Summary: The "Italian Stallion" faced some serious opponents. He squared off with the "Master of Disaster", "The Southside Slugger", and "The Siberian Express" just to name a few. Each time Rocky shocked the world! He won our hearts. He can also teach a thing o
Part 2 – Knockdown vs. Knockout
In part one of this series we talked about pain. Pain is inevitable. Pain is impartial. Pain has a purpose. Pain purifies us. Pain speaks to us. Pain pushes us. Pain positions and prepares us. Pain makes us rely on God. Pain determines our greatness. Then last Sunday, I introduced you to some folks who have experienced gut wrenching pain. Yet, they are great people. They have been tested and they have come out like Gold.
There is another Rocky Revelation that I want us to examine this morning. I have realized that Rocky’s pilgrimage to greatness was marked by knockdowns. In every fight, in every movie, if I am not mistaken, Rocky was knocked down at least once. But, I noticed something very interesting in the movies as well, even though Rocky was knocked down a considerable number of times, he was only knocked out once. He always seemed to be able to scrape himself off of the mat and come back for more. Great champions aren’t those who get never get knocked down. Great champions are those who get back!
II. Summary of Job
I could read to you the account of Job again (Job 1:1-10; 2:7-8). However, for the sake of time, let me just remind you that Job took some heavy blows. He lost 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 donkeys, his servants, 10 children, and his health all in a succession of hits. Most of us would have looked at any one of those individual events as a knockout punch and yet Job kept getting up. Job was a champion because he got up.
Job’s story teaches us some things about taking hits that I want us to look at this morning.
III. Rocky Revelations
a. You will get knocked down!
This is simply another way of saying, “pain is inevitable.” We all suffer knock down punches at some point in our journey. Even the strongest fighters get knocked down. Even heroes falter at times. David, Samson, Jonah, Elijah, Peter. They all had moments of doubt. All had failures. All had times of weakness. All hit the canvas. All got back up.
Chuck Swindoll writes, “Somebody needs to address the other side of Christian life, if for no other reason than to uphold reality. We need to be told that difficulty and pressure are par-for-the-course. No amount of Biblical input, deeper life conferences or super-victory seminars will exempt you from struggle. God promises no bubble of protection.”
The reality of a Christian journey is highs and lows. Mountains and valleys. Good times and bad times. You will get knocked down. Knock downs are necessary!
3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.
“We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.”
You have to know that God isn’t trying to kill us, but he is trying to crush us. What crushing produces – character, anointing, patience, virtue, and endurance.
I can still remember the scene in Rocky where Mr. T (Clubber Lang) is hitting Rocky as hard as he can and Rocky is talking back to him. “You ain’t so bad, is that all you got, I’m still here, You ain’t so bad.” The knock downs produced endurance!
We all want the glory without the fellowship of his suffering! They go hand in hand and the suffering is the doorway or avenue to the glory!
Which brings me to the second lesson and that is that too often we confuse the punches.
b. Knock down or Knockout?
We confuse the punches, so we stay down when we should get up. We think the knock down is a knockout! We think the pain is fatal. We think the hurt is final. But I came to tell you that you are tougher than you think you are. If He is for us who can be against us? Get up!
In fact, I want you to look at Proverbs 24:16 –
“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”
“God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.”
Yes we go down and sometimes we go down 7 times, but we are supposed to get up!
Some of you have mistaken a knock down punch for a knockout punch! It was a hard hit, but it wasn’t a life ending, ministry ending, joy killing, walk stopping blow. Get up. Quit laying on the floor. Quit sitting on the sidelines. Quit wallowing in the pain. If you are still alive and breathing get up!