Summary: A sermon on running the race of faith and the necessary steps we must take.
How to Run the Race of Faith-Part I
• This morning we pose this question: How do you run this race of faith? We know how doctrinally, but what about practically?
• The writer of Hebrews spends ten chapters talking about how Jesus Christ is better. He’s better than the prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, the Levitical priests, the tabernacle, the Old Covenant, and the Sacrificial System.
• Then, in chapter 11, he gives us numerous examples of people throughout history who have run the race of faith successfully.
• These first eleven chapters serve not just as doctrinal information, but as a lead-in some very practical information about how to run the race of faith.
• In light of the fact that Jesus is so much better and in light of the fact that so many before us have proven the race of faith to be the most blessed life, we also ought to commit ourselves to running this race of faith.
• Paul gives us four (4) commands on how to successfully run the race of faith:
I. Remove (v.1a)
• The first thing the writer tells us to do is to remove two (2) things:
A. Unnecessary Weight
The writer tells us that there are some things we have to put away to effectively run the race of faith.
The first thing he tells us to put aside is the weight (Gr. onkon). The word is defined as a burden, impediment, or hindrance.
The writer was using the idea of a runner when he gives us this picture of removing the weight. One thing a runner would remove was any unneeded clothing.
Example: Track Outfit
The runner was trying to remove anything that would slow him down. Likewise, we are called to remove anything that might slow us down or keep us from getting to Jesus.
This command is a parallel to what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
When you really desire to run this race, you’ll remove the hindrances. When you really want to be next to Jesus, you’ll get everything else out.
How do you know? Mark 10 talks about a man who was blind and came to Jesus to receive his eyesight.
In verse 50, the Bible says “And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.” He desperately needed to get to Jesus.
Thus, he removed anything that might slow him down in his pursuit of God.
Sometimes it’s the need to remove easy things like garments. Anybody can shed a coat. However, it’s not always that easy.
Not only would an athlete remove any unnecessary clothes, but months in advance of an upcoming race the runner would begin shedding unnecessary weight.
My life verse has always been “bodily exercise profiteth little.” I’m not calling for a church-wide dieting program.
However, sometimes there are things in our lives that have to be removed and it’s not all that easy. It takes discipline and prayer.
The athlete’s weight would not just fall off; he had to work it off. Likewise, there are things in our spiritual life that we have to work at.
B. Ungodly Works
Not only are we called to lay aside the weight, but also the “sin that does so easily beset.”
Here the writer is not talking about perfection, but he is talking about a condition of life.
He is calling us to give up the lifestyle of sinfulness, and to be in this world but not of it. It is a call to a life of separation.
Chapter 11 tells us what a life of separation will get us:
o It got Noah an ark.
o It got Abraham rich.
o It got Moses second in command in Egypt.
o It helped David slay a giant.
o It gave Daniel a few pet lions.
What are you saying preacher? I’m saying that it pays to go with God! It pays to do things His way, but we have to remove those things that don’t need to be in our lives.
II. Run (v.1b)
A. The Practice
Notice that the writer says to us at the end of verse one “let us run.” It is a reminder that the Christian Life is one of running a race.
The verb “run” in this verse is in the present tense and thus we would translate it this way “let us keep on running.”
It’s defined this way “to rush, advance, or exert oneself.” What are we moving towards? What is the goal?
You’ll remember several weeks ago we discovered that in Philippians 3 Paul is pressing forward with the goal of the upward call of Jesus.