Obtaining the Crown

The Incredible Race  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:58
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Central Idea:
The Crown of Eternal Life is achieved by effort, self-control, and self-examination, with tests allowing all participants the prize.Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
1 Corinthians 9:24–27 ESV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Today, I would like to talk about our journey of faith, which can be likened to a race. One popular TV show that illustrates the concept of a race is "The Amazing Race." In this show, contestants travel around the world, facing challenges and competing against one another to win the grand prize. Like the participants in "The Amazing Race," we are all striving for a crown (grand prize) in our spiritual race.

Point One: Making the Effort Needed to Win the Prize

In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul tells us that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. He urges us to run in such a way as to get the prize. We must make the effort needed to win the prize – the eternal crown that awaits us in heaven.
Relevant Scripture: Philippians 3:14
Philippians 3:14 ESV
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Just like the contestants in "The Amazing Race," we must be willing to make sacrifices, endure hardships, and persevere through challenges to achieve our ultimate goal – the eternal prize.
Relevant Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:5
2 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
Life has rules which are the directions toward goals and rewards.
[In order to follow rules an individual will need self-control…]

Point Two: The Importance of Self-Control

In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul highlights the importance of self-control in our spiritual race. Contestants in "The Amazing Race" must exercise self-control in various aspects of their lives to remain focused and disciplined in their pursuit of the prize.
Relevant Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
As Christians, we must also exercise self-control in our thoughts, words, and actions to stay on the right path and avoid distractions that could hinder our progress in the race of life.
Relevant Scripture: 2 Pet 1:6
2 Peter 1:6 ESV
6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
Peter speaks to several things that need to be added to our faith, self-control is among them.
[Effort and Self-Control are unbeatable when considering spiritual things, like eternal life…]

Point Three: The Dangers of Disqualification

Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that if we do not exercise self-control and discipline, we might be disqualified for the prize. In "The Amazing Race," contestants who fail to follow the rules or complete tasks properly face disqualification.
Relevant Scripture: Hebrews 12:1
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
To avoid disqualification in our spiritual race, we must consistently examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and seek God's guidance and strength to help us overcome temptations and obstacles.
Relevant Scripture: 2 Cor. 13:5
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Examine yourself against God’s Word, the roadmap in this incredible race.
[These points will work well to aid you in your walk with God and achieve the crown of life…]‌
James 1:12 ESV
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
As we strive for the eternal crown, let us remember to make the necessary effort, exercise self-control, and beware of the dangers of disqualification. Like the contestants in "The Amazing Race," let us run our race with purpose, discipline, and determination, knowing that the ultimate reward – eternal life in heaven – awaits those who finish the race victoriously.
Let us pray.
Study Questions:
Study Question #1: What types of effort are needed in order to gain the ultimate goal - the eternal prize?
Study Question Answer #1: The types of effort needed to gain the eternal prize are: sacrifices, enduring hardships, and perseverance through challenges.
Study Question #2: What are the purposes of rules win participating in a race?
Study Question Answer #2: The purpose of rules when participating in a race is to determine a winner(s).
Study Question #3: What areas do we need to demonstrate self-control?
Study Question Answer #3: We need self-control in our thoughts, words, and actions.
Study Question #4: Where does one get self-control from?
Study Question Answer #4: Self-Control that aids in achieving the crown of life can only be found in the Spirit of God.
Study Question #5: What is the danger in doing life according to your desires and rules?
Study Question Answer #5: The biggest danger in doing things according to your rules and desires is that it will disqualify you from the eternal crown of life.
Study Question #6: What is the benefit of examining yourself, and what is the purpose of a test?
Study Question Answer #6: The benefit of examining yourself is to determine if you are in the faith, and tests measure your success in the faith so that you can improve.
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