Text: Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Message: Can I Get a Witness?
Other: Blessing of the Backpacks/Back-to-School Sunday
The author of Hebrews seemed to know that one of our greatest discouragements is the feeling of being alone. In our text, we are reminded that we follow in the footsteps of people who were unsure of what was ahead of them but were able to endure their hardships because they trusted in God’s presence and promises. Ultimately, when we remain focused on Jesus, we are able to see the joy of life despite our sufferings along the journey. Our service will include a Blessing of the Backpacks as we prepare our children, youth, faculty, staff, and bus drivers for another school year.
Hebrews 11:29-12:2, NRSV
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.