Date: December 8, 2019 (Sunday AM)
Bible Text: Hebrews 12 | Steve Damron
This is part 1. Go here to see part 2.
"Let us" is found 13 times in the book of Hebrews
We are in a race.
We are not racing to Heaven.
Lay aside the weights, Hebrews 12:1
- Affairs of this life (sports, politics, education, etc.)
- Cares of this life
- Besetting sins
Let us run with patience, Hebrews 12:1
- A life of Faith
- A Life of Fortitude
- A life of Forbearance
Look unto Jesus, Hebrews 12:2
- The author of faith
- The finisher of faith
- The pattern of faith
- The goal of faith
How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see.
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, sweet flowers,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
But when I am happy with Him,
December’s as pleasant as May!
Dear, Lord, if indeed I am thine
If Thou art my sun and my song;
Say, what do I languish and pine,
And why are my winters so long?
Oh, drive these dark clouds from my sky;
Thy soul cheering presence restore;
Or take me unto Thee on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.
- John Newton
Learn to take your l______, Hebrews 12:5-11
A. Don’t m________
B. Find God’s p________
C. Gain i____________ from it.
Lift up the b________, Hebrews 12:12-14
A. L____ up – this indicates the e_____ that we should have in helping our fellow member.
B. Make s_______ – this indicates the h_______ process which should be sought after
C. Seek p_____ – this indicates the s______ in which we should pursue in helping.
D. L_____ out – this indicates the d_________ that we should have in helping our fellow brother.
Look out for b_________, Hebrews 12:15
A. The s________ of bitternessB. The p____ of bitterness
C. The e______ of bitterness.
D. The c_____ for bitterness
F____ & f_________ set us free
Let’s get some g______, Hebrews 12:18-29
A. S______ grace
B. S_________ grace
C. S_________ grace
I take the Father to be my God; I take God the Son to be my Savior.
I take God the Spirit to be my Sanctifier; I take the Word of God to be my rule.
I take the people of God to be my people.
I do hereby dedicate and yield my whole self to the Lord and I do this deliberately, freely and forever, Amen. – Matthew Henry
Open your Bibles this morning, we will be looking at Hebrews chapter 12. We have three messages left. We have been going through the book of Hebrews and so this morning and tonight if you have the outline, I know some teenagers do. It is front and back and so you are already dying because you are like, oh my word. But that is Sunday morning and Sunday night. You can come back tonight, which would be unusual for some of you to get two church services in one day. It would be unbelievable! You are like, wow. But just think of it as just a quarter of the amount of time that you spend watching TV. Ha ha, oh, that was just being literal. But anyways, Hebrews chapter 12, Hebrews chapter 12.
There was a three-year-old boy and he received a Superman Cape, for either his birthday or Christmas or something like that. So, he received a Superman Cape and he was excited. And so he put on his new costume. He ran outside and started climbing up trees, jumping off of the garage. And after a few minutes of running and jumping in the backyard, off the garage, the boy returned to the house and angrily tore off his new cape. He ripped it off, threw it down on the ground, and with disgust, he said, it does not matter how hard I try this stupid cape does not work. All right I use that as an illustration because you are going to see, as we start into the Christian life, I think some of you think that it is just like this magic cape. And you think that all of a sudden that I am going to be able to fly to heaven. I am going to be able to do all these different things. I am going to be able to zap people. I am going to do healings, unbelievable. But actually the Christian life in Hebrews chapter 12, and remember, I believe the book of Hebrews is written to Christians. So Hebrews 12 is written to those of us this morning that are believers and it is telling us what we got into.
So let's read Hebrews chapter 12 starting in verse one and two it says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth 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." I would like for us to read that together. All right, so follow my lead. You heard me read it. So let's read verses one and two together here this morning. Let's go Hebrews 12 one and two let's start. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth 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." Heavenly father, this morning as we look at Hebrews chapter 12 and we look at part of it, I pray that it would be an encourage-ment to those of us who know you as our Savior. It would be an encouragement to us to keep at the race. Lord, it may be that somebody here this morning has never entered into the race. They are out there and they are working. They are doing some things. They come to church once in a while and once in awhile, maybe they even pick up a Bible, but they have never entered into the race because they have never accepted you as their Savior. We pray that maybe this morning they would find Christ as the author and finisher of their faith. Lord, as we already prayed, I pray that it would be an encouragement. It might be Lord convicting to some of us because maybe we have paused in the race. We have been looking at some other things. We have stopped pursuing that finish line that you have for us, Lord in our race. And I pray that this morning you would do that, which I cannot do and that is speak to hearts. We ask and, claim your power in Jesus name, amen.
In chapter 12 and verse one, we have this word that is found 13 times, two words put together 13 times in the book of Hebrews. Notice it says, "Wherefore seeing we also are composed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." And there are two little words. "Let us" and that is found twice. So let me remind you in Hebrews in the book of Hebrews 13 times uses that phrase if you want to write them down. If you have the outline, there is some space there to write them down. In Hebrews 4:1 is where we find it first and it says, "Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest..." So that introduces that phrase, "let us", all right. Hebrews 4:11, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest..." Hebrews 4:14 it says, "...let us hold fast our profession." Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace..." Hebrews 6:1, "...let us go on unto perfection..." Hebrews 10:22, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance..." Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith..." Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another..." And then in Hebrews 12:1 it is listed twice. It says, "...let us lay aside...and let us run with patience..." And then in Hebrews 12:28 it says, "... let us have grace..." Hebrews 13:13 "Let us go forth therefore..." And then Hebrews 13:15 it says, "...let us offer the sacrifice of praise..."
So the book of Hebrews uses that term "let us." Now it is a prose, remember the book of Hebrews is doing what? It is introducing the concept that Jesus Christ is better. He is better, he is all the way better. And so here are, and I believe it is Israelites, I believe it is the Hebrew people and that is why the name of the book is Hebrews. So here are Hebrew people and they have gotten saved. I believe they accepted Jesus Christ, but there is a temptation to go back to the old way of that law. The old covenant, the old way of works, everything relied on them it almost seemed like. And so the author is saying, wait a minute, you got saved through Christ because He is better. And the way to live the Christian life is still through Christ and He is better. That is the point of the book of Hebrews. And so as we come to Hebrews chapter 12 and once again it is saying this idea of "let us." It is showing again the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. Because under the old covenant, that is the law. And what do you always find with the law? Thou shalt... thou shalt not. They are just a little angry, a little harsh. But here in Hebrews, what is it telling us? "Let us" do you know what it introduces to you. It is this concept under God, what do we have? We have a choice. You have a choice. Even this morning, if you are not saved, you have a choice. I do not understand it because if I was God, I would say, no. You know what? Bow down and you are going to accept me or I am going to smack you upside the head, or I am going to zap you. I am just going to punch you right through the middle of the earth. All right? You know what? Love me, right now!
But that is not how God does it. He wants you through your heart to accept him. It is your choice. And then as we are saved, he still says "let us," come on. Now, I love the term "let us" because it also, not because it reminds me of salad, but because "let us," it is a plural term, isn't it? Let us. Because it also indicates to us the difference now in the Christian life. I do not do it alone, it is us. Christ is there alongside me. The Holy Spirit is there to help me. And so as we begin in this idea of the race, I want to consider just a couple of things that are introduced to us in verse one. Notice what it says in verse one at the end, "...let us run with patience the race that is set before us." And so this morning and this evening as we go through chapter 12, I saw seven helps for the race. And with God's help I would like us to look at seven helps for continuing in the race. And before we get into the helps, I wanted to give us some considerations.
First is we are in a race. Now you would say, well that is pretty obvious, but some of you, you are not acting like it because you are still sitting. You do not run a race sitting on your duff. You don't do that. You are up and you are moving. Some of you got saved, and guess what? The little boy up there, and that is why I was a little irritated with some of you this morning. Here is a little boy in fourth grade that understood that he got saved. And the next step in his race was to get baptized. And some of you have been saved. You are sitting on your duff and you never even obeyed him in baptism. You know what you are, you are a sorry runner. That is what you are. A sorry, runner. You need to get at the race that God has for you. All of us are called to run--every one of us. So get involved in the race. Run the race that is set before you. Now, this is the beauty. I do not have to run your race.
I run my race because it is individual. God has a race set out for you and every one of us that is the beauty of it. You know in the world we make fun of this, because in the world they have this idea, especially with little kids. Then it kind of messes them up when they are in their 20s and 30s because everybody is a winner. Well, actually every one of us can win our race. You say, how is that possible? I do not know how exactly it is all possible except that it is my race. It is not your race. God has set a plan, a race for me. We run a race. It is not something that is easy. All right? I do not like running anymore. And some of you may like it. You are older and you like running. And that is what therapy is for, all right? I started, I think, running in third or fourth grade and being involved in sports, and about 24 or 25 I finally stopped running. So I got so much running in during that time and coaches yelling and pushing me and all that, that I figure that I deserve not to run anymore. Okay? But this is what I know about running. It is not easy. And so right away, if we are running a race, this is what I think is the thing that is misunderstood about the Christian life. It is not always going to be easy. And the devil is going to make it appear that doing things his way is easier. And what I can tell you, it might be temporarily. Most of us that have been involved a little bit in some exercise, you know, exercise is actually good for you. It is good for you and running the race is good for you as a Christian. So one consideration is we are in a race.
Secondly, we are not running to get to heaven. Some people have taken this passage in chapter 12 and verse one and two and later in the text and they have used it and kind of twisted it to say that I am running to get to heaven. In fact, I read of an illustration by a man named M.R. Dahon. M.R. Dahon died many years ago, but he said he was visiting in a church one time and a preacher got up and he mentioned the title of his message. He said, my message today is, 'I Therefore So Run.' And he had three points. Number one was you have to run to get to heaven. Two you have to run awful fast to get to heaven. And three, you got to keep on running to get to heaven. And this is what M.R. Dahon said. He said that the man had tons of enthusiasm and by the end of the message, he had the congregation running, jumping, diving, digging, climbing and flying into heaven. And all the people were shouting, they were having a good time, but he said that was all bogus. I am not running to get to heaven. There is nothing you can do to get to heaven. There is nothing on your merit that will get you to heaven. This is not what it is talking about. I am running a race now after I am saved. My place in heaven is secure. But what I am doing is I am running now in this race for what? Because at some time, according to 2 Corinthians, I am going to stand before God and answer for why he has left me here. And so I am running the race because I want to please him.
You know, the Bible mentions a race a few times besides in Hebrews chapter 12. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Bible says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." In 2 Timothy 2:5 it says, "And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." Now both of those verses, one in 1 Corinthians chapter nine, the other in 2 Timothy, and now we are in Hebrews chapter 12. And what are we finding? We are seeing that the Bible uses an athletic term. The Bible uses many things to describe the believers walk with the Lord. He is compared to a child. He is compared to a bride. He is compared to a soldier, a farmer, a member of the body, a light, a branch. The Bible uses pictures to help us to understand things. But guess what the author in Hebrews and in 1 Corinthians nine and in 2 Timothy chapter two is saying? It is saying that guess what you are? You are an athlete and you need to train appropriately. And you need to understand you are running a race and you need to be ready for it. So how do I stay at the race?
This morning that is what we are going to look at, and we are going to cover hopefully just three points this morning. All right, so let's look at these three ideas this morning. First of all notice what it says, we are with a great cloud of witnesses. And I believe, because remember it is the context, what was before. Some people oppose this, but we have been looking at the context. Hebrews chapter 11 just talked about a whole bunch of witnesses, right? And so we are in a race and it says for us to lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us. So if I am going to stay at the race, first I need to lay aside the weights, lay aside the weights. There are two ideas here that are given to us. The one is weights, and the second is sins, besetting sins. So if I am going to keep at the way, keep at the race, I need to lay aside the weights and I need to lay aside the besetting sin. So let's think about both of those things. What is a weight? It is an encumbrance. In fact, that word weight, in the language means an encumbering an encumbrance. It might not necessarily be a sin, but they are hindering your progress in the Christian race. That is what the word implies, an encumbrance. So the runner is not wearing heavy shoes, a heavy backpack, heavy clothing or other items which would weigh the runners down.
And I thought of two areas. There is the affairs of this life and there is the cares of this life that basically can encumber us. So what are the affairs of this life? The affairs of this life are things like sports, politics, it could even be materialism. The affairs of this life could be schooling, it could be education, it could be things that are out there and they are not bad. But guess what all of those things can do for you? They can come in and they can encumber you. I know people that are more concerned not about the Bible but other books. Other books are okay, but this is the main book. This is what helps me. This is food for my soul. I enjoy reading and you know that. That as a church we push you to read. But guess what? I do not read the others and set this aside because guess what? That is the affairs of this life coming in. I do not get so caught up in all the politics of this world that I forget this book.
Now is it okay or should we be concerned about this world. I think we should be concerned, why? Because we are a light. That is why I am concerned I should be, and I do not see a problem with that. I know that there are Ohio state fans here and just so you know, I mean, I do not know if they really deserve to be number one. I think actually maybe LSU deserves to be number one. But then again they barely won yesterday. I understand that because probably it was rigged. But I know some of you, I am not saying that you should not care about some of that. I think it is enjoyable to sit there. But even sometimes as I sit and watch a football game sometimes, you know, it is really not that important. You know how much money is put into that. And in fact, I mean I look out there and sometimes I just see a college football team and in my mind because I sometimes think about finances. I am looking at just one guy and do you know what all of that probably cost. And then they look at the field and they look at all this stuff and all of this that is just pumped into it. And what good is it in the whole scope of things? Those of you that are older, I mean does it really matter what college team in 1965 won the tournament. Well but you do not....really, run the race. Watch out for the affairs of this life because they just have a tendency to take over. love it, I think it is great that God has blessed so many of you folks with houses and with things like that. But be careful because guess what, the affairs of this life can do? They can come and it becomes much more important than this.
Run the race. What do you have to do? Lay aside the weights. All right sme of you spiritually, if we could look out this morning, you are looking pretty funny in the spiritual race because there is a whole line of people coming up to the race and they are decked out like racers. You know they got their tank top on, they got their shorts, they got their tennis shoes. And here you come up, I am ready! Someone asks why do you have your parka on? Spiritually you have a parka on and then you have a backpack on that and then it looks like you walked by the weight room. You strapped on some of those 45 pounders there and they are hanging there. And you are like straining and we are like, hey you are running away race. Guess what you did. You added some weight. That weight is encumbering you? What is the Bible telling us? The Bible is telling us if you are going to stay in the race, sometimes those weights have to be set aside.
The second thing is a besetting sin. There are just a couple of ideas that people think about when it comes to the besetting sin. Some people think it is a specific sin to you, which I am not opposed to that. Some also think that it is as you are in your race, the devil is very good at setting sin in your sights. I tend to lean towards that. I think there are some sins that are kind of specific to each and every one of us, but I think as you are running the race, guess what the devil is very good at doing? Getting your eyes off the path, isn't he, and it is a sin over there. It reminds me, remember a couple of summers ago, we as a church read Pilgrim's Progress. As Pilgrim was running his race, his path, remember there was a section of the book that talked about by-path meadow. Here he was on the path, but he hopped off the path and when he hopped off the path, he ended up being taken by a giant in doubting castle. That is what the devil wants to do. He wants to use a sin to get us.
We are running along and it is just something that is kind of glittery, catching our eye. We are like, Oh, you know what, I need a rest stop now. Just so you know, a rest stop is for drivers. All right, but you know what? I am kind of driving, I am running the race, I need to stop. So I hop off and then pretty soon you are off. Guess what the devil has gotten you to do. He has gotten you to take some sin. A weight does not necessarily have to be a sin. It can be a care or affair of this life that is kind of we have to do it. We are involved in this world, but that is not true with a setting sin. Sin is sin! What some of us do is we allow sin to side track us from our race.
The first thing that we see if I am going to stay at the race is what? I have to lay aside the weights. Spurgeon said this, "There is but one crack in the lantern, and the wind has found it out and blown out the candle. How great a mischief one unguarded point of character may cause us." Watch out for the besetting sin, the besetting sin that the devil has there that can set you off your path. How do you stay at the race? Lay aside the weights. Secondly, notice in our text in verse one it says, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. And then secondly, let us run with patience. So if I am going to stay at the race, I have to lay aside the weights. Secondly, I have to run with patience. You know what patience means, it means endurance. And there are three things as I was thinking about patience, there are three things that are going to be required.
First of all, if you are going to be patient, if you are going to run with patience, you must have a life of faith. And part of that means that as you are running the race, you have to trust God in this race--that is faith. As you are running the race, His path that he has for you. There are going to be obstacles. There are going to be ups and downs. If you run some, there is cross country types there are all kinds of different types of races. But guess what happens? Sometimes there are obstacles and if it is God's race for you, trust God, a life of faith. Secondly, you have to have a life for fortitude. What is fortitude? That is self-denial. Self-denial is a prerequisite if you are going to stay at the race. If somebody is a serious runner, normally, they are not 450 pounds. Lets say somebody came up here today and they are walking up to the platform and they are 20-25 years old, and they waddle on up here and they are just huge. And you are like, Hey, so what did you just do? Oh, I am a little tired. I just ran a marathon. You know what you are going to do? You will probably laugh. How dare you? You are so mean. You know it is obvious they did not run a marathon. And guess what? It is going to be obvious to others when you are dedicated to your race. It is going to be obvious. Why? Because you are going to have some self-discipline.
While I was gone, I have a book, that I am finishing up and part of the book deals with Christian liberty. Christian liberty and grace are a big thing today. And usually the guys that tout the idea of grace, in fact, Pastor Mallinak taught it to the college on Thursday and Friday. This is their phrase. They say, you know what? Your sin is only a problem to you. It is not a problem to God. What? It hurts for a little bit doesn't it? Yes! And then I am like, wait a minute. Yeah, it was a problem to God. You know why? Because He sent His Son down to die for it. How stupid of a comment. That it is only a problem to you. It is not a problem for God. Yeah, it is a problem to God. And maybe it is not because He does not allow it in His presence. Read your Bible! And so here is this idea of liberty. I have Christian liberty. And so this man did a study on Christian liberty, a fundamental guy did a study on it. And guess what it was really interesting. When you see the word liberty, normally in the Bible, you know what you will see it tied to? You will see it tied in the surrounding context with self-discipline. In fact, the one phrase says, don't use your liberty to sin.
In fact, these 'grace guys' I would welcome them to read the Bible in Romans six where it says, "shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." That is what God says. And in fact, Jude says that, don't use the grace of God for your own lasciviousness. And lasciviousness means like a oneness or a license to sin. You know what the Bible is indicating to you and I as Christians? If we are going to be faithful in the race, you are going to have some discipline in your Christian life too. I am not talking about the physical life, I am talking about in your spiritual life. So what are the disciplines, what is the forbearance that you have put in place that you are running with patience? You know what you are going to have to work at and discipline yourself to do. You are going to have to discipline yourself to be in this Book because in the race you are going to want to set this down. I am a pastor and this is my livelihood, and guess what the devil says to me, ...you read enough. What is one more chapter, you already know it. I mean you can probably quote it,--but I need it. Do not give in to the devil's temptation of a lack of discipline in your spiritual life.
Run with patience, a life of faith, a life of fortitude and a life of forbearance. Patience is mentioned often, so it says patience. Then patience is something that is required if we are going to run the race and it is required in our life. Now notice these verses. Romans 5:3 says, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience." Romans 15:4, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." 1 Timothy 6:11, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,..." 2 Timothy 3:10, "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience." Titus 2:2, "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience." And this was what I found as I looked at the word patience in scripture. Patience is something that good men have in scripture, but also what it also seems to indicate is that you only gain patience through struggle.
So guess what the Christian life is going to have? Some struggle, some trial, some tribulation, because that trial brings patience in your life. So understand that when you are running the race and a trial comes, patience is built by trials. Patience is maintained through persistence. Patience does not grow by quitting. Just so you know that means you were not patient. Does that make sense? If you quit, that does not mean you are an example of patience, right? That means you are an example of a loser, right? If you quit that is what you are, you are a quitter. So patience, when a trial comes, God is sending that to help you to become more godly and to run the race with patience.
Then look at verse two of our text. Here is our third help for the race. In verse one we saw two of them lay aside the weight and let us run with patience. Look at Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus..." Aw man, and we could do a whole message on that. Just right there. Roger Bannister was the first man to run a four minute mile. The first man in history to run as far as what we know a four minute mile. Three months later, there was a man named John Landy, John Landy beat Bannister's record. Just three months later, I mean here for decades and centuries as far as the written record, nobody had beaten this four minute mile. Then this guy, Roger Bannister beats it and three months later, another guy does. So somebody, some promoter had this idea and so he brought Roger Bannister and John Landy together and it was going to be 'the race.' You could hear it if they had radio back then, "Come and see the race between Banniser and Landy, the race of all time." So, there it is and it is coming and they have all these people coming in all excited. And just so you know, it is a one mile race, pretty short. But at last the two were brought together and so the race happened. As Landy describes it on the last lap, so remember he was the one, three months later that beat Bannister's record. Landy was ahead and he neared the finish line and in his mind Landy says this in his mind, a question was nagging him and it said, where is Bannister? So guess what he did? You know what he did? He looked back, he looked back, broke his stride and Roger Bannister schooled him. Yeah, all right, right there, the first trash talking of the mile runners. That is what happened with John Landy. John Landy looked back and guess what will happen to you? You will break your stride and you will falter in your race when you start looking around other than to Jesus, He is the author and finisher of your faith.
Spurgeon gave these four ideas. I thought they were really good. And so they are there, if you have the outline, notice how he describes Jesus. He calls him the author of our faith, the finisher of our faith, the pattern of our faith and the goal of our faith. So let's think about those four things as we close this morning. Let's close with this idea that I want to keep at the race. So what habits do I need to put in place? I need to lay aside the weight. I need to run with patience, but I need go look unto Jesus. Why do I look unto him? Because he is the author. You know what the author means? It means to originator. It is where your race starts. And this morning, let me just touch on this. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can not start the race. You can not get in the race without him. It is Christ. It is only Christ. It is not of your works, lest man should boast.
It is totally and only by Jesus Christ and His finished work that I can get into the race. So He is the author, He is the originator, He is the person that I look to. We look to Jesus first, but then He is also the finisher. That word finisher means completer. He was the start. He was the originator, the author of my faith. But he is the completer. He is the finisher. And He said that even on the cross, I think it is a little bit of a play on the words when it says he is the finisher of our faith. What did Jesus say on the cross? It is what? Finished. And then notice in the text here that it tells us in verse two "Looking unto Jesus...(He) endured the cross, despising the shame..." And here is this idea, because guess what it is talking about--Jesus Christ is better. He is a greater high priest and He is what-- set down. Remember I talked to you about that way back in Hebrews five six, seven, eight and even in chapter nine and it even references it in chapter 10. What does it say that Jesus sat down, no high priest ever sat down until Jesus Christ. Why? Because their job was never complete, but Jesus in one offering completed it. You see, He is the author, He is the originator, He is the completer of our faith.
And then He is the pattern. Notice what it says in verse three, "For consider Him..." He is our pattern. When you are down and tired in your race, you can look to some man and you know what a biography is okay. I like reading biographies and I think it encourages us. It even just a recently I finished a biography, a short one on Jonathan Edwards and it encouraged me to be again in God's Word and be a student of God's Word and to be studious about it. But guess what, Jonathan Edwards, that is not where I am going to gain all my hope and faith. It is in Christ. It is in Christ. He is the pattern. Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your mind. Because looking at others besides Christ, guess what it is going to do? Weary you and make you think. Even as great as I am, (that was facetious, sarcastic) I will let you down, but I can point you to someone who never will. It is Christ. Christ, look unto Him. Consider Him.
Consider Him this morning. You are weary in your race. You are tired, you are worn out. I think all of us do. We get burdened down. We get tired. We get worn out. Consider Him this morning, will you consider Christ? Consider how He left His throne in glory and He came down as a sinful man and yet He was sinnless. He was clothed with humanity and yet sin could not penetrate. And he was tempted like as we are yet without sin. And that is why this morning, Christ is better. Christ is better than what your leaning on to get to heaven. Christ is better than what you are leaning on within yourself or maybe on somebody else to run this race. Look unto Jesus the author, the finisher, the pattern, the goal. Look unto Him. He is my goal. He is at the end. He is my aim. True faith never steers, never veers from Jesus Christ. And if you have veered from Jesus Christ this morning as a Christian in your race, get back to be faithful to the race. And one of the ways is look unto Him. Look unto Jesus.
John Newton, and I put this on the outline. John Newton remember he was the one that wrote the song 'Amazing Grace.' Remember John Newton, that wicked slave trader, the man that was just horrid, that was just horrible in his sin. Even other sailors did not want to be around him because he was such a wicked man. But then he found the grace of God and it saved him. And this is what he said, "How tedious and tasteless the hours when Jesus no longer I see. Sweet prospects, sweet bird, sweet flowers have all lost their sweetness to me. But when I am happy with Him, December is as pleasant as May. (I do not know where he got that one at, I think we should cross that one out.) But dear Lord, if indeed I am dying, if thou art my sun and my song. Say, why do I languish and pine and why are my winters so long? Oh, drive these clouds from my sky. Thy soul cheering presence, restore. Or take me onto the on high, where winter and clouds are no more." You know what he found? It is tedious. It is tasteless without Christ.
And as a Christian here this morning, you found joy in Jesus Christ and the happiness and the joy flooded your soul. You are in a race. Some of you this morning you began the race with Christ. Continue looking to Him. And maybe this morning you have never found, you have never entered into the race. Why? Because you have never trusted in Christ. You are in a race. It is the devil's race, and it will lead you to doom and damnation and sorrow. And I challenge you to look unto Jesus this morning.