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Summary: I like to hear stories about people who won’t give up. Quitters aren’t much of an inspiration, but people who stay with a commitment even though the going gets tough are a source of great inspiration to all. Do you remember the man who came to Jesus & s

Mayor Gerardo Balmori

The Salvation Army

I like to hear stories about people who won’t give up. Quitters aren’t much of an inspiration, but

people who stay with a commitment even though the going gets tough are a source of great

inspiration to all. Do you remember the man who came to Jesus & said, "I’ll follow you wherever

you go"? Jesus said, "Before you make that kind of commitment, you need to realize that foxes

have holes & the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

When people start the Christian life, & then quit when the going gets tough, they can become an

object of ridicule to some & a source of discouragement to others. That’s the reason Hebrews

12:1-3 is so important.

Paul said, "I’ve kept the faith. I’ve finished the course. Therefore there is laid up for me a crown

of righteousness. And not for me only..."

Finishing the race is critically important for all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And this

Scripture gives 3 words of advice to help us run the race of life faithfully.

I. INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE

The first is to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, & that we can be

inspired by those who have gone before.

1. For instance, in vs. 7, he mentions Noah. Remember Noah? He spent 120 years of his life

building an ark - 120 years!

2. Next, in vs. 8, is Abraham. Abraham, called from his home in Ur of Chaldees to a place that

God would lead him; Abraham, who in his old age was told that he & Sarah would conceive &

bear a son; Abraham, who was told to take this precious son to the top of the mountain & offer

him as a sacrifice. This Abraham passed every test.

The list goes on. There’s Moses & Samson & Samuel & David & more besides. There is a great

cloud of witnesses who gather to cheer us on. They whisper in our ear when we become

discouraged, & they say to us, "Don’t give up! Don’t lose heart. Don’t quit, whatever you do."

Now when I get discouraged, I think not only of the great saints in Scripture, but also of people

who have crossed my path, & who have inspired me.

So when I think about quitting, I feel their hands on my shoulder. I hear them saying, "If we can

do it, then you can do it, too."

We need to be inspired by those who have gone before us, & to realize that at the same time we’re

looking to others for inspiration, we are the inspiration for someone else. Someone is watching

us, & if we stumble & fall then they, too, will be discouraged.

II. BE PREPARED FOR THE STRUGGLES THAT WILL COME

A. The second thing the writer of Hebrews says is that we need to be prepared for the struggles

that we will inevitably have to face, & he begins by saying, "...throw off everything that hinders."

As I prepared this sermon I thought about the joggers who run past my house each morning.

They have put aside everything that hinders because they don’t want anything to keep them from

reaching their goal. Then I thought, "Imagine trying to run a race wearing my topcoat. I wouldn’t

last long at all!" That’s what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Those things that hinder us,

whatever they might be, throw them off!

Do you remember when Jesus came to the house of Zachaeus & Zachaeus looked into the face of

Jesus? Some of his wealth he had gained dishonestly, & he said, "I’m going to give it back

fourfold because I can’t look into the eyes of Jesus & keep this dishonest money at the same

time."

Maybe you have some possessions that are hindering your witness for Christ or are distracting

you from serving Him. Maybe you need to get rid of some habits that may, in & of themselves,

not be sins, but they’re so time consuming, or so distracting that you can’t focus on Jesus. So you

need to get rid of them, too.

So the writer says that we need to throw aside all those things that hinder us & all those things

that entangle. Then he says, "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Some Christians started out with great promise but didn’t finish the race.

Maybe you are one of them. You’ve been around for a while & you’ve fought the battles, but

you’re not sure there is enough energy left to make it to the end, & the temptation is to quit.

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