Summary: Stay focused -- God is going to run that last mile with God.
RUN THE RACE -- KEEP YOU EYES ON THE PRIZE
Let us pray -- Lord, the task of preaching your Gospel is once again in my keeping and I commit myself to do it the best that I can. Clear my mind of distractions, warm my heart with compassion, and fill my soul with faith in your goodness and power. Speak to me that I may speak for you. Speak through me that I may speak to those who wait to hear your word. Save me, Lord from fearing so much my own frailty that I forget your mighty power. Help me to trust in your care and providence. Let me speak the words, which I believe that you have given me. May I decrease while you increase in Me? Right now Lord I ask that you remove self, I ask that you remove pride and may the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight. O Lord my strength and my redeemer. This is my prayer, Amen.
Please stand and turn with me in your Bibles to I Corinthians 9:24-25
“Know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
I will read the translations of Contemporary English Version. It reads:
“You know that may runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win! Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fist in the air. I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.“
You may be seated.
A message for everyone
There are those who call this world we live in the Rat Race of life. As humans we get up, go to work, race around, and seek to gather all the riches that seem to be around us. Some people in this life are motivated by Power. Power over others, power over self. To control rather than being controlled is there hearts desire.
Others seek wealth above all else. Money, diamonds, precious metals, real estate: the more wealth they have the more satisfied they become. Others run a race for beauty, to satisfy their pride. Some people run for fame, to be well known and loved. All of these things have one thing in common though: they do it to obtain a corruptible crown. Today, I want to ask you FOUR simple questions, First one: "What race are you running? (REPEAT) Second question: Will you race give you eternal happiness, or will it only lead you to a corruptible crown?”
“Know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.“
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
I will use as a subject this morning
RUN THE RACE -- KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE (REPEAT)
A message for everyone
Bear with me for a moment as I try to set this story up for those of you who may not be familiar with the situations that were taking place in the city of Corinth.
You see -- The Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to reveal the problems, pressures, and struggles of the Church in Corinth. Corinth was one of the most important cities in Greece during Paul’s day. Not only was it the bustling hub of worldwide commerce but also was most known for it’s degraded culture and many idolatrous religions.
The church in Corinth was suffering from factions (clicks), lawsuits, immorality, questionable practice, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper and Spiritual gifts. You name it and the Church in Corinth suffered from it. So Paul writes to correct these problems and to give the Corinthians a message of hope.
And, that’s my attempt today, as I preach this my first sermon here at Monument of Love. My attempt is to give you with a message of hope -- a message of encouragement as we Monument of Love Baptist Church prepare ourselves for the work that the Lord is about to embark on us.
I feel that a message of hope is not only needed here at Monument of Love but also in our African-American communities and especially in the black churches.
A message of hope is need because when I look into some of the eyes of our youth - I see despair, when I look into some of your eyes I see anger and confusion. A message of hope is need, because in our communities some of our people -- have lost their joy. To put it another way I would say that -- their wood is wet; your wick is to short; transmission is leaking; some of your engine has thrown a rod. To make it simple -- I would say that our black communities are suffering because our fire has gone out.