Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Running the Race (Staying the Course)

Heb. 12:1-12 The imagery is a "distance race" - your faith is like that.
The point being: RUN - get in, get serious, run, keep running, finish well.
Compare with 2 Tim. 4:6-7 and then 2 Tim. 4:5

So...... RUN .... How????
#1. Stripped down. (the Romans actually competed naked)
The point is: "throw off':
A. Everything that hinders - extra weight, legal weight - things that are not necessarily bad but are just a hindrance.
B. sin that entangles.
This means a deliberate, intentional discard. Col.3:8 James 1:21 1 Pet. 2:1
You must do it. You have to decide to do it.

#2. With perseverance. "patience" - resolve, determination, decisiveness with stubbornness, tenacity...
Heb. 3:6 Heb. 3:14
This is a huge issue in Christian life - Rev. 13:5-10 - this is speaking of end times but the battle is perpetual.
It has nothing to do with never stumbling or stopping, etc. But, pick back up and keep going.

#3. The race marked out - it doesn't mean run any race where ever you want.
It means:
THE Christian race (generally) as determined by God and spelled out in Scripture
B. Your particular Christian race. - God has a purpose for you!
Illustration: John 21:18-22 - on one hand, it's the same race for Peter and John, but... they were decidedly different from one another.

#4. With your eyes on Jesus - it's easier to run the race if you are looking in the right place.
A. our earthly example (and inspiration) - Heb. 12:3
B. our heavenly source - of strength, encouragement, direction, correction...
Isa. 26:3

#5. A realistic view of the course.
On one hand, the Christian life is difficult. However, Heb. 12:4 - your course, for the most part, is not that difficult. Especially when compared to the Christian life fellow believers in persecuted countries face.

#6. Remembering God's Word and God's purpose. Heb. 12:5-6
Discipline can be: A. punishment
B. correction
C. training (Heb. 12:10-11)
2 Cor. 4:16-18 Gen. 50:20

#7. Enduring hardship Heb. 12:7 (a)
Jer. 12:5 - expect it, endure it, grow from it....

#8. Run with good form Heb. 12:12
The point being: perking up! lift up your head, pick up your feet!
We're not talking about: fake fresh - but, show dignity, nobility, respectability...
The main point is: we're running for Christ, wearing His shirt, sponsorship as ambassadors

#9. Run with confidence - called faith.
It is not explicit in the text. However, it is the text - all over the text.
Because we believe Jesus is the Son of God and what He said is properly recorded.
Isa. 40:27-31

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