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2 Remove the Hindrances

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August 3, 2008                                                                                                SD 21

Remove the Hindrances.doc                                                                    File: E (Hebrews)



This is #2 in a series timed with the Olympics (began Friday night)

Developing a “Go for the Goal” mind-set

      Becoming a Spiritual champion

This week, we will learn that “Those who are spiritual champions remove any hindrances.”


Friday the stirring opening exercises of the Beijing Summer Olympics started the competitions---Athletes from all over the world meet to compete for a gold medal---

Paul says that we too run a race—

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.


Go with me to the starting line for the marathon race—

      “life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!”

The runners are ready for the starting gun to go off…look at them lined up there…BUT WAIT…what is that I see…there is one runner with a shopping bag in his hand…What is going on here!

And there is another runner---I’ve read his bio—he is single, no wife. No kids. Dedicated runner and nature lover. Has a number of pets having been raised in Africa around many animals. He is especially close to a boa constrictor. Had it since it was small. Ran with it while he was training. Kept it in his jacket. Unfortunately, over the years, it’s grown. Almost six feet long now! Kip has to carry it on his shoulders. Because of the snake he usually runs all alone. He’s one of the gold contenders—maybe.

But can you imagine it????

And look over there…he is an American runner, also a highly successful business man…he is running with a brief case in his hand…he is very active.  As soon as the race is over he sits down on the nearest chair, takes out his cell phone and laptop and talks to clients here, there, and everywhere. But now he’s out to capture the gold in 2008.

Can you imagine it?!?!!??!

No; neither can I…

      But yet we carry all too many things into the race of life that ought to be dropped at the starting line…not carried to the finish.

Our text this morning says… let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” (NLT)


Have you been tripped up lately…

The Bible here talks about Removing the hindrances---


      PPT   Those who would be champions—spiritual champions, remove the hindrances to spiritual growth!

Last week we saw that believers with a go for the goal mindset—remember the witnesses…remember those who are examples to them and follow their lead…and listen to the encouragement they bring to life…

Then believers with a “go for the gold” mindset also Remove Any Hindrances. They don’t run with a briefcase, or shopping bag, or pet boa constrictor!

A question!

In the race set before you, what would God say is presently keeping you from being the champion, both He and you, would like you to be?

Most of us know the answer to that question.

In some cases it’s what this verse refers to as “weights that slow us down.”

These are not evil things per se. They’re choices we make that repeatedly erode away our spiritual priorities.

It could be something as simple as watching too much television.

Talking too much on the phone.

Reading too many unimportant books.

“I’m going to the video store again because I’m bored.”

Time in the morning for the newspaper, but no time for Scripture or prayer. –no place for God! Except in the back seat!

Never-ending work on the house, in the garden, shopping or socializing.

Playing video games. Biking. Decorating. Golfing. Just trying to keep up with all the magazines that come to the house. Surfing the web. Movies. Music. Staying on top of all your kids’ activities.

Again, none of what I’m referring to is necessarily bad in itself. But is it in your case???

Is it making it next to impossible to find time to build your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?

You see, there’s nothing unethical or sinful about running a race with a briefcase. It just doesn’t make good sense if you’re serious about “reaching for the goal.”

PPT---What needs to be changed in your life if you’re to be a champion in the spiritual race you’re supposed to be running?

Let me give you a little time just to think about my question.

“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down” reads the verse. PPT--Then the writer adds, “Especially the sin that so easily hinders your progress.” Now we’ve suddenly changed categories. In terms of my earlier pictures we just moved from the shopping bag to the snake!

By the way, all of us have sins. I do. You do. Read a biography about a hero of past years, and if there’s nothing but good reported, you don’t really know that man or woman all that well. Everyone in the race of faith is a sinner.

But don’t let that give you an excuse for running with the snake!

So welcome to the club of flawed people. There’s no excuse for us not being holy, but the truth remains that we’re not! I’m certainly not. You for sure aren’t either. Thank God for his mercy and grace, because without that we’re all in deep weeds!

The truth is, most of us are struggling right now with what I’d call a signature sin. I mean that God would say this particular sin is one that has my name on it . . . or yours . . .

It’s not hard to know which one it is. It’s that sin God would name as the core problem in your life or mine. Not implying that we don’t have any number of things we fall prey to, but there is the signature sin. You need to name it.

[Watch “Signature Sin video clip]

Let me give you just three simple truths to think about as you target your signature sin in the seven days between now and when we meet again.


PPT   1. The battle is usually won or lost in the first 5 or 10 seconds you’re tempted.

The longer you linger the more likely it is that you will fall…

      Gossip---turn away ASAP

      Lust—bounce your eyes and train your mind

      Greed—covetousness—materialism—Give something away!

            Call out to Jesus and get your mind somewhere else NOW

Jesus is an example!

      When he was tempted he had a ready supply of bible verses in his arsenal of weapons—and used the immediately on the devil—

The devil came with his temptation to turn rocks into bread because he was hungry—and what did Jesus say?  “The bible says that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God…”

But true to form---the devil didn’t just leave right away—he tried another tactic…and did it three times—until finally…after three times he leaves and here is where my second point comes in…

After Jesus resisted the temptations the Bible says that the devil went away and the angels came and ministered to Jesus!

And that brings us to this point:

PPT 2.  There is greater pleasure in overcoming sin than there is in surrendering to it

Haven’t you felt that???  When you have done good and been the overcomer…you have fought and won---it feels right and good…

When you gave in to your signature sin you just felt awful---oh, there was a temporary high, or a feeling of pleasure, but it didn’t last and you just felt like scum again!

But when you got through it and were victorious the angels came and ministered to you in the deep places of your heart and you just felt RIGHT!!!

      Because you were right with God…and leaned on his mercy and felt his power and grace!

There is a great sense of purpose and good feeling when you do it God’s way!!!!

PPT  3. A week of victories would do absolute wonders for you in your walk of faith


You can’t even imagine what a different person you would be, spiritually speaking, if this week you just consistently won some victories in the area of your signature sin!

Don’t get me wrong. In one week you’re not going to achieve final victory. That’s like expecting to be ready to compete in the Beijing Olympics after only two weeks of training. How unrealistic!

But if you’re going to be in this endeavor for the long haul you do need to experience the difference it makes to (if put into boxing talk) land a few telling blows of your own, instead of getting flattened time and again.

You need to realize that in many ways the devil is not only a liar—he’s also a big windbag. A couple of good pops in the gut and he takes off running.

Let’s just be certain about what I said earlier: a mere week of victories would do absolute wonders for you in your race of faith.

Because if you can be victorious this week you can be victorious the next…

So here is your challenge: 

1. Name the arena of your conflict—what is your signature sin?

2. Determine to win the race this week

Here is what I would like you to do:

In order to have any victories to report, of course, you’ll have to aim for them this week. Pay attention. Once you’ve targeted a “signature sin,” watch yourself spiritually.

Sign the back of your bulletin today: 

I will live this week with the full intention to be victorious in my life!                                      

Keep the bulletin—and return that bottom portion next week!

Next week we are going to take two offerings—the second one will be to place your victory before the Lord at the altar—where you can say—BECAUSE OF SOME VICTORIES THIS PAST WEEK I AM AN IMPROVED RUNNER IN THE RACE GOD HAS SET BEFORE ME!—SIGN YOUR NAME AND PUT IT IN THE OFFERING NEXT WEEK--

And come next week!  Put your name on the poster if such has been your experience



Hebrews 12:1-2

Those who would be spiritual champions, with a “God for the Goal” mindset must remove the hindrances


1.  Let us                                                                                

What needs to change in my life if I am going to be serious about becoming the spiritual champion I was designed to be?

2.  Let us                                                                                


1.  The battle is usually own or lost in the first                        you are tempted

2.  There is greater pleasure in                                sin than in                                      to it.

3.  A week of                           would do absolute wonders for you in your walk of faith.

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I will live this week with the full intention to be victorious in my life!                                         

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