TEXT: 1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
1. Society is fascinated with sports.2. We are a competitive nation who does not like to lose.3. In sports, 2nd place means that the last game a team plays that season is a loss.4. Silver Medalist Syndrome – Athlete reflects on how past events could have turned out better – especially if those alternativerealities were within very close reach.
a. According to Medvec, Madey, and Gilovich (1995), bronze medalists are often happier than silver medalists.b. They smile more on the podium at the medal ceremony because they focus on the alternative of winning no medal,whereas the silver medalists focus on "what could have been.”
5. Barnes notes (regarding those who ran in the Olympics in that day) how "they regarded it so highly that those who prepared themselves for it thought it worth while to use means to burn their spleen, because it was believed to be a hinderance to them…”6. In our race towards eternal life, there is only one way to complete it.7. 3 stages in sports just as there are 3 stages in our spiritual journey.
a. Train; Apply; Finish.b. Without training we will never be able to apply effectively.c. Without applying we will never finish the way we need.d. All are necessary.
I. SET OUR SIGHTS ON THE GOAL AND TRAIN FOR IT.
A. A team does not go into a season with the goal to finish 2nd.B. A marathon runner prepares physically / mentally.C. We must prepare spiritually / mentally.
1. Mat 6:33 – lists the goal and reward.2. We must labor in order to be pleasing to God (2 Cor 5:9)3. Labor (Greek) means ambitious in a good sense of fond or honor.
D. We must prepare physically.
1. Rom 12:12. The human body is the instrument to which all service to God is rendered.3. Some think it is ok to smoke or other drugs because "the bible does not talk about it.”4. 1Co 6:20
II. RUN THE RACE.
A. Every person’s efforts and decisions are their own, but they should be for the good of the church.B. Once we are internally sound, we are to spread it.
1. Mat 28:19-20.2. "Go ye” means "go me.”
C. Running the race means putting forth your best effort.
III. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO FINISH.
A. First place is an eternal reward.
1. 1Co 9:242. Rom 2:10.3. 2Ti 4:7-8.4. Mar 16:16
B. No one wants the alternative in this battle.
1. 2nd place in our spiritual battle is a spiritual death.2. Rev 20:10.
C. No one who ever finished first said winning is not everything.
1. Those who will taste the joys of heaven will never say that spiritual victory is not everything.2. Revelation 21:4
1. How will you finish?2. Life is a marathon that everyone will run.3. There is a finish line – only one of two options when we complete it.4. We need to train ourselves by studying the word of God and its context.5. We need to run by applying that knowledge and living by it.6. Are you where you need to be to finish? Are you ready to face the Lord?