Sermons

Summary: Today is Cadet/Calvinette Sunday and the theme is a challenge of how we live the Christian life and what the results are of "running the good race"

Introductory Considerations

1. I enjoy watching Olympic games. (describe some favourite events). Easy to share in the joy of the winner as she/he realized she/he had won. All that glory for just a few races that took less time than most television commercials.

2. Then I saw a special feature about one of the speed skaters - how for four years she trained every day in preparation, getting up ealy for hours of running, bicycling, skating. Most of this training was done alone - no crowds, no cheers, no medals. Day after day the same routine .

3. High cost they paid for even being able to compete in the race. In fact only a few that trained so hard even made it to the Olympics and of course only one person would win the gold medal.

4. I can easily dream of winning an Olympic medal, the excitement of it all, but I know that I would never be able to win a race. I don’t have the abilities and skills and I probably do not have the discipline required to train.

5. With television and sports events like the Super Bowl, we see and share in moments of victory - we don’t see or share in the work involved to get to that moment.

6. We want to get our prizes in life - perhaps not a gold medal or Super Bowl ring, and we want them instantly.

7. Even too much work to get up to change TV - therefor we need a changer - no work.

8. We admire athletes for their efforts - but few of us share the discipline.

Teaching

1. In our passage from 1st Corinthians, Paul talks about runnung a race. Church in Corinth which was familiar with races. Corinth hosted one of the most famous of the Greek athletic events, 2nd only to the Olympic games.

2. Paul uses the picture of a race to point to another race - for we as Xns are running a race.

a. Not a short, fast 100 meter race, but more like a marathon - a long marathon that takes a lifetime to complete.

b. While Paul makes this comparison he notes two differences between the athletic and the Christian race.

i. In athletic races only one person wins. Iin our race we don’t win by being first - by measuring our success to that of others. Not by being the best Christian in church, in class, rather. (vs. 24) we win based on the way we run the race.

ii. Difference in the prize. The athlete in Corith won a wreath that soon wilted. Todays winners may receive a gold medal or even millions of dollars in endorsements, but these prizes don’t last forever - more than one rich athlete has ended up broke. Not able to take them to the next life. The prize for running the Christian race is a crown that will last forever - eternal life - in heaven forever with God.

3. HOW ARE YOU RUNNING THE RACE?

a. Cadets, brothers and sisters in Christ - how are you running the race? Are you going to get the prize of eternal life? Today we consider the way we run the race. Before we do we must make sure we understand something very important.

4. What does Paul mean when he says he can be disqualified for the prize. (v.27)

a. How do we get to heaven? How do we get the prize?

b. Eph 2:8-9 " it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works,"

c. Disqualify means to be worthless, rejected, that which has not stood the test, that which has been shown to be a sham and has therefor been rejected. Word used in 2Cor 13:5 and Titus 1:16.

d. To qualify not mean to earn salvation but to show that our faith is real. Our training, discipline not to achieve salvation but to show that we have received it already. There are many who say they are Christians but do they run the race in a way that shows they are.

4. Paul tells us how we are to run the race.

a. "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Phil 3:12)

i. Run with a sense of why we are running. For my slavation. We run to take hold of our salvation - to claim it and live it.

ii. Take hold of opportunity - to overcome sins, be loving, peace,joy.

b. We keep the goal in mind, running with eye on end of race - focused on Christ. (Phil 3:14) (Heb 12:2-13)

c. "Beating my body, making it my slave" 1Cor 9:27) Not giving in to my wishes, desires if they are against or in place of God. Young people - don’t listen to lies - you don’t need bottle of beer to have fun to smoke to be cool, drugs to feel good. (also Heb 12:1)

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