Summary: An expository sermon on Romans 8:31-39 touching on Pauls meaning of the Greek word nikao, "overcoming"
“Where Shoe Companies Get Their Names” by Matthew Everhard. An expository sermon from Romans 8:31-39 originally delivered at Hudson Presbyterian Church on April 3rd, 2005
What do you think is the most misleading commercial on television today? You’ve heard of truth in advertising… Who do you think are the most flagrant violators of that policy? Maybe it’s the weight loss pills. You know they have these totally fake “before and after” pictures where on the left the person is sticking out their belly, they look like they just woke up from a hibernation, and the studio ran out of light bulbs that day. And on the right is the same face, but with makeup, a great hairdo superimposed on some supermodel’s body. Is that misleading? Or maybe it’s the fake spray-on hair. Do you remember that stuff? Some company actually tried to sell you a can of spray paint for your head! Listen, if you’re really going that bald, you don’t need a can of insta-hair, you need a razor alright?
I’ll tell you what I think though. I think the most misleading commercials on TV are the shoe commercials. Does that surprise you? Think about it. They take the most celebrated athletes in sports. They add slow motion effects. They’ve got sweat dripping down from their faces. They’re dunking the ball, they’re running the streets faster than cars, they’re smacking the baseball out of the yard. And they’re gonna tell me that Lebron James can’t score 56 points in one game unless he’s wearing the right sneakers? Are you seriously expecting me to believe that if Lebron accidentally laced up a $30 pair of Wal-Mart’s instead of his $150 pair he couldn’t even get rim?
But listen I’ve got to hand it to Nike: at least they picked a biblical name. Did you know that Nike ripped their name right out of Romans chapter 8? I am absolutely not kidding. “Nike” is taken from the Greek verb Nikao which means “I conquer.” Did you know that? And that is exactly what they’re promising you. “If you buy our shoes, you too will be able to conquer on the court or in the field or in the world.”
And that promise of victory, the ability to overcome, the desire to conquer is so alluring isn’t it? That’s probably because most of us are far more familiar with defeat than we are with victory. Think about it: 80% of small businesses fail within one year. Most people have suffered some sort of relationship break up. Probably a bunch of us here have been fired from a job at some time or another. We’ve all bombed a test or a paper in school even though the grading scales are juiced up to make us feel good about ourselves. We’ve all had a project or a program at work that just didn’t succeed like we hoped it would.
But life can cut deeper still can’t it? Chances are most of us will suffer from a serious medical illness someday. We will all suffer the grief and misery of the loss of someone we care deeply about. And then there is the enemy of death itself: The ultimate loss that no one can overcome, right? In almost 2000 years since Paul wrote Romans no one, not even one person has been able to stay alive indefinitely.