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Summary: This sermon looks at a main attribute in helping us to live our lives to the best - to run the race that is marked for us and finish well, according to God’s standards.

Going for the Gold in Life

Hebrews 12:1-3

Intro.:

A. Wow, did you get to see the Men’s Figure Skating event in this years Olympics?

It was quite an event. Many of the lead skaters had great problems doing their jumps.

US Figure Skater, Evan Lysacek won the Silver Medal.

He persevered so much to win that medal.

It started when he did real bad in his Short performance. He missed a couple Jumps and just struggled through out the entire performance.

A couple days later it was time for his Long Performance. The problem was: he was now sick with the stomach flu. The day before he had to have an IV. BUT, the day came – he rested up, he pulled it together under very difficult circumstances, and went out on the Ice and skated wonderfully! Enough to win the Silver Medal.

Evan Persevered. He was able to do his best. He finished well. He Medaled.

B. Life is sometimes like Evan’s experience at the Olympics: you slip and fall sometimes, you face difficulties, etc. Yet, what can we do, like Evan to go out and Finish well to get the Prize?

Paul said it this way about his life: 1Tim. 4:7; “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Phil. 3:13-14, “…But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

That is what Evan Lysacek did this week to Win the Silver Medal in the Olympics.

How can we, like Evan & Paul overcome difficulties and press on to Finish well in life?

C. The Answer to that question is found in Chapter 11 of Hebrews.

- This chapter list several people who finished their life well – They went for the Gold, to receive the crown of Righteousness and eternal life.

- People like Abel who truly worshipped the Lord; Enoch who walked with God; Noah who was totally obedient to the Lord even when no one else was and who warned people about God’s upcoming judgment; Abraham who Obeyed God and followed the Lord even when it meant going to another place to live; Isaac, Jacob, Joseph who overcame the rejection of his own brothers, false accusations, being a slave, to be used by God in a mighty way; Moses was adopted, failed, didn’t speak well and yet God used; etc.

- The message of Heb. 11, is that the key for these people, and us to finish life well – to Go for the Gold is FAITH!

- Vs. 6; “Without Faith it is Impossible to Please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

D. Hebrews 12:1-3, calls us to Run the Race of life and do it with FAITH – a Trust in the Lord!

But how can we RUN the RACE of LIFE with FAITH?

Body:

A. We Develop the Faith to Go for the Gold through Fellowship, vs. 1a

“We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.”

This refers to those in Ch. 11 who have lived their life well, finished the race before them with FAITH.

WE can learn from them but we can also learn from one another.

Since, I have been here I have heard names of people who lived their life with FAITH and now rest in the Lord. People like, Smity, Pat Eng, Vern Woodgate, Delores, and many others whose faith was strong and who set an example for us to follow.

We also learn from those present who live in Faith. That is why the Scriptures call us to Spur one another on toward love and good deeds; Encourage and Build one another up in the Lord; Restore one another as we see a brother or sister sin; Love one another in the Lord…Sharpen one another as Iron sharpens Iron.

Just as Athletes learn from those in the sport we learn from one another to Go for the Gold by living with Faith!

We develop our Faith to live for Gold through Fellowship with others who Trust in the Lord.

B. WE Develop the Faith to Go for the Gold by being FITTED properly, vs. 1b

“Let us throw off EVERYTHING that Hinders us” from running the race – in life.

Every once in a while you hear about the gear that helps the Athlete in their particular sport. E.G. The US Bobsled team have a special Aluminum that sharpens as it is on the Ice track.

If you have watched any of the Olympics you have heard a lot about Snowboarding with the Flying Carrot as he took gold and Lindsey who crashed after doing a stunt over her last jump and lost the Gold. But have you noticed that the Snowboarding teams have a uniform that they wear, including a huge Parka. But when they actually race, they don’t wear the Parka – why? Because it would hinder them!

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