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.