Hebrews 12 Discussion Guide
- How do people who don’t believe in God find meaning or purpose in their lives?
- Some say there is no ultimate meaning, but they continue to act as if there is some. How would this set them up for disappointment? How would make them more prone to make self-serving choices when things become hard?
- Why do some Christians who claim their purpose comes from God live selfishly? Where is the disconnect between beliefs/values/behaviors?
- Many don’t believe that there are absolute values derived from God but believe things like suicide are wrong? How is this a contradiction?
-Some will say suicide is okay when there is extreme suffering, but who decides what suffering is extreme?
- The non-human world doesn’t decide if it will live within God’s purposes; humans are the only ones who get to make that decision for themselves. What is God’s purpose for humans? Don’t worry about being perfectly theologically correct…just tell us what you believe it to be.
Read and reflect on the following Questions from Chapter 12:
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
- How does this verse tie back into the last chapter? (What is the “therefore” “there for”?)
- In this race of faith, what are some things that hinder?
- How are the things that hinder different from sin?
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- What do you think when you hear the phrase “fix your eyes on Jesus”? What does this mean in everyday life? What does it mean in terms of an “internal focus?”
- How does considering Jesus and what he endured help us “not grow weary or lose heart”? Or does it even help you? Be honest.
- If we are going to fix our eyes (minds-eye) on Jesus, what are some ideas of Jesus that might form in our minds that are not fully Biblical?
-For instance: “Jesus’s suffering was a lot different than mine is.” “Jesus is a superhero; I’m not.”
- To fix our eyes on Jesus means, at the very least, that we cannot focus mainly on ourselves. How does (has) a selfish focus proven to be disappointing for you personally?
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
- Why do you/we dislike discipline so much? (we like the disciplines we like, but not the ones we don’t like. I’m talking about the ones we don’t like)
- What kinds of discipline are related to sinful behavior?
- What kinds of discipline might just be related to going through difficult times not tied to some sin on our part?
1 Peter 1:6 …In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
1 Peter 4 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed
James 1 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
- What the themes from these passages that correspond to Hebrews 12?
- How do you feel about these passages?
- What does it mean that we have the choice to “suffer without hope” or “suffer with hope”
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
- In Scripture, Jesus is wisdom personified. How does making level paths correspond to walking in wisdom? What might that look like practically?
- What does “neurons that fire together, wire together” mean? What are the implications for our choices regarding what we think, say, believe, and do, and how do those choices impact our ability to live lives of wisdom?
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
- How have you seen the root of bitterness divide people?
- How does division between people negatively impact our ability to walk faithfully with Jesus?
- What does it mean, “Don’t sell your inheritance for sin?” What is your inheritance? How can we sell it for sin?
- How would you summarize, in a single sentence, what it means for you to practically fix your eyes on Jesus to endure faithfully?