I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.
This sermon is timed to tie in with Superbowl Sunday.
We aren’t just spectators in this life, or in the next. We’re major players. The A team. The starters.
As followers of Christ, we have been chosen — specifically — to be the front line in the battle for human souls.
We are here for a reason. We are specifically chosen. God Almighty has a job for us to do.
Jesus saw Simon and Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16)
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
Every new skill that we learn is hard before it becomes easy. Many occupations require constant training and updating, as the methods, regulations, and technologies change.
Our spiritual skills also need updating. The only time that you can coast on a bicycle is when you’re going downhill. Without some exercise in our prayer life, evangelism, mercy, and other spiritual muscles, we’ll end up with a soft-in-the-middle spiritual paunch.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, to sit down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. (Hebrews 12:11-12)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)
We rejoice, for we know that trials develop endurance. And endurance develops character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3-4)
News Flash: life isn’t easy. Marathon runners often talk about “hitting the wall.” That’s the point at which (to oversimplify) the body has run out of easy-to-burn fuel like carbohydrates and begins to eat fat cells from the body. Breathing becomes labored, muscles feel like they’re on fire, and the road ahead seems longer and harder than it probably really is.
There are times in our life when God seems absent, or the circumstances of life become overwhelming.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:12,16)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
When we’re “down at the half” — when you’ve hit that wall — we can regain our energy by focusing on our purpose.
What we are fighting for is worth far more than any temporary pain or difficulty. Our eternal salvation and the salvation of our friends and family are at stake. Our choices and words have everlasting impact.
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task that the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
We can win, and will win. The war is already over, even though we still fight individual skirmishes.
The crown is waiting for us at the end of the race, and Christ will supply us with the strength we need to win.
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. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it for a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; and I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)
Well done, good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:21)
We have been chosen, and should train to overcome trials by focusing on the goal, which will take us to victory.
S – Selected (1 Peter 2:9)
P – Practice (Romans 5:4)
O – Obstacles (1 Timothy 4:8)
R – Reason (Philippians 3:13)
T – Triumph (1 Corinthians 9:25)
Download the PowerPoint.