Series: God’s Ultimate Intention
Sun am 20 August 2017- Kobus Swart
Heb. 12:1-Amp; 1 Cor. 9:24-26; Heb. 11:2, 13, 39-40; (Gen. 13:1-18-KJV); Eph. 2:10; Jer. 29:11; Phil. 3:13-14; Heb. 12:2 (Message & Amplified); (Gen. 13:1-18); (Luke 22:19 & 1 Cor. 11:24); Job 38:4-7; (Eccl. 3:11, 15-Message)
I am intensely aware that the heart’s cry of every true grace carrier in this season, every ministry that God has called, is to see the Word changing lives, putting you on a course of victory, setting your focus on God’s divine purpose for your life.
We talk about our journey in this life, a walk with God. Let’s focus on a few Scriptures that call this a “race”. You may have a slow relaxed way of walking with God, but it actually boils down to running a race. There are certain basic points that you need to take into consideration. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1-Amp). You will agree with me, to run a race you have to be at the correct starting place, the starting blocks. What does it mean spiritually? When does your race really start? Where is the starting place? Once you have come to the place where you received God’s grace and forgiveness you are at your starting place. Only when you have come through the effects of the Fall and you have been recreated (born again) in Christ, then your race starts. To run the race effectively you have to be free of sin consciousness. Sin consciousness will keep you tied to the past, it will slow you down. Sin so readily and so easily clings to us and entangles us! Let us run with patient endurance on this appointed course. There are many things the enemy is using to try to slow us down, to hold us back. If you cannot identify those, your race will be affected; your spiritual growth will be affected because you will be tied to something in the past.
A few other things to remember before you start this race. I am talking to people that have been on this racetrack for many years. What I am talking about this morning is more than quoting a few Scriptures. I have been there and I am still in it. I know about distractions, I know about crosscurrents, I know about challenges. One of the things we have to learn in this race is to overcome our fears. Fear will hold you back. You have to overcome whatever the fears may be and throw off every unnecessary weight of the past. One of the ways to deal with that is to understand forgiveness. If you cannot forgive, it is going to slow you down; it is going to affect your pace in this race. If there are things that you have to set right, God will speak to you. Then there comes a time that you have to let go, forgive and move on. Set your eyes on the goal and run this race. The number one way to do this is to set your eyes on the ultimate goal. What do I mean by that? Some people confuse vision and God’s plan with their ambition. Your ambitions will focus you in the wrong direction. If you have reached your dream and your ambition, then what? For example: Pastors may have a dream of having an amazing church building. Through miracles and provision, they might get their building, but then, what next? It is short of the ultimate purpose God had for them. It is not wrong to want that but God forbid that it becomes your vision, because you will never grow beyond your vision. That is why what we have said the last few weeks is critically important. Adjust your life and your focus to get God’s ultimate vision in your sight. It is going to affect your decision-making processes; it is going to affect the way you run this race.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air (1 Cor. 9:24-26). Get perspective here. We all run in a race. The way I see this is as a relay race, the whole team – generation after generation – wins the prize. I interpret it this way, All these died in faith, without receiving the promises (Heb. 11:13). And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us so that apart from us they would not be made perfect (Heb. 11:39-40). If you look at the faith heroes, many of them died without receiving the prize, but here is the key, they died believing. Without us they are incomplete. We will perfect those who died in past generations without receiving what was promised. The next person (or generation) in this relay race must complete them by not stopping along the way or losing faith. Do you realize what responsibility is resting upon us? It is not just about us, not only about you or me. There are previous generations that depend on us finishing the course victoriously. We should never lose sight of this. We are running a race and there is a cloud of witnesses waiting. Do not confuse your ambitions with His goal. Many people do the same with salvation. Is that enough? No, you are just at the starting blocks. Now your race is about to begin! Do not stop there.
Here is a warning. We must learn from Lot. Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom. You know what happened before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and why He destroyed it (Gen. 13:1-18-KJV). Many times people are in this race but they pitch their tents in the wrong direction. What does it mean? They have certain inclinations, certain openness to sex, food, alcohol or drugs. Is there something wrong with eating? No, but there is something wrong with overeating and eating the wrong food! Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom and he lost everything. People that have no self-discipline and who keep that door wide open in the wrong direction cannot understand later in life why they become addicted. Learn from Lot! Run this race with a focus and eliminate distractions. If you do not run this race with a determination and commitment, the enemy will do everything to distract you and get your attention on the wrong things. His purpose is to distract you from the race. If you have certain inclinations, watch out! The enemy wants you to get hooked. A man will never live beyond his vision.
One more principle: God’s purpose in your life unfolds like a little flower. He normally gives it to you in the form of a small bud and as you progress the flower opens up and you get a clear understanding of God’s purpose in your life. I want to encourage you to make time and find out why you are on earth and what God’s plan is. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14).
I want to challenge you. Is there an excitement in your heart and a reaching forward to what lies ahead? It is not only about being saved. God has a plan for his sons. Through His sons, He wants to put Himself on display in the world. When you are stuck and you do not understand, go back to the pattern Son, Jesus Himself (Heb. 12:2-The Message & Amplified versions). How many feel it is not very pleasant where you are in your walk with God? You miss the joy that Jesus had. Do you think Jesus was unaware of where He was going to end? He was not unaware. But for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, He endured the shame and a lot of inconveniences. Here is the key for us: Look beyond the present pain and inconvenience and see the joy that is set before us.
God said to Jeremiah, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD (Jer. 29:11). The same is true for each one of us. Do not ever think that you are an accident. God knew and He had a plan. There is something opening up in my heart. It is about the word remember. That word is linked with the word revelation, both starting with ‘re’, as in repeat. ‘Remember’ and ‘revelation’ are linked. When it says that we must walk in that which that was prepared for us beforehand (Eph. 2:10), how can you walk in something that was prepared before you were born? The key here is ‘remember’. How do I get there? It is by ‘revelation’. Jesus said, “Whenever you do this, remember Me” (Luke 22:19 & 1 Cor. 11:24). In a sense, it means we were there. How can you remember something if you were not there? I feel something is coming alive. When we were created, when God created Adam and Eve, how did He do that? Man was not created from nothing. Man came out of God! We were created from God. Somewhere down the road, by the Holy Spirit, we are going to remember. The word ‘revelation’ means to unveil. When you unveil something you see what has been there all the time. Revelation is not new knowledge; revelation is seeing what was. God has put eternity in the heart of man (Eccl. 3:11). Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That’s how it always is with God (Eccl. 3:15-Message). Eternity does not have a beginning or an end. Eternity is in your heart.
When it comes to this race, focus on the right goal; keep your eyes on God’s intention. God had a plan for your life before you were even formed in your mother’s womb. What is needed now is for us to discover by revelation that which was…