The Cross as an Instrument of Shame

Dustin Folden March 31, 2019 Hebrews 12:1-11
Outline

5 tools to aid in enduring the Race of Faith

I. Consider the Great Cloud of Witnesses

Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us…

A. The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11

1. Persons who sought to live a life of faith

2. Persons who all struggled with sin

B. These saints should serve as a tool of encouragement

II. Plan to Shed the Weight of Sin

Hebrews 12:1 - …let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

A. By putting off the old man

B. By putting on the cross

Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

III. Fix Your Eyes on Christ

Hebrews 12:2-4 - …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin…

A. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith

B. He despised (thought little of) the shame of the cross

1 Corinthians 1:26-27 - For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong…

1. Abandoned by everyone

2. Dragged out of the city

3. Stripped naked

4. Nailed to a tree

5. Mocked

6. Left to suffocate

C. For the joy set before Him

1. To be seated at the right hand of the Father

2. To leave for us an example as our pioneer

1 Corinthians 10-13 - No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

IV. Remember Your Adoption into God’s family

Hebrews 12:5-10 - …and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them…

A. We are addressed as sons

B. Sometimes correction is uncomfortable

V. Trust in God’s Purpose for His Discipline: To Share in His Holiness

Hebrews 12:10-11 - …but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

A. His goal: the Father is making us like His Son, so we can enjoy fellowship with Him

B. Our response: go outside of the city, and take up our cross

Hebrews 13:12-13 - Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

C. The result: we will enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness

If your kids play a sport…ever notice they play a bit harder if grandma and grandpa are there for the first time…We play harder with an audience. When you go to a stadium maybe for a big race, the crowd provides encouragement…in the Olympics it is especially true if you are running in front of a home crowd….but even if you are not the home team, you run faster with people watching and yelling then just by yourself. Well in the Christian life, it is so important to have community to encourage you, build you up, challenge you to keep going and keep growing closer to the Lord.

  • This fits so well in our annual theme of Growing what God has given us…to run the race.
  • You see they were struggling with the shame associated with Jesus…the shame associated with the cross….there was pressure to not run the race, not even be in the race of living for Jesus the long awaited Messiah…running the race is difficult, especially in trials, and especially when people are discouraging you from following Christ…

But imagine how difficult it would be if you were running, and people were throwing things at you, mocking you, telling you to give up and quit…The Christian life is like a race…one we are called to run, to live out for the glory of God…even in difficulty and our series on Growing by Embracing the cross is all about how the cross even though it was a terrible instrument of death and suffering helps us grow with new life in Christ.

The people the book of Hebrews was written to were actually getting pressure to quit following Jesus…they were encouraged to return to Judaism, return to the temple, the sacrificial system, to turn their back on the cross….

…and yet God in his Word by His grace has given us hope and motivation to persevere...we do that by embracing the cross as an instrument of Shame.

With that in mind, please turn in your bibles to Heb. 12:1…that is on page 176 in the back section of the bible under the chair in front of you.

Read Heb. 12:1-11…

We all struggle to run the race of faith well, therefore we must embrace the radical message of the cross to run the race well even through shame.

So with our time remaining lets look at 5 tools to aid in enduring the Race of Faith

First…

I.   Consider the Great Cloud of Witnesses

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Heb. 12:1)

Point: As you look at the OT Saints, You should see their running of the race and find hope….we see a list of them in…

A.     The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11

This is a list of….

When you read the list of people, you also see that it is a list of…flawed people…

And so…

B.      These Saints should serve as a tool of encouragement

To run the race well, you need encouragement and you also need to lighten your load with a focus on running… to not be carrying extra weight you don’t need. So…

II.  Plan to Shed the Weight of Sin

“…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Heb. 12:1)

we grow by embracing the cross…particularly…

A.     By Putting off the Old Man

So I would encourage you to list out some patterns in your life that do not please God…that Christ had to die for…and ask yourself, if Christ died for these, to set me free…why am I continuing to carry them…

Now we want to put off bad weight…dead weight…but there is actually good weight that helps us run….we want to endure by…

B.      By Putting on the Cross

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” (Matthew 11:28–30)

What does that look like….it looks like thinking about what Christ did for you, and why he died for you,…so that you could be rescued with a purpose…a weighty purpose…to bring God glory and live and testify to the goodness of the Lord.

There is a weight on your mind, when you think about your purpose as a follower of Christ…but it is a good weight that helps you run with endurance.

When you run…it is all about keeping your focus on the goal…what you are moving toward…and we are called to….

III.  Fix Your Eyes on Christ

                We have this great cloud of witnesses to encourage us, but even more so, we have the person and work of Jesus to encourage us…

                Looking at your feet is terrible when you run…looking forward at the horizon toward the goal is important…and we are called to run this race with good form…form that focuses on Jesus…the text says…

                “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;  (Heb. 12:2-4)

We should fix our eyes on Him because …

A.     He is the Author and perfecter of our Faith

You see …

B.      He Despised (thought little of) the Shame of the Cross

The cross was not only an instrument of death, but an instrument of Shame…it was designed to warn everyone else around, that if you go against Rome…this would happen to you.

Think about the shame Jesus went through in your place. He was…

The text says, He thought little of that shame...He thought little of How little they thought of Him…He was more interested in the will of God, than the public Shame He had to endure...in essence He shamed the shame...He looked down on being shamed.

If you are to grow, you must embrace the shame of the cross…first think about the pain and the shame Jesus was willing to endure for you…Think about the great cloud of witnesses who went through difficulty by Faith…think about the shame of being honest and casting off your own sin….Think about embracing the cross as an instrument of shame….

And then ask, if you are willing to despise whatever shame the name Christian and whatever shame actually following Jesus will bring into your life.

  • The world says believe in yourself…the cross says boast in your weakness
  • The world says look out for yourself…the cross says sacrifice for others.
  • The world says you are number one…the cross says Jesus is before all things.

If you hold to biblical truth and actually apply it in your life…it will be difficult…it will be a tough race…it will be hard to cast off your own sin, to persevere when reviled…you may be mocked, you may be looked down upon…

Are you willing to embrace that…to deny yourself…take up your cross and follow Jesus….

I think what a world finds so peculiar is not being Lord of your own life…submitting to the will of someone you believe loves you, died for you, and has bought you and is in charge of you.

  • The shame of the cross of Rome was about saying we are in charge and you will submit to us…it was forced submission
  • That shame of the cross of Christ is us willing embracing that we will submit to Jesus…He is in charge…we will willingly submit to Christ’s authority even if it makes us look lesser at times.
  • to the outside world it is a bit like a person showing up to a marathon carrying a big heavy cross…you would think they are mad…why do you care what someone you can’t see says. Why do you care what an old book commands…but embracing the cross, denying our own authority and carrying our cross and looking to Christ as our Lord actually help us run the race with endurance for our whole lives…
  • And you instead focus on becoming more like Christ…you become more righteous…all because you are willing to embrace the shame of the cross….
  • think about the flawed and faithful who have gone before you.
  • work hard at addressing and putting off sin in your life even though it is shameful,
  • focus regularly on why Christ had to die for you, and the burden he carried in your place so that you could be a part of the family of God…
  • Think less about your name and more about the name of Christ…
  • and then let the good weight of being in the family of God correct and train you…so that what you produce in your life…is peace, righteousness, and holiness…

That is embracing the shame of the cross…because the one who died is actually the King of Kings and Lord of Lord…and he is alive and in charge.

Embracing Jesus as Lord is about Filtering all your thoughts and actions through your relationship with Jesus, and that has weight to it that impacts your life….

…because being concerned if Jesus was honored by what you just thought, what you just said, how you behave…that seems like a ridiculous weight to bear…but that fear of the Lord is your wisdom, fixing your eyes on your Lord, helps you run well…and over time the Lord will exalt you at the proper time. He says…

 “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,” (1 Corinthians 1:26–27)

[note: it is impossible to humiliate the humble]…when you think little of people thinking much of you…and you think much about what the Lord says and promises….you have your eyes fixed upon Jesus…

The application point is that with a focus on the cross, we must cultivate an attitude where we despise…the threat of not looking good in front of people. I don’t care if people view me as powerful, smart, important, respected, or if they mock me…I care that the name of Christ is lifted High in the way that I live… ….The weight of caring what God says is a weight I bear that helps me run the race….

Now…this is not just embracing shame for shame sake….it is embracing the cross as an instrument of shame, because it is worth it to keep going to the end…

The text says Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame…

C.) For the Joy Set Before Him

We get a picture of joy…that picture is….

This is a picture of honor…in the time of Christ, this was like saying you are the valedictorian, you get the medal of honor, you’re the employee of the millennium…

This is the complete opposite of the Shame…and he entrusted Himself to the one who judges righteously and he knew the cross was not the end…

If you remember James and John, well their mother asked that they sit on the right and left of Jesus when he comes into His glory…so this is a picture of honor and exaltation that far overshadows the shame.

In addition to that there the joy set before Him was…

Jesus went before us to pay for our sin, but also to be our example, our leader, our Lord, our pioneer, so we would follow Him…as Romans says, so that He would be the firstborn of many brethren…in other words, there is joy knowing that the shame of the cross would bring many sons to glory.

There is joy, when you are willing to suffer shame in the name of Jesus, and that positively impacts someone else’s commitment to follow the Lord.

So in light of this joy, we are to keep going, and not give up…we are to endure…just as Paul says…

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God is faithful, to always provide a way forward where we focus on Him, His faithfulness, and the glory that is to come, to help us keep going and endure because of the Joy of one day being with Jesus in Heaven…on streets of gold, where there is no sin and death…just life and life eternal.

Part of the joy is to…

IV.  Remember Your Adoption into God’s family

 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, (Heb. 12:5-10)

A.     We are addressed as Son’s

We must remember…

B.      Sometimes Correction is uncomfortable

The shame of the cross is worth it…the shame of being corrected as a part of God’s family is worth it ….why is it worth it….what is the value...the goal …

Well, the value is we become more like God, we get to share in His holiness…. So we must…

V.  Trust in God’s Purpose for his discipline: to share in his holiness

but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12:10-11)

A.     His Goal: The Father is making us like his Son, so we can enjoy fellowship with him.

So then, what is our response…embrace the shame of the cross…

B.      Our Response: Go outside of the City, and Take up our Cross

Consider this passage later in Hebrews…

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:12–13)

We are to associate ourselves with Christ…knowing that involves both shame and exaltation…and the shame always comes before the exaltation…the cross comes before the crown.

But the shame does not last forever…the training is not fun…it reveals our weaknesses, our sinfulness, our lack of trust in God…but it produces something that last forever.

C.      The Result: We will Enjoy the Peaceful Fruit of Righteousness

Think about how much we worry and are anxious…about what people think about us…if things are going to go our way….if we will get what we want, and if we will be happy.

The fruit of embracing the shame of the cross produces peace…where you are not fighting to defend yourself, to get everyone to like you or do things your way….

So in conclusion…

…as you run the race well, all the way to the end of your life…and all to the praise and glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.