Summary: The main points of the sermon discuss five essential attitudes necessary to successfully compete in the game of eternal life.
Sermon – February 21, 2010
Winning Gold in the Olympics of Life
A. Winter Olympic Games are incredible examples of what’s possible
1. Those athletes do things I know that are impossible!
2. Examples: figure skating, speed skaters Apollo Ohno & Shonny Davis; snowboarder Matt Westcott, etc
3. Canadian Free-style Skier & Gold Medal winner: Alex Biladough (sp), His older brother, who has cerebral palsy, is his inspiration. Whenever Alex did not want to train, he would think about his brother and say to himself, “What if it was impossible for me to train, like my brother?” It motivated him to keep at it.
B. More important than winning there; winning the gold medal of life
1. Clarification: Jesus has already won the Gold Medal of life. We cannot earn it or deserve it, but we can share in it, participate in His victory, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57
2. Our faith is what connects us to His victory, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
C. Paul, of all people understood this and in our text, he emphasizes his own attitude and zeal in making certain that he was meeting his personal responsibility as part of the Christ’s Body, the church.
“22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Eph. 1
1. There is a bit of tension between the idea that Jesus has already won the victory, yet the game of life is still in full play.
2. Visualize the picture of his head already being across the finish line, but his entire body has yet to cross over that line.
3. There is no doubt that he has won the victory, but it’s not all quite finished yet.
Transition: In our text, Paul emphasizes FIVE ESSENTIALS that kept him motivated in doing his part to get the church, Body of Christ, successfully across the finish line and participate with Jesus as he, with his entire body, mounts the elevated pedestal in eternity and receives the Gold Medal as the heavenly chorus erupts with the Anthem of the Universe: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!” Rev. 19:6, 7
I. Dis-satisfaction – 12”Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
1. Characteristic of Olympic Athletes – never satisfied – always training
2. Likewise, with the Christian life, always room for improvement – sanctification, unlike justification, is a life-long process
II. Devotion – “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:”
1. Focus is absolutely vital to winning a Gold Medal
2. Sometimes, as Christians, we’re trying to do too many things. We’re spread a mile wide, but are only an inch deep!
3. The current emphasis on discovering your gifts for ministry is commendable. It will improve your game dramatically and bless this congregation and community in ways not thought of as of now.
4. At a personal level, you can’t be effective as a Christian or make positive contributions to the Gold Medal win of our Lord Jesus, by being haphazard in your Christian life and service.
III. Direction – “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”
1. Paul had a past that could have stopped a lesser person
2. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves
3. That’s counter-productive; it won’t take you across the line
4. You can take the path of Judas or of Peter, which will you choose?
IV. Determination – “14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
1. You don’t have any “Johnny come latelies” on the center pedestal receiving a Gold Medal. It’s a long haul to the Gold!
2. Likewise, Christian life is like a marathon: it takes time, takes commitment, persistence, perseverance – but, the only way you can fail is if you quit the race
3. Illustration: Polly, our daughter, ran the Motorola Marathon in Austin. It took her just under 6 hours to finish, but she was a winner because she didn’t quit. She really wanted to quit between miles 17 through 19, but she pushed through and crossed the finish line. Her determination propelled her to victory.
4. Whatever you do as a Christian, please don’t quit because that’s the only way you can lose out on the victory that Jesus won for you.