Summary: An inspirational message to encourage believers to remain faithful even in difficult and discouraging times.
To Run the Course of Faith
Rev. Sean D. Lester
Sept. 28, 2003
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.  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.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
A. They have us surrounded, hundreds of thousands of born-again believers who have gone before us. They testify by what they have left behind that God is faithful, and they compel us to follow their example.
1. They testify that to love God is to obey God because He is God. Abraham heard God’s voice, and left his family and wealth in order to follow God without knowing where he was being led. Moses followed God, not being sure he would live long enough to be successful, and never entering into the land where he was leading the people.
2. They testify that God is faithful to accomplish the purpose for which He calls people. Abraham’s seed does bless the whole earth. Moses’ people did take the Promised Land. The word of the prophets did come to pass.
3. Those who went before did not see the fulfillment of what God called them to. They did it knowing that God had something better for them. They did it for you.
4. All around us is the evidence of those who went on before. I am the produce of a Sunday school teacher who died before seeing what all of his time and patience would produce. This church was the product of a few families that petitioned the Assemblies of God to sent them a pastor so a Pentecostal work could be established in Reed City. Before those founders passed on, Reed City Assembly of God Tabernacle changed its name three times, and struggled to become an effective work. But the work will prosper, and we know that God has ordained it to be so, because it has withstood the attacks of the enemy of Jesus Christ many times.
B. We, who have the privilege of seeing the Lord today, who have received the filling of the Holy Spirit, inherit a legacy. Jesus Christ has marked out the course for us a long time before He gathered us to this place, at this time.
1. The course is marked for soul winning. Jesus started it by commanding the church to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
2. When the spirit-filled believers gathered in Hot Springs, Ark., back in 1914, their purpose was to organize the believers who had been Spirit-baptized, and were hungry, desiring to go throughout the world and preach the good news that Jesus Christ saves. Our own fellowship, the Assemblies of God, was formed so that we could pool our resources so \more missionaries could be sent, and more churches could be planted. We organized so that we could provide better resources to teach and train those who were being used for the work of the ministry.
3. Those who went on before left us the course that they ran. They cry out from the shadows of time, “Be filled with the Spirit, make disciples of all nations, preach the good news!”
C. That great cloud of witnesses testify that what God called them to was good, and that what has been left to us is from God.
Proposition: Therefore, let us run the course that has been marked out for us.
Interrogative: How can anyone run this course? Especially since it seems like such an awesome responsibility?
Transition: The passage that I read tells us what we must do to carry on the torch.
I. Throw off the baggage that slows you down.
A. Throw off the things that hinder your ability to accomplish God’s purpose in you, to preach the good news, to teach God’s righteousness.
1. When a runner dresses for a race, he or she wears as little as possible. They wear skimpy shorts, and skimpy tank tops, which are full of little holes. They wear these things because they weigh very little. It only makes sense because weight slows them down. Snowsuits aren’t good for running!
2. Every care that you add to your life slows you down. Debts slow you down; relationships outside of the work slow you down. Demanding causes slow you down. Even family considerations can slow you down. If you want to experience the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life, simplify it.