Looking to Jesus

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Hebrews 12:1-2

Running the Race Set Before Us

“The only time I run is when something is chasing me…”
The life of faith is like running a marathon
1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
2 Tim 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Gal 5:7 - You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
The Agony of the Run - ἀγών - conflict, fight, struggle
Your true calling is the race of faith in the living God: to persevere where God will place you, to hold fast your convictions and your obedience to Him, to grow in grace and to glorify God to the very end. This is our victory: not worldly standards of success, but enduring in faith.
The Call of Hebrews 12 - Get in the race!
If you’ve ever run a road race - you’ll see all the elements here
The crowds cheering you on
The Map - with the course and the goal of the race
And even the training regimen

The Crowd Cheering Us On.

The Testimony of the Witnesses. All that has been said before in Hebrews 11 - the great Hall of Faith, now stands as a witness to encourage you in your faith.
Remember - Hebrews 11 and 12 was written for those who believed, but when they came under persecution, were starting to walk away from their faith.
his is written to call us to endure. In their own way, for their own time, all the OT saints were all looking to Jesus.
Abel looked for the perfect sacrifice before God.
Enoch looked for a way to live for God in a godless world.
Noah looked for salvation from the flood of judgment.
Abraham & Sarah left behind the riches of the world for the promise of God, looking for the son through whom the world would be blessed.
Moses set aside earthly glory and looked to the promised deliverer.
All of the saints who came before Christ were looking ahead to what they longed to see, the fulfillment of God’s promise.
They all have the same cheer - “Look to Jesus!”

Look to Jesus

He is the Founder and Perfecter of our Faith

The Founder

An architect, designer, builder, foundation; he has gone before us, blazing the trail for us to follow

The faith of Jesus

Faith is dependence upon God
Faith is communion with God
Faith is obedience to God
Faith is confidence in God
Jesus exemplified all of this, and we are to look to him as the example for our faith

The Perfecter of our faith

The completion, the goal of our faith
He is more than just the example, the is the object, the end goal of what we believe Running with an eye to the goal, the time, the finish line

What Did Jesus Do?

He endured the cross

His suffering and death upon the cross
The cross was a cruel and inhumane form of capital punishment, reserved for the vilest offenders. Even the Jewish scriptures said, “everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.”
While the cross was Rome’s tool of punishment, it also came to symbolize God’s judgment against sin.
The cross was the death that was meant for sinners, we were meant to come under the curse of sin, and to pay the penalty of the fall.
But Jesus despised the shame - the disgrace of the cross, the cursing and mocking of the crowds, the scorn and rejection of men - he took all of this.
He was not ashamed of the scars for by his wounds we were healed.
He did not turn from the taste of death, for by it conquered the power of death for all time.
He gladly bore the brunt of wrath, for by it he proved God’s love.
He willingly laid down His life, for by it He ransomed many unto God.

He did all this for the joy that was set before him

His delight was in doing the will of the Father
Is 11:2–4 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him… And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…
Jn 6:38–39 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
His delight is in saving His people
John 15:11 These things I have said to you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete

Christ is now seated at the right-hand of he throne of God

His resurrection - triumph over sin, death, and hell.
This is what we celebrate every Lord’s Day, and especially today, that Christ the Lord is Risen from the dead, victorious over the grave, proving that he is the Son of God, the only one able to save.
He has been raised, never to die again, and is not raised to the right hand of God, to rule and reign over his people, to call us to him, to give us life, and to assure us that one day he is coming again.

How Does Looking To Jesus Encourage Us Today?

Casting Aside that which Hinders

If you’ve never put your faith in Jesus - if you’ve never laced up to run the race and follow him - this message is particularly for you. Look to Jesus Christ, and you will find one who is lovely altogether, whose life and death transcends all others, who suffered death that you would be forgiven and have eternal life.
Unless you look to Jesus in faith, you will never know the life that is of God, and though you may enjoy this world for a season, there will be no crown for you at the end, but only the judgment of God and the just punishment for sin. Look to him, call upon the risen Lord, and you will be saved.

Fixing Our Eyes on the Goal

For those who have heard the call to follow Jesus - this passage is for you as well
Do not be hindered by the weights of the world - those external things the weigh us down -
Like an athlete who changes his diet to prepare for the race, or when you are saving for a big purchase, you go without good things for the great thing that awaits. Continue to look to Christ, so that you aren’t encumbered by the sin that would disqualify us from running the race.

Look to Christ

J.C. Ryle - Look at the cross, think of the cross, meditate on the cross, and then go and set your affections on the world if you can. For every one look at the world, take 7 looks to Christ
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