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Rejected pt.1 "Hall of Fame"


Have you ever seen the show fear factor? This show is a classic but I hated watching it, not because it was a bad show but it made me so uncomfortable to watch! I Count that as one show that I would 100% never ever go on! I remember watching that show being scared of things that I would never ever be scared of! That’s why the show was so popular though, because they took common fears and they capitalized on it. There is one fear that I don’t think the professionals on fear factor had the ability to reenact and that is the fear of rejection. Rejection is one of the most common fears that humans have.

Fear of rejection can cause us to miss out on so many opportunities and it can lead to regret and bitterness, not to mention it can keep us from being obedient to God and walking in our own calling. Fortunately, Jesus models how to deal with and overcome rejection! Tonight we’re going to look at one of my favorite passages found in Hebrews 12:1-3 and I want us to focus on 2 components to this powerful passage


This challenge is written right after one of Paul’s most famous chapters, Hebrews 11, otherwise known as the “Hall of Faith” Paul is reminding his readers of all of the incredible, godly people that have come before them. Have you ever been to any type of major league sporting event? When you walk into the stadium you’ve probably seen statues of some of the greatest players to ever play for that franchise. At Truist Park, where the Braves play there is whole section dedicated to Hank Aaron, one of the greatest Braves of all time.



If you go to Thompson-Bolding arena where the Vols and Lady Vols play basketball you’ll be greeted with a huge statue of Pat Summit, the greatest women’s basketball coach of all time! Just across the street at Neyland Stadium you can see the ring of honor where players like Peyton Manning and Reggie White are honored for the accomplishments on the field.


The reason we see this is to remind us of the greatness that was accomplished within this program. This fall when those players run through the T at Neyland Stadium they will carry on their shoulders the heritage of excellence. Now you know as well as I do, that some of those players failed to carry that heritage well.


The writer of Hebrews is telling his readers, this is your time! You’re in the game. The greats of the past are in the hall of faith, the legacy of greatness is on your shoulders, its your opportunity to make it on that Ring of honor!



#1 Let us strip off every weight that slows us down


There is some debate on who the author of the book of Hebrews was, many assume the Apostle Paul, but to be fair, we’re not 100% sure. We can see through the authors writings that they were a fan of racing competition, and specifically track. I bet whoever wrote this would love to see the evolution of sports in today’s society. Things like Formula 1, Track and Field, and Cycling. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to check out one of the bikes that these guys in the Tour De France are using but those things are incredible, and a perfect example to what the writer is talking about!


“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down”


You don’t see these guys climbing the Swiss Alps on a Mongoose, These bikes cost around $12,000 and they weigh right at 15 pounds. If you want a chance at winning one of these races, you’ve got to shave off as much weight as you possibly can, so you can go as fast as you possibly can. These athletes adhere to strict diets because they need to be in the best physical shape of their lives in order to be competitive.



The problem with many Christians is we’re good to buy the equipment, but we’re not willing to do what it takes to be competitive on that equipment. Trust me, if you bought the best bike on the market and gave it to me, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference when it came to me climbing one of the mountains on the tour route. I’d be done, because I’m not in the physical shape required to be competitive with these world class cyclists on the Tour.

The writer here in Hebrews is giving us the challenge to be competitive in our faith. To get in spiritual shape means to spend time in our word, spend time in worship, spend time in prayer and communion with God. We have to build our faith just like athletes build their bodies for endurance.

let us strip off every weight that slows us down,

especially the sin that so easily trips us up.


There is no place for sin in a healthy Christian. Sin is added weight that keeps us from being who we need to be.


So what happens when you do all the right things, and things still don’t work out?



Rejection

At this point you might be wondering where the whole rejection theme of the message comes in, right? I wish that I could tell you that this world isn’t filled with rejection. If I did, you would know that I wasn’t being honest with you because you’ve no doubt personally felt with rejection on some level. As a father of a 5 year old, I wish I didn’t have to prepare to walk through rejection with her, because there is little doubt that at some point in her life she is going to face rejection. Rejection is heart-breaking, especially when it is something that we’ve longed for.

Maybe it’s a friendship that went wrong?

A relationship we hoped might blossom?

A college we thought we would get into?

A team we hoped we would make?

I wanted really bad to make our middle school basketball team, in fact I made it to the final cut where I thought I had a real shot to make the team. In the final tryouts we had to play one-on-one and I was playing against a kid, who I was friends with, but his dad was also one of the football coaches. He and I played each other hard and in the end I beat him in one-on-one, but he got the spot on the team. I didn’t understand why until I realized that his spot on the team was already guaranteed. Was it fair? Not at all, was it to be expected, definitely, and I’ll be honest with you, it hurt. Rejection stinks, it’s not fair, and it hurts, Jesus was no stranger to rejection.

Look at this incredible passage in Isaiah 53:3-5, its incredible for a couple of different reasons. First because it describes Jesus with incredible accuracy, but it was written 700 years before He was born, and second, because it shows the pain of rejection that Jesus went through. Let’s read it:

He was despised and rejected—

a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;

it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,

a punishment for his own sins!

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,

crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.


Verse 5, Isaiah gives us Jesus’ motivations, Jesus went through this rejection and this shame so that we could be whole, and that we could be healed. That’s incredible. The writer of Hebrews echos this,


#2 Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.


Jesus’ joy? That you would be healed, that you would be saved? You are Jesus’ joy. You might have been rejected by people, or by institutions but you are chosen by God. In this life, when you face rejection, let it be a reminder of what Jesus faced, and why Jesus faced it, because He chose you! It’s a lot easier to face rejection when you know that you have already been chosen by God Himself.


I like to end an emotional message like this in the Psalms, and I think Psalm 118:5-6 is an appropriate way to land this opening message:

5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord,

and the Lord answered me and set me free.

6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.

What can mere people do to me?

The Lord is for you, so have no fear, What can mere people do to you?

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