Summary: Fifth in a series designed for a giving campaign, "Get In The Game!"
Today we will conclude our consideration of the things that need to be true of us, as the people of God, if we are going to make sure that we "Get In The Game" for God and live lives that count for Christ. We said that we can know we’ve "Got Game" if we:
Go for the gold;
Aim for excellence;
Make the commitment; &
Expect God to work.
We have talked about "Going For The Gold," and how we need to live our lives with "one eye on eternity," living in light of the fact that one day we will give an account of ourselves to Christ.
We have talked about "Aiming For Excellence" by seeking to be like Christ in the way we live - seeking to be where Christ is working and joining Him there.
We have talked about the importance of daily "Making The Commitment" to deny ourselves and take up our cross. We said that in so doing, we need to daily embrace God’s will for our lives. As we do, we will also be embracing greatness through saying "no" to sin and self and "yes" to submission and sacrifice.
"The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." - Matthew 23:11-12 (NIV)
Which brings us to the final thing that must be true of us if we are going to "Get In The Game" for God. We must expect God to work. The Bible calls this "faith." Faith has been defined as: "Forsaking All, I Trust Him." Without faith, I cannot "Get In The Game" for God.
"But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him." - Hebrews 11:6 (CEV)
When you get right down to it, it is faith that motivates me to make sure I’ve "Got Game." I mean, if I don’t believe that God is real and that He rewards those who seek after Him, then I won’t be motivated to "Go For The Gold" by living in such a way so as to be rewarded by God or to "Aim For Excellence" through Christ-like living, or to "Make The Commitment" of daily taking up my cross. No, I am motivated to live in the way we’ve been talking about because I know God is real and He is alive, and He is active! Jesus promises us that God will work in response to our "Getting In The Game." Notice what He says in verses 35-37:
"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Mark 8:35-37 (NIV)
It is important to emphasize that Jesus isn’t addressing the need for unbelievers to not reject Him as Savior and miss out on heaven. No, He is addressing the need for believers not to reject Him as Lord and miss out on the life God saved them to live. This is what He is referring to here when He speaks of one "forfeiting his soul."
"What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?" - Mark 8:36-37 (The Message)
I want us to focus on the word "exchange" in verse 37.
"What can a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Mark 8:37 (NIV)
A pastor was asked to conduct a wedding ceremony. During the rehearsal, the groom pulled the pastor aside and made him an offer. He said "Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ‘love, honor and obey,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that part out." He gave the pastor a $100 bill and walked away.
The day of the wedding arrived and they came to the part in the ceremony where the bride and groom make their vows to one another. When it came time for the groom’s vows, the pastor looked at the young man and said "Will you promise to bow down before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?"
The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, "Yes." Then He leaned in and asked "What happened? I thought we had a deal!" The pastor gave him his 100 dollars back and said, "I’m sorry, but your bride made me a better offer."