Summary: This is the first in a series focusing on the need for God’s people to learn the importance of bearing up under opposition and trials so that God’s Kingdom might be established in us and in the world.
How to Run the Race (Pt. I)
Sermon – July 24th 2005
Perseverance is a word and in particular a concept that is largely foreign to people in Western society.
But it is something that we, as God’s people must grasp.
We have to trust that as we do the work of God, He will do His part – He will give the growth
hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay’); from NT:5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
What is interesting is that a synonym for constancy is faithfulness, to persevere speaks of being faithful…faithful to God and to His call on our lives.
1 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. 2 Let 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
1) Posture of Perseverance –
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…
As God’s children we are called to live by something more than the temporal.
We live by faith, not by sight.
If our eyes are fixed on Jesus they will not be fixed on ourselves, our circumstance. Our senses can deceive us, but we cannot go wrong when we walk by faith.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
As we seek to do what He has called us to do, to go where He has called us to go we have the guarantee of His presence – the antidote to discouragement.
We must be careful not to get our eyes on the temporal things around us.
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
This passage speaks of setting our thoughts and affections on things above, not on earthly things around us.
Again, we must have a Posture of Perseverance, with our eyes fixed on Jesus!
2) Person of Perseverance –
Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…
When we find our resolve waning, when we are not sure whether we can continue in whatever circumstances we are in we must take the Posture of Perseverance and focus on the Person of Perseverance – Jesus.
Jesus should serve as such an awesome example of perseverance…
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.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
No matter what we face, Jesus knows it, He understands it.
There was a joy set before Him through which He endured the cross – the joy of the Lord was His strength and it is ours.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Posture of Perseverance, Person of Perseverance…
3) Purpose of Perseverance –
…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I have already mentioned the fact that the enemy is destroying a lot of kingdom work by bringing opposition to God’s people whereby they fall into discouragement.
The reason we must have a Posture of Perseverance which focuses on the Person of Perseverance is for the express purpose that we do not grow weary and lose heart.