By Faith, Live! (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Intro:

I never want to brag or boast of my running; actually I have been struggling with running in the past few months. But a few years ago, especially three years ago, I was really good. I was a good runner. It felt really good to run. I was at my lowest weight and I could go. So, my distance kept increasing and then I signed up for a marathon. I have now ran three marathons. My medals are up here.

I started training and running further and further. It was January 2013 and I would run out in the country and I would be doing so good. My time was good, my distance was good and then I would hit some big hills and some big wind, then I would slow down. That wind was very demoralizing. The hills were very demoralizing. They weighted me down. But I was aiming for a marathon and that was my goal. I wanted to be ready.

I got to the Marathon and I was ready. I went down certain streets and there was a great cloud of people on each side of the streets cheering me on. That was very exciting. That moved me along. The wind was down as well.

Who do you think would win a Sidney to Melbourne Ultramarathon:

How about cliff Young? In 1983, the 61-year-old potato farmer won the inaugural Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon, a distance of 875 kilometres (544 mi). The race was run between what were then Australia’s two largest Westfield shopping centres: Westfield Parramatta, in Sydney, and Westfield Doncaster, in Melbourne.[4] He ran at a slow loping pace and trailed the leaders for most of the first day, but by running while the others slept, he took the lead the first night and maintained it for the remainder of the race, eventually winning by ten hours.

Before running the race, he told the press that he had previously run for two to three days straight rounding up sheep in gumboots.[5] He claimed afterwards that during the race, he imagined that he was running after sheep and trying to outrun a storm. The Westfield run took him five days, 15 hours and four minutes,[1] almost two days faster than the previous record for any run between Sydney and Melbourne. All six competitors who finished the race broke the previous record. Despite attempting the event again in later years, Young was unable to repeat this performance or claim victory again.[1]

Imagine that? Wow?

But generally when we are running it gets harder if we have more weight hold us down. In the early Olympic games they would train with weight and then run naked.

Who here as seen someone run a marathon in a suit and tie?

A few weeks ago I was running with someone and we got caught in a storm, by the end of the run we were weighted down, soaked with water.

I once tried ankle weights, those make running difficult.

In the winter I bundle up and I always think f how nice it would be to lose the layers and the weight.

I many time am pushing Mercedes and Abigail and so I have extra weight to push while running.

Okay, enough about that. My point is in running we must get rid of extra stuff.

Today’s passage pictures the Christian life that way. We must get rid of the extra weight holding us back from serving the Lord.

My point:

God is faithful we can trust Him, by faith live for Jesus.

So, Eyes on Jesus, God is Faithful we can trust Him.

Let’s read: Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

 

  1. First, this passage says we have a great cloud of witnesses.
    1. This great cloud of witnesses are the people that have gone before us, mainly and specifically these heroes of faith which we have been talking about for the past several weeks.
    2. Listen, this great cloud of witnesses are NOT people in Heaven looking down on us. No, not at all. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that people in Heaven can watch us. Okay. The great cloud of witnesses are the heroes of faith. If you look right here it says Hebrews 12:1, but in reality the chapters and verse numbers were added later and let me tell you, I am glad they were added because it would be quite difficult for me to stand up here and say, “Turn three fourths of the way through Hebrews and join me where it says, “Therefore.” That would be difficult. Chapters were added in the middle ages while a man on horseback rode to Paris. I am very thankful for these divisions, but sometimes they are at the wrong place. This is one of those times.
    3. Chapter 12 goes along with chapter 11.
    4. God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    5. I believe we can make the case that each one of these people from the Old Testament Heroes of Faith would say, “God is faithful, we can trust Him.”
    6. Abel would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    7. Enoch would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    8. Noah, who built the ark when people had never seen rain, would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    9. Abraham, father of our faith would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    10. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    11. Moses would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    12. Rahab would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    13. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    14. The prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah and the rest would say that God is faithful, we can trust Him.
    15. These are all the witnesses that went before us. They were imperfect, that had flaws, but the pattern was that they trusted God in what God had called them to do.
    16. In context, the people that Hebrews was written to struggled with staying true to Christ. They were Jewish Christians considering backsliding. The author is reminding them by the examples of these Old Testament heroes to stay true to the faith. God is faithful.
  2. Second, get rid of the distractions. This is the second major purpose in this passage.
    1. He says to throw off everything that hinders us. Remember the opening of my sermon about weight? Who runs with a bunch of weight? No, we lighten our load. Likewise as a Christian we get rid of the way keeping us from serving the Lord. This weight may be sin or just things keeping us from following Jesus fully.
    2. We could be dealing with two types of sins:
      1. Sins of commission: these are things we do that we should not do.
        1. Pride
        2. Envy
        3. Lust
        4. Lying
        5. Cheating
        6. Stealing
        7. Hate
        8. Jealousy
        9. Gossip
        10. Idolatry
        11. Adultery
      2. Then there are sins of omission. These are things that you don’t do that you should do.
        1. Not loving God
        2. Not loving people
        3. Not spending time in the Word
        4. Not learning
      3. Other things: there are other things that weigh us down.
        1. These could be things that are not sins at all but are just weighting us down.
          1. This may be not serving our church.
          2. This could be not studying but watching TV too much.
  • This could be some relationship that we are in that brings us down.
  1. The race of the Christian life is marked out for us. We must run with aim, looking towards the finish line. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)
  2. The Christian life is marked out in God’s Word.
  • Verse 2 tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus.
    1. All of those people in the Hall of Faith section failed. They all messed up, but one did not mess up and that is Jesus.
    2. We have our model; Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.
    3. He endured the cross and the shame of the cross and then sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    4. We must run the Christian life as with aim. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus did it right. We must persevere and stay the course.
    5. We must get rid of things that are holding us back and stay focused.
    6. God wants to use all of us, but we have weights in our Christian life and we must release the weights and look at Jesus.

Close:

Jesus wants to use us to lead people to come to know Him as Lord and Savior. These weights are keeping us from leading people to salvation.

There are about 22,000 people in Alliance about 75,000 people in the surrounding area. At least 50 percent of them need Jesus. I think it is actually way higher than that.

That is at least 11,000 in Alliance will die and go to hell because they don’t know Jesus.

At least 37,500 in the surrounding communities will die and go to hell without Jesus.

So, focus on Jesus, live for Him, be a witness for Him.

Popcorn: I have popcorn up here. Let’s say that each cornel represents 100 people, so each zip lock back which I have represents 5,000 people. I have 7 zip lock bags up here and I am going to dump them out one by one onto this table. 7 Zip lock bags represent 35,000 people who need Jesus.

All these people [as I dump a bag out] are going to hell without Jesus.                

So, focus on Jesus, live for Him, be a witness for Him.

Let’s pray the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done,

in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Young_(athlete)

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