Summary: A sermon delivered at the local University Christian Union on how to run the race free and unhindered- and how to run the race till the end. (Covers a fair amount about proofing against falling away).
Running Free heb 12:1-13. Uni of Winch. 5th Dec 2005
In 1968 Tanzania selected John Stephen Akhwari to represent it in the Mexico City Olympics. During the marathon, he stumbled & fell seriously damaging his knee. By 7pm an Ethiopian runner had won the race, and all others had finished. Only a few thousand spectators were left in the stadium when a police siren caught their attention. Limping through the gate came # 36: Akhwari, leg wrapped in a bloody bandage. The remaining crowd cheered. Later a reporter asked him: ’why did you continue the race after you were so badly injured?’ he replied ’my country did not send me 7ooo miles to begin a race; they sent me to finish the race. ---"let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Heb 12:1
Well- how can you run the Christian race? Free? How can you make sure you finish the race
- as all Heaven is watching you
- but all the world, the flesh and the devil is trying to stop you
The statistics of those who fall away, lose it is phenomenal.
- something like 40% of our country USED to go to church
o we immediately say "yeah- but they were Churchians, not Christians"
" not so
" 20% were evangelical, born again Christians
" became disillusioned, disappointed, hurt or couldn’t take it
o many from LBC have lost it
Now- I don’t want to get into where they stand with the Lord,. That’s not my point, tonight.
- I’m making the point that not all who start the race run free! They get tripped up by sin, or the church or BY LIFE itself- as life is tough!
- And ’forewarned is forearmed’. You make the decision at the start that, by God’s grace, you are going to ’run free’ and ’run to finish’
And we want to run well, don’t we!
So- how? I have some words from the Lord for you
As you’ll know , Hebrews is written to Jewish Christians who are in danger of reverting to Judaism as their way of salvation because of the pressure of other Jews
The author says: when it’s getting tough- look back. Look back to those who made it through rougher times than you. Learn from their experience
- and be aware that they are up there, now, willing you on!
- "in your struggle against sin, and these Judaisers, you have not resisted to the point of death"- like they did!
In other words- don’t be surprised when tough times come your way! Others have died through tough times! You almost certainly won’t - but don’t act as if
- suddenly your experience isn’t in the Bible!!
- God has deserted you or fallen off His throne
He has not. He is with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Illustr: I’ve watched the things that have knocked people out of the race
- disappointment: eg "we felt so sure God was going to do THIS… and He didn’t"
- doctrine: "I was told this so definitely by one group of Christians.. then I found it wasn’t true… or wasn’t the whole picture"
- dark times: how could God have allowed that? I thought Christians were exempt from that?!
- Deception: It’s okay for me to do that
How do you future proof your own faith? To protect for the future- look back
- learn from how they made it through! Hear them calling you
- learn from their mistakes, as well (or be forced to re-learn them yourselves!)
o because every excess, extreme and exaggeration is in there as well!
But they made it through! So will you!
Want to make it to the end of the race? Run free/ Here’s something else this says you should do
- fix your eyes on Jesus. Look upward to Him
If you’re running a marathon it’s no good spending all your time looking around you at others!
- "am I faster than them? Have they won more people for the Lord than me?" Are they more trendy Christians than me?
- Comparison is a deadly and hurtful sin
No- the focus is Jesus- and it’s Him you run and race for. Look at others and you’ll trip up
- In a recent NCAA cross-country championship held in Riverside, California, 123 of the 128 runners missed a turn. One competitor, Mike Delcavo, stayed on the 10,000 meter course and began waving for fellow runners to follow him. Delcavo was able to convince only four other runners to go with him. Asked what his competitors thought of his mid-race decision not to follow the crowd, Delcavo responded, "They thought it was funny that I went the right way." Delcavo was one who ran correctly.