Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Finishing the race is critically important to all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And Hebrews 12:1-3 contains at least 3 pieces of advice that will help each of us faithfully run the race that is before us. (Powerpoint Available - #185)



(Revised: 2011)

(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request #185.)

ILL. The 1992 Summer Olympics featured two tremendously heart-rending moments. American sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100 meter hurdles, tripped over the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees & crawled the last five meters, finishing fifth - but finishing, nevertheless.

Even more emotional was the 400 meter semifinal in which British runner Derek Redmond tore a hamstring & fell hard on the track. He struggled to his feet & began to hobble, determined to complete the race.

His father ran from the stands to help him off the track, but Derek refused to quit. He leaned on his father, & the two limped to the finish line together, accom-panied by the deafening applause of the thousands assembled there that day. (John E. Anderson, "What Makes Olympic Champions?" Reader’s Digest, February 1994, p. 120)

A. 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 inspiration to us all.

Do you remember the man who came to Jesus & said, "I'll follow you wherever you go"? Jesus told him, "Before you make that kind of commitment, you need to realize that foxes have holes & the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

"In other words, if you follow me, realize that there will be difficulties. There will be times when you will not know where you'll sleep, or where your next meal is coming from. There will be difficult & discouraging times. But after you realize that, & then put your hands to the plow," He said, "don't look back."

B. 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.

As some of you know, the apostle Paul often compared the Christian life to athletic events. And he is doing so in this passage. Listen as I read it to you.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders & the sin that so easily entangles, & let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart."

Now in this passage Paul is not comparing the Christian life to a wind sprint, but to a marathon. In a wind sprint you run as fast as you can for a short distance, & speed is the critical factor. But in a marathon, endurance is the critical factor, & the concern is that over the long run the runner will not “grow weary & lose heart.”

The Apostle Paul was faithful. In his last letter to Timothy he wrote, "I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:7-8)

PROP. Finishing the race is critically important to all of us who would be followers of Jesus. And I believe that Hebrews 12:1-3 contains at least 3 pieces of advice that will help each of us faithfully run the race that is before us.


The first piece of advice is to remember that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, & that you can be inspired by those who have gone before.

A. Notice that chapter 12 begins with the word "Therefore." That connects it with the previous chapter. And in chapter 11 the writer of Hebrews gives a long list of people who have been found faithful.

1. For instance, in vs. 7 he mentions Noah. Now I confess that patience is not one of my finer virtues. And every once in a while, when something I'm concerned about seems to be moving too slowly, I'll complain, "Why is it taking so long?"

Then I can hear Noah whispering in my ear, "How long do you say you've been waiting? It took me 100 years to build the ark, & it was never easy. I tried to warn the people, but no one would listen. Yet I kept on building, & when the floods came the ark was the vehicle of our salvation. You need to keep on, keeping on, too."

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Talk about it...

Rev. Dr. Bob Aquino

commented on Dec 14, 2007

it is very encouraging!

Leo Elorde Romagos

commented on Aug 1, 2015

a m also encouraged dr bob.i am also from the philippines and been in the ministry for quite sometime and the tendency is to quit..

Sheryl Menke

commented on Dec 6, 2008

I certainly enjoyed this and plan on sharing it with some of the men and women of our downtown church annex. They are having difficulty in running the race. Many of them have nothing. I also gleaned from this for myself today. Thanks Sheryl

Howard Strickland

commented on Nov 14, 2009

Great word! Thanks.

John E Miller

commented on Jun 24, 2011

Good word! Thank you.

John E Miller

commented on Jun 24, 2011

Good word! Thank you.

Nigel Hundy

commented on Jun 25, 2011

I sat and wept as i read this today. I''m going to take this message and preach it (with the necessary changes to fit the cultural make-up of our church). I''ve been at the point of giving up and quitting. I''ve recently been given bad news regarding my health and i''ve just wanted to run away. Your message ministered to my heart today and by the grace of God will minister to my congregation tomorrow. Bless you.

Dr. Rubai Mandela

commented on Jul 21, 2011

I love this message and will certainly share it with many others starting with my own family. God bless you as you continue with the good work.

V.p. Singh

commented on Mar 30, 2012

Thanks for this inspiring message

Leo Elorde Romagos

commented on Aug 1, 2015

great sermon-timely!!!

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