Summary: A sermon dealing with Hebrews 12:1-3 on the topic of the Christian race.
RUNNING THE RACE
How many of you have either in the past or are presently on a track team? Being a good runner in competition requires dedication. I am impressed by the number of young people that we have who get up early and run every day. I am impressed by their dedication to nutrition and physical conditioning that allows them to be the best they can be. The spiritual walk (or in this case, run) is compared to the analogy of a person in a race. Running toward the finish line, this person seeks to do so with a goal set before them.
Who is this runner? This scripture does not represent a person who is running to obtain salvation. It represents a person who is already saved, running for the goal of being what God intends. Are you in this race?
I. CONSIDER THE WITNESSES. VS. 1a
A) You may not agree with my interpretation of this verse but I believe it speaks of a couple of groups of witnesses:
1) Those who have gone on before us.
A coach had a player who was known for two things. The first thing he was noted for was his faithfulness at football practice. He was the first one out and the last one to leave, but he never could make the team—he just wasn’t quite good enough. The second thing he was famous for was that his father often visited him on campus and they would be seen walking arm in arm across campus, very much engrossed in conversation. Everyone noticed that and thought it was wonderful. Well, one day the coach got a telegram saying that the boy’s father had died. The coach was the one chosen to tell the sad news to the boy, and so he called him in and told him. The boy was greatly shaken, of course, and had to go home for the funeral. But he was present at the next game, sitting there on the bench. Then he came over to the coach and said, “Coach, this is my fourth and last year, and I’ve never played in a game. I’m wondering if today you could put me in for just a few minutes and let me play.” And so the coach put him in because the boy’s father had just died. To his amazement, the boy turned out to be a star! The coach had never seen anyone play a better, a more brilliant game, than this boy played—so he never took him out of the game. When the game was over, the coach called the boy off to the side and said to him, “Listen, I’ve never seen anyone play like you played today, but up to today you were the lousiest football player I’ve ever seen. I want an explanation.” And the boy said, “Well, coach, you see, my dad was blind, and this is the first day that he ever saw me play football.”
2) Those who are around us now. The way we run our Christian race will bear witness to those around us. Our family, our coworkers, our neighbors…many of whom we may not even realize are watching our race…What is the Gospel according to you?
There’s a sweet old story translated for men, But writ in the long, long ago
The Gospel according to Mark, Luke, and John Of Christ and His mission below.
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day, By deeds that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true. Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Men read and admire the gospel of Christ, With its love so unfailing and true;
But what do they say, and what do they think Of the gospel according to you?
’Tis a wonderful story, that gospel of love, As it shines in the Christ-life divine,
And oh, that its truth might be told again In the story of your life and mine!
Unselfish mirrors in every scene, Love blossoms on every sod,
And back from its vision the heart comes to tell The wonderful goodness of God.
You are writing each day a letter to men; Take care that the writing is true.
’Til the only gospel some men will read, That gospel according to you. --Author Unknown
When we run, let’s consider the witnesses.
II. CONSIDER THE WEIGHTS. Vs. 1b
A) Let’s see…I am going to join the cross country team so I am going to go buy the heaviest hiking boots I can find….I think I will wear a football uniform for protection….I might get hungry or thirsty so I am going to carry a back pack with all kinds of goodies….how am I doing?
B) Besetting sins---“Besetting” means “skillfully surrounding.” The idea is to be entangled.