To listen to the sermon use the Audio links below (when viewed on our website).All of us are running the race of life. Others have already run the race. They have finished the course. They are waiting for us to do the same. The Apostle Paul wrote that he had run the race & finished the course and was waiting to receive the crown that the Lord would give him. What has this to do with today?Hebrews 12 :1-3 ?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, fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer & 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. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners so that you will not grow weary & lose heart1. Our part: We are in the race. The race of life. There is a great cloud of witnesses.What is their testimony in Chap 11? They all pleased God by exercising faith, even when they did not know where they were going & did not receive the promises in their lifetime. Secondly all of them were witnesses of the faithfulness of God.We will run this race only once. A lifetime to make the right decision to follow Jesus and fix our eyes upon Him. We must never let Jesus get out of sight. When you come to the end of the race all the world's trophies are seen as worthless. What happens when you lose sight of Jesus? And stop running the race marked out for you? You become religious & conscious of what you are doing for God. This is nothing new. But what will you do when you come to the end of life?Jer 5:31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, my people love to have it so but what will you do in the end? They had religion which was acceptable to them but would not be acceptable to GodLive a life acceptable to God2. A Race marked out for you. Each one has a different marked out race by God which is good works planned in advance for you to do. The race marked out for you is different to any other. You are different to any other so the race marked out for you is just for you just as others have a race marked out for them. Learn to accept from God the unfolding of that race. God only tells a few vaguely about what lies ahead. He told Saul of Tarsus that he would suffer. We must throw away anything that is holding us back. Things that are of little value that take up valuable time. Time is precious. Our lives are transient & fleeting. Many have little to show for how they have spent time.One life. It will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last.We must discover what Our Father in heaven wants us to do with time.Matt 7:21 Not every one that says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day. Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name & in your name cast out demons & perform many miracles. Then I will tell them plainly I never knew you. Away from Me you evildoers. Those people had religion. They never knew Jesus.So we need daily to discover the will of God & do it. Anything outside of the will of God is a waste of time. Bearing no fruit Is 26:12 All that we have accomplished is what God has done. The tendency is to sin or go our own way. It so easily entangles. So easily stops us running well. Sends us down a side road & causes us to go astray & waste time.We need to be reminded that we are running the race of life. A good start is just the beginning. We have to keep running. No pain no gain. There is a race marked out for us. We need to discover that as we run the race. Each one is different. The way or where others run is not your business. Peter asked Jesus about the life marked out for John. Jesus told him that was none of his business. You must find out what God wants you to do & then do it.3. Do not look back. Do not look at your feet. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do not take your eyes off Jesus. Fix means FIX. A song::When the road is rough & steep , fix your eyes upon Jesus, He has power to save & keep, Fix your eyes upon Him. Jesus is the greatest Friend One on whom you can depend, He is faithful to the end fix your eyes upon Him.3a. Why Jesus? HIS PART. He is the pioneer & perfecter of faith What did Jesus do ? Jesus who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. He had a path marked out for Him – 48 major aspects of His life in the OT. He had to die the way prescribed for the anointed one the Messiah .Ps 22 His hands & feet were pierced. Is 53 The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Sin has to be punished. God loves you but hates sin. God took on Himself your punishment. A lady appeared before a judge. She pleaded guilty for speeding. When fined, the judge removed his robe and paid the fine. He was her father. Is 59:16 God was appalled that there was no one to intercede for man so His own arm worked salvation for Him. Jesus the arm of the Lord came into our world lived a sinless life, died for our sin Jesus alone knew the suffering and pain in detail that lay ahead of Him the path marked out for Him as He had told His disciples in detail what would happen to Him.When was joy set before Him? Before He was in the garden to pray? Then there was no need to pray. It was in the garden after prayer. What joy was set before Jesus? The joy of the salvation of people both in the OT & the NT and thereafter. There is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repents and comes to salvation in Christ. There must be constant rejoicing as the population of heaven is increasing.Jesus knew & predicted He would be buried and rise again from the dead. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Jesus knew that. You should know that as well What stops you from experiencing His joy as your strength?When you go out of the will of God. Think back. Don't gloss over it.Jesus was able to endure because He looked beyond His immediate trial and suffering. We too will go through many trials and suffering in the path marked out for us. Ask not why Lord? But what Lord do you want to teach me through this test or trial? Problems, distress or suffering is God's way of getting your attention so that He has all your attention and are willing to listen.Jesus knew in the garden prior to His arrest all that lay before Him. He prayed that suffering might not be His lot. He accepted it when it was made clear to Him there was no other way. He was born or came into His creation for that very reason. He alone could deal with SIN and death. Joy set before Him? It would seem that it was set before Him when in the garden He accepted that it was the will of God. This explains how He was able to endure such suffering and pain because He had the joy set before Him and at the same time of His suffering He had the joy of the Lord which enabled Him to endure.There was no other way – only the anointed one, chosen by God who detailed the birth, life & death of The Messiah. He had to be sinless. The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. God has solved the sin problem potentially for all people.Acts 4:12 No other name under heaven given to man by which we must be saved.John 1:29 Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is the Saviour of all people especially those that believe.So many tell me they became Christians at birth. Born in a garage does not make you a car. You need to personally accept Jesus & all that He has done, for salvation to be yours so that Jesus can begin the work of saving you and take the rest of your life to perfect or complete what He has begun. Very personal. Just you & Jesus. Jesus the pioneer & perfecter of faith. Jesus who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion. It will take a lifetime. The path marked out for you.He is able to keep you from falling & present you faultless before His presence with exceeding joy4. Consider Jesus. His person, His life, death & resurrection. Your exampleJesus lived a life while opposed all the time by religious people & politicians.He was able to say at the very end. “It is finished” The race marked out for Me has been run. What I was born for & set out to do has been accomplished. Jesus told His disciples that they too would suffer persecution. Remember He was able to endure & accomplish what His Father wanted Him to do because of the joy set before Him.You too consider the joy set before you . Jesus is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before His presence with exceeding joy.Jesus is able to do that. Your part is to keep your focus on Jesus & do what God wants you to do on the road of life marked out for you then you too will discover that In His presence is fullness of Joy now & for eternity. In the world you will have trouble but Jesus assured us to be joyful for He has overcome the world.