Summary: Conclusion of the "Heroes" Series. From Hebrews 12:1-3

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at story after story of the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.

Noah…When the Whole World’s against you; Abraham…When God says Go; Moses…a great leader; Rahab…an unlikely hero; David…facing your giants.

Great stories…I think one of the downfalls of the church is that we teach people the stories, but we don’t teach them what they mean! It’s great to know a story, but what are we to learn from what we’ve read.

Hebrews 12:1-3 - Therefore, 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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I love that word “Therefore” because it always means THIS is why I told you what I just told you! That one little word says “This is what I’ve said…now this is why I’ve said it!”

LET US RUN! Because they RAN and they Finished the Race…NOW IT’s OUR TURN TO RUN! IT’s a passing of the baton.

ILL – In the Ninth Grade, I was a proud member of the Greer high school track team (You’ve probably heard about us). My race was the 2 mile run. It’s a distance run, not a sprint (EIGHT LAPS). You have to run for a while before you see the finish line.

Problems with Distance running…

1. Those who lack consistency (pace yourself)

2. Those who lack endurance (discipline)

3. Those who lack determination (You’ve got to WANT to win!)

APP – The Christian life is a distance run!

1. People often lack consistency (they want immediate results). They start out of the gate full force and then they quit because they aren’t growing the way they want to.

a. Parable of the soils. They are planted in shallow soil and wither away as soon as the sun comes out.

2. Some people lack endurance. (They want an easy path)

3. Some people lack determination (They don’t’ want it bad enough)

a. I read a book once that said there are really only two things that will limit the holy spirit’s work in your life.

i. One is Sin.

ii. The other is the lack of Desire.

b. Some people are jogging through the Christian life…just hoping they’ll make the finish line, but not really determined to finish strong!

But Hebrews says that those who have gone before us are our inspirations!

Anyone have an inspiration growing up? Who?

ANY JORDAN FANS? Remember the ads “I want to be like mike”. AND YOU CAN BE LIKE MIKE and all you need is this pair of black and red shoes. (and possibly a bowl of wheaties for breakfast)

WHO has inspired you in your spiritual life? Maybe it’s Billy Graham or Mother Teresa, or maybe it’s a Christian teacher or a minister. Maybe it’s even been your parents who planted a seed of faith in your life that eventually took root and you gave your life to Christ and began to follow Him. (don’t know how many testimonies I’ve heard that begin “I was raised in a Christian Home…”)

THOSE inspirations are important because they give us Hope.

“IF THEY DID…I CAN!” - That’s what a Hero is!

The writer of Hebrews continues and gives us some practical thoughts on achieving spiritual victory in the race that is set before us.

He says FIRST, you must get rid of the things that keep you from running well.

Hebrews 12:1b – 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.

Literally, this means “encumbrance” or “weight”. Something that binds you or weighs you down.

Weight is never a positive thing when it comes to running. WE exercise to “lose weight”. I’ve never heard anyone say, “My new years resolution is to put on a few pounds” – “I want a couple of rolls around my waist” – or “I’d love to have an extra chin by next Christmas”. Have you ever seen the types of clothing Olympic atheletes wear when they are running? The lighter the better, the more aerodynamic the better. They wear running shoes that weigh just a few ounces, because they don’t want anything to weigh them down, and while they’ll wear sweat suits and such when they are warming up, when it comes time for the race, those things come off.

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