Title: The Original Cross
Purpose: To motivate Christians to embrace the struggle of Chrisitian living

Intro:	1.  People would rather buy a fake cross rather than give their life for the real one
	2.  The Hebrews chose the original cross (after awhile, got tired and traded it in 
	    for fakes, ones that were prettier, less rugged, and easier to handle)
	3.  The writer is calling them back to the original cross
	4.  Does this by helping them to see their struggle from God’s perspective
	5.  Text:  Heb 12:4-11  God’s perspective on the struggle is three fold

I.  The perspective of the Purpose of the struggle
	A.  Passage begins with “exhortation” in verse 5
		1.  He reminds them that their struggle has not led to death, then quotes exhortation
		2.  Exhortation means building up, encouragement, inspire 
		3.  How do you find inspiration in the struggle?
		4.  Can find encouragement if you remember there is a purpose behind struggle
	B.  The “struggle” (race, agony) is now called discipline (v.5-6)
		1.  Discipline = Punishment?  (no)
		2.  From paideuo - 
			a.  Means to train
			b.  Our english words “pedagogy” or “pediatrics” come from this word
		3.  So “discipline” is about “training”       (“disciple” = trainee, follower, student)
		4.  Difference between punishment and discipline
			a.  Punishment - Tears down, eye for an eye, rejection -- Aim is to punish
			b.  Discipline - Builds up, correction, love -- Aim is to train
			c.  So don’t say “God is punishing me” - God’s doesn’t do that
		5.  With that perspective, the text says
			a.  Don’t regard it lightly - It is supposed to correct your course in the race
			b.  Don’t faint - It’s not punishment, God is doing it because he cares for you
	C.  To compete in the contest, you have to have training and discipline
		1.  Jesus is not your punisher, he is your coach and your trainer
		2.  All of the hardships and struggle is for training so you can compete to win!
		3.  Basketball players are trained and disciplined
			a.  Most valuable skill?  REBOUNDING (It’s almost an art form)
			b.  Why?  They miss a lot of shots!!
			c.  Key to winning - How you handle the rebound
	D.  You are going to miss a lot of shots
		1.  Just because you miss doesn’t mean the game is over
			a.  Miss and ball hits you on the head, don’t give up
			b.  Training and Discipline is about not quitting when you miss
			c.  It is about bouncing back
			d.  It is about catching the rebound and sinking the shot
			e.  SCORE!  -- the great cloud of witnesses cheer
		2.  Purpose of struggle (v. 7a) -- Discipline and training
			a.  When you mess up because of hardship catch the rebound
			b.  Game not over till the timer buzzes, and I haven't heard it yet!

In recognizing the purpose of the struggle, you will also recognize ... ...

II.  The perspective of your Position in the struggle (v.7-8)
	A.  God deals with you as sons (not as criminals, not as a defendant, not as a prisoner)
	B.  The passage says several things about your position in the discipline
		1.  It is a sign of sonship (v.8)  (receiving discipline shows you are his child)
		2.  It is a sign of love (v.6)
			a.  He scourges (whips) every son he receives
			b.  God takes you out behind the barn with a hickory switch
			c.  It is not punishment, it is training, correction, because you are a son
		3.  Prov 3:11-12 - Lord delights in you, that is why he disciplines us!
		4.  So don’t regard it lightly and don’t faint
			a.  What if you do blow it off or reject it?
			b.  (v. 8) If you reject Lord’s discipline, you reject Him as your Father
			c.  When choose to make Him Lord, you choose his path with its struggle
	C. Jeremy’s T-Ball Game
		1.  Hit home run (didn’t realize it till it was over)
		2.  He just hit ball and ran as fast as he could (overtook runner in front of him)
		3.  He was on cloud nine (WE were on cloud nine)
		4.  Talk about delighting in my son -- He ran and ran well
			a.  But it didn’t happen automatically
			b.  It took practice and training and discipline
	D.  That is how God is with us
		1.  With all the training and discipline, he wants you to run and run well
		2.  Just hit the ball and run as fast as you can
		3.  The Lord will say “that’s one of my kids, look at him go!!” (he will delight in you)
		4.  But it wont happen unless you let the Lord be your trainer

So when you struggle, remember your position in it -- God’s beloved child.  That will lead you to recognizing ... 

III.  The perspective of the Product of the Struggle
	A.  The struggle is not an empty one, it goes somewhere
	B.  It will have two effects
		1.  We will share his Holiness
		2.  The peaceful fruit of righteousness (or a harvest of righteousness and peace)
	C.  My Mom is a Green thumb
		1.  Can remember having to go out and till the garden by hand with shovel
		2.  Turn it over and break it up until the ground is good for growing
		3.  When the Lord takes a shovel and spade to us
			a.  We feel like he is just tearing us apart
			b.  He is turning us over to plant the seed of discipline
			c.  If we let him take the spade to us, the seed will grow
			d.  Text says that it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace
	D.  The harvest means Heaven.  How?
		1.  Produces righeousness.  Only the righteous inherit the Kingdom of Heaven
		2.  Produces peace.  With peace, can concentrate on the goal without distraction


1.  In order to concentrate on the goal and gain this peace, it takes the right perspective:
	a.  Purpose - Discipline/ Training
	b.  Position - Beloved child of God
	c.  Product - righteousness and peace

2.  What was the purpose of all of this perspective?  (v.9)
	a.  Accept (respect) Lord’s discipline and live
	b.  Did God love Jesus (only begotten son)  Hebrews 5:7-8 - Even Jesus learned obedience
	    through suffering.

3.  What form is God’s discipline taking in your life?
	a.  Financial struggle? - maybe trying to send message that need to re-prioritize your life
	b.  Struggle in marriage? - maybe trying to tell you spend more time together
	c.  Physical sickness? - trying to show you not to rely on your physical abilities (temporary)
	d.  With brethren? - maybe trying to teach you humility, patience, forgiveness
	e.  With Other friends influence? - Maybe get new friends
	f.  With enemies (because of your faith)? - Maybe trying to drive you closer to him
	g.  IN ALL THIS, don’t forget the purpose, position and product of the struggle --  discipline

4.  What do you do when these hardships come?
	a.  Satan wants you to avoid the struggle at all cost
		-God wants you to hit the ball and run as fast as you can - and run on the path
		-Even if you miss the shot, God wants you to bounce back and get the rebound
	b.  Satan may even encourage you to pray that God remeove the struggle
		-Let’s go back and use the word "contest", or "race" instead of "struggle"
		-God, remove me from the “race”
		-Is that what you want?  NO!

5.  Satan has all kinds of substitute crosses.
	a.  They are cheaper, prettier,  lighter,  more respectable, nicer looking
	b.  He’ll take your old rugged cross as a trade in
	c.  That old rugged cross is the only one to get you into Heaven

6.  Instead of praying God remove you from the struggle, pray God help you  endure it as
discipine and training as the text says

7.  Pray God help you keep focused on the goal

8.  Cling to the Old Rugged Cross, and you will win the crown