Summary: You and I are in a relay race and maybe even running the final lap - Run as to win!
Run the Race
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
A. You and I are surrounded by all the faith heroes that have gone before us. They have set an example for us to follow. We learn to walk by faith, be devoted to God’s things, to be brave in war, humble and loving the things of God.
1. The faith heroes in Hebrews chapter 11 (Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph and all these heroes – it says about them – that the world was not worthy of them.
2. The faith heroes in the Early church (Peter, John, Paul and others).
3. Men and women of God like (Hudson Taylor, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, and other people that have gone before us).
These people are surrounding us and we can learn so much from their lives. And in this study we will look at some of these people that have gone before us.
II. Examples for Us to Follow
A. Abraham (the Father of Faith.)
Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
Through Abraham we learn to be faithful to the word God has given and not give up.
Abraham was 75 years old when God called him to leave his country and his father’s house. The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:1-3).
Abraham is the first ‘missionary’ and didn’t hesitate when God told him to leave everything and go to an unknown country. He was 75 years when God called him; without any son that could continue his family name. He followed God’s voice and God blessed him materially; he became very rich but he still didn’t have any son, and everything was in opposition to that word that had come to Abraham: Abraham’s body was old, Sarah’s womb was dead, and Sarah didn’t believe God when He told him that “next year you will have a son”, but instead she laughed when she heard Him say that.
But what did Abraham do? Romans 4:18-21 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
I imagine that when it was tough and everything looked impossible, Abraham went out of the tent on a clear night to look at the stars in heaven: when he started to count the stars, he thanked God and gave glory to Him and hope and faith came back to him again.
Sometimes we can be surrounded by such circumstances and troubles that we can’t see through it. Maybe we are sick and we don’t see any way out. Maybe our company is out of money and we don’t know what to do to save it.
Maybe the word that God gave us about our ministry seems so far away. We don’t see any fruit of our ministry. But don’t give up! Be faithful to the word that God has given you! Give glory to Him and thank Him for His faithfulness. God has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Numbers 23:19 says, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
We know that Abraham was faithful to the promise God had given to give him a son. Abraham believed when it looked impossible and he saw the promise fulfilled. And through Him all the nations of earth are blessed through Jesus Christ.