Summary: From Heb. 12:1 the race set before us is: 1. A Set Race (Sovereignty); 2. A Marked Out Race (Guidance); 3. An Individually Crafted Race; 4. A Forward Looking Race (The Race before us)
The Race Set Before Us
PPT 1 Series Title Slide
Last week we began a new series, "The Amazing Race, winning the race that matters."
It is centered on the teachings and principles found in Hebrews 12:1-3, and since it is a passage that talks about running a race, I thought I could incorporate some of the ideas and lessons learned on the TV show, the Amazing Race.
This week I am going to speak on "The Race Set Before Us," from Hebrews 12:1
PPT 2 Scripture
Heb 12:1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (AV)
Heb 12:1 ¶ 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. (NIV)
By the way, I hope as part of this series you will memorize the first 3 verses of Hebrews 12.
PPT 3 Video clip
Video: For this part of the race teams must...
In that short clip the host says
Teams must journey
Teams must chose
Teams must complete
This video illustrates very well what Hebrews 12:1 means when it talks about the race set before us. Just as in the TV Show the contestants don't pick their own course, if they want to win they have to do what the producers have laid out for them. So it is with us, if we want to win the race that really matters it is important we run the race that God lays out for us.
Let me give you some background about the book of Hebrews for starters:
Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were suffering persecution for their Christian faith. People were dying horrible deaths, their goods were being confiscated, and they were being imprisoned for simply being a Christian. Some of those Jewish Christians were considering going back to Judaism because it was an accepted religion in the Roman Empire.
The, "Therefore" Hebrews 12:1 begins with, has to do with what was laid in out in Chapters 10 and 11. In 10 they are told that if they apostasies and return to Judaism they have no possibility of forgiveness in that faith because God no longer accepts the blood of bulls and goats. The only thing God now accepts is the sacrifice of Jesus, bulls and goats will never atone for sins, nor could they ever have cleansed as fully and completely as faith in Christ does.
In Chapter 11 they are told of all the believers who have gone before them and have suffered for their faith. Some were miraculously delivered and others died in faith, but all were victorious and remained true to God despite the things they suffered. Their faith under duress is the great example the writer of Hebrews points to when he tells them they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
So here in chapter 12 he talks not about the race they (the heroes of chapter 11had to run", but the race that is set before us.
Many of you are familiar with the popular TV show The Amazing Race, it is a reality television show in which teams of two people, race around the world in competition with other teams. Contestants strive to arrive first at "pit stops" at the end of each leg of the race to win prizes and to avoid coming in last, which carries the possibility of elimination or a significant disadvantage in the following leg. Contestants travel to and within multiple countries in a variety of transportation modes, including planes, balloons, helicopters, trucks, bicycles, taxicabs, personal car, jeepneys, trains, buses, boats, and by foot. Clues provided in each leg lead the teams to the next destination or direct them to perform a task, either together or by a single member. These challenges are related in some manner to the country wherein they are located or its culture. Teams are progressively eliminated until three are left; at that point, the team that arrives first in the final leg is awarded the grand prize.
This TV show is an incredible mirror of life, and as I see it, especially of the Christian life.
You see along the journey they are tested in every possible way. Some by the shows designers, and some tests arise from people and circumstance. They will be tested mentally, physically, emotionally, and relationally. During their most difficult moments their true character can't help but be revealed, because when pressure cracks the outer facade who we really are comes out. Will they keep promises they made to other teams? Will the end the game with integrity, or be known as lowlife. The game will reveal who they really are.