Title: Building Endurance
Purpose: To motivate Christians to embrace the struggle of Chrisitian living

  1. 1952, swimmer Florence Chadwick wanted to break record (Catalina Isle to California)
  2. It was a 26 mile stretch
  3. Water cold, sharks had to be fought of a couple times, then a dense fog
  4. Finally, she gave up. They pulled her in. She had gone 25 1/2 miles, but couldn’t see the shore, if only she knew, she couldhave hung in there!
  5. Text talks about the need to run with endurance Heb 12:1-4
  6. How can we run with endurance?

I. Remember the witnesses

  1. Text begins with the “great cloud of witnesses”
  2. This is supposed to be an inspiration to us to run with endurance
    1. Faith of many like Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua
    2. 11:39-40
      1. Didn’t see what was promised but welcomed it at a distance
        • May or may not happen in their lifetime (same with us now)
      2. Apart from us, they are not perfect (complete)
        • What this mean? (I Pet 1:10-12)
        • They were serving US (we are part of the plan)
      3. Does this mean they missed out because it not in their lifetime?
        • Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-8)
        • Who was there? Moses and Elijah (they are part of the cloud)
        • They didn’t miss out, neither will we!
    3. That is why they are a cloud of witnesses! (cheering you on)
  3. ILL: I hiked up Bald Mountain with some teens.
    1. God really Tired and I was only half way up
    2. I was ready to stop and head back down
    3. Jessica talked about other BIGGER mountains she hiked up
    4. Well, I did Not want her to show me up, so I kept on going to we got to the top!
  4. Others have endured far more than us
    1. Their story stands as a testimony to God’s faithfulness
    2. It is an inspiration for us to run with faith

II. Reduce encumberance

  1. Many translations may say reduce every “weight of sin”
  2. Idea is still of a race
    1. The message translation says to “strip down and run with endurance”
    2. Idea is of athlete stripping off anything that slows down (swimmers shower cap)
    3. Strip off excess pounds as well through training (chapter calls it discipline)
  3. ILL: Strongest man in world - Clark Kent? -- no! Superman
    1. When in his suit, Clark Kent, clumsy nerdy sort of fellow
    2. When he finds a phone booth, stripped off and came out as superman!
    3. Powerful, but his power came from another place (just like us)
  4. Some of us need to go to God’s phone booth and strip of that funny hat and clothes
    1. Only then can we move mountains and run with the power we need
    2. What do you need to strip down that is slowing you down to Clark Kent speed?
    3. What do you need to strip off?
      1. Is your job veering you off course?
      2. Your friends slowing down your Christian race?
      3. A bad girlfriend or boyfriend obscure that "S" on your chest?
      4. Your popularity status among friends cause you do stop training?
    4. It's time to take inventory of your equipment and get rid of the dead weight!

III. Re-focus on the goal

  1. Text says to “fix our eyes on Jesus”
  2. Several facts about Jesus
    1. HE is the one who has set the “race” (agon-struggle, contest “agony”) before us
    2. Other scriptures where agon is used
      1. Phil 1:27-30 - The “conflict” is a sign of salvation
      2. I Tim 6:12 - “Fight” the good “fight” of faith
      3. 2 Tim 4:7 - I have “fought” the good “fight”, finished the course
        • or “I have agonized the good agony”
      4. Suggests that the struggle is GOOD
        • It was laid before us to run. By whom?
        • If it comes from Jesus, then it is good
      5. The struggle (race) comes in many different ways
        • Heb 10:32 - Great conflict of suffering (aqlhsin) Athletic struggle
        • Rom 7:23 - Inner struggle (antistrateuomai) Military conflict
        • Eph 6:12 - 6:12 - With spiritual forces (palh) Wrestle
    3. How did he lay out the race?
      1. Race is set before us --- Joy se before him (he had a race/struggle too)
      2. He set his eyes on the joy but had to go through cross
      3. He laid out a course (a race, a struggle) for us to follow
      4. Have to stay focused on him, the goal, or will wander off track
  3. ILL: Tanzanian Olympic runner.
    1. Came in last, bleeding from bandaged knee from earlier fall
    2. Almost everyone gone and was getting dark
    3. When asked why he kept running, he said “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race, they send me 7,000 miles to finish the race”
  4. Jesus did not come all the way from Heaven for us to start the race
    1. He came so we can cross the finish line
    2. But have to keep eyes on the goal (Peter could walk on water until took eyes off)
    3. Satan will use everything he can to cause you to lose focus
      • You look tired, you need a break from your faith. LIve it up a little
      • People will make fun of you.


  1. so we need to run with endurance. By --
    1. Remember the witnesses who have finished it
    2. Reduce weights that slow you down (lean mean running machine)
    3. Refocus on the goal, Jesus himself and struggle the good struggle
  2. Maybe not feel like Superman
    1. Maybe feel like nerdy clumsy Clark Kent
    2. Maybe mountain top seems out of reach
    3. Maybe various sin have you entangled to where we can’t run -Time to strip them off
  3. Text says to “remember Jesus.. so not grow weary and lose heart”
    1. Yes, he has laid out a race that you have to struggle at to finish
    2. But he has been down that path, and knows you can do it.
  4. Mabye you have left the course all together.
    1. Remember Florence Chadwick the swimmer? A couple of months later she tried again and made it!
    2. You have another chance, you can make it. Take that chance today!
    3. If you don't, realize that second chances of a gift! You may not get a third!