Hope from Hebrews #20 - The Christian's Race
Text: Hebrews 12:1-3
Thesis: To encourage Christians to keep on until they cross the finish line.
(1) In 2 Tim. 4:7, Paul mentioned to Timothy that he had “finished the race.”
(2) Let us look at the race itself and note how to run the race so that we may finish it.
I. Remember those who have gone before us (v. 1a.)
A. “Great cloud of witnesses” = Heroes of the faith from Heb. 11
B. We can learn lessons from them and be encouraged by their victories.
II. Lay aside every hindrance (v. 1b.)
A. “‘Everything that hinders’ translates onkos (only here in the NT), a word that may mean any kind of weight. It is sometimes used of superfluous bodily weight that the athlete sheds during training. Here, however, it seems to be the race rather than the training that is in view. Athletes carried nothing with them in a race (they even ran naked), and the writer is suggesting that the Christian should ‘travel light.’ He is not referring to sin, for that follows in the next clause. Some things that are not wrong in themselves hinder us in putting forward our best effort. So the writer tells us to get rid of them” (EBC).
B. In addition to laying aside any type of hindrance that is not wrong in and of itself, we are to do away with any sin in our lives that does nothing but entangle us.
III. Run with perseverance (v. 1c.)
A. We must pace ourselves.
B. We must keep at it even when things get difficult.
IV. Fix our eyes on Jesus (vv. 2-3)
A. Fix (Gr. aforao) means “to direct one’s attention without distraction” (BDAG).
B. “The runner sets his gaze on his goal. The goal in the Greek games was the prize (1 Cor. 9:24) or garland wreath. The goal to which the author points is the example of Jesus” (LWC).
1. Jesus saw it through to the end, even though he faced the cross.
2. As a result of His perseverance, He is now sitting down at the right hand of God.
C. Illustration – Tsunami victim held on for 3 days because of photo of family
(1) Are you in the race?
(2) If so, are you still running with perseverance so that you may cross the finish line?