Summary: As christians we’re in a race as we sojorn here on earth, therefore we must stay in good spirital shape as we are nearing the finish line.

Hebrews 12:1-3 “WE’RE IN A RACE” WTBI 9- 2-06

All of us as Gods children need to be reminded from time to time that we are in a race. It’s not a sprint were in, its not a 100-yard dash. And it’s certainly not a jog through the park.

This Christian race we’re in is not a casual stroll. We are in a race that requires our absolute dependence upon the One Who gives us the endurance to stay on the coarse filled with trials, tribulations.

Listen as I read today’s text found in Heb. 12:1-3 1Wherefore 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, 2Looking 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. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The exhortation in verse 1 finds its grounds, or basis, within the examples of the champions of faith mentioned in chapter 11. These heroes of the faith are like a cloud of witnesses. These witnesses can be better understood as referring to those who testify.

We are encouraged by these witnesses. They are not spectators; they are testifying to us.

Paul uses the comparison of athletic competition often in his epistles to illustrate to his readers these great truths.

In Acts 20, Paul speaks of his own life, his own race, and his heart’s desire to face any obstacle or trial in order that he might finish the race that the Lord has called him to run. (Acts 20: 22And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians he knew that they were not running like disciplined athletes. They had taken their eyes off the finish line, off of the One who had called them to run in such a way so as to recieve the prize.

(1 Corinthians 9: 24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.[disciplined]

Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; [actual physical racers] but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: [his body is under his control] lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. [this speaks of having a bad testimony before others]

Paul knew that he must always stay in shape; he must always strive to get stronger (spiritually).

Paul writes to the Philippians and says,

(Philippians 3:12-14 12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark [running for the finish] for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

In 1 Timothy, Paul tells young Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:12 12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he used the imagery of a soldier, athlete, and farmer as he urged Timothy to be single-minded and to keep his passion burning bright for the things of God so that he would be strong in the grace of the Lord.

It will be the grace of God, and only the grace of God, that will empower us to endure hardships without losing hope. Paul writes,

(2 Timothy 2:3-7 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

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