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“Continuing the Race”: A Message for the Supporters of Dayspring Bible Camp Part 5

On August 3-5 I will be doing a “Theology Matters” retreat with a group of young people at Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website).  The topic, “Unlike Jesus,” will focus on the issue of friendship evangelism and how we are often not friends of sinners like Jesus was.

But I also get to address the supporters of the camp who have chosen the topic “Continue the Race” for their celebration. So, in these posts, we are thinking about the passages of Scripture that use the running metaphor. We’ve seen that God calls us into the race (from Phil. 3:14),that we have been challenged to train for the race (from I Tim. 4:7-8), and that training for this race requires strict self-control (from I Cor. 9:25).  We’ve also noticed that running this race requires obeying certain rules (from 2 Tim. 2:5).

Let’s move to our fifth and final passage which is found in I Corinthians 9:24 and in Hebrews 12:1-2 and it is that —

V. There Is a Prize to Be Won for Running This Race! (I Cor. 9:24; Heb. 12:1-2)

We read in I Corinthians 9 “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.”  We then read in Hebrews 12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Just a few comments about these two passages:

1.  We are running, not just to get a participation trophy, but the prize! (I Cor. 9).

2.   We are often our own worst enemies in the race! (we cling to things that hinder us and stay entangled in sins that slow us down) (Heb. 12).

3.  We don’t determine our race track or course — that has been laid out for us! (Heb. 12).

4.  We don’t look behind us or at the other runners, but at Jesus as our goal (Heb. 12).

5.  We look to Him as our example, our pioneer, our perfecter, our prize! (Heb. 12).  As John Piper puts it, God is the gospel!

6.  We experience a variety of emotions during this race — endurance, scorn, shame, and . . . joy! (Heb. 12).

How’s your race going?  Don’t give up!  Keep your eyes on the prize — Jesus Himself!


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Posted by on July 27, 2018 in race


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“Continuing the Race”: A Message for the Supporters of Dayspring Bible Camp Part 1

As I prepare to teach young people in a “Theology Matters” weekend at Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website), I will also get to share a message with the supporters of the camp.  These who have faithfully served the camp have chosen the theme “Continue the Race.”  So we want to look at the running metaphor as it is used by Scripture as I work on a message for these believers.

In an age when many give up and drop out of the race, the Word of God encourages us to persevere, to endure, to continue in the work God has appointed to us.  One book that has followed the running imagery in the Scriptures is Schreiner and Caneday’s The Race Set Before Us.

These men follow the idea of a RACE and see that imagery used in five places in the Word of God.  Let’s look at the first challenge which is —

I.  God Calls Us into This Race (Phil. 3:14). 

There the Apostle Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  The expression “I press on toward the goal” is  κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω.  This word skopos is used only once in the New Testament (here) and it has the idea of: “a watcher; also, a distant object on which the eye is kept fixed; a mark, goal.*

We sometimes use the expression “eyes on the prize”!  The verb diōkō has the idea of “to pursue, persecute, to systematically oppress and harass a person or group; to press on, to put in rapid motion; to pursue; to follow, pursue the direction of, Lk. 17:23; to follow eagerly, endeavor earnestly to acquire, Rom. 9:30, 31; 12:13; to press forwards, Phil. 3:12, 14; to pursue with malignity, persecute, Mt. 5:10, 11, 12, 44.  The Apostle Paul uses this word diōkō when he says in Acts 26 about his pursuit of Christians:  “And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and since I was so vehemently angry at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.”

We are to pursue (almost to the point of “malignity”) the goal to which God has called us!  We’ve been invited into the family of God and called to engage ourselves fully in this race!  We’ve been called heavenward!  We will live eternally in the New Heavens and Earth, not on this broken, sin-cursed planet.  We are not to despise this world (see the excellent book by Mike Witmer entitled Becoming Worldly Saints), but have been called to that other place — heaven!

Do you feel called this morning?  You have a mission to complete in this world before you head to the next.  Pursue that prize with malignity (intensity)! (to be continued)

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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in calling


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