Summary: Encouragement to run the race and win the prize.
THE CHRISTIANS RACE
Hebrews 12:1 Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
I. THE STARTING POST
1. IT BEGINS AT THE NEW BIRTH
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
2. IT CONTINUES AT CONSECRATION
Romans 12:1 I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
3. IT CONTINUES AT SEPARATION
II Timothy 2:20 - 22 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
II. THE RULES
1. IT MUST BE RUN WITH EYES ON JESUS
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2. IT MUST BE RUN WITH HEAVENLY AFFECTION
Colossians 3:2 & 3 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
3. IT MUST BE WITH SHOD FEET
Ephesians 6:15 With your feet fitted with the readiness that
comes from the gospel of peace.
III. THE COURSE
1. IT CONSISTS OF CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Jude v. 3 & 4 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
2. IT CONSISTS OF ABOUNDING IN THE LORD’S WORK
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
3. IT CONSISTS OF HOLDING FORTH THE WORD OF GOD
Philippians 2:15 &16 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing.
IV. THE GOAL
1. THE GOAL IS NOT TO BE DISQUALIFIED
I Corinthians 9:27 I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
2. THE GOAL IS TO FULFIL OUR CALLING
Philippians 3:14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.
3. THE GOAL IS TREASURES IN HEAVEN
Matthew 6:20 & 21 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
V. THE HINDRANCES
1. LACK O FAITH
Matthew 14:31 Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
2. LACK OF LOVE
Luke 7:47 I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven— for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
3. UNCONFESSED SIN
Revelation 2:4 & 5 I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
VI. THE REWARD
1. AN INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN FOR ALL THE RUNNERS
I Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
2. A CROWN OF LIFE FOR FAITHFUL RUNNERS