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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to “The Archives Page”: More Bible Study Outlines.



October 30, 2016


SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 12:1-13


KEY VERSE: Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)


INTRODUCTION: The author of Hebrews is comparing the Christian life to a race. He isn't talking about a 100 yard dash. Instead, he is referring to a marathon (a race that requires endurance and preparation). Today, we know that we are in no physical shape to run in a marathon, but we can be in the kind of spiritual shape it takes to run the Christian race.


Nowhere in the Bible are Christians promised that the Christian life is going to be easy. In fact, often the opposite is true (see, John 16:33). Yes, trials will cross our paths and difficulties will come and, we will often be tempted to quit on the Lord and drop out of the race. That seems to be the idea in the book of Hebrews; these Christians were enduring a terrible time of persecution and trial. In light of all that, the writer is attempting to encourage these hurting, weary believers to be faithful to God and to continue to run their race.




A. Make Christ Your Goal. (Hebrews 12:1-2)


(Hebrews 12:1-2) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


1. See the Spectators. (Hebrews 12:1a)


The picture here is of an arena; the spectators are the heroes of faith listed in the previous chapter; the runners are the believers going through trials.


INSIGHT: This image does not necessarily imply that people in heaven watch us or know what is going on here on earth. It is an illustration, not a revelation.


2. Remove the Weights. (Hebrews 12:1b)


If the Christian is to win the race, (1) he must get rid of the weights and sins that make it hard for him to run. (2) He must consider the will of God for his life. (3) Most of all, he must keep his eyes on the goal (see, Philippians 3:12-16).


3. Look to Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2)


In Hebrews 11, his readers looked back and saw how the great saints of the OT won the race of life through faith. In Hebrews 12 the writer urges them to “look unto Jesus” and have their faith and hope strengthened.


4. Run the Race. (Hebrews 12:1b)


Christ has already run this race of faith and conquered for us! He is the Author (Pioneer, Trailblazer) and Finisher of our faith; He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. What He starts, He finishes; He can help us through to victory.


B. Make Christ Your Model. (Hebrews 12:3)


(Hebrews 12:3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.


1. Consider the Savior.


Christ’s battle against sin took Him to the cross and cost Him His life. Most of us will not run on that course; it will probably be our task to live for Him, not die for Him.


“Consider Him!” “Look unto Jesus!” These words are the secret of encouragement and strength when the race gets difficult. We need to get our eyes off of ourselves, other people, and circumstances and get our eyes on Christ alone.


2. Experience the joy.


Our Lord went through many trials while on earth. What was it that helped take Him through to victory? “The joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). This was His goal -- the joy of presenting His church before the Father in heaven one day (see, Jude 24). (Also note, John 15:11, 16:20-24, and 17:13.)




A. These Christians Had Forgotten The Basic Truths Of God’s Word. (Hebrews 12:4-5)


(Hebrews 12:4-5) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:


1. God Disciplines His Children.


Hebrews 12:5 tells us that they had even forgotten what God says about chastening. The writer quoted Proverbs 3:11ff and reminded them that suffering in the life of a Christian is not punishment, but chastening.


This word “chastening” literally means “child-training, discipline.” They were spiritual babes; one way God had of maturing them was to put them through trials.


INSIGHT: Punishment is the work of a judge; chastening is the work of a father. Punishment is handed out to uphold the law; chastening is given out as a proof of love, for the bettering of the child.


2. God Loves His Children.


Too often we rebel at God’s loving hand of chastening; instead, we ought to submit and grow. Satan tells us that our trials are proof that God does not love us; but God’s Word says that sufferings are the best proof that He does love us!


B. When Suffering Comes To Believers, They Can Respond In Several Ways. (Hebrews 12:6)


(Hebrews 12:6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.


1. Christian believers can resist the circumstances and fight the will of God, growing bitter instead of better.


“Why does this have to happen to me? God doesn’t care anymore! It doesn’t pay to be a Christian!” This attitude will only produce sorrow and bitterness of soul.


INSIGHT: The writer of Hebrews says, “We have had earthly fathers who chastened us, and we respected them. Should we not respect our Heavenly Father who loves us and desires to bring us to maturity?” After all, the best proof we are God’s children, and not illegitimate children, is that God disciplines us.


The suggestion is made in [Hebrews 12:9] that if we do not submit ourselves to God, we may die. God will not have rebellious children and may take their lives if He must. -- Warren Wiersbe, New Testament Outlines


2. Then too the Christian believer may give up and quit.


This is the wrong attitude (see, Hebrews 12:3, 12-13). God’s chastening is meant to help us grow, not to beat us down. The correct attitude is that we endure by faith (see, Hebrews 12:7), allowing God to work out His perfect plan.


3. Christian believers can go on to victory.


It is that blessed “afterward” of Hebrews 12:11 that keep us going! Chastening is for our profit that we might be sharers of His holiness, and our submission brings the most glory to His name. We will win!


INSIGHT: A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix.


First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say. -- Source Unknown.


C. What Does A Lack Of Discipline In A Christian’s Life Indicate? (Hebrews 12:7-8)


(Hebrews 12:7-8) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.


A lack of discipline in a Christian’s life would indicate that the person was not really a child of God. Without exception, the Lord disciplines all those who He loves and regards to be His children. If discipline indicates God’s love and belonging to Him, then a lack of discipline would indicate that the individual did not really belong to God.


D. Why Does God Discipline His Children? (Hebrews 12:9-11)


(Hebrews 12:9-11) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.


INSIGHT: God’s ultimate purpose in discipline is to cause our spiritual growth. Hebrews 12:11 states that it brings about “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” for those under its training. God is interested in our spiritual well-being.


1. To build-up and give endurance to His children. (Hebrews 12:12).


(Hebrews 12:12) Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.


a. The Christian life is likened to a race.


Runners in the marathon, which is a distance of more than twenty-six miles, speak of a certain point in the race where they “hit the wall.” That point is usually around the twenty-mile mark. At that point they suddenly are overwhelmed by the feeling that every ounce of energy in their body has been exhausted and they cannot go any farther. The winners, of course, somehow reach down and find the strength to finish.


b. The Christian life sometimes brings us to the point of being overwhelmed.


The writer seems to be describing Christians who have “hit the wall.” They believe that they have exhausted every ounce of their spiritual energy and cannot make it to the finish line. Dangling hands and feeble knees in a runner are signs of exhaustion. Runners look for these signs in their competitors and, seeing them, take new courage.


c. The Christian life will bring victory to those who don’t quit.


We can be certain that Satan is watching for every sign that might indicate that Christians are completely exhausted and will become easy prey for him. Here the faltering Christians are encouraged to put every bit of energy into one last effort to make the finish line. (See Isaiah 35:3)


2. To give healing and not lameness to His children. (Hebrews 12:13)


(Hebrews 12:13) And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.


a. Stronger Christians should help the weaker Christians.


Our Bible study concludes with a reference to Proverbs 4:26. That which is lame refers to weaker Christians. The stronger Christians are to help the weaker. They do this by making straight paths for feet to follow; those Christians who have greater spiritual maturity have a responsibility that the less mature Christians be healed, and that none of them be turned out of the way.


b. Stronger Christians should set the example for weaker Christians.


Undoubtedly this includes setting a good example. Even Christian leaders will give an account for how well they lead God’s flock (see, Hebrews 13:17).


Winning The Race


On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man in history to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Within 2 months, John Landy eclipsed the record by 1.4 seconds. On August 7, 1954, the two met together for a historic race. As they moved into the last lap, Landy held the lead. It looked as if he would win, but as he neared the finish he was haunted by the question, "Where is Bannister?" As he turned to look, Bannister took the lead. Landy later told a Time magazine reporter, "If I hadn't looked back, I would have won!"


One of the most descriptive pictures of the Christian life in the Bible is of an athlete competing in a race. First Corinthians 9:24-27 tells us that discipline is the key to winning. In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are encouraged to lay aside anything that might hinder our spiritual advancement and to stay focused on Christ. And in Philippians 3:12-13, the apostle Paul said, "I follow after, . . . forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before."


Lord, give us endurance as we run this race of life. Help us not to wallow in past failures, but to be disciplined and to shun sinful ways. May we fix our eyes on the eternal goal set before us and keep looking unto Jesus. – Henry G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread, August 7, 1995


CONCLUSION: In our lives, we will experience awful pain, demoralizing disappointment, or irreplaceable loss. But we can learn from the Lord Jesus, who went before us. Jesus blazed the trail. Jesus showed us that the path of pain leads to victory, peace, and joy in the end. Now Jesus invites us to take His hand as we follow in His footsteps.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “For the right spiritual focus, fix your eyes on the Lord.”


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.


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