Summary: No matter what difficulty we face in life, God is always there to pick us up. He is for us.
GOD IS FOR US
A. Son Games
In 490 B.C., a great battle between two WORLD EMPIRES, the PERSIANS and GREEKS (the Athenians), was fought in the ancient town of Marathon, some 22 miles from the city of Athens. The battle was FIERCE, but resulted in the DEFEAT of the PERSIANS.
A Greek messenger name Pheidippides ran from the BATTLEFIELD of Marathon to Athens with the news of the Athenian VICTORY. After entering the city he shouted, “REJOICE! WE CONQUER!” He then fell to the GROUND and DIED of EXHAUSTION.
In 1896 when the Olympic Games were REVIVED at Athens, the 26 mile 365 yard run designated
“MARATHON” was added to commemorate the COURAGEOUS run of Pheidippides.
B. The theme of this past week’s Vacation Bible School was Son Games.
1. The focus was on the Apostle Paul and how he was chosen by God to be the apostle to the Gentiles and to teach them about Jesus.
The children learned how Paul was faced with many HARDSHIPS and TRIALS: His LIFE was THREATENED, he was PERSECUTED, BEATEN, STONED, IMPRISONED, SHIPWRECKED, and yet Paul was able to live VICTORIOUSLY in Christ.
2. What was Paul’s SECRET? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31.
It was the KNOWLEDGE that God was on Paul’s side that kept him going, even during the TOUGH TIMES. The PROMISE of God being FOR US is not only for Paul or the first-century Christians, but for all of God’s CHILDREN for all time.
3. Romans 8:31-39 (READ)
There is an old Roman legend of an EMPEROR returning from VICTORY with the spoils of war. He PARADED down the streets of Rome, and people gathered around to watch his TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION. As they chanted while he passed by, his soldiers lined the streets to PROTECT him from the OUTREACHED arms of the crowd.
During the PROCESSION, a little boy, the emperor’s son, jumped off the ROYAL PLATFORM and started running between all the people. Then he darted between a guard’s legs and sped toward the EMPEROR. The SOLIDER grabbed him by the NECK and said, “Boy, you can’t go up there! Don’t you know who that is? That’s the EMPEROR!”
The little boy turned around and said, “Mister, he may be your EMPEROR, but he’s my father.”
God is certainly our LORD, our SOVEREIGN, our CREATOR; but He’s also our Father! As our Father, He LOVES us more than we can ever IMAGINE. Despite what DIFFICULTY we might face in this LIFE, God our Father never FORSAKES us—He’s always on OUR SIDE.
I. GOD IS FOR US
A. How does that make you feel?
How many BASEBALL FANS do we have here? How many of you are Chicago Cubs Fans? How many are St. Louis Cardinal Fans? (YOU NEED TO REPENT!)
You may not know this about me, but I’m really not a very good ATHLETE. I know this comes as a SHOCK. My first summer as a young preacher in Bowie, Texas over 20 years ago, I played for the Carter Lake Road church SOFTBALL TEAM. That year there were close to 30 guys who wanted to PLAY ball, so two TEAMS were formed. There were the “A” team and the “B” team. The “A” team consisted of more EXPERIENCED players. So it was decided that some PLAYERS should move to BALANCE the TALENT on the two teams. It was UNANIMOUS that I stay with the “B” team.
I had never played SOFTBALL before. In fact, I had never played ORGANIZED BASEBALL before. The first time I was up to BAT, I was so NERVOUS that I STRUCK OUT. For the next three times I was up to BAT I STRUCK OUT. But maybe my NICHE wasn’t at BAT at all, but out in the FIELD.
I know that our Team Captain Gary Hachtel, whose NICKNAME is “HOMER” for obvious reasons, had a lot of FAITH in me because he put me in RIGHT FIELD—way out in RIGHT FIELD. In fact, I was so far out that I stood in the DARK—the field lights didn’t even shine that far. It was just me and the FIRE FLIES!
I stood out their for quite a few INNINGS and no one hit a ball in my DIRECTION. When a ball came close, one of my TEAM MEMBERS would run all the way from CENTER FIELD just to CATCH IT. I thought he was just being BROTHERLY. There was such CAMARADERIE on our TEAM that when a LEFT-HANDED BATTER came up to BAT the entire OUT-FIELD moved in toward my DIRECTION in RIGHT FIELD. I never saw that happen in professional
Finally, by ACCIDENT, a RIGHT HANDED BATTER hit a HIGH FLY BALL toward me. This was my chance to REDEEM myself. I ran out of the DARKNESS into the LIGHT with my GLOVE held high ready to CATCH the BALL. The ball began to DESCEND coming closer and closer. And when it was just INCHES away from my GLOVE, I . . .I; well, let’s just say that I can play RIGHT FIELD as well as I can BAT!