Summary: How is your heart? Is it resolute or does it surrender to your flesh when the flesh gets tired? Hebrews 12:1-4 gives us principles for allowing Jesus to make our hearts strong!
Flesh & Spirit – Part V: How is Your Heart?
a. This week is the last sermon in our series of the “flesh and the spirit.”
b. I hope that you learned more than head knowledge but also learned and are practicing some of the tools for walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
i. Even when we are walking in the Spirit one day and the next day we get up and for one reason or another don’t put on Christ like we should, or we don’t get our minds on heavenly things, or we pay attention to temptation instead of focusing on Christ…do not despair!
ii. I believe that the reason Paul talks about this struggle between flesh and spirit so often is not only because it is important, but because we are so prone to fail and give up!
c. When we learn to walk, we don’t always walk really well.
i. When a 9 month old child learns to walk, you expect them to trip and fall pretty often.
ii. I know of a man who was president who tripped and fell just about every time a camera was watching. (President Gerald Ford – who incidentally is over 90 years old and still going strong)
1. His falls didn’t kill him. Your falls won’t kill you.
2. They will hurt, but the key to walking is getting back up.
3. Walking is a continuous, present tense action that we do in the Spirit.
4. The key to a successful walk is to not stop, not give up, not give in and not to quit!
d. Your “flesh” will complain, especially when you are getting weary or tired.
i. The temptation is to give into your body and to stop.
ii. What ultimately rules then? The flesh or your spirit?
iii. (SPEAK SLOWLY) What kind of heart-drive do you have? Is your heart drive such that you ignore the cries and protests of your flesh and keep on pursuing your goal?
2. This morning, we are going to look at a passage from Hebrews that talks about finishing the walk.
a. Hebrews 12:1-4 “1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin…”
a. Two gas company service men, a senior training Supervisor and a young trainee were out checking meters and parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked there way to the other end. At the last house a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her gas meter. As they finished the meter check the older supervisor challenged his younger co-worker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck.
As they came running up to the truck, they realized that the lady from the last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath she said, "When I see two gas men running full speed away from my house, I figured I had better run too." Contributed by: Stan Martin to sermoncentral.com
i. That lady was running, wasn’t she? Now, she wasn’t exactly sure why she was running, but she seemed to think that her life depended on it.
ii. Wouldn’t it be truly awesome if every person who claims the name of Christ, every individual who is called a Christian, would run the race of faith as if their lives depended on it?
iii. Unfortunately, many Christians aren’t really even in this race of faith.
1. Oh, they may have been saved … they have come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord … but that’s it.
2. They’re not growing, they’re not serving, and they’re not sharing their faith.
3. It’s like they jumped across the starting line … and then they laid down to rest. They have taken themselves out of the race before it even really started.
Lets look at this passage verse by verse to understand how we can not only stay in the race, but finish it as well!
4. V-1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,