Intro. I believe that Paul was a sports fan. He used many analogies from the different sports. If he were alive today, he would probably be interested in the up coming Super Bowl.
I. WRITING TO THE CORINTHIANS HE SAID, "THEY THAT RUN IN A RACE, RUN ALL BUT ONLY ONE RECEIVES THE PRIZE, SO RUN THAT YOU MIGHT OBTAIN."
A. Run to win. Give it all you've got.
B. I think of the Boston Marathon, the thousands who line up at the start to run the marathon.
1. Many have no intention of winning the race.
2. Many have no intention of even finishing the race.
3. The various goals.
a. Some only plan to run a few miles then drop out and put on the shirt that says, "I ran in the Boston Marathon."
b. Some have as their goal just to finish the race, if they are an hour behind the winner, they don't mind, they only want to say that they finished the race.
c. There are others who are determined to win the race.
4. How is it with you as you run this spiritual race?
a. How many are just running so that you can say that you ran?
b. How many of you just hope that you finish?
c. How many of you are running to win?
5. Paul says, run to win, give it all you've got.
II. HE ALSO NOTED THAT THOSE WHO STRIVED FOR THE MASTERIES WERE TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS.
A. Those who were in training to wrestle in the Olympics were very disciplined.
1. They were willing to deny themselves the fancy foods.
2. They were willing to sweat as they pushed their bodies to the limits.
3. They were willing to make all kinds of sacrifices in order to win.
B. Paul said they were willing to deny themselves in order to win a corruptible crown.
1. In those days the winners in the olympics did not even get gold medals, but just a laurel wreath.
2. The idea if they were willing to put their bodies through such pain to win a corruptible crown how much more should we be willing to sacrifice for an incorruptible crown.
C. At the end of Paul's letter to Timothy he said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown which the Lord our righteous judge shall give to me and not only to me, but to all those who do love His appearing."
1. He is again drawing analogies from the sports world.
a. I have fought a good fight. In another place in 2 Tim he said, "If a man strive for the masteries (which was the term for competition wrestling) he is not crowned unless he strive lawfully." Paul had never seen the World Wrestling Federation.
b. I have finished the course. i.e. the race course.
D. I believe that Paul was the author of the book of Hebrews however there is nothing in the Bible that states that, however whoever the author was they also made reference to racing.
1. Let us lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience this race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
a. Those who trained for the olympics in those days used to tie weights on their bodies as they trained but when it came to the race, they stripped down completely so that they had nothing to impede their running.
b. I think of all of the weights and garbage that we so often carry around in our spiritual lives that hinder us from winning the race.
III. IN PHILIPPIANS 3
PAUL SPEAKS OF HIS PERSONAL LIFE BEFORE MEETING JESUS CHRIST. HE WAS CARRYING AROUND A LOT OF EXTRA BAGGAGE, THINGS THAT HE WAS ONCE PROUD OF, BUT ONCE COMING TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST WAS HAPPY TO LET THEM GO.
A. His goal now in life was to apprehend that for which he was apprehended by Jesus Christ.
1. He realized that when the Lord apprehended him, that the Lord had a plan for his life.
2. His goal now was to accomplish that plan.
B. For each of us the only thing that really counts in life is to apprehend that for which God created us.
1. All of our personal goals as are trash, there is nothing of real value can come to us by accomplishing them.
a. The emptiest moment in a persons life comes the moment after he has accomplished the goals that he had set that he thought would bring him great satisfaction.
b. There is an old saying that is so true, "Success never means as much to the person who has attained it."
c. As Donald Trump confessed, It is the chase that is exciting.
2. We have only one life, it will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.
3. The most fulfilling moment in life is when you suddenly realize that God used you to accomplish His purpose. To realize that God's hand was on your life guiding you to fulfill his purpose.
a. Girl in St. Joseph's hospital.
C. How can I apprehend that for which God created me?
A. Forgetting those things which are behind. All my earthly accomplishments.
B. Reaching forth for those things which are before.
C. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
D. Again we see the runner at the end of the marathon, as he rounds the corner, he can see the tape stretched across the road, and the crowd is cheering him on. He is aware that there are other runners nearby who are all pressing toward that goal, he digs deep for that extra kick that might win the race. Press toward the mark. The reward is so great. "The high calling of God in Christ Jesus."