Summary: The Christian Life is much like a person in training to participate in the Olypic Games in Athens this summer, 2004.

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Christian Life – Winners are Finishers

-Set a Spiritual Goal-

Hebrews 12:1-2

Have you noticed that you sometimes do better when you have people cheering for you as you compete in sporting events?

I remember one of the first basketball games I played in when I was Junior High age. My dad was in the crowd watching – the crowd there may have been 100 people watching in the small gym in Gypsum, Kansas. I would glance at my dad every now and then. I gave the game my best and managed to score a few points. His very presence encouraged me to play better.

On another occasion my nervousness before a crowd was an advantage. As a junior higher I was scheduled for a three round boxing exhibition match before a crowd in the same community gym. In my nervousness and fear I bounced around on my toes during the three rounds. I made it through the three rounds without getting knocked down. Following the bout several people asked me where I learned to box like that. I told them that it came naturally.

A crowd of witnesses spur is on when in competition.

The Christian life is much like a person in training to participate in the Olympic Games in Athens August 13-29th this year. The writer of Hebrews was aware of Olympic type games in Athens, Greece. The first Olympic Games were held in Athens in 776 BC (more than 2,700 years ago)

Pindar – a Greek Lyric Poet – in the 5th Century B.C. wrote: “As in the daytime there is no star in the sky warm or brighter than the sun, likewise there is no competition greater than the Olympic Games.”

The Hebrew writer declares in Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” NLT

Note the first word of Hebrews 12: 1 – “Therefore”. Since all that has happened in the previous chapter – the many witnesses that have gone before you and are cheering you on. The Message translates Hebrews 12:1 this way: “Do you see what this means --- all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running --- and never quit.”

Some of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 – “Hall of Faith” included:

Noah – by faith he built a ship in the middle of the


Abraham – by faith traveled to a land he had never


Moses – by faith led the children of Israel out of Egypt and walked across the Red Sea on dry ground.

Joshua – by faith marched around Jericho and the walls fell down.

What witnesses have you had and do you currently have to encourage you and keep you living a life of Faith. As we go for the gold we need to set a spiritual goal for our life – to run with endurance the race that God has set before us and keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

Who are your Heroes of the faith? Do you have godly parents, grandparents, friends or relatives cheering you on?

Heroes of the Christian faith are those who have been persecuted for their Faith and have remained faithful.

#In 1956 five American young adult missionaries gave their lives in trying to reach the Acua Indians in Ecuador. They had rifles with them but not one shot was fired at the Acua Indians, yet all five died from spear wounds.

Much later, one of the Auca Indians who had helped kill the five martyrs explained that the tribe, who had had almost no contact with outsiders wondered why the whites wanted to make contact with them; and while they wanted to believe that their visitors were friendly, they feared a trap. After the killings, they realized their mistake. When they were attacked, one of the missionaries fired two shots as warnings. It was therefore clear that the visitors had weapons, were capable of killing, and had chosen not to do so. Thus, the Aucas realized that the visitors were indeed their friends, willing to die for them if necessary. When in subsequent months they heard the message that the Son of God had come down from heaven to reconcile men with God, and to die in order to bring about that reconciliation, they recognized that the message of the missionaries was the basis of what they had seen enacted in the lives of the missionaries. They believed the Gospel preached because they had seen the Gospel lived.

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