Summary: We need to exhibit perseverance if we want to win the prize at the end of the Amazing Race!
• As we continue examining the Amazing Race that we are all a part of, we are going to look at an important aspect of the race that we need to keep in mind if we want to finish and win the race.
• WE have seen that we need to know where we are going and that the race is much more enjoyable when we run with a partner.
• If you have seen the television show, “The Amazing Race”, you will notice that each contestant in the race is tired and there are times that the race gets so arduous that some may give though to giving up.
• SLIDE #1
• The Amazing Race that we are a part of can be very difficult and strenuous at times. We need to be strong and courageous. We need to be consistent and determined to go the distance!
• We need to run with perseverance.
• Perseverance is defined as follows: DETERMINED CONTINUATION WITH SOMETHING, steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks.
• We will be looking at Hebrews 12:1-2 this morning. Turn there in your bibles.
• As we look at Hebrews 12:1-2 we need to understand that this passage is connected to chapter 11 of Hebrews which has been called the Hebrews Hall of Faith chapter.
• After extolling the virtues of some of the great men and women of the faith, the Hebrew writer follows it up with the words found in our text today.
• I want us to draw encouragement from four things found in our text that will help us to run with perseverance!
• Let us look at the first part of verse 1 together
• SLIDE #2
• Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…
• SLIDE #3
• First we can be encouraged be the fact that the crowd is watching!
I. THE CROWD IS WATCHING! (V1)
• When you look at the 11th chapter of Hebrews you see the greats of the faith like Abel, Noah, Enoch, Rahab, Abraham, and Moses just to name a few.
• One of the reasons we should run with perseverance is the fact that we are being cheered on by a GREAT cloud of witnesses.
• These men and women of the exemplified perseverance as they ran their race of faith.
• Their lives stand as a testimony as what pleases God.
• When I used to compete in sports, one of the things that charged me up to keep pushing in the 4th quarter was the roar of the crowd.
• When I pitched and my arm felt like it was going to fall off in the 8th inning, the crowd helped keep me wanting to finish.
• Have you ever experienced the roar of the crowd? There is nothing like it.
• I played some ball games when college scouts were in the crowd to look at other players. It made you want to play harder.
• When you know there is greatness in the stands watching you, you cannot help but to step it up a notch.
• I want you to picture the saints of old looking down from the stands in heaven cheering you on trying to give you encouragement to finish when it looks like all may be lost.
• Basketball is such a charge to play and coach because the fans are right on top of you cheering you on.
• Are the saints literally cheering us, do they know what is going on with us? Some would say this is a metaphor, but I am not so sure.
• Remember the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:27-ff? There seemed to be an awareness of what was going on.
• Suffice to say, we have a great cloud of witnesses in the crowd cheering us on to victory!
• WE can picture this as somewhat of a relay race. Those who have gone before us have handed the baton to us, now we need to run our leg of the race.
• These greats of the faith want us to win!
• In order to be able to run with perseverance, we see something else we need to consider from verse 1.
• SLIDE #4
• Hebrews 12:1 …let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…
• This leads us to living a spiritually healthy life.
• SLIDE #5
II. LIVE A SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY LIFE. (V1)
• If you have ever watched runners whether they run long distance or if they are sprinter, they do not carry a bunch of unnecessary weight with them.
• In the true story Invincible, Vince (a 30 year old walk-on straining to earn a spot with the Philadelphia Eagles) struggles during practice trying to beat out other players while wearing full football equipment. Even though he runs as fast as he can, he is still consistently beat by a couple of trash-talking players.