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Prepare to Win

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Introduction

Introduction

People fall into sin, but we do not fall into holiness. We have to be intentional.

Introduction

By show of hands, how many of you have done poorly on a test? How many of you have done poorly on a test simply because you did not prepare? How many times have you prayed for God to see you through a test that you never studied or prepared for?
In this Christian life, we are faced with tests every single day.
There is always going to be someone that tempts you to pull out that old person. You know the old person that was supposed to have died when you gave your life to Jesus…Yes, there will always be someone that tempts you to resurrect that old person.
There is always going to be someone that gets on your last nerve and tempts you to knock them upside their head.
There is always going to be someone that gets on your last nerve and tempts you to knock them upside their head.
There is always going to be someone or something that appeals to your sexual desires and tempts you to fulfill the desires of your flesh.
There is always going to be that boy or that girl that texts or dm’s you late at night that tempts you to engage in a sensual conversation that you know momma and daddy would not approve of.
There is always going to be someone or something that that test your patience, your love, your temper, and that will tempt you to sin. Matter of fact, this past week as I was writing this sermon I was tempted to go off on someone, but by the grace of God I was able to remain silent.
We are born into sin and shaped in sin. We are Christians called to live holy, but living in an unholy world. Therefore, temptation is inevitable. Say that with me “Temptation is inevitable.” Jesus said it best himself in where he says “"There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!” Temptation is inevitable. So if temptation is inevitable, then the question is how do you prepare for the inevitable?
How do you prepare your temper when someone talks to you sideways or cuts you off on the freeway?
How do you prepare for that moment when you are unmarried and dating someone, and you find yourself behind closed doors and hormones raging?
How do you prepare to die to yourself when someone tells you that you are wrong and you are tempted to be prideful?
How do you prepare when someone close to you talks about you behind your back?
How do you prepare for when you are at an event that has good food, you have eaten all that you can eat, but yet you are tempted to go back for another plate?
How do you prepare for that moment of peer pressure when you are hanging with some people that offer you an alcoholic beverage and you are underage?
How do you prepare? Or better yet, do you prepare, or do you just pray to God, asking him to allow you to just do decent on the test that you never prepared for?
How do you prepare for those moments when you are fighting with the person that you love and you are tempted to say something that you know will pierce their soul?
How do you prepare to walk in victory over your sin? How do you prepare to win? Or better yet, do you prepare? Or do you just pray to God, like that math test you never studied for, asking him to miraculously help you do decent on life’s tests that you never prepared for?
Because of Jesus, we have victory over sin. Jesus defeated the power of sin on the cross () How many of you believe that? So then why do we continue to struggle with the same sin day after day, year after year?
I recognize that the sin that I still struggle with is not due to the fact that I’m human, and it’s not due to that fact that Satan is stronger than me, but rather it’s primarily due to the fact that I have not prepared myself to walk in the victory that I say that I have in Jesus.. I haven’t prepared to win.
And what I want to suggest to you today is that if you want to walk in the victory over sin that is given to all who believes in Jesus, then you must PREPARE TO WIN. That’s the subject today “Prepare to Win.”
When your best friend calls you to gossip about someone you know.
Cuts you off on the freeway
-You ever been at an event where there is a lot of food, and you know you need to stop eating, but you find yourself with another plate?
-You ever found yourself in a compromising situation, behind closed doors looking at things and/or doing some things you knew you had no business doing, but you did it anyway?
And what I want to suggest to you today is that if you want to walk in the victory over sin that is given to all who believes in Jesus, then you must PREPARE TO WIN. That’s the subject today “Prepare to Win.”
-You ever text or dm somebody something that you knew momma would not approve if she saw it, but you did it anyway?
And today, I want to take us to a passage of scripture that I think will teach us how to prepare to win.
-Have you ever been in a situation where someone rubbed you the wrong the way or cut you off on the freeway, and you reacted in a way you knew was ungodly, but you did it anyway?
(To be stated while reading the Scripture)

Scripture

Everyday we are presented with choices.
1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary 4. Paul’s Self-Control (9:24–27)

Athletic contests were common in the Greek world, and the Isthmian Games, second only to the Olympic Games, were held every two years at Corinth.

Athletic contests were common in the Greek world, and the Isthmian Games, second only to the Olympic Games, were held every two years at Corinth. Paul often uses imagery from the Games, and in this case, the foot race.
Athletic contests were common in the Greek world, and the Isthmian Games, second only to the Olympic Games, were held every two years at Corinth.
1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NIV
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 forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:
1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Think Like a Winner

Athletic contests were common in the Greek world, and the Isthmian Games, second only to the Olympic Games, were held every two years at Corinth. Paul draws on imagery from these Games, and specifically in verse 24, he uses imagery of the foot race. A foot race yielded but one winner. But when Paul compares the foot race to the Christian race, it’s not fully complete because in the Christian race, the good news is that there is not just one person that can be a winner or be saved, but anyone who calls on the name of Jesus and accepts him as their personal savior and Lord can be saved and therefore be a winner. So if there is not just one winner in the Christian race, then what is Paul trying to say to these Corinthians when he says “Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize?”
to these Corinthians?
Well before we get there, it’s important to first understand that the Corinthians were the type of people that would take advantage of God’s grace. They were the type of people that would hear certain Pauline messages such as “You can’t earn your salvation,” “you are no longer under the law of sin, but under the law of grace,” “God is a loving and forgiving God,” and all that is true, but they would twist that to mean I can live however I wanted to live and still get to go to heaven.
First, it is important to understand that the Corinthians were the type of people that would take advantage of God’s grace.
And so it’s this mindset that Paul is trying to challenge when he says in verse 24“Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get to prize.” Paul is not trying to say that you earn your salvation or work for your salvation, but he is trying to do away with the mentality of people that think it’s okay to sign up for the Christian race, run like a loser and still expect to make it to heaven. He is trying to encourage them that if you are going to sign up for the Christian race, at least run like a winner.
Run like you want to stop gossiping.
Run like you want to stop smoking.
Run like you want to stop sleeping around.
Run like you want to get closer to Jesus.
Run like you want to stop gossiping.
Run like you want to get rid of that nasty attitude.
Run like you want to get over your depression.
Run like you want to get over what happened in the past.
Run like you want to stop getting drunk.
Run like you want to stop smoking.
Run like you want to stop sleeping around.
Run like you want to get rid of your pride.
Run like you want to get closer to Jesus.
Run like you want to grow in the Word of God.
Run like you want to grow in love.
Run like you want to go to heaven.
Run like you had victory over your sin.
Run like you want to win.
If you are going to sign up for the Christian race, at least run like a winner.
And that’s the first point. If you are going to prepare to win, you must think like a winner.
Kobe Bryant, no matter what you may think about him, was one of the greatest players that has ever played the game of basketball. And he had a certain way of living he called the “Mamba Mentality.” He explained the mamba mentality as the continual quest to be great. You see what separates players like Kobe from other players in the NBA, is that other players are just happy with being in the NBA, while Kobe wanted to win.
And I just wonder how many people are content with just barely making it into heaven versus those who want to walk in victory over their sin. You see, if you barely just want to make it into heaven, then you are not running this Christian race like a winner, but you’re running like a loser. And if you are going to run this Christian race like a loser then there is really no point for you to be running at all. Because just as much as we believe that we can’t get to heaven by our works, we must also believe that we can’t make it to heaven without them either. And this is what I mean by that, God did not send his only son, to die a brutal criminal death, just so that we can slap the name Jesus on us like a sticker, and get to go to heaven while leaving our sinful ways untouched.
You see what separates players like Kobe from other players in the NBA, is that other players are just happy with being in the NBA, while Kobe wanted to win.
This is why Paul says “Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.” In other words, we ought to have a mamba winning mentality when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. Winning is more than just starting the race, but it is giving your best. You don’t have to settle to be a mediocre Christian, but you can be a great one that continually strives to live a holy life and to walk in victory over sin.
If you want to prepare to win, then you must think like a winner. But not only must you think like a winner, but you must train like a winner.
You must have a winner’s mentality.
All I’m trying to say to you today is that if you want to walk in victory over sin, then you must prepare to win.
But not only must you think like a winner to prepare to win, but you must train like a winner.
The prize is eternal life (imperishable wreath) and it’s not just for one person, but it’s for anyone who accepts Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord.
Running a race skit
1 Corinthians 10:
-You ever found yourself in a compromising situation, behind closed doors looking at things and/or doing some things you knew you had no business doing, but you did it anyway?
-You ever text or dm somebody something that you knew momma would not approve if she saw it, but you did it anyway?
-Have you ever been in a situation where someone rubbed you the wrong the way or cut you off on the freeway, and you reacted in a way you knew was ungodly, but you did it anyway?
Everyday we are presented with choices.

Train Like A Winner

Mindset- Run in such a way as to get the prize (Run in such a way as if the sin you are struggling with was going to be fully eliminated out of your life).
What would it look like to run in such a way as if we were victorious over Satan?
Notice it doesn’t just say run, it says run in such a way that you may win. In other words, don’t just be in the Christian race, be a Christian.
No time for being a mediocre Christians
Imagine if only one person got to go to heaven and everybody else went to hell. How would you run?
Now depending on how studious you are, it can sound like Paul is saying that you can earn your salvation. If I run like a winner then I will gate the prize of salvation. But understand that Pual writes this to a church that took advantage of God’s grace. So when Pual writes this he is not trying to suggest that you can earn your salvation, but he is trying to do away with the Christian mentality that says I can run like a loser and still get to go to Heaven.
(Dre can you get verse 25 up there?) In verse 25, Paul says “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. Not just any type of training, but strict training. What Paul has in mind here is training so strict that he describes it in verse 27 as striking a blow to his body and making it his slave. Paul is talking about strict training. I go to the gym about 4-5 times a week and when I’m at the gym I observe different people. Some people are like this person we will call Andy. Andy comes to the gym just as much as I do, but Andy doesn’t care about building muscle or increasing his endurance, Andy is just trying to stay active and maintain his weight. But then there are people like this person we will call Brian. When Brian comes to the gym, he is not just trying to maintain, but he’s trying build muscle, get a sixpack and increase endurance. Brian’s training is a lot more stricter than Andy’s. Andy wants to maintain while Brian wants to build.
And I just wonder how many of us in our Christian lives are training more like Andy and less like Brian. I wonder how many of us just want to maintain where we are in our relationship with Jesus, and how many of us want to build our relationship with Jesus.
I wish I had some Brian’s this morning that would stand with me and say when I come to this gym we call church every Sunday, I don’t come just to maintain, I don’t come just so I can say I went, but when I come to this gym, I come to grow, I come to build endurance, I come to get stronger, I come to get rid of some weight that’s been holding me back, I come to go through some strict training.
And when you’re going through strict training, it’s never easy, because when you are in training, you are trying to learn a new behavior that’s not normal for you....yet. And what makes training so hard is that not only do you have to learn something new, but you have to unlearn the old.
Sin is like muscle memory. Our bodies are used to sin. That’s why when someone gets on your nerves, there is a natural reflex in your tongue that’s causes you to go off, unless you have trained it. Our bodies are used to sin. We hear so much about people falling into sin, but when is the last time you heard somebody just fell into holiness? “You know I was just sinning the other day, I just fell into righteousness.” Living a holy life only comes through training which is why Paul says in verse 27, I beat my body into subjection or I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave.
You see sin doesn’t better with time.
Pride doesn’t go away with time.
Bad attitudes don’t get better with time.
Bad habits don’t get better with time.
You don’t just fall into holiness, but holiness is something that has to be chosen.
Which means you have to train your body by learning how to tell your body”NO.”
No, you will not hold a grudge.
No, you will not speak badly about them behind their back.
No, you will have an unforgiving spirit.
No, you will not cuss them out.
No, you will not look at that website.
No, you will not have sex before marriage.
Victory doesn’t come by accident, but it’s intentional.
If you are going to prepare to win, you must think like a winner and you must train like a winner, but you must also, strategize like a winner.
Sin is like muscle memory, that’s why somebody can say the wrong thing to you and befor eyou even thought about it a cuss word flew out.
People fall into sin everyday, but when is the last time you heard that someone just fell into holiness, fell into righteousness, etc.) We have to be intentional.

Strategize Like A Winner

vs.....

Strategize Like A Winner

In verse 26, Paul saysI do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” The point here is that Paul knows his goal. If a Christian was a runner, then he says I know the goal is to make it to finish line. If every Christian was a boxer, he says I know the goal is to knock the enemy out. He doesn’t run around in circles hoping that he’ll cross the finish line, he doesn’t swing aimlessly hoping that he lands a punch on the enemy, but he is strategic when it comes to overcoming his sin.
We strategize about our relationships, we strategize about buying a house, we strategize about our finances and our careers, but when is the last time you sat down with Jesus and strategized about
how to get out of your depression
how to stop worrying all the time
how to get over your addiction
how to let go of your past
how to rid yourself of that sin.
If you want to prepare to win, then you can’t just hope to get better, but you must strategize.
Even an all powerful God had a strategy. Jesus’ victory over Satan, death and sin on the cross wasn’t just thrown together, but God had a strategy. We don’t even meet Jesus in the flesh until Matthew, the 40th book in the Bible, but God had Jesus in his strategy all the way back in the book of Genesis. For as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, he told Satan in the form of a serpent that the woman’s offspring shall step on your head. God had a strategy. It takes strategy to defeat death, by death. It’s takes strategy to convince your enemy to kill you, not knowing that killing you would bring you victory. For Jesu said, if I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me. Even an all-powerful God had a strategy.
And so if you are a Christian running aimlessly, boxing the air, hoping that one day you’ll get better, one day you’ll get over it, one day you’ll let it go, then I dare you to sit down with Jesus and strategize like you want to win.
Paul says “I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body… Notice he says “his body.” He doesn’t blame someone else for what his body does. He knows that he doesn’t have control over what somebody else does or says, but he only has control over himself.
If you are going to prepare to win over sin, you can’t be hung up over what somebody is doing or not doing. You have to walk in victory.
Think like a winner. Train like a winner. Strategize like a Winner.
And if you are one
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), .
Flee from tempation
Strategy. Don’t run aimlessly. Lay out specific spiritual goals for yourself? When is the last time you laid out a specific spiritual goal that was going to cause you to grow. If you haven’t you are boxing aimlessly. It other words, walking in victory and defeating Satan takes strategy. It doesn’t happen by accident. Sin doesn’t get better with time. Attitudes don’t get better with time. Bad habits don;t get better with time. Sin is something that has to be intentionally addressed.
Write down goals
It’s not what you do for Christ that matters, it’s who you are when you do what you do for Christ that matters.
God gives a way of escape.
God prepared to win
Jesus prepared to win
God did not send his only son to die a brutal criminal death on the cross, just so that we could slap the name Jesus on us, and get to go to heaven with our character left untouched.
Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 7, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 137–138.
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