Summary: Pauls calls Christians to run the race of life

Run the Race

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

January 14, 2001


I. The Olympics

A. Some of my favorite moments: First Dream Team Men’s Basketball, The lighting of the torch in 1996

B. Michael Johnson in 1996

1. The time trials prior to the games – Johnson broke the world record in the 200 meter dash

2. The actual race – A few weeks later at the Olympics Johnson broke his own record by nearly two seconds

II. The Human Race

A. We too are in a race

1. We are running the human race

a.) Life is like a race – Our participation is required

b.) We are constantly moving towards the finish line

2. All of us are headed in the same direction with the same destination

a.) Our race is not a quick 200 meter dash but rather a life long marathon

b.) Are we ready to run it?

B. Paul challenges the Corinthian church to run the race

1. Paul issues a strong challenge to the church 1 Corinthains 9:24-27

2. We must run the race

Seven Keys to Run the Race

I. Proceed – Get going

V. 24 – “All the runners run”

A. In order to run the race we must first begin

1. The great Nike slogan fits here – “Just Do It”

2. To be in the race makes us get going. There is no way to win a race if you aren’t running

B. To win the race requires starting

1. Paul states the obvious with the statement “all runners run” but it is a good reminder. We cannot serve God from the starting blocks

2. Winning starts with daring to begin. It is impossible to victorious without doing

3. We cannot expect God to say “well done” if we will not first “well do”

II. Pursue – Keep moving

V. 24 -Run in such a way as to get the prize

A. If we want to achieve we must pursue goals

1. We must understand that this race isn’t over until we cross the finish line

2. Once we start in the race we cannot stop

B. To win the race requires excellence

1. There is a clear challenge here by Paul to for Christians to fully commit and invest themselves in the service of Christ

2. If we want to win the prize we must pursue excellence in everything that we do

3. Paul’s call tells us we cannot settle to watch from the sidelines but that we must be involved

a.) We must be willing to take action

b.) We must be willing to change our attitude

III. Prepare – Get ready

V. 25 – “goes into strict training”

A. If we want to win, we must prepare

1. Life is full of unexpected events and we must be ready at a moments notice

2. Cross country practice – 1 mile warm up, 5 – 7 mile workout and 1 mile cool down each practice so we were running between 7 – 9 miles every practice

3. The same is true of Christianity. We need spiritual workouts – Time in prayer, time in the Word, time in worship

B. To win the race requires that we are ready

1. We must be in a state of constant readiness

a.) We must be ready when God calls us to serve

b.) We must be ready for when we cross the finish line

2. The secret to success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes – Benjamin Disraeli

IV. Perceive – Get focused

V. 25 - “but we do it to get a crown that will last forever”

A. If we want to run the race we must know where we are going

1. Our finish line is heaven. Heaven is our goal and we must be heavenly minded

2. You all have heard the phrase “So heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” I hate this saying with a passion

a.) Being heavenly minded isn’t a focus on us getting to heaven. This is just selfishness. These kind of people are not heavenly minded

b.) Being heavenly minded means that we are about the business of heaven. Meaning that we win the lost, build disciples and expand the Kingdom. Thus we must be active in the world

B. To win the race requires us to be focused

1. Paul clearly shares some truth about our eternal reward

a.) This will be issued to us in heaven

b.) This will grant us a crown of life

2. The prize we seek is not temporal or earthly

a.) The things of earth will pass away

b.) Our focus is to be that which will remain – the eternal reality of heaven

V. Purpose – Get energized

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