Summary: A sermon on how a Christian can concentrate walking towards the direction God has set for us.
“Focus on What is Ahead”
Heb. 12:1-2 (God’s Word)
Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. 2 We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God.
I haven’t seen a race where the runners are concentrating on the things that are behind them. Their focus will always be for the things ahead, the finish line.
In the same way, if we want to move forward and finish the race that is set before us we need to focus only in Jesus.
The message of God is about FOCUS—Focusing on Jesus… To understand this, there are three sections…
I. The Paradigms
A. It’s a Race They Have Finished
This great cloud of Old Testament witnesses has amply attested the life of faith. They are our great examples of faith…
Have so great a cloud (a numberless multitude above us, like a cloud, "holy and pellucid,") of witnesses surrounding us:' an image from a 'race,' well understood even in Palestine from its contact with the Graeco-Macedonian empire and its national games.
B. It’s a Race They Are Now Witnessing
They are "witnesses" in a twofold way:
1. Attesting by their own case the faithfulness of God to His people (Heb. 6:12), some of them martyrs;
2. Witnessing our struggle of faith.
The scripture not positively and directly sustains this second sense, though agreeing with the image. It gives vividness to the image: as the crowd of spectators gave additional spirit to the current runners, so the cloud of witnesses, who have themselves been in the same contest, ought to increase our earnestness, testifying, as they do, to God's faithfulness.
II. The Preparatory
A. Get Rid of Everything That Slows Us Down
Let us lay aside every weight, that is, all inordinate affection and concern for the body, and the present life and world.
Inordinate care for the present life, or fondness for it, is a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward; it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be.
B. Get Rid of Sin that distracts us
The sin that do so easily troubled us; the sin that has the greatest advantages against us, by the circumstances we are in, or by the people around us.
Let us lay aside all external and internal hindrances.
III. The Perfective
Run with patience the race that is set before us. Christians have a race to run, a race of service and a race of sufferings, a course of active and passive obedience.
Christians have a greater example to animate and encourage them in their Christian course than any or all who have been mentioned before, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ: We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. v. 2.
A. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith
—the beginning, perfecter, and rewarder of it.
1. He is the author of our faith; not only the object, but the author. He is the great leader and precedent of our faith, he trusted in God; he is the purchaser of the Spirit of faith, the publisher of the rule of faith, the efficient cause of the grace of faith, and in all respects the author of our faith.
2. He is the finisher of our faith; he is the fulfiller and the fulfilling of all scripture-promises and prophecies; he is the perfecter of the canon of scripture; he is the finisher of grace, and of the work of faith with power in the souls of his people; and he is the judge and the rewarder of their faith; he determines who they are that reach the mark, and from him, and in him, they have the prize.
B. Jesus endured in the same race.
1. He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself (v. 3); he bore the opposition that they made to him, both in their words and behavior.
2. He endured the cross—all those sufferings that he met with in the world; for he took up his cross, and was at length nailed to it, and endured a painful, ignominious, and accursed death, in which he was numbered with the transgressors, the vilest malefactors; yet all this he endured with invincible patience and resolution.
3. He despised the shame. All the reproaches that were cast upon him, both in his life and at his death, he despised; he was infinitely above them; he knew his own innocency and excellency, and despised the ignorance and malice of his despisers.