Summary: Discover the ingredients to the Winning Life: Remember what God has done; Worship God alone; and Follow God’s Way.
The Winning Life
Jeremiah 18:15 and Selected Verses
1. This past week the Cardinals won the World Series. Sports Illustrated writer summed it up this way: “Given up for dead several times during the regular season, nearly toes-up in the final days of it and afforded a zero chance of doing anything once they tripped into the postseason, La Russa’s Cardinals captured one of the most unlikely World Series titles in history Friday night, beating the favored Tigers in five games for St. Louis’ first Series win since 1982.”
2. How did they do the seemingly impossible—to win when almost everyone concluded that they would fail?
3. I would not consider myself an authority on Baseball—but this is my amateurish take on the Cardinals.
a. They worked hard
b. They committed less critical errors that their opponents
c. They listened to La Russa, their manager.
4. Although there are many who can see parallels to life and sports, like Baseball, believe it or not, life is far more complicated.
5. We can work hard and try to commit less errors, but the Bible says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). No matter how much we try, the Bible reveals that “our righteous deeds are like filthy garments” (Isaiah 64:6).
6. But there is something we can learn from the World Series: the Cardinals listen to their manager.
7. Who do we need to listen to? Who do we need to follow in life?
8. Deuteronomy 13:4 “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
9. For the nation of Israel, under the leadership of King Zedekiah, there was a whole-hearted struggle to honor the authority of God in their lives.
10. Centuries before Zedekiah, another leader declared: “Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
11. Unfortunately, the people of Israel rejected God and turned to go their own way.
God said through the prophet Jeremiah (18:15) ‘For My people have forgotten Me, They burn incense to worthless gods And they have stumbled from their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in bypaths, Not on a highway.”
1. Like Israel under King Zedekiah, many people today have forgotten God. They worship everything under the son, but God. And, they have chosen to walk in the bypaths—ways of their own design, rejecting God’s way to hope and eternal life.
2. This morning I want to talk with you about a different way to life—different from Israel and King Zedekiah’s way, different from the prevailing way of our present society. Using Jeremiah 18:15, I want to show you how we can live the winning life.
1. The Israelites under King Zedekiah were heading toward destruction. God, in His proclamation to Israel through the prophet Jeremiah identified three over-riding problems—transgressions—sin—that would bring about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Southern Kingdom.
2. The first over-riding problem that God identified: “For My people have forgotten Me.”
3. What did the people of Israel forget?
a. They forgot God!
b. They forgot His blessings!
c. They forgot His authority, His power, and His judgments!
d. They forgot when He rescued them from slavery, brought them through the Red Sea, gave them water to drink, food to eat, and victory over their enemies.
e. They forgot!
4. What have you forgotten?
a. Did you forget about His salvation—the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?
b. Did you forget about His grace and mercy—knowing that you deserved death and destruction, but He rescued you by His great love?
c. Did you forget about His power—to heal, to give peace, and to place in your heart a joy unspeakable and full of glory?
d. Did you forget…?
5. What Israel should have done and what you must do is…
1. That is how you can live the winning life—remember!
2. Remember how he brought you out of that miry clay—that quick sand of sin and despair.
3. Psalm 103:1-5 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”