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Summary: Exposition of 1 Corinthians 9 regarding do you run to win? Are you in the Christian life to spectate? Is your Christian life just flailing along in laziness, flabbiness, outta shape, and without clear purpose?

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Text: 1 Cor 9:23-27, Title: Olympic Glory, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/15/11, AM

Opening illustration: Tell a story or two about Camp Jubilee, maybe Erika and the suit of armor, and some others, but finish with the story of Aaron climbing the mountain with his prosthetics.

Background to passage: On the heels of his two chapter discussion on the willing limitation of Christian freedom for the sake of other disciples and unbelievers, Paul gives us a wonderful illustration that compels us to consider sporting events and our Christian lives. This illustration here relates to the laying down of the “right” to eat in temples and doing everything for the sake of the gospel, but it is so applicable to the entirety of the Christian’s walk with Christ.

Main thought: Do you run to win? Are you in the Christian life to spectate? Is your Christian life just flailing along in laziness, flabbiness, outta shape, and without clear purpose?

A. How do we do it? (v. 25-27)

1. How do we do it? How do we run to obtain the prize of the high-calling of Jesus Christ? If you are truly saved, you want to run like that, you want to be insatiably thirsty for Him to the point that it throws your whole life into a single-minded passion to live for Him, worship Him, serve Him, love Him, right? Wish I could give you a silver-bullet that would allow you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in the lap of the flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize and sail through bloody seas. But as Piper says, “No, how could you ever want such a thing?” Because we are Americans, and human beings. Paul’s solution is this: beat your body into submission. Hoist the sails of discipline in your life by faith to catch the mighty wind of the Spirit of God as He transforms you into the image of Christ. He instructs them by example to exercise Spirit-fueled (Gal 5:22) self-control and restraint, giving the body a black eye continually and making your body a servant of your spirit rather than the other way around.

2. 2 Tim 2:2, 4:7, Heb 12:1, Col 3:5, 1:29, Matt 11:12, Rom 6:11-13, 8:29, 12:2, Philip 3:8, 9:43,

3. Illustration: “The serious athlete doesn’t ask about how to just get by in his training. He asks about what will bring about maximum performance. So the mature Christian asks, what will make me most useful for the kingdom? What will stir up my zeal for God most? What will intensify my earnestness in prayer? What will trigger more hunger for God’s word? What will strengthen my longing to love? What will fan the flames of my passion for holiness?” –Piper, “Essentially my life revolves around skating when I’m competing,” he said. “So everything I eat, everything that I do, everything revolves around my recovery…Training for an Olympic Games is very difficult. Some athletes are able to really balance their lives and they can do a lot of separate things, but for me I was very intently focused on what I was doing at the time and I wouldn’t allow myself to really do anything else.” –Apollo Ohno, “Following Jesus simply means learning from him to arrange my life around activites that enable me to live in the fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual disciplines are to life, what practice is to the game.” –Ortberg, “Adopting a training paradigm requires structuring our lives around the means that will keep the vision of the good and sovereign God before us and the intention to conform our lives to this reality.” –Ogden,


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