Summary: The first sermon in the Series RUN TO WIN talks about the christian life as a race we are to win. The first and most important step in winning is... COMMITMENT.
Series: Running To Win
Get In The Race
Today I am beginning a sermon series that will probably last 6 weeks.
In case you could not guess from the backdrop, it is entitled RUNNING TO WIN
It is based on 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ((Read))
Today we are focusing on verse 24 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.
This passage is written with the backdrop of the Isthmian games - the equivalent of our Olympics.
This event was held every two years ten miles outside the city of Corinth.
These games brought people from every part of the Mediterranean to compete or just watch.
It was the sporting event of the year - drawing the empire’s best talent.
Athletes would compete in foot races, broad jumping, discus throwing, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, and equestrian contests.
They would compete fiercely, each striving for the Isthmian crown - a wreath of wild celery.
Winners received a lifetime exemption from paying taxes and serving in the military.
They would also receive free tuition at one of their universities.
Statutes of themselves would be erected along the road that led to the site of the games.
What is the first, primary, most important step in winning a race?
Commitment precedes training
Commitment precedes preparation
Commitment is the mental step that must precede any physical step.
If you have ever ran or jogged (or other exercise) you know there are days when you can hardly wait to exercise. But there are other days when it is all you can do to make yourself exercise.
On those days… it takes commitment… commitment precedes training
First step in a diet = commitment…….. precedes training
Paul said, “Run in such a way as to win”… run like you mean it… run with commitment… focus… dedication… discipline…purpose… persistence
If you ever go to a race you can tell which ones are running like they plan to win.
I think of the “rabbits” In any race there are runners who already know they will not win. They are not even in the race to win. Their job is to set a certain pace for the other runners. They will run about the first half of the race at a pre-determined pace to help the true contenders. They may get far ahead, but they eventually drop out before the end… spent, used up… but having done their job.
If they really meant to win, they would not have gone out so fast, they would have paced themselves.
They are not running to win… they are running to help teammates win.
When you go to a race and see the spectators that line the course and the runners on the course… what is the difference between the runners and the spectators?
But in the Christian Race… the Christian life
Ability? NO I can do all things…
In the Christian life…
Some are out there running, living for Jesus, keeping His commands, following the disciplines (bible study, prayer, ministry, sacrificing) and living a life that is pleasing to God.
And some are giving it a token effort
While others are not even trying, they are standing and watching.
If you ask the watchers if they would like to run the race… many would say Yes
If you ask overweight people if they would like to lose weight… many will say Yes
Sooooo….. Why don’t watchers run or overweight people diet?
Lack of Desire? NO
Desire is easy… desire costs nothing
Commitment is hard… it costs everything
There is a massive difference between being involved and being committed.
Chicken and pig having bacon and eggs
“For you it means a contribution, but for me it means total commitment”
Lots of Christians want to be chickens… make a contribution
God is looking for pigs… totally committed
T-shirt at ATF “You are what you resolve to do”
Lots of Christians have times when they look at the “runners” and they say, “I would really like to be like that.”
And sometimes they make a commitment… and even start.
Like person committing to run or lift.
The next day they hurt like the devil and their commitment fades like dew.
This happens a few times and the person just concedes defeat.
So they run… but not in such a way as to win.
They are content to be in the race
OK for Boston marathon… I’d be content to finish
NOT OK for Christianity
What do I miss out on if I don’t win the marathon?
What do I miss out on if I don’t win the Christian race?