“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him. God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” I Corinthians 1:21
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21
“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.” Acts 20:24
Tonight, I will try to share the message of Jesus to you. The whole gospel seems foolish to men who don’t believe. But for us who believe, He uses the preached word to save us. What is the gospel? It is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, when He left the earth, He left this message of redemption in the hands of men.
JESUS used stories to portray truths. There’s a kids’ movie that I believe has some basic truth in it. It’s about a race. Please have an open heart and allow God to speak to you through this simple cartoon and what is said following (Larry played a clip from the movie Cars where the main character had an opportunity to win but decided to help another car who was running his last race to finish the race.)
THE RACE OF LIFE is not a sprint or a dash. YOU can compare life’s race to a marathon. It’s not a drag race, but a 500 mile challenge. It’s a race of endurance; it may take on different forms, but this race takes a lifetime to complete.
– In a sprint, you race against others. YOU want to find out who is the best or the fastest. Your focus is on others and yourself, who can reach the temporary goal first.
– When you think of the Olympics, you may think about different record holders of temporary victories. I remember the name Jesse Owens only because I’ve seen a few clips of him. He ran in the earlier part of the 20th century.
– More recently, there are great racers such as Carl Lewis and I can’t even remember the last winners in the Olympics. Because it’s temporary and doesn’t really matter.
– The race of life is different. For one thing, the goal isn’t temporary, it’s an eternal goal we are pursuing, and it takes a lifetime to complete this race.
– Which race will you run? Life’s temporary pursuit of things, or the race to reach Jesus?
– The world hasn’t joined in. Some have believed the gospel and joined in the race. But not everyone gets into this race.
If you got anything from the movie clip, you’ll remember how the young race car helped the older, beat up car finish the race. NOT only do we think of ourselves, but we need to encourage and push others to the finish line. What Paul put into life mattered more than what he got out of life. It’s a way of thinking.
Some things, such as trials, we have no control over. We just have to persevere. But we can control what we allow into our hearts. AGAIN to start the race, but not finish it would be a sad story. I don’t want it said about me. But God will allow you to confess your sin, and He will forgive you. He wants you running the race. He knows you’re not perfect. That’s the reason He had to die in your place. GET RID OF MORAL FILTH and EVIL. Then, humbly (maybe the hardest thing to do) accept the word.
– The sad thing is that some join and run for a time, but drop out. Some start out well for Jesus, but the years take their toll. They don’t see that victory is just around the corner.
– My message to you who are discouraged about your Christian walk is: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
– MAYBE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE MESSED UP TOO MANY TIMES! I give up! I’m not good enough. God doesn’t care about me. I THINK HE’S FORGOTTEN ME.
– God is a God of love. He cares about you. He’s saying, get up. Keep running the race. I’m perfecting you through your trials. Trust me. Trust me. I win bless you if you will PERSEVERE.
– “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
There may be obstacles in the race. There may be things that happen that slow you down. Don’t let them stop you. Don’t drop out.
In Acts 20, Paul was telling the Ephesians farewell. I’m following the Spirit. The Spirit allowed him to know that this was going to be a dangerous journey, it may be his death. Paul didn’t give up. He wanted to run the race and complete the task of helping others. He wasn’t trying to come in first. He wanted to finish the race and help other’s finish the race.
I want to end on a couple familiar passages from Paul.
“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. 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 forever.” I Cor. 9:24-27
If you really want the prize, how do you run? Is that the way you run? Do I run like I want a crown of righteousness? I hope this convicts you tonight. It is convicting to me. How have I been running? I don’t want you to feel bad! I want you to make it to heaven. I don’t want any of us to give up too soon. THE world trains for things with severe strictness for a temporary reward. OUR reward lasts forever.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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.” II Timothy 4:7-8
This article “The Biggest Race” by Larry Hall was uploaded to Apostolic Information Services by Larry Hall – July 14, 2007. Used by permission. It may be used for study & research purposes only.