VIDEO RECORDING OF THIS SERMON
AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS SERMON
What we’re going to need from now till Jesus comes is endurance. Ordinarily, in the Christian life we will endure sufferings, tribulations, hardness, afflictions, chastening, temptation, grief, and sound doctrine. But these days, we are going through trials that will worsen the difficulties of enduring the things we normally endure. And we run the risk of not finishing the job God has given us to do.
Fortunately, God has given us some specific instructions on endurance and he has given us a cloud of witnesses who endured. If we follow what the Lord gave us in Heb 12:1-3, we can endure. To improve your endurance:
Run without weight – Heb 12:1 – you will have trouble with endurance if you are carrying more weight than you can carry over the long haul. Our son and daughter-in-law learned on the Appalachian Trail to carry minimal weight. They even broke their toothbrushes in half. Our son said that an ounce is a pound after you’ve carried on your back all day. A friend who is carrying for his wife said, “This is my ministry now.” He used to do more for the Lord, but he can only do this now.
Abraham cut the ties with his family in Ur of the Chaldees and then cut his ties with Lot. Moses cut his ties with Egypt, Heb 11:27. Demas didn’t cut his ties with the world and he dropped out of the race. Gideon cut his ties with the family religion. As we near the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, you have to remember that enduring is the key to finishing. So, drop whatever weight is inhibiting you.
Run without sin – Heb 12:1 – when life gets heavy and daunting, people often look to sin to relieve the stress or to relieve the pain. It’s extremely important that you don’t turn to sin for relief. Some of those old sinful ideas will pop up in your head when you are stressed. I have seen good people in the ministry contemplating divorce, for instance, to get away from the stress on their families in their ministries. Dr. Binney taught us about how many ministers and wives came to him for counseling due to sin. Sin will knock you out of the race.
Run with patience – Heb 12:1 – the trouble you endure doesn’t end before you’re ready for it to end. It is so easy to give up because you are weary in well doing. It seems that the race will never end. But every race has a finish line. That is, you will reach the finish line unless you quit. It will help you endure to not look at the finish line but to look at the next step. You might not believe that you can do 20 more push ups. But you can certainly do one more. Of course, one more after that will lead to one more after that. And together, you can do 20. Just take each step on step at a time. Eventually, you will reach the finish. Jas 5:11 “Ye have heard of the patience of Job.”
Run with faith – Heb 12:2 – the cloud of witnesses in Heb 11 are all examples of faith. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. How do you run with faith? You simply walk with God and walk in his words. Enoch walked with God. He was translated. Noah walked with God. He finished the ark and saved his family and all the creatures that had the breath of life. The trials of life will separate you from the words of God and will hinder your walk with God if you let them. They’ll get your eyes off the Lord. You cannot endure like that. You must live by faith, like the witnesses did.
Conclusion: we are encouraged by the joy we’ll experience at the end of the race. Jesus finished his course with joy. Paul finished his course with joy. And we will finish our courses with joy, if we don’t quit. And when we do, we will join the cloud of witnesses as a witness to those around us to improve their endurance. Missionaries who’ve stuck it out on the field are a good witness to the newer missionaries to endure and not quit.