Tag Archives: perseverance

“Continuing the Race”: A Message for the Supporters of Dayspring Bible Camp Part 5

On August 3-5 I will be doing a “Theology Matters” retreat with a group of young people at Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website).  The topic, “Unlike Jesus,” will focus on the issue of friendship evangelism and how we are often not friends of sinners like Jesus was.

But I also get to address the supporters of the camp who have chosen the topic “Continue the Race” for their celebration. So, in these posts, we are thinking about the passages of Scripture that use the running metaphor. We’ve seen that God calls us into the race (from Phil. 3:14),that we have been challenged to train for the race (from I Tim. 4:7-8), and that training for this race requires strict self-control (from I Cor. 9:25).  We’ve also noticed that running this race requires obeying certain rules (from 2 Tim. 2:5).

Let’s move to our fifth and final passage which is found in I Corinthians 9:24 and in Hebrews 12:1-2 and it is that —

V. There Is a Prize to Be Won for Running This Race! (I Cor. 9:24; Heb. 12:1-2)

We read in I Corinthians 9 “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  We then read in Hebrews 12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Just a few comments about these two passages:

1.  We are running, not just to get a participation trophy, but the prize! (I Cor. 9).

2.   We are often our own worst enemies in the race! (we cling to things that hinder us and stay entangled in sins that slow us down) (Heb. 12).

3.  We don’t determine our race track or course — that has been laid out for us! (Heb. 12).

4.  We don’t look behind us or at the other runners, but at Jesus as our goal (Heb. 12).

5.  We look to Him as our example, our pioneer, our perfecter, our prize! (Heb. 12).  As John Piper puts it, God is the gospel!

6.  We experience a variety of emotions during this race — endurance, scorn, shame, and . . . joy! (Heb. 12).

How’s your race going?  Don’t give up!  Keep your eyes on the prize — Jesus Himself!


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Posted by on July 27, 2018 in race


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Seven Lessons for Suffering Saints (a study of Hebrews): Part 6

In our church’s study of the book of Hebrews, I was tasked with preaching the final message in that series.  If you wish, you can access that message here:


We’ve seen the following principles from Hebrews about suffering (each followed by a question):Screenshot 2015-12-16 06.10.35

Principle #1: The Lord Jesus suffered the worst life can bring — DEATH! (2:9). “How dare I ever feel that Jesus can’t understand my suffering?”

Principle #2: God used suffering to perfect the Pioneer of our salvation! (2:10).  “How dare I resist His using suffering to perfect me?!”

Principle #3: Remembering our sufferings brings believers together to support & encourage each other!  How dare I waste my suffering by forgetting the past or not standing with those suffering in the present?!

Principle #4: Experiencing loss focuses our longing on the next life’s better and lasting possessions! (10:34).  “How dare I allow myself to be captivated by this world’s stuff?!” Screenshot 2015-12-17 06.13.04

Principle #5: Suffering loss in this world should not dampen our confidence in the rich rewards of the next world! (10:35).  How dare I act like a pagan and give all my attention to this world and its things?!

Today’s principle is simply this:  Principle #6: Persevering in this life and doing the will of God will bring the pleasure of God and full salvation! (10:36-39). We get this principle from the following verses:

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while,Screenshot 2015-12-17 06.40.35
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

The question I would ask here is:  How dare I give up, shrink back, and not live by faith in the One coming back for me?!  The Bible is clear that there are three aspects to our salvation:  I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.

Tempted to give up?  to shrink back?  to not live by faith?  DON’T DO IT!

Your thoughts?

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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in suffering


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In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” KeynoteScreenSnapz019Dr. Allan McKechnie and I have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)



The FOURTH STEP here in this text is:  REST ON WHAT IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST (v. 9)

The FIFTH STEP we see in this passage is simply: WORK HARD IN YOUR LIFE OF FAITH IN THE LORD (v. 10)


The SEVENTH STEP which helps us to become spiritual is DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE WORD OF GOD AND THE USE OF YOUR GIFT (vv. 13-14)

The EIGHTH STEP in moving on in our spirituality comes out of verse 15  where we are told to BE DILIGENT IN WHOLLY COMMITTING YOURSELF TO YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

The NINTH STEP in advancing in our spiritual growth comes out of verse 16 and it is simply:  DON’T DIVORCE WHAT YOU BELIEVE FROM HOW YOU BEHAVE!

The TENTH STEP in pursuing spirituality also comes from verse 16 and it is this:  DON’T GIVE UP FOR YOUR SAKE OR THE SAKE OF OTHERS!  Verse 16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

There are so many forces which challenge the perseverance of the believer.  The tragedies of life, the questions raised by unbelievers, the pain of having our gospel witness rejected, the disappointments when God doesn’t behave the way we would like Him to — all of these can combine their forces to scream one message to us:  “GIVE UP!”

On October 29, 1941, United Kingdom (Great Britain) Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School to to hear the traditional songs he had sung there as a youth, as well as to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he actually said.

The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give in. Never give in. Never give in. Never give in.” Then he sat down. In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often quoted. Also, some believe he said, “Never give up.” That too is incorrect.  At any rate, the message of NEVER GIVE UP needs to be heard and heeded by followers of Jesus!


1.  Scripture says that “no man lives to himself and no man dies to himself.”  We affect each other by the way we live or don’t live.  List several people that your life impacts either positively or negatively.

2.  The Ten Steps that we have seen here in I Timothy 4 are not magic or instant.  They require commitment, steadfastness, determination, and a desire to not stay the same!  How is status quo spirituality overcome by the individual believer?

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in I Timothy 4


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