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.
Running Your Race
Ill. - Eric Liddell “The Flying Scotsman”
(Note - Read about Eric Liddell’s life at the end of Sermon notes)
(If possible play the theme from the movie "Chariots of Fire" some time during the service. Dino, the Christian concert pianist, has an excellent tape of it.)
Eric Liddell won the Gold Medal running in the 1924 Olympics against great odds. But that was not the greatest race that he ran. The greatest race that he ever ran was the one that every Christian is in.
Whether you realize it or not – If you are a Christian, you’re in a race. Salvation is the gift that puts you in the race. How you run that race and finish it is my message for today.
From our text for today I want us to learn about this race the every Christian is in.
I. Run the Race that is before you. – Your race.
II. Run with Patience.
The Christian race is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A marathon is 26 miles 385 yards.
Every marathon has three parts.
• The Start
• The Second Wind – When you feel like giving up.
• The Finish line
By 7 p.m. on October 20, 1968, at the Mexico City Olympics Stadium, it was beginning to darken. It had cooled down as well. The last of the Olympic marathon runners were being assisted away to first-aid stations. Over an hour earlier, Mamo Waldi of Ethiopia had charged across the finish line, winning the 26-mile, 385-yard race looking as strong and as vigorous as when he’d started. As the last few thousand spectators began preparing to leave, they heard police sirens and whistles through the gate entering the stadium. The attention turned to that gate. A sole figure, wearing the colors of Tanzania, came limping into the stadium. His name was John Steven Aquari. He was the last man to finish the marathon in 1968. His leg was bandaged, bloody. He had taken a bad fall early in the race. Now, it was all he could do to limp his way around the track. The crowd stood and applauded as he completed that last lap.
When he finally crossed the finish line, one man dared ask the question all were wondering.
"You are badly injured. Why didn’t you quit? Why didn’t you give up?" Aquari, with quiet dignity said,
"My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish."
III. Lay aside every weight and sin.
Bitterness – Discouragement – Faithlessness – Laziness – Selfishness
IV. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
How do you keep endurance? – Keep your eyes on Jesus.
The Three “L’s”
• Let us run the race
• Lay aside every weight
• Look unto Jesus
V. There is a reward at the end of the Race
In the Greek Olympics, the winners were given crowns made of laurel wreaths. These were crowns that soon withered and corrupted. We as Christians will be given crowns for running the Christian race.
1. The Incorruptible Crown – I Cor. 9:24-25 (Vs. 25)
The Crown for Striving. – This is given for keeping under subjection one’s body.
2. The Crown of Rejoicing – II Thes. 2:19-20
The Crown for Witnessing. – For winning people to Christ.
3. The Crown of Righteousness – II Tim. 4:8
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.
4. The Crown of Life – James 1:12
The Martyrs Crown – For enduring Suffering.
5. The Crown of Glory – I Peter 5:1-4 (Vs. 4)
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."