TEXT: Hebrews 12:1-3
1 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,
2 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.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Charles Spurgeon said, “The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon thee, O believer, from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year. You who trust in Jesus are under the guidance of the great Joshua; you are fighting sin; you have obtained salvation; you have left the wilderness of conviction and fear behind you, come into the Canaan of faith, and now the eyes of God are upon you and upon your state from the opening of the year to its close.”
Not too long ago Andy Stanley said that Christians should unhitch themselves from the Old Testament. Of course he was wrong, but I took a liking to the word unhitch. Here are 12 things that Christians should unhitch themselves from as they enter the new year.
Last time, we saw that we need to unhitch ourselves from sin. Sin leads to death, but repentance and trust in the blood of Jesus gives us eternal life. This year, Christians should unhitch themselves from sin and guard themselves from temptations.
Second, we need to unhitch ourselves from weights. These things are not necessarily sinful but they are holding us back from what God wants us to do. Maybe you are being held back in advancing in your profession or school because you are spending too much time on movies or video games. Maybe you are putting personal entertainment above God’s work. Bob Deffinbaugh said, “There is obviously a connection between “weights” (which are hindrances) and besetting sin. Both hinder one from running the race with endurance and perseverance. But there are differences that must be taken into account as well. It seems to me that in our text “weights” are distinguished from besetting sin. A weight isn’t a sin; it is just a hindrance. But a besetting sin is sin. When the author speaks about the “weight” we are to lose (by setting it aside), he speaks of “every” weight. Even though “weight” is singular, “every” suggests to me that there may be many things which could serve as hindrances to our running well. When running a race, almost anything that adds weight to the runner is a hindrance.” You need to put aside the distractions that are taking your attention away from your goals and God’s will.
Third, we need to unhitch ourselves from people who are enticing us into sin. This goes for both friends and family members. If someone is pulling into a lifestyle that is not pleasing to God and you are not being a good influence on them, you need to distance yourself from them. Jack Wellman, “We tend to become more like those we hang around with and no more so than when running with the unsaved of the world. They can ruin our godly morals and ruin our judgment very quickly and we can be deceived if we’re not careful. It’s so much harder to resist temptation to sin when those around you are already doing it. We’re not to associate with those who are law breakers and committing sins such as sexual immorality but also drunkenness, swindling, and those who are consumed with greed. This type of bad company could corrupt the Christians into sinning in similar fashion. We must not associate with them, meaning that they shouldn’t be our best friends who we run around with.” Instead of associating with the yungodly, you need to join with fellow Christians who are striving to live the way God wants them to live.
Fourth, we need to unhitch ourselves from politics. 2 Timothy 2:4 says “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Don Stewart said, “Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Christ. He had the right to rule over the entire nation of Israel. However, when we look at the public ministry of Jesus, we find that he avoided any involvement in the current political issues of his day. There is nothing recorded in the New Testament about Jesus Christ speaking out against any of the political issues of His day. Nothing in His teachings gives even the slightest hint that He had any political involvement. In fact, Jesus refused to lead any political movement. He resisted when the people wanted to make Him king. Jesus refused to get into a debate about paying taxes to Rome. Although Jesus was the promised Messiah, the one who could rightfully rule over Israel, He refused to become involved in any political issue of his day. The reason He acted this way has to do with the nature of His kingdom – it was not of this world system.” As Christians, our agenda is also not of this world system. We should not be focused on politics above the things of God. Recently, an evangelical magazine called for the removal of the president, which put them at odds with other evangelicals who supported him. It was sad to see these Christians who are supposed to be leaders get up on TV and social media and bash each other over politics instead of being united in preaching the word of God. As we begin another contentious election year, we need to step aside from politics and focus on following God’s commandments.
Fifth, we need to unhitch ourselves from false teachers. 2 Corinthians 6:15-17 says, “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” Charles Spurgeon said, “Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. If any body of believers had errorists among them, but were resolute to deal with them in the name of the Lord, all might come right; but confederacies founded upon the principle that all may enter, whatever views they hold, are based upon disloyalty to the truth of God. If truth is optional, error is justifiable. Our present sorrowful protest is not a matter of this man or that, this error or that; but of principle. There either is something essential to a true faith—some truth which is to be believed; or else everything is left to each man’s taste. We believe in the first of these opinions, and hence we cannot dream of religious association with those who might on the second theory be acceptable. Those who are of our mind should, at all cost, act upon it. The Lord give them decision, and wean them from all policy and trimming! Our one sole aim is the preservation and spread of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, and we mourn that godly men should be parties to a system which is destructive of good, and only promotive of error.” We have seen several so-called Christian leaders abandon the faith or stop holding some of its tenets this past year. We need to keep our eyes on the true teaching of the Word of God so that we will not be impacted by these people.
Sixth, we need to unhitch ourselves from following others on social media. The only person that Jesus ever called you to follow is Him. John W. Ritenbaugh said, “Has false doctrine become true because a different leader is preaching it? Or has a spiritual change occurred in the member? Is what was once objectionable and rejected now tolerable and acceptable because he fears making waves or losing the fellowship of friends? Each person will have to answer for himself before God. Brethren, no one should follow a leader who does not follow the truth. We dedicate ourselves not to a man, but to truth. Our loyalty goes to a man or institution because he or it is following and teaching truth. Jesus Christ is truth personified. If one stops following His truth, he has stopped following Him.” The word of man is always fallible. We need to study the Bible for ourselves so that will be following Jesus and we will know when someone has abandoned following Jesus. Do not latch onto the words of Christian leaders unless those words line up with what the Bible’s teachings are.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.