Summary: I’m afraid that the sad testimony in America today is that anything and everything causes us to quit; yet in the Book of Hebrews, nothing could stop them. People hit a little problem or anxiety, and they’re ready to bail out on their faith and bail out on
Sherwood Baptist Church has one of the most dynamic media ministries of any church in America. They have produced Facing the Giants, arguably the best feature-length movie ever made by a local church. It’s a God-glorifying, excellently created sports film in the tradition of Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, and Friday Night Lights. Facing the Giants is being released by Sony/Goodwyn and will be in theaters on September 29th.
Accompanying the movie are numerous sermons by such leaders at Johnny Hunt of Woodstock Baptist Church, Michael Catt, Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, and Dr. Jay Strack of the Student Leadership Network. You may copy and paste the following links to access these sermons:
1. Evidence of Christian Growth (Johnny Hunt)
2. Overcoming The Grasshopper Syndrome (Dr. Jay Strack)
3. Faith to Face Your Impossibilities (Michael Catt)
4. Hearing God When You’re Hurting (Michael Catt)
5. It’s Always Too Soon to Quit (Michael Catt) URL:
6. What Does It Mean to Live By Faith? (Ron Dunn)
7. Will a Man Serve God for Nothing? (Ron Dunn)
Also, a study curriculum that accompanies the movie may be downloaded at:
It’s Always Too Soon to Quit
(Facing the Giants—the death crawl scene)
I’m afraid that the sad testimony in America today is that anything and everything causes us to quit; yet in the Book of Hebrews, nothing could stop them. People hit a little problem or anxiety, and they’re ready to bail out on their faith and bail out on Jesus.
These Hebrews Christians were undergoing severe persecution, and Paul took them back and reminded them of those Christians before who had survived their lives because of their faith.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; (Hebrews 12:1-4, NASB)
In this passage, Paul painted a picture of a marathon race on the backdrop of the great Colosseum in Rome. This cloud of witnesses is not men and women of the faith who have gone before us or our parents or grandparents. These witnesses were the ones Paul wrote about in Hebrews 11, who remind us historically and biblically that we are not alone in this race.
It is important that Paul used the word therefore in 12:1. The phrase fixing our eyes on Jesus literally means “looking away to Jesus.” Paul didn’t want the Hebrews, or us, to fix their eyes on the great cloud of witnesses. I’ve heard preachers say that we have a great cloud of witnesses watching us and cheering us on; that’s good, but it’s not enough. In a time of pressure and persecution, even that won’t be enough. We must look beyond the witnesses and look away to the Word made flesh.
Those men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 are an inspiration and example to us, but Jesus is our empowerment.
THREE KEYS TO RUNNING THE RACE:
1. YOU NEED TO BE FIT.
Sometimes the Christian life is referred to as a walk. But, this metaphor of running is used in 1 Corinthians 9, Galatians 2 and 2 Timothy 2. You have to be fit to run. Paul is telling us, “Don’t loiter or linger; don’t quit.” It’s not just about running because I see Christians running everywhere. We must run with purpose and intensity. It’s not enough just to be busy for God because you may be busy doing the wrong things. We are in a race for life—it’s competition mode.
a) Lay aside every encumbrance or weight.
The word encumbrance may also be translated as “restriction” or “impediment.” Anything that hinders you from running your race at full speed and to your best ability, lay it aside. An encumbrance is not a sin. An encumbrance is something that, in and of itself, may not be a problem, but for you it is one. It is that which hinders your walk personally, takes your eyes off Jesus and causes you to lose your focus, purpose and tenacity for God. It may take away your passion or the priority of the Word of God and prayer in your life.