Living the Christian Faith

v. 1 The Christian life is daily spiritual and practical training. We are called to engage in the race God has marked out for us and run with perseverance. Therefore, the many heroes of faith discussed in chp. 11 become an amphitheatre of witnesses (Gk. martyres) encouraging us by their example of persistent participation. “…they are not just by-standers, they are those who have endured as we now should, a proof that we can succeed” (Pett).

Our process is to follow the example of those who persevere and mature in the faith. We have to throw off _________________ that hinders AND the sin that so easily entangles.

What things (may not be necessarily sinful or wrong) hinder us from putting forth our best effort to run the race? What things cause us to be easily distracted? (ref. 1 Cor 9:24-25)

What is the race? What does it mean to run with perseverance? What defines spiritual and practical training? How does this look in our everyday Christian life?

What is the outcome for the Christian if we allow distractions to dominate our life and fail to train and struggle through the race? 1 Cor 3:10-15. Moreover, what do these verses say about the process? Does this emphasize the importance of sound doctrine and teaching?

v. 2 The idea here is not to allow ourselves to be distracted by things in this life (or at least significantly lessen and become more aware of the battle), but to fix our eyes on __________________. The standard is no divided attention when it comes to our life in Christ.

As we run the race, our goal/pursuit is Jesus alone. He is the object of our faith. He participated in our human experiences and is our greatest encouragement because He is the ______________and ______________ of our faith.

How to stay focused on Christ requires obedience and discipline. As we love Jesus through obedience, God will enable/empower us to be our best for the Lord. We do have a choice to be obedient everyday. Jn 14:15-21; Gal 2:20; As we focus and cry out to Jesus, God the Holy Spirit works to empower us and bring glory to our Lord Jn 16:12-15. Rom 8 says we have an obligation to put to death the misdeeds of the body.

Jesus went to the cross aware of the pain and shame involved, but endured the cross because of the joy it would bring. Morris (1981) said, “He looked right through the cross to the coming joy, the joy of bringing salvation to those he loves.”

Do we realize how much God loves us? Have you/I embraced the depth of this love that brings us salvation? Is it hard to experience God’s love and make it very real and personal?

v. 3 As we endure for the sake of Christ, how should we strive to perceive our trials and tribulations?

We are called to “Consider” a word used in calculations, “take account of.” Jesus endured opposition, suffering… our struggle against sin and temptation is not unique… Jesus understands our plight and empowers us to endure and persevere.

Why do we run this race? MacArthur (1983) said, “we rejoice that one day we will ‘live together with Him’ (1 thes. 5:10).

Moreover, we also rejoice that we live IN CHRIST through our everyday lives. Our Christian life is supernatural! God lives in us resulting in “power” (Act 1:8.

In Christ and yielding to the Spirit our experience promised by Jesus is: joy, peace, and excitement, that keeps us persevering (Jn 14:27; Jn 15:11; etc..,).

We are called to persevere in the face of hardship. However, we are not asked to do it alone. Thank you Jesus!

We are empowered to persevere “In Christ” and are called to love and be loved by others in our shared faith. This is accomplished many times through small groups of believers. As we engage and mature it becomes more evident how much we need eachother, especially because this is how God designed us.

Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1981) Frank Gaebelein (ed)

Pett, Peter;