This morning's sermon was on 2 Timothy 2:5. The title was "Playing by the Rules."
"And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully."
I shared 4 points from the text.
1 The Competitor - We are competing not against others but against a kingdom of darkness (Eph 6:12).
~ Richard Lenski pointed out how we're not competing against others but how the Christian life is an individual event.
~ While we labour with our brothers and sisters in the Lord we run our own race.
2 The Competition - Paul used sport analogies we're involved in.
A Wrestling (Eph 6:12) Wrestling against darkness.
B Race (1 Cor 9:24-26) Running to win our race.
C Boxing (1 Cor 9:26) Not aimless in our spiritual fight.
D Exercise (1 Tim 4:7,8) Exercising ourselves unto godliness.
3 The Reward - Paul said we compete for an incorruptible crown not a crown (1 Cor 9:25).
~ In the Isthmian Games in ancient Greece the winners received a crown made of branches and/or pine leaves. This crown was corruptible. But as children of God we compete for a crown that won't fade away.
~ There are at least 5 different crowns mentioned in scripture.
1 Incorruptible Crown (1 Cor 9:25)
2 Crown of Rejoicing (Phil 4:1; 1 Thess 2:19)
3 Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
4 Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
5 Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
4 The Rules - The rules that regulate our life is the word of God.
~ The athlete had to train and compete according to the rules.
~ Competitors at the Olympic Games had to swear an oath before the statue of Zeus that they had been in strict training for ten months..
~ The rules and regulations of the Christian is the bible.
~ Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word of God."
~ We study the bible so we can know the principles God has laid out for us to live by (2 Timothy 2:15).