Run With Jesus

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Audio of Sermon: 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

We are born into the “Human Race”, but that’s not the race we should be most concerned with. We are born into this life “racing” after things, but things will not bless us.

The Apostle Paul wanted us to know that we were not born into this life without purpose. God made us on purpose for a higher calling.

The greatest thing you can do is surrender your life to the Lord then run with Him, follow Him, live your life in Him and for Him. To illustrate this, Paul talks about a race and a prize.

Parents today have confused their children in the area of sports. When I was growing up trophies were given out for First, Second, and Third place. The others who did not run and did not cross the finish line did NOT get a prize. But the newest thing today is this … everyone gets a prize for just showing up. That’s not a good idea, because life doesn’t operate that way.

If you just show up at school you don’t get good grades.
If you just show up at work you don’t get promoted or higher pay.
If you just show up even in High School sports, you’ll get cut from the team.
Anytime you just show up and don’t strive, nothing positive happens.

God Wants Us To Run With Jesus

Before Paul ran with Jesus he ran to be well respected. He was the youngest person ever to serve on the Jewish Council called the Sanhedrin. As Saul (which is what he was known by then) he was a driven person. He worked really hard to earn respect and power among his fellow man.

Then Saul became Paul on the Damascus Road. He met Jesus Christ.

Jesus turned Saul’s life around. Where he was previously self driven, he then turned to living his life with Jesus. Christians are saved by faith in God. We trust God to be saved. We believe that we are sinners, and that Jesus Christ died for our sins, paying for our errors. We receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and on receiving Him we trust Him to give us access to God.

We have no reason to BOAST as Christians that we are better than anyone else. The Bible says:

Romans 3:27-28 (NLT) Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

It is Christ Who gave Himself for us. It is His Love that makes salvation possible. God saves us.

Titus 3:5-7 (CSB) {God} saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

God saves us. Not through our goodness, but through Christ’s goodness. God saves us by simple confession – by crying out to Him! The Bible declares:

Romans 10:9-13 (CSB) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Salvation is a free gift from God.
But once saved, God wants us to be more than mere spectators.
We are not called to the AUDIENCE, but are called to serve our Lord.
We are to run our race with Jesus.
If we are saved by faith in Him, we are to live with Him.
We are not to be like the FALLEN world, but to be like God’s FUTURE world.
We are to be children of God, not children of Adam.
We have “put on” Christ.

Galatians 3:26, 28 (CSB) for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.

God calls each person to treat this life like a race, and to remember that at the finish line there is a prize. If we want to earn the prize we have to first enter the race. Then if we want to win the prize, we must RUN that race.

Those Who Run Win A Prize

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Saved by faith, we are now in a race for a Future Tense prize.
What you do TODAY effects your TOMORROW.
If you run after the devil, you will get the devil’s prize.

If you chase the things of this world – drugs, sex, power, money – there will be its own reward.

Run that you may obtain.
Run the right race, so you can be blessed.

My best friend growing up was my next door neighbor Joey. Joey was about 2 years older than I was, and I looked up to Joey. His family had a large fenced in back yard right next to ours. Joey taught me how to play Badminton. I loved playing that game. We would hit the little Badminton “Bird” over the fence between our back yards, and Joey often won. I admired Joey. Joey’s parents had more money than we had. I remember when Joey got a small dirt bike for Christmas, and how jealous I was. Joey let me ride his dirt bike a little, and it just made him a bigger hero in my mind. Then one year his parents bought Joey and his sisters (Cherie and Cheryl) a pony. I got to ride Joey’s pony, and again I was just blown away by it. My parents never bought us ponies or dirt bikes – we just didn’t have the money. I remember one day Joey was riding his pony when it bucked, and Joey fell off face first onto one of those old time Coca Cola wooden crates. It branded Joey with a check mark on his face, but it just made him look more heroic. He was like a pirate! Joey went into the Marines when I was in High School, and went to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Passing Basic Training he was inducted into the Marines. Joey came home from training and while on leave took his own life. I don’t believe he left a note. But depression was certainly the reason for what he did.

The world would have us believe that the best race to run is the things the world loves. The best race to run is God’s Race, with Jesus. Every day you live is precious, and what you do or do not do today will lead to your tomorrow. The world and the devil will want you to run your race selfishly, or not at all.

1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

If you want to win the prize you must be TEMPERATE in all things. A runner has a goal. A runner has a purpose. The Christian is to listen to God as He or she runs their race. We are not to heed the world, but the Lord Who saved us. The Scripture says:

1 John 5:3-4 (CSB) For this is what LOVE FOR GOD IS: TO KEEP HIS COMMANDS. And his commands are not a burden, 4 because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

We run for our God because we love our God. We praise Him for what He has done for us. We know that He knows what is best for us.

We RUN so that we might receive His smile of approval.
We RUN because our efforts are important to Him.
We RUN with Jesus, our living Savior.

Invest Your Life In The Right Race

1 Corinthians 9:25-26 … Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

The most precious thing you have is your SOUL.
The devil and the world wants us to WASTE OUR SOULS.

Mark 8:34-37 (KJV) … Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.   [35]   For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.   [36]   For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?   [37]   Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I watched some little kids play soccer one time, and one of the little girls got confused and started running in the wrong direction. The opposing team gathered around her and protected her as she ran all the way to the wrong goal. The world and the devil want us running in the wrong direction, doing the wrong thing. We are to run our race with Jesus, living our lives each day in His embrace. Jesus said:

John 16:33 (CSB) I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

When we run the race with Christ we run with an Overcomer.

Though tribulation will come the closer you are to Him the more you will see Him and the less you will see the trial. Death is no enemy to the believer focused on Christ. Though a crown awaits the runner in Heaven, the greater crown is the crown of peace that encompasses him who is focused on the Savior.

If you are not running with Jesus, take heed, for you may not be saved.

The salvation that is mere lip service, a salvation that never runs, never grows, never reads and studies God’s Word, that never testifies of the Risen Savior is a dead salvation. The great preacher C. H. Spurgeon stated:

Although we are sure that men are not saved for the sake of their works, yet are we equally sure that no man will be saved without them; and that he who leads an unholy life, who neglects the great salvation, can never inherit the crown of life which fadeth not away. In one sense, true religion is wholly the work of God; yet there are high and important senses in which we must ourselves “strive to enter in at the straight gate”. We must run a race, we must wrestle even to agony; we must fight a battle before we can inherit the crown of life.”

Those who are saved by faith in Christ are in a heavenly race. Run, that you may obtain. Fight, but with the right focus. Guard your lives, lest you become a castaway.

1 Corinthians 9:25 …. they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

The rewards of this life are fleeting. The Apostle said:

1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV)  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  [25]  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Many people run for a temporary, fleeting reward. But when you run the race of life with Jesus your reward is eternal, and your blessing great.

Running A Race Is Not Easy

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Running is not an easy thing. Think about it – when you run, you are moving at a faster than normal pace. Your heels are striking the ground, your body is jarring, you are under tension. There is stress involved in running. Your heart rate increases, and your breathing increases as your lungs try to draw in enough air for your muscles. You may cramp up and have to run through the pain. Running is also repetitious. One foot follows the other in an even rhythm. There must be a steady method in running even as you train. If you are not consistent in training, you will not be effective in the race.

Listen Beloved, Bible reading and study is not easy.

It requires a prayerful consistence, a paying attention to the text, a communion with the Spirit in order that you receive the teaching of the text. The Christian way of life is not easy.

The human race and the Christian race are at odds with one another.
The enemy does not want you running.

John 15:18-19 (CSB) If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.

The world hates the Biblical Jesus. The world hates the Jesus Who spoke of God’s righteousness. The world loves the silly, sentimental sappy lowercase jesus that is not found in the Bible. The lowercase jesus who saw the woman taken in adultery and said “Neither do I condemn you”. This lowercase jesus is very popular. But the Jesus who told the woman taken in adultery:

John 8:11 (CSB) “Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”

The Jesus of the Bible Who spoke against sin is not wanted by the world. The world doesn’t like this Jesus. The world likes the loving, miracle giving Jesus Who wants everyone saved, but rejects the Jesus of the Scripture Who said:

Luke 5:32 (CSB) I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The word “repent” means to turn from doing it your way and to come to Christ.
The world hates REPENT like a Mongoose hates a Cobra.

If you run for Jesus you will be despised of men.
Your own children may mock you and misunderstand you.
Your co-workers will make fun of you and look for any stumbling in your stride.
You will even have other runners in the race who will sit in judgment on you.

The self righteous have always attacked the Children of Faith. The Pharisees and Scribes attacked our Lord Jesus – don’t you think that they will attack you as well? Running is not easy. But we are to run.

A runner is not a swimmer, nor is a runner a sleeper. The runner must be wide awake, and moving in the right medium. The good runner does one thing well – he runs! The tortoise won the race against the hare because the tortoise kept moving at the utmost of his ability. Keep running, keep your eyes on the Word of God, your heart attuned to the leading of the Spirit of God.

A Runner Is FOCUSED

The Bible warns the Christian:

James 1:8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

Make up your minds that you run for Jesus. When Moses came down from the Mountain of God and saw the children of God worshiping naked around the false golden god that great Prophet cried out:

Exodus 32:26 … Who [is] on the LORD’S side? [let him come] unto me. ….

If you are on the Lord’s side, in the heavenly race, then let your mind be single on running for Him. Study His Word, attend His Services, be frequent in both public as swell as private prayer. It may be hard to be at Church after a long day’s work in the marketplace yet – if you are Christians – run the race.

The Runner Runs The Assigned Track With His Teammates

The runner does not choose his track, but goes to the track created. If the marathon is set to start at a certain place in New York city, and to end at another place, you must start where you are told to start and finish where the finish line is drawn. You cannot decide to run the New York marathon in Lexington, Tennessee and expect to win it.

You’re on the right track if you are following Jesus!

Jesus told His disciples (Matthew 4:19) “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. To the young man absorbed in his family Jesus said, (Matthew 8:22) “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead”. To a despised tax collector named Matthew our Lord said (Matthew 9:9) “Follow me” – and Matthew joined the heavenly race. To each and every Christian Jesus says (Matthew 16:24) “If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”. To the rich man chasing after money Jesus says (Matthew 19:21) “If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me”. Get on the right track, man, get on the right track woman. The runner must get on the right track. Jesus said:

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honor

Jesus will not follow you on the wrong track. You must follow Him – and if you follow Him then the Father will honor your lives.

A Runner Endures To The End
For The Sake Of The Judge

A runner does not run the race for the pleasure of the crowd, of the bystanders, or of the cheering fans. I remember watching a Marathon where the runner who was winning started bowing as he ran to a cheering crowd. As he did so the man behind him caught up, passed, and won the race.

The one who was winning lost the race and was humiliated because he forgot an important rule of the runner: the runner endures for the sake of the Judge.

We do not run the race for the applause of the watching crowd.

We run the race with Jesus and for God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The runner must lay aside every weight. Lay aside what others think of you. Lay aside your pride. Lay aside the sin that so easily weighs us down. Lay aside even your focus on life itself. Look to Jesus – it is He Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Look to His Word. Look to Him in prayer. Look to Him in Christian fellowship. Keep your eyes on Him. The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, said:

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

I have seen so many terrible wrecks in my life.

One of my dearest friends who used to be a pastor wrecked because he took his eyes off of Jesus. Even today he wanders aimlessly through life, a man who led countless others to Christ is no better than a homeless vagabond. I know a preacher who preached one of the best sermons I ever heard “Above The Snake Line” who ended up killing a man. Oh, the lives wasted because people, precious people, take their eyes off of Christ.

The Apostle’s secret to a happy and productive Christian life is outlined here. He ran the race with all certainty. He was focused on His purpose, His calling, and His Master. Paul knew He was saved, knew He was an Apostle, and knew Who called him to salvation and to purpose. The Apostle Paul stayed focused on the disciplines of his faith. He did not beat the air like a shadow boxer, but everything he did was an act of following Jesus.

The Apostle did not want to become disqualified, unapproved, or worthless in the race.

He was saved for a purpose.
It is not how well you are running right now that matters.
It is not how well you are running tomorrow that matters.
It is that you keep on running with Jesus.
An unfinished race is a lost race.
Drive forward so you can finish well.

Keep on running that you may obtain. We who believe run for an incorruptible crown. Keep your eye on the prize, and one day you will hear the voice of your Beloved:

Matthew 25:23 … Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

May God touch your hearts with these words.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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