Running the Race – part 1: for Rewards
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A. Running the Christian Race
Part 1: Running the Race: What and Why. What is running the race, and what are the rewards for doing it?
Part 2: Running the Race: How- manner. Improve your running technique by developing a proper self-image.
Part 3: Running the Race: How - means. Improve your running endurance by pro-actively changing your values.
B. Running the Race in the Bible
Ga 2:2 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.
Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
Heb 12: 1 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
Phi 2:16 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
C. What is the Race?
Respond to God’s Revelation (Worship). Matthew 22: 35-39, John 4:23-24
Accept and complete the task assigned to you (Ministry and Mission). Use your specific SHAPE (Spiritual talents, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience). Eph 2:10, Job 10:8, Heb 13: 20, 1 Cor 12:5, Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8.
Conform to Christ, not to the world (Sanctification) Rom 12:2. Chapters about sanctification: Mat 5,6,7, Rom 12,13,14, 1 Cor 3,13, 2 Cor 5, Gal 5,6, Eph 2,4,5, Phil 1-4, Col 3, 1 Thes 4,5, 1 Tim 6, Heb 11, 1 Pet 4, 2 Pet 1, 1 Joh 3.
Edify, exhort, encourage one-another, and exhibit Gods love (Fellowship). Heb 3:13-14; 10:24-25, John 13: 35
D. Why should we run?
Motivation for Jesus:
Hebrews 12:2 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.
Hebrews 1:8 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the sceptre of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
Revelations 5:12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!" 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
Motivation for us:
1Co 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. 25 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 for ever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory
Luke 22:28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
2Ti 4:8 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.
E. Rewards, really?
No rewards: Mat 20:1-16 (Parable of the workers in the vineyard, all workers got the same payment).
Rewards: Mat 25:14-30(Parable of the talents), Luke 19:12-27 (Parable of the ten minas), Mat 5:19, Mat 18:1, Mat 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-45 (Request of James and John), Ps 62:12, Pr 19:17, Isa 40:10, Jer 17:10, Mat 5:12, Rom 2:6, 1 Cor 3:12.
Possible explanations for Mat 20:1-16
· Contrasting Jews and Gentiles (notice that only first group of workers complained)
· Refers to justification, everybody who believes goes to heaven, no matter when you start believing at 7 or 70.
Rev 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. What motivates people to do something difficult or beneficial in their “everyday lives”? Is the spiritual life any different?
2. Do you think that most Christians run a good race and finish well? For those who don’t, why do you think they drop out?
3. Would it be fair or unfair for some people to get eternal reward and others to miss out for an eternity? Where’s the justice of God?
4. Do most folks start running the race? What’s most likely to trip up someone who starts the race, but then doesn’t finish well?
5. What can you do this week to ensure that you and those around you cross the finish line victoriously?