Summary: Much has been said about the Purpose Driven Life, but Hebrews 12 seems to focus on the person driven life, a life that is lived in devotion to Jesus Christ.
The Person Driven Life
When Lloyd Douglas, author of “The Robe”, attended college, he lived in a boardinghouse. A retired, wheelchair-bound music professor resided on the first floor.
Each morning Douglas would stick his head in the door of the teacher’s apartment and ask the same question, “Well, what’s the good news?”
The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair and say, “That’s middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; and it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The lady upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune, but, this will always be middle C.”
Brothers and sisters, hurricanes come and go. Gas prices will continue to rise. Our bodies will get worn out and eventually we will die. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes! HE IS OUR MIDDLE C! He is the stable rock upon which we can build our lives, and the finish line upon which we should focus this race called life.
Several years ago Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Community Church in California, wrote one of the most popular books of our time called “The Purpose Driven Life”. It is an excellent book. It addresses the fact that we all are created for a purpose and that our lives have meaning when we live out that purpose.
But my friends I believe a book needs to be written on the real purpose of life. I believe the book should be called: “The Person Driven Life.” Because our real purpose in life is to know, love, serve, and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
My theme this morning is this: Develop a person driven life: a life lived in pursuit of knowing, loving, serving, and glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at this morning’s text: Hebrews 12:1-3
1. A person driven life is a life that is unencumbered.
Look again at verse 1
“Therefore” The writer has been talking to us about Jesus. His readers where in danger of quitting the Christian race. They started to follow Jesus, but when persecution began to affect them personally, they began to think about going back to Judaism. He has convinced them that Jesus is greater than the Angels, greater than the law, and greater than Moses and the prophets. He has challenged them to realize what a great High Priest we have who has made a way for us through His own blood. And He has put before them the challenge to live by faith. He has described the men and women of old who walked by faith and not be sight: Noah, Abraham, Rahab, and Sarah to name just a few.
“Witness” These witnesses of truth who have now entered into heaven and have seen the King of Glory for themselves are like a cloud surrounding us. The writer pictures them as in an Arena where the marathon race is being completed. They stand for the runners, cheering them on, encouraging them with their applause and their shouts of approval. “You can make it. The finish line is in sight. The victory is yours!”
They understand that the race is hard. The Greek word for race is the word “Agon” from which we get our English word “agony”. It is hard work. It is difficult and strenuous, and requires every bit of strength we have to finish.
Therefore, if you want to finish you must strip away everything that slows you down and taxes your strength. Like a runner who is fat, you must undergo training and remove excess flesh from your body in order to make the finish line.
Throw off everything that hinders you. The encumbrances are not evil in themselves, but they keep you from running the race well.
To his readers these encumbrances may have been old customs, lingering Jewish prejudices, ties to a religion and not a relationship with the living God, old habits and thoughts that keep you from living a life of faith.
Some encumbrances are not bad things in themselves, but they slow you down from reaching the goal.
Some encumbrances are sin. Sin entangles, it trips a person up. Sin may start as a small act of rebellion or neglect, but it can snowball and grow into an avalanche of disobedience and despair.
Notice that the word sin is preceded by the word “The”. In the Greek a definite article is there indicating that the writer had in mind one specific sin. Perhaps it is a besetting sin that continues to crop up in a person’s life. Most likely he is referring to the sin of unbelief. As James put it no one who doubts is stable. They are tossed to and fro by every wind and wave in life. They are buffeted by the storms of life and like the houses in Mississippi, they can collapse under the weight of those waves.