Summary: Our text tells us exactly what is important about fixing our eyes on Jesus. It’s because of who He is and what He did. 1- Jesus is the author 2- Jesus is the savior 3- Jesus is the victor
INTRO.- Let us run the race.
ILL.- A man decided to take up jogging. He was astounded by the wide selection of jogging shoes available at the local sports shoe store. While trying on a basic pair of jogging shoe, he noticed a minor feature and asked the clerk: "What is this little pocket thing here on the side for?"
And the clerk: "Oh, that’s to carry spare change so you can call your wife to come pick you up when you’ve jogged too far."
ILL.- A man said: Last year I entered the New York City Marathon. The race started and immediately I was the last of the runners. It was embarrassing. The guy who was in front of me, second to last, was making fun of me. He said, "Hey buddy, how does it feel to be last?" I replied: "Do you want to know?" and I dropped out.
Let us run the race marked out for us. In a sense, life and especially, the Christian life is something of a race. It’s more like a marathon race, which is 26.2 miles rather than a short 100 yard dash. And sometimes the race can be difficult and grueling. Life is not easy and living for Christ is not easy. But I’d rather run the race with Jesus than without Him! Wouldn’t you?
Our text speaks of things that hinder us in running the race and the sin that so easily entangles us. HOW TRUE THIS IS. Many people drop out of the race early because of sin and various other hindrances; play, pleasure, making money, work, etc.
ILL.- There was a farmer who had three sons: Jim, John, and Sam. No one in the family ever attended church or had time for God. The pastor and the others in the church tried for years to interest the family in the things of God to no avail. Then one day Sam was bitten by a rattlesnake. The doctor was called and he did all he could to help Sam, but the outlook for Sam’s recovery was very dim indeed.
So the pastor was called and appraised of the situation. The pastor arrived, and began to pray as follows: "0 wise and righteous Father, we thank Thee that in Thine wisdom thou didst send this rattlesnake to bite Sam. He has never been inside the church and it is doubtful that he has, in all his time, ever prayed or even acknowledged Thine existence. Now we trust this experience will be a valuable lesson to him and will lead to his genuine repentance.
"And now, 0 Father, wilt thou send another rattlesnake to bite Jim, and another to bite John, and another really big one to bite the old man. For years we have done everything we know to get them to turn to Thee, but all in vain. It seems, therefore, that what our combined efforts could not do, this rattlesnake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing that will do this family any real good is rattlesnakes; so, Lord, send us bigger and better rattlesnakes. Amen."
I think I’d rather be faithful in going to church and stay in the race than having the Lord send rattlesnakes to wake me up!
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.