Summary: Through the power of God we can become Champions: Champions for Christ
CHAMPIONS FOR CHRIST
1 Cor 9:24- 27
I must admit that when I was a child and a younger man the desire to be an Olympic champion burned within me. Every four years I would watch with vigor the Olympic games and would think to myself nothing could be more thrilling than to stand on that center circle and then have a gold medal draped around your neck and finally have the joy of accomplishment.
As exciting as this must be Paul explains it pales into significance to the joy of becoming a Champion for Christ.
To become a Champion for Christ one must.....
1) GET IN THE RACE
“Know ye not that they which run...”
Not everyone that comes to a race actually participates in the race. Many are nothing more than spectators. All get caught up in the thrill of the moment, but not all ever step onto the track with a desire to become a champion for Christ.
So it is with the Christian race. Many gather each Sunday but not all are actually participants in the race. Even this morning there are those of you here that have never entered the race for Christ. And what do I mean? I am simply speaking of coming to the point in your life where you turn your life over to Jesus Christ by allowing Him to be Lord of your life.
One thing is for certain: one can never become a champion for Christ if he never gets into the race. What is keeping you as there is no limit to those who can enter?
2) RUN TO WIN (9:24)
“...all run, but one receiveth the prize”
Earlier I spoke of two groups of people: those who enter the race and those who do not. Now I need to break the group of those who enter the race into two sub-groups: those who run to win and those who do not. Many who enter the race never really expect and some may not even have the desire to actually win the race. The satisfaction of being in the race is simply good enough for them. Again, sadly, this is much the same in the Christian life. So many people who give their lives to Christ become satisfied and simply coast within their spiritual lives. They enter the race but have no desire to become a Champion for Christ.
But friends there is so much more. All should run the race to win. Paul exhorts us in (Col 3:17, 23) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him......23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
In all earthly races, whether the Isthmanian or the Olympic games only one wins the prize. The joy of victory was indescribable. Just imagine standing on the victor’s podium and being presented with the victor’s crown. In the Isthmanian games this would have been a wreath placed upon one’s head. In the Olympic games it is a Gold medal place around one’s neck. The thrill and the excitement is more than money can buy as the victor becomes overwhelmed by the joy of accomplishment.
But what is exciting in the Christian life all who enter the race can win the prize as a Champion for Christ. I am speaking of the joy of a victorious life.
3) RUN WITH DETERMINATION
“Do whatever it takes to win”
- Must be willing to Suffer the Agony of the Christian Race (25)
“Striveth for the mastery”
(agonizomai: to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something): KJV fight, labor fervently, strive.
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Champions are made through hard work and much discipline. They endure the pain of training when others shirk away. Paul himself understood clearly what it meant to suffer for Christ. He experienced the trials of persecution, loneliness, and hunger for the cause of Christ. But every trial brought him closer to the victors crown.
- Must be willing to Discipline our Lives for the Christian Race (27a)
(9:27a) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection...
A Champion’s life is a disciplined life. A Champion brings every area of his life into strict discipline for the purpose of winning the prize. He observes the...
- Discipline of Training
- Discipline of Self-Control.
(Illustration by Damian Phillips, “Nike”, Sermon Central)
Without discipline, one is sure to fail. An athlete’’s strength comes from discipline. I want to tell you a story about the strength of the first marathon runners, which is where the NIKE company gets is name.The battle of Marathon was fought around 490 B.C. when king Darius launched an attack on Athens. Since the surrounding city-states would offer little support to the Athenians, the Athenians were outnumbered by the Persians. Although the Athenians were outnumbered, they caught the Persians by surprise by running the full length of the plain and catching the Persians unorganized. The Athenians were able to defeat the Persians by not only striking from the front, but they also flanked the Persian army from the sides. Because of this sudden attack the Persian troops broke ranks and fled back to their ships. Since the Athenians won they wanted to send word back to Athens to tell of victory so the city could prepare for the Persian fleet attack from the sea. So Miltiades sent his best runner Pheidippides to take word to Athens. He ran the whole distance, about 26 miles, and when he arrived he was able to say one word . . . and then he died. What was the one word that Pheidippides was able to say before he died? It was ““Nike!”” He cried ““victory!”” The Athenians ran the whole distance of the plain of Marathon, which is some 26 miles. This could not have been accomplished without hard training and discipline.