1. Where have all the heroes gone?
2. I remember that as a child, I had many heroes.
3. Through books I remember reading of the great men of history - of pharaohs and kings, of inventors and pioneers, and of presidents like Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.
4. On television I would sit for hours watching Andy Griffith, Tarzan, Batman & Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and many others who fought for the cause of good.
5. I remember in the world of sports, names like Jim Thorpe, Gehrig and Ruth, Dimaggio, Mantle, Staubach, Unitas, Starr & Lombardi, Marovich, Dr. J, Byrd and Magic - how they all stirred-up dreams of succeeding and becoming something bigger than life.
6. But then I grew up - Someone pointed out to me that Andy Griffith smoked - that Babe Ruth was an alcoholic - that Jefferson was an adulterer - that Superfriends arenât real· even the Lone Ranger had to hand over his mask!
7. In the world we now live in, the heroes of my youth have all been stripped of their dignity - the magic torn away from the innocence of childhood.
8. I even remember as a child thinking my own father was a huge man who could do nothing wrong, but Iâll never forget that day - a man in my early twenties, I entered into the hospital room after my father had a stroke, and realized my fatherâs fragile state, his weakness, his imperfection.
9. And so I ask you again, where have all the heroes gone? Can they be found in Bart Simpson, in Beavis and "friend," in Al Bundy, Howard Stern, Dennis Rodman or RuPaul? Not to mention the President of the United States·
10. What better place may we turn to find real heroes than the Word of God·
11. In Hebrews 11we find a definition for faith as 1. Assurance of things hoped for and 2. Evidence of things unseen.
12. The rest of chapter 11 lists examples of faith in those Godly men and women who were known for their belief in God - People like Abel, Enoch, Abraham & Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Rahab the harlot. READ [Hebrews 11:32-40a].
13. These men and women lived their lives as examples to all who would follow after them
14. Though all were imperfect, and they all lived at various times in uncommon situations, they all set their feet upon the same track.
15. In Hebrews 12, the great heroes of faith are seen as a great cloud of witnesses.
16. The writer of Hebrews describes them as spectators who have passed on the baton of faith which we are now called to carry.
17. READ [Hebrews 12:1-3].
18. Today, As each of us holds on to that baton of faith, desiring to run the race that God has set before us - I challenge each of us to take to the track and strive to become a hero for the next generation to follow.
19. There are three things I would like to suggest to you today, that may help you to become a hero through your faith in Christ:
I. Rid yourself of sin.
A. Have you ever tried to run a marathon while carrying a couple of bowling balls? Sounds silly, doesnât it?
B. You have a much better chance of winning if you cast off the extra weight.
C. And yet, so often as Christians, we continue to carry the burden of sin when we donât have to - Christ redeemed us from the burden of sin by dying on Calvaryâs cross!
D. On the day you were baptized you were freed from the burden of sin - being raised with Christ, you became a new person.
E. At times we still do wrong- As we strive to do right, we must constantly be aware of our struggles with sin. [James 1:12-15] encourages us to "put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness."
F. [1 Corinthians 10:13] allows us to know that God always provides a way of escape from tempting situations.
G. If we attempt to run the race while carrying the burden of sin, we will never leave the starting block!
H. [James 4:7-8a] says, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
I. Real Heroes rid themselves of sin.
II. Fix your eyes on Jesus!
A. Paraphrase [Matthew 15:22-31]. Peter walked on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus - He lost his focus.
B. Jesus is our coach and guide - it is Jesus who shows us how to run the race.
C. [Hebrews 4:15] says, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."