Sunday, March 22, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 18 – Need for Self Discipline

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 18 – Need for Self Discipline
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's letter to the church in Corinth, was addressing the things he had heard about them, including incest, adultery, over-spiritualized behaviors, wandering away from the Word of God, and an overall pride about them.

Paul has corrected the Corinthian Churches view about the division; Christ is head of the church, no one else. He also let them know that the power comes from God, and they should be humble, not conceited and over-spiritual.

He warned them not to go beyond what is written.

He addressed their pseudo-faith and spiritual activity of abstaining from intimate relations with their spouses, explaining this was the root of their immoral behavior.

He also warned them against lawsuits with other believers, saying the only reason they could not come to terms together inside the church was because of their pride and arrogance.

He instructed them to be content in their situations, so as to quench the immoral behavior that was coming from discontent, and selfish ambition. Paul warned about becoming a stumbling block to other believers if we have certain knowledge that they do not possess.

Week before last we spoke about how the church was to care for the Pastor and his family financially, also, bringing up the fact that he was free, and could marry if he chose.

Paul cleared the air, stating that even Peter, whom some denominations teach is the first Pope, the founder of their church, and yet, restrict ministers from marriage, was married himself. Many of the Apostles took their wives with them on their mission trips.

Paul will wrap up what he has said in the last few chapters about freedom in Christ, and how he chooses to use his freedom.

Today we will look at what Paul says about self discipline.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 9:24 - 27
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.

                   I.            EVERYONE IS IN THE RACE
a.      All runners in the race are running
                                                                         i.      Whether they want to or not

                                                                      ii.      "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27

                                                                   iii.      We are all running, we are all competing
1.      Who are we competing aginst?
2.      Paul says in vs 27, our flesh

b.     But only the winner receives the crown
                                                                         i.      The prize, the crown we win, is the cross and everlasting life

                                                                      ii.      Unlike worldly competition, in God's Kingdom are many winners

c.      Therefore, run to win
                                                                         i.      some are lazy
                                                                      ii.      some mediocre
                                                                   iii.      some give some
                                                                     iv.      few, give it all they have got!

               II.            ANYONE WHO COMPETES, TRAINS
a.      Strict training
                                                                         i.      Paul tells us how to train, strictly
                                                                      ii.      If you cannot put your heart into the Lord and His work now, while you are alive, what makes you think you will qualify to spend eternity with Him?

                                                                   iii.      How do you train?

                                                                     iv.      How do you run?

b.     Look at how hard many train for rewards in this life which only fade away
                                                                         i.      So many devote their lives to working for an earthly reward, sacrificing so much to achieve that fading prize...

                                                                      ii.      Are you training strictly

c.      Our reward is everlasting!
                                                                         i.      if so...the rewards that await us will never fade, they are everlasting

            III.            DO NOT RUN AIMLESSLY
a.      So, do not run aimlessly
                                                                         i.      We run to win, with our eyes on the prize.

                                                                      ii.      All those who run the race to win, are certain of winning
1.      Would you run harder if you knew that there was only one crown or prize at the end?

2.      ""Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13

                                                                   iii.      Though it is true that the rewards are offered to all, Jesus makes it clear, not all are going to arrive on that narrow path.

b.     Do not be like a boxer hitting the air
                                                                         i.      Paul is saying, do not fight uselessly
1.      Striking the air never wins a match for a boxer.

2.      You MUST strike your opponent

                                                                      ii.      Put your strength into that which will profit you

                                                                   iii.      running to win this race, striking your opponent to win

                                                                     iv.      Who is your opponent

c.      Paul says. "I strike a blow to my body"
                                                                         i.      Why not a strike a blow to satan?
1.      Because Jesus has already done this

2.      At the cross, Satan has already been defeated.

3.      Your opponent, the one you struggle with is your flesh.

                                                                      ii.      Not allowing his flesh to rule
1.      Paul recognized this struggle, and wants us to stay focused

2.      Yes we battle against powers, principalities, and dark forces in this fallen world, however, where do the battles take place?

3.      In our flesh.

4.      If we make our flesh slaves to us, and allow God's Holy Spirit to rule inside of us, satan no longer has a battlefield.

                                                                   iii.      The spiritual battlefield is our minds...this is why we MUST wear the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-18

                                                                     iv.      Keeping his eye on the prize

                                                                        v.      Just like those who train so hard, ignoring their body telling them to stop, to give up, to quit, you can't take anymore...

1.      This is exactly where the one training wants his body, under submission to his spirit, his will

2.      If you think you "Can't", you probably wont
3.      If you think you can (All things are possible through Christ Jesus), then you probably will!

4.      For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7

5.      If your spirit is not for God, if it is not your will to do God's will, your efforts of winning are wasted on a reward which will fade away.

I make my body my slave, so after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Paul is saying, even if you are a preacher of the Gospel, if he doesn't stay focused on the prize, he will be disqualified at the end of the race.

For those who believe once saved always saved, Paul is saying otherwise here.

The Lord has one way of victory, which is the same for everyone, even preachers.

Paul says if he stumbles, if he takes his eyes off the prize, or looses focus, ho too could be in danger of losing the crown.

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