Enjoyed studying it myself and looking at all the different passages and trying to kind of put these messages together so far we've looked at a variety of ways that we are supposed to one another one another I did 3 sermons on unity and those sermons were what we're supposed to do what we're not supposed to do and what we're supposed to be we did one on humility and that's when all the ladies were gone out of the women's retreat so the guys here are expense specially humble these days because of the humility we did one on love and then I did 3 on the random passages there's 25 percent of them are just kind of random passages 2 weeks ago we talked about the importance of telling the truth and for the final 2 what I wanted to do was kind of kind of do a wrap up of this entire one another series by kind of imagining that these are given to us who are in this race that Hebrews 121 talks about and so we looked at this last week I want to look at this again I'm going to use this theme especially today throughout the message and so hubris 121 the passage says. Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses and those witnesses are former one and others they also want another each other in previous times let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endure in the race that is before us and so this passage teaches us that you and I we are in life and it's described very similar to a race we are running a race and it says that we are to run with and Durrance this race that is before us and so last week in this week I want to talk about the ways in which you and I can encourage one another as we run the race last week it was about how not to trip up your fellow racers and talking about don't judge each other especially specifically undisputable matters there's different ways that you and I can can live out our face depending on our cultures and our backgrounds and as long as it's not violating God's moral or ethics we have the freedom to do those things and some not judging each other is one way that we can not trip each other up as we are in this race and today we're going to talk about this how we help each other cross the finish line how we help each other become alongside each other to really get to the end of the race. Now I have mentioned this several times and I'm not going to mention it today other than to mention that I'm not going to mention it but I found a new sport I love doing crossword I've been doing that for the last couple of years but for a few years before that I really got into running I never thought when I was a little kid that I was going to enjoy running but I got into running and I did a handful of races and I was as I was going through my my running phase I found out several things about running I found out that every person based on their own unique body type is probably best at a certain distance you usually don't have people that are really going to short distances and long distances and so every every person that enjoys running the probably find a distance that is best for them the people who like to just push really hard and go really fast they are the good sprinters and they can do the fun runs like the 5 K. which is 3 point one miles with a 10 K. which is which is 10.6.2 miles and they're the ones who run hard and fast and the other people who like the in durance events what they do is they try to find a good pace for themselves and they just hang on for as long as they can they try to to run with endurance the entire length of that race half marathon 13 miles full marathons 26 miles I've discovered that I'm not really good at any race but the ones that I do enjoy I really enjoy trail runs especially here in Arizona because Arizona is awesome and it's really nice to be out there on the trails and running around all the cacti and all the trees and the vegetation here is just awesome but as strange as that might sound the favorite race not more than racing but the favorite race that I've done in my entire life is actually the longest one it's called race across the years I know I've talked about this before I'm going to talk about it a little bit again today but this is such a unique race because most races you're running for a set distance you're going from one distance to another set point to another set. Point and then you figure out how long it took you to get there race across the years this for a set amount of time and so you have a set amount of time the general race whether you run walk skip crawl whatever you want to do and then the distance that you've done in that set amount of time that's your score however that works and so this very unique event it's here in Phoenix it's called race across the years it's at Camelback ranch the ballparks where the Dodgers and the White Sox have spring training and you can sign up for a race of $24.00 hours or $48.00 hours or $72.00 hours and if you're really crazy you can do the 6 days and so you race for that amount of time and these people at the I've done it twice Hopefully I'll do it again and you're out there and you look at everyone around you and you're saying these people are crazy what are they doing and then you realize you're out there too so what are the say about you but some of these people who go for 6 days they're going about 550 miles it's insane that's like from here I think to San Francisco Can you imagine running and walking to San Francisco in a week so these these people are crazy but the cool thing about doing this race especially over the other races is your body goes through these phases where things change mentally physically and emotionally and you go through these phases and stages and the neat thing is the very 1st time you do this or for the 1st time anyone does this it's sort of like this big adventure because most of us are not insane and do this all the time and so you're you realize in this race there is going to come a point in time where I have gone the greatest distance of my entire life in one single setting and you're going to get that and so you wonder to yourself how is my body going to feel and react when I have gone 20 miles or when I've gone 30 miles or when I've gone 40 miles or 50 miles most people here have no idea and so it's really great you get to find out how. You find out the pain that you're going to be in and out and also just the emotions that you go through physically mentally everything it's as big adventure.
My 1st time that I did it I did it for $24.00 hours and I wanted to get 100 miles I didn't know if I was going to be able to get it because if you go 100 miles you get a belt buckle that says you want 100 mile and that's pretty cool and so the 1st time I did it I did 70 I think it was 71 miles and I realized there was no way on God's green earth that I could ever do 100 miles in $24.00 hours so the next year I said I'm going to go for the $48.00 hours because I really want that belt buckle and my lovely wife said yeah I'll do it with you she actually did some of the laps with me the 1st year and so the 2nd year we did this 1st day we did I think 52 miles or something like that then when we actually went to bed we actually had tents lined up on the track so you can actually rest and we woke up the next day and we kept going and around mile 78 my mind me I was my body is not in alignment so you keep walking along enough and eventually things are going to break down and so I strained my right N.C.L. and so I was done but Kristin the superhero that she is she able to she was able to finish the 100 mile race and so she has a belt buckle that says she did 100 miles and I set out that belt buckle because I was going to come and show you all again and I forgot it home. And so you're used to running 100 miles can you go right home get it really quick maybe not maybe I'll bring in some of the time. So Christian finish the 100 miles in fact I'm if I was a betting man I'd bet that she's the only person in this room was ever going to 100 miles really without stopping in a race is that true so there's my wife right there and after that happened many of you might remember Jim Horn Jim Horn passed away a couple years ago he and Ellen were part of our church for many years and Jim what a stinker he is very funny guy for those of you remember Jim He kept asking me no you know why are you doing this you know what what's wrong with you that makes you want to do this and and after I did the 2nd time he already knew the results but he wanted to kind of you know give me a hard time he said So how did you do this time Well Jim I got 78 miles it was yeah OK. How did your wife do.
Well she got she got the 105-0000 that's great that's great so does your wife let you hold a belt buckle.
Thanks Jim Yes she does every now and then I get to hold the belt buckle but but there were these these phases in stages of that race and everyone needed different kinds of encouragement at different times in the race to keep going. Really unique wonderful race I hope I'll be able to do it again in the near future but that's sort of like the Christian life as well in the Christian life it is this long range and every one of us at different times in our life we are going to experience the lowest lows that we ever knew we didn't even know existed there's going to be a tragedy we're going to lose something very special and precious to us or we're going to go through very difficult times and we're going to realize life is really hard. And we need one another then to pick us up and help us push ourselves to the finish line and we're also going to go through the greatest moments that we will ever experience and we're going to think life is so wonderful I can't even imagine it being better than this and in those moments when we're running the race really well many people come alongside us and really encourage us and so hopefully as we run this race we will be doing it with one another and so for this morning what I want to do is I want to look at a handful of verses that show us how and when to encourage each other at the various stages of each other's races and so let me give you 4 times that we need to help and encourage and push each other to the finish line and the 1st time is this the 1st time when we need to cheer each other on is when things are going well we need to encourage each other when things are going well don't wait for someone to break down and stop the race before you come alongside them and encourage them if you see someone doing well in life encourage them to even go further and this would include someone with their job or their profession if they're getting promotions and raisins you can either be jealous of them or you can come alongside them and say great job I'm so happy I'm proud of you that things are going well if they have a great marriage come alongside them and say I see that you and your wife or your husband you've got to get along really well I want you to know you're an encouragement to me or you see great relationships between parents and children we need to really come alongside each other and encourage each other when things are going well I want everyone to turn in your Bibles to the book of 1st US alone means we're going to read a couple different passages here
1st US alone is the 1st one going to be on the board but I want to read a little bit more here 1st less alone means chapter 5.
1st Isolani in Chapter 5 verse 11 Paul encourages the thoughts alone eons as they are doing a good job as they are doing while 1st US alone is 511 says therefore encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing and so he's telling us to build each other up encourage each other just as you are doing you're already doing this you're doing a great job. To do this now in this context Paul is telling them to not worry because they were very concerned that the day of the Lord had come they thought that maybe the day of the Lord had come that they may be Mr being gathered together to the Lord Jesus Christ or that God is about ready to start pouring out his raft and so Paul is encouraging them to God's going to deliver them from the coming wrath but earlier Paul tells them how well they are doing it so if you're in 1st US alone eons go back to chapter one I want to read this I think it's a such a positive letter that Paul wrote to this group a really great group of people the Thessalonians were 1st US only in chapter one and we're just going to read a handful of verses here beginning in verse 2 and you just see that they're doing a great job they're getting it right 1st US alone eons Chapter one Verse 2.
He says to them we give thanks to God always for all of you constantly mentioning you in our prayers remembering before our God and Father your work of face and labor of love in steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ for we know brothers loved by God that he has chosen you because the gospel came to you not only in word but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction you know it kind of men we proved to be among your for your sake and you became imitators of us and of the Lord for you received the word in much affliction which is the joy of the Holy Spirit and look at what he says in verse 7 to them so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and K.-I for not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia K.-I but your facing God has gone forth everywhere so that we need not say anything for they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you and how you turn to God for idols to serve the living into your God and to wait for His Son from heaven whom he raised from the dead Jesus who delivers us from the Rasta come and so this church they were doing great and so Paul encourages them to keep running and so when someone is doing a really good job they can be extremely productive in their life and that project to Vittie usually pays off in times in their life when they're not being very productive and so when you see someone who is doing really well in life we need to really come alongside each other and say Could job I see that things are going well good job keep running the race well here at church let me kind of give you some examples of what we can do here at church St The people who are serving whatever role it is thank the Sunday school teachers who spend their week preparing the lesson for you thank the nursery people in the nursery who are watching your children while you're in here. I know we all take turns doing that thanks to the board members who spend time every month gathering together seeking God's wisdom to make the right choice for this church as you see someone running the race thank them and I think one of the best side benefits of having someone run the race well is a really encourages other people to run as well has there been anyone in your life that you've known.
That did their faith that they lived out their faith so well that it inspired and encouraged you I would certainly hope that all of us can think of a half dozen people that we can say these people really made a difference in my life those are the ones who are running well and they need to be encouraged and so the people in Tesla Nika were they were inspiring others and support says keep going again verse 7 says so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and K.-I So it's the 1st time that we need to encourage each other when things are going well. Unfortunately things are not always going well there are different phases in our own race and so let me give you the 2nd time we're supposed to encourage each other we're supposed to encourage each other when someone gets tired.
Because in a race everyone is going to get tired and the longer the race the greater the possibility that you will want to quit running the race you'll just wanted to just be over you'll say it used to be fine it used to be enjoyable but right now it's just painful this race isn't worth it anymore and for anyone who has done a great long distance a vent you get to that point I know the the deepest most dark place or they've ever been in my life emotionally was when I was hiking out of the grand canyon rim to rim to rim those last 3 miles there were times where I thought if I just died right now I think I'd be OK I mean I'm half serious when I say that when I just ate so bad it's like I just want to fast forward my life 2 or 3 hours so that I can get out of this stupid Canyon How did I get here in the 1st place you know whose idea was this you you go through those those dark places and that's when you get tired and you want to stop running here send 24 it says this I love this passage we're going to always mean there are 24 but I did 25 in there as well. But the author of Hebrews says and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works 9 neglecting to meet together as is the habit of somebody encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near but that 1st phrase there in verse 24 says unless this literally means let us spend time thinking about how to and then it says stir up one another the Greek word for stir up is proxy Maass and it also can be translated to provoke or to irritate or to incite someone so the Bible is giving us permission to irritate each other and all the children brothers and sisters said amen the Bible says I can do this well this is talking about getting along side someone and really encouraging them to keep running their race and I think there's a couple different ways that we can do that the 1st is through positive reinforcement because if anyone has done a physical race you get tired but this race of life is anyone tired with the race of life right now I'm sure half of you probably raise your hand but you're afraid to raise it if you're too tired to raise it but sometimes when we're going in we're like you know what is the point of all this I'm doing the right things and it doesn't seem like it's paying off sometimes we need to come alongside each other and say listen this is all done by faith and God says that we will be rewarded for our faithfulness a passage that says that glacier in 69 and let us not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap if we don't give up so sometimes when you see someone a brother or sister in Christ or they want to give up whatever that means come alongside them and say don't do it let's keep going and so there is that positive reinforcement that sometimes we need another time that we need to come alongside or another way that we do this is to remind people of possible discipline or the loss of rewards because sometimes people will be running the race of face and then they'll say this isn't what I thought it was. The people running that race they sure like they're like they're having a good time and so they'll run the race that Satan has set out before us that the one of selfishness and so sometimes we need to say no no you don't want to run that race if you do there's the potential of discipline and God disciplines those that he loves or even the possible of loss of rewards in the future. You know I had a friend of mine did research across the years a couple of years ago and I was unable to do it with him and he did it all by himself and in the middle of the night he got into the dark place mentally and emotionally and physically and there wasn't anyone there to push him through and so in the middle of the night he said that's it I quit and he packed up everything and he drove home with half the race left and when I found out I was going to go help walk with him and run within the next morning and when I when I heard that I thought oh man that that moment when he needed someone to say just relax just take a break if you're tired just sleep if you need something to eat just eat it's going to be OK when he needed someone to be there no one was there at that moment and when you're high if we get to those moments and we will in this life if we don't have anyone there to be there for us when we're tired to encourage the courage us we can make some really horrible decisions and so this race to face it is a long and so keep looking around at the other runners and when you notice something different about them ask them How is your race going or are you tired if you're tired that's normal but don't give up keep going and do what he Hebrew say spend time considering how to irritate I mean to encourage one another. And so that's 2 ways that we encourage each other and when we do it so well 1st thing is when we when we need to church each other on when things are going well the 2nd time is when someone is tired or they want to stop running and the 3rd time is when someone they can't move using this analogy of a race when they can't move because life has just crushed them it's too heavy the burdens of life are just too much for them.
Glacial fix to it says to us bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ. You and I and different times are to come alongside each other when people are crushed and they have too much weight to carry and help carry their load the word for burden is the Greek word Barros which means heaviness or weight of burden or trouble and if you watch someone carrying around a significant amount of weight physical weight for any period of time eventually it becomes too much and they collapse and they can't do it anymore.
And you back in the summer of 1904 after my 1st year at Grace Bible college I went back to Seattle I spent the summer with my dad and I had a really cool summer job I worked at a gumball factory with the Nelsons Yeah renos the Nelsons from the Seattle Green Church it was a great job I actually rebuilt the mechanisms on gumballs gumball machines so when you put the quarter in there you kind of turn and I could I could fix those at least in 1904 I could probably not today but it was a great job Monday through Friday 10 hours a day they had 3 day weekends it was great and every morning Monday through Friday I would be in the back and I would fix fix the gumball holders but there were some around drivers and what they would do is they go around all the gumball machines that these people had and they had literally thousands throw Seattle and they would fill the gumballs or the candy back up and then they would remove all the quarters and they'd bring it back to the shop and they would count the corners just on the other side of the walls and I worked on and so I could hear all morning long changing changing changing just drove you crazy you know you wanted to stop all morning long and they would take these big sacks of corridors to the bank. And I found out that a $1000.00 worth of courters weighs 50 pounds all right and so they would take these 50 pound sacks of corridors to the bank and it was really interesting you'd think you know how do you take a 50 pound sack of course to the bank well all they would do is they throw it in the back of a little pickup truck and they just drive to the bank and I remember thinking don't you need security or I mean you know that's and they said well let me let me tell you something in all the years one time we had someone steal a sack of quarters Here's what happened all right so let me ask this question how far and how fast can someone run with a 50 pounds agro orders the answer is not far enough and not fast enough so that person got caught so they're not too worried about anyway how far and how fast can someone run in the race of life when they are carrying a heavy burden Well the answer little bit different.
The answer is to the finish line if we help each other we can run the entire race well what are some of these burdens that we face that we might need help with.
Identifying the Burns might be easier than helping helping them but I think maybe the number one burden that some people face in this life are probably health issues because a someone is going through a very significant health issue it affects everything in their life it becomes this all consuming focus and in this day and age fortunately we have the technology where people can go to doctors and and sometimes be healed be fixed you know their surgeries but it's a drain physically emotionally and even financially if someone is dealing with some significant health issues it's probably they probably can't work and it's costing a lot of money and so when someone's dealing with the burden of health issues that's a time when we come alongside each other and say hey can I help is there anything that you need another time when people are feeling crushed is just when they're going through financial difficulties. And sometimes it's due to no fault of their own maybe the industry that they're in it's changing in their they find themselves without a job or loss of job because of health reasons and then things snowball and people really find themselves in despair another time when people are just burdened is when they have an enormous amount of responsibilities an unusual amount of responsibilities at a given time and they just feel like they're paralyzed those are also known as mothers with small children.
Or anyone that has a great amount of responsibilities you can just become debilitated Well what should we do when we come across a brother or sister in Christ that has a burden that we're supposed to help carry while sometimes giving and again you have to use your discretion in the situation because it's different but sometimes giving a person just a small break whatever that means or whatever looks like it can really help them do a wide variety of things it can help them catch their breath it can help them just clear their head it can help them remove their energy but most importantly it helps them know that they're not alone and that's probably the biggest thing that all of us need to know is in this race. We're not alone and just carry the weight just a little bit for them can't do it the whole way for just a little bit of time and it makes a huge difference and so I think all of us need to be keeping our eyes open for the people that are closest to us to see if they need a little help from time to time so that's the Bible says we need to help each other in the race when someone is carrying a burden. Now let's talk about the 4th time now the 1st 3 times we talked about those and I think they definitely fit this analogy of a race on the 4th one I'm kind of forcing in here I'm making it fit because I'm the preacher and I can do that by just letting you know so here are the 3 times that we've already talked about we do it when things are going well when people are getting tired when they can't move and the 4th time that we help each other run the race is when someone is taking a break when someone is taking a break but we'll talk about this obviously but the longer the race the more breaks a person is going to take for those of you who have ever run in a 5 K. which is a quick 3 point one miles there's no breaks you don't stop and why you you run as fast as you can usually you don't even stop for water right least the fastest people do that in a 10 K. yeah you might stop your drink some water as you go through the aid stations the longer the race you do need to stop and take time in these old enduring so events people will actually stop sit down eat a meal now like pizza or they'll eat some food old drink some some water some gator whatever it is they'll take a break they'll stretch and then they'll keep going and so the longer the race the more breaks you really do need and I can mention in race across the years that 2448 hour race people literally have tents set up on the side of the race so that they'll they'll sleep for a few hours in the wake up and they'll keep going. You know there's a joke that I think I've mentioned in a sermon I'm not sure but some of you have teased me by telling me this joke I'm going to tell you this joke but let's say you walk into a room and it's full of people and one of those people is across here and another one of those people they are a vegetarian How do you find out who they are well the answer is they will tell you you don't have to worry about they will tell you because they're passionate about that listen what do people in the races want to talk about when they take a break the race they talk about their race they talk about how they're feeling what they're doing a good moment if they had a bad moment that they had when you go to the aid station they're talking about oh yeah this is great you know I I almost tripped almost stumbled over there and when I race across the years you talk about what hurts what doesn't hurt anymore can you feel your feet can you not feel your feet you have to turn your toenails of the toenails fall off all of the different things I'm serious about that that actually happens well this race that is set before us we need to be talking to each other about the race and the best time to do that is when we have a moment to reflect with one another so this is the passage I'm kind of forcing into this outline it's from 1st Peter chapter 4 in this passage there's a few there's a 31 and others in here and I'm going to pick out one of them 1st Peter 4 versus 7th or 10.
It says the end of all things is at hand therefore be self controlled and sober minded for the sake of your prayers above all keep loving one another earnestly since love covers over covers a multitude of sins verse one says show hospitality to one another without grumbling and tense as each has received a gift use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace but the key here is there in verse 9 Moore says show hospitality and for Peter to write that to those people at that time it meant something maybe a little bit different than it does today today when we travel we have the luxury of automobiles and you know hotels back then in this day people would brothers and sisters in Christ we need to open up their homes when people are traveling and so that they don't have to stay and in very dangerous situations and so a lot of times when not so much friends and families but when believers from different cities would come people would open up their house and they'd say yeah you can stay with us for a week or or however long as you conduct business and that's why it says do it without grumbling because house guests are like fish right after one week they stink or something like that something that's how it goes but I'm sure people get frustrated when they had to do this and so Peter writes of them show hospitality when we are hospitable that's really our opportunity to just sit down take a break from this race and ask each other how are you doing where we ask each other how there been times in your life maybe this week or just your life in general when you have been running the race and it's going been going really really well tell me about those and let me tell you about mine or find out when they were weak or if they have any burdens talk about those things we need to take breaks with each other be hospitable and take those breaks and really talk about the race that we're in well what are ways that we can do this. There are so many different ways and I don't want this sermon to turn into out how to make friends with others but we need to be very intentional about this we need to be inviting other people into our lives sometimes it means even Here is a church we have small groups small group ministries if you're not involved in one next time we open these up make sure that you get involved it's hard to get to know each other on a Sunday morning in a setting that's not really what this is for but so that we take those breaks when we get together with each other and we talk about the races that when we have small groups Another great way to get to know each other is right after service what we all have to do right after this we need to eat right so invite people over to your house or say hey if you're going to eat let's let's go to a restaurant together but make this a priority and think of it as we need to take a break from this race together let's just sit here together and let's talk about the race that we're in we need to be very intentional intentional about creating more friendships with each other and Facebook friendships don't count All right we need real relationships. Can you think of a time when someone's hospitality or their friendship made a huge difference in your relationship with God and I hope that you can I hope you can say that you took a break with another person and I really lifted your spirits wall that's how it's supposed to be and this is how God is really designed his family to function so let's take breaks with each other let's practice hospitality hospitality and let's talk about our race. Well when it comes to your race as it talks about it here is 12 won this race that your in this race of your faith where are you out right now if you went through this outline not so much the 4th point but the 1st 3 points on could you say you know right now well things are really going well this is great I'm really enjoying my life is that right now or would you say I'm pretty tired I'm just glad that I'm here this morning that's how tired I am or might some of you say I am I don't know how I'm going to function tomorrow I am just so burdened in my life with so many different things I'm pretty sure all of us can probably describe where we're at and it's funny how it changes it's always changing but are you able to describe where the people closest to you are at in their race and that's what we means that's what we do when we one another each other we run the race with other people don't run alone in his miserable run with someone else. Well I hope that spending time looking at all these one or other commands has incursion inspired you I know I've enjoyed the study myself but God meant for us to do life with each other as part of God's family what I want to do is I want to close this sermon and this series by looking at the passage of Scripture that we looked at to begin this whole thing and that is Jesus' prayer to the father on the night that he was betrayed before he paid for our sins this was Christ's prayer to the father about how we would treat each other in John 1720 Jesus prays I do not ask for these only but also for those who will believe in Me through their word that they may all be one just as you Father are in me and I in you that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. And what an honor and a privilege it is that through our love for each other the world might come to know the grace of God So let's be devoted and love each other let's pray.
Lord thank you so much for all the passages that you've given us in Scripture and as we can pick out these one another passages. It just reminds us that this race that we're in it's hard and it's not supposed to be done alone so thank you for for giving us the wisdom and the insight here in these passages that we read to know when we come alongside each other and how we're supposed to do that and so father I just pray for the relationships that are in this room there are people in here who are I know that they're just craving for friendships healthy good life giving friendships with other believers and so Father help us as a church to create those opportunities and for everyone to take initiative everyone has to take initiative on their own as well thank you for giving us this idea that Lord you you put the Holy Spirit in all of us so that we will be one with each other and that's only possible because of your truth because of the Spirit lives within us so Father help us as a church and as individuals to really yield ourselves to the Spirit's purpose and your purpose in our lives so that we as believers in not just our church but all believers everywhere that we will see we will show the world what unity means and that through our unity with each other that they'll realize that they're missing out on something and that is the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life because of your Son Jesus Christ and so it's for that goal and for that purpose that we come together we will meet and we pray that you will fulfill that purpose in our lives we pray this in Jesus' name amen have a wonderful week and be good to one another during it.