Running to Win

By Bobby Blakey on March 1, 2015

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

AUDIO

Running to Win

By Bobby Blakey on March 1, 2015

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:00] These have definitely been the most enjoyable and the most challenging 26 weeks of my life here at this church. It's crazy for me to think that over half the people that are here in this room, I didn't even know 26 weeks ago. And now some of you guys are my family. I couldn't imagine not knowing you. It's awesome to see what God has been doing here among us. We started doing services outside than we did him inside. And we did him at the movie theater. Then we got here in this building. And now here we are today celebrating six months. What a sprint it has been. Feels like an all out sprint. And yet it's there's the beginning of hopefully a long marathon of doing church here in Huntington Beach. I'm ready for the next six months. Anybody else want to renew their contract for the next six months?

[00:00:54] All right. Let's keep going.

[00:00:55] So today we want to look at a special text of scripture. First Corinthians, Chapter nine versus twenty four to twenty seven. And just sticking with that that analogy that sometimes you see in the Bible of running and if we have started to run, hopefully we've come out of the gates, run all out, but hopefully we can keep going and keep running here at this church until Jesus comes and returns until the end of all things.

[00:01:22] So let's look at this analogy that Paul gives to the Corinthians, First Corinthians, Chapter nine versus twenty four to twenty seven.

[00:01:30] Follow along with me as I read says, Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize. So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercise self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable reef. But we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly. I do not box is one beating the air. No, I discipline my body and keep it under control less after preaching to others. I myself should be disqualified.

[00:02:09] Now if you've grown up going to church, if you've been around God's people, you've probably heard that analogy before and you've probably heard I mean, you can just look motivational posters anywhere. I life's a race. Let's run. You got that person lunging towards the finish line. Weren't familiar with the analogy, but the truth is, I don't think we know what we're running for. I don't think we understand what the prize is. It says everybody's running, but only one person is going to win. So run like you're going to win. Well, what are we trying to win here in this passage? You might just think, well, I'm trying to finish this race of life. I'm trying to get to the end for Jesus. That's not what he's talking about here.

[00:02:47] You have to look at the context of why does he get into this running analogy? So back up a few verses in diverse Corinthians nine. Start with me in verse 16. Go all the way back down to verse 16. What is this prize that he's telling us we should run to obtain? Well, here in verse 16, it says four. If I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. Four, necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel, I gotta go tell people the good news of Jesus, for if I do this of my own, will I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I'm still entrusted with the stewardship.

[00:03:26] What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the Gospel free of charge. That's what he's telling them. He's like. I could've charged you money, but I didn't. Because I didn't want to cause anybody to stumble. So I. On preaching the gospel free of charge. So as to not to make full use of my right in the Gospel. For though I'm free from although I have liberty in Christ so I can kind of do what I want to do, that's not a sin. Instead, I've made myself a servant to all that.

[00:03:53] I might win more of them to the Jews.

[00:03:57] I became a Jew in order to win Jews and to those under the lie became as one under the law. They're not being myself under the law. But I became like them that I might win those under the law. And to those outside the law became is one outside the law not being outside of the love of God? No, I was I was doing what he tells me to do.

[00:04:14] I'm under the law of Christ, but that I might win those outside the law to the week I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them and its blessings. So everybody's running but run to win. What is the prize that you and I should be running to win souls? That's what he says.

[00:04:40] We're running to win people.

[00:04:42] This isn't about you living your Christian life and getting to the end. This is about does anybody here give a rip about the person sitting next to them? Anybody here give a give a care about your neighbor down the street that you barely know or your coworker? I'm sure you care about your family.

[00:04:59] Do you see people as souls that need to be saved and are you in a race?

[00:05:04] And are you running all out? And the finish line is when somebody gets baptized here in this tank and tells that I am Jesus Christ has totally changed my life.

[00:05:15] That's what we're running for.

[00:05:17] See, so many people there, Christian life is about them. Me now being a good person on my way to heaven and I just need to kind of come to a full realization of myself. I kind of need to grow and be more what God wants me to be. That's not what it's talking about here in this passage.

[00:05:34] It's saying, are you running so that somebody else could get saved if they did follow you home, if they did check out your life?

[00:05:43] Are you conducting your entire life in such a way that other people might come to know Jesus Christ?

[00:05:50] That's what Paul said.

[00:05:52] And he sets the example, I'm ready to be like anybody. I'll become all things to all men. So that may be one of them will get saved. But then when he uses this analogy, he says, you know, that all the runners run. So are you running to win?

[00:06:06] He's not talking about himself anymore. He's talking about the people here in this church of Corinth.

[00:06:11] And he's saying, who here is really all in not just for yourself, but to win souls for Jesus Christ?

[00:06:19] Who's trying to do that? That's the goal that he said.

[00:06:23] Now, we've talked about this before, we even talked about it a few weeks ago, last time we had a baptism service, because I think after six months of our church, what really matters is what's going to matter after six years, 16 years, God forbid, 60 years before a Jesus comes back. You want to see the world in 60 years. I don't know how long our church is going to be around, but what's going to matter at the end of the day?

[00:06:45] How many disciples were made here at CompassHB Bible Church wanting to beat us? What's going to matter? It's not how many services we had or how many times we came together in this building or how many worship songs we sang. The ultimate thing that matters is how many people have really been changed from the inside out by Jesus Christ. That's going to be the evaluation of our church. And that will be the evaluation. Believe it or not, whether you've been thinking that's the grading scale that you're gonna get evaluated with. That'll be the evaluation of your life. If you call yourself a Christian. Your mission is to make disciples. That's the goal, to reproduce your faith in other people's lives. And so he says, I'm like a runner. And they knew it. We know what a runner is. We pay attention to track and field. Every four years, you guys know what I'm talking about. Right. The Olympics. Right. And some some people in here have been on track team. Some people in here go running just for fun. Some people in here go running because they don't want to die. But at we're familiar with this idea of running. Right. And they had the ismy in games there in Corran. These were a big deal. They were very similar to the Olympics every few years.

[00:07:52] The best athletes from all over training at the peak of their game. I mean, their life revolved around running in these races. And there's going to be 10 guys lined up and only one of them is going home with the reef, with the prize.

[00:08:08] And so he says, run all out so that you might win.

[00:08:15] Are you trying honestly here this morning, is your life being run in such a way that you would win people for Jesus Christ? And if you are a Christian and you've been here for a certain amount of time that you've been following Jesus Christ. I want to ask you today, how many have you won for Christ? That's the question that should be always before us. That's the goal that we're going for. God wants to have people. He wants to save people. That's why we're here. That's why he sent his son, Jesus Christ. Let's get that done for point number one. We need to get God's heart to win souls. We need to have God's heart to win souls. This is the point.

[00:08:59] You want to ask what's the big question? Why? Why all of this? Why the creation? Why the fall into sin? Why the sending of Jesus Christ? What is the point? Here's the answer. That he would be God and he would have a people, a people who would know his love, a people who would be forgiving of his wrath and his justice, of people who could see the full array of his glory and would worship him forever. That's the point of all of this.

[00:09:24] God wants more people to worship him in heaven for all of eternity. He sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could be saved. Turn with me to Luke chapter fifteen to a story that perhaps you've heard before.

[00:09:44] Even if you haven't come to church, you might have heard this parable. It's the parable of the prodigal son. It's a son who has the gall, the absolute like just rudeness and disrespect to say to his dad, give me the inheritance. Now, that's what the son in this story says to his dad. I want to take the money, Dad, and I want to run. When your father is still alive and you say you want the inheritance. Now, what have you basically just said about your dad? I wish you were. I wish you were not living. I don't care about my relationship with you. I care about what I can get from you. And what I want from you is this money so I can do with it what I want to do. That's the prodigal prodigals. A guy who just he spends money excessively wantonly.

[00:10:37] He just goes for whatever he wants. This is the story of the prodigal son. Now, let me just clarify something that definitely needs to be said in church today. This guy, this prodigal, is not meant to represent some Christian wandering away from the faith. Maybe you've heard that. I've definitely heard that. I don't know too many Christians who are like, I wish God didn't exist because I'd rather go live life the way that I want to go live. Life is at the heart of a Christian person. No, say we get confused just because it says that he's the son of the father. We think, well, he must have already had had a relationship with God. No, he says to his father, give me the money because I'm done with you and I'm leaving.

[00:11:18] This is the this is an atheist here. This is someone who is an apostate. This is someone who has heard about God seeing God and decided there's something better out there in the world. That's who the prodigal son is. And you can see from the whole context, the story is in Luke 15. Let's start in verse one. Look at the context of this story says now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him.

[00:11:42] People who didn't normally go to church are coming to hear Jesus and the Pharisees and describes the usual church people, the hypocrites who think they're holy but really aren't. They're saying, oh, look at Jesus. This man receives sinners and eats with them.

[00:11:58] OK, so they're judging Jesus because he's hanging around with people who are clearly sinners. And in response to this self-righteous, hypocritical judgment, Jesus gives a series of parables. And you can read them all here and in Luke fifteen. The first one is a man who has 100 sheep and he loses one. And he goes and he finds the sheep. And the conclusion, look at verse seven, Luke fifteen, verse seven. The conclusion here is just so I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who need no repentance. The point he's making is, yeah, it's awesome. The centers are coming to hear me. Because if one of them turns from their sin, heaven is going to have a party and all the angels are going to rejoice because that's the point of life is for sinners to come and no God. Then he tells another story, same point. A woman loses a coin. She finds the coin. Jesus says inverse tent. Just so I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repent. This isn't about some Christian falling away and then coming back. This is about a person who realizes they're in sin, turning from their sin to God, begging for mercy and being forgiving.

[00:13:16] Let's read now the parable of the Prodigal Son verse eleven. There was a man who had two sons, and the younger of them said to his father, Worst thing son could ever say to a dead father, give me the share of the property that is coming to me.

[00:13:29] I don't. I have no idea why dad goes along with it here. But he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered. All you add took a journey into a far country.

[00:13:40] And there he squandered his property in reckless living, doing whatever he wants. Living in sin. And when he had spent everything partied hard. A severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his field to feed pigs.

[00:14:01] And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs eight.

[00:14:04] This is when you know you're at a bad place when pigs are not food, but you're longing for the pig food. So he's in a tough spot. And verse 17 says when he came to himself, he said, how many of my fathers hired servants have have more than enough ready comes to his senses. People who serve at my father's house have it better than this. But I perish here with hunger.

[00:14:26] I will arise and I'll go to my father and I'll say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven. And before you, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Please just treat me as one of your hired servants and heroes now.

[00:14:42] Now the point of the story is not the prodigal. It's more the father. And then it's even more the older brother. Who's the hypocrite, who's looking at the father, who is God saving the sinner and the older brother.

[00:14:55] The Pharisees are over here judging God for being with sinners because they're missing. The point that that's what God does is he saves sinners. That's the point of life.

[00:15:06] And look, now, the father who's going to represent God here in this story. Look at his response to this sinner coming to him. Verse 20. And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, key word of the day and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

[00:15:28] So here comes the sun coming to his senses, coming back to the father to repent of his sins. But here's the plot twist.

[00:15:36] The father's looking for the son. He's on lookout.

[00:15:40] He'd never stopped hoping that his son would return. And he sees him when he is a long way off. And he runs the father who represents God in this story is running towards his sinful son.

[00:15:56] I mean, this is a shocking story in the Jewish culture would even be kind of shocking here, but I don't know. I mean, the father here is a noble man. He's wearing a robe. He might be advanced in age. And now he's running. Maybe other people are seeing this. Maybe he's running through the middle of town. He's picking up his robe as an old man and running.

[00:16:16] That was very undignified behaviors.

[00:16:20] And the point is, this is what God longs for. He longs for sinners to repent.

[00:16:27] And you can see here as the father comes up embracing and kissing his son, the son says to him his confession. Father, I have sinned against heaven. And before you are no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father, he said to his servants, bring quickly the best robe and put him on him and put a ring on his hand.

[00:16:43] Put shoes on his feet. Let's bring the fat and calf and kill it. And let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead and he's alive again. He was lost and is found.

[00:16:54] And they began began to celebrate. Let me ask you guys a question. Who do you think the best robe was for?

[00:17:01] What do you think? Who do you think that the ring was for? Who do you think that the fat and calf was for? This is the father like giving of his own to to this son.

[00:17:12] He's overjoyed. He's I mean, to kill a fat cat. That's that's food for weeks. That's like the whole city, the whole town come together and let us all celebrate together. What we've been longing for. Is that a sinner has repented and has come. And we will welcome him.

[00:17:28] Doesn't say, oh, yeah, I'm glad he kind of came back to church. I'm glad he got re found. Notice you'll never read that in the Bible. I'm glad he rededicated himself.

[00:17:36] No, that's not what it says. Says I'm glad he repented of his sin because he was dead and now he's alive. He was lost. See? And now he's found. What does God think about sinners who repent? He runs for them. Say he goes after them.

[00:17:53] He embraces them. He kisses them. He treats them as if they're his own children, like his son. Jesus Christ. God loves to save people. That's the point of life. The point of life is souls being saved. So the question on the table this morning is, is that the point of your life? Say. This is the point of life, this Jesus is like you, Ferris's you don't get it. This is why I came. That's Sinner's could hear the good news and they could turn from their sin. That's the whole point. And he tells them three different stories to try to illustrate to them. This is the joy of the father. Now, the angels, it says, are rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents.

[00:18:37] Now, I've never been to heaven. All right. I would be highly skeptical of somebody who tells you that they have been there. OK.

[00:18:44] Because heaven, I can only see heaven through the scripture.

[00:18:50] But every time I read about heaven in the Bible, I get this very central theme that God is on his throne and everything revolves around that.

[00:18:59] That's the picture I get.

[00:19:01] All these angels, all the saints who are already there. They're all focused on what's going on with God in the middle. So I'm thinking of all the angels are throwing a party. If all the angels are rejoicing because one sinner has repented, who's the one who gave the cue for everybody to celebrate?

[00:19:19] Say it's God. He is the one who is overjoyed at the sinners repentance. He is the one who's finding the light and saving them. And now all of heaven is rejoicing. Why? Because the centerpiece of heaven. God himself on the throne. He is rejoice.

[00:19:37] You want to live for what God is all about, if you want your life to matter to God and to be pleasing to him, then you will be on a race to win souls and you will try to win as many as you possibly can, because that's what God delights is what pleases him.

[00:19:52] He's running towards sinners to embrace them and welcome them in.

[00:19:58] Go to Zephaniah. Let me show you another example of this. Maybe you don't know what I just said, Zephaniah. It's it's in the Old Testament. It's a few books back from the New Testament. So just go to Matthew and turn back a little bit and you'll see Zephaniah. You'll have to go a few for books back here. It's right before Hagai and right after Habakkuk, if that if that helps you. All right. I don't know if that helps you. It's on page seven hundred and eighty eight. Maybe that'll help how you got one of our Bibles. Zephaniah, what in the world are we doing here? I thought this was about God wanting to save people, the minor profits they're all about. God judging people so people think. We don't read these books because they don't sound very friendly. Zephaniah is about this day of the Lord, a day that is coming to judge every single person. The Bible is very clear that there is a judgment that must come on sin. And the Bible's very clear that it is coming. And if you don't like that, you're disagreeing with the Bible. It's not something I'm saying. That's what the Bible say, that this is the way the Bible likes to put it. Why don't you just look at Zephaniah? Chapter one. Verse 14. Imagine you like all. Let's open the Bible. Let's read Zephaniah. Let's see what it's all about. You would get to this passage.

[00:21:13] The great day of the Lord is near. Near in hastening fast. The sound of the day of the Lord is bitter. The mighty man. The soldier that. The guy who's so tough and strong.

[00:21:24] He's crying on this day, a day of wrath is that day.

[00:21:28] A day of distress and anguish. A day of ruin and devastation. A day of darkness and gloom. A day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of trumpet blast in battle. Cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind so that they shall walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord.

[00:21:52] Now, imagine reading that for your devotions. You're just feeling all kinds of warm, fuzzy. You're like, I'm gonna write this on a card and send it to one of my friends. Be blessed, be blessed. Look at that. All right.

[00:22:04] Let's see what what happens is we read stuff like that. We don't want to think about it. We turn to another page. We go back to those few verses that we like that do give us the warm Buzz's.

[00:22:14] But that's true. My friends.

[00:22:16] What that just said is true as any other passage that you could turn to in this book and what it say it says is there is a day that is coming that is so terrible.

[00:22:25] It's coming upon every single person, why? Because they've sinned against God. Every single person that you know right now.

[00:22:35] That doesn't believe in Jesus Christ people here in this room. They are in danger of terrible and horrific things that are yet to come.

[00:22:42] That's what the Bible clearly says. The bad news is very bad. That's that's what the Bible says.

[00:22:49] Now, the point of the bad news is never there's no joy in the bad news in the Bible.

[00:22:54] Whenever you read bad news in the Bible, here's what you should do. Keep reading because good news is always coming. The point of the Bible is God overcomes the bad news with his good news. That's the point.

[00:23:08] And so it starts out pretty bad. How could God get us out of this one? That's crazy. Look at Chapter two. It starts to tell you right away. Some good news gather together. Yes, Gaturro. Shameless nation. Everybody who's living in that sin before it happens. Before the decree takes effect, before the day passes away, like Shapp, before time's gone and you're dead and life is over before there comes upon you. The burning anger of the Lord before there comes upon you. The day of the anger of the Lord. Seek the Lord. Everybody now, while you have a chance, see God turn from your sin. Come to him. All you humble of the land. Everybody who does is just commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps say this would be a good thing.

[00:23:50] Perhaps you may be hit in on the day of the anger of the Lord.

[00:23:55] Hey, there is a day that is coming that is so terrible we don't even want to think about it. So make sure you have a hiding place. Make sure your soul is already hidden today. That's what it says. Gives you a warning and then says there is a way out. There's a way of escape. Take it now while you can before it's too late. And if you're looking for a hiding place to avoid the judgment of God, you have to go to the only place that judgment has already been.

[00:24:21] And that's the cross of Jesus Christ, where he already judged his son for the sins of the world. And if you go and hide and take refuge in the fact that Jesus died for you and he rose again, that his righteousness will be given to you. And he paid for your sin. If you hide there, you will be saved from this great day of wrath that has come.

[00:24:42] That's that's the message. Why is there a day of wrath coming because God wants to save people from it. That's the point.

[00:24:49] In fact, when you get to the end of Zephaniah, it's beautiful. Go to chapter three. And now we're rejoicing. And now we're singing because there was this great and terrible day that was coming, a day of wrath. And nobody wants to talk about it. But you can hide. And actually now, instead of being judge, we're saved.

[00:25:06] And we're praising God. We're singing aloud, rejoicing. Just skip on down the verse seven, 17 years. Here's the summary of the whole message. The Lord, your God is in your midst. He's right there with you.

[00:25:18] He's a mighty one who will save. And he will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. He will exalt over you with loud singing. Maybe you didn't know that. But when you got saved. Guess who's singing praise songs. Guess who's singing songs of joy when you got say that says God is singing over you with loud singing. No one is more excited that you got saved than God, including you, my friends.

[00:25:49] He sings over you.

[00:25:52] So you're going to read through the bad stuff to get to a beautiful picture of, like God holding you in this hiding place in this place of refuge, and he's quieting you with his love, it says.

[00:26:03] He's singing over you, why are all the angels rejoicing in heaven? Because God is singing. I wonder what that sounds like. When somebody here at this church, when somebody you could talk to get saved and they rejoice in heaven over one sinner who repents, I wonder what that sounds like.

[00:26:23] I wonder what this celebration is like. I have a little glimpse. I have a little glimpse because one of the games we like to play at our house is hide and go seek. Anybody else like to play this at their house? I got a little kids. We always want to play hide and go seek and then hide and go seek out old. So now we play detective. That's the new thing we're playing. Sounds a lot more sophisticated. What's the difference between detective and hide and go seek? Not much really. But just sounds advanced stray. Now, when you're hiding, you can you can change hiding spots if you would like to see another level. That's how we work. And sometimes when you're playing hide and go seek, even though you're in your own house. And even though you're having fun, you're little kids want you to come and hide with them. Have you ever noticed this? Because when they're hiding, they get scared, right. So my daughter says, Daddy, please come hide with me. You know, I'm not going to go into the closet unless you come with me. Right. I don't know if anybody else's kids ever wake up in the middle of the night with bad dreams. Anybody ever, ever have that. She comes running in.

[00:27:21] She once saw a hippo fully extend its mouth and she realized she could fit in there. And that was pretty much it after that.

[00:27:30] And I know we got a two story house. You know, I'm pretty sure no hippo could make it up these stairs. And I'm trying to rationally, like, those stairs are not going to support the weight of a hippo.

[00:27:38] Here's a hippo. Here's the stairs. You know it doesn't work, right?

[00:27:43] What does she want when she has the bad hippo dream? Right. What does she want? She wants daddy in the room. And what does she want?

[00:27:49] Hey, Daddy. You sing well. You sing me a song so I can fall back to sleep. And what do I do? I quiet her with my love. That's what God wants to do with you.

[00:28:04] So God wants to do with every single person that he made in his image. He wants to save them. He wants to be their father. He wants to welcome the men. He wants to have a party. He wants to rejoice. This is the point. Of life. And what are you and I going to do to extend the joy of our God and see more people saved? Are we running in the same direction as God? We're not running to win souls. We're missing the point of what God is all about. I have to go back to First Corinthians, Chapter nine.

[00:28:36] Says if you're gonna take this serious, just a couple of things here real quick that you're going to have to do first Corinthians nine. I mean, think about this. You're gonna be a runner. You're gonna be a a sprinter. You're gonna try to beat other guys across the finish line.

[00:28:50] So it says in verse twenty five, every athlete exercises self-control in all things.

[00:28:58] Athletes, they can't just eat whatever they want. They can't just stay up as late as they want. They can't just do whatever they want. They have to train their bodies.

[00:29:07] They have to make decisions. They're going to have to say no to some things. They're going to have to give up some things in order to be the best and to run the race to win. So point number two, let's put it down like this. What are you going to give up to gain more? You're going to have to give up to gain more. You're going to make your life about winning souls than you're going to. At some point have to say no to something else. Maybe it's not even a bad thing. It's just going to take you away from your your race that you're running and you've got to win that race.

[00:29:39] So you can't get into whatever the case may be. All that you think about what's keeping me from really trying to talk to more people about Jesus bring more people to church. What's holding me back? Do I feel like I don't know what to say? Do I feel like I don't have time? What is the reason perhaps that I'm not going all out to win more people? One of the things that happened when we moved here to Huntington Beach is I started driving a little bit where we live and now where this building is is a little bit of a drive there for 15 minutes or so.

[00:30:12] I started doing this really crazy thing I'd never done before. I listened to the radio. Anybody else ever done that before? All kinds of weird stuff on there, you know, to me. I started even listening to sports radio is like, who can talk about sports all day? And they do. Oh, wow. The things they come up with to talk about. We're talking about this quarterback one time.

[00:30:30] Who the night before a game, he went to see a movie before his football game. And it was like shock. It was outrage. It was like this guy should be fired. Can you imagine that? He's going to see a movie and tomorrow he's got an NFL football game. He was like he wasn't focused.

[00:30:48] He wasn't really trying his hardest. He wasn't putting any everything into his preparation.

[00:30:54] He was just kind of being casual.

[00:30:56] And then it was funny because after Tom Brady won, I don't know how many Super Bowls he's won now, but the quarterback of the Super Bowl winning team, they interviewed him. Are you going to retire? Where are you going to come back for another year? And what does he say right away? He said, I've already decided that this offseason I'm going to live in such a way.

[00:31:14] I mean, to live a very restricted lifestyle, to give myself the best opportunity to come back and win again next year.

[00:31:21] So it's a different.

[00:31:23] One guy's going to see a movie before a game. And here's Tom Brady, Super Bowl champion, the guy who won. And what is he saying?

[00:31:30] I'm already considering how I'm gonna spend my off season to put myself in the maximum position to win souls. So you're going to have to say no to some fun things.

[00:31:41] There's other things that you could do. But the priority of winning souls means that you say no, go to second Timothy.

[00:31:49] Go to second Timothy. Just an example of this in Paul's life as he writes to.

[00:31:55] To Timothy here, his true disciple. Surely Paul was a guy who ran the race to win souls. I mean, I just picture people, people coming up to Paul and being like, so, Paul, what's your hobbies?

[00:32:08] Hey, Apostle Paul, what do you like to do in your free time?

[00:32:13] Can you imagine him answering that question? Oh, you mean when I'm in jail? It's pretty much the only free time I've got. Otherwise, I'm working night and day. I'm preaching the gospel by day and make intense at night because I don't want to charge anybody because I'm preaching the gospel to him. I mean, I just hate Paul when you take a vacation. I just don't. Yeah. One time I went to Athens and I got into it with a bunch of guys down there because they had all these statues.

[00:32:34] I mean, I just don't see I don't see that kind of stuff here. Right. In fact, this is what he's seen in the last letter that he's going to write before they kill him. He says in second Timothy, chapter two, verse eight. Remember, Jesus Christ risen from the dead. The offspring of David. Hey, if there's one thing I want you to think about, it's Jesus Christ as preached in my gospel for which I am suffering bound with chains as a criminal. Well, let me tell you this. The word of God is not bound. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the who does it say there for the sake of the who, the elect people that God is going to save that aren't saved.

[00:33:12] You mean I'll go through whatever I have to go through to get to the people that God wants to save? That's my finish line. That's what I'm running for. Say Olander.

[00:33:23] Anything.

[00:33:24] That they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. I want as many people as possible to experience this. And he says this in jail.

[00:33:35] It would have been hard for Paul to change his story a little bit, and just so I'm going to focus on myself and just my people and just, you know, making sure I get to heaven. All I had to do is change his tune a little bit. And I'm sure he could've got out of jail. And I'm sure he could've kept living a long life and he could have planted some things and grown a garden. And he couldn't watch sports and he could have gone on for a long time.

[00:33:57] That wasn't his race that he was running.

[00:34:00] You're gonna have to say notice some other things back to First Corinthians, Chapter nine.

[00:34:09] One more, one more.

[00:34:13] Warning that Paul gives us here in verse 27. He says athletes, they got to exercise self-control. You're going to have to say, no, you may not even be a bad thing that you're going to have to say no to verse 27, he says, but I disciplined my body and keep it under control. Here's something I'm going to have to say. No to my flesh, my body, my own desires, lust after preaching to others. I am. I should self should be disqualified.

[00:34:39] And we're only six months into the race. I've run into win souls here at Compas H.B. Can you imagine the horror of seeing some of our people here at this church disqualified? What if you come here today, another day at church, let's get into the word, let's worship the Lord.

[00:34:53] And somebody you don't even know comes up here and says, yeah, we've got to make an announcement about Pastor Bobby. We've actually found him to be in some very serious sin that disqualifies him from being a pastor.

[00:35:04] Imagine if you came here to this church. There was some sex scandal with my name on it. But with that kind of with that kind of put a damper on our race that we're running here with, that all of a sudden make this six months be like what would even war we do in their. So do you realize this could get disqualified even if we've already started to run a good race?

[00:35:23] If we don't run according to the rules, it could all be for nothing. See, you heard a lot of names dropped in the baptismal.

[00:35:30] Johnny. Nancy. Shane. Sharon. All these people. What if they name somebody?

[00:35:38] And it's like, yeah, that person's in total sin. Yeah. That that person, they don't even don't really come to this church anymore. They took off. They started doing what they wanted to do with that. Would that discredit what's happening here? You see how if you're going to stand for Christ, if you're gonna go and tell somebody, hey, you've got to repent of your soon, man, there's good news. Jesus wants to forgive you. He wants to save you. So if you're gonna go tell somebody that you got to live. That man. How many Christians have ruined our reputation here in Huntington Beach? What's the number one reason people don't want to be a Christian today? Hypocrisy.

[00:36:15] You might even have people here in this room that are part of the problem. You're not a part of the solution. You're not out there to win souls. No.

[00:36:20] You are making Christians look bad to other people with your hypocrisy.

[00:36:25] And he says, even though I'm running this race. And even though here's a guy who started churches and he's led so many people, he's like, I could still disqualify myself. So I live according to the rules. Point number three, don't disqualify yourself with hypocrisy. You've got sin going on in your life, that's what's going to keep you from winning souls for Jesus Christ. If you've got sin going on, you gotta turn from it. You've got to you've got to get that out of your life, and I hope that you guys will pray that for me that I won't get disqualified and I'll be praying that for you that you won't get disqualified.

[00:36:59] And we'll keep an honest and open dialog going in our home fellowship groups and will make sure that we practice what we preach around here at this church. We don't need more people saying things on Sundays like we heard. And I was doing jail ministry. I was doing rehab ministry, I was serving in the tech boom. All kinds of great things going on.

[00:37:18] But don't follow me home and see what I'm really doing. We don't need people here at this church act in one way here on a Sunday and another way on their own. There's a policy going on that will disqualify us. We need to repent of it. We need to be done with it if it is happening.

[00:37:34] And for those of us who are walking in the. According to the rules, let's keep doing it. Look at second Timothy again. Look at another thing that Paul says to Timothy along the same lines.

[00:37:44] If you want to be used by God you can't have seen in your life, it's one or the other. He gives an analogy here. And second, Timothy to 20, a little further on from where we read before he says it like this. Now, in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver, there's the fine China. There's stuff you put in, the food on in.

[00:38:03] You're going to you're going to eat, eat stuff from into your mouth. But these vessels of gold and silver put them in prominent places so people can see them. You've also got vessels of wood and clay.

[00:38:14] Some are for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

[00:38:18] We've got some find China at our house.

[00:38:20] We've got a toilet seat at our house. Okay. Different kinds of vessels. Hey. There we go. You get it? Verse 21. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, then he'll be a vessel for honorable use. Set apart is wholly useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

[00:38:42] I'm sure that we won't see people get saved at this church if we don't see a lot of people get saved. It's not because God doesn't want a lot of people to get saved.

[00:38:50] Now, that's his heart. We've seen that very clearly. Now, if we don't see a lot of people get saved at this church, it will be because we don't have enough honorable vessels that God can use.

[00:39:00] Say, is your life even clean to the point that God could use you to pass on Christianity? For some people before we start running for other people, there might need to be a little bit of cleaning of the dishonorable in our lives so that we can actually be used.

[00:39:17] It's so sad to me to meet Christian people who have no expectation in their life that they would lead somebody else to Christ.

[00:39:25] Well, let me ask you if that's what why are you even here? Why not just go straight to heaven? I mean, you won't sin there. You'll be perfect. You'll be a fully realized version of yourself.

[00:39:36] So why did God leave you here? For other people.

[00:39:40] So that you could conduct yourself in an honorable way. Other people could see something different about you, that you could talk to them, that you could tell them how Jesus changed your life, that you could share your testimony at work or with a neighbor or with a family member, just like we heard people do today. You just step up and you just tell what Jesus has done in your life and you'll let him see what he's going to do in the hearts of others.

[00:40:01] We'll run into we. Sayed's.

[00:40:06] Now, this is something we talk about and then I wonder, what are people going to do? I think people agree. Hey, yeah, I would like to see somebody become a Christian. Sounds like a nice idea, but what is it actually going to look like in our lives? And so we really try to think, how can we do this together and not just send everybody out on their own to talk to their own family. Now, how can we come together and run like as a team, say?

[00:40:32] And so we have this idea who first idea that we ever came up with, how we were going to spread the word in Huntington Beach was an ice cream truck.

[00:40:40] Is everybody heard about the ice cream truck? We heard Joel talking about it. Right. I got here some ice cream that day. Right. The big guy. Right. He got free ice cream. We figured eight people don't like if you just come and knock on their door and say, hey, we want to tell you about Jesus. So he said, hey, we want to give you some free ice cream. And then while they're eating ice cream, we tell em about Jesus Christ. All right. It's we were.

[00:41:01] I remember the guy who came up with the idea. John Carlson. I remember him saying, I can't wait till we have somebody getting that baptismal and say, I got free ice cream one day. John, today's your day, my friend.

[00:41:12] That just happened. There it is, six months. And now this ice cream truck.

[00:41:18] It goes out every Saturday morning into the streets and went into Garden Grove for the first time this Saturday. Every Tuesday night, you can find it lurking dangerously close to the farmer's market downtown.

[00:41:28] Just trying to pick up, trying to pick up people. There is not officially a part of it, but but wanting to be, you know, to me.

[00:41:36] We've got John. He's on. He's trying to get this ice cream truck out there. But but only a few people can go out with the ice cream truck. So we're thinking, OK, what's something we can all do together?

[00:41:46] If we're all going to run to win souls, how can we all run together?

[00:41:50] And we thought, what if we had our very own running event?

[00:41:53] What if we hosted our own five K?

[00:41:56] What if we tied it into Easter and we called it the Bunny Ranch?

[00:42:00] So I'm here to announce to you today, my friends, that we're hosting an event here at Compass Bible Church Community Event. It'll be held at Central Park. And it's called the Bunny Ranch. And it's going to be on Saturday, March 28, which is four weeks away. Here's the details of it. It's going to be at Central Park. This is a real deal. Five K. It's got to be a starting line. I don't know if somebody'll shoot a gun. I don't know how to work, but people are going to run. It's only three point one miles. Just to clarify, those of you guys are like, I don't do running.

[00:42:30] All right.

[00:42:32] It's only three point one miles. He could walk that in an hour.

[00:42:37] But look, we're not just going to do a running of it. Here's something I don't know. If you've noticed, people like to run like I don't know who they are, but they're out there. Maybe some of you guys are here today, right? Maybe some of you guys are here today. Some of them are running dangerously close to my lane when I'm driving down the street.

[00:42:53] Have you noticed that? It's, like, broke. We got parts for this. This is Huntington Beach. Brothers. Better places to run than ride up where I'm supposed to drive my car. So if you are one of those runners, get on the sidewalk or a park or something.

[00:43:06] You know what?

[00:43:06] To me now when I said, hey, I wanted to. I want to host a five K event.

[00:43:11] And I said that to some of my really good friends here at this church. They started laughing at me.

[00:43:17] I was like, what?

[00:43:19] OK, I'm not a runner, but I do care about running to win souls. And here's something I've noticed. There's a lot of runners here in this city.

[00:43:25] We just had to Surf City Marathon. Do you realize what a marathon is? It's called suicide.

[00:43:31] That's what a marathon.

[00:43:34] Like the guy who originally ran twenty six point two miles to tell his to tell his fellow Greek people that they had won the battle of marathon. He fell over and died. Everybody realizes this. Right. And now we're doing this for fun on a Saturday morning.

[00:43:49] Some missing here, you know, so but you realize we did the Surf City Marathon at the same place that we're going to have our event and 15000 people showed up to do it, to do a run of twenty six point two miles.

[00:44:02] I would say that's kind of something that people are into.

[00:44:06] So we're just gonna start baby steps. We're just gonna do a five game and I want to challenge you to run in it.

[00:44:10] And here's what I really want you to do. I want you to invite somebody who doesn't go to this church, who's not a Christian to run with you.

[00:44:18] And I want you to go running with them in preparation, like your training or something. Go to a park, go running with somebody. And as you're gasping for breath or maybe as you're just chugging along like normal, whoever you are, you could maybe bring up with this person.

[00:44:35] What do you think about Jesus Christ? And you could be running and you could be running if you get what I mean. Trying to win a soul, trying to stay alive.

[00:44:47] That's what we're going for now. It's not only just going to be a run because some of you are not going to win over on a run. So you can just point runners where to go. So we could use some people, we could use some volunteers.

[00:44:58] You don't want to run three point one Miles. I feel you actually you don't need to. You can. You can surf. There's lots of ways to serve. We want this to be an event. We're going to do something for the kids. And we're and we're going to in fact, I think we have a picture here. Here's Central Park. Here's where we're going to do it. It's right here in Huntington Beach. And we've got that spot reserved and we'll set this nice course up around the park. It'll be a beautiful place. And then we've got a mascot here for the bunny run that you'll be seeing around our church. They have a picture of this guy. There he is. And so there's actually going to be runs for kids where kids will get to chase this guy. And he'll be throwing out Easter eggs filled with candy. And so it's gonna be a fun time for the entire family to be apart. Afterwards, we'll have lunch. And so this is a big event that we want to do, hopefully, if it works at all. It will. We'll do it every year. And people will think, oh, yeah, I do the turkey trot in November and I do the bunny run in April around Easter time and a little. Do they know that church is trying to win their soul for Jesus Christ? All right. So this is something we're going to do together to run, to win salt.

[00:46:03] So let me pray.

[00:46:05] I'll take it by that. Clapping Everybody is going gonna go home and sign up. Compensates Dot.com slash bunny. Right. I will be running, so can't point the finger at me. All right. Let me just pray for us. Please pray with me.

[00:46:17] Gabby, thank you so much. That you love to save sinners and God.

[00:46:22] That means a lot to me because I'm a sinner that you have saved.

[00:46:27] God, I know that many people, not just the four who got baptized, but many people in this room could stand up today and they could tell a story of what Jesus has done in their life.

[00:46:37] And God help them to do it, help them to get out there and to tell more people the good news that Jesus Christ turns our life around in repentance. He gives us faith and trust in what he's done, changes us from the inside out.

[00:46:53] God help us to spread that word, help us to be running our entire life organized for the goal of winning souls. That's the prize that we want and we are running to get the prize. We train ourselves every day. We pray every day. We get in the word every day because we want to see more people get saved.

[00:47:13] Got to pray that that would be true about us here at this church. And God, if there's things that we need to say no to because they're eating up our time, our money or our relationship resources. God help us to make those decisions. If there's sin that disqualifies us. Help us to repent of it. God, maybe there's even someone, a sinner. Who's realizing that they're lost and they need to be found here today?

[00:47:34] God. We know that you would welcome them, that you would embrace them, that you would run to them and kiss them, and that the angels would rejoice in heaven because you would be singing. What a beautiful picture, God, of who you are as a savior, we're so thankful for you. We give you all the glory. We pray that you will make us a church who will run in such a way that you will save many souls. In Jesus name, we pray. A man.

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