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07132008 Run with Endurance Heb12:1-3

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Run with Endurance

Illustration:  Buddy Dodd, Georgia Tech’s athletic director, tells of the coach who, with his team leading 7 to 6 in the last minute of play, carefully instructed his quarterback not to pass under any condition. But when the ball was carried within the opponent’s ten-yard line, the quarterback was overcome by temptation. He passed and the ball was intercepted by the rival’s fastest back, who broke into the open field and raced toward the goal. He was speeding past midfield when suddenly; out of nowhere, the quarterback who had passed overtook him and brought him down.

After the game, the losing coach remarked to his barely victorious counterpart, “I’ll never understand how your boy overtook my fastest back.”

“Well, I’ll tell you,” came the reply. “Your back was running for a touchdown—my boy was running for his life.”

In our text it is clear there is mandated for us a task to do as Christians in this life.  We must run with endurance “the” race that is set before us.  If there is a race to run, then there is a prize.  If it has been set before us, there is a purpose.  And if God has set this before us, then there is a way for us to accomplish it.  And we have the greatest trainer and example by which to accomplish it.

RUN--to make an effort to advance spiritually or intellectually, exert oneself

                Emphasis here in on the effort

I.  Because we are Surrounded by so many witnesses:

Chapter 11 the great Faith chapter tells us of those beginning with Abel all the way through the OT prophets to the author of Hebrews of those who have run the race before us.  Look at their lives, their struggles, and then look at your life.

I do not believe we are all to live and suffer as many of these did, however, I believe we are called to live no less for God than they did. 

Who are these “witnesses” they are the men and women of chap. 11 who have received acknowledgment from God because of the constancy of their faith (11:2, 4, 5, 39). They act in Scripture as witnesses to the character and validity of committed faithfulness, whose lives provide evidence for subsequent generations of the possibilities of faith.

“great cloud of witnesses,” connotes not only the great number of persons (way more than just those mentioned here.)  But also the unity of the crowd in their witness to the integrity of faith.

The witnesses are not to be viewed as just dead martyrs but rather v.1 is intended to inspire us to see them as active participants watching our lives, testifying to the truth which earned them commendation!!!

II.  We must Take off—vices(lay aside rid oneself of)Ro 13:12; Col 3:8; Eph 4:22; Jas 1:21; I Pet 2:1 all speak to stripping off, or laying aside these vices.

At the Olympic Games the footrace was the only athletic contest for an extended period. The exhortation to run, “with endurance,” identifies the race not as a contest of speed but of stamina. The allusion is to a distance race requiring disciplined commitment and endurance.

 

“having set aside all excess weight”—if you were about to run a marathon, if you were training to run the longest race of your life, and if your life depended on you making it, would you strap on to your feet the heaviest shoes you could find.  Wear the bulkiest clothing possible, and fatten yourself up with an extra 20 to 30 pounds?  By no means.  Why then do we attempt to run this race called the Christian life, hindered and burdened down with all kinds of sin? 

This participle here tells us this excess weight should have been laid aside sometime in the past.  It is a completed action sometime in the past.  Why then do so many of us still carry so much with us. 

We struggle with the burden, but we won’t ever really give it to the Lord.  He tells us he is willing to take our burdens and exchange them.  Ps and Mt both tell us this, and his are light and easy.  Jesus knows the race we run, and the effort…

If we are going to endure this race to the end, to attain the prize, we need to lay aside all of this junk of sin.  Don’t fool yourself thinking you can live this life holding on to your vices, and God will forgive you and simply open heaven for you when you die because you were good.  Laying aside is part of the race!!!

III.  By Fixing our eyes—is to direct one’s attention without distraction, trustingly  “looking away from other things…to Jesus” Perfector of Faith

Christian faith finds its essential expression in persevering devotion to Christ and in a lifestyle that reflects consecration to the service of God.  When you think of great Christians in your life, godly people what expression comes to mind.  Devotion, great endurance, lives focused on Christ.  Don’t just happen.

Heb 6:20—Jesus is the forerunner.

Endured—persevere, suffer  This word ties the passage together  3 times.

Disregarded its shame—to consider something not important enough to be an object of concern when evaluated against something else.  To think little of something.  Jesus thought less of himself, and more about you. 

And Sat down-Perfect active indicative—in the past, and continues through today, no one else can ever sit on His throne,

Application:  We are able to run this race with endurance because of what Jesus did for us.  v.3 tells us to consider Him who endured—that is Christ, and in doing so, if we truly consider, think hard about, call to memory all that Jesus has done for us, then the author of Hebrews—the Holy Spirit, tells us we will not grow weary, or fainthearted.

Does this mean we must be sinless???  Not possible.

before I was a Christian. I ran after sin. Now I run from it though sometimes I am still overtaken.

In this life the greatest question you will ever answer is this, what are you running for?  Are you just running for another goal, the next goal in life, for a crown that is corruptible, that tomorrow will pass away, that will fade, that will rot?  Or will your answer be eternal life.  I am running for the crown that is incorruptible, the crown that will never fade, that will remain throughout all eternity. 

I preach the Word, I run in the race, I seek to keep the faith, and 2 Tim4:8 says when I finish this race, having endured there will be for me a crown of righteousness.  The crown Jesus will award me on that Day.

                James 1:12 tells me “blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when we have stood the test we will be awarded the crown of Life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

                Rev 2:10 speaks of the same Crown of Life given to those who will suffer in this life, even suffer unto death.

                1 Peter 5 tells me to shepherd the flock of God, willingly, not under compulsion, eagerly, not domineering but being an example, and that when the chief shepherd appears, I will receive the unfading crown of glory.

What is it that you value?  The man-made man given crowns that can be grasped today, or the crowns yet to come which are God given?  Which ever is your choice, remember this.  You earn both types in this life. 

Your running a race, make no mistake about it.  Every single one of us are running a race.  The question is, what kind of crown are you running for?

Remember 2 Timothy 2:5 tells us that an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

John 19:2-5 (Read)  Jesus gives us the crowns of glory, and he took with joy the crown of man.  A crown of pain, of suffering, and a crown of death. 

What is burdening you down?  What weight is hindering you?

Run with endurance the race set before you!  No one else can run your race, only you.  And this race is the most important thing you will ever do!!!

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