Hebrews 12:1–3

Community Group Discussion Guide

Sermon Overview: The emphasis of this sermon will be on faith in Christ and what it looks like on a daily basis to “fix our eyes on Jesus” by faith.

Context: “Therefore” in chapter 12:1 connects what the author is about to write with everything that just came before it. All those mentioned in chapter 11 (Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham...), every person did not receive what was promised on earth (Heb. 11:40), for God was preparing something more perfect than anything that had come before (Jer. 31:31-34). “Therefore” infers that since all of these great people of faith have gone before us, we should then also “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).”

The Christian faith has had many giants of faith throughout history. Those in the Old Testament who demonstrated faith such as Abraham, who trusted God’s promise to multiply his offspring even when He commanded him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Many others who were just mentioned in the last chapter. All of them sacrificed daily, having faith that God would count them as righteous and that he would keep His promises made to them. The church today has those who have come after Jesus and before us, great men and women of faith such as Martin Luther, George Lisle, Hudson Taylor, Lottie Moon, George Mueller, and Jim Elliot.

A greater and more perfect example of enduring faith is Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to run their race while keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus who is the founder and perfecter of our faith. Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) With Jesus Christ as the example to consider, Christians are called to not grow weary and endure the race just as Christ has endured (Heb. 12:3-17), understanding that there will be discipline from God along the way that is meant to produce holiness in us. Just like a good and loving father, God will allow us to be disciplined through a variety of means, proving that we are his sons and daughters, so as to help us run the race with endurance to the end. “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we might share in his holiness.” (Heb. 12:9-10)

The theme of endurance closes with a reminder that believers in Christ have also now received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Unlike the first covenant that was introduced with great fear and trembling on mount Sinai, the new covenant is introduced through a mediator who welcomes us to the city of the living God. When this first covenant was introduced, the voice of God shook the earth. God now promises that yet once more he will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. (Heb. 12:27) This indicates that those things which have been made on earth (such as the old covenant and temporary material things) will be removed, while heavenly, eternal realities will remain. For this reason, Christians are exhorted to offer to God acceptable worship, reverence, and awe to the end.

Key Points:

Jesus is the Founder and Perfecter of our faith (1-2)
Consider Jesus, and do not grow weary even through God’s discipline (3-17)
We have inherited the New Jerusalem; a kingdom that cannot be shaken (18-29)

Discussion/Application Questions:

Verses 1-2
How does the great cloud of witnesses of the Old Testament serve us today?
We have been adopted into the family of God and are now reconciled in Christ to Him. We have such a rich heritage in Christ; do we know how great a heritage we have? How does this spiritual position encourage us to faithfully endure as we follow Jesus through challenging times?
How do we practically “look” to Jesus as the author says in verse 2? How can you do that each day this week?
What are the things in your life that easily entangle and cause you to stumble? How are you striving to lay them aside?
How can we share the gospel with someone this week (maybe even on social media) from Hebrews 12:1-2?

Verses 3-17
How does it encourage you to know that “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives?”
How does earthly discipline (parents and children) reflect the discipline of the Lord? Are there times you wrongly despise God’s discipline?
Read Hebrews 12:7-8. How should this instruct our hearts and minds if we are living continually outside of God’s will with no correction?
Discipline leads to holiness (“for without which no one can see the Lord” (12:14)). Are your daily disciplines leading you to holiness? How have you seen this in your own life, your spouse’s life, or in another Community Group member’s life?

How do we as Christians strive for peace with everyone?
What does your daily pursuit for holiness look like?
Community allows us to “see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God” (12:15). How do we in Community hold one another accountable in a way where no one among us fails to obtain the grace of God?

Verse 18-29
Jesus has all authority on heaven and on Earth; this is his unshakable kingdom. How does this encourage us to share the gospel?
The kingdom of God expands through the power of the Holy Spirit and Discipleship. How can we teach others discipline as we seek to make disciples?
In the midst of difficult times, how can we express our gratefulness for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken?
How will you commit to worship throughout the week and on every Sunday when we are not corporately gathering?

Prayer Guide:

Pray for our church, that Community might remain vital to our body as we are currently distanced. Pray for the day when our worship and fellowship together will never be interrupted.
Pray for our city, that the Church can be a light in this seemingly dark time. That people would be drawn to Christ as we proclaim him to be the solution for the brokenness in the world.
Pray for our world, that we will see healing take place, disease cured, and unity in the midst of fear. Pray that the gospel will go out unhindered even in the midst of travel bans and social distancing.