Summary: Whether you realize it or not, as a Christian you are in a race. Salvation is the gift that puts you in that race. How you run that race and finish it is the theme of this message.
The Crown for loving the Lord’s Appearance
There is a difference between loving the Lord’s appearing and loving our disappearing.
• Some Christians want the Lord to come back so he can take us out of the mess we are in. This is not loving our Lord’s appearing.
The Martyrs Crown – For enduring Suffering.
The Crown for Shepherding – The pastor or elders crown for feeding the flock of God.
In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Great Britain’s Derek Redmond was expected to win the gold medal for his country. As the race started everything started well. Some time during the race something went wrong. Derek felt a pain that caused him to fall on the track. He went down with a torn right hamstring. Even though he experienced excruciating pain, he struggled to his feet, pushed away the medical attendants who had rushed out to help him, and started to hop on one leg in a determined effort to finish the race.
When Redmond reached the homestretch, a large man in a T-shirt that said “Have You Hugged Your Kid Today” and a hat that said “Just Do It” came out of the stands. He pushed his way through the security guards and ran to Derek Redmond and hugged him. It was his father. "You don’t have to do this," he told his weeping son. "Yes, I do," whispered Derek through his pain. "Well, then," said the father, "we’re going to finish this together."
That’s exactly what they did. The son’s head was sometimes buried in his father’s shoulder, but the two men stayed in Derek’s lane and crossed the finish line together as the crowd looked on, then rose up, cheered, and wept
One of Scotland’s greatest athletes, Eric Liddell was born in China, the son of Scottish missionaries. It was while he was attending Edinburgh University preparing for the ministry that his talent for running came to light. He won the 100 yards and the 220 yards for five successive years at the Scottish Athletic Championships.
Liddell was an unorthodox sprinter. Coming out of his starting holes, Liddell ran with abandon, head tilted toward the skies. When asked how he knew where the finish line was located, he replied in his deliberate Scottish brogue, "The Lord guides me."
Selected to run for Britain in the 100 metres in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, Eric waited excitedly for the posting of the Olympic heats for the 100 meters and the 4X100 and 4X400 relays, his best events. He was stunned upon learning the preliminary dashes were on Sunday. "I’m not running," he said flatly and then turned his attention to train for the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. He considered Sunday to be a day set apart for the Lord; and he would honor his convictions at the expense of fame.
On Sunday, July 6, Liddell preached in a Paris church as the 100-meter heats were run. Three days later, he finished third in the 200-meter sprint, taking an unexpected bronze medal. He quietly made his way through the heats of the 400 meters but was not expected to win. Shaking hands with the other finalists, he readied for the race of his life.