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 4 – Too Civilized
We have talked about pain. We have heard testimony about pain. We have examined how a knock down punch can become a knockout punch if we are not careful. If we allow the hits we take to separate us from the head, we will stay down. If we don’t guard who we listen to, we will stay down. If we don’t keep our hands up, we will stay down.
Today, I want us to look at the final Rocky Revelation. Rocky has been fighting nobodies when Clubber Lang comes on the scene. Lang destroys all the other contenders and then calls out Rocky. Rocky wants to defend his title. Mick, Rocky’s long time trainer, refuses to help Rocky to prepare for the fight. They have the classic conversation that I just showed you. Rocky, sitting in the lap of luxury that his winnings have provided, listens as Mick says this, “Well Rock lets... Well let’s put it this way. Three years ago you were supernatural. You was hard and nasty. You had this cast iron jaw. But then the worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized. Don’t worry kid. You know presidents retire, generals retire, horses retire, Man o War retired, they put him out to stud. That’s what you should’ve done, retire.”
Rocky is broken by what he hears, but convinces Mick to help him. This time he tries to train in all the glitz and glamour and doesn’t really put his heart into it and the final result of the first fight is that Mick’s words are prophetic and Rocky suffers his first and only knockout and loses his title. Rocky had gotten soft. Rock had suffered the worst think that could happen to a fighter he had become civilized. In other words he had lost his edge. He had lost his hunger.
I submit to you, that the worst thing that can happen to a Christian is that, like Rocky, we become too civilized. We have become soft. For some reason after a couple of years of walking with Jesus, having families, working jobs, our goals change. Our ultimate goal has become avoiding discomfort, loss, pain, and anxiety at all costs. In fact, that has become the standard of success. We want to retire with no worries, easy street. I want to just be able to retire comfortably.
How does that line up with becoming a sold out, committed follower of Christ? It was Christ who said in Matthew 24:9, “ 9-10"They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name.” and “Blessed are ye, when (not if) men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
How does that line up with our predecessors and how they lived?
James was “put to death with the sword,” likely a reference to beheading.
History says that Peter was crucified upside-down on an x-shaped cross in Rome.
Matthew was killed by a sword wound.
John was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil, but was miraculously delivered from death only to be sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
James, the brother of Jesus was thrown from the southeast pinnacle of the temple (over a hundred feet down) when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club.
Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael, was a missionary to Asia and was martyred for his preaching in Armenia, being beaten to death by a whip.
Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.
The apostle Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India.
Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
And we freak when someone talks about us. We are afraid our neighbors will think we are freaks if we share our faith! We are to self conscious to pray over our meal! We worry when following Christ cost us a little cash.
How can we carry the same title (disciple) they did when all we want is comfort?
Our goals are wrong. We want comfort. We want ease. We want quiet. We want calm. We want no pain. We want no stress.
Our softness leaves no need for faith. No room for risk. And therefore the miracles we see are tame in comparison to what those who were uncivilized witnessed. We no longer see water walking, no life from death, no multiplication, no sun stop, no shadow healings, and no city change.