September 22, 1996
Posted, July 11, 1998

Against Discouragement

Heb 12:12, 13

This verse tells us that it takes courage to be a Christian. I should qualify that: It takes courage to be the kind of Christian that is pleasing to God.

Christianity is a life of ups and downs. It is a life of mountains and valleys. It is a life of approval and disapproval of others.

This chapter deals with discouragement.

V. 1, reminds us that the saints who have gone before are watching. Therefore, we are urged to lay aside everything that would hinder our Christian life and run with patience

V. 2, we are to look to Jesus. The Law of God, the 10 commandments, is our rule of life, and the Lord Jesus is our example of patience.

Looking unto Jesus... This is why I continually urge people to read the Word of God. Don't watch men, for they will get you in trouble. 2 Cor 10:12

V. 3, Christ continued on in spite of all the opposition man could throw at Him.

Notice vv. 2-4 urge us to continue on for Christ in spite of all the efforts that the world, flesh and devil can muster to discourage or stop us.

This section tells us that Christ did not quit when everything, even the threat of death, went against Him to prevent His doing God's will.

This section reminds us that the same victory Christ had is now available to His people through Grace.

This section urges us, when things get hard, look to Christ's victory, v. 24. In watching Him through His Word, we can have the same victory He had.

This section tells us there is no excuse for falling by the wayside, for Christ both set the example and provides the grace to finish the course.


Vv. 5-11 warns God's people of a different kind of difficulty. This is the difficulties and discouragements that we bring upon ourselves by our own stubbornness.

This section tells us that if we are children of the Most High, we will not be able to ignore the Word and will of God and get away with it. There is a serious price to pay for our determination to ignore God's requirements upon us as His people, v. 29.

Yes, God gave us the ability and "freedom" to go our own way and do our own thing, but there will be serious results.

[V. 8, Terrisa Stein saw this verse as proving she was not saved.]

The author of Hebrews has presented us now with two reasons for discouragement that cause some of God's people to fall by the wayside. These things can cause them to say, WHAT IS THE USE? NOTHING IS GOING TO TURN OUT ANYWAY.

The two causes are,

FIRST, the everyday oppositions to the Christian walk, the trials, temptations, situations, the resistance of the world to Christianity in general.

SECOND, the things we bring upon ourselves as we insist on doing things our own way, as we insist on ignoring our Christian responsibilities as given in God's Word.

The Child of God is responsible to find out how to apply the victory of Christ into every area of his life and thought.

In both cases, the Christian life can become quite discouraging.

Vv. 12, 13 Then the Spirit moves on with words of encouragement.

These are the verses I want to call your attention to. These verses tell us not to get discouraged and quit.

1) V. 3, When we get discouraged, look unto Jesus, consider what He went through, and how everything moved to discourage Him. How can we look to Him? THROUGH HIS WORD, FOR ONE THING.

ISA 35:3

2) When we get discouraged, return to v. 5. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THAT GOD DEALS WITH HIS CHILDREN IN LOVE?

3) When we get discouraged, v. 13, make straight paths for your feet... How do we do that?

We do that by seeking God's Word as to how to respond to the discouraging situations.

Deut 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Isa 30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

2 John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.)

He tells us to stay on the right course, and the victory is there in Christ to do it.

Vv. 14-17 warn of the results of not remaining in the way given us in the Word of God in the face of discouragements and disappointments.

V. 14, the natural reaction to the difficulties of vv 1-4 or to the difficulties of vv. 5-11 is to blame someone else. Maybe even blame the Lord.

He tells us that we must remain holy and blameless no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Rom 12:17, 18,

Vv. 15-17 finish out the thought.

Things happen to discourage us from following the way given to us in God's Word.

As we said, those things may be simply the natural result of Christianity as the world, flesh and devil stand against us. Or those things may be the result of sins in our lives that the Lord is trying to get us to face up to and deal with.

Regardless of the cause, we cannot blame anyone for the discouragements that come our way. WE CANNOT BLAME THE DEVIL... WE CANNOT BLAME GOD... WE CANNOT BLAME OUR FELLOW MAN... We have been told many times over of the victory in Christ, so we are to claim that victory, keep our eyes on Him, and continue in "the straight and narrow" as outlined in God's Word.

If we do not look to Jesus, we will become bitter. We will fight with everyone around us (v. 14), our spirit will be troubled and we will trouble those around us (v. 15), we will fail of the grace of God and we will be unable to stand against the wiles of the devil (v. 15), we will defile many around us (v. 15). The way we respond to the situations around us WILL affect others.

And if we ignore the victory we have in Christ to do vv. 12, 13, we will be hardened to the point of no return, v. 17.

The author continues the warning, but we will not other than just an outline.

The continued warning is that our God is not someone to trifle with. His people either live in the way that is pleasing in His sight as outlined in His word, or they face HIS CONSUMING FIRE, V. 26.

But v. 29 comes after vv. 26-28: everything in creation is being shaken, but a promise is given.

V.2, those who are keeping their eyes on the Lord, v. 11, those who are dealing with the things that the Lord reveals to them, v. 14, those who are keeping their attitudes right toward God and man in whatever situation they find, the sum total is that they will be preserved as the Lord brings down everything around them that is against Him and His word.

V. 28, the victory over everything that can come against us to discourage us from serving God acceptably with reverence and godly fear has already been accomplished in Christ, and it is ours to claim by faith.

When God's people do not claim that victory and apply it, they face V. 29.

When God's people do claim that victory and apply it, they will inherit God's blessing, v. 17, and receive a kingdom that cannot be moved, v. 28