Summary: In II Timothy 4:7-8 we see a spiritual champion that has been there, one who has succeeded, one who has come to the end of his life and has always been a champion for Christ. For additional sermons in this series, refer to www. 4reallife.org
“Profile Of A Spiritual Champion”
Today I speak to you on “The Profile of a Spiritual Champion”. What is a spiritual champion? What does a spiritual champion look like? Of course in II Timothy 4:7-8 we see a spiritual champion that has been there, one who has succeeded, one who has come to the end of his life and has always been a champion for Christ. The Apostle Paul, to me, is the man to whom we should look other than the Lord Jesus if we want to see the profile of a spiritual champion.
In Reader’s Digest not long ago they published the seven characteristics of an Olympic champion. I was in Atlanta when they announced that Atlanta would be the sight for the summer games. And there was a spirit of electricity that just went throughout that city. And I have been there a time or two for meetings since then and every time you go to Atlanta you see the feverous preparation that was being made for the Olympics because champions from all over the world were coming there.
There is something about Americans; we love to be identified with the champion. And these men and women come from all over the world, places where they are already champions but their longing, their desire is to be a world champion, to win the gold medal, to win the highest prize. They have spent all of their life preparing for that, training for that.
Reader’s Digest said there are seven characteristics that are true, that are a profile of these Olympic champions. Let me just share those with you briefly. Number one, they all have a dream. They all envisioned years before of becoming that Olympic champion. And if you are going to be a spiritual champion you have to have that vision of being all God can make you to be, of being that person that God can use in a way to glorify Himself.
Secondly, they are all fired up! I mean that Olympic torch that is passed is a symbol of fire that burns within their bosom to become the champion. And you and I have the fire of the Holy Spirit. And that fire has to be allowed to be fanned, fueled, and to burn in our heart to make that the one burning desire of our life, to play at the level of championship in God’s Olympics, the game of life.
Number three, they bounce back. Many times on their road to the Olympics, they face difficulties, disappointments but they always let those disappointments make them stronger and better and more determined. Paul was that way. He had a lot of disappointments along the way. He had a lot of difficult ties but every time he had a difficulty he said when I am weak then I become strong. And he always came back.
Number four, they aim high. Paul said I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Is your spiritual aim high today? Number five, they planned for trouble. They improvise continually in the contest. They know that things will not always go as planned and they are always prepared to change direction. If they miss a jump they are prepared for the next one. And you and I in the Christian life have to be ready because we do not know what lies in our way. We have to be ready to improvise and to change direction as God’s Holy Spirit leads us.
And then number six, they never quit. Perseverance characterizes all Olympic champions. And any spiritual champion is characterized by perseverance in the Christian faith. And certainly the apostle Paul is a great example of perseverance.
And number seven; they make their own luck. That dark horse that nobody has ever heard of in the games may have a golden opportunity when the favored athlete fails or falters. And a spiritual champion doesn’t depend upon luck, but upon God, ready to take advantage of every opportunity to rise to the challenge that faces him.
And I want to challenge you as a church, as an individual, and myself as your pastor, to set a new goal and to have as the dream of our heart to be spiritual champions for Christ, to play at that level of excellence in the game of life that God enables to play.
II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
I. THE PROSPEROUS PAST OF A SPIRITUAL CHAMPION