Summary: The Christian life is like running a race. Find out three important elements in doing it victoriously.
Running The Race
In our text this morning, the writer of the book of Hebrews which I believe to be Paul compares the Christian life to a race. Some of the same things which are essential to being victorious in a race are also key to being victorious in our Christian life. This morning I want us to look at some of these essentials.
I. Faith Is Essential. V.1
Notice Paul says that we that are in this race are "compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses". Who are these witnesses ? These witnesses are those who have come before us, have run the race, and have completed it ! They are examples to us as to how to sucessfully, and victoriously run this race ! We find many of them listed in chapter 11 which is often referred to as "The Hall of Faith".
Have you ever seen a relay race ? The relay team is composed of four runners. Each one of them has a section of track that they must run, and when they finish their portion, they pass the baton to the next runner. Those who have run this race before us have now passed on the baton to us. How will we run our portion of this race ? Will we be victorious ? Will we be successful ? Or will we drop the baton ? Will we become weary and not finish ?
The race that the Christian is in is not a 100 yard dash. It is a marathon. There are some folks that could blow away the field in the 100 yard dash, but would not be able to finish a marathon. Many Christians are good at a 100 yard dash. They run well for a short distance, but then drop out when they realize that the finish line is further away than they thought or that the race is more difficult than imagined. The first essential element to running this race is Faith.
a. We must have faith to enter the race.
The Christian life begins by placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and what he did on the cross. It is through faith in his shed blood, and his resurrection that we enter the race.
b. We must have faith to endure in the race.
1. There will be hurdles.
2. There will be hindrances.
3. There will be hurt.
Endurance is essential to those participating in a race, and endurance is key to Christian living. There will always be hurdles or obstacles to overcome. We will always run into things or people or circumstances that will seek to hinder us in our Christian lving. To endure faith is essential. Faith is not only essential to enter the race, but it is essential to be able to endure while in this race as a believer !
c. We must have faith to be effective in the race.
Whether or not we run well our race will be dependent upon our faith in God. Faith in God will keep us going when we feel like quitting ! To be victorious, to be effective as a believer in this world that we now live in....faith is essential !
There is another essential........
II. Freedom Is Essential.
I remember being in H.S. and watching the track team practice. They had the weights wrapped around their ankles, and on their wrists, but when it came time to race, they laid them aside !
A runner knows that he want be effective if he is weighed down. As believers we must realize that we cannot be sucessful in the Christian life if we are weighed down. There are some things that we must lay aside !
a. We need to be free from burdens.
"let us lay aside every weight"
Camels are supposed to carry burdens, but Christians don’t have to !
What do we do with our burdens ?
1 Pet 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
b. We need to be free from besetments.
Sin besets us ! It sets us back !
It hinders our fellowship with God. It keeps us from the goal.
What must we do with our sin ?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
c. We need to be free from bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled;
The root of bitterness will reach up, and out, and trip us up in the middle of the race.
III. Focus Is Essential. V2
We must focus on Christ...