Summary: What type of Race are you living?
Hebrews 12: 1-2
Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with such a great 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, 2. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Main Point: As human beings, each person must individually make a choice to win or lose in this race we call life.
Illustration: In 2002 I began racing at Hickory Motor Speedway. I began in a car that wasn’t even fit for the junkyard. We struggled that year, and fought week after week. Most of the time I don’t even think you could technically say that we raced. We were there though, every week. We never gave up no matter how bad it seemed. Three years later, I was able to purchase a new car, which was capable of running with the pack. The first time out I set on the pole, and finished third. By the end of that season, I had earned a name for myself on the track. I had finished second in the points battle, rookie of the year, and most popular driver. If I had not continued to push forward, I may have never have accomplished what I did. Throughout my racing, I have faced many distractions, struggles, hurdles, and road blocks. People said I was stupid for racing, and that I needed to quit while I was ahead, but I persevered and proved all of them wrong. I may not have made it to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, but I did accomplish a lot. Well, as we look at our scripture today, we see that just like I have been involved with stock car racing, there is a more important race that I must win in! This is a race that every living person has automatically been entered into. And more importantly, this is a race that has eternal effects. You see several years ago I decided to sign an eternal contract with team Jesus. I remember that morning very clearly. I will never forget the excitement that I felt that day. It took several years for me to realize the importance of that decision. It is amazing as to how God works things out. Throughout my racing, I have always tried to be a light in a dark world. But to be honest, many times I have been distracted or had a spiritual breakdown, and been temporarily put out of the race. But, we must always strive to get back in this race. Because unlike NASCAR, where if you get taken out, you lose everything you had for that race, in this race we call life, we have the opportunity to get back in without losing all if we so choose. But it is a choice that we must make. Lets take a look at the players or participants in this race. Remember, as a human being we have no choice but to participate, and our choice is what type of role will we decide to take?
I. Fans (world) – witnesses.
A. The first participant we see here in Heb. 12 is that of the witnesses. Here it says that the witnesses were surrounding them. Think of it like this if you have ever been to a race track. The fans are surrounding the area where the event will take place. When I think of the layout of a racetrack, and I think of the position that the fans are in, it makes me think about this passage. In looking at this word witness we realize that a witness is someone that either is not a participant or is an observer of an event or situation. This type of witness or fan does not have an active role in the situation, they are just merely present. Now as we look at this passage, lets swap the word witness for the word fan. Now this word has the same meaning but it will help for us to be able to understand this passage a little better. Now in the race world you have several different types of fans. The first type of fan we see are those that have been out there on the track, and for what ever reason have fallen out. This may be due to money, fear, age, or interest. In retrospect as Christians, some of us have been there in the action before, we have experienced the excitement of God’s presence, and for whatever reason have fallen out of this fellowship. And surprisingly enough more times than not, our reasons are the same as the drivers who use to race. Now these reasons can vary from being bored, laziness, sins in our life, or we just simply get our feelings hurt, and decide that we are better off just sitting back and watching. Some get the idea that we have done our part, and now it is time to allow someone else to take over. They don’t realize that a call to be a Christian is a life long commitment.