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This morning I want to pose this question:
The nt church was all about missions
How should Christians live their life? We know the doctrinal answer but what about the practical?
We were made to be missional.
We were made to impact people for kingdom purposes.
This same question is one that is answered in Hebrews, particularly in Chapter 12, verses 1-2. This is where we will be this morning.
How do you run this race that is set before us? We know how doctrinally, but what about practically?
When you look at the NT you notice that everyone was focused on how the truth about Christ can get out.
Look at
Look at
9 But you are a chosen race, w a royal priesthood, z
a holy nation, b a people for His possession, d
so that you may proclaim the praises f
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
We are a royal priesthood
So that we can proclaim the praises of God.
The message that must get out today is that there is a king that is sitting on his throne.
We need to remember that there is a king sitting on his throne and he is reigning through his Word.
But see most of Flour Bluff doesn’t know that. And it is our privilege to tell them.
Now, why would we want to tell them?
Because God’s ways are best! And we want everyone, everywhere to follow His way.
Let me give you some examples.
Is it better that you love your wife or fight with her?
Is it better that you love your neighbor as yourself or is it better that you are bitter and seek revenge?
See God’s Way is Better. And the problems that we have in our homes and in our life is because Christ does not reign. And the second we don’t let him reign suddenly, we have chaos and we don’t have peace and we don’t have love, right?
And so we are all about singing it every Sunday, but does he reign right here in our hearts does he reign in our lives.
Missions, being missional is a responsibility that we have because we know the joy of knowing Christ, we know the joy of loving Him. But maybe there are some who don’t know it.
There are some of us that are entangled in the affairs of every day life.
So entangled that there is challenges, therefore this message this morning is.
Let’s open our bibles to . Now as you guys might know is a famous passage. Some call it the Heroes of the Faith. That’s a good title but it is so much more than the heroes of the faith.
is talking about who you and I are to be. You see in , these people were tempted to abandon the faith because of the pressures of Judaism. It was easier for them to get out of following Christ and go back to Judaism so that they do not need to experience the persecution. And the writer of Hebrews says , no you can’t do that.
Look at
39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.
…we are those who have faith.
Then in he describes what faith is.
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
From there, the writer of Hebrews gives us examples of life after life after life that illustrates this type of faith.
You see he defines who we are in verse 1 and he then illustrates others who are like us and he comes to the end and he says listen, now I want you to do this.
I want us to pick up in , because that is the application, but understand that he looked at Abraham, he’s looked at Isaac, He’s looked at Noah, He’s looked at Moses,
He looked at all these pasted believers who lived radical, He lived in light of the pages of this book right here. You see this is not just a book that we read. This is a book that we live out. Amen?
Why am I here today? Because I believe this is the word of God and I believe it is true!
Now, if you are like me, and you believe that the bible is true, then we must live out it’s truth.
is a call to all of us to live out these truths because he says Abraham believed the promises, Isaac believed the promises, they all believed the promises. They all suffered, they all lived for Heaven!
They chose suffering! That is what these people died in Hebews 11. And the ran from sin! And they were consumed with what God said and they lived it out. That is what it is to be a person of faith.
And listen, if you are a Christian, you are a person of faith. So then therefore that same lifestyle should describe you.
But let’s pause here for a moment. Because let’s just be honest with ourselves, can we. For so many of us, it’s not how we are described.
We may want, we may have holy aspirations, holy desires, but in reality we have gotten off the tracks. And rather than pursuing heavenly living we have gotten consumed with worledly thinking and living.
We are more concerned with what our friends think then the King who is on his throne.
And so, therefore this passage is perfect for us. Because what he does in chapter 12 verse 1 the first word is what, therefore.
He says therefore, in light of all of these other believers, I have a message for you.
So I want to say this morning, God has a message for us. It’s right here in verses 1-2.
What he says is in light of these past believers who lived radical for the Kingdom’s sake, I have a message, I have two exhortations for you.
I want to show you them before I continue. Let’s read together, shall we.
Let us pray and then look at those two exhoratations together.
Father God, I ask that though with all my energies on a human level I want to proclaim your truth. I want in no way to rest in my abilitites but to rest in your spirit to do his work. Father I want to come into your people and I want to encourage them, stimuilate them, to love in good deeds till you appear. Father, I pray that your spirit would move in them , that they would see your word, that they would be face to face with you as their sovereign master and that they would recognize within themselves that we are not running these years for ourselves but we are running for a master. That we would be found faithful to you. Aid us to that end we pray. Amen.
The writer of Hebews is going to do something. He’s going to put us in a stadium. So I want you to envision with me. You are not here but you are actually in a stadium because that is what the writer does. He comes in hebews 12 and he takes them from whatever location they are and he puts them in a stadium. As he gives two exhorattations. I want to show you these exhortations. Look with me.
He says therefore, since we have …let us, first thing do what?
Lay aside. Then you see a little bit later he says let us …run.
Those are the two exhoratations that are giving to us.
Let us lay aside and let us run. Well the writer is going to come and he is going to speak to us as runners, as athletes. And he is going to put us in the middle of this stadium. You see he starts by says since we have such a great cloud of witness.
I love that word a cloud . there are so many that they look like a cloud. So with that here we are put in this stadium and we have a crowd. There they are. Do you see them? There is Abraham. There is Isaac. There is Noah. There that are. There they all are. There is a cloud of witness.
Now, what are they doing? In what way are they witness? Well, they are witnesses not in the idea that they are watching us but they are witnesses in the idea that they are there to witness to the fact that this race can be run and won!
They are there as witnesses to us, as look, I ran this race. Look how I ran it. They are there to encourage us with their very life, the way it was lived, the way the believed and acted, that the race we are running is the same race they ran.
They are witnesses that despite the hardships God will carry you. That despite the difficulties God will uplift you, He will be there for you. Despite it all, there they are to witnesses to God’s goodness, and care and love. To bring us all the way through.
There they are to motivate us, to encourage us. They are witnesses, and since we have so great a cloud of them, since we have a whole testimony of them. And there were so many in comes to the end of Hebews 11 and says I can even tell you about all of them. There are too many to write.
And so with that, we have our witnesses and listen they are there to tell us how we are to run how we are to run this thing.
He brings us to this stadiums and he says now since you have these, let me give you an exhortation.
Exhortaion #1: Lay aside
Lay aside. Now, I love what one man said, he said, advancement without preparation leads to failure.
Advancement without preparation leads to failure. What a great statement.
Because I think in reality many of us here want to run we want to run this Christian life . we want ot make ourselves count for kingdom purposes but we don’t what? We don’t prepare.
Let me just say, that this message to me has been so impactful and helpful. It is something I am always coming back to especially around the new year. We we kind of regroup.
Listen, I want you to regroup. I want you to regroup today to run. Now before you do that we need to lay aside. Now this idea of laying aside is the idea of a runner coming into the stadium. Like in the Greek games, he would come with his bath robe on, under was not much, but the idea is that you have your robe on and you get out here and you lay aside that robe. Because you can’t run with it. Why? Why can’t you run with it? Because it will slow you down.
You see he tells us what we are to lay aside. He says to lay aside every weight. And what else are we to lay aside…sin.
So, let’s talk about this a little bit. What do we mean laying aside every weight. The idea of weight is any excess weight. If you are going to run this race, and you are going to run this race to win, you have got to get rid of anything this could slow you down. This is why you see in the Summer Olympics, almost in every event that I can think of, every athlete is wearing the least amount of clothing, the lightest footwear, equipment, whatever it is. Because they know that when it counts, when you are competing to win, you take advantage of everything you can.
You lay aside any weight that will hinder you or slow you down.
Anything that interferes with our commitment to serve Christ, fully and completely and radically. Because no soldier according to “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.”
Why, because we can please the one who has recruited us. We are enlisted in a war and so as a good soldier you are not going to entangle yourself in what? In the concerns of civilian life, or everyday life?
Well what are these concerns of everyday life? Could they not be sports? Could they not be all the things we so embed within our own lifestyles. And he is coming and he says..
Remember what it says in …” …Run in such a way to win the prize”
So back to Hebews, he want’s us to remove any excess weight, any encumbrances in our life.
When we talk about encumbrances or weights, what are these things? So what are these things?
For some of us they can be our friends. For a lot of us they can be sports. Television. Music, facebook, Instagram, snapchat, or whatever the latest social media app there is.
There are many more things that if we really think about it, distract us from the race before us. We are easily distracted.
Maybe it is the news feed. Maybe you follow politics. One of the biggest distractions is the phone.
How many times have you gone down the rabbit whole!
These are all just encoumbrances.
Now, I want to make sure we understand something, there encumbrances and there are sin. They are two different things. You know what that means?
It means that encumbrances are not necessary sin. They are instead, things that slow us down. They are things that distract our minds, from usefulness, from effectiveness in this Christian life.
Kind of like Moses, in . It wasn’t bad that he was called the son of Pharoah’s daughter but he chose to no longer be that so that he could be what he needed to be.
It wasn’t bad that he had the riches of Egypt but it gave those up so that He could be an isrealite and serve the way he needed to serve. You see, Moeses was entangled in Egypt. Entangled as a ruler in egypt. All the stuff he was doing, all the stuff he was involved with, was hindering him from his effectiveness. He felt burdened that I need to serve my people, so he ran. He got rid of those things.
I just wonder, 2018, how are we going to run today. Listen, we are going to run the exact same way we ran last year if we don’t get rid of encumbrances.
How serious are you? In this Christian life? How serious? I want to be extremely serious!
I want my life to count.
It starts by getting rid of encumbrances.
What are they?
Write them down. For each of us, they will be different. We need to examine our lives for anything that weighs or encumbers us in following and being obedient to Christ.
The second thing that we need to lay aside is sin.
Notice the wording that he uses here. And the sin that so easily entangles us.
Christianity is an interesting religion because it morphs. Just like anything, every traditions get formed through time. And there is a tradition that needs to end. The tradition is that Christians are perfect so therefore when sin comes, we need to hide our sin. Or we need to not be transparent and open with one another. Yes im struggling with pornography. So instead of telling others about it
Talks about how Christians need to help one another.
Sin entangles. You think you can do your sin in secret. You can’t. it will entangle you.
God’s way is best. Sin will entangle you. You need to get rid of it. Get rid of it now.
I don’t know what it is but you need to get rid of it. So that we can walk in obedience. Because God’s way is best.
So the writer says you are a runner, I’m putting on the starting line, but before, you need to take off.
The race you are going to race is going to be dictated by whether you are encumbered or not whether you are entangled in sin or not.
Where are you at?
Sometimes we don’t stop long enough to contemplate, to stop and think about whether we are running without encumbrances, without extra weight, without the sin that entangles. Are we running this race the best way possible?
He gives us a second exhortation.
That second exhortation is let us run!
Listen, the Christian life, running in the Christian life is the greatest experience ever!
It’s so hard but it is good!
Let’s run!
We are Christians! We have the truth, we know the King. Let’s run!
Let’s make him known. Let’s enjoy him. Let’s live with a serious mentatlity and run.
You say what does this look like. does the bible say, it says go and make disciples. It doesn’t say wait for them to come to you.
What is one person, in your life, that has been impacted by you.
One person who has been impacted by your faith.
There are many people today who have been self professed Christians for years and they have had zero impact for Kingdom purposes and they are ok with that.
No wonder we aren’t advancing because nobody is running!
We feel good and our conscience is appealed because we are in church but we are not living out Christianity. We are just talking about it, singing about it.
Listen, let’s wake up. The bible calls us to run. Run like these old testament witnesses. Live in light of these truth. But we are like everyone else in the world. Living our life just like them. But we are to be salt and light to this world. Right?
People need to be convicted when they are in your presence and if they are not you are not running.
People need jesus and the only way the will come to Jesus is if you proclaim Him in your life.
The only hope they have is the power of the gospel is to change them from sin laden to spirit freedom.
But you are the agent to that end.
I believe in the King. I believe in Jesus Christ. I want all people, because I know Jesus is the best, I want to share Him with everyone.
There are people living in sin all around us and we are doing nothing. Do we not care?
We need to invite each other into our lives. Because we love and are serious about this.
We are called to run. Running means we are serious, we are focused, we are determine. And that focus is clear because he tells us how to run.
He tells us how to run with endurance. Run with perservance. Run even though it hurts. Even though there is struggle, even though there is pain, even though there is exhausten. We are to run through it all!
Jesus will meet you when you run with perservance.
You know when you get to the finish line you aren’t supposed to arrive standing tall, you are supposed to arrive as if you strived.
Remember that Christianity is choosing to suffer.
We are to run with endurance. Which means you are to put one foot in front of another.
Just one more step, one more step.
But not just to run with endurance but we are to run fixing our eyes on Jesus.
We are to focus on Jesus Christ who endured hostility by sins, the author and perfecter of our faith…the rest of verse 2…and sat down at the right hand of God
It is easy when we are enduring to focus on ourselves. Oh,God help me not to do that. Help me to focus on Jesus.
When Jesus ran he looked to the joy set before him. He wasn’t looking at the joy set in the present but the joy set in the future.
This is so good for us. Don’t look at your friends. Don’t look around you. Look at Jesus. He lived in light of doing the will of His Father.
There is a reason why in verse 3
Listen, when you get tired in this Christian life, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. The things of earth will grow strangely dim in light of his glory and grace.
Let’s pray.
Father we in no way want to go through the motions. Because to go through the motions is to declare that you are not worthy of full surrender. It is to deny your lordship. We may declare with our words but with our lives we say you are not the lord, I’m the lord. You’ve commanded us to get serious. We know the watching world around us wants to know if we believe the truth or not. So Lord when we don’t live this truth with seriousness, we bring you dishonor and tell the world that you are not worthy of it. That your truth isn’t truth. But you are the king, behold our God!
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