"LOOKING UNTO JESUS."
I. I BELIEVE THAT PAUL WAS A REAL SPORTS FAN.
A. He so often makes his analogies from sports.
1. I believe that he would have been disappointed when the Lakers swept Sacramento.
2. He often spoke of the Olympic contests.
3. He likened the Christian life to running in the Olympics.
a. They that run in a race, run all, but only one receives the prize, so run that you might obtain. (Put everything you've got into winning.)
b. He speaks about our coming before the Judge's seat to receive our awards for how we ran our race.
c. He spoke of the wrestling competition and the necessity to obey the rules if you were to receive the prize. A far cry from the WWF with its brainless refs.
d. He spoke of the discipline necessary to compete in sports, suggesting that if they are willing to go through such discipline for a corruptible crown, how much more should we be willing to live a disciplined life for the incorruptible crown.
e. He declared of himself, that he had fought a good fight, he had finished his race, and was now looking to standing before the Judge, to receive his award, the crown of righteousness which the Lord our righteous Judge shall give not only to him, but to all who loved His appearing.
B. Here in Hebrews 12
, he again brings us to the Olympic arena as he speaks of the marathon races.
1. The necessity of laying aside every weight and running with patience the race that is set before us.
II. IF WE ARE TO WIN THIS RACE, WE MUST NOT ONLY LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, BUT WE MUST KEEP OUR EYE ON THE GOAL. TO WIN YOU MUST BE FOCUSED ON THE GOAL.
A. To the Philippians, Paul spoke of pressing toward the mark, pressing toward the goal.
B. What was Paul's goal? It was threefold.
1. That he might be found in Him.
a. Not having his own righteousness, the self-righteousness that comes by keeping the law.
b. But the righteousness that is imputed by God because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
2. That He might know Him.
a. The power of His resurrection.
b. The fellowship of His suffering.
c. To become like Him in His death.
3. To apprehend that for which he was apprehended.
a. Paul was aware that God had a purpose for his life.
b. Paul desired to fulfill God's purpose for his life.
c. God has a purpose for each of our lives, our goal should be to accomplish that purpose.
C. Notice that Jesus was the center of the threefold goal of Paul's life.
1. Found in Him.
2. Knowing Him.
3. Following His example. Jesus said, "I do always those things that please the Father."
D. I must keep my focus on Jesus Christ, and His purpose for my life.
1. When Jesus was talking to Peter about how Peter was to die for Christ, turning toward John he asked: "But what about him?" Jesus as much as said, "That's none of your business, you just stay focused on Me."
2. I think that many times we, with Peter, are saying, "But what about him?" And Jesus just seeks to refocus us upon Himself.
III. WHEN I LOOK UNTO JESUS, WHAT DO I SEE?
A. The One who is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the author and the finisher of my faith. The One who created the universe, and holds it together. The One who always was, always is, and always will be.
1. I see the One who is unmoved, unchanging, undefeated, and never outdone.
a. He was bruised that I might be healed.
b. He was pierced that He might ease my pain.
c. He died to give me life.
d. He fought the battle against darkness to bring me peace.
e. The world cannot understand Him.
f. The armies cannot defeat Him.
g. The schools can't explain Him.
h. The leaders can't ignore Him.
i. Herod couldn't kill Him,
j. The Pharisees could not confuse Him.
k. Nero could not crush Him.
l. Hitler could not silence Him.
m. The New Age cannot replace Him
n. And Donahue can't explain Him away.
1. He is light, He is love, and He is Lord.
2. He is goodness, kindness, gentleness, and He is God.
3. He is Holy, righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
4. His ways are right, His word is true.
5. He is unchanging, and He thinks of me.
6. He is my Redeemer, my Savior, my Guide and my peace.
7. He is my Joy, my comfort and hope.
8. I serve Him because I love Him and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
9. He gives me life, and that more abundantly.
10. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving and all caring.
11. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
12. He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me.
13. When I fall, He picks me up; when I fail, He forgives.
14. When I am weak, He is strong; when I am lost, He shows me the way.
15. When I am afraid, He stands by my side.
16. When I am hurt, he heals me.
17. When I am broken, He mends me.
18. When I am confused, He leads me.
19. When I am hungry, He feeds me.
20. When I have problems, He solves them.
2. So if you want to know why I am so happy and secure, I've been looking unto JESUS the Author and Finisher of my faith.
IV. JESUS IS DECLARED TO BE THE AUTHOR AND THE FINISHER OF OUR FAITH. NOT ONLY DID HE BEGIN THE WORK OF REDEMPTION IN ME, HE WILL FINISH THAT WORK.
A. Paul tells us in Romans 12
, that God has given to each of us a measure of faith.
1. We know that faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit.
2. Peter when he explained the healing of the lame man by the gate of the temple said, "It was in the name of Jesus and through faith in His name that this once lame man whom you have seen and known was able to walk." But he went on to say, "The faith which is by him has given him this complete healing in the presence of you all."
a. "The faith which is by Him."
b. He is the Author of our faith.
3. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith.
4. Paul said to the Thessalonians that their faith grew exceedingly.
B. So that He is not just the Author of our faith, but He is the increaser of our faith and ultimate Finisher of our faith.
1. So Paul wrote:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
2. David said:
The LORD will perfect [that which] concerns me: thy mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of Your own hands.
V. AS I LOOK UNTO JESUS I SEE THE EXAMPLE FOR MY LIFE, THAT I MIGHT FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS.
A. Sometimes I think I've had it bad when someone has made a sluring remark about my faith. He faced hardships beyond anything you will ever know.
1. He was to experience the shame, humiliation, and pain of being despised, rejected, mocked, scourged, and hung on a cross.
2. You ask, "How could He do it?"
3. Who for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame.
a. Note, He endured the cross.
b. He hated the cross. I believe that there was only one thing He hated more, and that was to disobey the will of the Father.
c. He despised the shame.
4. What was the joy that was set before Him?
a. The joy of being able to say to you, "Your sins are forgiven."
b. It seems that Jesus loved saying that to people.
c. To the man let down from the roof on a cot.
d. To the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, then anointed them with perfume. In the house of Simon the Pharisee,
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, you did not give Me water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head.
You did not give Me a kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet.
You did not anoint My head with oil: but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves only a little.
And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
e. To the woman that was brought to Him taken in the very act of adultery.
f. How He wants to say that to you today.
5. I think that one of the greatest joys in life is to bring joy to those you love.
a. Jesus loves you and desires to see the joy you experience when that heavy load of guilt that comes from our sin is lifted off.
b. God said to the people, "Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet, you can be as white as snow."
VI. HE IS NOW SET DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD.
A. What is He doing there?
1. Making intercession for you and me.
"Wherefore He is able also to save to the uttermost, all who will come unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
2. Paul asked, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who has died ye rather is risen again, and is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us."
B. Looking unto Jesus, I find joy, peace, comfort, and hope, for I find forgiveness. To keep His lovely face, ever before my eyes, This is my prayer, make it my strong desire. That in my secret heart, no other love competes, No rival throne survives and I serve only Thee.