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Summary: SOMETIME, IN ADAPTING TO THE NEW SCHEDULE, WE NEGLECT THE OLD PATTERNS THAT HAVE BEEN ENGRAVED INTO OUR LIFESTYLE. THIS MESSAGE IS A REMINDER TO US ALL THAT REGARDLESS OF ANY CHANGES THAT MAY COME INTO OUR LIVES, OUR SCHEDULES OR OUR PRIORITIES, WE ARE A

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RUNNING TOWARDS THE LIGHT

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INTRODUCTION: THIS LABOR DAY, I AM SURE WE ALL HAVE FAMILY TYPE EVENTS PLANNED. AFTER ALL THIS IS OUR LAST OFFICIAL OPPORTUNITY OF SUMMER. SCHOOL WILL BE STARTING, AND A WHOLE NEW REGIMEN OF ACTIVITIES WILL BESIEGE US AS FAMILIES. SOMETIME, IN ADAPTING TO THE NEW SCHEDULE, WE NEGLECT THE OLD PATTERNS THAT HAVE BEEN ENGRAVED INTO OUR LIFESTYLE. THIS MORNING, I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND US ALL THAT REGARDLESS OF ANY CHANGES THAT MAY COME INTO OUR LIVES, OUR SCHEDULES OR OUR PRIORITIES, WE ARE ALL “RUNNING TOWARDS THE LIGHT”, AND THIS RUN NEEDS TO BE TOP ON OUR LIST.

I. RUNNING TOWARDS GRACE

Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.

Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

A. DOUBT IS NORMAL AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

1. PAUL HAD DOUBTS REGARDING HIS MINISTRY AND WALK WITH CHRIST

2. HIS ISSUES WAS WHAT HE WAS TEACHING

3. HE WANTED TO BE SURE

4. IF HE WAS PREACHING SOMETHING INCONSISTENT WITH THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST, ALL HE HAD DONE WAS IN VAIN

B. DOUBTS DEVELOP FROM CONFUSION REGARDING GRACE

1. HAPPENED IN THE LIFE OF PAUL

2. HAPPENED IN THE LIFE OF THE GALATIAN CHURCH

3. CAN HAPPEN IN OUR LIVES TOO

4. STEPS TO CONFUSION

a. MAKING A PROFESSION -- BECOMING A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

b. LIVING OUT YOUR FAITH AND ALLOWING THE PERSON OF CHRIST TO SHAPE YOUR LIFE

c. AN OUTWARD DISTRACTION THAT CAUSE YOU TO STUMBLE OR LOSE PACE

5. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE IN A SERIOUS RACE WITH SATAN AND ALL HE REPRESENTS

a. SATAN DOES NOT PLAY BY OUR RULES

b. SATAN APPEALS TO OUR OLD NATURE

c. WE HAVE AN OLD NATURE USED TO BEING IN BONDAGE

d. SO IT IS EASY TO LIVE OUT OUR CHRISTIANITY BOUND BY RULES RATHER THAN THE PERSON OF CHRIST.

e. JESUS WILL WORK OUT NATURALLY AND GRACIOUSLY IN OUR LIVES WHAT MAN HOPES TO ACCOMPLISH BY REGULATION AND RESTRICTION

f. WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE DIFFERENCE IN DOING SOMETHING RIGHT BECAUSE I HAVE TO AND I WANT TO? ATTITUDE IN DOING IT!

II. RUNNING TO WIN

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

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. 2 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. RUNNING TO WIN INVOLVES COMMITMENT

1. COMMITTED TO THE TASK

2. COMMITTED TO THE TRAINING

3. COMMITTED TO THE END RESULT

B. RUNNING TO WIN INVOLVES PERSONAL DENIAL

1. RUN IN SUCH A WAY – PUTTING OUT THE EFFORT TO RECEIVE GOD’S REWARD

C. RUNNING TO WIN INVOLVES AN ETERNAL VISION

1. THE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST NEEDS TO THINK WITH AN ETERNAL MINDSET

2. THINKING WHAT IS BEYOND WHAT I PERCEIVE.

a. ACCEPTING GOD’S CONTROL

b. ACCEPTING GOD’S PLAN

c. ACCEPTING GOD’S WILL

3. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT IF THE LORD TARRIES ALL OF OUR ACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES NEED TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON FUTURE GENERATIONS

4. WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW THAT WILL HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT AFTER WE ARE GONE?

D. RUNNING TO WIN INVOLVES KNOWING WHAT IS USEFUL AND WHAT IS NOT

1. IT IS USEFUL TO HAVE HISTORY

a. THE BELIEVER HAS A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES

b. THIS PHRASE IS REMINISCENT OF THOSE SEATED IN THE COLISEUM

c. IT IS NOT A WITNESS AS SPECTATORS

d. IT IS A WITNESS OF THE BIBLICAL RECORD OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS AND AN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR OUR FAITHFULNESS

e. IT IS THE CALL OF ALL THOSE BEFORE US TO KEEP THE FAITH AND CARRY THE TORCH

2. IT IS USEFUL TO KNOW WHAT TO THROW OFF AND WHAT TO KEEP

a. IT IS USEFUL TO EMBRACE THOSE WHO ARE SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR RACE

b. IT IS USEFUL TO THROW OFF ACTIVITIES THAT WEIGH YOU DOWN

3. IT IS USEFUL TO KNOW THAT JESUS DID IT TOO

a. JESUS WAS THE PIONEER OF OUR FAITH

b. JESUS WAS THE PERFECTOR OF OUR FAITH

III. RUNNING TO FINISH

A. THE RACE IS A FIGHT

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