Summary: Paul describes the christian life to running a race with the intent to win. Are you running in such a way?
Finishing the race well
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
24 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.
25 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.
26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27 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.
Intro: I know it may be hard to believe but when I was younger I was in shape. Not only was I a marine at one time but in high school I was a wrestler. I was pretty good at it to. I won a few trophies and medals. I came in 1st place in a tournament 3rd place in a tournament and ultimately 6st place in the N.Y. state champion ships. I was invited to the national tournament. There I didn’t fair so well. But I had a passion for the sport. I loved it. Now because of my love for the sport the season before wrestling season I would join the cross country team at my high school. Not because I loved to run or anything, but because I wanted to get into shape for wrestling season.
I knew that in order to do well in wrestling I needed to be in shape, so I started to get into shape way before wresting started. I put myself through strict training because wanted a prize. In this case I wanted trophies. So I joined the cross country team.
Now in order to do well on the cross country team I had to follow a training program.
We exercised our legs so they would be strong; we exercised our lungs so they would be strong. We ran every day in all kinds of weather on all kinds of surfaces. We wanted to win, we wanted to do well. It was painful. It was hard. The I noticed something during these years. The harder I worked the more effort I put into my program the better I did.
When I think of this scripture this is what I think about
I. Run like we want to win
a. Are you running like your wanting to win?
b. What’s a stake is a crown of righteousness
c. Eternal life
II. Jesus did something amazing for us (praise Him)
a. We were running the wrong direction
b. Headed to the place called destruction
c. He dies to set us free
d. So we can run the race
e. That’s when the race begins
f. When we die we live forever in paradise
- We need to live like this is true
III. We need to get into shape
Question: How many know we can get spiritually fat?
a. Get so religious we can’t move spiritually
b. Have so much junk in our lives we are stuck
Illustration: When one puts on weight we can’t move. Get fat can’t touch our toes.
c. We let our adversary do that to us
Prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour
i. Spiritually complacent
Signs you are spiritually complacent or spiritually out of shape
1. Don’t read our bible – or fall asleep when you do
2. Don’t pray – 10 seconds seem like two hours
3. Worship and praise is boring to you. Or you don’t see the need for it (tent meeting 30 seconds praise)
4. You can’t remember the last time you shared the gospel
5. You can’t remember the last time you thought about sharing the good news
IV. Need to do our spiritual jumping jacks
a. Devotions in the morning
b. Prayer list
c. Bible study
d. Scripture memorization
Illustration: Yellow study I give out
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
We need to hide it in our hearts
e. We need to be on our knees
i. If my people will humble themselves and pray
V. There are no short cuts
a. Christian character is built
i. We want to grow spiritually but we don’t put in the work
Illustration: I used to go running with Pastor Casey. Cut corners and “big bertha”.
b. We are tempted to take short cuts in our spiritual life.
i. We want forgiveness but wont repent
ii. We want to grow but wont study