Summary: Theme: Victory - Jesus Style - What it means to be a Victorious Christian Proposition: In this passage Paul shares three keys to living a victorious Christian Life: 1. Be Determined 2. Be Dedicated 3. Be Deliberate in Action
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Theme: Victory - Jesus Style - What it means to be a Victorious Christian
Proposition: In this passage Paul shares three keys to living a victorious Christian Life: 1. Be Determined 2. Be Dedicated 3. Be Deliberate in Action
Grace and peace from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sins of the world.
All over the planet, people are fanatical about sports. All you have to do is to turn on the radio, T.V. or simply look across the fence and you will find some kind of sport being played no matter what time of the year. There is soccer, cricket, golf, baseball, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, football, hockey, tennis, swimming, NASCAR, boxing, track and field, taekwondo, wrestling, cheerleading, field hockey, rugby, wrestling along with motor bike racing and the list could go on and on. According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are at least 8,000 different indigenous sports and sporting games.
How popular are some of those sports?1 The most popular sport on the planet today is the game of soccer which states that it has approx. 2.5 to 3 billion fans. Soccer is also played by more than 250 million athletes of all sizes and ages all across the world. Coming in 2nd and 3rd are the games of Cricket and basketball. They each report that they have as many as 2 billion fans. Believe it or not, volleyball and table tennis state that they have over a fan base over 900 million. Baseball and American football comes in at # 8 and #9 on the list of most popular sports with approx. 350 - 400 million fans each worldwide.
The names of sport greats can be found everywhere. In the sports world you constantly hear the names of individuals like - Floyd Mayweather ( who according to Forbes Magazine made 300 million dollars in 2015), Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton, Lindsey Vonn, Peyton Manning, Stephan Curry, Serena Williams, Mike Trout, Lionel Messi, Steve Smith, Kyle Bush and Jeremy James to name a few.
According to A T Kearney, sports is a 700 billion dollar enterprise.2 That means, if worldwide sports were its own nation, it would be listed as the 19th richest nation in the world. Globally we spend more money on sports than the GNP of nations like Switzerland and Sweden raise in a year.3
Sports have been around for a long, long time. We moderns are not the first people to be obsessed with sports. Before there was soccer, boxing, basketball and cricket ancient man enjoyed chariot races, running and jumping sports along with the throwing of the discus, hurling and wrestling.
Ancient Romans, Greeks, Chinese and Gaelics all had their "Olympic" games. Each nation and/or territory prided themselves on their athletic prowess. So too, did the citizens of Corinth. It is not by accident that the Apostle Paul uses sports metaphors in speaking to the people of Corinth. While the Greeks and the Romans had their Olympic games the Corinthians prided themselves in hosting what they called the Isthmian Games.
The New Testament shares that in order to support his missionary work, Paul was a tent maker. Tents were a necessity in ancient days, especially around great sporting events and festivals. With the lack of adequate housing, people would stay in tents while the games were being played. The tents provided temporary lodging for spectators and fans alike. No doubt the Apostle was responsible for some of the tents that were used during the Isthmian Games. I also believe that Paul was at least a superficial sports enthusiasts by reading such passages as "I have finished the race" and "I have fought the good fight." (2 Timothy 4) along with other passages that included sports metaphors.
In our passage here in 1 Corinthians chapter nine, the Apostle Paul wants us to understand what it takes to compete for the greatest prize of all - the prize of everlasting life in Christ Jesus. This life begins with the New Birth and continues through all eternity. Paul compares the Christian Life to a race and to a boxing match in which we are to suppose to compete to win. Paul believes that we are to live in such a way to bring honor and glory to our LORD. We are to live so that the others might see Christ and seeks salvation.
I believe we can glean from what Paul shares with us in verses 24 -27 three important keys showing us how we can all be winners in Christ. Paul desires and challenges everyone who reads his letter to compete and win the ultimate prize. He does not want anyone who starts off with Christ to not finish and experience abundant everlasting life. In essence Paul is saying - RUN, FIGHT, LIVE as a Winner. Run your life as a winner does. Fight the good fight much the same way as an excellent boxer. Model your Christian life as a winning athlete and not one that loses.