Summary: According to Hebrews 11 and 12 we all can be heroes. Hebrews 11 is the hall of heroes and is used to encourage us that we too can be heroes If we face the race of faith with endurance, depend on God for empowerment, finish the race with excellence.
Intro: Hebrews 11 is the hall of Heroes. As we walk down the corridor of Hebrews 11 we see Abraham, and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon and other judges, David, Samuel. It is a virtual Bible’s Who’s Who.
As we stroll through the hall of heroes we find that they all endured. God gave them a destination, a finish line if you will. They all by faith came to their finish line and gained approval of God through their faith.
They were called heroes and Hebrews chapter 12 tells us that we too can be heroes and we can be part of God’s Hero training institute.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews clearly lays out for us the characteristics of a Hero.
Heroes face the race of faith with endurance, Heroes depend on God’s empowerment, and Heroes finish the race of faith with excellence.
Our training as a Hero begins with endurance.
Hebrews 12.1c “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
I. Heroes face the race of faith with endurance
Often the Bible compares the Christian life to an athletic event. Paul was very fond of explaining our faith in athletic terms.
He referred to wrestling “contending” Ephesians 6.12
He referred to boxing 1 Corinthians 9.26-27
His favorite comparison was running.
Perhaps some of his final words were 2 Tim 4.7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Hebrews masterfully and powerfully develops the comparison between life and a race.
The Christian life is compared to a marathon not a sprint. Sprints depend on speed and take off. Marathons are not solely based on speed and ability.
The Christian life just like the Marathon requires endurance. The word endurance in this passage means to continue steadfast in the face of trials and temptations.
So many today think that Christianity is only needed as a way to face death, easy solutions for life’s troubles. There seems to be a lack of day-to-day Christian discipline that marked the early church.
True Hero’s run even when their sides hurt, when their legs burn, when they feel as though there is not enough oxygen to go on.
The great encouragement is we are not alone.
Hebrews 12.1 (read)
The witnesses are not mere spectators. They are great examples of endurance that inspire us to press through the pain. They inspire us to keep pressing on keeping our eyes on the prize.
The witnesses inspire us but Jesus Christ empowers us.
II. Heroes depend on God’s empowerment
Jesus was the author, or pioneer of our faith. Before He challenged us to trust and obey, He completely and fully trusted His father and obeyed even to death on a cross.
However, Jesus is not just some example for us to simply follow. Jesus is the finisher of our faith.
He is not only our example he saves, sustains, and strengthens Christians in their race of faith.
Hebrews 12.1, 2 “let us lay aside every weight than entangles, and the sin that so easily besets us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
Endurance is available to us when we confess our sins, setting aside every weight that could hinder our relationship with God. We fix our focus on Jesus Christ who finished the race. Jesus is the source of our power. John 15.5 tells us that without him we can do nothing of eternal or spiritual value.
Transition When Jesus is our source for strength we are able to run the race and finish with excellence.
III. Heroes finish the race of faith with excellence
At the 2002 Winter Olympics, there were five finalists for the Men’s 1000 Meter speed skating race. During the final lap, the Amercian and Chinese were leading the group with the Canadian and Korean Skaters following closely behind in last place. The Olympic Gold medal was on the line.
Suddenly, the Chinese skater bumped the American and sent both of the spinning out of control. The Canadian and Korean skaters had no time ot avoid the American and Chinese skaters causing them to spin out of control as well. The Australian skater pushed by the tangled skates and crossed the finish line. He kept his focus on the prize and won for no other reason than he finished the race! The Australian skater had been destined to finish in last place. However, he finished first because he did not quit or become distracted by the circumstances surrounding him.
Conclusion: What I didn’t say about the heroes of Hebrews 11 was that they were normal every day people. At least 2 shepherds, David and Moses, a prostitute Rahab, a lier Jacob, A frady cat Gideon. These ordinary people were used of God and became hero’s because they endured, keeping their eyes focused on God and Finishing what God had for them to do.