The Finish Line

By Bobby Blakey on March 29, 2015

Hebrews 12:1-2

AUDIO

The Finish Line

By Bobby Blakey on March 29, 2015

Hebrews 12:1-2

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:02] I can honestly tell you that yesterday was one of the funnest days I have had.

[00:00:07] I mean, it was an awesome day of joy that kids were having fun. Great time for the whole family. But I would be lying to you if I said that everything about yesterday was fun, because I think it was Thursday when I realized how long three point one miles actually is. And so here's a picture of me. What I looked like most of the time, if there's a you could caption that with the word agony, agony. And some of you were smart enough to avoid this. That's why you didn't run with us. Right. But some of us and some other people, three miles maybe isn't that hard for you guys. You superhumans. But for many of us, there was a point when you ask yourself, why am I even doing this? This is pain. This is suffering. And there's sweet people on the side of the road encouraging me to run on. Will you just be quiet for a minute? As I'm walking here, you know, to me, because I'm I'm physically not used to running three point one miles on a Saturday morning. That's that's where I'm at.

[00:01:15] And I'm here to tell you that if you're going to run in the race that the Bible's gonna call you, you're going to run in the race of faith, the race to Jesus Christ. You are going to suffer agony. That is a part of being a Christian. And we should make a big banner on the side of our building. Agony offered here. Right. Turn to Hebrews, Chapter 12 versus one and two. And I want you to see that. That is what we are all promised. And yet they're running this race that we are called to as Christians is going to be a great joy and is really the purpose and point of our lives. So we're looking at a special text to talk about the race that we are all called to run.

[00:01:59] If we're going to follow Jesus Christ, a special passage for us today on this Palm Sunday Hebrews Chapter twelve versus one did, too. And I would just like to read this. And then we just want to look at two points from this passage today. So hopefully you've got a Bible. You could find Hebrews twelve. It's on page eight thousand and eight. You got one of our Bibles coming in. And then maybe you can take some notes and fill in the points. But let's read together Hebrews Chapter twelve versus one two.

[00:02:27] Is therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every wait and the sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, an invitation that's offered to everybody here today.

[00:03:07] Let us run with endurance, the race. And when it says the word race there because of the analogy of the passage. It's how it's translated. But that word is the word a gona in the Greek. OK. So you can see where we would get the idea. Agony from that word race. There is sometimes translated conflict.

[00:03:28] It's sometimes translated struggle. So the invitation is, hey, let us run and let's all run to the finish line. Let's all run with endurance. But, hey, let's not be fooled.

[00:03:39] It's going to be a hard run. It is going to be a challenge. It is going to cost you something, my friend, to follow Jesus Christ with all of your life. And yet the invitation is still there. Let us all run together. This race for Jesus Christ.

[00:03:58] And so I want to ask you, are you running? Are you feeling the agony of what it is to give your life in the pursuit of following Jesus? That's the question we want to address this morning. And you can see. Let's just start in verse one. It says, therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses and if you're looking at the race idea, you might think of like we're running on a track and there's a lot of people there watching the race. But I don't think the idea here is that people are watching us from heaven. I think that in heaven, people are very much focused on the glory and worship of God. I think what it's saying here is the cloud of witnesses we're surrounded by is Hebrews Chapter 11, which sometimes we refer to as the Hall of Faith. It's a whole chapter about the ambitious faith of Old Testament men and women. Let me just give you a sample of it. Jump down into verse six, Hebrews Chapter 11, verse six says, man, here's some people who could witness, who could testify, who could show. Oh, you they could be an example to you of a hard race worth running. That's the life of follows Jesus and it starts in verse one. But let's just jump in a verse six and without faith, without this trust that we're running for. It is impossible to please him for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards that it's going to be worth it. Those who seek him, you've got to believe not only that he is, but that he is a water. So here's some examples were seven by Faith Noah being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen and reverent fear. He constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Here's an example of faith in action, Noah, building this ark about this judgment that was gonna come. And because he had that faith. He and his household were saved. Verse eight by faith. Abraham obeyed when God told him to leave his family and go to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance to the promised land. He went out not knowing where he was going.

[00:06:10] And then we know that God bless Abraham with a son with generations, and they become the nation of Israel.

[00:06:16] So the idea here is, hey, let me show you some examples from the past, from the Old Testament of people who lived by faith. And even though their life was hard, even though we're building this ark and people are mocking us, even though we're leaving our family and going across to this mysterious promised land. It's a hard journey. There were times of agony, but we went forward by faith in the point of Hebrews 11 was look at these people's lives.

[00:06:41] It was worth it to run that race.

[00:06:44] So therefore, since you can see it in all of these examples throughout Scripture. Now, let me talk to you.

[00:06:50] That's what Hebrew says.

[00:06:52] And it says, let us also you can see there in verse one, based on the examples that have gone before us, and now we can add all the New Testament apostles to that, we can add the examples of two thousand years of church history. We can add personal examples in our own lives of people who have lived lives of faith, that were hard lives that were worth living. And we can see these examples. So it says, let us also now it's our turn. The baton is being passed to us.

[00:07:21] So let us also lay aside every wait and the sin which clings so closely and let us run.

[00:07:29] It says, let us run.

[00:07:33] And I'm here to ask you today, based on this passage of scripture. Have you ever run for Jesus Christ? Have you ever taken off in a new quality of life with a new passion, a new heart that Jesus was all of a sudden the most important, most satisfying thing to you in the entire world? And your relationship with him became first place in your life? Man running the first lap around the course that we had.

[00:08:02] That was a lot of fun yesterday, my friends. A lot of fun. Second lap. Not so much.

[00:08:07] All right. But the first lap started out strong, and that's the way it should be for when you become a new Christian.

[00:08:15] We got some new Christians here at our church. Very exciting to see some of the lives that God is turning around. And if I brought those people up here and I asked them, hey, open Mike here, let's just talk a little bit. Is the Christian life agony to you? Brand new? Christian, what would they say they would be like? What are you talking about? Agony.

[00:08:31] This is amazing. Is amazing. I'm never felt this way. Never read the Bible like this. Never prayed like this. Never felt a satisfaction like this.

[00:08:38] I don't need the things that I used to need.

[00:08:42] It's amazing now there might be some tough things that they've had to leave behind. They might start to experience the agony, but they're coming out of the out of the blocks, out of the starting line, and they're coming out hot. When did you come out?

[00:08:53] Run in for Jesus Christ says let us run.

[00:08:58] We got too many Christians who have all they've ever done is walk the track, just kind of going through the motions, doing the good things. Church Bible study, helping, helping people out when they can. Being a good person. That's not what it's talking about here.

[00:09:13] It's not saying, hey, thanks for being a church. Thanks for having good morals. Thanks for voting and paying your taxes. That's not what it's saying.

[00:09:19] Sam, who's running for Jesus Christ?

[00:09:22] In fact, to run for Jesus Christ, you got to lay aside a couple of things. And there's some debate here in this verse about whether it's two separate things or one thing, whether it's these this wait that we've got to lay aside and the sin that so easily entangles us.

[00:09:37] So you could read that like the weight and the sin. And they're both describing the same thing. The sin is the weight. Or you could read that like there's two separate things. Like there's this weight that you've got to let go of. And you've also got to turn from your sin and let that go if you're going to follow Jesus Christ.

[00:09:57] I was run in and I was running next to this guy and he had a phone and he was playing the Rocky music on his phone. And I really enjoyed running next to that guy.

[00:10:05] And some guy next to me said, yeah, we should have brought a boombox for this. And I was like, You want to carry a boombox on this race? All right.

[00:10:14] I mean, if I'm going to run all out for Jesus Christ, right. I'm going to have to make some decisions that I can't do, things that contradict living for Jesus Christ.

[00:10:27] And I'm going to have to leave behind some scene.

[00:10:31] And we talked about that last week, if you were here, we talked about this word that we believe needs to be preached in every church to every person. It's the word and it starts with an Ari, what is the word that we're preaching here at this church where preach and repentance, my friends. And if you haven't heard that at church, I'm sorry, but the church has failed you because every Christian should be preaching that the way to be forgiving of your sins is to repent of your sins, which means you turn from them. You're done with them.

[00:10:57] You leave them behind. I'm not saying you will achieve perfection, but I am saying that you will walk in a new direction.

[00:11:04] That's what it means to be a Christian. You won't do the same sins that have defined your life up until that point. Now, when you start running for Jesus, you will leave the sin behind.

[00:11:15] But I do want to examine this idea of a weight that you also have to let go of. And I want to make sure that we understand the response to Jesus Christ. If you're going to say I'm a runner for Jesus, some of you chose to run in the bunny run. Some of you decided not to. That doesn't make a difference. But do you want to run for Jesus Christ? I would hope you would say yes to that. Well, then you have to be very careful that you are on the right track, that you started at the right starting line. And so you have to start the race for Jesus with repentance and faith. Those are the two parts of the response. In fact, turn back to Hebrews, chapter six, verse one.

[00:11:52] And hopefully this is a reminder, but unfortunately, many people these days are not familiar with these things. And so we need to speak of them often. And it says in Hebrews, chapter six, verse one.

[00:12:02] Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, OK? You should know because I already taught you the elementary doctrine. The foundation. But let me just remind you what it is not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. That's the basic starting line of the Christian life. So I can't tell you with 100 percent confidence as I studied all week and couldn't come to a definitive conclusion, is it? Oh, wait, that is sin. Or is it a wait. End sin? I can't answer that with 100 percent confidence. I can tell you that the response to Jesus has two parts to it, though, repentance and faith. And you need to make sure that you have done both of them. Otherwise you aren't even running the race.

[00:12:55] You aren't even on the track.

[00:12:57] It's a term which means, Matthew, Chapter 11. And let's just review repentance and then let's get into what we want to focus on today, which is faith. You can only be running for Jesus Christ, the race if you have responded in repentance and faith. And Jesus made it very clear that choice is our repent or perish last week. And here's what he says in Matthew 11 verse 20 page on eight hundred and sixteen, if you got one of our Bibles. Look at this with me, Matthew, 11, verse 20. Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done. So he's going back to some of the cities where he did miracles.

[00:13:36] And he's denouncing them because they did not. What does it say? They're my friends because they did not want they didn't turn from their sin.

[00:13:45] They saw the miracles. They could tell that he was from God. He taught them to repent and they did not listen to him.

[00:13:52] And so now he's going back to denounce them. And look what he says. A very strong statement. Woe to you, Khorosan. Woe to you, Beth. Say two cities he mentions here for the mighty work's done.

[00:14:03] And you had been done in Tyran side on some cities that they would have known the reference of that had been judged in the past. They would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

[00:14:14] But I tell you what would be more bearable on the day of judgment for them, these godless cities, not not of the people of God, the Jews, nor these other cities tyer inside. And it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for them than for you.

[00:14:28] And then he goes on and talks about Capernaum the same way.

[00:14:31] Here's Jesus a repeat tour to some of his greatest hits, a repeat tour to where he had some of his best times of teaching and miraculous encounters with the crowd. And he goes back and he said, hey, you can claim that you love me. You can say you're one of my followers. But if you're still in the same old scene yet, haven't really started running the race. Woe to you, Jesus says.

[00:14:55] Now, I've been to Bethsaida, I've been to Coraz�n.

[00:14:59] I have seen these cities as they are today, and this is what they look like. Right here, I believe we have this picture. They are a pile of rocks, is what they are.

[00:15:09] These cities were judged by God and destroyed, and they no longer exist because God is patient and he wants to let everyone know that they have time to turn from their sin. But as we learned last week, that time runs out.

[00:15:24] You have to leave behind the sin that so easily entangles you. But there's another way that you could be struggling to come to salvation in this passage goes on to talk about it. Look what Jesus says in Matthew. Eleven verse 28, skip on down to verse 28. I mean, you're like, well, that's intense. Woe to you. Now I'm seeing a pile of rocks. While it's intense, if you don't turn from sin. There's gonna be judgment. Will Jesus also will call people like this. Matthew. Eleven twenty eight. Maybe you've heard this before. Come to me. All who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you. What does he promise there rest. So take my yoke upon you and learn from me.

[00:16:07] For I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls from my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

[00:16:19] We'll see if you really come to Jesus and you really start running for him.

[00:16:23] There will be this burden, this weight, this pressure that has existed on you before that will dissipate. He says, I can give you easier to bear burden.

[00:16:35] My burden, he says, is light Jesus promises.

[00:16:40] Though he's calling you to run, he is promising rest. How can this be? Because what he does is he gives you the power to run. He gives you the ability to obey his commands. That's what Jesus does.

[00:16:55] So I know there's people here this morning and it was hard for you to come to church this morning. And if I were to tell you, hey, let's go. This is the week that Jesus came into Jerusalem. He died on Friday. He rose on Sunday. Let's all go read that in our Bible, man. Some people in here, it would be hard for them to open their Bibles this week.

[00:17:13] And there's people to take the basic step of obedience to love their spouse, to read the Bible, to their kids, to witness to their neighbor and tell them about eternal life. It's so hard to take any step like they've got spiritual shin splints in every step. It's just agony. And you know what Jesus is saying to you?

[00:17:32] It come to me, man, because you must clearly be trying to do it in your own strength.

[00:17:38] If it's so hard for you to do one little thing for Jesus Christ, it's because you're still bearing your own burden of self righteousness. You're still trying to be a good person. And you think that somehow there's gold stars in heaven. And every time you come to church, you do something nice for somebody. God's going to be okay with you. And that is a massive burden of saving yourself that no one can bear.

[00:18:03] And Jesus says, Come to me.

[00:18:05] You don't have to do it. I already did it for you. See, the truth is, as a Christian, you start running at the finish line. That's where your race begins. Your race begins where Jesus Christ already finished the work for you. Go to John, Chapter 19 and let's get a little preview here of Good Friday. What we're going to be focusing on this Friday night, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. And Jesus said something very important and it had significance long besides the moment that when he died, he ended here in the account of John with these words. This is John, chapter 19, verse 28 is where we'll start reading. And it says after this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said to fulfill the scripture.

[00:18:58] I thirst. He's up on the cross. He's nailed to the wood. He's bleeding. He's about to die in a jar full of sour wine.

[00:19:07] Stood there. So they put a sponge full of the sour one on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. And he's fulfilling even scripture, their prophecy there.

[00:19:16] And when Jesus had received the sour one last prophecy fulfilled there on the cross, he said to tell us stye, it is finished. And he bowed his head and he gave up his spirit. And man, that's got to be one of your favorite words, if you've never heard of before, if you're a Christian and you've been taught that before. That's a precious word to you to tell a stye because it's something they would stamp on a receipt back in the day. It would mean paid in full. That's what it meant. And Jesus just isn't saying it is finished that he's dying. He's saying it is finished. I have paid for all of your sin on the cross. I have died so that you will never have to be judged, so that you will never have to suffer at the accountability of a righteous God for your sin. No, I paid for you. So he says to you this morning, come to me and I will take away the heavy burden of bearing your own righteousness.

[00:20:12] You can't do that. Come to me, I already paid for your sin. I already purchased righteousness for you. Do you feel like you can never get anywhere in obeying Jesus Christ? I'll tell you why you can't run the race because you're barren a. You shouldn't have to bear.

[00:20:29] And you're trying to do it by yourself.

[00:20:32] And Jesus is trying to tell you, look, bro, your starting at the finish line. I already ran the entire race. I already did every righteous thing you were ever supposed to do. And I nailed it perfectly like you could never do. And then I shed my blood as the payment for your soul. And I already bought you back. You don't need to keep running in your own strength.

[00:20:52] Come to me says, If you never felt the joy of running for Jesus Christ, it's because you're still bearing your own good works. Trying to save yourself even if you don't think that's what's happening.

[00:21:07] Trust me, if you don't have the power to run for Jesus, you're still doing it on your own. And you need to come to him. Let's get this down for point number one. You need to start with Jesus finished.

[00:21:19] That's where we all need to start running. We need to start the race where Jesus finished. We are starting at the finished line. He paid it all, my friends. And it's because of your faith in what Jesus already did.

[00:21:35] That's why you can run for him. If anyone here thinks that by doing good things, you will somehow get to a place of faith, you will somehow get to a place of salvation, then that is such a burden upon you here this morning. And I would love to see you hand that over to Jesus and walk out of here with a bunny.

[00:21:52] Hop in your step as you leave here, my friends. Because you don't need to endure. Your own salvation, you cannot achieve it through me to first John, Chapter five.

[00:22:05] Everybody grab you, grab your Bible and turn with me to first. John is a passage I really want everybody here to see first. John, Chapter five.

[00:22:16] And this is going to talk about what it means to have faith that Jesus has already done the work for us. And that's our starting place in the Christian life. Read this passage with me. Says everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. So when you put your faith in Jesus from God's perspective, that we would use the terminology that you're born again. That he gives you a new life. You now get the power to live. For him. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God and everyone who loves the father loves whoever has been born of him.

[00:22:52] Now, by this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and we obey his command. So it's setting up a triangle here. Here's how you can kind of see if you've been born again. Do you love God? Do you love other people? Do you keep his commands? Those are kind of the three points here on the triangle of what it's going to look like for somebody who's been born of God. And then it says this. For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not. What does it say there in verse three, my friends, burdensome.

[00:23:25] So what I'm trying to say here this morning, and I'm pleading with some of you that I know you are here, if you've never had this time of running with passion and excitement for Jesus Christ, it's because these commandments are still burdensome to you. And if the commandments are burdensome to you, it's because you don't have this faith. You don't have this new life. This power to run.

[00:23:47] And so that's why trying to be a Christian is so frustrating for some here in the Rue. Look at verse four.

[00:23:54] Look at how it puts everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. There's victory, that's another way you could translate that, the idea of overcoming if you have been born of God, you will overcome the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.

[00:24:12] Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God?

[00:24:19] So if you're not running for Jesus today, I'm not asking you to come here and come to this church and start doing all these good things and reading your Bible and giving your money and talking to your neighbor. No, if you have never run for Jesus, here's what I'm asking you to do. Put your faith in the fact that Jesus already ran for you.

[00:24:37] That's what I'm asking you to do here today.

[00:24:39] When you believe in the son of God, when you believe that Jesus died and rose again, then you get victory, then you can start running for him.

[00:24:50] Now, this word here for victory, man, who does want victory? Does anybody here want victory in your life? Anyone want you want to be able to see the things that always drag you down and overcome them, the temptations that this world throws in front of us constantly. Do you want to be able to get over those temptations to say no to those temptations? Would you like to live with a sense of power in your life? Well, says here's how you get it. One way you can only get it.

[00:25:16] Faith in the son of God. You just trust that Jesus already did the work. You trust in his salvation for you. And then all of a sudden you get the victory. Then you start taking off out of those blocks and you start running really fast for him.

[00:25:32] Now, the word here for victory is a Greek word that everybody here knows. Everybody here knows, because when I was going to run on Thursday, when I had the revelation or whatever day it was that I was going to run three point one miles, I was like, I need new shoes. Right. Because I could tell my shoes were getting a little bit worn down. Right. And you're starting to get those blisters on your feet. And I was like three point one miles a blister. That doesn't feel good. So I went and got what brand of shoe did I get? Everybody knows what this is, right? Right. I mean, one of the most successfully marketed products, one of the biggest companies in our world. I mean, we see the swoosh. And we immediately think just do it right. And of course, I wanted to get neon ones because that's what the cool kids are doing these days. Right. You got to flash some color out there when you're running, apparently. So maybe the car doesn't hit you or maybe you're just cool. I don't know. Do you want the Greek word is for victory here in this passage?

[00:26:24] Nike. That's the word.

[00:26:27] So like the biggest shoe company sports product that I mean, in our world is based on first John, chapter five versus four and five.

[00:26:36] Now, I'm not saying that's what they were thinking when they started it, but that's how it ended up. OK.

[00:26:45] You put your faith in Jesus Christ, you all of a sudden get the shoes of the gospel of peace.

[00:26:51] All of a sudden you get the beautiful feet and all of a sudden you can run, not because you did anything but you trust now in what he already did. Bam, you're in the race.

[00:27:03] You've got the shoes on now. Now, it's not going to be a burden. Now, all of a sudden, there's a little bounce to your step when you put these the first time you put your new shoes on. All of a sudden you feel like you can do a quick little moves. You know what? That's how I felt anyways, right? Quick is not exactly a word I would associate with myself, but with those shoes, say, Oveson, I can do something mini.

[00:27:23] You put your faith in Jesus Christ. You've got the victory. And you can start to experience what it's like to run with him, to leave the sin behind, to leave the burden behind and to really do something in your life for Jesus Christ.

[00:27:34] All it takes is faith in what he's already done. That's what it says right here. And you will. It's a promise. It's not a you. Maybe you will experience victory over the world. If you have your faith in the son of God, everyone who is born of God experiences this victory.

[00:27:55] Now, I'm loving meeting people here at our church as God brings together a group of people who are going to worship Jesus. And I got to meet this was a few weeks ago now, but I got to meet somebody who'd been coming to our church and said hi to him here at church. But we hadn't really talked face to face. And so we met at Starbucks one Sunday after church and we were enjoying some Starbucks.

[00:28:14] We were having a great conversation. And there was something as we were talking, there was something I could tell on his mind that he really wanted to talk about. And and he kept kind of saying, you know, I'm livin like a Christian. And he kept throwing out words like, I'm tryin. And it's getting better, you know? And it's it's just so hard. But I think I'm making a little bit of progress. And it just sounded like the commandments of God were burdensome to this guy, as I was talking to. And I said, what do you mean you're trying to be a Christian? Are you a Christian or not? Any any looked at me and he said, I don't know how to say it, but I just feel incapable and powerless. I thought to myself, I think you said it pretty well, my friend. I think he just about summed it up. I mean, I believe that Jesus died. I believe that he rose. I'm trying to do all of these good things. So why can't I do?

[00:29:12] And the answer is, you haven't put your faith really in what Jesus has already done for you. The burden has not really been taken away from you yet. You're still even though you go to this church, even though you're trying as best you can. It's still just you try it. And you don't have the shoes on yet. You don't have the victory yet because you haven't really put your faith in Jesus Christ yet.

[00:29:36] And we ended up talking through all the sins that he would need to repent of. And we ended up talking about what it was going to really mean to trust in Jesus Christ. And he is now one of the new Christians run in like they got something under their feet running laps around some of the rest of us here at this church.

[00:29:53] Because they can see. Yeah, you can clap. Praise the Lord.

[00:29:58] You got to have the right shoes to get in the race. And the shoes that we start with is faith. Go back to Hebrews twelve and you'll see this very clearly. The invitation to run in the race is immediately followed by how you're going to run. And it says here at the beginning of verse two, man, this is so important. The only way that anybody here is going to run in a race is your faith. Verse two, looking to Jesus. That's what your faith is in in in in Christ, the founder and perfecta of our faith.

[00:30:31] That is a huge phrase right there. The founder. Jesus saves us. He starts us. He starts us from his finished line. He is the one who gets us running. And he will be with us all the way to the end. He will finish our faith. He will make us complete. He will give us new bodies someday and glorify us with his own splendor. We will share and participate in his resurrection someday in a physical sense that we don't know now.

[00:30:58] That's what it says.

[00:31:00] Jesus Christ. From start to finish. From beginning to end. The only way you have faith is he gives it to you. He keeps you in it. And he finishes it in your life.

[00:31:10] That's what Jesus does. And it's all from the first step to the last step of your life. It's just you looking at Jesus, where you supposed to see him on the cross and out of that empty tomb.

[00:31:21] That's where you're supposed to see Jesus Christ. And you believe in him.

[00:31:25] The end of our passages says that right now Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God in all of his glory, ready to return, ready to reign on this planet. We may even see that in our lifetime. My friends, Jesus Christ is coming back.

[00:31:39] And you trust in that someone to stop trying?

[00:31:43] When it's not being better and I'm going to go for perfect, and the only way I'm going to get the perfect is by trusting in the one guy who did it because I'm not going to get there.

[00:31:53] And I put my faith in Jesus Christ, and if you will sit here this morning, if you will talk to me or somebody at the Compass Connect Table after the service and you will put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will get shoes and you will find yourself running in a way that you have never done before. That's the promise of faith. You will experience victory if you have faith. Now, some of you guys are saying, hey, men, right now, you're not really saying it because we're not quite there yet as a church. Eventually we're going to say a man, does everybody realize that? So let's just kind of talk. Church, church pep talk here. I see as being a church that kind of sesame men sometimes. I know some of you want to some of you have told me.

[00:32:29] Sometimes I just want to say a man and I look at you like, well, OK, well, why don't you you know, I'm not going to disrupt my flow. I'll tell you that much right now, OK? So eventually we're gonna be a church that says a man.

[00:32:40] So some of you guys are ready to say that when you put your faith in Jesus, you experience victory and you started running. Can I get a man from anybody on that? OK, there we go. You know what I'm talking about. Well, let's look back here at our passage, because there's a part here for you of how you're supposed to run. You put your faith in Jesus, you got your shoes on, your Nike, your victory. You're ready to overcome. Bam, you take off out of the gates. It's not all the first lap, though, is it, my friends?

[00:33:07] And some of you guys been running for a long time, some you guys are running a long race for Jesus Christ.

[00:33:13] How are you going to keep running? How are you going to keep that pep in your step? You can stay energized, keep moving forward. Here's the key word. It says, let us run with endurance. The race that is set before us. Let us persevere through the agony is another way that you could say.

[00:33:31] If you're running, you would consider yourself a Christian and you can affirm, yeah. I put my faith in Jesus and I had a new victory in my life. Well, then you got to keep on running.

[00:33:41] You got to keep on keeping on. And now you're gonna start to feel a pressure, not the pressure of your own self-righteousness, but the pressure of trying to be righteous in a world that hates righteousness.

[00:33:54] Of trying to do what is right. When trials come to test your faith. Abraham. He gets called and he immediately, not knowing where he goes, is going to go. He sets out to find the promised land. He follows God. Well, many years later, when the promise seems to be fulfilled in Abe, Abraham is living there and he has his son. God comes to him and he tests his faith. And he says to Abraham, I want you to go and kill your one and only son whom you love.

[00:34:25] What?

[00:34:26] Why would God ask a man to kill his son?

[00:34:31] My son gets sick and I start freaking out. Last night, my son chipped one of his teeth at home. And I'm like, we need to we need to go to the best hospital in a. I mean, I'm freaking out. God's going to ask it. Dad.

[00:34:44] To kill his own son. Why is he doing that? To test his faith, say. Because he wants to see if it's real, because he wants to see if it's genuine.

[00:34:54] The world's going to bring you some agony. God himself is gonna put you through trials and tribulations to show that you really are doing it out of trust for him.

[00:35:04] And you have to Hoople Menno. That's the idea here. You have to bear up under the pressure. You have to remain even when it feels hard. That's what it means to be a Christian.

[00:35:14] Real Christians, state Christians, real Christians, die Christians. Christians persevere to the end. They reach the finish line. And we need a lot more of those kind of Christians right now. You can say amen to that.

[00:35:29] Right. We got a lot of we got a lot of 100 meter dash kind of Christian people.

[00:35:34] Right. We don't have a lot of long distance Christian people.

[00:35:38] We got a lot of people, man. They hear something. They go to a conference, they go to some concert. They have a good conversation, something positive happens in their life and they're all ready to run for Jesus.

[00:35:47] Right. And they start chugging. And then it's like they hit their first hurdle. And then it's like all of a sudden some weird part of your leg starts to cramp up and pinch really hard. I don't know if anybody else has ever experienced that, but it's a recent memory in my mind.

[00:36:00] Right.

[00:36:02] All of a sudden, you start feeling pains. You start suffering agony. And the question is, are you going to keep running when it gets hard? And a lot of people these days calling themselves Jesus followers Nannygate stuff tough.

[00:36:15] They slow down.

[00:36:18] They slow down and maybe they don't even start picking back up the pace at all. In fact, some of them, they don't just slow down, they turn back around and they go back to their old ways because they didn't have these kind of problems before. They were trying to live for Jesus. A lot of people, Ballan on Cristiana and the odd people start in the race, but not finishing and it says, hey, let me tell you how to run.

[00:36:39] You run with endurance, you run to the finish line. You don't get to decide if you're going to stop or slow down. No, you keep on. Go and go to Romans.

[00:36:49] Chapter two German MEANA Romans, Chapter two, and we'll see how this word who both men know is as the verb way to say it. This idea of persevering under pressure and this is for those of you guys who are running. And I love the fact that we've got people running for Jesus here at this church, and it's hard for you to keep running for Jesus. Well, let me encourage you to keep on running. No matter how hard it gets in here and in the Book of Romans, we were just here last week talking about the patience of God.

[00:37:21] That's meant to lead you to repentance so that you won't experience the judgment of God on Judgment Day. He's delaying the judgment so people can turn from their sin. He's being patient right now. And we read that in Romans two, four and five.

[00:37:36] And then it says this in verse six, that when the judgment day does come at some point in the future, I don't know how far away that finish line is.

[00:37:43] But verse six, when judgment does come, he will render to each one according to his works, to those who by patients in well, doing seek for glory and honor and immortality. He will give eternal life. But those who are self-seeking in it for themselves and do not obey the truth. No, they turn to unrighteousness. Those people are going to get wrath and fury.

[00:38:15] So last week, we talked about the patience of God delaying judgment so that people can be saved. Here it is now uses the same word in English patience.

[00:38:25] But the idea is that you would be patient waiting for God to come. And as long as it is till he comes, you are patient in. What does it say there? Romans chapter two, verse seven to those who buy patience in well, doing in good works in running for Jesus Christ.

[00:38:46] Here's our word. To endure, to persevere. And it's translated in this passage.

[00:38:51] Patients. Are you patient in running the race?

[00:38:58] Do you stick with it when it gets hard? Are you going through a trial right now? What's happening? Is that slowing you down or you keep going because, you know, at that finish line, look at what it says here to encourage us to run.

[00:39:10] We seek for glory, honor and immortality. Primarily, the glory of Jesus is our desire. But the Bible's clear that we will participate in that glory. He will share his glory and we will be partakers of that glory with him. And so we keep on running no matter how hard it gets. That's the promise here in the scripture. That's the challenge for the real Christian person to persevere. Go back to Hebrews Chapter twelve. Go back to Hebrews Chapter twelve, because it's gonna give you a big motivation of why you should keep on keeping on as a Christian. And it's going to give you the ultimate example, man. There could be examples in the Old Testament we could learn from. There could be examples even here in our church that we could follow. But here's an example you should follow. You've already put your faith in him if you started running.

[00:40:01] You're looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith. And let's just think about what Jesus did, who for the joy that was set before him. He endured. Same word is the command for us to endure. Now, here's the example of Jesus enduring. And what did he endure? The cross.

[00:40:21] He despised the shame.

[00:40:24] And he's seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Why should you keep running as a Christian? Because look at the example of Jesus. Aren't you glad that Jesus ran to the finish line for you?

[00:40:35] Aren't you glad that he endured all of that agony, that he experienced the physical suffering on the cross?

[00:40:41] The separation from the father, the actual judgment for your sin? And he endured it also at the end. He could shout out with his last breath to tell a stye it is finished. Aren't you glad that Jesus was there at the finish line with his head out going for it for you?

[00:40:58] Well, it says it just as he endured, my friend. You endure for Jesus Christ. Christians are not quitters because we don't follow someone who quit. We follow someone who went all the way for us. And we need a lot of people to stop calling themselves Christians unless they're ready to run all the way to the finish line for Jesus Christ, because that's what it means to be a real Christians. You're all in. There's no slowing down. There's no turning back. It's either the finish line or you're given up. There's no middle ground Christianity. Jesus he despised the shame he did.

[00:41:38] He didn't care about what people were going to say. He hated the idea of not getting all the way there. And where is he right now? In the victory seat at the right hand of God. Achieving your salvation and eternal glory for himself that someday he wants to share with you. So keep on running, man.

[00:41:57] Keep on running.

[00:42:00] I mean, in Hebrews, go back to Chapter 10 before we get to the to the hall of all the examples of faith, all these inspiring stories from the Old Testament. You have it, you have two choices. The choices are Hebrews 10 26 is one choice. And Hebrews 10, 36 is the other choice. This is how Hebrews presents it. One is, if you've started running for Jesus, one choice is you could realize, wow, this is hard. I'm suffering agony. I have to say no to temptation. I have to endure trials.

[00:42:29] The world doesn't like me. People are persecuting me. Some of my own family members are disowning me because of my commitment to Jesus Christ. At work, people have no problem mocking me because of my commitment to Jesus Christ. I don't get invited to the things that my neighbors invite the other neighbors to because of my commitment to Jesus Christ. And so you have two choices when it starts to feel like agony in this run and you're suffering for it. What are you going to do? Well, here's one choice. Hebrews 10 26. For if we go on sinning, well, we can just return back to our sin.

[00:43:01] We can just go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth. There's one thing you start running for Jesus. Just give up. Go back to the way it used to be.

[00:43:12] Go back and look for those temporal sins that used to kind of make you feel good in the moment. They used to kind of satisfy you things that you would turn to for pleasure or acceptance or things that gave you some kind of feeling that helped you get through the moment. And if it's to our delivers a Christian, here's one thing you can do. Just go back to your sin. You could. That's one option. But here's what it says will happen if you go on sinning deliberately after the knowledge of the truth, after you know about faith in Jesus Christ. Well, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. There's no hope back in your sin. There's only a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries because you make yourself an enemy of God. Keep reading here. Anyone who set aside the law of Moses back in the Old Testament, if you broke the law well, you could die without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

[00:44:04] Very clear that if there were two or three witnesses against you, they would capital punishment, you could be put to death.

[00:44:10] Well, how much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot? The son of God has proclaimed the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has outraged the spirit of grace. For we know him who said vengeance is mine, I will repay. And again, the Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

[00:44:33] OK. So you're trying to live for Jesus, Amen, those commandments are hard to do and it's hard to stop your sin. So you want to turn back and you want to go do more sin?

[00:44:42] Well, that makes it very clear. Well, there's no hope back on that path, my friend.

[00:44:47] There's no hope back in your old sin.

[00:44:49] All you got there is the future expectation of judgment. In fact, that really says something intense here. It says, like, Jesus, his blood is on the ground. He shed his blood. So your sin could be forgiven. But you step over his blood or maybe even step on his blood. You profane it, be on your way back to more sin. It's like, you know, the offer is on the table. You know, he gave his life on that cross. You know, he died in agony and he went all the way for you. But you're not willing to go all the way for him. So when you turn back to your sin, it's like you're trampling on Jesus as you go back to your sin. What do you think God's going to do to you?

[00:45:27] That's what that passage basically says.

[00:45:29] You think the father's going to be OK when you reject and trample on the blood and step on the body of his son, Jesus Christ?

[00:45:37] You think the father's going to let you get off for that one, my friend? So the truth is, if you're running as a Christian right now, there's no other way to go, is there? What are you going to do? Go back to but go back to damnation.

[00:45:48] Go back to judgment. And there's only one way to go. As to the glory of heaven as the forgiveness of sin.

[00:45:57] That's to internal fellowship with Jesus Christ, Ben. Do not turn back, if I could plead with you as a pastor who cares for your soul, man. What is heartbreaking is people who come to a place like this and they know the truth and then they deliberately go back to sin.

[00:46:14] Why would you do?

[00:46:16] I mean, I can kind of understand why people in the world might be living it up in sin. But to be here and to know what Jesus has done for us.

[00:46:24] And then to keep on sinning. Why would we do that? My friends.

[00:46:30] Why would we turn away from the offer that's right there on the table of salvation and new life and victory? And go back to internal defeat. Please do not make that decision. Do not turn back. If you started running for Jesus Christ, endure. Doesn't matter how hard it gets. Point number two, let's put it down like this. It will be worth it.

[00:46:51] My friends, it will be worth it to say no to your sin, to not face this judgment, but instead to know this great reward, this this eternal life that we have experiencing now to some degree, but not the fullness. That's where we get diverse. Thirty six. Look at how it says here in Hebrews 10. Thirty six. It says you have need of endurance. Every Christian man I'm talking to. Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord here this morning. You got to keep going. And here's why.

[00:47:22] Do not throw away your confidence, it says in the verse before, which has great reward for you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. Say you are going to see the glory of Jesus Christ. You will be with him. You will.

[00:47:40] You will talk to Jesus Christ in a personal way. You will worship him with all the saints. There will be no sin. You will have a new body. That is what is promised to you. Do not quit.

[00:47:52] Run in for Jesus Christ. Keep on enduring. Keep on enduring. Go to seconde, Timothy, Chapter four second Timothy, Chapter four.

[00:48:04] Don't know how long you've been running for Jesus. Maybe that's something you could think about. How many laps of every year as a Christian, as a lap. How many laps have you done for Jesus Christ?

[00:48:15] So many guys have been running here for a long time and I don't know how far away you are to the finish line. I don't know when when the Lord might have you to die. I don't know when the Lord might return and take you home.

[00:48:29] But I know that the finish line is come, and I know that Paul reached his finish line and we've talked about Paul a lot here at our church. He wrote the book of Thessalonians that we're mostly working our way through. And he says, this is second Timothy, chapter four, verse six. Look at what Paul could say at the end of his life.

[00:48:46] He could say this freimaurer, already being poured out as a drink offering in the time of my departure is Commy knew he was about to die. And he could say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

[00:49:03] Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with Filt, which the Lord himself Jesus the righteous judge will award to me on that day. And not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing. See anybody here, anybody here this morning? Go get some donuts and coffee after the service, I could ask you, are you a Christian?

[00:49:28] Anybody here you could claim to be a Christian? How would I know? Who am I to judge? But the question is, who on their last day. We'll be able to say that there are Christians in. Who at the end of the race will be able to claim, I ran, I finished. I'm ready. That's the goal.

[00:49:49] That's what we're all striving for. If you have started well, awesome. You've had some times of bumps and bruises along the way. We can all relate to that. The key is how will you finish the race? And the finish line is in the future for every single person here in this room.

[00:50:06] We are all perhaps one step away from the finish line and are we running within Durance? The race that is set before us, we're offering here this morning that you could know Jesus Christ in two different ways, two different ways that you could know Jesus Christ, go to Philippians three and you'll see these two different ways that are offered to everyone here.

[00:50:30] And this is something that we believe it is, it's a race with Jesus Christ. He starts it. You start at his finish line. He finishes it. He's the founder and perfecta of your faith. I was talking with somebody who actually runs here at our church. We've got some people who are actually really good at running.

[00:50:50] I found out, like they take it serious. I was talking to one of those people, a lady here at our church.

[00:50:56] And I said I said joking. You know, like, what are you trying to get a million miles? Nine minute miles. You know, I was trying to use runner slang, trying to be cool, right?

[00:51:05] Persons like, no, I'm actually really going for nine minute miles. I think that'll be a great pace for me. I was like, well, OK, that sounds cool. I hope you do that right.

[00:51:13] I saw him after the race. I said, did you finish the. Did you finish those nine minute miles? Did you hit the pace? How did it go? You know, there's a lot of people out there. Maybe you were talking, maybe you couldn't quite get there. And I said, no, actually, I ran with somebody who was a little bit faster than me, and I think they made me run even faster than my pace.

[00:51:31] And I shaved minutes off the time that I was hoping to get because I was running with somebody else and I went up to that person.

[00:51:38] I said, hey, so-and-so paid you a great compliment. They said that because you ran with them, that improved their time and they said no. The other person running with them actually improved my time. And here's what I guarantee you Jesus will do for every person here in this room. He will improve your time dramatically.

[00:51:54] My friends, you start running with Jesus Christ. You are always running with Jesus Christ. He is with you every single hour of the day, and he will be with you till he finishes the good work he has begun in you. That is a promise. You have a relationship with Jesus.

[00:52:09] You know him.

[00:52:11] And it says here in Philippians, chapter three, look at this verse, the starting verse nine says you can be found in him not having a righteousness of your own. No, you can leave behind the burden today of trying to be a good person. You don't have to do that anymore. No, don't do your own righteousness that comes from the law. No.

[00:52:31] But that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness that God gives you, the shoes that he puts on the victory that Jesus already one that is passed down to you because he already finished the race.

[00:52:46] So then in verse 10, it says this is what you know then if you know Christ, if you're running with Christ, looking to him. You know, him and the power of his resurrection. And you may share his sufferings becoming like him in his death. If you really knows Jesus, there's two ways that you're going to know him. One way is you're going to know him in his victory.

[00:53:10] And the fact that he defeated that, you know what you're going to see when you have to face down your sin, when you have to deal with temptation. You're going to find yourself actually capable to say no to your sin.

[00:53:20] You're going to find that you are not incapable and powerless. But you are capable and empowered by God to obey him. And his commandments no longer become burdensome for you because you know the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And you can see it in your life.

[00:53:35] But that's not the only thing you're gonna know. Says you're also going to know the agony. You're going to know the suffering. And it's going to be hard for you to continue to endure, but you will know Jesus in that way. And when you think about Jesus on that cross dying for you, you will know a little bit of what that is like to suffer.

[00:53:58] Your fellowship with him there and it will actually become the place of suffering will become a sweet place. The pain that you feel as you run for Jesus will become something that you share with him as he's the perfect example, leading you all the way to the finish line. Do you know both of those things, my friend? If you're gonna tell me you know Jesus, well, then you know his power and you can relate to victory over some of the sins in your life.

[00:54:25] But you also know the fellowship of his sufferings and the brutal pain of what it's like sometimes to live for him. But is it worth it? Is it worth it to follow Jesus Christ with your life? I think it is. Let me pray for you guys here this morning. God, I want to thank you for this passage. Just a very practical analogy that we can all relate to. Let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us looking to Jesus. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecta of our faith. I pray that everybody here would be honest with themselves and that they would ask themselves if they're really running for Jesus God and if there's anybody here who knows that they're not. That today would be the day. They get up to that. It is finished wine. And they put their faith in what Jesus has done. And they get that victory. They get the shoes of the gospel of peace and they start running for him. God, if there's anybody who knows that they've never gotten past the point of those commandments being a bird and let today be the day that they really start runnin for Jesus Christ, let them come and talk to someone after the service. God give people that faith. You know, it's not by our works. It's your gift to faith. So please, God, we're begging you right now to give faith to some here among us this morning. And God, I pray for those who are running. And they've known the joy. Of experiencing the victory over some sin. And right now, they're going through the agony of the suffering. Whether it's coming from the world and persecution or whether it's their flesh tempting them or whether it's trials that we all experience in life to test our faith. God, I pray that they will endure. But they will persevere. That they will be patient and keep on running. And now we just want to lift high the name of Jesus, we praise him. We thank Jesus so much that he endured all the way to the finish line for us. But he paid at all for our sin got. And let us run with Jesus Christ. Looking to him. Let us know that he will take us all the way home to we get to see his glory and experience it with him, we pray this in Jesus precious name.

[00:56:38] Amen.

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