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Leave a Trail of Clete Marks Behind You

Posted by Michelle and Patrick Ruscoe on June 20, 2017 at 3:35 PM

Leave a trail of clete marks behind you…. A sermon on finishing your race strong. 5/30/17

Have you ever watched sports, soccer, football, baseball, track and field? When you look at their uniforms it represents the team they play for, the colors, the style etc. so if were to say they wear a blue and white uniform youd say they were…..? or blue and orange…..? how about green and white…..? and all those sports teams require special shoes. Youll notice with most indoor sport they need special high top sneakers, when they are in track they need lightweight shoes with good traction, when playing on a field they need cletes. A cleate is a shoe with spikes at the very bottom that help you keep your footing when you run in the grass and keep you from slipping and falling.

Now having those can be very helpful if your on a sport team. But what If your not… the good news for you is we are all on a team. Were on christs team. As Christians we own a jersey of our own to represent our team and we own our own cletes to rip through the ground. What does your jersey look like, are your cletes stained with the green from the grass you’ve been running through! Or are they clean and untouched? Lets take a look at pauls jersey and cletes…

 

Acts 14:19- 27

Stoning, Escape to Derbe

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Strengthening the Converts

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

-As we see in the scripture paul was ministering to the people and as he was ministering, some of the people became outraged and began to stone him, nearly to death. He was bludgeoned to the point where they thought he was dead and dragged his body out of the city and left him there on the border. Truth was, he didn’t die but he was bruised, sore, busted up face lips arms legs ribs, possibly even broken bones. And that man could have felt completely justified to not go back into that city knowing there was a possibility he would get stoned again. But as scripture says he got back up and went back into the city and stayed there another 24hrs until the job he had to do was done. And then he continued on to another city after that and continued to minister and encourage the other Christians iin the area, despite his scars and pain. Imagine that.

 

-Pauls jersey was covered in blood and dirt and sweat. In 2 corinthians 11 it gives a track record of all the thing he had to endure in his lifetime.

 

2 Corinthians 11:23-28New King James Version (NKJV)

23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

 

 

- Paul endured many things he had been imprisoned multiple times, deprived of food, of clothes, of a bathroom, of sleep, of basic human rights. He has been beaten with whips 5 times, beaten with rods 3 times, stoned once, shipwrecked 3 times and forced to float abroad in the sea for a day. He was robbed, fought with those who knew him well and had to constantly deal with ministers in neighboring cities and was constantly worrying about their salvation and their faith walk.

- But despite all of that he kept going. He never stopped running his race. Like many athletes, he endured the unexpected. They endure injuries constantly, get suspended from games, endure bad media, get fiired, get moved to other teams, etc. but they never stop playing, because they are still under contract with their managers. Much like paul and much like athletes we are held under contract with god to finish our race strong as he has called us to do.

1 corinthians 9:24-27

1 Corinthians 9:24-27New King James Version (NKJV)

Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

 

-and now we are going to look at another star athlete of the bible. Job.

 

Job 1:13-22

 

- Note that job lost everything. When I say everything I mean everything, his home, his kids, his car (or camel in that day) his donkeys, his oxens, his way to make finance, his fields, his friends and his wife. Now granted his friends and wife didn’t die, but they didn’t support him at all during his time of tribulation, infact they made it worse. Put yourself in jobs shoes, or cletes should I say. Your beautiful kids are taken from you and die in natural disasters, and at the same time you find out that your posessions have been stolen from you and yet while all this is going on you lose your job and so you turn to your spouse, the one person you expect to love you unconditionally tells you to curse god and die. Now job could have justified all that had happened to him and just gave up. I know if I were job I would feel bitter, angry, upset, unforgiving, lost, pitiful, disgusted, and doubtful too because this is our first response when things go wrong. But job didn’t he kept his faith and kept on running despite all the things he lost.

- Jobs jersey was no jersey, because his was taken off his back and his cletes were the only shoes he had left and were worn and torn but none the less he wore them and never stopped going in them.

 

- And there are many other good examples. Nehemiah was attacked while trying to rebuild the wall. Noah was looked at like he was crazy for years. Joseph was left for dead and sold into slavery then framed then arrested before god delivered him. The point is all these men had a task to fulfill assigned by god, but despite where they started or what they had to go through they did it, they finished their race, and they left their cleat marks where we could find them. The bible. Which leads me to ask you, have you left your cleat marks where people can see them. Have you torn up the ground to finish your race. Are you determined? Despite what comes up against you? Or are you letting the things that are thrown up against you stop you? Are you encouraging others to win the race even if it looks like the odds are against them? Are you running the race even if you feel like youll lose? Did you stop trying altogether when the attacks came? What kind of cleat marks are you leaving for the next generation of Christians to see? Did you keep running after the abuse, did you keep running after lies were spread about you, did you keep running when your bank account had a negative balance, did you keep running when the car was running off of fumes. Did you keep running when your kids were acting out and wouldn’t listen to a word you had to say. Did you keep running when the judge declared you guilty. Did you keep running after the doctor told you, you have only monthes to live? Did you keep running when they told you they were repossessing your home? Did you keep running when your boss shamed you and demoted you? Did you keep running when the devil kept trying to throw your past up in your face? Did you keep running despite never ever feeling good enough to keep going on? God wants to see you run! Forget about all the garbage you went through. Those things don’t define who you are. God defines who you are, and he built you strong enough to handle them and he built you smart enough to know when its time to let your garbage go. How many of you are ready to restart your race? How many of you are ready to let your garbage go.

 

 

 

 

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