust
  • Abraham developed his “faith muscle”
  • Grow the faith muscle (show the dumbell)
    • Grows as it is exercised
  • When we came to Canada in 1991 I was due to gradute in 1993
    • had no idea what I was going to do after that.
    • I had a wife and two young children
    • As the end approached it felt like walking to the end of a diving board and stepping out into the void

Abraham’s growth in faith

  • Stage 1 —leaving his homeland:
  1. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going.
  • Stage 2 —not putting down roots:
  1. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise.
  2. For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Abraham’s growth in faith cont’d

  • Stage 3 —waiting 25 years for a child:
  1. By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to have children, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.
  2. So in fact children were fathered by one man—and this one as good as dead—like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand on the seashore.
  • Later in Hebrews it talks about yet another test of faith
    • Being asked to sacrifice his son
    • In one way this was even harder, since it was active and not passive
  • Sometimes you just hang in there, doing what you know is right (e.g. in a work situation)
    • Employment situation, very unpleasant boss, eventually he was relieved of his duties
      • Just had to hang in there doing what I knew was right
    • Joseph
    • Another job situation—killing me, but knew it was not right to leave
      • Just prayed and endured and prayed and endured
      • And God worked it out amazingly well.
      • He effectively transferred me without all the damage that would have been done if I had transferred myself
  • Summarize so far...

Endurance

  1. Future Joy: Heb 12:2–3
  2. Faith developed & rewarded
  3. Specific Training

3. Training

  • show the workbook
    • Lots of excercises that have to be done
    • God has a “training workbook” for you!

Hebrews 12:5–11

  1. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
          “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s training or give up when he corrects you.
                6For the Lord trains the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.”
  2. Endure your suffering as training; God is treating you as sons.
          For what son is there that a father does not train?
  3. But if you do not experience training, something all sons have shared in,
          then you are illegitimate and are not sons.
  4. Besides, we have experienced training from our earthly fathers and we respected them;
          shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life?
  5. For they trained us for a little while as seemed good to them,
          but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness.
  6. Now all training seems painful at the time, not joyful.
          But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those given excercise by it.

based on NET Bible


  • Moses
    • Born in Egypt, destined to lead the nation of Israel out of slavery to the promised land
    • At age 40 he thought he was ready to lead so what did he do?
      • He started a “mini-uprising”
      • But nobody followed him! It was an uprising of 1. He had to run for his life!
    • For the next 40 years he lived as a shepherd in the widerness
    • It must have seemed like a waste of his life, but why was it not? How was he being trained?
      • learned to live in the wilderness
      • learned to look after sheep
      • developed a relationship with God.
        • Now he could lead them God’s way, not his own
  • Student who came to Bible College from the US
    • God had saved him radically out of a bad lifestyle and now he was coming to Bible College
    • Everything was worked out financially
    • Got to the border... (something showed up on his police record from his old life)
    • Called me on the phone. I said:
      • I believe this is a spiritual battle
      • You pray, we will pray, and in three or four days just try again
    • He did and it was fine! Just let him in and gave him a 4-year visa
    • He is now a pastor
    • What do you think God was doing in that situation?

Joy

Joy

  • So three motivations to endure:
    1. Joy (picture)
    2. Grow the faith muscle (dumbell)
    3. Training (the workbook)
  • Those are the three images to remember.

Application

  • Is God training you now?
  • Does anyone have any experiences to share?

Updated on 2015-08-10 by Andrew Fountain