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Hebrews 12,1-3 Running with perseverance

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Running with perseverance

Hebrews 12:1-3

Today we want to concentrate on the topic of faith.

Faith is a central part in our spiritual journey.

Sometimes our faith gets tested

and we loose our focus on the finish line

– the glory that awaits us.

In the early church

the faith of new believers

was constantly being tested.

In Hebrews 10:32-37 the writer reminds his readers:

32Remember those earlier days

after you had received the light,

when you stood your ground in a great contest

 in the face of suffering.

 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed

 to insult and persecution;

at other times you stood side by side

with those who were so treated.

34You sympathized with those in prison

and joyfully accepted

the confiscation of your property,

because you knew that you yourselves

had better and lasting possessions.

35So do not throw away your confidence;

 it will be richly rewarded.

36You need to persevere

so that when you have done the will of God,

 you will receive what he has promised.

 37For in just a very little while,

 "He who is coming will come and will not delay.”

The faith of the Hebrew Christians was once

characterized by patience and perseverance

in the midst of persecution.

          (We could say the same for the early Anabaptists,

                   and for our ancestors in Russia).

But something had happened

to dull their devotion and determination.

As the race of their faith went on

they lost their focus and their faith in Jesus Christ.

The promise of Christ’s return had not come to pass.

And the Christians were getting tired

in their pilgrimage of faith.

They were throwing away their confidence

          In eternal life.

And so, the writer seeks to renew the faith

of the believers

by encouraging them to stand firm in their faith.

And he compares the race of the Christian Faith

to a marathon.

In Chapter 11 he gives the examples of

Noah, Abraham and Moses.

Noah had patiently prepared the ark believing God.

Abraham had pressed on

looking for the city of God.

Moses had endured in his search for the Promised Land

because he saw Him who is invisible.

And then we have this great exhortation in Heb. 12:1-2

1Therefore, since we are surrounded

by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders

and the sin that so easily entangles,

and let us run with perseverance

the race marked out for us.

2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,

 the author and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy set before him endured the cross,

scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand

of the throne of God.

With this great cloud of witnesses,

who had persevered,

looking on,

we are encouraged to run with patience.

We are pointed back to those

who have already completed the race

to see that we too can run the race

of the Christian life by faith,

and not give up.

But in order to run the race in the hope of succeding,

we must throw off everything that hinders.

We must travel light

and let go of all the extra weight

that would slow us down.

We must let go of the sin

that so easily entangles us und trips us up.

We must let go our past failures,

          and our unfulfilled desires.

Like the early Christians,

our Christian race often gets slowed down

by discouragement and lack of focus

on the finish line.

We sometimes grow weary

when we look at the obstacles ahead of us.

We look at the runnig track

and we see that the race is still far from over.

And we sometimes loose heart

and we give up when the race heats up.

As we continue in the race

we must never lose sight of our goal.

Rather, we must fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ –

the author and perfector of our faith.

And as we run the race of our faith

we will also be cheered on

by the great clowd of witnesses –

the heroes of our faith -

who have finished the race before us.

May God grant us pacience and perseverance

as we run our race of our Faith

          to the end.

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