Apr 14, 2014. Hebrews 12:1-2

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RUN WITH ENDURANCE. Hebrews 12:1-2. 4/14/2024. #42.

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1. A cloud of witnesses

                a. We are encompassed by a cloud of witnesses

                                a1. Can mean “spectators” as in there are many going before us watching us

                                a2. More likely: testimonies of faithful saints preceding us are witnessing (Eng. word martyr) to us by their enduring legacy

                b. Hebrews 11 lists just a few godly people who were used to do great things for God, many dying for it

                c. The witnesses who came before us demonstrate that believers can endure hardship and complete their course well

2. Running the race well

                a. Every serious athlete trains and prepares to compete

                                a1. He uses weights to strengthen his muscles

                                a2. He runs great distances to build endurance

                                a3. He denies his body those things which

                                       might hinder his performance (foods, alcohol, late night carousing…)

                b. Race time is focus time

                                a1. An athlete doesn’t carry weights into the race, but totally focuses on the task to hand

                                a2. Weights and hindrances can be many things

                                                b1. Distractions, doing good works that have little benefit (I Corinthians 6:12)

                                                b2. A distracted church is not effective

                c. 2 TIM. 2:1-7 running the Christian race is an intentional choice to deny self to focus on serving the Lord

                                a1. The Christion life is a marathon; not a sprint

                                a2. A believer must steel himself to endure hardship, rejection, and trials

                d. Our main enemy is our own sins (James 1:12-16)

                                a. Our sins easily ensnare (entrap, entangle) us, preventing us from advancing

                                b. Laying aside literally means to look away from (to not be distracted from main focus)

                                c. So many things can distract us that are not sins of themselves, but can become sins if they keep us from serving God (technology, social media, hobbies, sports, entertainment, laziness, possessions, careers…)

                c. Endurance (hupomenos = to remain under) is used 21 times in Hebrews 11 (patience, longsuffering)

                                a1. Seeking to avoid the difficulties of serving the Lord prevents serving Him at all

                                a2. A true Christian soldier expects to face opposition and difficulties and prepares himself

                                a3. Not being weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:7-9)

                d. The Lord has set forth a race for us to run

                                a1. Each believer has been given gifts, tasks, opportunities, callings, and challenges

                                a2. Faithfulness in our race determines our eternal rewards (II Timothy 2:20-21)

3. Jesus, our example

                a. Jesus is the author (archegon; chief, originator, head, source; Eng. words monarchy, archeology) of our faith

                                a1. Jesus not only made our salvation possible, he set forth how we are to live for him

                                a2. Jesus is both our savior and commander

                b. Jesus is the finisher (teleoton, perfecter, bring to maturity, completer; Eng. word telescope) of faith

                                a1. Jesus brings those things into our lives to bring us to maturity and spirituality

                                a2. The rate of our maturity is up to us

                c. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him

                                a1. The gain was worth the pain

                                a2. Despising (discounting) the humiliation

Key passage: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.