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April 7, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “Run the Race,” with a message titled “How We Are to Run the Race” from the book of Hebrews 12:1-2.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, longtime evangelist and now president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled run the race, which is a study of the book of Hebrews chapter 12 let's now listen to today's message were Steve will show us how we as Christians are to run the race. I like to ask you to take your Bibles and turn with me please to the book of Hebrews chapter 12 Hebrews chapter 12 we have been looking at the theme of running the race and we've taken some time to establish just in a small way, the theme of the book of Hebrews as it exalts and lifts up Christ and is it exhorts us to be faithful and so last week we began with Hebrews 12 line is we just talked about the Christian life is a life of a faith race.
We are running a race this morning. I would like us to look more carefully at the first two verses in a little more detail as our my messages morning is entitled how is it that we are to run this right. Specifically, what does the writer tell us to do as a Christian living out this Christian faith. So let's look at Hebrews 12 verses one into this morning. The Scripture 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 under 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. If you are able. This coming summer to go over to Tokyo, Japan where they're having the summer Olympics. The 2020 Summer Olympics and suppose you are able to get a ticket to go see one of the track and field events. Let's imagine you're sitting in the stands and you take your binoculars and your will and by the way, this is not Japan. And this is definitely not an Olympic runner, but let's say you take your binoculars and you want to try to determine what's the next race, whether it is a Sprint or it's a long distance run.
Do you think you would be able to sell only look at the body type of the runners and determine what's the race. The answer is absolutely how how do you know that because the body types of runners and sprints and long distance are distinguishable even different.
So what is a sprinter look like what's his body type. Well, generally they have powerful arms. They have ripped abs and they have very thick legs.
Why because the sprinter needs strength for his race.
So what is the body of a long-distance runner look like the exact opposite lien fan, long legs, skinny arms somebody that looks like they need muscles but what kind of strength that they need.
They don't need the physical strength to burst out and run short distances. They need the ability to run for a long time. We call that stamina or they need in Durrant's so you have to have a certain kind of strength in order to run a specific kind of race we read this morning at Hebrews where the writer is telling us the kind of strength that we need to run the race. What is that strength look at what he says in verse one. He says let us run the race with what what is it say say it was a what will run with what patients I what is patients.
Patients is not putting up with an irritating room roommate. That's called long-suffering day. Patience means endurance it means to stick something out it means to be able to do something a long time. So for example in Hebrews 1036 the rider is already told us that we all have need of endurance.
Are we all have need of patience. So how do we run this race we are to run the race with stamina or with any endurance is very interesting and will be seeing this in the weeks to come, that in verses four through 11 we learn that God actually builds our endurance like a trainer does in the gymnasium. God is an expert in spiritual strength conditioning.
God knows how to get us in shape and so what we see here this morning is that we are to run the race with endurance. But the writer gives us to what I would say more requirements that are necessary on our part to be able to run the race with endurance. In other words, there are some preliminary some things that we have to do in order to be able to get in the race and run race. So what are those preliminaries were those core requirements in their two of them. One of them is negative and the second one is positive. So what is the negative what we did do notice what he says back in verse one. Wherefore seeing. Also, we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight in the sand that doth so easily beset us so we have a negative command. He tells us to lay aside now. To be honest with you when you study it and understand it is actually a bit of an awkward statement because in ancient times runners literally took off their close and they ran in their one-button suit. That is, they had no closeout awkward, but they didn't want to be hindered. They didn't want anything to get in the way that's the metaphor that's given to us. There are things that have to be laid aside things that have to be taken off and since the Greeks were experts in the human body, how long would it take them to look at these runners to see if there in shape.
Another words if they have what we call the love handles.
Obviously, they're probably not gonna win. In other words, they're not lien. They're not in shape.
If you have excess weight or extra fat. It will be obvious and the point is that a runner has to be disciplined. The runner has to live all restricted constrained lifestyle. So what are the restrictions. One of the things that we are to lay aside any tells us the two of them notice what it says, let us lay aside every weight.
The first thing were to lay aside his weight. Now what is he mean by weight.
While I think he means weight. How many of you have ever tried to lose weight, raise your income owner, if you've ever tried to gain weight that is weird I mean I may have never ever had to try to gain weight ever. It's always the opposite. All athletic training requires getting a body in shape through intense conditioning. This includes for a lot of them losing weight maybe 5 pounds or 10 pounds cutting calories getting to the optimum way to maximize your performance. Cutting out the things that are not necessary things that don't fit into your purpose. So if you're going to play you're going to be effective that your purpose then you need to get in the best shape possible.
What is weight weight for us as believers, it's usually things in our life that are not disciplined what does it take to get into spiritual shape. Paul tells us where to exercise ourselves on the godliness. If there's exercise. What's the exercise. What are the things that we need to be doing in our lives that are all part of getting in shape spiritually were the things that you already know things like daily Bible reading daily prayer time faithfulness to the house of God, sharing the gospel in witnessing being involved in service ministry giving financially to the local church.
These are all spiritual habits. These are all spiritual disciplines and the difference between one over the other is the fact that some of your discipline and so if you're not spiritually. Some of you are fat, attaché, flabby and some of you have not lifted any spiritual weights for a while and you're just going to the motion, and that's the danger Bob Jones University because it's it's quote unquote a spiritual atmosphere and you float to the atmosphere, but actually you're going backwards because any athlete knows that if he doesn't work out for two or three weeks. What is he gonna be like in two or three weeks is out of shape exactly you go two or three weeks and you neglect spiritual disciplines. It doesn't matter where you are, you're out of shape so he says lay aside these undisciplined areas of your life. Let me also say that these weights can also be things that are distracting things that are binding as a Christian we are surrounded by multiple distraction things that grab our attention and lead us away because if you're running a race you have to be focused because your focus is the goal.
It's the end in mind.
The gospel speaks of two sisters, Martha and Mary probably know the story when Jesus comes to the house and Mary sits at Jesus's feet. Martha tried to fix lunch and she's upset with Mary because she's not helping her and Jesus clarifies what's really important. He said more than you are encumbered about with a lot of serving but Mary has chosen the number one most important thing and that is me. Let me ask a question this morning. Have you chosen the number one most important thing for your life and that is the Lord himself and spending time with him or are you distracted a part of spiritual maturity is learning to make principled decisions. Learning to make decisions where you are focused with intention on what you're trying to do. There's no doubt in my mind, one of the biggest distractions for many of you sitting in this room right now is yourself.
For example, if you're playing a game on the cell phone this morning, but my tendency is to say, you're really stupid, but let me not be so unkind to call you an idiot. Let me just say that your distracted and let me tell you this, that you're actually worldly because instead of focusing what is only eternal. The word the word is eternal.
You're actually looking at something in the world.
Whether it's a game or it's a text message or something this happening in this world and you actually are. Neglect plea neglecting the eternal for that which is temporal.
I'm just I'm just saying you want me to be straight up with you. You want me to play a game or you want me to be honest with you, and many of you should be far more spiritual than you are in your actually not that spiritual because actually you're constantly distracted, you need to lay aside these weights, you need to be focused on member number of years ago we had in our evangelistic team.
We had a young man at the time traveling with us and got them will call can probably you further will and I bought for my sons, a PlayStation I think is like PlayStation three. I remembered what it was three or four we had it set up in our fifth wheel trailer. My boys would play PlayStation and I would say the well I think will come on over to my trailer if you want your click come over and do some PlayStation in he would say not, that's okay.
I asked Mike for 5×1 answer will want to come over and play PlayStation. He said I can't handle it as it would mean you can't handle it.
He said I get so immersed in video games. He says I become obsessed with it.
Now to me. Video games are really boring and I just I'm just saying that it may not be as okay on the Army is probably because I'm boring.
Okay, that's sublime. Or maybe I should say I'm really not that good at it. Okay, so some of you like really really good. But you told me I thought was interesting.
He said I get so obsessed with it. He says it's all I think about my brain is like engaged in these videogames and he said suddenly, all I'm doing is thinking about videogames instead of really being focused on the things that are really eternal and the things that matter and so we actually limited himself. He actually he would come over occasionally and he would he would play for an hour to. But then he would go back and he didn't want to be distracted you what you you you can't be an Olympic athlete and be distracted.
That's what he say if you're going to run the race with Ian Durrant's are some things you need to lay aside number one.
He said you need to lay aside weights then number two. He says you need to lay aside the sand that doth so easily beset us, what is the sin that so easily besets us the word to set their means to tighten control. It's like encircling around you and tightening its grip. It could be a personal sin.
It could be something that's individual to you. That's peculiar to your own personality. It could be a sin like lost or pride. It could be fear, insecurity. It could be laziness or bad habits. So it's a sand that is peculiar to you, and I think that's a plausible way to look at this this yawn besetting sin, but it could be it could be, which I think it's probably more this way because there is an article in front of the word sin. It's because of the sin and is the besetting sin of the book of Hebrews. So what is the besetting sin of the people of God in the book of Hebrews. Let me give you an illustration that might help a number of years ago for many many years I served it north in camp and conference center, and for those years. Also, some of those years I served as the camp director and so one summer we had a theme. Hebrews 12 run the race.
This is really actually where the idea came from that were doing the semester, so we decided to sort of make it a little bit more real and in life.
And so we decided to do a big race on the Saturday we said we decided to do a triathlon in the triathlon and included two groups of people. One group were those that want to do the whole thing so they make, they would swim. They would like and they would run so it was like it was like a 500 yard swim a 12 mile back bike bike ride and I think it was like two or 3 mile run. Okay, but I decided we want to make sure that we had counselors. The next week so we decided to do teams and so most everybody just got on the team. So one is biking want to swimming the other is is writing so glassware you are you going to be on the team. I said yeah ability, so I will team with the camp manager Mr. Paul wed and the camp evangelist will docket and so we got together and I looked at him. I said I'm not gonna run and I'm not going swim so well said, I'll swim and Paul said I'll run and I said I'll bike so the race started out it was like across the lake and bought back was about a 500 yard swim and so will jumps in the water with everybody else. And as you well know it. When these races, it's just a lot of splashing for a while and then all of a sudden the the the racers.
The swimmers begin to soar to separate themselves based on who's the fastest and so they went out and swam back and they came up and got out of the lake and I'm I'm looking for will yeah could you really can't really tell who's who, until he start coming out lake is all these people start coming out like they had a run up the hill and tag me and I did take off and so I'm waiting and waiting and finally asked like three people looking let you know that they're doing the dog paddle you know coming through it. Finally, will comes up out of the lake. You look like a creature coming out of the Black Lagoon is a Manatee coming up the hill you know it is coming up this hill and he finally tags me and I start the race my part in about 30 seconds.
I realize I had made a very serious mistake number one. I had not ridden the bike all summer. Number two bike that I chose was a bike that my wife and I bought for late Saturday afternoon rides. It had a big fake tires with a white sidewalls in the big you know the big muddy seat that you sit on with the little thing being dealing Bell look like the wicked witch of the West. You and so I got in it it it it it wasn't even three speed. It was no speed. So, about 30 seconds into it.
I realize I've made a mistake, but I had 12 miles I had to ride most the time I rode all by myself. If you ever been in northeastern Wisconsin. There's a lot a lot of dead deer on the side of the road. You know when you're doing something like this is really hard, you sort of hallucinate somewhere through the middle of it and I started having all these thoughts like I was gonna die and they were to find me in a ditch like a dead deer with my legs are stuck up like this and finally finally finally I made it back I think was like 58 minutes later something and I literally rolled in and I tagged the runner Paul and I literally fell off the bike on the ground. Everybody started gathering around me like is he dead and the first words out of my mouth were these. I finally figured out what is the sin that doth so easily beset us there like what because the entire race. The whole race. I wanted to quit. What is the sin that besets all of us. We already know what it is we want to quit. In this case it's the fate it's walking away.
It's turning our backs own. It's walking into the world away from what I have come to believe now. Don't tell me that that's not something you struggle with because you do is this said that doth so easily beset us five times in Hebrews, the writer gives us warnings of the danger of falling away in the faith.
That's why says exhort one another daily, lest you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, lest your heart gets hard.
You can sit here day in and day out in literally instead of being tenderhearted, you can become hardhearted so he says lay these things aside and then he gives us a positive command very quickly. Notice what he says in verse two looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, believers are commanded to run the race with a resolute focus on Jesus and we know that looking unto Jesus is illustrated throughout the New Testament Peter is invited by Jesus to get out of the boat and walk on the water and as long as he keeps his eyes on the Lord, what is he do people walk by faith. But when the waves and the temptations. The distractions came around him. He took his eyes off the Lord and what he do he started to sink. We always say we take our eyes off the Lord and Jesus reached his hand out and rescued the disciple from certain death, and Jesus admonished him he said, O thou of little faith, wherefore, did you doubt why did you doubt. You have to keep our eyes on the Lord. The key to staying on top of the water is ignoring distractions and staying focused on Jesus, you got so much stuff in that stuff can become the distraction we take our eyes off the Lord. We also say that looking on the Jesus means to focus on on his person and what he's done. What is he say looking on the Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith word author means the one who blazed the trail in other words, Jesus is the champion of faith he's led the way, who's my example. My example is Jesus. I look in the Bible. He tells me what he's like.
He's also the finisher of our faith. He is the one who has perfected our faith in the Old Testament, they didn't have access to God, we do today, the Old Testament, they could know that their sins are forgiven, we do today. In the Old Testament, they didn't have a new heart and a new power we have that today.
In other words, he has perfected for us everything that we need to live the Christian life. You have access to all that you need. Let me also say in conclusion, that looking at the Jesus is actually the way that we run the race, looking on the Jesus the author and finisher of our of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him in due word how we run the race with it in due work.
The word endure means to stay under it means to make a firm resolve not to quit.
Some of you been here already, three weeks and you're already ready to throw in the towel and quit like one preacher said you need to go to your need to go to your dictionary and find the word clad and cut it out because if you quit today. Do you think it's good to be easier tomorrow. Let me assure you that tomorrow is not easier say that's really discouraging when he said do not quit endurance. There is this incredible value of persevering and who is the example.
It is Jesus who endured the cross, who focused on the eternal joy of what was set before him who treated the shame that came to him from the Roman soldiers. He treated fair shame with contempt. He held those who held him in contempt he held in contempt. Why, because he knew that the cross was the wisdom of God because through the cross. You and I could be say and all along the way as we look to Jesus. That's how we run the race looking to Jesus is sufficient enough for us to live the Christian life because when we look to him like we look to him to be. Say as we look to him on a daily basis. Here's what God does. Here's what God does p.m. how words you did you get that just like he saved you and just like he brought Peter out of the water. So when you look to Jesus even like a simple child crying out for its mother. As you look Jesus he gives you the power to live the Christian life.
So, lay aside and look to Jesus.
Father, we thank you for your word. Thank you that you give us strength through your word to run the race. Help us to be faithful in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from Hebrews 12 by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform