This is a brief excerpt of the Sermon given by Pastor Alexander Thomas,
during the Watch Night Service on Monday, December 31st, 11:30 PM 2007 at
International Church, Atlanta, Georgia.

Let us run the race that is set before us
My dear international Church family Greetings! May you have the gift of faith the blessing of hope and also wish you a joyful and pleasant new-year.

The new year resolutions are taken from Hebrews chapter 12 verses one and two. Let us read, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God Hebrews 12: 1-2 NKJ.

This presents us with a great testimony of faith.
In the midst of trials, sickness, and disease, they walked with faith. Elijah had faith. In the middle of all his despair and doubt, he put his trust in God and prayed (James 5:17-18). In Hebrews 11, all these saints, Abraham, David, Samson and the list goes on.. were human just as we are, but they lived a life of faith. Their failures are not listed here .
We are surrounded by these great men of faith.
This new-year we are not alone we are surrounded by great men of examples. Their faithfulness is a constant encouragement to us. We do not struggle alone, and we are not the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run the race and won, and their witness stirs us to run and win also. The race requires us to give up whatever endangers our relationship with God.
We must lay aside every weight in our life.
What are our weights? Your weights are not anyone else’s weights. Your weight may not necessarily be wrong or a sin, but it will hinder your Christian life. It will slow down your walk with God. You and I may be better Christians if we rid our lives of unnecessary weight. Paul’s purpose here is to get the believer to lay aside whatever weight is hindering our Christian progress. After laying aside all the unnecessary weights, we need to run patiently, and to struggle against sin. In the power of the Holy Spirit, lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.
God has set before you a race.
You must run it, and it will involve effort and commitment. Just being passive never runs a race. God wants us to run the race, and finish it right! To run effectively, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We will stumble if we look away from Him to stare at ourselves or at the circumstances surrounding us. We should be running to win the race and we must always keep Him in sight. Let us run with endurance.
The race is an individual thing.
not a competition against other Christians. You must stay in your lane, not run in someone else’s. Jesus is not only the author of the faith; He is the finisher of it also. Keep your eyes on Jesus, for He is at the finish line. There are going to be hardships along the way. God doesn’t promise us an easy life. “In this world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33. When the running is tough in this new-year 2008 and you feel like you can’t run anymore and want to give up, just look unto Jesus, for He is your Shield, Strength, Healer and Savior.
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