This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Hebrews 12 verses 1-13 Spiritual Discipline for the Race of Life
you ever struggled with your faith? Have you ever felt like giving up? If so,
the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews has a word for you---don’t! Don’t give
up. The road of faith has been compared to a race. The race is not a sprint. It
is a marathon. At the end of the race, we will receive the ultimate
prize-eternal life in heaven.
image of a race that the writer of Hebrews used included a stadium filled with
the great athletes who had finished their races and who have come to cheer on
the new runners. The spectators included Abel, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Enoch,
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. They were not perfect, but they depended on
God’s strength and power in their lives every day. If we feel that God can’t
use us, we must remember that:
was a drunk
was too old
was a daydreamer
was a liar
was a stutterer
had long hair and was a womanizer
was a prostitute
and Timothy were too young
had an affair and was a murderer
ran away from God
was a widow
disciples fell asleep while praying
worried about everything
Samaritan woman was divorced more than once
was too small
was too religious
had an ulcer
do not have any excuses. God can use us to our full potential because we are
the messenger and not the message.
race will not be easy. We will suffer like Jesus did. The promise of a future
reward will give us the strength we need to endure the hardships we will face.
It is the same promise that gave Jesus the strength he needed to face the
ran the race of suffering and servanthood because of the joy he could see in
the future. He saw the blessing that his suffering on the cross would bring, so
he was able to set aside the consideration of the pain and humiliation he would
have to endure. When we see the cross correctly, we see that Jesus is the
author and finisher of our faith. We see that the cross was a milestone on the
way to Jesus’ joyful coronation. The writer of Hebrews hoped that we will also
be able to withstand our suffering and remain on top with perseverance because
we can see the same end result that Jesus did. Jesus knew that he would face
hostility, and we will also face hostility and opposition.
hardships we will face are God’s way of disciplining us. The writer of Hebrews
focuses on perseverance in the painful tests of life. Discipline is more than
perseverance. It is a common term for raising children through instruction,
training and correction. On the road of faith, there will be times where God
will teach us and train us and correct us when we disobey him.As a loving parent, God disciplines us for
our own good, just like most of our parents disciplined us for our own good.
discipline will prepare us for this opposition. His discipline is motivated by
his love for us. His ultimate discipline is for our own good, because the
result of his discipline is holiness, a likeness to God. We must not let life’s
difficulties get the best of us. We must endure and get our second wind so as
to be renewed to continue the race. During the race, we must not look back.
Looking back is dangerous. We must stay focused on our objective if we are
going to succeed. That is God’s purpose for us.
discipline can include facing persecution just like Jesus did. The writer of
Hebrews looked into the future and saw that his audience would likely face
persecution, and he wanted to prepare them. This also applies to us today. Many
of our Christian brothers and sisters face persecution because of their faith. Many
of us face criticism or ridicule because of our faith. The writer of Hebrews
encouraged his audience to stand up to persecution like the saints who had gone
before them, and he also encourages us to stand up to persecution today.
order to run this race, we have to get rid of excess weight. Just like runners
in a real race remove their warm-up jackets before a race, we as Christians
must remove anything that hinders our race. This excess weight can be anything
from too many irons in the fire, too many distractions, or too many things that
suck out our vital energy. When we become distracted, we will be in for a
surprise. In order to win the race, all of our human and divine energy must be
devoted to the race.
of the distractions we have to get rid of is sin. Just like runners have to
wear clothing that is not too tight or binding, we must not have any habits or
sins that ensnare us. One thing that ensnares us is sin. Our sin does not have
to be the sin of commission such as drunkenness and lust. It can also be the
sin of omission such as not serving others or failing to step out in faith. God
confronts us with our sin and convicts us of it in order to get us to confess.
He knows that if we do not confess it and correct it, our misery will eat away
at our souls and we will live life at a very low level in comparison with the
life He created for us. Once Christ sets us free from sin’s bondage, we can use
our energy to satisfy our hunger for social justice and the necessities of
designed the race we are to run. He identified with those in need. He claimed
that his own life was the essential base for life itself. He accepted social
outcasts and ministered to them without being offended by their appearance or
behaviour. He set a difficult portion of the race by teaching us to love our
enemies. He set his lordship under those he served in order to hold them up to
their potential. Servant lordship allows us to discover our God-given identity
and offers a place for that identity to be used for doing God’s work in our
course there will be times when we will become tired and discouraged. When we
do, we must stop and remember that what we are experiencing is nothing compared
to what Jesus experienced. The Holy Spirit constantly refreshes us. A good way
to remember what to do when we are tired and discouraged is to remember the
is for hungry. We must stop and eat when we are hungry.
is for anger. When we feel angry inside we need to stop and deal with it immediately.
is for lonely. When we feel lonely, we must stop and deal with it.
is for tired. When we are tired, we must lay down and get the rest we need.
other words, we must learn to lay everything aside and renew our fellowship and
communion with God. We must “keep our eyes on the prize.” We must keep our eyes
fixed on Christ. Just like runners in a marathon have to pace themselves, we
must pace ourselves when we run the race of life. Only then can we survive,
thrive and win.
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package
& Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 33: Hebrews (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.;
J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2006)
Graham, “Feeling Stagnant? Are You Running the Race?” Retrieved from www.jesus.org