Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
November 3, 2018 at 10:45 AM
Subject
Running the Race of Life
Description

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
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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”,

p. 3
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

p. 4
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
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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
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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
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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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