Run the Race to Win the Prize
1 Corinthians 9
- Every 2 years we get to enjoy the Olympics
- Summer / Winter games combine 33 different sports with almost 400 events
- Today’s games have over 10,000 world class athletes from 200 nations
- Yet the first Olympic Games for which we still have written records were held in 776 B.C.
- The Olympic Games were held for almost 1,200 years. From the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD
- In 393 AD, the Roman emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. The Olympics took on a religious importance, with shrines and altars being built and featured sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honoring gods such as Zeus.
- The Ancient Olympic Games started in Greece. It was kingdom versus kingdom. These games featured mainly athletic but also had chariot racing events. During the games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the games were finished.
- After a 1,500 year absence, a French athlete got everything started again. The modern day International Olympic Committee (IOC) was established in 1894. Games were once again established in 1896. These Games brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events.
- The Olympics became even more popular in 1964 when satellites were used to broadcast live television worldwide, and then again in 1968 with the introduction of color television.
- 1968 games in Mexico city – had a viewership of 600 million
- 1992 Summer games in Spain had a viewership of 3.5 billion
- With that kind of viewership, TV executives took notice. NBC has paid $3.5 billion for the broadcast rights of all the Olympic Games from 2000 to 2012
Competition – National pride – Rewards
All values that people respond to
Common ground for all to meet on
1 Corinthians 9:24
“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.”
- Olympic Games & the Isthmian games (which were held in Corinth)
- What is the prize? A crown made of greenery.
- See the comparison to the Christian life and being a world class athlete?
- We are to serve our Lord with the same commitment and dedication a world class athlete has for his or her sport!
- We are running a race where the reward, a crown, will last forever.
“I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.”
- Conflicts among church leaders, Legalism
- Paul’s concern at the Jerusalem council was the understanding that a Gentile can become a Christian, there was no middle step such as Gentile-convert to being a Jew, and THEN can become a Christian
“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.”
- An athlete would strip away anything that would hinder them
- Running in the nude was common (in Paul’s day!)
- We as believers are to throw off any sin that hinders us such as bad habits, bad attitudes, laziness, pride, selfishness. GET RID OF IT!
2 Timothy 4:6-8
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that…
- Paul writes to Timothy that he is about to finish the race. He has kept his eyes on the prize and is about to receive his reward from God for a life well lived.
- He writes from 3 perspectives
- (His present) He is about to finish his earthly life and he is passing the baton on.
- (His past) He has been faithful.
- (His future) He’s looking forward to receiving his HEAVENLY reward.