Summary: This message concentrates on the fact that not everyone receives rewards from Christ and four of the things we need to be doing to make sure that we do.

BIG POINT: “Not everyone is rewarded by Christ.”

- vv. 24a, 27b.

- v. 24a makes it clear that being in the race does not mean you win a prize (although I think the analogy breaks down at the idea that only one person could win a prize).

- v. 27b is talking about being disqualified for a prize, not disqualified for salvation. Salvation is not something you can “strive” for; it’s something that must be accepted as a gift.

IS THIS A BIG DEAL? “Yes it is, because this isn’t just a laurel wreath that’s going to wither away.”

- v. 25b.

- Even though athletes may put great attention into winning races like the Isthmian Athletic Games that were held there in Corinth, our goal is one that’s far higher and more important - an imperishable crown.


- Knowing that not everyone is rewarded and knowing that this is a big deal, I hope the question on your mind is, “What do I need to be doing to make sure I ‘win the race’? What do I need to be doing to make sure I am rewarded by Christ?”

- Let’s look at four of the key things Paul brings out.

1. Self-control.

- v. 25a - “temperate” = “self-control.”

- Don’t give into the bad things that tempt you.

2. Focus.

- vv. 26a, 24b.

- Know your destination; know your path; know your goal.

3. Pain.

- v. 26b.

- Shadow boxing looks good, but it’s not the same as actually being in the ring. You can show how quick your jabs and your uppercuts are, but that’s not the same as being able to take a punch.

- This life is going to be a fight. If you can’t “take the pain,” you’re not going to last long.

- Suffering and persecution are standard fare for the Christian, according to the NT. Difficulties and trials are nothing to be surprised at.

- This is not about working our lives so that we can effectively communicate the image of being a Christian (like a shadow boxer might look like a skilled athlete). This is about being willing to get in the ring and sometimes take some hard blows.

4. Self-discipline.

- v. 27a.

- In the Greek it speaks taking your body and “leading it into slavery.”

- How many people are a slave to their body’s urges and desires? Lust, for instance, is a huge problem in our society.

- We have to be disciplined enough that our urges don’t rule us. We must direct our body toward the things it needs to be attending to.

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