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Rev. Carl H. Kemp, Pastor

The Disciplined Christian

July 8, 2007

 

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

Introduction

    Verses 19 through 23 might sound like the words of a hypocrite to those who do not know Paul’s teaching.

    He is really giving illustrations of how he adapts his ministry to win people to Christ.

    He now uses athletic terms and illustrations to get across his teaching on Christian discipline (vv. 24-27).

1.)   The Race.

A.    In a physical race, there is only one winner (1 Cor 9:24 NIV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.).

1.    In the Christian race, everyone can be winners.

2.    Watch the way you run.

B.    Those who compete physically go into strict training (1 Cor 9:25 NIV) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.).

1.    Spiritual training should be a Christian lifestyle.

2.    We should set aside everything that might hinder us in living for Christ

(Heb 12:1 NIV)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

(Heb 12:2 NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Heb 12:3 NIV)  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.). 

C.    In the physical race, the crown will not last (1 Cor 9:25 NIV) Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.)..

(1 Cor 9:26 NIV) Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air).

1.    Every race has three characteristics.

a.    A starting point.

b.    A marked course.

c.    A goal or finish line.

 

2.    The Christian race has the same three characteristics.

        a.    The starting point is the new birth (John 3:3 NIV) in reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."). This is our acceptance of Christ as our Savior.

b.    We have a marked course of Christian living. The fruit of the spirit, in contrast with the acts of the sinful nature, illustrate this

(Gal 5:16 NIV)   So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

(Gal 5:17 NIV)   For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

(Gal 5:18 NIV)   But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

(Gal 5:19 NIV)   The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

(Gal 5:20 NIV) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

(Gal 5:21 NIV) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

(Gal 5:22 NIV)   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

(Gal 5:23 NIV) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

                           (Gal 5:24 NIV)  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

                           (Gal 5:25 NIV)  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.).

c.    Our finish line is Heaven. 

 

3.    No one can run a race successfully if they do not abide by these three characteristics.

 

II.    The Fight (1 Cor 9:26 NIV) Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 

A.    Paul may be referring to so called “shadow boxing.

B.    This is a real fight.

1.    It is a fight between good and evil.

2.    It is a fight between Heaven and Hell.

3.    It is a fight between Christ and Satan.

C.    Every Christian is a part of this fight. We are not just to go through the motions of fighting.

 

III.    The Discipline (1 Cor 9:27 NIV) No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.).

A.    Paul reminds us that he controls his body. He makes it his slave.

1.    Some philosophies had taught that the body was evil and it made no difference how we used it.

2.    Paul teaches that the way we live in the body is very important to God (Romans 12:1-2).

B.    Paul doesn’t want to be disqualified.

1.    We are qualified by Christ (Colossians 1:12).

2.    We must not be disqualified by a lack of discipline.

Conclusion

 (2 Tim 4:6 NIV)  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.

(2 Tim 4:7 NIV)  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

(2 Tim 4:8 NIV)  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

. Paul lived out his teaching. He tells us that he “fought the good fight,” he “finished the race,” and he will receive the crown.

Illustration

 

In the great Indianapolis 500, it is the car that is qualified, not the driver. The driver qualifies the car. Christ qualifies us when we come to him as Savior (Col 1:12 NIV) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.).

 

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