Summary: As Christians we can have the victory in the race of life.
I guess you are wondering why this message is called” Nike”? right? You probably think I am referring to a brand of athletic wear or running shoes don’t you? I think that some people think that if you are wearing Nike shoes while running a race or playing a game that you are certain to win. Is there something extraordinary about that Nike swoosh as it is called?
Well I don’t know about Nike shoes or clothing but I do know one thing that will help us. We as Christians have something that will gain us victory in the race that we run. 1John 5:4 says” For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -Our Faith”.
If we truly have faith in Jesus, then we will have the victory. Our message today is all about winning the race through Faith in Christ.
New Years is just around the corner, and some people go around making new years resolutions. New years resolutions tend to be a struggle for some people to keep. They are like running a marathon when you have never ran a mile in your entire life. Suppose that our resolutions to change something-whether they are to quit an addiction of some sort, or to try to become more faithful to the Lord-Are like running a race. What if we were wearing Nike gear while trying to keep our resolutions? Do you think we would succeed?
Did you know that Nike gear is mentioned in the Bible? Again look at 1Jn 5:4, What does our faith give us concerning this world? “victory”. The Greek word for victory in this verse is nike (pronounced) (Nee-Kay). Our Faith is NIKE! It is victory for us!
Now, with this understanding if faith in mind, we will begin looking at our text, and we will gain some helpful insight into keeping our resolutions to change,and keeping our Faith in Christ.
1. Run to Win.(v24)
When we look at v 24 it speaks of running in a race. This is a reference to athletic games much like our “Olympics”. Every 2 years outside of Corinth there were famous Olympic Games. They had all of the events that our games would have: Boxing, Wrestling, and all kinds of different foot races. The winners of these events were given a wreath or crown to wear on their heads it was woven of either pine boughs or olive branches. The value of the prize was not monetary but symbolic, and the prize For Paul was a sense of delight that he was being used by God in ministry, knowing that he had used all his energy’s talents, and gifts to Gods glory, for the good of the Kingdom. That’s what Paul lived for He described that Prize In Philippians 3:14 He said” I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.
When we run our race in 2002, whatever it may be,let us pout on our faith or our Nike Gear, and strive for the prize. Let us run tio receive our Crown of rightouness; not a crown of riches, but a crown that will carry a message to all who see it. May our victory in Jesus be symbolic of the power of the cross in overcoming defeat, Mainly the defeat of sin and death.
2. Endure The Agony(25)
The NIV says “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. The Amplified says “Now every athlete who goes into training”. Paul makes it very clear that winning spiritual rewards….requires spiritual discipline on our part. The word compete that He uses is the Greek word for agony. It points to the great effort that was put forth to win.
Athletes today endure tremendous pain during training for the Olympics. They train for 4 long years, and for what? They do all this for a crown that will fade away. They seek glory in the eyes of men. Paul on the other hand, endured much agony in order to obtain an eternal crown.
This should be an encouragement for us in the New years. If we make a resolution for Christ this year and find it hard to keep, just remember that we are not experiencing agony for nothing. Our efforts will result in an everlasting prize, if we run the race until it is finished. We are not seeking Glory in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of God.
Isn’t strange though, how much people will do for the glory of man? Look at how many people are involved in a miriade of activites, and who attend all sorts of functions yet do not attend church. What profit is it to them to gain the glory of all men, and lose their own soul? Lets strive for Gods favor.