This message was preached by Sunith Nallala at Word of Grace Church on May 7th, 2017. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.
Q. What comes to your mind when you hear the word, Ussain Bolt?
A Race! Ussain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter. We are very much like him in our Christian race.
Q. What are some of the terms in running a race?- Perseverence, Practice, Endurance, Strength, Stamina.
We know what we need. Let’s be open to the Holy Spirit who will bring forward the requirements for running the race.
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
In the chapter 11, we see the hall of faith- The individuals who have accomplished what God has called them to do. There are 5 things we need from this passage to finish our race:
1. Encouragement: The cloud of witnesses are the people of the past who encourage us to run our own race with perseverance. When our body is not willing to move forward, when you are exhausted and your carbs have burnt out, that’s when we hit a wall- we need encouragement then. We must be responsible for each other’s race.
How do you encourage when you don’t know the area of encouragement? For this, we need to have a deeper relation of talking about one another’s weaknesses. This is an area where we as a church need to grow. We need to talk about our spiritual growth and battles. Heb 10: 24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The Bible directs us to encourage one another. Let’s be radical, being deep in our relationships.
2. Getting rid of what hinders: If you tie a rope to your leg, or a heavy backpack, you slow down. This weight hinders us from running. This includes good things as well. We do not know the things that are hindering us from running the race. We need the Holy Spirit to help us in this. How are you managing your time? Are spending much time in the office, and neglecting your famiy? Are you spending time with your family and neglecting your time with God? Are you spending too much time on social media? If it is killing your time, it is time to reflect upon your spiritual life. If you are a shopaholic, how are you spending what God has given you? Relationships- which could be taking much of your time. Building relationships is what God has called us for. But what kind of relationships are you building? Build with those who are committed to running the race.
Galatians 19 talks of the sin we need to avoid. The secret things of our heart, the sin, will destroy us from deep within. Sexual immorality, addictions, drunkenness, pornography, these lead you nowhere. We need the Holy Spirit to break the chains of sin. Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” Every time we are tempted, the Holy Spirit will guide us to walk away from it. We need to choose to listen to Him. When we do this, the chains will break lose.
3. Running the race with perseverance. When you run with perseverance, it develops character. God will only discipline us with the things we face. James 1: 2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” These trials and temptations are necessary for us to persevere in faith and gain confidence. James 1:12- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” God is also rewarding us for our perseverance. Noah was called to build the huge boat without seeing the water. He persevered in faith. God rewarded him for that. God might ask you to forgive someone who is teasing you. Trust in God and forgive them. That’s when God will open new doors for your to accomplish great and mighty things.
4. Where is your focus: when we continue in this passage, we see that fixing our eyes on Jesus is important. We are not running alone. We run with each other. We also have Jesus who has already run the race. In verse 3 of this passage, it says, consider him who faced such opposition and yet ran with perseverance. When we fix our focus on our circumstance, we feel like we are drowning. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can do miraculous things.
5. Inspiration: Jesus’ inspiration was the joy that you and I will be with him in eternity, praising him! That gave him hope to finish the race. Have this hope to finish the race- one day when we enter eternity, there is no pain, no sickness, no barriers between us and God.
In Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Let us encourage one another. We run a common race, even though each one’s race is their own. We need to fix our eyes on the author and perfector of our faith. Let’s pray!
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.