Running Our Race

Text: Hebrews 12:1-2

Several times in the New Testament, the Christian life is referred to as a race. It is not only important that we run the race – we must run properly. This lesson examines how to run our race so that we may receive the reward.

Remember the Faithful (Hebrews 12:1)

  • The Hebrew writer reminded them of the faithful mentioned in the previous chapter – they had run their course, but without some of the blessings we enjoy in Christ (Hebrews 11:39-40)
  • We are to learn from the examples of the faithful (Hebrews 11:32-34)
  • Also look to those who are faithful today (Philippians 3:17) – follow good examples

Lay Aside Every Encumbrance (Hebrews 12:1)

  • We are not to allow anything of this life to keep us from running our race
  • Sadly, many allow themselves to be hindered (Luke 8:14; 9:57-62; Matthew 19:23-24)
  • We must lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21) – do not let the things of this life be a hindrance

Lay Aside Sin (Hebrews 12:1)

  • In Christ we have forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7) – but we are not to continue in sin (Romans 6:1-2)
  • We must be dead to sin (Romans 6:6-7,11-12) – grace is not a license to sin (Jude 4)
  • Sin “easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1) – enslaves us (Romans 6:16-17) and continually gets worse (2 Timothy 3:13)

Run with Endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

  • The “race” we are running is not a sprint, but a marathon
  • Some spring up quickly but wither away (Luke 8:6,13) – we must endure until the end (Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 10:35-39)
  • We must exercise self-control and discipline so that we do not fall away (1 Corinthians 9:25,27)

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

  • The Hebrew writer first told them to remember the faithful – then told them to remember Christ; He is our perfect example (1 Peter 2:21-24)
  • Jesus died, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven – as Christians, we have died, been buried, and were raised up with Him through baptism (Romans 6:3-5)
  • Now we fix our eyes on Him and where He is (heaven) – this is where we are going (Philippians 3:13-14,20-21)

Run According to the Rules (2 Timothy 2:5)

  • Paul used the general illustration of an athlete, but it certainly includes the idea of running a race – one who finishes first does not win if he violated the rules in the competition
  • We must follow the path He has given us (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6) – not follow our own way (Proverbs 14:12)
  • Christ will save those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9)

Finish the Course (2 Timothy 4:7)

  • We already discussed the need for endurance – not just for a long time; until the end
  • We are to be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10) – Paul was near the end of his life when he wrote this (2 Timothy 4:6)
  • Finishing the course means we can have the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) – there is no reward for stopping short of the finish line

Conclusion (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

  • Run so that you might receive the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24) – follow the rules; obey
  • Exercise self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25) – keep yourself from sin and every hindrance
  • Remember the reward (1 Corinthians 9:25-26) – not perishable, but eternal; take the race seriously
  • Discipline yourself (1 Corinthians 9:27) – deny self (cf. Luke 9:23); do not fall away

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