Run The Race
Sermon shared by Melvin Newland
Summary: Finishing the race is critically important for all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And this Scripture gives 3 words of advice to help us run the race of life faithfully.
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
ILL. Shannon Faulkner made headlines a few years ago as she crusaded to become the first female cadet at The Citadel, an all-male military academy. After a prolonged court battle, you’ll remember, she finally won the right to enroll. But she couldn’t endure the exercise program required of all cadets. So a few days later she dropped out & we’ve heard almost nothing of her since.
ILL. In contrast, there is the professional tennis player, Monica Seles. You may remember that a few years ago a crazed man jumped out of the stands & plunged a knife into her back. It was a terrifying experience, but she did not allow that to stop her. Once her wound healed, she began a rigorous exercise program, regained her strength, & last year won the British Open & placed 2nd in the U.S. Open.
A. I like to hear stories about people who won’t give up. Quitters aren’t much of an inspiration, but people who stay with a commitment even though the going gets tough are a source of great inspiration to all.
ILL. Do you remember the man who came to Jesus & said, "I’ll follow you wherever you go"? Jesus said, "Before you make that kind of commitment, you need to realize that foxes have holes & the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
"In other words, if you follow me, realize that there will be difficulties. There will be times when you will not know where you’ll sleep, or where your next meal is coming from. There will be difficult & discouraging times. But after you realize that, & then put your hands to the plow," He said, "don’t look back."
B. When people start the Christian life, & then quit when the going gets tough, they can become an object of ridicule to some & a source of discouragement to others. That’s the reason Hebrews 12:1-3 is so important.
Listen as I read it, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders & the sin that so easily entangles, & let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart."
Now in this passage the Christian life is not compared to a wind sprint, but to a marathon. In a wind sprint you run as fast as you can for a short distance, & speed is the critical factor. But in a marathon, endurance is the critical factor. Will you make it all the way to the end?
Paul said, "I’ve kept the faith. I’ve finished the course. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. And not for me only..."
PROP. Finishing the race is critically important for all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And this Scripture gives 3 words of advice to help us run the race of life faithfully.
I. INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE
The first is to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, & that we can be inspired by those who have gone before.
A. Notice that chapter 12 begins with the word "Therefore." That connects it with the previous chapter. And in chapter 11 the writer
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