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Summary: People who win a lot, teams that win a lot and people who succeed in life all have a lot in common. There are certain things they do and certain things they don’t do that somehow they all figure out. This is called the Winner’s code.

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Introduction

A. People who win a lot, teams that win a lot and people who succeed in life all have a lot in common. There are certain things they do and certain things they don’t do that somehow they all figure out. This is called the Winner’s code.

B. We are reading in Hebrews chapter 12. This follows the Hall of Fame list in chapter 11. The writer is listing off all of these AVERAGE people who learned the ‘winner’s code.’

C. We looked at a couple of things last week that winner’s do.

1. They lay aside things that hold them back. Not necessarily sinful things but also things that they realize will not help them get into the winner’s circle. There are things that maybe somebody else can do but will not work for you, and if you want to make it into God’s Hall of Fame you have to be willing to let them go.

2. We also looked playing by the rules. In sports cheaters eventually get caught. They may get away with it for a while but eventually they get caught and lose everything. Sin for a Christian is breaking the rules, and if we want to win the gold we have to obey God’s rules. We may get away with breaking His rules for a while but eventually our sins will find us out. God’s rules are not given to burden us but to help us succeed in life.

D. Today we are going to look at another thing that you will find all winners have learned, determination. If you are going to accomplish anything that is worth doing you are going to have to be determined because the really great things in life don’t come easy. If you want to become President of the United States or governor one day, you have to be determined to do so. You have to dedicate much of your life to that pursuit. You can’t just out of the blue one year enter your name for candidacy and expect to have chance to win and election.

E. If you want to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer you have to be determined to do so. You have to dedicate much of your life to that pursuit.

F. If you want to get a raise or a promotion at work, you have to be determined to get it. You are going to have to work hard and do a good job. You are going to have to put in your time. Promotions don’t happen overnight and for no reason.

G. The same is true of world-class athletes like the ones who will compete at the Olympics. None of them just go through the motions of life when out of the blue they decided to enter the Olympic trials. For years they have been determined to make the Olympic team. And that determination has driven them to practice and train and discipline themselves for this very time.

H. The secret to being in God’s Hall of Fame is the same. You don’t become a world-class Christian by accident or by chance. You have to be determined to become one. It is not just a matter of being a Christian for a long time. We have all known people who have matured physically without maturing mentally or emotionally. The same is true spiritually. You can be a Christian for years and yet have failed to grow into Christ likeness and produce the fruit of the Spirit. You have to be determined to practice spiritual disciplines like prayer and bible study, serving and fasting. You have to be determined to obey God even when it isn’t easy or pleasant. You have to be determined to do what’s right even when no one is looking.

I. Let’s read in Hebrews 12:1-3

1st You have to enter the race!

A. “Let us run.” First you have to enter the race. This sounds obvious, but the truth is many people never enter the race.

B. When I say that you have to get in the game I’m not merely talking about becoming a Christian. Although that truly is the first step. I am talking about getting involved, serving, reaching out, praying for people.

C. It is possible to be an athlete and yet not compete. It seems that many Christians are quite content to do that very thing. Content to become a Christian. Content to have their sins forgiven. Content to attend church on Sundays. Content to go through the motions without getting in the game. Content to sit on the sidelines watching while others play the game.

D. In sports only so many players can participate in a given event. In college football there are sometimes as many as 100 – 150 players on the team but only 11 of them can be on the field and in the game at any one time. A typical basketball team has 12 players but only 5 of them can be on the court at any one time. This is not true of the Christian life. You will not find a rule anywhere in the Bible that says that only 10 or 20% of the team is allowed to participate. So why is it that so many Christians choose to sit on the sidelines? I can guarantee you that you will never bring home the gold or make the Hall of Fame while warming the bench or sitting on the sidelines. You have to enter the race.

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