International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 16, 2012
Purpose: To acknowledge with gratitude the many faithful witnesses who inspire us and accept the need to discipline ourselves to remain faithful over the long haul
Scripture Text: Hebrews 12:1-11
Hebrews 12:1-11 (CEB)
(1) So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, (2) and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (3) Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. (4) In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, (5) and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:
My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
or give up when you are corrected by him,
(6) because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.(Prov 3:11-12)
(7)Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? (8) But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. (9) What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? (10) Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. (11) No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This is our third lesson that speaks to us about our faith. We have talked about perseverance, assurance and today about endurance.
Our text begins with the statement “let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” I can attest to this as I am sure many of you can. I had that cloud of witness in an uncle and a father-in-law as well as a mentor and others that I have had the privilege of knowing in my race that I am running. But the ultimate witness, in that cloud, is Jesus and what He endured in His race to and on the cross and the victory that was won, and the position he now holds.
None of us, that are still alive, have given as much as Jesus gave. The challenge for us is to strive to live a life that glorifies Jesus and honors what He accomplished by His death and resurrection.
The writer uses the example that most of us as parents or children can relate to. “The Lord disciplines those that he loves". A child that is not disciplined is not loved. While as children we do not appreciate discipline when it is applied, but later we see the fruits from the discipline applied.
God is trying to make us want to be holy in our living and in the daily decisions we make. Every day we are faced with choices, we chose to live a holy life that pleases God, or we choose those things that might bring us pleasure for the moment. Many times our choices reflect our real feeling about our redemption. Our attitude is more that of a spoiled child, than a gratefully redeemed child of God. The cloud of witnesses that we look upon usually made good decisions in their run. Our goal should be to emulate them, and the great example we have in Christ.
The Christian life is not a life of ease; it is a life that requires discipline, if we are going to attain our goal. Part of that discipline requires us to work through troubling times and hardships. The reason we can tough it out in times of trouble is because we know the reward that awaits us. Eternity is so much longer than this life that we need to keep things in perspective. As Jesus said in John 12:25: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”.