Summary: A sermon to encourage the saits to endure the struggles in life.
By Chris Cromwell
Inspired By John Johnson
A Call To Endurance
Texts Hebrews 12:1-3
Key-verse Hebrews 12:1b “let us run with endurance this race that is set before us”
We are face with many obstacles in our life. When we look around we can see how Satan is constantly assaulting the people of God. He wages war on our family, he wages war on our finances he wages war on the church even wage war on the doctrine of God. He has caused some to believe that the bible teaches the American dream. All you have to do is name it and claim it, and live a carefree life in the riches of this world on easy street. This type of message is leading so many people away from the doctrine of Christ. But the Lord had told us in Mt. 24 "All these are the beginning of sorrows. And he goes on to say 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” And he also said "we will have tribulation in this World but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." But the lord wants you to know that the race is not given to the swift neither to the strong, but it is given to the ones that endure to the end. Yes we will have trouble in our life, but if we can just holdout through the night. David reminds us that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. So the Lord is calling us to endurances. In our text the writer contrast the life of a Christian with that of a marathon runner, which was so popular in that day as well as ours. And he talks about the spectators and the participant of the race, and Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith. The theme of this passage is the need for perseverance or endurance through trials and tribulation. We will have trail and tribulation in this race for Jesus. We are all in a races for our life whether we realize it or not. Life consist of more then just being born, going to school and getting a good job then getting married, living the so called good life, watching your children grow up, retiring from your job living out your golden years rocking in your rocking chair, then you die and have a big funeral and then the end. No, no, no, life consist of more that just that. That is just a small minute part of life, but it also consists of standing before the Lord who will decide your final resting place, which will be eternality in Heaven or eternality in Hell. So intern this life really is a marathon really its a triathlon that requires all our energies to complete. And in this race there are only two courses that we can choose from which are the narrow course, which is the way of Christ or the broad course which is anyway that dose not involve belief in Christ. Jesus has said in Mt. 7:13 that we should ”enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many that goes in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that lead to life and there are few who finds it.” Luke 13:24 said it like this "(1) Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. He is saying to us that we must make every effort to seek the best course of life. We must seek diligently, for a few ever find it. Now the bible says in so many words that the broad way is easy. The general thought on this highway is that they are only accountable to themselves, because it’s all about self. Therefore it doesn’t matter how you run on this track, because there is plenty of room to error. For those who choose this path their final end is destruction. But on the narrow path there is much need for endurances. On the narrow path we will find that Satan has booby-trap the path with many hidden trap and snares, which will cause many difficulty. But thank God for Jesus, it is he who helps us to endure the struggles along the way. It really matters how you run on this path. Because you realize its not about you its about pleasing God. You will come to find there isn’t much room for error because narrow is the path and difficult is the way. Narrow is the way that leads to life. There are many old patriarchs that have chosen this path in life and have endured the trail and tribulation of the journey. It was by faith that Noah endured the flood, It was by faith that Abraham endured the journey into a land he never seen before, it was by faith that Moses endured Pharaoh and disobedient nation of Israel and the red sea, it was by faith that Rehab endure the destruction of the walls of Jericho, and there are modern day patriarchs like, Harriet Tugman who by faith risk her life leading her countryman to freedom enduring the hostilities of slave owners, It was by faith that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. endured the civil rights movement, I can still hear him on the step on the Washington monument crying “free at last free at last thank God almighty I’m free at last”, and there’s Laura Alexander and other mothers like her who endure raising her family despite the meanest of the times and the lack of finances but made it through by faith. There were many other old patriarchs that have gone on before us who have held on to their faith despite the tribulation they encountered in life. The writer begins by reminding us that, “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” These people weren’t mere spectators, but they were the old patriarchs that have gone on before us, who have endured the struggles of life thru their trust in God. I believe that this portion of text isn’t there to let us know that we have a heavenly cheerleading section, but it is there to encourage us. It reminds us that we are not the first to go thru the trails of life, but there were others before us who went thru, and if they can do it so can we. Some of the things that we suffer in life don’t even compare to the hostilities that some of them had to endure. Some had trial of mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, F55 were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented- 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith. If they can endure by the power of God so can we. One thing that all the Saints had in common was faith. It takes faith and trust in God to endure the difficulties in the race for Jesus. It is about what we see in them, not what they see in us, this is what the writer wants us to see today. As runners in the race, we are to remember how they made it through so that we might take courage to run on to see what the end going to be. It would be wise for a man to choose the narrow path to eternal life. But as we enter into the narrow gate that leads to life we must make preparations in order for us to run with endurances. For the bible says that we must “lay aside every weight and sin that would easily beset us. Let us run this races with endurance.” I have often heard my pastor say that on the broad way you can carry all your bags because you have room to wobble all over the road but on the narrow path you have to unload because there is no wobbling room. But as you run you keep dropping off bags along the way, which makes you run faster and straighter. It is hard to be an effective runner when you are overloaded with weights. You will find that runners train and diet to strengthen their bodies and to shade excess pounds so they maximize their chance to win. Likewise we must put away those things that weight us down. In the text the writer names to types of weight that hinder us from endurance on this race. The first he called weights. Now these are the more tangible things in life that are not necessarily sin. But anything that hinder us from fully following after Christ. For an example in Luke 9:57-62 we will find those who were in the race but was burden down with weights. It says “57 now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow you wherever you go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Now this represents the more physical things in life. 59 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." This is the Weight of family 61 and another also said, "Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." This is the weight of friendship and relationships”. All of these things can get in our way of becoming an effective runner for the Lord. Weights are the more tangible things in life. Now the other he called sin. Now we definitely know that sin is weight because when someone sin we say he falls we don’t say he got up. We know that sin is what ties us to this earth. Paul said in Ephesians 4:22- 24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”So we must keep our minds sharp with the word of God, and put away sin in our life that keeps us off balanced. When we put away the sins in our life then we can wait patiently on the Lord. And if we wait patiently on the Lord, Isaiah said, “those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Other words if our focus is on Jesus we will be able to endure. For Jesus is the master of endurance for the bible say that we should “look unto Jesus, - the author and finisher of our faith, - who for the joy that was set before- Him endured the cross, - despising the shame, - and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls”. Lets look at some of the things he endured: He endured the hostilities of the people when all he wanted to do was show them a better way of life. He endured the false accusations about him when men refused to hear the truth. He endures the fact that his disciple went to sleep when he needed them to watch for him a little while. He endured the interrogation of the priest as they interrogated him and spite on him and smote him with their hands. He endure the trails by Pilate even thought Pilate wanted to let him go. He endured shouts of his nation despite the fact he healed the sick, who blinding eyes he open, who lame he made to walk, who demon posses he drove out, who dumb he made to talk, who children he raised form the dead, who leper he cleansed, who whither hands he restored, who multitudes he fed with a few fish a couple of loads of bread, who he saved from being stone by the people for sin, he endure when all of theses people cried crucify him. He endured the 39 stripes by which we are healed. He endured the nails that were placed in his hands and the nails that were placed in his feet. He endured the sword that pierced his side. He endured dying a shameful death for you and I But his endurance didn’t stop there. He endured three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. But some one said that serving the Lord will pay off after while. David said that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. It was in the morning when Jesus rose from the Dead with all power in his hand. Yes its in the morning, if we can just holdout till the morning, because joy comes in the morning, peace come in the morning, hope comes in the morning. When the going get tough and your way get rough if you just hold out till the morning, Love comes in the morning; Jesus is coming in the morning Just hold out till the morning. So “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And hold on to your faith through the trail and tribulations of life. “A called to endurance.”