Hebrews 12:1-13

The Lord’s Discipline

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?

“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline

or give up when he corrects you.

6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.”

7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.

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Hebrews 11:24-40

24 By faith, when he grew up, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin’s fleeting pleasure. 26 He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt without fearing the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after the people marched around them for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, 35 and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. 36 And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 39 And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. 40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.

Hebrews 11:1-23

People Commended for Their Faith

11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old received God’s commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. 4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith he still speaks, though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 12 So in fact children were fathered by one man – and this one as good as dead – like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand on the seashore. 13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. 18 God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” 19 and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there. 20 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions about his burial.

23 By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Hebrews 11:1

  • Have you felt persecuted for your faith?
  • What circumstances have led to the strengthening of your faith?
  • What do you lean on to bring reassurance of your faith?
  • How does living in vulnerability (desperate dependence) on others help strengthen your faith?
  • What role does gratitude play in your relationship with Jesus?
  • How can serving others strengthen your inner faith?

People Commended for Their Faith

11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

  • Have you felt persecuted for your faith?
  • What circumstances have led to the strengthening of your faith?
  • What do you lean on to bring reassurance of your faith?
  • How does living in vulnerability (desperate dependence) on others help strengthen your faith?
  • What role does gratitude play in your relationship with Jesus?
  • How can serving others strengthen your inner faith?

People Commended for Their Faith

11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

Jonah 4

Jonah Responds to God’s Kindness

4 This displeased Jonah terribly and he became very angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord and said, “Oh, Lord, this is just what I thought would happen when I was in my own country. This is what I tried to prevent by attempting to escape to Tarshish! – because I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment. 3 So now, Lord, kill me instead, because I would rather die than live!” 4 The Lord said, “Are you really so very angry?”

5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made a shelter for himself there and sat down under it in the shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 The Lord God appointed a little plant and caused it to grow up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to rescue him from his misery. Now Jonah was very delighted about the little plant.

7 So God sent a worm at dawn the next day, and it attacked the little plant so that it dried up. 8 When the sun began to shine, God sent a hot east wind. So the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. So he despaired of life, and said, “I would rather die than live!” 9 God said to Jonah, “Are you really so very angry about the little plant?” And he said, “I am as angry as I could possibly be!” 10 The Lord said, “You were upset about this little plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. 11 Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh, this enormous city? There are more than one hundred twenty thousand people in it who do not know right from wrong, as well as many animals!”

Jonah 3

The People of Nineveh Respond to Jonah’s Warning

3 The Lord’s message came to Jonah a second time, 2 “Go immediately to Nineveh, that large city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah went immediately to Nineveh, in keeping with the Lord’s message. (Now Nineveh was an enormous city – it required three days to walk through it!) 4 When Jonah began to enter the city one day’s walk, he announced, “At the end of forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown!”

5 The people of Nineveh believed in God, and they declared a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat on ashes. 7 He issued a proclamation and said, “In Nineveh, by the decree of the king and his nobles: No human or animal, cattle or sheep, is to taste anything; they must not eat and they must not drink water. 8 Every person and animal must put on sackcloth and must cry earnestly to God, and everyone must turn from their evil way of living and from the violence that they do. 9 Who knows? Perhaps God might be willing to change his mind and relent and turn from his fierce anger so that we might not die.” 10 When God saw their actions – that they turned from their evil way of living! – God relented concerning the judgment he had threatened them with and he did not destroy them.