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Today is Super Bowl Sunday! Otherwise known as the “Big Game”
One Sunday a year all of America and a large part of the world watches football. People will tune into the game today that haven’t watched a game all season.
The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year. It’s the culmination of over five months of “grueling gridiron match-ups”.
But for some of us, it’s a great opportunity to simply get together with friends and enjoy the commercials and food. Especially this year- another Patriot appearance in the Bowl
For those who don’t have a clue what the game is all about, let me sum it up in a few phrases:
Two teams, A ball, The end zone, Get the ball to the end zone
And get it there as many times as possible, preferably more than the other team.
That’s football. All the timeouts, penalties, plays and commentary are just side issues from: two teams, one ball, get it to the end zone.
Now while you are trying to get the ball to the end zone there are forces fighting against you.
There are tackles when they drop you to the ground. There are fumbles when you drop the ball and the other team gets it. There are missed passes and failed plays.
Sometimes you make a little progress. Sometimes you make a lot of progress. Sometimes there are setbacks. But the point is to gain as much yardage as possible and push your way down the field and into the end zone.
The purpose of the game is to get the ball to the end zone. The best teams and best players never get their minds off the end zone.
THEIR PURPOSE IS THE END ZONE.
That’s football. That’s the Super Bowl. But when all is said and done, it’s still just a game. It’s a huge game with lots of money at stake, lots of trophies and of course the bragging rights. But in just eight months that will all be forgotten and all of the teams will start over again.
It’s just a game.
What we are doing this morning, on the other hand, is not a game. Church and genuine Christianity is not a game – it’s about eternity. Someone once said, “This life is preparation for eternity.”
Eternity is the ultimate “end zone” and we are to keep the end zone in mind as well.
That’s why we are challenged in
1 Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Our challenge is to run hard and run fast and to seize…eternal life.
What the Apostle Paul is challenging us as believers to do is focus on the end zone, focus on the purpose when God gave us His life, eternal life.
So how do you get to the end zone?
Have you ever noticed the players when they make it to the end zone? They celebrate, they dance, they get together with their team mates and make a big deal out of fulfilling their goal. Nothing else matters but making it to the end zone. (they don’t celebrate after a kick)
But how do you get to the end zone? And now I’m not talking about football, we’re talking about making it to our eternal purpose, fulfilling our eternal purpose.
Well, to make it to the end zone you have to gain yardage.
The football field has also been called “the gridiron” because it is laid out in grids. The field is 100 yards long and is marked off at every yard. Then there are five yard markers and of course the well recognized ten yard markers that run the entire width of the field. The goal is to push the ball farther down the field and in the process “gain yardage”. You want to make gains.
In order to make gains in our spiritual life we have to think very similar to how the players think during a football game.
To gain yardage you can’t get distracted.
One of the great stories of football happened on New Years day, 1929 at the Rose Bowl. The teams were Georgia Tech and the University of California. The teams were scoreless in the second quarter when Georgia Tech’s John Thomason, nicknamed Stumpy, fumbled and dropped the ball. That’s when one of the UC players recovered the ball and began running. But in the confusion of being grabbed at, shoved and tackled, the player, Roy Reigels got turned around and disoriented. That’s when it happened.
He started running the wrong way – toward the opposite end of the field and the other teams end zone.
If it had not been for the quick thinking of a teammate who finally caught up with Reigels just one yard from making a touchdown for the other team, the outcome could have been worse. (As it was Georgia Tech won the game 8 to 7).
But from that time on Roy Reigels became know as “Wrong Way Reigels”, a name he never lived down. All because he became distracted.
It’s easy to get distracted as believers, isn’t it.?
It’s important to note that even the Apostle Paul warned about this in
1 Timothy 6:6,9 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Jesus even tells us that “cares of this world” and the “deceitfulness of riches” choke the Word of God in our lives. Matthew 13:22
When we focus on godly things we gain yardage…but when we start to focus on getting rich and the cares of this world we get distracted lose ground.
It’s easy to get turned around and focused on the wrong goals, it doesn’t take much to be distracted.
Someone once asked a powerful and rich man how much was enough. His answer, “Just a little bit more.” When is enough enough? Be content with whatever situation you find yourself in
To get to the end zone you can’t get distracted trying to fulfill yourself with the stuff of this world, other distractions include offenses, busyness, phone/computer, your kid’s sports, people- these things can all keep us from getting to the end zone
Not only that, but to get to the end zone… you must be mindful of your opponents.
Every time you start to run toward the end zone there is someone there to try to stop you. The New Testament talks about “our enemy”, our opponent.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (talk about what it means to seek and devour)
We have to be aware that the Devil and his forces are trying to tackle us and keep us from the end zone. EX: East African shepherd and cougars
Not only do we have a real spiritual enemy that is constantly seeking to devour us, but there are also destructive people who are enemies of the cross
Phil 3:17-19 “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.’
We have to learn how to sidestep both distractions and opponents.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Keep away (avoid, abstain, run from) from every kind of evil.”
To get to the end zone, you also must follow your tacklers.
A good football player knows to stay behind his teammates for protections. We’ve been given powerful teammate to make it to the end zone. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God
John 16:13 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Hebrews 4:12 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
TO GET TO THE END ZONE YOU HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE END ZONE.
Here’s how to stay focused:
(1) LIVE TO SERVE GOD
Destiny and purpose- blah! Your destiny is to die to self and your purpose is to do the will of Him who died for you. Oswald “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Jesus; you are to have no end, no aim, no purpose but His”
That’s what it means to pursue righteousness and godliness: to be focused entirely on God’s purposes for our lives.
Nothing else matters. Nothing else will get us what we truly need or want. Nothing but serving God and living for Him alone.
What do we do to serve God? Play your position well.
Tom Brady plays his position well. When the coach knows he can trust you, He will allow you freedom to call your own plays or perhaps will give you other positions to play.
Julio Jones is a wide receiver, but he’s so good position the coach will use him as a defensive corner
EX: KL varsity girls post player
(2) Be CONSISTENT.
That’s what it means to live by faith. To live my faith means we trust God. To show God our trust we do what He wants us to do, consistently.
We don’t trust ourselves. We don’t depend on ourselves to get what we want.
We live by faith in God and let Him honor our trust in Him.
You can’t live by faith inconsistently. There is no such thing as inconsistent faith. We must strive for consistent faith. “I believe it will be even as God said”- double-minded man
(3) PATIENTLY WAITING.
Sometimes it’s just slow. Sometimes the response we want from God isn’t as quick as we want it.
We say, “Lord give me patience and I want it now.”
Living totally with God’s eternal purpose for me in mind, means being willing to wait on God.
Patience goes with Faith. If you have faith, you will be patient. You will simply trust God that He will do what is best when it is best.
Do you find yourself trying to rush God? Do you find yourself trying to trying to intervene in other people’s lives when you know God wants you to wait? Too often we rush in to situations when God wants us to wait. We assume we must correct problems in others, when what God wants is for us to work on our own sins.
(4) BE A PART OF THE TEAM
Football, like Christianity is a team sport. You can be the best QB in the NFL, but if you are on a crappy team, you are not going anywhere.
Brady is a great QB, but his passing percentage would be 0 if he didn’t have good receivers
His O line gives him like 30 min. (never mind all the holding calls that don’t get called)
The church is a team of people who are working and serving God together for a unified goal and purpose. EX: FVC is my team, birth and labor pains of this ministry, when I see someone causing division on my team, I will pray for them to change or for God to remove them.
Ephesians 4:14-16 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
There is a time for you to sit on the bench- rookie (new believer or even a time of brokenness) The rookie needs to learn the plays, their coach, the ways things work, practice, practice, practice, etc
But if you have been sitting on the bench for 20 years, there’s a problem and it’s usually with your attitude and character
Remember there is a whole stadium of spectators watching you
1 Timothy 6:11-12 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
How you live your life, your words and your actions matter! Live with the end zone in mind, so like Paul you can say:
2 Timothy 4:7-8 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.