Summary: Sermon on running the race of life and winning the prize.
Going For The Gold
The Olympic games are very popular and well trained for. These games are compiled of athletes that strive to win for more than one reason. They want to win for personal satisfaction, but also for their country’s satisfaction. They not only represent themselves, but also their country.
Christians are the same way. We not only strive to win for ourselves, but mainly we strive to defeat the devil for our Lord’s sake. We want to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.
Anyone that fights only so they can say that they have fought, or raced to say that they have won is a selfish and prideful person. God’s people are to run this race of life to finish for Jesus with the best record possible.
There are three essentials to winning the spiritual race for Jesus.
I. We Must Forget The Past. 13a
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind
A. Notice the Contestants of the race. “Brethren”
1. Paul is talking about a race that only Christians can run in.
2. This is the race of the Christian life.
3. I will later tell you the goal of the race but focus now on the contestants.
B. Notice that Commitment is needed. “I’ve not apprehended yet”
1. Paul is saying that he hasn’t made it to the place of victory yet.
2. This takes commitment.
3. Anyone that is going to succeed in the Christian life will have to have commitment.
4. The same is true for anything. Athlete, artist, etc.
C. The Challenge of the race. “Forgetting those things which are behind”
1. The phrase “This one thing I do” shows a life that is committed to the challenge.
2. Paul is saying here that nothing in the past is going to hinder his present.
3. We don’t have time to set around and grin about what we use to do.
4. We don’t have time to set around and mope at what we haven’t done.
5. The challenge is for us to run with a single goal and that is to win.
6. A runner will not win if he spends time looking behind him to see where he’s been. Nor does he have time to focus on the other runners that are behind him.
7. Focusing on past defeats or fights will do us little good.
II. We Must Fight In The Present.
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
A. This Takes Strength.
1. Adam Clarke - Reaching forth—The Greek word points out the strong exertions made in the race; every muscle and nerve is exerted, and he puts forth
every particle of his strength in running.
2. The runner gives it all he’s got.
3. To be strong you must exercise.
4. Spiritual exercise comes from; prayer, Bible study, fellowship, Church attendance, Sunday school, and anything else that helps you grow as a Christian.
5. Be careful not to exercise in only one-way. You need all of these.
6. You must be a strong Christian to run well in the race.
B. This Takes Stamina.
1. It does no good to run well for half the race.
2. The goal is to finish with the best time.
3. This is your drive or motivation to keep in the race.
4. There will be times of exhaustion that will make you want to quit.
5. There will be times when other runners make you mad enough to quit.
6. There will be times when you feel that you can’t win anyway so you might as well quit.
7. Stay in there anyway. Endurance or stamina is the key to fighting the present race.
C. This Takes Simplicity. “This one thing I do…Reaching”
1. You need one goal and that is to gain the prize.
2. Win the race.
3. Finish with the best time.
4. This is what keeps you going because remember you are running for country also.
5. Run for the satisfaction of knowing that you please your Master. To many run to please others. This is why all athletes have one coach. They try to please that one man. If we have any coaches they may have different views. Simplicity. Reach the goal.
III. We Must Finish With The Prize.
14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
A. Notice The Pursuit. “Press”
1. What is the prize? What is worth running so long for and working so hard to obtain?
2. It’s not salvation. That was won at Calvary. You have to be a Christian to even be in the race.
3. What is worth pursuing so greatly?
B. Notice The Prize.