“Who Wants To Be A Winner”
1 John 5:1-5
> Regis Philbin seems to have a golden touch these days. Almost everything he touches seems to have public acceptance and is successful. Regis was the initial host of the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” I have a different question for us this morning, (TITLE)
> This ending of this past college football season (2006), we literally witnessed a bizarre event. (First of all, I know the state in which I live and am keenly aware that my comments might cause someone to take out a contract on my life, but…) Consider this; an “NFL football coach” was literally lured away by a major college whose program is in trouble.” Now this is not the real news, the real news would be: “MONEY WAS NO OBJECT.” Before the Auburn, Tennessee, MS State, and everybody else pounce on the TIDE – remember this; your school would have done the same! Why? ALL want to be WINNERS!!
> It is 1 thing to be a gracious loser in sports; it is another thing to be a loser in life. Whether we will own up to it today or not–“every person in this room wants is to be a winner–at every thing they do.” This is a normal desire.
> Did you know that God wants you to be a winner, a victor, a success, even a conqueror? Before I am mauled, let me qualify this. Today many are wrongly preaching that if you give God your heart, you will have health and wealth, that you can “name it and claim it”, that you just “profess it to possess it” plus many more promises and the problem with this type of thinking is: This is simply not a scriptural teaching.
> Truthfully, you can have all the riches this world has to offer & still be a failure. You can win all the awards offered by the music or movie industry & still be a failure. You can acquire the largest retirement fund, have the biggest house, give your grandkids the most toys, take the most trips, & still be a loser, a failure, & defeated.
> What is the truth about being a winner? It depends on who you allow to define what it means to win.
> In chapter 5, John gives us a little insight as to what it truly means to be a winner. TITLE/ TEXT / Re-read Verse 5.
> I begin with 2 questions: First, who won the super bowl in 1996? Dallas. Next, who was the Collegiate National Champions in 1989? Miami (FL). Truth is, most people don’t know and don’t care because in the larger sense, it’s unimportant. Most people want to win at something which matters. They want to be victorious, conquerors.
> Before you say in your deeply ‘spiritual voice’, “Brotha Jerry, the Children’ of God are to be humble, quiet, and unassuming; winning and conquering is not right for us.” Really? We might need to re-read verse 5 one more time and catch the meaning of the conjunction “but.” The redeemed of the Lord have a deep ‘genetic’ desire to overcome this fallen world and be victorious.
> Let’s consider & embrace 4 attributes offered from God’s word that’ll make us victorious, conquerors & winners.
1) My Beliefs – In all that we do it is our beliefs which control us. Literally, they make us what we are.
> For 14 months, I worked diligently to write a short book which is titled, “And They Were Called Christian”. As I wrote my way through each chapter, one thought permeated the process. Not surprisingly this phrase appears several times in the book. Here it is; “We “do” what we believe, the rest is simply talk.”
> How does this play out? If we believe we can’t “do” something, generally we won’t get it done. If we believe a project is doomed to fail, we’ll find a way to make it so. Do you remember the “little & big trains?”
> Review verse one with me and watch. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the “Messiah, Christ, the appointed, the anointed one, has been born of God.
> Now connect the dots; verse one gives this message and verse 5 asks, “Who is the one who conquers the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is…”
> It is only in the experience of trusting Christ that we can become real live conquerors, real successes, and real winners. Because here is the truth; if we truly believe in Jesus the entirety of our lives will be changed, redirected, TRANSFORMED.
> What do you believe today? How does it control you?
2) My Relationships – Let’s take just a second and give this some perspective. The last part of verse 1 says, “If you love the parent then you will love the Child.” When you marry that thought to the first part of verse 2, it becomes clear that John is once again trying to teach us to love God, His Son-Jesus, as well as our fellow believers.
> There is a dangerous philosophy in our culture which seems to use some of the “right words” but results is a life which is not what the scripture teaches.
> It goes something like this; “I love God but I don’t know about Jesus and I don’t really like the church.”
> This philosophy is dangerous on at least 3 levels. The first part is saying ‘I love God.’ The question is, “Exactly what God do I love? And how do I express this love?” This scripture teaches us the “how” and we’ll get to it in just a moment.
> Next, “but I don’t know about Jesus.” When someone says this it is my belief that they speak from ignorance because how can you love a Father but not His Child?
> Next, “I don’t like the Church” is a similar statement as the Church is the daughter in law of the Father.
> Can you imagine a loving God not caring whether or not His Children get along? Everything that is written in His word tells us that our relationships should be closer, more intertwined, authentic, and loving than the worlds. The greatest relationship we are called to is found in our belief system, that we trust Christ. In Christ, we find live, forgiveness, help, hope, a relationship, a friend, a companion and a family which gives us our confidence to meet every challenge.
3) My Obedience – This word is a concept which we would truly like to forget. Everybody struggles with it; Children to their parents, employees to employers, military enlisted men to the officers, and the many more. Yet John says that “if” we love God, we obey Him. In this one epistle we find this concept many times (2:4, 2:29, 3:7, 3:24). Who is it that we “obey” today? This says much.
> John 14 records Jesus’ final words to His disciples as He was pouring out His heart in these dark hours.
> He said, “if you love me keep my commands.” He has just said and is just about to repeat, “A New command I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you”. We have no choice.
> Also remember the response of Jesus when He was asked, “What is the GREATEST commandment?” And the way we love the Father is to keep His commands.”
> Let me ask you one rhetorical question. Do you remember Jonah? Reading the first chapter of Jonah do you get the sense that Jonah doesn’t have a deep love for God? Sure you do, why? Because Jonah is consciously disobeying God’s direct command.
> By the way, because of our relationship to God in love the commands He gives are neither a burden nor a nuisance, why? Because we know He wants our best.
4) My Faith – Let’s read verse 4 again. Look at the word “conquers” for second. Different translations use several different words; “overcomes, defeats, won the victory, power to win.” The Greek word (Nike (nee’ Kay)), spelled “Nike’” comes from Greek mythology. She was the Greek Goddess of Victory & Triumph (Athena’s companion)
> The power of your faith is an untapped resource. Exactly how does my faith have any kind of power?
> It Releases God’s Power - “if you have faith like a mustard seed, you can say..” Please remember this, it is not faith in faith, it is faith in God thru Christ. Also-
> It Restrains God’s Power – Some of the deep theologians are thinking, “God is sovereign, we can never hold back the power of God.” Yet the scriptures clearly teach that we can. One of the saddest stories (to me) is found in Mark 6. Jesus went HOME to help and was rejected. Verse 5 says, “He could not do, because of their unbelief.”
> 3 Thoughts about you becoming a WINNER;
> Define – not just “WHO” you are, but “WHOSE” you are.
> Decide- not just “WHAT” you believe, but “WHO”.
> Develop – with these two in hand- Study, Pray, and Seek God consistently.