Text: 1 Cor. 9:24-27
Thesis: To stress the importance of running and finishing the Christian’s race.
(1) Think of the track and field events of the Olympic Games.
(2) Let us note some aspects pertaining to the Christian’s race:
I. To receive the crown, one must begin the race:
A. One cannot win a race that he/she doesn’t run.
B. We begin the race at conversion.
II. To receive the crown, one must keep at the race:
A. To be able to keep going, “the candidate for the races was required to be ten months in training, and to practice in the gymnasium immediately before the games, under the direction of judges who had themselves been instructed for ten months in the details of the games” (Vincent).
B. Christians must be willing:
1. To exercise self-control (v. 25a.)
“The apostle’s point is to affirm the fact that in his own life he strives hard to make sure that he practices self-control and makes himself a slave” (Oster 218).
2. To remove any hindrances (Heb. 12.1)
“The athlete denies himself many lawful pleasures and the Christian must similarly avoid not only definite sin, but anything that hinders spiritual progress” (Morris 137).
3. To work (cf. 2 Tim. 2.15; 1 Cor. 15.58)
III. To receive the crown, one must finish the race:
A. The runners ran to receive the wreath, which was composed of pine leaves and sometimes of celery (Thiselton 713).
B. We must keep our eyes on the goal.
1. The Hebrew writers equates this to fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12.2).
2. Paul compares this to running with purpose (v. 26).
C. “Like the runner, the Christian must give of his best (Morris 137).
1. The word competes comes from agonizomai.
2. We must stretch out to cross the finish line.
(1) Have you started the race?
(2) Are you still running?
(3) Run and finish the race and you will receive the crown (Rev. 2.10; 2 Tim. 4.8).