Stay In The Ring

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning and evening, Feb. 6, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia:


By Michael D. O’Neal              Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church              Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:27

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Introduction: Paul did not want to be a “castaway.” This did not mean, of course, that he felt he was in danger of losing his salvation. One of the basic truths of Christianity is that Christ died for ALL of our sins, and that those who trust Him and His sacrifice for their sins are saved FOREVER. However, some Christians do get off track, and they get “put on the shelf.” That is, they become unusable in the service of God. They sit on the bench. The Christian life is compared to many things, and one of those things is a fight. Fighting has always been a sport, whether you call it wrestling, boxing, martial arts, or whatever. Paul said he service to Christ was like a fighter who fought to stay in the ring.
Perhaps you have seen someone thrown out or knocked out of a ring. Some fighters are out of the ring through disqualification, some through desertion, and others through defeat. Many Christian people do not serve God as they once did. Some of them do not even attend church?
What happened to them? Why do fighters get put out of the ring?


1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

A. Disciplined eating is required

B. Daily exercise is required

C. Drilling is required


Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

A. Concerning your ability

B. Concerning your awareness

  • Be sober!
  • A drunk THINKS he is aware and alert, when he is NOT!

C. Concerning your adversary – 1 Pet. 5:8


1 Corinthians 7:35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

A. With profit – 1 Tim. 6:10

B. With pleasure – 2 Tim. 4:10

C. With playmates – Prov. 13:20


2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Mike Tyson – Biting Evander Holyfield’s ear

A. Disregarding the rules

B. Disobeying the referee

C. Delaying your participation

  • In other words, you just don’t show up!


1 Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Judges 3:21-22 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.

A. Our efforts should not be indecisive

  • “as uncertainly”

B. Our efforts should not be inaccurate

  • “not as one that beateth the air”

C. Our efforts should not be insufficient

One reason that so many Christians are thrown out of the ring is that there is so much lazy, half-hearted, powder-puff preaching, powder-puff attending church, powder-puff singing, powder-puff giving, powder-puff “amens”, powder-puff repenting, powder-puff service to God, powder-puff resisting of the devil, powder-puff praying, powder-puff soul-winning, and powder-puff Bible reading and studying!

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