THE CHRISTIAN RACE

The Christian Race

Run your race for God

INTRODUCTION:

If you have seen the Forest Gump movie, then you know that forest was a runner. Different people run fore different reasons, some people run to get to something, while others run to get away from something. Perhaps some of you are runners, you might be running for health reasons, Or to loss weight, or to get in shape, or you just might like to run. Forest Gump ran for a reason.

Professional athletes run to win a prize, or a trophy or both. When I think about the athletes, it reminds me of the letter Paul had written to the Corinthians. In his letter, Paul compares the Christen life to a race and Christians to athletes who, if they want to experience the joy of victory, will have to endure the agony of training for and running the race.

In (1-Cor.9:24-27) The apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians that those who run in a race all run, But one receives the prize?

Then Paul lays out six principles that if followed, Will guarantee the believer a victorious race.

The first principle Paul laid out is to,

1) Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize.

What is Paul saying in his statement? Paul is saying when you run; make sure that you are not running in vain. In other words, Make sure that your running is producing the desired results, and the desired result is to win the prize and receive eternal life as well.

In (Hebrews 12:1-3) Paul speaks about three essential way’s that an athlete or believer should run if they want to be successful.

Run with endurance.

Any runner who competes for a race must exercise self-control, without it you will fail in your attempt to win the race. Champions are not born champions, nor are they champions because of there size, strength, or physical appearance.

Athletes become champions-because they exercising self-control.


David was not a big man, nor was he strong, yet because of self-control, David defeated a giant. David was God’s champion. You too can be God’s champion if you also exercise self-control when tempted, staying power when the road gets bumpy, stamina to finish your course, and a determined mind to serve the Lord, regardless of the circumstances
(1 Samuel.17:21-50).

The second principle Paul laid out is to:

2) Run the race set before you.

God has given everyone a race or course to run. The course is designed for each individual by God. I can not run your race-nor can you run my race, everyone must run the race given to them by God.

1) Adam’s course was to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth with Godly children, And Subdue the land (Gen.1:28).

2) Noah’s race or course was to build the Ark in which eight souls, were saved through water (1-Peter 3:20).

3) Abraham’s course was to be a father of many nations. Although, at the time of the promise, Abraham had no offspring or children (Gen.17:4-7).

4) Moses, Course was to bring God’s people, the children of Israel out of Egypt (Ex.3:7-10).

5) The early prophets course was to foretell the coming of Christ. Or the Messiah, the deliver of God’s people.

6) The Christian course is to believe in Jesus, whom God has sent (Jn.6:29).

7) The course God gave Jesus was the cross. The prize is eternal life for everyone who confesses Christ as their personal Savior (Rom.10:9).

The third principle Paul laid out is to:

3) Do not become weary or discouraged

In any race, it is easy to become weary and discouraged. Paul, in his walk with the Lord, faced a lot of discouraging moments, Paul tells of his afflictions which he suffered serving the Lord.

Paul suffered beatings, put in prison, stoned, shipwrecked three times, in danger from robbers, his countrymen, the Gentiles, and false brethren.

In (2-Cor.4:17) the apostle Paul says, For our light affliction or suffering is but for a moment; As Christians, we have to remember that our sufferings are only for a moment, they will pass.

What kept Paul from becoming weary during his race?
Paul stayed focused on the prize at hand, and the reason why he was running. Paul said I press toward the prize, the upward call of God (Philipps.3:14).

Paul was running to receive the crown of life, promised to those who finish their course.

The fourth principle Paul laid out is to:

4) Be temperate in all things.

Paul says everyone who competes for the prize must be temperate in all things.

As Christians, and runners for Christ, we must exercise self-restraint in every situation so that we can walk away from the things that are contrary to the word of God.

The fifth principle Paul laid out is to:

5) Run not with uncertainty:

In the Forest Gump movie, Forest new why he was running, it was to survive, he ran to get away from those who were threatening his life. Forest was running with braces on both of his legs.

If he had any hope of winning his race, he must first kick of the restraints that are hindering his running. Paul says, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which ensnares us, and let us run the race that is set before us (Heb.12:1).

Like Forest Gump, let us also put off those things that hinder our relationship with the Lord. Let us put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of our mouths (Col.3:8). And put on the new man created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph.4:24).

The sixth principle Paul laid out is to:

6) Discipline your body

Anyone competing in a contest must discipline their body if they hope to win a prize. The athlete trains and bring his body into subjection for the race.

Forest Gump trained by running every day. Because of Gump’s consistent training, he was able to kick off the leg restates that was hindering him. Forest, because of discipline, was able to outrun a speeding pick-up truck.

Paul said, I discipline my body and bring it into subjection with God's rules.

What is Paul saying? As Christians, if we do not learn how to bring our bodies under subjection to God's rules such as: our thoughts, our tongues, our evil desires, lest when we have preached to others, we become disqualified because we do the same things we tell others not to do that they might receive salvation.

Paul said, anyone who competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Everyone who competes for the prize must follow the rules set forth by God, no runner or believer can add or subtract from God’s rule book and expect to win the prize.

Paul said whoever competes in athletics must play according to the rules.

Let’s look at God’s rule book.

Open your Bible to (1-Tim.4:7-12),
Let’s read these verses together

(V-7) But reject profane and old wives fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

(V-8) For bodily exercise profit’s a little, but godliness is profitable for all
Things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

(V-9) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
(V-10) For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in
the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

(V-12) Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in
faith, in purity.
(V-13) Give attention to reading the Bible.
(V-14) Do not neglect the gift that is in you, the Holy Spirit.
(V-15) Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your
progress may be evident to all.
(V-16) Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine of Christ. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

But you, O man, or Woman of God, flee those things that hinder you and pursue righteousness, godless, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

In Paul’s second letter to young Timothy, as well as to us, Paul writes, Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Be watchful in all things, enduring afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Fight the good fight of faith, finish the race, (2-Tim.4:2,5).

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witness (1-Tim.6:11-13).

Inclosing:

The apostle Paul, fought the good fight, he finished his race, and has kept the faith. Paul received the prize in which he was running to win, the crown of righteousness. Paul also received the promise, eternal life (2-Tim.4:6-8).

Run your race to win.
Run your race to receive the crown of righteousness.
Run your race to receive the promise, eternal life.

I pray God strengthens you, and enables you to finish your race,
Amen.

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