Summary: winning for Christ
Intro: The other day a sports channel did the top 10 sports rivalries and of course, Auburn-Alabama was on that list. People in Alabama live and breathe football. I like the writings of Paul because he uses sporting terms to give spiritual lessons. Since we live in a football state, I will use football terminology to relay how to become a Spiritual Champion.
Tom Landry—coach of the Dallas Cowboys sums up being a champion like this. You must have faith to believe you can be a champion, you must work hard every day, you must set the goal of winning as your only goal, and you must have the will to win no matter how difficult that task before you.
1. get spiritual first downs—I Corinthians 9:24—So run that ye may obtain.
a. don’t live your spiritual life like a jogger. Live it like a marathon runner. Get better everyday, work hard to become more today than you were the day before, obtain a new goal every time you suit up.
b. Ask this question: am I closer to my spiritual goals now, then I was a year ago?
Ill) the escalator—before Nintendo, before pac-man, before X-box- there was the escalator. Mom could shop til she dropped as long as I could ride the escalator. I loved trying to get to the top of the escalator that was coming down. Another cool thing was staying in place, or walking at the same speed the escalator was moving. You felt like you were making progress, but you weren’t going anywhere. As a Spiritual champion, always make sure you are going somewhere!
2. run over the opposition—Galatians 5:7-you were running well, who hindered you? The next key to being a spiritual champion is running over the devil, not letting him run over you.
a. you run over the devil when you hold onto truth. When you hold truth the devil cannot defeat you. Truth is too powerful for the false to destroy.
b. You run over the devil when you realize God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and soundness in your mind.
Ill) Shug Jordan asked Mike Cohen to help with recruiting. Mike asked, coach what are you looking for? He said, Mike, you know the guy that gets hit and stays down, I don’t want him. You know the guy who gets knocked down, gets back up, gets knocked down, gets back up, and gets knocked down, but gets back up. Yeah coach, you want him. No Mike, I want that guy that is knocking everyone down. As a Spiritual champion, run over obstacles, run over opposition, run over anything that tries to keep you from your spiritual goals.
3. Score Spiritual Touchdowns—Philippians 3:14—I press toward the mark-Paul says, don’t be satisfied with just being in the game, get into the game to score a touchdown. Too many people are satisfied to stay on the spiritual sidelines, when God is calling us into the game of life.
Ill) years ago I moved to Alabama and played football at Tallassee. I wouldn’t recommend anyone starting their football career as a Junior. It was the first time in my life I sat on the bench. As a sideliner you had one goal, it was to get your uniform dirty. If at the end of the game, your uniform was still clean, everyone knew, you were a spectator and not a participant.
To show you how confused I was,when I did get into one game, someone fumbled the ball and as people were about to jump on the ball, I kicked it into the stands and got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. I guess I should have stuck with soccer.
Paul says, witness for Christ, win people to the Lord, share the gospel, reap harvest, claim victories, get into the game and score spiritual touchdowns.
Ill) D.L. Moody scored touchdowns-one time at a soul winners conference, while people were all learning how to witness for Christ, he led 13 people to Christ in the hotel where the conference was being held. While others were teaching, he was out scoring spiritual touchdowns.
4. Hold Up The Trophy—2 Timothy 4:7-8
Paul saw the Christian life as a race to finish, and a fight to win. He gave a picture of heaven as a championship dinner where the presenter of the awards was Jesus Christ. For all those who would decide to be Spiritual Champions, Jesus would present them a crown of life.
· The trophies of heaven will be worth having—souls for Christ, family and friends who you helped get into glory. It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.
· Jesus will present you with a crown of life. The devil stole eternal life away from man in the garden, but Jesus Christ now holds the keys to life, and for Spiritual champions He will give eternal rewards.