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Do Not Grow Weary (Hebrews 12) | Mike Mazzalongo | BibleTalk.tv

- I have a question for you,

if you will answer.

Raise your hand if you have felt

tired at some point this week.

Okay, I quit, that's too many.

[congregation laughs]

I don't know all the reasons why you've raised your hands.

Maybe some of you were even just

too tired to raise your hand.

I don't know about that.

But I do know, for example, that mothers

of children under three, they're always tired.

Right?

And people who work shifts,

they're tired even after they've slept.

And those who are over 60 years old,

they're tired, well, because they're over 60.

[congregation laughs]

And if you're over 70, you're even

more tired, and then so on and so forth.

On a more serious note, people in bad marriages,

bad jobs, bad health, they're tired.

Those who care for others, whether it's their job

or because of a family situation, those people are tired.

Even young, healthy people get tired

when waiting for something or someone

that just doesn't come through.

Even young people get tired.

And, of course, long-winded sermons, they have a way

of wearing out even the most dedicated saint.

They get tired, too.

Even a church tires.

So, these are examples of things

that cause everybody to be tired,

whether they believe in God or not.

But there is, however, another set

of conditions that cause fatigue or,

as the Bible calls it, weariness,

that only Christians are subject to,

that Christians have to deal with specifically,

for example, the weariness that is caused

by trying to live a righteous life in an unrighteous world.

That gets wearying.

Peter talks about that in Second Peter.

He says, and if He rescued righteous Lot,

oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,

for by what he saw and heard that righteous man,

while living among them, felt his righteous soul

tormented day after day by their lawless deeds.

Watching the news, and day after day

observing the wars and the violence,

the deterioration of our own nation's morality at times,

the glorification of the carnal and worldly

over the spiritual and godly, the constant pressure

to be in the world but not be swept up by the world,

this is wearying to the Christian soul.

To all Christians this is wearying.

Another cause of weariness?

The conflict between the Spirit and the flesh

that sometimes, many times rages within us.

Paul the Apostle describes this

inner battle in Galatians 5:17.

He says, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit,

and the Spirit against the flesh,

for these are in opposition to one another

so that you may not do the things that you please.

The things I want to do, I don't do them.

The things I don't want to do, I end up doing them.

That gets old.

That gets tiring.

Christians suffer all the same aches and pains

and disappointments as nonbelievers,

but in the midst of our suffering,

we must also deal with Satan's attack against our faith.

We have to deal with temptations

to compromise our morals and the difficult task

of trying to do what is right,

what is Christlike in the middle of a crisis.

It's enough that there's a crisis.

It's enough that there's a health crisis,

a family crisis, a job crisis.

There's enough that this is what's going on,

but on top of this, I've got to figure out,

what would Christ have me do inside this crisis?

And so this tug of war within us

can be very wearying for a believer.

And then one other cause for fatigue unique to Christians?

Church life.

Church life.

Have you ever thought about what you would do

with the time and money you invest in worship

and fellowship and service in the Lord's Church?

Come on.

You've never thought about that?

That little thought never kind of went through your mind?

A member who is here for all services

devotes roughly eight hours per week

to travel and attendance and the visiting afterwards, so on.

About eight hours are invested if you come

Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night.

I mean, that's a day's work.

Not to mention the extra time if you happen

to teach a class or serve in some other way.

What would you do with an extra day of time?

Not to mention 10 or more percent

of your income, what would you do with that?

Now, I'm not saying that members begrudge

the attendance or the service or the giving.

I believe that most do it willingly, joyfully.

But we need to remember that Christians

give this time while they're holding down

full-time jobs, while they're raising families

and keeping up with school activities

and work overtime and so on and so forth.

And so the demand of time and money

to participate in church life,

even if done willingly and joyfully,

still takes a toll on one's energy and resources.

Come on.

Let's be honest.

So, I've given you these examples to highlight

the very real situation that aside from all of the things

that people have to deal with that cause them

to be, quote, tired, Christians have the additional demands

of righteous living and spiritual conflict

and the demands of church life

that can cause further wearying of their souls.

However, God has not left us, who are Christians,

He has not left us without help

and refreshment when we feel that we have trouble

going forward because of a weary soul.

I want to give you the difference

between weary and tired for a moment.

Weary is different from tired.

Tired is the natural result of work or effort.

It's a depletion of our store of energy

because we've invested it into something, whatever that is.

Tired is a signal that we need rest, we need to recharge,

we need to eat or sleep, we need to heal.

Tired is felt physically, and it is

treated most of the times physically.

Weary, on the other hand, is a condition of the heart.

In certain passages, the English word weary comes

from various Greek words that mean to loosen or to release.

In Galatians 6:9, Paul says, let us not lose heart

in doing good, for in due time,

we will reap if we do not grow weary.

To grow weary is to lose our resolve,

to let something kind of slip away,

slip out of our hands, to not hold on to something

as tightly as we once held on to it.

The passage this morning read by Don in Hebrews 12,

I want to focus in on verse three there.

The writer says, for consider Him

who has endured such hostility by sinners

against Himself so that you will not grow weary.

Here the writer says that despite the violent

and constant attacks against Him, Jesus did not loosen.

He did not let go His resolve to carry out His mission.

And we as Christians should not loosen our grip, either.

We should not grow weary.

What is understood but not written

is that our hold or our grip is on faith in Jesus Christ.

Our hold, our grip is on the hope that we have of Heaven.

Our hold, our grip is in our capacity

to continue to love other people,

even when they are not lovable,

which happens a lot.

Don't grow weary, he says.

Don't let these good things slip out of your hands.

And God, he says, helps those who

are in danger of growing weary.

Now, the passages that admonish Christians

to not grow weary also provide God's

remedies for the problem of weariness.

You ready for those?

Remedy number one, consider Christ.

Remember Hebrews?

Let's read it again.

I think it's a, you know?

It says, for consider Him who has endured such hostility

by sinners against Himself so that you will not grow weary.

So, what am I supposed to do?

Consider Him, he says.

The word consider means to consider thoughtfully.

Think carefully about what Christ

has done and how He has done it.

We are in danger of letting go or relaxing our hold

when we consider other things,

when we begin to consider our own strength

or our own ability to hold on,

when we consider the world and its cares,

when our consideration is about the things in the past

and the sins in the past and the failings

in the past, or when our consideration

is simply for the things in the future.

What will happen?

How will I react?

How can I manage the future?

When our consideration goes in these directions,

we're in the danger of slipping,

of letting things go that are important.

And so for those who are weary,

God calls on them to consider Jesus.

Focus on Him.

Yoke yourself to Him.

Call on Him for strength to hold tightly

to faith and to hope and to love.

You know all that church work, all that church life,

all those hours, what they're about?

They're about holding.

They're about learning how to strengthen the grip.

They're about learning how to tighten our hold

on those things, of faith and hope and love.

They're not wasted efforts.

Remedy number two, cast your cares on Christ.

Peter says, therefore humble yourselves

under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you

at the proper time, casting all of your anxiety on Him.

Why?

Because He cares for you.

Because He cares for you.

It's interesting to note that the original root word

translated into the English word anxiety

or care is the word distraction.

It is the same word used in the parable

of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13:22,

where Jesus says, and the one on whom seed was sown

among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word,

and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness

of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Unfruitful.

The worry, the cares, the anxiety,

the distractions of the world.

We lose our grip, we lessen our hold,

we grow weary when we are distracted from Christ

by the things in this world, or we try to carry

the things in this world all by ourselves.

We're celebrating July 4th, a wonderful holiday.

The best things in America are put forward.

But one of the things about being an American

is this idea of self-sufficiency.

We want to be self-sufficient in oil.

We want to have the biggest army

so we don't have to depend on anybody.

We don't like signing treaties.

We're not crazy about having the United Nations

tell us what to do and cooperate.

We like to go it alone.

And in some instances, that might be fine.

But it is completely contrary to the Spirit of Christ.

Because as Christians, we are dependent.

We're dependent on Him.

We have to cultivate our dependence on Him.

The last thing in the world that we do as Christians

is try to go it alone or think that we are independent

or cultivate the idea that we don't need anybody.

It's exactly the opposite, exactly the opposite.

That's why so many Christians crash and burn.

They're trying to go it alone.

God encourages us to cast the worries that we have

upon Christ for Him to bear the burden for us.

So many times, the beginning of the end

of worry and fear and distraction and anxiety

and weariness of the soul comes when we simply ask God

to take the burden from us and transfer it to Christ.

Now listen to what I'm saying.

Some of you with very practical minds

might be saying, yeah, I tried that.

That doesn't work so good.

I still felt pretty bad after.

You need to realize that this action of casting

our burdens on Him, this action doesn't automatically

resolve the issues that we face in the physical sense,

although it certainly begins the process

by acknowledging the one who has the wisdom

and power to resolve all of our issues.

It does, however, transfer the spiritual burden

and the angst that this causes us, it transfers this

to God, where the spiritual burden belongs.

It belongs on Him.

In other words, I may be a man with many issues,

but by casting the burden for these on God,

I am able to deal with my issues without

losing my hold on what is important.

I can face my issues without becoming weary.

That's the point.

And then finally, one other remedy

for dealing with weariness, consider Christ,

cast your cares on Christ, remedy number three,

continue doing good for Christ.

Paul says, Galatians 6:9, let us not lose heart

in doing good, for in due time,

we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Notice the weariness, always recognizing that

weariness is an issue for Christians.

The best way to fight weariness

and the discouragement that goes with it

is to continue to do good for others in the name of Christ.

We tighten our grip on faith and we secure

our hope of Heaven, we witness our love for God

when we seek and find ways to serve

and to bless other people, especially in the Church.

Paul goes on to say in verse 10,

so then while we have the opportunity,

let us do good to all people, and especially to those

who are of the household of faith.

We replace weariness with joy when we

are busy doing good with our brethren,

towards our brethren especially.

God is pleased, and He blesses us

accordingly when we are doing good,

and especially doing good for one another.

Here in Choctaw, we have done much good so far this year.

And for fear that this sermon would be wearying,

I want to just kind of go through some

of the good things that we've done.

We may have forgotten.

There's so many things.

We support missionaries.

Geoffrey Karima there, which would it be,

on your left is in Kenya.

We fully support this man and his family.

We supported him to go to college,

South Africa Bible College, to get a degree and training.

We supported him while he was in school,

and then when he left school and came back to work

in Meru Province, in Kenya as a circuit preacher

for 10 or 15 different congregations,

we picked up all of his support.

And Jean Elmera, the French preacher in Haiti,

one of the key missionaries, key preachers

in the country of Haiti, responsible for thousands

and thousands of baptisms, dozens and dozens

of church planted, we support this man here.

50% of his support comes from Choctaw and has for years.

And so because of our generosity and willingness

to preach the gospel through these men,

countless numbers of souls, countless numbers

of congregations have been planted in faraway places.

That's not all.

We've donated money to other mission works,

including the Ukraine and Russia,

and many privately support the work being done in Japan.

Another important effort in international missions?

After our dear Robert George, one of our ministers

here for many years who had worked

with international Bible correspondence course,

passed away, the elders wondered,

what will happen to that wonderful work, again,

responsible for thousands and thousands of people

being baptized and we don't know how many churches planted?

And lo and behold, one of our elders,

Steve Harrison, stepped up and said, "You know what?

"I think I can continue this ministry,"

and went to work reorganizing,

recruiting a whole new crew of workers,

and now through World Bible School, that work is

a vital work of this congregation, continues to do so.

BibleTalk.tv, our web ministry, I mean,

you know I could, I could spend a half hour

talking to you about BibleTalk.

And every day, we're getting mail now.

We're getting so much feedback.

I think in one week, we got feedback

from South America, from Africa, and from Japan.

And these are people just saying,

thank you so much for your materials.

We're downloading them, we're using them

in our classes, so on and so forth.

One new thing that we've started,

we've spun off BibleTalkBooks.com.

And two books have been produced already,

and six more are in the pipeline

because there seems to be a demand.

People want books, so we're producing books.

But this work is supported by this congregation.

We've had all kinds of Bible classes for children

and adults every Sunday, every Wednesday.

How many gifted teachers and helpers

and coordinators to make our Bible school

adult and children really work well?

I have to say that one of the things that

new members who come and so on,

especially with young families,

the thing that attracts them is the education

that their children receive in the younger grades.

So many people working at that, doing a great job.

We've hired a full-time youth and family minister

who is going to start in August who will be here this week,

I think, Wednesday night to visit with the kids.

That's a step forward.

Imagine all the work and the outreach and ministry

that this young couple will be able to provide.

Sometimes people say, well, I'm not going to mention anyone,

'cause I might forget somebody.

Well, I'm going to mention a lot of people,

and forgive me if I forget some of you, okay?

I mean, there have been funeral lunches for families.

I think of Peg Davis and her volunteers

that put on lunches for funeral families.

Ladies games day, special programs,

potlucks for seniors, for travelers,

area-wide devos and meetings for kids,

women's ministry, Titus 2, Laura Eckert, Jeanie Johnson,

what a great job they've done.

I mean, Choctaw has two full-time preachers

sharing the pulpit, as well as guest speakers.

We've provided thousands and thousands of dollars

for various families with special needs.

Woops, there we go.

We're planning a health fair.

Are you kidding me?

A health fair.

There's going to be a helicopter in the parking lot.

And we'll make sure that it lands correctly.

We're going to have a helicopter in the parking lot

and a firetruck in the parking lot

and a police car and an ambulance,

and we're going to have health professionals,

doctors and optometrists and all kinds

of medical professionals in the building

giving free screenings to kids in our neighborhood.

And we're advertising it on billboards

and through the mail, all kinds of things.

We're expecting a fantastic day on July the 12th.

And then, of course, that followed by VBS,

another crazy time, so many volunteers.

And then this summer, the summer series,

13 great speakers that are coming

from all over Oklahoma, every week a different speaker.

Fantastic theme, The Glory of Jesus Throughout the Ages.

It'll be just terrific.

Just more stuff that are going on.

There have been hundreds of visits

from elders and preachers and deacons

to those who were sick and those

who were alone and those who were dying.

There have been thousands of personal

and private acts of kindness.

We are over budget for six months.

Think about that, over budget.

In other words, we were supposed to give this much,

and in six months, we've given that much.

I can't remember that happening.

They say a church votes with its feet and with its wallet.

So if we're testing the voting

of the church, the church is saying amen.

We approve of the things that are happening.

We approve of what the elders,

the course that they're setting for us, and we're willing

to support it financially and as volunteers.

We've had baptisms.

We've had people placing memberships.

And these continue to grow all the time.

We have a new quarter that begins

next Sunday with all new classes,

including an early-bird class beginning on Wednesday.

And in September, we'll be

celebrating our diamond anniversary.

On September the 21st of this year,

Choctaw'll celebrate its 75th anniversary as a congregation.

And we'll have special presentations during the class time,

a special service commemorating our 75th.

And on that day, we'll also have an old-fashioned church,

remember, like we used to have back in the day

over at the park on Harper, Choctaw Park.

Well, we've rented that park, and that's where

we're going to have, just like we used to back in the day.

All of these good works and more are being done

by the members of this church.

And I believe this is one of the reasons why there's

never been a split in this congregation in 75 years.

That's not an easy thing to do.

And a large part of the credit of that run, if you wish,

are the elders that have served here during that time.

So, let's hope that someone from our future descendants

will still be faithful and serving

the Choctaw Church of Christ when the Lord comes.

Some of the good things that are going on.

Well, let me kind of wrap up this morning.

A lot of churches, they want to grow big,

and they want to be influential in our brotherhood.

And although we are happy with our growth and unity,

our goal here at Choctaw is to remain faithful.

That's our goal.

If we grow bigger numerically in the meantime, that's great.

We'll manage it.

But we're not shooting to grow numerically.

We're shooting to be faithful.

We want every single member here to be faithful.

Let me say it another way that it'll match my sermon.

We want every single member here

to hold fast, to keep their grip tight.

We want every single member not

to grow weary of being Christians,

not to grow weary of acting like Christians,

not to grow weary of serving as true Christians.

And to this end, the Lord speaks directly to us today

through Isaiah the prophet when he says, do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator

of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.

His understanding is inscrutable.

He gives strength to the weary,

and to him who lacks might He increases power.

And though youths grow weary and tired

and vigorous, young men stumble badly,

yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.

They will mount up with wings like eagle.

They will run and not get tired.

They will walk and not become weary.

And not become weary.

We have much to do here.

We have much to be thankful for.

So let us not grow weary in our service to the Lord.

Let us not grow weary in our love for one another.

- [Man] Amen.

- Of course, if you are weary and if you do

need the strength of the Lord to hold on,

to keep your grip, then we offer

at every service the opportunity for anyone

to come forward now and to receive the strength

of the Lord in whatever way you need it,

to confess His name and be baptized,

to receive the prayers of the church, to confess sin.

In whatever way you need ministry,

please come for it now as we stand

and as we sing our song of encouragement.