Summary: God has a race for every person in this church to run. If you’re lost he’s waiting for you to join the race. It’s time for you to get engaged in the race. Let’s run! Maybe you are already in the race, but you’re carrying unnecessary weight. Lay that
Opening: Hebrews 12: 1-2 from the Message
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God
Hebrews 12: 1-2 (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Anytime I hear the word run lately, my calves tense up, my back tightens, and my mind says “watch TV.” If you think about it there’s just something about the word run that doesn’t make us feel good. I even wondered if the title of my message tonight might create a mass exodus for the door. Recently, there has been a big move towards running for exercise. I started running about two or three months ago to get exercise. I definitely had some limitations. My ankles were hurting before I even put my socks on, after a couple of tenths of a mile I felt like the family had joined me on my back, and most days I wanted to quit before I started. I’ve persevered and the “joy” of running is slowly coming to me. I’ve noticed less aches, more energy, and better times. But this scripture is speaking of a race we should run that’s not a 5K, but instead life. There are a few points I’d like to make concerning this scripture.
“Let’s is made of five characters. L, E, T. ‘, and S
L is the limitations we face. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us
First, the responsibility is placed on each of us in this portion of the scripture. Let us lay aside. To lay something aside is to place it out of the way, to ignore it, to decide that it is not important. Second, weight and sin were intentionally separated in this text. We sometimes read them almost simultaneously. A weight is not necessarily a sin, but instead something that can easily lead to sin. A weight is anything that hinders our race. There are things we do as Christians that hinder our run even though these things in and of themselves are not wrong.
For example, although khakis, a nice coat, or a good pair of hunting boots are great, these things would be a hindrance to a runner. In our Christian life there are numerous and diverse weights. We all know those hindrances in our lives. Perhaps you are wearing the hindrance of an unhealthy friendship. We need people in our lives that build us up. We need those that sow seeds of encouragement, not discouragement. Maybe you are wearing a coat of idle entertainment. Football on TV is great until we neglect our responsibilities. Maybe you have boots of an unhealthy habit on. Cell phones, facebook, twitter, and the entire virtual word are great until we become unattached with reality.
E is the engagement piece. And let us run with patience
Just as the 5K runner we have to have a mindset to finish the Christian race. We know there will be obstacles along the path, but we must have a mindset of perseverance. The race is long and often difficult. We will stumble and sometimes even fall, but we must finish the race.
Let us be able to say as Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
T is the task at hand. The race that is set before us
The most important race any of us will ever participate in is the Heaven race. We can reflect on others before us and how they ran it. We can observe those fellow Christians among us and how they run their race. We can read how people in the Bible ran their race. We can gain confidence from all these people, but we must run our own race.
1 Corinthians 9:24 says “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”