Summary: Our journey of faith is a race, and we must run that race to win.
Running to Win
Text: 1 Cor. 9:24-27
1. Illustration: Two gas company service men, a senior training Supervisor and a young trainee were out checking meters and parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked there way to the other end. At the last house a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two
men as they checked her gas meter. As they finished the meter check the older supervisor challenged his younger co-worker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck.
As they came running up to the truck, they realized that the lady from the last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath she said, "When I see two gas men running full speed away from my house, I figured I had better run too."
2. We run lots of races in life.
a. We race to accomplish our goals in life.
b. We race to get our work done.
c. We race to get our Christmas shopping done.
d. We race to be the first to the Supper table.
3. In the race of faith we have to:
a. Run to win
b. Run with discipline
c. Run with certainty
4. Read 1 Cor. 9:24-27
Proposition: Our journey of faith is a race, and we must run that race to win.
Transition: Paul says that we should...
I. Run the Race to Win (24)
A. Run In Such a Way
1. Paul compared our journey of faith to an Olympic race.
a. The Olympics were already operating in Paul’s time.
b. Second in popularity only to the Olympic games, the Isthmian games were celebrated every two years at Corinth.
c. Athletes would come from all over Greece, and the winners of the games were accorded the highest honor. —Life Application Concise New Testament Commentary
2. To get into the games, and especially to emerge as victors, required that athletes practice strict self-control.
a. Typically, for ten months prior to the games, the athletes-in-training denied themselves many ordinary pleasures.
b. Each put forth his greatest effort during the contest, setting aside all else in order to win the prize.
3. In referring to that race of faith Paul said, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."
a. In the athletic contest, every runner enters the race for one purpose only: to win.
b. However, only one receives the prize; there is only one winner.
c. The believer enters the Christian race for one purpose only: to win.
4. Therefore, he strains in running to obtain the prize. Nothing is acceptable except running and running hard:
a. Walking fast is unacceptable.
b. Jogging is unacceptable.
c. Lagging behind is unacceptable.
d. Showing little concern for the finish line is unacceptable.
5. The point is this: as Christians, we must run the race of faith as diligently as the runner at the Olympic Games.
a. The believer must put out the same kind of vigorous effort in order to reach the finish line.
b. He must be vigorous and diligent; he must persist in the Christian race.
1. Illustration: Recently I read a fable about a dog who loved to chase other animals. He bragged about his great running skill and said he could catch anything. Well, it wasn’t long until his boastful claims were put to the test by a certain rabbit. With ease the little creature outran his barking pursuer. The other animals, watching with glee, began to laugh. The dog excused himself, however, by saying, "You forget, I was only running for fun. He was running for his life!" That does make a difference! Motivation is the most important factor in everything we do.
2. Col. 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (NASB).
3. Like that rabbit, we are running the race of faith for our lives - our eternal lives.
4. Our motivation is not just to be in the race, but our motivation is to win the race.
5. The only way to win the race is to put Christ first in our lives.
a. We must surrender our wants and desires.
b. We must surrender our thoughts and plans for His thoughts and plans.
c. We must surrender our time and make it His time.
d. We must run the race to win.
Transition: In order to win the race we must...
II. Run the Race With Discipline (25)
A. Strict Training
1. Paul says "And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things."