The Race of Life – Part 2

The Race of Life – Part 2

Introduction

  • So how have you been running this past week?  Have you had a few uphill climbs?
  • The Christian life: marathon race , not sprint – neither a race around an easy track – rather a race over tough terrain
  • All true followers of Jesus are runners in this race – some just starting their race, others many years
  • Summary of last week’s 3 instructions from our Trainer, Jesus:
    • Run with perseverance
    • Train daily – follow our Trainer’s disciplines
    • Expect a tough race

5 more instructions from our Trainer, Jesus

  • Run according to the rules
    • Judges watch each runner – imagine winner’s anguished feeling – “disqualified!”
    • We must also run according to rules – 2 Tim.2:5
    • God has set the rule of faith
      • “Live / run by faith” – Rom.1:17
      • The rule of faith = trust completely in Jesus – His righteousness & faithfulness, not ours – Phil.3:8-9
      • This is like God giving us our “outfit of clothes” for the race – these have on them the words: “the righteousness of God” –He alone can give this outfit to us – we cannot purchase it from any human store – only those who wear these clothes are qualified to run in HIS race
        • Compare: Millions of people run in life’s race according to the rule of good works – “being religious” or “doing lots of good deeds” = as runners, they are wearing clothes in their race marked with the words: “the righteousness of man”
        • They run hard and do their best by keeping their religious duties – but disqualified – their “reward”: eternal suffering
    • Instruction: Run beginning to end by faith – beware of danger returning to the former rule
  • Learn from the lessons of other runners
    • Running a marathon race is VERY hard – we need lots of encouragement – the shouts of supporters boost the runners’ perseverance
    • The race of the early Jewish Christians was very difficult
      • Much opposition – persecuted, called to return to old ways
      • Letter of Hebrews – written to encourage to persevere
        • Heb. 12:1a: Learn from the MANY witnesses shouting from the finish line – “Keep going/running – God will help you as He helped us” – see Heb.11 – by faith they ran and conquered their enemies
        • Heb.12:2b: Learn from JESUS who ran His race FOR US so we could run ours through Him and for Him – remember Him and your heart will be strong for the race – like Jesus, see your JOY ahead, especially hearing Jesus’ “well done” and “welcome home!”
    • Remember also …
      • Heroes in church history, e.g. Wm Tyndale
      • Heroes in our generation, e.g. Nigerian & Iranian pastors (see stories on last page of these notes)
    • Instruction: Remember & take heart – receive fresh energy from these truths
  • Run the race God has marked out for you
    • In marathon races – all run same course – whereas in the Christian race, God marks out the course for each runner – Heb.12:1d
    • What this truth means to us in running our race:
      • Accept differences in the course God has marked out for each runner – some seems harder, others easier; sometimes ours is like running on grass (easy), sometimes like running on gravel (hard)
      • Accept the course God has planned for us personally
        • Don’t waste your time comparing your course with the course God has planned for others – guard against the danger of complaining
        • Trust God’s wisdom when our course takes us over mountains, through valleys, even through floods and fires – see Isaiah 43:1-3
    • Instruction: Keep focused on running YOUR course
  • Run as a member of a team
    • Marathon races – individual runners competing against each other
    • Cf. Christian race – run as a TEAM
      • Illustration: a team race
      • Biblical focus: team of runners helping one another
    • Some sections of the race are hard & uphill:
      • Don’t ignore the struggles other runners are having
      • Don’t judge “weak” or “slow” runners
      • Come alongside, speak encouraging words – Gal.6:2
      • Pray for runners doing it tough
    • Instruction: Don’t aim to be the great individual runner – aim rather to be a great team runner
  • Run with your heart set on finishing well
    • Every good marathon runner:
      • Keeps his eyes straight ahead – otherwise he can easily stumble and fall
      • Sets his heart on winning the prize – question: are only those who get first, second & third place the “winners” in a marathon race?!
    • The greatest motivation for running our race – the prize (1 Cor.9:24) and rewards we will receive after finishing our race:
        • Crown of righteousness – 2 Tim.4:7-8
        • Crown of life – James 1:12
        • The calling of God in Christ Jesus – Phil.3:13-14
    • Instruction: Run with your heart set on receiving your prize and rewards

Conclusion

  • Our race is very different – know there’s an end but don’t know when – only God knows this – ordered perfectly
  • So then run today, this week – not as if we still have 5 or 50 years before we cross the finish line – run today as if very soon finish our race – then we will run well and win cross the finish line triumphantly – whenever

Rev. Graham M. Roberts

St. John’s Parramatta Persian Service

17th October, 2011

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