Take your Bibles please and turn, if you would, to Hebrews, Chapter 12. Hebrews, Chapter 12. We're thinking today on this subject: "Looking Unto Jesus." Hebrews, Chapter 12. And the message this morning is a climax to a series of messages that we have preached in Hebrews, Chapter 11, on God's Hall of Fame and the Roll Call of the Faithful, those who trusted the Lord. And perhaps Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verses 1 and 2, could be a part of Chapter 11. As you know, the chapter divisions were not inspired, but have been added by men later in order to make it uh, uh, convenient for us. And s j I want to read Hebrews, Chapter 12, Verses 1 and 2. "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Our generation is a generation that loves sports, and so was Paul's generation, and the time of the Lord Jesus. Now, we are a sports-minded people. I was reading something in a magazine the other day where a husband said to his wife, "Now before football season starts, is there anything you would like to say to me?" I think maybe some of you women can identify with that. We love sports in this day and in this age. But in Paul's time, sports were a very big thing. They had three great games that were known around the known world. There were the Olympian Games that were held on Mount Olympus, and we still have today the Olympic Games. And then there were the, Pantheon Games that were held at Delphi, and then the Isthmian Games that were held at Corinth. And these games were staggered in times so that the wealthy and the elite, the "Jet Set" of that time, however they had to go in chariot or whatever, could make all of the various games. And they had wrestling, and they had boxing, and they had javelin throwing, and they had discus throwing, and they had chariot races. But the major thing was the foot race, what we would call today a track meet. And that was the big thing of that day. And the most popular figures of that day, as in our day, were the athletic figures; those men who had, done such a marvelous job in athletics. Cicero complained, uh, that these athletes were accorded more fame and more honor than a conquering general coming back from the war. And, it was just an atmosphere of sports. Every city back in that time had its amphitheater. Every city had its coliseum. Every city had its circus or a place where the chariots would race. We think our stadiums are big. Their stadiums were six times the length of a football field, and they were packed and jammed with thousands of people, tier upon tier. And there they were, watching these games. Now, Paul, and incidentall ...
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