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April 26, 2013

Text: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

Do not all of us have lapses in our confidence of the rewards promised by God? It is difficult to keep doubts from creeping into our minds. For some the treasures of heaven seem to suffer from inflation. Ardor is susceptible to callousness . We abandon distance vision of the promises of God and turn to short-sightedness.

Repeatedly the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews returns to his main theme: “Do not abandon the rewards God has promised.” In verse 35 of our text  he turns back to Hebrews 3:6a “And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence…”  Here he returns to that thought, but states it negatively, “…do not throw away your confidence…”  This is all an admonition for saints not to discard the precious gift of God. He stresses its value to us calling it “a great reward”. This is all conditional on our continued obedience: “if indeed we hold fast our confidence…” (3:6)

The writer of this epistle also looks down the road of the future. It seems that he asks, “What do these saints who have suffered and are hanging by a thread need?” Naturally he comes up with the answer….endurance.  Endurance means that the Christian life is a matter of persistence under duress….yes, even severe distress. The Christian needs stamina and guts. Are you a fighter, a stayer, a survivor? Never give up! God is more powerful than all your enemies. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. ” James 1:2

And remember that the true measure of endurance is obedience to God. Receiving the promises of God will only occur after you have fully obeyed the Lord. If  our foot strays from the path of obedience, the only way to obtain the promises of God is to return to the way of righteousness. Falling out before the finish will not bring God’s blessings.  Failing to do your duty will bring you no medal of honor. If you want to get the prize you must endure the labor The Master has assigned you.

Finally, remember that the prize exists for you at the end of the road. Do not get off the train too soon. Never think that you have done enough. Jesus said, ” So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say ‘We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty'”. Luke 17:10

I have always admired the following story.  “Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round—remembering that the man who fights one more round is never whipped.”  Attributed to Gentleman Jim Corbett, boxer

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