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Playing by the Rules

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).

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