Summary: Running the race of life

INTRO: Pastor and I driving Josh football game, notice Shannon running. Thank the Lord that I was not

out there running, but as I began to reflect came to the conclusion that we’re all in a race – the

race of life.

TITLE: The Race of Life

TEXT: I Corinthians 9:24-27 (READ)

I. Race of Life (24a)

A. Race – Paul makes reference to a contest that all are participating in.

1. My example of baseball.

2. Race Paul is talking about is the race of life.

a. Like the Olympics (100 meters, 440, 880, 10,000; high jump, decathlon, swimming events,


Point: There are many different events in the Olympics with many different athletes, but they have the same goal (winning).

*It’s the same with us (running the race of life). We all want the prize “heaven”.

b. We all are in the race!

1. Some may not think they’re in a race (but they are).

2. Others are headed down the wrong trail.

3. Others are on the sidelines watching.

*Sadly, most are going to be disqualified for breaking the rules!

4. We’re all in the race (different events).

a. God has different plans for each one of our lives (parts of the body)

ex. Farmers, politicians, carpenters, housewives, teachers, etc.

Point: We all need to be faithful in what the Lord has for us!

Illustrate: Fourth century monk, Telemachus, little sort of a man. Spend most of his life teaching and raising a garden to live on. Lived in a small community. Felt led by the Lord to go to Rome, obeyed. Long journey. Found his way to Rome. Shocked at how the people were so angry, violence. Caught up in the mob and before he knew it, in great coliseum, sitting at the top, all the excitement, stunned to see two giants fighting. Started yelling “stop, in God’s name stop.” No one listened, ran down to perimeter yelling, “in God’s name stop.” No good, jumped down in arena. People began to laugh, then got annoyed. Screamed out, “kill him”. Giant killed him. Strange thing happened. The place became silent and everyone began to leave. Last time anyone fought to death in the Roman coliseum. Faithful little man directed by God to be a martyr to stop the senseless killings in Rome.

TS: We need to be faithful like Telemachus and do what the Lord wants, because He will help guide us in this race. Paul is trying to get this message across to the church at Corinth (race).

B. Background of message

1. Corinth population, 500,000, corrupted sea-port city, pagan worship, Aphrodite.

-1,000 female prostitutes.

-Paul started church on second missionary journey. Having problems so Paul is writing this letter to help the Christians.

2. I believe we can use the same principles today to help us with our walk.

TS: We’re all in a race. The next question: How should we run?

II. Run in such a way as to get the prize (24b)

A. Do you very best with what you have.

1. Some get discouraged because they feel God has dealt them an unfair hand.

Ex. Tom Sullivan, Good Morning America, MASH, Airport 77, world-class athlete, two national

championships in wrestling, in the ’58 Olympics, earned a degree at Harvard. Musician, runs 6

miles a day, swims, skydives. Tom is blind, speaks to thousands at conventions around America.

POINT: Tom did not let his disadvantage cripple him from enjoying life!

2. Chuck Swindoll book Living on the Ragged Edge talks about two points:

1. What is your unjust disadvantage (not hangnail).

2. Replace self-pity with active courage.

Ex. Paul and Barnabus in Lystra (Acts 14) take him out and stone him and he returns!

-Jesus teaches us to go the extra mile.

POINT: The impact of how you handle your disadvantage is going to make an impact on the world around you (either positive or negative).

B. Strict training: verse 25 – GK word picture “athletes self-control in dieting and rigorous bodily


1. Verse 27 – beat my body and make it my slave (picture of a boxer fighting with bear knuckles

beating each other black and blue).

a. Paul beats his body black and blue in order to bring it into submission (to be his slave).

Story: young man in ice, survived freezing Atlantic.

QUESTION: Are we preparing ourselves properly so the Lord can use us at anytime? Or, are we living on great victories of the past?

C. Verse 26 – don’t run aimlessly.

1. Like a man beating the air (may look impressive, but it does not amount to much).

Ex. Greatest athlete, academic achievements, even spiritual gifts. Not using the talent for the Lord is a waste. (Paul says like a man beating the air). (End Result)

a. I Corinthians 3:10-15 (READ) says it better.

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