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Part of the series: BE AN OLYMPIAN
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BE AN OLYMPIAN! (3)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   Every child of God can make some boasts to others.

1.     I am a priest of the Most High God (I Pet. 2:9).

2.     I am a king in the Lord’s kingdom (Rev. 1:6)

3.     I am a living stone in the temple of God (I Pet. 2:5).

 

B.    We can also say:  “I am an Olympian!”

1.     In Paul’s writings, he often compares the Christian life to the Olympics.

2.     I Corinthians 9:24-25

 

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  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.

 

C.   In two previous lessons, we have been dealing with this subject.  This is our final lesson.  The series is entitled:  “Be An Olympian!”

 

I.           TOUGH WORK

 

A.   To be the best in the world, one must put in the tough work of training.

1.     Hours training in their event, stretching their bodies to its limits, over and over performing moves until they become a habit.

2.     More hours in the gym for strength.

3.     More hours in cardio for endurance.

4.     Hours in therapy overcoming injuries and strains.

5.     A scene in Rocky I

 

B.    Christianity involves tough work.

1.     Matthew 7:13-14

 

Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 

a.     Strait

1)     Strong (4728):  narrow

2)     Thayer:  narrow

b.    The gate Jesus exhorts us to enter is one that involves difficulty and struggle.

2.     Areas of difficulty:  Bible study, teaching a class, personal work, resisting temptation, overcoming adversaries, faithfulness in the midst of adversity, leadership, etc.

 

 

II.         MUST FINISH TO WIN

 

A.   It is not enough to qualify for the Olympics.  It is not enough just to participate.  In order to win, one must complete his/her event.

1.     The men’s hockey team competes in at least 4 games.

2.     The  woman gymnast who wins the all-around gold must finish all four events:  floor, vault, beam, and uneven-parallel bars.

3.     1996 Olympics – Kerri Strugg – completes the vault with an ankle injury

 

B.    If we are going to receive our reward, we must complete the race that is set before us.

1.     Matthew 24:13

 

But he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.

 

2.     Hebrews 3:14

 

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.

 

3.     Romans 2:7

 

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.

 

C.   Many Christians have stopped competing in the race for some reason.

1.     Their reasons are many.

a.     Someone offended me.

b.    I love my sin.

c.    My family and friends are more important.

d.    I don’t believe those things any more.

2.     All the race MUST be run, or, there is no prize (I Cor. 9:24).

 

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all…

 

III.       EXAMPLE TO OTHERS

 

A.   Olympic athletes become examples to others:  Mary Lou Retton, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Carl Lewis, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Gabrielle Douglas.

 

B.    As Christian Olympians, we need to remember that we, too, are examples to others.

1.     I Timothy 4:12

 

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversa-tion, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

 

2.     Point:  Someone is watching you.  You may be aware of it.  You may not be aware.

 

C.   When we cease to be an example, others are impacted.

1.     Olympians that have fallen.

a.     Paul Hamm – assaulted a cab driver

b.    Marion Jones – performance enhancing drugs, check fraud and money laundering

2.     If we fail to set the right example

a.     Others will be deeply disappointed.

b.    Some will cease their Christian walk.

c.    Some will blaspheme the name of God (Rom. 2:24).

 

IV.        REWARD

 

A.   There are rewards given to the athletes of the Olympic Games.

1.     Paul’s day:  the crown like unto a wreath

2.     Today:  gold, silver, and bronze medals

 

B.    We, too, will receive a reward.

1.     We will be given a crown (I Cor. 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 incorruptible.

 

a.     Crown:  stephanos, the victory crown, a mark of exalted rank

b.    Incorruptible:

1)     Strong (862):  undecaying

2)     Thayer:  not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable

2.     Various descriptions:

a.     Crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8)

b.    Crown of life (James 1:12)

c.    Crown of glory (I Pet. 5:4)

 

C.   There is one distinction.

1.     In the Olympic Games, only one person receives the top honor (I Cor. 9:24).

 

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?

 

2.     In the Christian Olympics, every faithful person will receive the prize.

a.     Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard all received a penny for their labor (Matt. 20:8-10).

b.    The five talent man and the two talent man both received the same reward (Matt. 25:21, 23)

c.    II Timothy 4:8

 

…and not unto me only, but all them also that love his appearing.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   At the 1996 Olympics, Kerri Stugg’s coach exhorted her with these words:  “You can do it!”

 

B.    There are many words that Paul uses to encourage us to do our best in our struggle.

1.     So run, that ye may obtain (I Cor. 9:24).

2.     Press toward the mark for the prize (Phil. 3:14).

3.     There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8).

4.     Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1)