TOPIC: RUNNING THE RACE TO OBTAIN AN INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN
TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27
* 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
* 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
* 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
* 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
As we continue our study of the scriptures, we are in I Corinthians chapter 9, and today, we are studying from verses 24 to 27.vs 24. The Apostle has been talking about the Christian life, and the grace and strength we ought to have as we walk by faith along the path that leads to the ultimate destination which is heaven. He compares our Christian life with the race which athletes run, he said that as we run, we run to receive the prize, he admonished that we run in a way whereby we will obtain the prize and wear the crown. vs 25. Anyone who runs a race in this world is expectant, temperate and patient so that he can receive a temporary and corruptible crown, that is, all the awards which athletes in the world receive are corruptible, whereas, we are running to get incorruptible rewards and crowns. Paul made himself an example to the Jews, Gentiles and present-day believers that he ran and was still running and would continue running until he saw God face to face and the final reward is received.
Apostle Paul knew that there is heaven because he was taken to a place called Paradise, the third heaven. He knew he would be there, so he ran with confidence and certainty, he did not run as one wasting his life, time, energy and resources. He was not running as one beating the air. To overcome triumphantly, he had to deny himself so that nothing hindered him in the race. He was watchful, prayerful and purposeful so that on the final day, he will not hear, “depart from me, you worker of iniquity”. He put his body under while running the race so that he will not eventually be a castaway.
A. RUNNING THE RACE WITH PERSEVERING COMMITMENT(1 Corinthians 9:24-25a; Hebrews 12:1-2,14; 1 Peter 4:2-4; Psalm 18:29-36; 19:5,7-9,13; Ecclesiastes 9:10-11; Psalm 119:32-37; Galatians 5:7-9; Philippians 2:14-16; Galatians 2:2,20; Isaiah 40:29-31; Philippians 3:12-14)
As we run the race, it is not enough to persevere for just one week, month or year, but all through our lives. As we run the race, the perseverance continues. Athletes do everything from jogging to running and exercising their bodies in order to keep fit for anytime they have a contest. Every day of their lives, they do all that they need to do so that they will not lag behind in their careers.
Not everybody in life is an athlete or a runner, but we are all spiritual athletes in the kingdom: young and old, men and women, boys and girls, and we must strive lawfully, loyally and scripturally so that on the final day, we will receive the reward. A spiritual athlete is temperate so that no part of his life is flabby or out of control. He must be temperate, that is, under the control of the Spirit of God and under the control of the doctrines of the word of God so that he can please He who called
him. All heroes of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11 ran and completed their races, and now, it is our turn to run ours. No athlete will strap a 20 pound weight on his back because he wants to be as light as possible so that he can run appropriately in order to win. Therefore, every weight around you that will hinder you from running scripturally and appropriately: the pressures and encumbrances of the world must be done away with, likewise, the sins that so easily beset you. Theconstant nudging of your conscience is a sure sign that you have erred.
This will not allow you to run well. You must run the race purposefully, perseveringly, and intelligently. You cannot set another race or a different standard. This is what some people do in order to please themselves, but such race will not lead to heaven.
We are not walking by the standard of the world but by the will of God. Now, we are running a clear race, as a good example to others around us. Holy and transformed life is strange to unbelievers, they cannot imagine how we can do away with the pleasures of the world. They cannot understand how young people will not have sin partners and indulge in immoral pleasures of the world. But we know that we are running a race that will take us to heaven. A race that will make us not to care about what people of the world do to please themselves, but will make us cleanse ourselves and maintain a constant life of holiness
Apostle Paul rebuked the Galatian Christians because they were not the way they used to be. He said they have left their former convictions and are backslidden. He condemned such persons who came to discourage them from doing what they ought to do please God. He warned about the little leaven which leavens the whole lump. He admonished that everything they do must be done without murmurings and disputing. Obey the Lord, and serve Him with sincerity of heart so that you can be blameless harmless, and without rebuke. Apostle Paul admonished Philippians to ensure that they hold the word of God in high esteem. You will hold on to the word of life with whichyou support everything you do. The word of God must guide and guard
your life. As a leader, everything you teach must be with conviction and firmly rooted on the word of God. You must not deviate from the ancient landmark. Give time to discuss on the teachings of the word of God you have learned with others. Apostle Paul went to discuss the scriptures with brethren who knew more than him. Allow your brother, sister, spouse, pastor, etc to enlighten you more on the word of God. Do not act as one who knows it all. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). How do you run the race acceptably? (Isaiah 40:31) By waiting upon the Lord so that you will not fall into temptation and away from the track. Then you will also get the spiritual strength and energy to run the race
to the end.
B. RECEIVING THE REWARD OF A PRICELESS CROWN (1 Corinthians 9:25b,26; 2 Timothy 2:4-5; Hebrews 12:2-4; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; James 1:12,21-22; 1 Peter 5:4,8-10; Revelation 2:10-11; 3:11-12; 1 Peter 1:4-5,14-16; 1 Corinthians 3:8,13-14; Colossians 3:23-25; Revelation 22:12-21)
The goal and purpose in whatever we do as Christians is to run the race until we receive the priceless crown.People of the world who engage in sporting activities which will not take them to heaven put all their efforts in all that they do, how much more we who are running a race that leads to heaven? Apostle Paul did not say, “do as I say, and not as I do”. He lived his life as a good example to the brethren. He refused to entangle himself with the affairs of the world. As Christian parents, we must be good examples to our children, we will not tell them to do what we ourselves cannot do successfully. Striving for mastery entails that you strive lawfully. You will not strive against the doctrines and teachings of the word of God but rather against your own shortcomings and weaknesses so that you can overcome them. Christians must not have the habit of compromising when faced with challenges and temptations, because the love of God helps us to persevere and please God in all things in order to win the
crown that fades not away. Revelation 2:11,10. He that overcomes will not partake of the second death. There is going to be a final and permanent separation which is called the second death: that is, separation from the Eternal God forever.
People around you may not understand the race you are running. To live the Christian life and run the race, you must ensure that you do not bend or compromise to the level that is devoid of grace and commitment. You must brace up for all difficulties ahead. Hold on to the end and you will win the crown of life. The Lord wants us to live our lives without sin, corruption, and evil, as those expecting rewards onthe final day. Keep in your heart all that you have heard and learned in the word of God and match everything you do with them. Weigh every action in the standard of the word of God. Always remember that with Him, there is no respect of persons.
Revelation 22:12-15. Jesus will come with rewards which He will apportion to all according to how their works, lives and activities shall be. All who do the commandments of God will have a right of place in the Holy city. But those who are banished outside the kingdoms are the dogs, adulterers/adulteresses, whoremongers, witches, wizards, idol worshippers, all liars and all who indulge in any kind of sins. I pray that on the final day, you will not be found outside, but inside the
kingdom in Jesus name.
C. RECOGNIZING THE REALITY OF A POSSIBLE CASTAWAY (1 Corinthians 9:27; Hosea 9:17; Jeremiah 6:30; 18:9-10; 1 Chronicles 28:9-10; Matthew 5:13; 13:47-48,49-50; Luke 9:23-25; Romans 11:15,20-22; Hebrews 10:35-39; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Matthew 7:21-23)
The possibility of being cast away is there, that is why Apostle Paul kept his body under. Everything: his thoughts, actions, life, dealings with others, everything he kept under subjection in order to not be a castaway.As a leader, pastor, evangelist, worker, no matter how important your services in the church are, you must keep your body under control. Your getting saved and remaining in the church or otherwise is a matter of choice. You only have control over your own body, not on others,
you can counsel and pray for them, but it is a personal responsibility to run the race and win the crown.
How will it be if everything goes out of control? There will definitely be chaos. As it is in the church, so it is in the family, every member must put themselves under guidance and control of leadership. Apostle Paul kept his body under so that after helping others to make heaven, he himself will not be cast away. Anyone who refuses to listen to and obey the word of God will be cast away. After coming to the kingdom, we need the grace and power of God as well as personal consecration to be steadfast so as not to perish. David counseled his son, Solomon to ensure that he did not depart from God so that He will not cast him away, even though he planned to build Him a temple. He told him to seek the God of his Fathers and follow His will and ways. Fathers as heads of families need to be sincere and truthful to their children, leaders of churches must ensure that they tell their members the truth they need to know so that they will not be cast off at the end. Matthew 13:47. The nets of fishermen catch all manner of living things from the sea after which they need to sit down and sort everything,keep the good and throw away the bad. It is not given that all who attend church will make it to heaven. So it will be at the end of the world, angels of God will come and cast sinners into the fire of hell while the righteous will have a sure place in heaven. If you want to make heaven, keep parts of your body under control, then take up your cross and follow the Lord. All those who will lose their lives, ease, pleasure, ego, self-life, etc. for the sake of Christ will save it, while all those who cannot lose anything for the sake of heaven will lose all. What shall it profit anyone if he gains the whole world and lose his soul? All the money, wealth, reputation, respect, friendships, flattery of the world will not be enough to give him life eternal. You will not be a castaway in Jesus name, but you must ensure that you keep
your body under control. 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”.
Man is body, soul and spirit. Apostle Paul made his eternal destiny number one in his considerations because at death, the body is buried in the grave while the spirit and soul go up to God in eternity. He would not allow his body to ruin his chances of making heaven. He made his body subservient and a slave to his spirit. He ensured that his body submits and bows to his spirit so that he will not make a shipwreck of his spiritual life. He made his inner man to be in total control. Thanks be to God that Paul was not cast away. Eventually, he said he had fought a good fight and finished his course and run the race and acrown of righteousness was waiting for him, not only for him, but also for all who love the Lord. God who helped Apostle Paul will help us and by His grace and power, we will run victoriously to the end in Jesus name. Amen.
* Take all the things you have learned fully and wholeheartedly to the Lord in prayer.
* Pray for Pastor W.F Kumuyi that he will run the race well to the end. He will not labour or run in vain. Amen and Amen