Summary: A coach wants from his football team, what God wants from His church team. - With one exception. – We aren’t striving for a trophy that lasts for a year, but for the trophy that will last for eternity.
I. Today at 6PM EST, the Indianapolis Colts will meet the Chicago Bears on a field of battle in Miami, Florida. They will be contending for a trophy that tells the world that they hold the title of Super Bowl champions. – It is the “big day” for football fans. – We will watch teams who fought their way to the top of the heap, showing that they are the biggest, the baddest, and the best.
A. The guys we’ll watch play today are tough, but let me tell you of some real tough guys, in fact they may well be the toughest football team in American history. - They came from the University of the South, in Sewannee Tennessee.
1) In the last six days of the season, they were scheduled to play five of the most powerful teams in the country. – They closed the season like this:
a] Game #1 was against Texas University, of they smashed 12-0.
The next day, with little rest, they trounced Texas A&M 32-0.
On the following day they played Tulane University, and won 23-0.
The fourth day was Sunday, the team rested and attended church service together.
Day five they faced undefeated Louisiana State University, winning 34-0.
On the sixth and last day, they played Mississippi State and won 12-0.
B. That’s a amazing record for any football team. – What adds to testimony of their might as a team is that these games were played in 1899, and none were home games because Sewannee didn’t have a football field.
1) There was no charter flights to get them to their next game. - They had to leave right after a game and travel by horseback and wagon all night long to get to their next challenge.
a] Add to that, there were only eleven Sewannee players on the team. - They had no substitutes. – I think today, to be a Christian we need to live with that same kind of tenacity.
II. I want to talk to you about “The Big Game,” because football is a perfect example of Christianity and the church. – The only reason you don’t find it in the Bible is because it wasn’t available to be used as an illustration when the Book was written.
A. The parallel can be seen between what a coach wants from his football team, and what God wants from His church team. - With one exception. – We aren’t striving for a trophy that lasts for a year, but for the trophy that will last for eternity.
1) Like the players in this afternoon’s game, the Apostle Paul describes how his life is second to the cause. – It’s the win that will be remembered, not the players.
Acts 20:24 “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
II. Paul uses the illustration of a race six different times to describe how our walk of faith should be. – I think he would have used football if he had it. – Keep this in mind! - Your in the race. - The moment you accepted Christ into your life, the gun sounded, and the race began. – The kick was made, and your life like the ball is now in play.
A. And sense we’re in it – let’s play to win! – But make sure your trying to win the right thing. - The world would tell you it’s the recognition. - But wither it’s a Super Bowl, Golden Globe, Oscar, or Nobel Prize, - after a while it just sits on a shelf and gathers dust, and in some cases pawned for a little extra cash.
1) Paul is telling us to run with a goal in mind, a target that’s not just used to inspire admiration, or conger up old memories. – But goal that will make a real difference.
a] This afternoon, moving an odd shaped little bag of air about 1/10 of a mile will be more important then the possible consequences of physical harm to those who will play the game.
Psalms 142:4 “Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.”
IV. Have you ever felt like that – you all alone? – I think psalmist is describing how it must feel to have the ball tucked under your arm, and all you can see are a half dozen 300 lb behemoths doing all they can to get at you. - I think I would suddenly feel terribly along.
A. Sometimes our surroundings can intimidate us. - The other team is too big. -The distance to far. - The efforts to hard. – You’re all alone, facing things no one else has ever faced.