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Summary: So whether you’re coming, or going, or already there, I have this simple message, “Welcome home.”

Homecoming Shell Point Baptist

Pastor Allan Kircher 14 oct 2012

”Looking back to witnesses, up to Jesus, and forward to joy.”

Hebrews 11:39-12:2

Today we celebrate our 24 year anniversary.

Now this is a time when we reflect on the history of this church

• When we think about those who have stayed

• Those who help make this church what it is today

• We think/those who have went/to serve the Lord elsewhere.

• We think/those who have/ultimate joy and now visit permanently with our Lord.

So today we celebrate our homecoming.

Even if Beaufort or the surrounding area is not your hometown

• even if your home as a child was less than ideal

• even if your home life today is in shambles

• even if your family is being challenged by what seems to be insurmountable odds

• we invite you to “hang your hat” for a little while this morning

I extend to you an opportunity to reconnect with God and with His people.

• Look around you today.

Recognize the familiar faces of those who have journeyed alongside you for many years.

Remember those experiences/moments in times past that made you smile and smile again.

• Appreciate the many faces

• Both new and familiar that are among us today.

• Make a new friend or renew an old acquaintance.

• Most important of all

• redirect your thoughts toward a God who has been faithful to bring you to another Homecoming season

So whether you’re coming, or going, or already there, I have this simple message, “Welcome home.”

• It’s time to celebrate homecoming.

• Shell point has had its peaks and its valley’s.

• But through 24 years, we have persevered/race.

_________________________________________

The entire existence of the church has had its valley‘s

• They were discouraged.

• Life had trampled them to the point of rejecting their faith in Christ.

• We often speak of someone in an athletic contest who gets trampled by his or her opponent.

• Man, it’s discouraging to get trampled.

• Have you ever been trampled by life?

• Have you ever been trampled by your boss?

• Have you ever been trampled by somebody you thought was your friend?

• I run into trampled people all of the time

• and so did the writer to the Hebrews

To encourage a group of “trampled” Christians, the Hebrews 11 writer presents to us a kind of spiritual homecoming.

He gathers together the names of those who have faithfully passed the legacy of faith on to the next generation.

He reflects on the lives of these heroes and heroines of the faith.

He talked about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel.

Ones who kept faith alive in their generation, even though it meant great personal sacrifice to each one of them.

The same is for us here in this fold.

• We must keep the faith

• Endure sufferings

• Persevere through the trials we will face.

• And through that race, we see…..

___________________________________________

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

So at the end of his life Paul said, "All my life has been like a fight and like a race.

• If you can say this you’re on the right road.

• Can you say this in the commitment to the church?

• To prosper her for the sake of the gospel?

• To labor selfishly for Christ.

• Trusting God's promises

• walking by faith in the Son of God

• resting in the easy yoke of Jesus

Can we say on homecoming:

• Day and night

• by every means graciously given to me,

• I have fought the good fight and run the race of perseverance.

This is your church, your ministry, your passion.

This is the Christian life you are called to live.

1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called."

And to explain, he said in verse 11, "Flee [the love of money]

• Flee all this; pursue righteousness, godliness

• Faith, love, perseverance, gentleness."

Note the two words: "flee"/"pursue"

• flee the love of money and all the evils that grow out of it

• pursue faith and love and perseverance.

• These are the words of war: Flee! Pursue!

• We should know nothing of coasting Christianity here.

Nor does the author of the letter to the Hebrews.

That's why the main point in this morning's text is the imperative of Hebrews 12:1, "Let us run the race set before us."

____________________________________________

Battling the Tendency to Coast

• The Hebrew Christians had gotten tired.

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