"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS"Obtaining The Prize (9:24-27)INTRODUCTION1. In our text (1Co 9:24-27), Paul alludes to the ancient Grecian games...a. Running in a racec. Competing for a prizeb. Fighting as a boxer2. He observes that there are principles common to both athletes andChristians...a. The need for motivationb. The need for self-controlc. The need for exercise3. These are necessary to "obtain" the prize...a. The Greek word translated "obtain" is katalambanob. It means "to apprehend, attain, obtain, find"
- Complete WordStudy Dictionaryc. "In allusion to the public games, to obtain the prize with theidea of eager and strenuous exertion, to grasp, seize upon"- ibid.[Whether one is an athlete or a Christian, there are three thingsnecessary to "Obtaining The Prize"...]I. THE IMPORTANCE OF MOTIVATIONA. IN THE LIFE OF THE ATHLETE...1. The proper motivation is necessary to win2. Different motives make a difference in a racea. Some run to winc. The latter really don't care if they win or notb. Others run for their health3. The successful athlete is motivated by the gold medal or wreatha. A perishable crown, to be sureb. But one representing fame and glory, that motivates theathlete to excelB. IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN...1. The proper motivation is likewise necessary to win2. Different motives can make a big differencea. Some are Christians to please their conscience, or to pleaseothers b. Some are Christians because of the present blessings (peace of mind, fellowship)3. But the successful Christian is motivated by what lies at thec. Such motives may have their place in the life of the Christianend of the racea. An imperishable crown - 1Co 9:25cb. The crown of righteousness, which motivated Paul - 2Ti 4:7-8c. The incorruptible inheritance that awaits us - 1Pe 1:3-4;d. Just as Jesus endured the cross "for the joy that was setbefore Him" - He 12:1-2[What motivates you as a Christian, running the race of faith? Is it"Obtaining The Prize" at the end? If so, then you should also take note of...]II. THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CONTROLA. IN THE LIFE OF THE ATHLETE...1. Successful athletes are 'temperate' in all things - 1Co 9:25a2. They exercise 'self-control' in such things as:a. Their diet b. The amount of sleepd. Often foregoing many social activitiesc. Following their training schedules"When it's pouring rain and you have to go and ride six hours3. Self-control means doing it even when one doesn't feel like it:in the mountains, there's no fun in doing that." - Lance ArmstrongB. IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN...1. Self-control is just as necessary - 1Co 9:272. It is necessary to overcoming "the works of the flesh"
- Ga 5:19-243. The indwelling Spirit is given to the Christian to aid us
4. But the aid of the Spirit does not remove any sense of struggle- cf. 1Pe 2:11a. We must still do things that seem difficultb. We must still do things even when we don't "feel like it"[Self-control is a necessary complement to proper motivation. Withoutit, motivation alone will not succeed. Along with motivation andself-control is...]III. THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISEA. IN THE LIFE OF THE ATHLETE...1. The exercise performed by athletes is impressivea. Long distance runners train 10-20 miles a dayb. Swimmers swim 10 miles a day to be competitivec. Gymnasts work out 8-9 hours a day 2. Such exercise is essential a. To be competitiveB. IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN...b. To endure the hardships of the competition c. To gain the victory!1. There is the need for godly exercise - 1Ti 4:8a. Offering benefits for the life which now isb. With promise for the life to comea. Diligence in rightly handling the word of truth - 2Ti 2:152. Examples of good spiritual exerciseb. Communing with the Lord in prayer - Php 4:6-7c. Meditating on things worthy of virtue and praise - Php 4:8d. Loving the brethren with sincerity - Ro 12:9-10e. Offering diligent, fervent service to the Lord and brethrenCONCLUSION1. Certainly one engaged in such 'exercises' is a true spiritual athlete...a. Running the race of faith with certainty - 1Co 9:26b. Fighting the good fight with purpose - ibid.2. Such efforts will not be in vain...a. When accompanied by the right motivationb. When joined with self-controlAre you "Obtaining The Prize"? Make sure that you heed Paul's words to"run in such a way that you may obtain it" (1Co 9:24b). Also takeheart from his words found later in this same epistle:"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, alwaysabounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is notin vain in the Lord." - 1Co 15:58