Living the Christian life is much like running in a race, and Hebrews 12 shows us how to run like a champion.
First, we must remember there is a purpose to pursue.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1). We are in this race until our very last breath. There is no retiring or quitting from this race against ourselves.
There is a person to prepare.
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us…” (Hebrews 12:1).
Many of us lag behind because we are weighed down by excess baggage. Remember: we are free to enjoy our hobbies, treasures, and friendships until they keep us from running our race.
Adrian Rogers says, “Good things become bad things when they keep you from the best things.”
If we’re not careful, our baggage will cause us to stumble completely. When we find ourselves tripped up by sin, we must confess and repent so we can get back on track.
Third, there is a price to pay.
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1). No one strolls over the finish line; endurance is necessary in order to run a race well. We must get our hearts and minds right and finish the course.
Fourth, there’s a promise to plead.
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). The One who first calls us to the race will enable us to finish the race. We must keep our eyes on God, who gives us faith, because He is the One we are running toward.
Finally, there is a prize to possess.
“…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). As we run this race, living by faith, we know we are headed toward eternal victory. Because Jesus finished the race on Calvary, He has become our reward. The race will have been worth it when we see Him face-to-face.
Apply it to your life
Are you running with endurance today – setting aside the things that weigh you down and cause you to sin? Are you living a life of faith well, sharing the Gospel with others, so that they may enter the race toward Jesus?
but friend in this life, no matter if your mind makes contracts that your body can’t fulfill in this life. If you’re a child of God, you’re in the race, I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care how feeble you are. I care not how rich, how poor you are. There is a race for you to run and God wants you to be like a champion. Adrian Rogers ability to apply Biblical truth to everyday life was one of the many things that made him such a remarkable pastor, teacher and writer today on love worth finding. He’ll be bringing that uniqueness to this series of messages that were calling champions of faith. Have your bibles open to hebrews Chapter 11 and join us for today’s message. And if this message is an encouragement to you, remember, you can stream this message again and download Pastor Rogers outline notes and other resources to go along with this message all at L WF dot org. Now let’s join Adrian Rogers. The message for today. Run like a champion when you think of a runner, what do you think about when a person is with every inch, every ounce, every nerve, every sinew running a race. We’ll watch this for a moment. And I think this is probably what you think about. There’s a young man who is getting his start, every muscle is tense. He’s running now, he’s looking straight ahead, complete total concentration, every inch, every ounce, every nerve, every fiber he’s pressing to the goal. Notice he’s staying in the lane, he’s not moving to the right, he’s not moving to the left and notice he’s not running against anybody else. He’s running against himself. He’s running against the clock. And he’s headed toward the finish line. Now we’ve we’ve seen runners run like that. And that may be what you’re thinking about this morning when the pastor’s gonna teach you how to run like a champion, you say, well, I’m out of it because I’m in a wheelchair or I can’t run because I’m tied to a sickbed. I can’t run because I’m 90 years of age. I can’t run because I have twisted limbs. I can’t run. Well, you can run and you should run and you will run if you listen to our scripture today. Hebrews Chapter 12 verse one Wherefore seeing we also come past about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us. And let us run with patience. The race that is set before us looking 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. Well, according to the scripture, if you’re saved, you’re a runner, You are in the race. You may not be able to run athletically. But you can certainly run spiritually. And that’s what we’re talking about. So we’re going to think here about how to run like a champion. And let me take you some things from this passage of scripture. First of all, there is a purpose to pursue. And that purpose is for you to run. Look, if you will in verse one, Wherefore seeing we also come past about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which that so easily beset us and let us run with patience. The race that is set before us. Now, each of us have our own particular race. The Apostle paul came to the end of his race. He said in Acts 20 verse 24. But none of these things move me neither, Count I my life dear under myself that I might finish my course I might finish my course you have of course to run. You have a race. Your race is not the same as my race. Uh, and your wife or your neighbor, whomever, we don’t need to compare ourselves with one another. We are not running against one another. We’re running against sin against satan against self. And we have a race to run. So I need to get my eyes off of you how you’re running your race and concentrate on my race. You know, that people say, you know, if I if I had the talent of thus and such a person, this is what I would do. If I had the money that he has. This is what I would do. And you start trying to run somebody else’s race. Uh, maybe God has a different kind of a race for you to run. But there is a purpose to pursue. Now look at your past and let me tell you something. If you’re not in the race, you’re sinning against yourself. You’re sinning against your church, You are disappointment to angels and your rebellious against your God. You have a race and you’re not exempt were to run the race. There is a purpose to pursue. But now, here’s something else. Not only is their purpose to pursue, but there’s a person to prepare. I mean, you if you’re going to run the race, you’ve got to get ready to run the race. Look at it again in verse one. Wherefore seeing we also come past about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and run with patience. The race that is set before us. Now, how do you prepare yourself? Well, first of all, if you’re going to run a race, you got to lay the weights aside. You notice our athlete up there on the screen. Do you notice how he ran? He ran in briefs? He ran in a very light uh shirt he ran with track shoes on the least weight. The better one thing. I don’t think you’ll ever see. And that is someone in the olympics running a race wearing an overcoat. It’s not going to happen. They get down as light as they possibly can and still maintain some modicum of modesty. You have to lay aside every weight. Now waits here. The greek word. Wait, does not mean something that’s sinful. It just means something that that burdens you. Something that holds you down. Uh, There’s some things that are not bad in themselves. Nothing wrong with an overcoat. You just don’t wear an overcoat when you’re running a race. Listen to what Paul said in first Corinthians chapter six verse 12. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient now. What’s that word expedient mean? Well, when you think of expedience, you think of another word, expedition. An expedition is you’re going somewhere, paul said something may be lawful for me, but if it’s not expedient that if if it doesn’t speed me on my course, if it doesn’t boost me on my way, then I need to leave it alone, friend. It it may be some recreational habit. You have it. Maybe some cottage in the woods, it may be some acquaintance. It maybe some hobby that you have it. Maybe, uh, some too much television or sleep or whatever it is. If it is keeping you from winning the race, you lay it aside. Good things become bad things when they keep you from the best things. And so he says, get down strip down lay aside every weight. Now, I’m not here to tell you what it is that may be holding you back. But ask yourself this question. All doing this message. Is there something in my life that’s hindering my walk with christ? Is there something that’s holding me back? Is there something that is excess baggage? Is there something that is keeping me from being all that I ought to be for the Lord, jesus christ? Well, if you want to win the race then laid aside, lay aside every weight. Now watch this and the sin which does so easily beset us now. He’s not talking about good things that maybe bad things. He’s just talking about bad things. The word beset means to tangle you up. Can you imagine a person trying to run a race with a long flowing robe that’s tangling him up or some rope around his feet or something that has a messed him? No, he wants to be free so that he can run. Now, what is the sin that does so easily trip us up? You see, uh, weights, load us down. Uh, sin trips us up. And either one can make you a poor run and keep you from running the race. Uh, the sin that does so easily beset us now. What Paul is talking about in chapters 11 and 12 is faith. The whole race that we’re running is the race of faith. The book of hebrews says, we live by faith. Therefore we run by faith. Now most of us say, I wish I had better faith. I wish I had stronger faith. Do you know the reason that you don’t have any more faith than you have sin? He said, wait a minute, pastor. No, I’m no friend. The bible says, beware lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. Unbelief is not a mental sin. It is a moral sin. It doesn’t come out of the head. It comes out of the heart. Beware lest there being any of you an evil heart of unbelief. The writer here is talking about running a race and he says get rid of that excess weight and lay aside every sin that does so easily beset us? There is, there is a price to pay also not only a person to prepare, But a price to pay. Look if you will. Again in in uh hebrews chapter 12 and verse one wherefore seeing we also come past about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us. Now watch this and run with patience. The race that is set before us. Now that word patience doesn’t mean the ability to thread a needle. That word patience literally means endurance. It means bearing up under you see, under some load. Some challenge. Are you looking for an easy way, a cheap way! A lazy way to serve God! All honey and no bees, a life of ease. You just want to just say, oh, I’m so happy in jesus. Listen again to your pastor. Now, this business of running this race means that you’re gonna be out with all of your heart. Did you notice a young man on the screen running? Did you notice how intense he was? You may be on a sick bed hearing this later on television, or you may be here with some aid to help you to walk some here this morning in wheelchairs, but none is excluded. We are to run well to run with endurance. If you’re in this race, you need to pray over it, you need to weep over it. You need to study over it. You need to work over it. And if if we possess it, it must possess others. What I’m trying to say is this matter of being saved and running the race is a full time occupation. God does business with those that mean business. Do you pay a price? I mean some extra time in the morning to get into the word of God, Do you pay the price of being ridiculed? Because you keep your bible on your desk in the office, Bow your head, and thank God for his gracious goodness to you? And it gives you a meal. Are you willing to be different from the crowd? You’re gonna find out that when you’re running this race, you’re running right against the grain, don’t get the idea that there’s the broad road in the narrow road and the narrow road runs alongside the broad road. Over here, a bunch of people going this way and over here, you’re going this way, no, no. Here’s the broad road and here you are, right in the middle of it. Going the other way. What we have, what we believe starts at a different source. It follows a different course. It is ending at a different conclusion. And there is a price to pay. Very frankly, modern americans don’t like that idea of a price to pay. We say, well, pastor, I’m saved by grace. And so I’m just going to just float on into heaven on flowery beds of ease. No. A disciple is one who follows his master who obeys his master, and there is a price to pay. So many people run, and then they quit running. Some of you used to run, but you don’t run anymore and say, well, the church is doing fine now, it’s time for me to pull back the throttle, it is never time for you to pull back the throttle. You say, well, I don’t need to give now, like I used to give, No, you’re right, you need to give more. Listen, my friend, you are to finish your course. I don’t care how far ahead you are in any race. If you stop running, you’re gonna lose the race? I don’t care how far ahead you are. You are to finish your course. If you stop running, you’re going to lose. There’s a price to pay next. There’s a promise to plead. I thank God for this. This is the good part. Looking verse two Looking 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. You say Pastor, I don’t see the promise there. The promises. If we will look to, jesus, jesus will be the author and finisher of our faith. He is the author of our faith, the word author there literally means in the greek language example Or leader or the originator, Jesus is the example of faith, but he’s also the originator of our faith. Faith comes from beholding the Lord Jesus Christ. Looking at the Lord Jesus Christ. You see all of these other heroes of the faith that we mentioned in hebrews chapter 11. They can cheer us on, but they’re not really our chief example. Our chief example is one who never send, who never failed his name is jesus and if you want faith not only get the sin out of your heart in life. Not only lay aside the weights, but fix your eyes upon jesus christ. It is not so much great faith in God that we need as it is. Faith and a great God, What a wonderful savior we have in the Lord jesus christ Look to jesus, lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us. Fix your eyes upon the Lord jesus christ. This word look to jesus literally means looking away from everything else and looking at jesus, the youngster who was running the race was not looking up and around and looking over his shoulder, he was looking straight ahead. Keep your eyes upon jesus. Don’t even look at your look. Don’t put faith in faith. Put your faith in the Lord jesus christ. Next. Not only is their promise to plead and I’m telling you this promise is that if you put your eyes upon jesus, you’re gonna find he’s gonna be the author and finisher of your faith. But there’s a prize to possess. There’s a prize to possess. When you run, you run to win for a a trophy. A prize? Look, if you will here in verse two, looking unto jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him. What is the joy that was set before him? It’s the it’s winning the race endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God, jesus is our example. He is a champion who, when he ran his race received a crown of joy and it was that crown according to this scripture, they gave him the ability to endure. Remember I said, there’s a price to pay well, you pay the price if you keep the crown in mind and if you keep the crown in mind, you can bear the cross. There is a prize to possess. Here’s what Paul said to those in Thessaloniki First Thessalonians 2: verse 19. What is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing are not even ye in the presence of our Lord, jesus christ at his coming? You know what paul was saying? When jesus comes, my crown is going to be those that I’ve led to him Now, that’s that’s a crown that doesn’t corrupt when you when you die and go to heaven, are you gonna take somebody with you? Are you going to have it alone? Must I go in empty handed? Must I meet my savior, Soul Without one soul with which to greet him. Must I empty handed. Go, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I want you to look up here at me. I’m not mad at you, but I’m concerned because most of the people in our church are not active soul winners. That’s tragic you say. But pastor, I give my money. I don’t care how much money you give. If you’re not endeavoring to bring souls to christ, you’re not right with God, you say, well, I teach, I don’t care how eloquently you teach if you’re not trying to bring souls to jesus, you’re not right with God, you say, well, I attend faithfully. I don’t care how much you attend. If you’re not trying to bring souls to jesus christ, you’re not right with God. Well, you say I live a clean moral life, I don’t care how circumspect er you walk. If you’re not endeavoring to bring souls to jesus christ, you’re not right with God. All the soul winning you’re ever gonna do, you’re gonna do in this world, in this life, all of the all of the sacrifices you’re gonna ever make for jesus you’re gonna make. Now finish your course, friend, finish your course. There is a prize to possess. Listen to what Paul said in first Corinthians nine verse 24. No, you’re not. That they which run in a race, run all but one receives the prize. So run that you may obtain. Do you want the prize? That’s the reason I said, look, you can be an athlete, you’re in a sickbed, you can be an athlete, no money, you can be an athlete, debilitating disease, You can be an athlete, no matter who you are, where you are, what age you are, whatever you have, you can be like the apostle paul in. So I finished my course, There’s old paul, he’s in that mammoth in prison ready to die. And paul said, you know, said, I’m it’s heads or tails. For me, for me to live as christ to die is gain heads, I win tails, I win. Makes no difference about that time. The jail door rattles. The jailer says, get up paul, let’s go already. Paul’s perhaps heard that executioner sharpening his acts outside his cell door. I hate to tell you paul, but this is your day. They’re gonna take off your head. That’s alright brother, you’re just doing your job. Let’s go, paul starts out of that prison. They’re walking along and the guard says, are you humming a song? Oh, I didn’t know you could hear me, I’m sorry, I was just How many little song? That jim Whitmire taught me. It will be worth it all when we see jesus, paul, aren’t you afraid? No brother. I die daily. I’ve done this many times. Not physically, but my life has been given to the Lord a long time ago. They bring him there down by the Tiber river, that’s going to drink up his blood. They put his head on the executioner’s block, the axes gleaming in the air. We always give a prisoner some last words paul. Do you have any last words? Yes, friend, I do, jesus is Lord, jesus is Lord The ax falls the head falls in a basket. The next scene is heaven. There’s paul. You’re looking into the face of jesus, The same one he met on the Damascus Road. What do you think? He said? I don’t know what he said, but I’ll tell you what I think he said. Lord, I wasn’t big. I wasn’t strong Lord, I sure did run. And Lord, I have finished my course. I have finished my course. And what did jesus say to him? I, well, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, but I think I know it was something like this, jesus said, Well done, good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a few things. I’ll make you ruler over many. I want to remind you that salvation is not a gift at the end of the race. Our prize at the end of the race. It’s the it’s the gift that puts us in the race. But I don’t want to get the booby prize when I get to heaven, do you? And don’t you count yourself out, no matter how young? How old? How rich? How poor God has a race for you to run? And if you’ll run it, you say it will be worth it all. When we see, jesus, let’s bow our heads in prayer, heads about and eyes are closed. Would you ask the Lord to make you a spiritual athlete? Remember? You don’t have any excuse, Paul ran a race when he was in prison, Paul ran a race when he had nothing when he had plenty. Would you pray God make me a champion of faith. Help me to run like a champion. I’ve got some wonderful news for you. The Lord jesus christ wants to save you, He will save you and he’ll save you right now. May I lead you in prayer? And if you say pastor Rogers, I want to know for certain that I’m saved. Let’s get it settled right now. Would you pray this prayer? Dear God, I am a sinner. My sin deserves judgment, but I want mercy. I need to be saved. Lord jesus, You died to save me. You shed your blood for me. You were raised from the dead. You are the son of God. You promised to save me. If I would trust you, I do trust you Right now, this moment with all of my heart come into my life, forgive my sin. Save me, Lord jesus. Save me. Lord jesus, pray it save me. Lord jesus, did you ask him? Were you sincere? Then pray this way. Thank you for doing it. I receive it by faith and that settles it. You’re now my Lord, my savior, my God and my for me. And now Lord jesus. I’m at the starting block and I’m gonna run the race of life for you because you’ve saved your name. I pray precious friend. I remind you again that the bible says that the blood of jesus christ cleanses from all sin. That is a hallelujah. Every blur every blemish every spot, every stain can be washed whiter than snow in the precious blood of jesus. Would you like to have your sin cleansed and obliterated by the blood. Would you? would you pray a prayer like this? Lord jesus, Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for the power of your shed blood. I now turn from my sin to you. Come into my heart, forgive my sin cleanse me. Lord Jesus, save me. Lord jesus, pray it. Mean it. And if you do write to us and let us know we will rejoice and we’ll send you some literature to help you to get started in your christian life. We hope that you’ve been encouraged by these character studies from Hebrews Chapter 11 that we’re calling champions of faith. You can stream this message again, share this message with a friend and download other resources related to this message all at L WF dot org or the my L WF app while you’re there. Be sure to check out our new bible studies on today’s topic as well as many other topics at L WF dot org. You can also subscribe to our day. Daily heartbeat emails. Each heartbeat contains a daily devotional from Adrian Rogers, 90 seconds. A profound truth also from Adrian Rogers, as well as a link to our daily radio program, all in one place, delivered directly to your computer or mobile device each day, or you can catch up with our program each week on our facebook page or Youtube channel and on the my L WF app. Thanks for joining us for today’s message? We’ll see you next time. Light has absolute power over darkness. The darkness cannot put out the light. The light can put out the darkness. Light is more powerful than darkness and truth is more powerful than error. The times are growing dark, but as Adrian Rogers says, they are gloriously dark because the light of christ shines brighter in the darkness. In his book. Standing for Light and truth. Pastor teacher and author. Adrian Rogers offers insights and guidance to help you live with oddly integrity and to shine his light in a world growing dark for your gift. This month, we’d love to send you standing for light and truth request yours when you give at 1 806 47 94 100. Or you can give online at L WF dot org. Stand boldly for truth in these dark days of deceit call or go online today.