†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† 1 Cor. 9:24-27Run the Race

 

Intro: Tonight we are going to look at a familiar passage - we have all studied - some have even taught - great Illustration of Christian life.

Running a -Race

A) But it is important that we understand the context to which Paul is writing here.

 

B) Still discussing the issue of CHRISTIAN LIBERTY - began in chapter 8 answering a question Is it right to eat meat - sacrificed to idols

 

C) We have seen that the Corinthians were divided into 2 groups / those who were strong & mature - saw it as NO PROBLEM. Idols are nothing

1) But the weak & immature had a problem w/ it

 

 

PAULíS SOLUTION?The mature brothers/ sisters needed to show love & sensitivity to the weaker immature brothers/ making sure they gave them no cause to stumble.

 

A) And if need be Paul said they needed to forfeit their liberty for the sake of their - brother/ or sister.

1) They needed to be willing to give up their liberty

 

13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. Focus of Ch. 8

 

B) Then in Ch. 9 Paul uses himself as an illustration of this principle as it relates to his provision & support in ministry .

1) That as a minister he had the right & the liberty to be supported financially - Paul gives 6 very persuasive arguments

 

C) Paul explains that he forfeited that right, that liberty because he didnít want anyone to stumble -

1) didnít want the PREACHING OF THEgospel to be hindered Because his goal was TO see people come to Christ .

 

D) Thus Paul declared in v. 22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 

 

We learn from his teaching thatthe mature view of Christian Liberty involves showing Love to those who are weaker / to those who are immature, so as to not stumble them or hinder Godís work in their lives

 

A) Paul concludes this chapter by illustrating that exercising maturity as it relates to Christian liberty not only involves - love

1) but it also involves DISCIPLINE / SELF CONTROL & KEEPING AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE

 

24Do 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.

25And 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.

26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

 

A) The Greeks had two great athletic festivals, the Olympic games that were held in Athensand the Isthmus games. - in Corinth

1) Today we have Olympic games & World games the Isthmus games

†††† were kind of like the world games

 

B) And because the Isthmusgames were held at Corinth the people were very well acquainted w/ them.

C) Two of the most popular events were the races & the boxing - Paul uses them as an analogy for the Christian life .

 

 

D) Here Paul lays out - 3 things that were important in competing .

1) 1st We are to compete w/ Aim - / Purpose & direction.

 

E) 2nd Being a good runner involves exercising self-control.

1) 3rd - Running - involves discipline .

 

BREAKDOWN

 

1ST AIM - Paul says that I am not uncertain in my running - running w/ No direction or purpose - When I Box I am not hitting Air -TARGET

 

 

SO WHAT IS THE AIM & THE DIRECTION - THERE IS A PRIZE

I am running to obtain the prize !!!!!

 

A) Now Paul says in v. 25 that those who compete in the games do so to obtain a Perishable crown/†† wreath that is going to fade.

1) describe wreath

 

a)   But Paul says we are running to obtain an imperishable crown - a PRIZE THAT IS NOT GOING TO FADE AWAY !!!!

 

B) Paul knew that eternity was real - stoned outside of Lystra & left for dead - caught up into the Heaven

 

C) What I saw blew my mind it was so wonderful - that it would be unlawful

†††† for me to try & describe - so wonderful

†††† 1) Human words could not even describe - could not even do it justice.

 

D) But when he came back to life - from that time on Paul said I am running for one thing - THE PRIZE .

 

 

Iím RUNNING W/ ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE thatís my motivation- So Paul says run to obtain or win the prize

A) Now understand in this race we are not running against each other - no we are running - against ourselves / competing against ourselves

 

B) The gifts that God has given to you - the talents & abilities that He has embedded in you - you are running against yourself.

1) The parable of the talents & the pounds makes that oh so clear.

 

C) So You are not competing against another brother or sister / but against what the Lord has entrusted to you.

1) And what he has entrusted to you Is it be developed for his glory

 

c)   And if that means laying down your rights & privilegesto see others

††††† brought into the Kingdom.Then so be it

1) In doing so you win the prize / CROWN

 

 

WHAT IS THE PRIZE ?It is hearing the Lord say, ďWell done my good & faithful servant Ö.. joy of the LordĒ

Prov.11: 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

 

Dan. 12:3Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

 

A) There is a crown for those who evangelize & lead others into the kingdom.

1) That is Paulís whole focus in this matter of Liberty - the effectiveness of the gospel.

I will lay aside my rights - if it means that - I might influence someone to accept Christ !

 

B) Holding tightly to liberties and rights is a sure way to lose INthe race††

†††† of soulĖwinning.

 

C) Many of the Corinthian believers had severely limited their testimonies

because they were unwilling to limit their liberty.

1) They refused to give up their rights in so doing they won few & offended many.

 

So Paul says Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize - Run to Win!

 

So in light of the BIG PICTUREbecause of His love for People Paul forfeited his liberty that he might be more effective in ministry in sharing the gospel./ PRIZE

 

A) To do so is not easy ALSOtakes DSCIPLINE & SELF CONTROL

 

B) V.25 The phrase temperate in all things means - exercises self control - & the word discipline actually speaks of putting my body under

1) Also translated I beat my body & make it my slave - lest when I preach to others I myself become disqualified

 

C) This Disqualified is not talking about our salvation / but our rewards - the crown that we are to receive for service -

1) Reward of being a soul winner.

 

c)   Now those of you who have ever trained know that there are certain sacrifices you make & sacrifices that are part of being best

1) Donít eat twinkies - ice cream -unlesssumo wrestler

 

D) Make your body get out there and run in the early morning even though you donít want to .

SAME IS TRUE SPIRITUALLY -†† IF I AM GOING TO WIN THE PRIZE - EXERCISE SELF CONTROL - DISCIPLINE MY BODY

 

A)Paul says look that is important to me to win the PRIZE- It might mean that I have to put up w/ some discomfort in this life -

1) but I am looking ahead/I am thinking about eternity - I running for the prize I want my life to count - make a difference

 

B) And when we get to heaven we are not going to be thinking about the stuffthat we didnít do here.

1) That movie that we didnít go see because it could have stumbled someone .

 

C) Not going to be worried I wish I could have went to that party or too bad I missed that concert -

††††††††† 1) Wonít even be a thought on your mind !

 

 

Now you might think that is tough / too hard how can I consistently live that way - Forsaking my rights exercisingself control , sacrificing & discipline for the sake of others ? Turn to Heb. 12

 

12:1Therefore 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,

2looking 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.

 

NOT ONLY DO I LOOK TO THE REWARD - BUT I LOOK AT MY LORD - REALIZING THAT IS WHAT HE DID !!!!

A) He laid aside right to be equal w/ God - allowed His DEITY to be concealed in HIS HUMANITY .

 

B) Left the glory of Heaven & came down to this earth to die on a cross for one reason / one reason only - MIGHT WIN SOME !!!!!

 

C) Those who would believe - would have ETERNAL LIFE

 

D) That is why - So I am to run laying side the weights & the Sin- exercising discipline & self Control - keeping my eyes on HIM

1) AUTHOR & FINISHER-†† BEEN THERE !!!!!!!

 

 

 

Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.Every morning a lion wakes up.It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

Spurgeon wrote likewise:"If you are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking you.If you are not seeking the Lord, judgment is at your heels."

†† In the Christian life, it's not enough simply to wake up. We are called to run, to become more like Christ, to press ahead in godliness.