Summary: The Lord calls each and every one of us to run the race with perserverance
Hebrews 12:1–13 A call to endurance
Truth & Light 10/27/02
The theme of this passage is the need for perseverance or endurance through trials and tribulations. I want to let you know Truth and Light that we are going to have to go through some trials and tribulations. I want to let you know that the race is not given to the swift neither to the strong, but it is given to he that endureth to the end.
The writer here develops the image of an athletic contest, the writer urges his readers to look to the great cloud of witnesses in ch. 11, for encouragement to run with perseverance the race of faith. As a climax to his presentation of the great heroes of faith, the writer recalls the endurance of Jesus in the face of extreme suffering, shame and opposition.
The Lord Never was, nor ever has been on the loosing side. He knows what it is like to stand in the face of opposition. He experienced it as he hung on the cross. I’m glad that the Lord knows first hand all the same things that I experience. He knows my pain because he has felt pain. He knows my sorrow, because he has felt sorrow. He knows how to be down. He knows how to shiver in our cold and how it feels to sweat in our heat. He knows what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty. I’m glad this morning that he knows all about us. So when you feel like you just can’t make it, you can be assured that he knows just how much you and I can bear.
The appeal to run with perseverance the race marked out for us suggests that the Christian life is more a marathon than a short sprint. We are to continue to press towards the mark. Paul says in Phil.3: V. 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The verb "I press" comes from a Greek word which means literally "to follow after." The Greeks used it to describe a hunter who eagerly and relentlessly pursued after his prey. You see, a person does not become a winning athlete by listening to lectures, watching movies, reading books or cheering at the games. He becomes a winner only when he gets into the race with a determination to win.
The Apostle Paul had a steadfast determination
He would not quit
He would not turn back.
He would not give in.
He would not throw in the towel.
He would not slow down.
He pressed toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
If you want to be a winner in this race of Christianity you must have a
spirit of endurance.
Sometimes you have got to put some energy and effort in what you are doing for The Lord Jesus Christ. Victory doesn’t come easy. It takes a little sweat no, let me rephrase that, It takes a lot of sweat. But the Lord says, if I’m with you, I’m more than the world against you.
We are not to picture the great cloud of witnesses in ch. 11 as spectators in an amphitheatre, cheering us on in the race of faith. It is ‘what we see in them, not what they see in us, is what the writer wants us to look at today.
As contestants in the race, we are to look to their example for encouragement. If they could do it, you and I ought to be able to do it too. If they could hold out, you and I ought to be able to hold out. If they could cross the finish line, you and I ought to be able to cross the finish line.
The writer says that we are to throw off every weight that hinders us. We are to get rid of any association or activity that handicaps us— and the sin that so easily entangles us.
The greatest encouragement comes when we fix our eyes on Jesus. The bible describes him as the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus is the perfect example of the faith that we ought to express. We ought to be able to say that I can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.
For a long time, I thought God was pleased knowing that I was more than willing to do what I could. I have always felt that if you can’t do what you want to, just do what you can. I thought that it was enough for you and I to live up to our potential. I never thought that it was reasonable to ask someone to go beyond their capabilities. It seems to me that it ought to be enough when one does what he can.