“May I Run The Race Before Me”
January 13, 2017
Lancaster County Sunrise
Yesterday was unseasonably warm with temps in the low 60s’.
This photo is taken from a company loading dock.
“May I Run The Race Before Me”
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“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” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.
In my younger years I ran in both cross country and track (long distance). To this day I recall how I esteemed my coaches. The photo to the right shows Joel Kreiter, who works in a company we visited yesterday, who has coached youth for many years in a variety of sports.
Some 30 years ago I was the high school tennis coach for both the boys and girls tennis teams at Saint Marys Area High School when we lived in northern Pennsylvania. Although most are probably unaware of this coaching during a tennis match is permissible only if there is a split after two sets. Decorum dictated no coaching from the sidelines as the match proceeded. Of course during practice you had the opportunity to teach and help the players improve their game. I hope some of those students who would now be in their late 30’s and 40’s still remember me!
There are all kinds of coaches, but today let us consider a lesson from an apostolic coach. Based on the illustrations the Apostle Paul uses, I believe he enjoyed sports or at least recognized their value in “connecting” with his readers.
All of us who follow Jesus Christ are participating in a great race. The writer of Hebrews alludes to this in our daily Scripture portion (many believe the writer of Hebrews is Paul though it is not specified). The writer is certainly an apostle and speaks to us like a coach so let’s examine four lessons from this apostolic coach:
1) Our apostolic coach informs us that “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.” These witnesses are the men and women of faith chronicled in Hebrews 11 and those all throughout the church age who have gone on before us after a life of faithful service to Christ. They include Biblical people of faith and well-known heroes in the church with names many of us recognize such as D.L. Moody, A.W. Tozer, Billy Sunday, D. James Kennedy, and many other great gospel preachers and hymn writers such as Fanny Crosby.
But I also receive spiritual encouragement as I consider among the witnesses those who personally ministered to me such as my mom and dad, along with many dedicated people that most of you have never heard of like Pastor John Howard (my first pastor after receiving Christ), Elbert Sherrell, Tracy Sutherland, Bill Shibilo, Earl Martin and many, many others. (It might be well for you to develop a similar list of those who spurred you on in your spiritual race.)
2) Our apostolic coach calls us to “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” This speaks of singe-minded dedication, surrendering all to the Great Cause. Sin still entangles! Is there any question about that?
Bluntly speaking, it seems with such an emphasis on praise and worship, we may fall short on songs that specifically call us to a consecrated life. We need balanced music and sermons that preach of God’s goodness, grace and blessing, but also His holiness and His call to us to live holy lives as well.
We also need to hear warnings and at times rebukes which was certainly a vital part of New Testament teaching.
3) Our apostolic coach specifically calls us to join him in a race, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We saw the decal to the left on a truck window in the church parking lot at CityView Church in San Diego last fall. This race is most analogous to a marathon, which begins the moment we accept Christ and continues throughout the remainder of our lives until we either meet the Lord in death or in the rapture. It certainly requires perseverance since it’s a lifelong race. All great runners are characterized by perseverance. They overcome pain, rejection, adverse weather, injuries, and all kinds of setbacks to achieve their goal. This race is marked out with the Scriptures as our guide. Good coaches (pastors and teachers) help us understand this marked out guide. Strong, persevering followers of Christ just keep pressing on in spite of the hardship.
4) Our apostolic coach calls us to keep looking unto Jesus as our greatest example, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.” In athletics it’s important to keep a focus on the goal. As followers of Christ our goal is finishing well and seeing our Lord face to face. Throughout the race we must passionately “fix our eyes on Jesus” so that we are not lured to the passions of this world.
Today let us stay faithful and keep running this great race with perseverance!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.
“May The Mind of Christ My Savior” Video Congregational singing
“Worth It All” Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
“My Greatest Devotion” Video Andy Bromley (We heard this on our local radio station and enjoyed not only the singer but his message)
In 2012 we shared a five part series of messages on “Lessons From Life’s Marathon” beginning with this message. (Use “next message” link to read each message.)
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