Summary: This life is a race and faith will be our strength that helps us finish strong. But we have to put into practice the three vital components that will us win that race.
Putting Faith into Motion
Griffith Baptist Church – 2/22/09
Text: Hebrews 12:1-2
Key verse: Hebrews 12:1 - 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,
Premise: This life is a race and faith will be our strength that helps us finish strong. But we have to put into practice the three vital components that will us win that race.
A few years ago, at the 2002 Winter Olympics, there were five finalists for the Men’s 1000 Meter Speed Skating Race. During the final lap, the American and Chinese were out front with the Canadian and Korean skaters hot on their heels. Australia trailed behind obviously destined for last place. As they came around the last curve for the final straightaway stretch, everyone gathered around the television, on the edge of their seats cheering for America to pull out in front. The winner would receive the Olympic Gold medal. Suddenly, the Chinese skater slightly bumped the American and sent both of them careening into the wall as they spun out of control. With no time or space to get out of their way, the tangled mess caused the Canadian and Korean skaters to also spin out of control and join them in a tangled heap of arms and legs. The Australian skater pushed by the heap and shouted to the top of his lungs as he crossed the finish line, “Gold! I won the Gold!” This was so great! You see, he won the Gold for no other reason than he crossed the finish line! He finished the race! He was not the fastest. He did not set any records. He just simply didn’t quit or get tangled up in the mess around him.
This Christian life is likened to a race (1 Cor. 9:24; Gal. 5:7)
There is some important information to note:
o We are not in a race with each other – this is not competition to be the most holy (remember the disciples wanted to know who would be first in the kingdom of God- Mark 9:33-37)
o We are not alone in the race – we have Jesus Christ, theses witnesses and each other to help us along the way
o The race is long, but it does have an end – heaven and eternity with Christ
Three factors for a strong, race to the finish faith
1. Training – 1a
A. A man once went to a training conference where a course was being taught on how to improve your memory. He spent nearly $200 on the books, tapes and worksheets for the course and brought it home. When he arrived at home he stored the course and then went about his daily business. He confessed later that he never started the memory course because he forgot where he put it. When God gives us tools for training, we need to use them.
B. Take advice from experienced athletes - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
i. The witnesses mentioned are those in Hebrews 11
ii. Witness (martus) = martyr – one who gives testimony or a witness for God who dies because of that witness
iii. We look to those who have gone before and follow their best faith
C. Get rid of what will slow you down - let us lay aside every weight,
i. What are the “weights” that we should remove so that we might win the race? Everything that hinders our progress. They might even be “good things” in the eyes of others. A winning athlete does not choose between the good and the bad; he chooses between the better and the best. Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Heb 12:1
ii. Illustrated in the blind man casting away his garment to come to Jesus - Mark 10:50 - And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
iii. Ephesians 4:22-24 – 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
iv. Colossians 3:5-8 - 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.