Summary: A holy fear of the wicked heart of mankind is what is needed in the lives of Christians. Christians who grasp their authority in Christ have a fear of themselves and do not hold the grace of God in contempt.
Turn your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Title: A Battle Rages
Theme: Uncovering the Root of Our Failures
Series: Grasping Our Authority in Christ
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” Pray!
Introduction: A preacher of salvation may yet miss all that the Lord has for him. He may tell others all the doctrines of God, yet be unable to live out the victorious life promised in Christ Jesus. To prevent this from happening, Paul took whatever measures necessary to subdue the flesh, protect himself from the world’s influence and reject the lies of the devil, all for the sake of his Lord, Jesus Christ.
A holy fear of the wicked heart of mankind is what is needed in the lives of Christians. Christians who grasp their authority in Christ have a fear of themselves and do not hold the grace of God in contempt. (Romans 2:4) Mature Christians who feed on the meat of God’s Word know that the Lord had disciplined in the past, (1 Corinthians 10:6-10) He disciplines in the present, (1 Corinthians 11:30-32) and He is able to discipline in the immediate future. (1 Corinthians 5:5)
Christians who grasp their authority in Christ are enabled to say in their work with the Lord, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Interrogative Sentence: Just what prevents the unrepentant from coming to Christ and the child of God from enjoying God’s perfect will?
Although the Apostle Paul knew that nothing can separate him from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1) he was very conscious of the constant battle against sin. (Romans 7:21-24) Christians who walk in the authority of Christ live in confidence of God’s sovereign grace because they are conscious of their battle against sin.
Proposition: I would propose to you that God cannot and will not give more authority or instruction to the child of God until he obeys the ones that the Holy Spirit has already revealed to him. The Apostle Paul knew the danger of this for he used the phrase, “I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” The word disqualified (adokimos) means to be unapproved. The Holy Spirit of Christ moved the Apostle Paul to write today’s key text, therefore, the children of God should take to heart the danger of becoming unapproved for the reward God desires to give His obedient servants.
The Holy Spirit moved Paul to write, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-6)
The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin. Christians who walk in continued faith have thankfulness for Christ’s redeeming blood and have a joyful expectation of Holy Spirit empowerment to live a life beyond mediocrities.
Transitional Sentence: The first step to living in the authority of Christ is to get the right diagnoses of our condition. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward a man according to his conduct according to what his deeds deserve.” Two other wonderful translations say the heart is desperately sick.
These passages of Scripture expose the sinfulness of man’s heart, and the divine inspection for which mankind gets his just rewards or chastisements. It is easy to make others think that we trust in God. Too often church attendees can speak the Christian language, even go through the motions of Christian living, yet in their hearts there is that root of rebellion that is always resisting, arguing and grumbling against the Holy Spirit of Christ.