- 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.
- Think of this image as a stadium, like a pro-football or basketball game.
- Great cloud of witnesses – Think of looking up from the playing field or court, and seeing an audience of spectators.
i. These spectators are to cheer us on as we run the race for the cause of Christ, not to judge our efforts.
ii. The New Testament often uses the image of a foot race:
1. I Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
2. II Timothy 4:7,8: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
iii. Question: Witnesses – are they actually there? Mom, Dad, Aunt Martha, Pastor Jones, are they actually looking down from heaven at what I’m doing?
1. Hebrews 11:4: speaking of Abel, it says “…though he is dead, he still speaks.”
2. Those who have died in Christ are with Him. They do not suffer, and they no longer feel disappointment or discouragement. I am sure if they say some of the things I do, they would be very disappointed.
3. I believe they are there in a spiritual sense, like when we say Paul, or David, or any of the other writers speak to us from the Bible.
- Let us throw off everything that hinders – When an athlete runs a race, he dresses in shorts, jersey and running shoes. Any extra clothes will only slow him down.
i. He also is in top condition – no extra body fat, etc.
ii. Question: What weighs us down in the spiritual sense?
1. Luke 21:34 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, … “
2. Colossians 3:8 “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. “
- The sin that so easily entangles - Sin entangles, much as a flowing robe that reaches down to the ground would entangle a runner. i. What the author is saying is: “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up.”
ii. Question: What does it mean when it says “The” sin? Is there one sin that is worse or needs to be avoided more than the rest?
1. I think the answer is different for each of us – one may have an addiction to pornography, for another it might be alcohol or drugs or anger. Each of us knows what sin it is that entangles us.
- Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us - Our objective is to come to the finish line, to finish strong. i. Think about Jesus – He could have dropped out at any time. He could have avoided the cross and death.
ii. On the other hand, think about Elvis Priestley – he had everything, fame, money, his own jet, several homes – he could write his own ticket, but he started messing around, and by the end of his life, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He finished badly.
iii. Another example – Howard Hughes.
- 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.
- Drag race -