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We Should Also Follow Jesus' Example

12 1We have those many people [of faith] around us. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we should be like them. We too should run the race that is before us and never stop trying. We should take away [from our lives] anything that would stop us. And we should take away the sin that so easily catches us. 2We should always follow the example of Jesus. Jesus is the leader in our faith. And he makes our faith perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But Jesus accepted the shame of the cross like it was nothing. He did this because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne. 3Think about Jesus. He was patient while sinful men were doing bad things against him. Think about him, so that you also will be patient and not stop trying.

God Is Like a Father

4You are struggling against sin, but your struggles have not yet caused you to be killed. 5You are sons of God, and he speaks words of comfort to you. You have forgotten those words: "My son, don't think it is worth nothing when the Lord punishes you, and don't stop trying when the Lord corrects you. 6The Lord punishes every person he loves, and he punishes every person he accepts as a son." Proverbs 3:11-12

7So accept sufferings like those sufferings are a father's punishment. God does these things to you like a father punishing his sons. All sons are punished by their fathers. 8If you are never punished (and every son must be punished), then you are not true children and not really sons. 9We have all had fathers here on earth who punished us. And we respected our fathers. So it is even more important that we accept punishment from the Father of our spirits. If we do this we will have life. 10Our fathers on earth punished us for a short time. They punished us the way they thought was best. But God punishes us to help us, so that we can become holy* like him. 11We don't enjoy punishment when we get it. Being punished is painful. But later, after we have learned from being punished, we have peace, because we start living right.

Be Careful How You Live

12You have become weak. So make yourselves strong again. 13Walk (live) in the right way so that you will be saved and your weakness will not cause you to be lost. 14Try to live in peace with all people. And try to live lives free from sin. If a person's life is not holy,* then he will never see the Lord. 15Be careful that no person fails to get God's grace (kindness). Be careful that no person becomes like a bitter weed growing among you. A person like that can ruin your whole group. 16Be careful that no person does sexual sin. And be careful that no person is like Esau and never thinks about God. Esau was the oldest son and he would have inherited (received) everything from his father. But Esau sold all that for a single meal. 17You remember that after Esau did this, he wanted to get his father's blessing. Esau wanted that blessing so much that he cried. But his father refused to give him the blessing, because Esau could find no way to change the thing he had done. 18You have come to a new place. It is not a place like the mountain that the people of Israel* came to. You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire. You have not come to a place with darkness, sadness, and storms. 19There is no sound of a trumpet or a voice speaking words [like those people heard]. When the people heard the voice, they begged to never hear another word. 20They did not want to hear the command: "If anything, even an animal, touches the mountain, it must be killed with stones."* 21The things those people saw were so terrible that Moses said, "I am shaking with fear."* 22But you have not come to that kind of place. The new place you have come to is Mount Zion.* You have come to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.* You have come to an excited gathering of thousands of angels. 23You have come to the meeting of God's firstborn* children. Their names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of good people who have been made perfect. 24You have come to Jesus--the One that brought the new agreement* from God to his people. You have come to the sprinkled blood* that tells us about better things than the blood of Abel.* 25Be careful and don't refuse to listen when God speaks. Those people (Israelites) refused to listen to him when he warned them on earth. And those people did not escape. Now God is speaking from heaven. So now it will be worse for those people who refuse to listen to him. 26When he spoke before, his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once again I will shake the earth. But I will also shake heaven."* 27The words "once again" clearly show us that everything that was made will be destroyed. Those are the things that can be shaken. And only the things that cannot be shaken will continue. 28So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We should be thankful and worship God in a way that will please him. We should worship him with respect and fear, 29because our God is like a fire that can destroy.

holy God's people are holy because they are made pure through Christ and belong only to God. Israel The Jewish nation (people). "If anything ... stones" Quote from Ex. 19:12-13. "I am shaking with fear" Quote from Deut. 9:19. Verses 18-21 These verses refer to things that happened to the Jewish people in the time of Moses as described in Exodus 19. Mount Zion Another name for Jerusalem. Jerusalem Here, the spiritual city of God's people. firstborn The first son born in a Jewish family had the most important place in the family and received special blessings. All God's children are like that. new agreement This is the "better agreement" that God has given to his people through Jesus. sprinkled blood The blood (death) of Jesus. Abel The son of Adam and Eve, who was killed by his brother Cain (Gen. 4:8). "Once again ... heaven" Quote from Hag. 2:6.

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