Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr.
Delivered On
November 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Subject
Running the Race of Life
Description
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday November 2, 2014
Running the Race of Life
“ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses...” Hebrews 12:1
Today is the Annual All Saints Day worship here at 
our church. This observation is not part of the Protestant 
Church Polity, but it is nonetheless included in the 
annual worship service. Its origination dates back 
into the annals of time when there existed an All 
Hallowed Day when decedents of certain faith groups 
commemorated the passing of their saints. The period 
commenced on November 1st and ended the next day. 
No extensive elaboration of this worship service is 
herein submitted; instead, the focus will be placed on 
the All Saints worship in our Protestant Church. 
The sermon will be structured around three 
lines of inquiry, namely: a look at life as a race, the 
Christian’s posture in the race, and the great cloud of 
witnesses to the race. 
To properly anchor the sermon, it is deemed 
appropriate to highlight its Scriptural base. As noted 
in the earlier textual anchor, the verse is found in 
Hebrews 12:1. That book was authored by Saint 
Paul. It has been described as “ a Word of exhortation 
(13:22 )”. He sought “to reassure Jewish believers that 
their faith in Jesus as Messiah was secure and 
legitimate.” This assurance was, also, echoed by William 
R. Newell in his book Hebrews wherein he wrote, “Since 
the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, we ‘worship by the 
Spirit of God’ ( Phil.3:3 ) glorying “in Jesus Christ”, 
through whom we offer up a sacrifice of praise to God 
continually” ( Heb 11:15 ). 
Against those few observations on the book of 
Hebrews, attention will now be focused on the earlier 
specified dimensions, the first of which is - Life as a race. 
Paul used the symbolism of a race to help the hearers 
picture human movement. He was quite familiar with the 
outdoor sports, especially the Grecian festivities. He 
envisioned two categories of people at the events which 
were the spectators and the athletics. The larger crowd, 
spectators, were there for entertainment and dressed in 
their glamorous attire while the smaller group, athletics, 
were there for performance and to compete for prizes. 
The spectators have many options in what they will wear 
to the event and have no need for rigorous practice for 
the occasion, but the athletic - in contrast - must endure 
many hours of rigorous and at times painful practice for 
the occasion. Yet the spectators and the athletics are 
human beings, but in different positions in life. In a like 
manner, we are all in some categories of life. Our positions 
may be a function of gender, age, race, family background, 
education, marital status or many other variables. Omitted 
from this list is that of spirituality. This is the one area 
where individual conviction and ultimate choice are the 
bases upon which one enters this race. The procedure 
and requirement for this race was specified by Paul in 
his letter to the Romans; it is recorded in Romans 10:9. 
This fact leads to the second consideration of the 
sermon which is what should be the Christian’s stance on 
this road of life? Admittedly, no one asked to be born but 
everyone must die. ( Eccl. 3:2) - “A time to be born and a 
time to die”. Hence everyone is on the road of life. Sensing 
this reality, Paul offered indispensable guidelines for this 
journey on the road of life. Those guidelines are found in 
Romans 12:1-2 and are essential to endure the toils of 
staying in the “Christian” race of life. We should, therefore 
learn, embrace, and utilize those guidelines in our race 
of life. Please now refer to Romans 12:1-2. Therein Paul 
starts first by calling attention to the great cloud of 
witnesses looking from above on the actions of current 
runners in the race of life. Implicit in that reference is the 
challenge that “We also need to run as they”. Hence, Paul 
next suggests how we should prepare for the race; he 
wrote, “Let us lay aside every weight...” that hinders us and 
thereby be able to run more effectively. His reference to 
weight is twofold, worldly concerns and sin for Paul says 
that can so easily beset us. Thirdly, we Christian must 
run with patience the race that is before us and lastly 
we must look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of 
our faith. 
In conclusion, my beloved, the somber question that 
looms over us is - have we decided or are we on the 
Christian road of life? Admittedly, we are all on the natural 
road of life, but it falls short of gaining entrance into 
eternal life with the Heavenly Father. Hopefully, we know 
the inevitability of the life road but we are urged to read, 
embrace, and become, if not already on it, familiar with 
the Christian road of life.
As a memorial to those of our fellowship who are now 
in that great cloud of witness, the Institutional fellowship 
sadly acknowledges that they are no long with us because 
they have joined that innumerable caravan which moves 
into that mysterious realm where each shall take his place 

in the silent halls of death...”. Yes, they are gone, but their 
legacy looms over Institutional. Their attendance, goodwill, 
finances, and prayers - all contributed immensely to early 
mortgage burning worship here at Institutional First Baptist 
Church. May God bless the deceased, the relocated, and the 
current membership and let us always remember, 
“Nehemiah built the walls because the people had a mind 
to work”. May God continue to bless and keep us under the 
canopy of his care. Amen.
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