Discipleship Series #2
A disciple is committed to “Run the Race”
Being a disciple is like a WATCH, it needs to be wound regularly if it is to keep running.
By Pastor George Lehman
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”
Our scripture reading:
Hebrews 12:1-4 (NIV) – 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
*Colossians 3:5-8 (NIV) – 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
#1 There is a race to be run.
The author explains that there is a race that we have to run.
Hebrews 12:1 – Let us run with perseverance the race…
We need to realise the importance of this RACE – it is the RACE of life.
It’s the race for eternal life.
1 Corinthians 9:25 (Message) – All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
How have you been running your race lately?
#2 This race is for everyone.
Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore since “WE” are …
This phrase, the author connects himself and his readers (all of us) with all the Old Testament heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. They became champions of faith, not because they were perfect, but because they ran their race by faith.
Faith is the essential ingredient to produce long distance character.
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
God sees us all as important. We are all running this race.
1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) – Do you not know that those who run in a race ALL run.
#3 This race has been prepared beforehand.
There is a course, a track that is marked out before us.
Hebrews 12:1 – Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
As His disciple, God has marked out your life and destiny.
Ephesians 2:10 (Amp) – For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that we may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them…
God has given you a ministry. “Fulfil it”. Because the race has been marked out so we should have some direction of where we are going.
Paul had a goal, he said: 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NIV) Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly…
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) – Brothers, I don’t consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:5 (NIV) – … if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
Are you running in the right direction as His disciple?
#4 This is a RELAY race.
We have such a responsibility as to how we run our race because we have to PASS the BATON on to the next generation.
Hebrews 11:36-40 (LB) – Some were laughed at and their backs cut open with whips, and others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning and some by being sawed in two; others were promised freedom if they would renounce their faith, then were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in dens and caves. They were hungry and sick and ill-treated – too good for this world. And these men of faith, though they trusted God and won his approval, none of them received all that God had promised them; for God wanted them to wait and share the even better rewards that were prepared for us.
#5 This is an obstacle race.
Jesus had to face and overcome, among other things, these obstacles.
Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV) – 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
In a sense we have to strive against sin, tiredness, discouragement, Luke warmness and compromise.
Hebrews 12:4 (NIV) – In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
We have an enemy – he does not play fair.
Ephesians 6:11 (TEV) – Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the devil’s evil tricks.
Ephesians 6:12 (Message) – This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps – a life or death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.
#6 This race has a reward.
In this race there is a winning post and a prize.
Jesus said… Matthew 5:12 (LB) – Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a tremendous reward [geweldige belonging] awaits you up in heaven. And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted too!
Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) – So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
Revelation 22:12 (NIV) – Behold, I Am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
How you run your race is the measure Jesus will use.
#7 The champion of this race is our inspiration.
Jesus has been through it all. He is fully qualified to be our champion, coach and captain. He is our example… Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) – Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
He saw you start the race and will be with you through the race – cheering you on. Be assured of this: He will be waiting for you at the winning post.
God made you to WIN! You are a CHAMPION!