"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" John 14:1
HEBREWS 12:1-2 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   
SERMON OUTLINE, Running the Race of Faith

 

Tony always felt like a looser.  [Explain Tony's story, or someone else who got saved and then wanted to quit.]  Tony grew discouraged and returned to Jacksonville with the intent of quitting the vocational ministry.

 

I'm sure we can all tell stories of people we know who are no longer following the Lord as they once were.  Maybe even you find yourself wanting to quit.  If you're not wanting to quit, perhaps you're wondering whether you can go on.  Well, there is encouragement for us today to keep pressing on for Jesus.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 will help us with that.  Title.

The author of Hebrews is anonymous; nonetheless, he is exhorting Jewish Christians to remain true to their new faith.  They were tempted to turn back to their old religious beliefs.

 

The author's big idea in this passage is:  Believers are being encouraged to faithfully run the race of faith; don't give up-keep running; keep believing.  (For preacher: Subject: How do believers run their race of faith?  Compliment: By laying aside all hindrances, running with endurance, and looking to Jesus.  Purpose: People will set into place regular Bible reading or prayer to help them look to Jesus.  People will be able to write one good reason why they should keep running faithfully.  People will talk to some other maturing Christian for accountability to finish the race.)

 

I. Lay aside all hindrances (preparation).

The "great cloud of witnesses" probably refer to the believers mentioned in chapter 11.  They were faithful and their testimony stands as an example of encouragement to us.

 

A. everything that hinders us or slows us down (unnecessary weight)-may not be sinful.

 

The analogy is that of a runner and he is ref to anything that slows us down.

When a person runs in a race, he must have the right equipment and gear, getting rid of everything that would slow him down.

{if you're in a race and put on cowboy boots to run in, not only would you lose the race but you'd look funny too.  There's nothing wrong with cowboy boots; they're just not appropriate for racing; they'd only slow you down.}

{similarly is TV; maybe nothing wrong with it, but too much of it can slow you down.  Consider spending less time in front of it.}

 

B. the sin that entangles (these are the things that we know are wrong.)

 

The author may have in mind a specific sin like unbelief, or he may mean sin in general, but whatever he means, we know he's talking about things contrary to God's will.

These are things which cause us to lose our race or disqualify us.

{Like a runner who wins his race or beats the clock but yet is found out to be on

steroids.}

What are the habits, occasional sinful pleasures in your life that trip you up?  Seek out a fellow Christian to help you find freedom from your harmful habits.

 

[if you are going to keep running the race of faith, you lay aside...so that you can]

 

II. Run with endurance (mindset/task)-marathon not a sprint.

 

{Eating a pumpkin pie before race wouldn't be good.  Hanging with wrong people.}

What happens if you start running a race as though it's a sprint and it's a marathon?  You'll collapse.  So many people have run this Christian race and done well for a while but then they gave out, they quit.

Life is tough: don't give up (church, Bible, prayer)

 

[if you're going to keep running the race of faith not only must you lay aside all hindrance so that you can run with endurance-the only way you can run with endurance is if you]

 

III. Look to Jesus (focus)-look toward the finish line.

 

Why look to him?

 

A. He is the author and finisher of our faith-he's the reason we run.

 

B. He endured the cross-he knows our pain. His task was harder (resisting to the point of shedding blood).

 

C. He has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.

His work is done.  Unlike the high priest, Jesus finished-you can finish too.

 

Summarize sermon.

 

Conclusion

Do you feel tired and weary, wanting to quit, wondering if you can continue?  Taxes due soon, work pressures mounting, family life demanding, desires of the flesh ever increasing?  If your heart is still beating, then keep running.  Persevere!

 

Tony was doing so well, but then he focused on mere humans, and he grew discouraged.  He went back to Jacksonville to quit the vocational ministry.  Well I'm glad to say before too long, he returned to school and church.  He said that even though he had gone home to quit the voc. ministry, God would not let him quit.  Now, he's married, finished with his degree, has three children, and is an evangelist.  (Stats: Tours with bands-recently came off a 16-city tour-16,000 people made decisions [email: 2/19/07].)  His life has been an inspiration to me and many others.  I'm so glad he didn't quit.  Don't you quit either.  Keep running.

 
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