Find Us Faithful
Find Us Faithful
12:1 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. 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
At Asbury UMC in Little Rock, we have what I refer to as our Wall of Witnesses. It is a wall with portraits of all of the senior pastors at Asbury dating back 125 years. I never pass by that wall without thinking of this verse in Hebrews and being reminded of what these men have sacrificed so that we can worship at Asbury today. But the great cloud of witnesses referred to in this scripture is not merely a wall of photos in one church. No, it is all of the saints who have gone before us.
I have seen the Pittsburgh Steelers play at Heinz Field a couple of times, and to see 65,000 people, the majority of whom are cheering for the Steelers, even rivals the Razorbacks. Imagine that number multiplied by hundreds of thousands of saints whose only goal at that moment is to see you press on.
Hebrews was written to Jews who were probably in what is now Turkey. There had been an earthquake, Christians were under attack, and even the faithful were losing heart because Jesus had not yet returned.
Let’s read verses 1-3
The metaphor of a race is perfect to describe the life of a Christian.
Throw off encumbrances
Wear lightweight clothes, shoes Get rid of baggage
Sin, regret, hurts, disappointments
Keep your eyes on the markers showing you the way
Do not take detours Keep your eyes on Jesus
Do not allow the world’s distractions to prevent you from finishing the race
Run with perseverance—drink fluids, eat the right foods Be filled with the word and strengthened by prayer
These scriptures are filled with action.
- Throw off what hinders
a. Discouragement—throwing cold water on. You have a fire of passion for something and someone throws cold water on it.
b. Despondency—goes beyond discouragement—a heaviness of heart
c. Distractions—anything that keeps you from reaching your goal.
- Keep your eyes on the prize—You cannot run full speed ahead while looking backwards
- Run with perseverance—Do not give up
In running the Christian race, how do we prepare?
- Put away the self-help books and pick up the Bible—Wesley said there was no other book that leads to salvation
- Be faithful in church attendance—just like a runner who depends on the bystander to hand him/her some water, we need Christian support
- Be faithful in prayer
- Practice—your faith
How do we accomplish the tasks before us? We must develop a godly discipline.
How does discipline serve to help us?
- We find ourselves in a routine
- We begin to see the fruits of our efforts
- We become strong in the Lord and strong in standing against opposition
When David angered God by taking a census, God asked from whom did David want to receive punishment. David said, you, I will take my punishment from you because then I will know it will be just and I might just receive mercy.