Isaiah 29:18… And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book,
Winning and Losing the Super Bowl
“Winning and Losing the Super Bowl” II Corinthians 11:16-18
Today is Super Bowl Sunday. It is a game that I have awaited for many years. The Kansas City Chiefs are in.
It is amazing to me the money that is poured into one game a year.
Every year since 2010, the Super Bowl has generated over 100 million dollars.
Companies have paid 5.6 million dollars for a 30 second advertisement.
NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS have collectively paid the NFL 3 billion for the rights to broadcast the game.
Tickets average at $7,794.00 per ticket.
The average consumer will spend $88.00 or more just to watch the game at home or in businesses that televise the game.
I want you to see how much the world spends on ONE activity. It is all about fun and thrills. And not everyone will like the outcome.
Can you imagine the souls that could be reached for Christ with the money the world chooses to spend on one stupid game?
I will guarantee you one thing …most people won’t even give $88.00 to the church on that day.
This morning I want to compare the game of football with our life as a Christian. Football is much like our Christian life. 1) You may win or you may lose, 2) It depends on how good you are, 3) There are offensive strategies and defensive strategies, 4) You have a goal to reach. For football it is the Super Bowl, for Christians it is righteousness. 5) There are penalties for not obeying the rules (or law of God), 6) There are injuries during the game (in life) that often put you out o commission for a while, 7) The game (or life) requires teamwork, 8) There is an allotted amount of time to play (or live), 9) Each team has a quarterback (Each church has a pastor), 10) Defending your goal is the key to your success.
This morning, I want to use Paul for an example. Paul was very big on sports. He loved the games in Rome (Which were much like the Olympics of today).
Paul was abused very much by the church. Some liked Paul while others did not care for him at all. Paul was always rustling feathers and rubbing the cats fur the wrong way.
Let us look at our brother in Christ…
A) Winning has its costs
No one knows more about the costs of living for Jesus Christ than Paul.
I went to lunch with Bro. Ryan Emmons on Friday to discuss church business, and he told me of the Christian churches in China and the dangers they face every day just trying to serve God and their Lord Jesus Christ.
The longer I serve God here in the United States, the more I believe that it would be more rewarding to be a missionary in places like China.
The people in most mission fields across the globe are more dedicated to serving God than the people in the U.S.
Awhile ago, we looked at the costs of the Super Bowl. What does it cost to be a Christian?
In this passage of scripture this morning, I want us to realize that Paul is being very sarcastic (cutting remarks) with the church at Corinth as he points out several issues with the church there…
In verses 16-19, the people think of themselves to be more wise than Paul concerning the things of God and they believe Paul to be a fool.
Paul brings up the fact that these Corinthians allowed false prophets to come in and hold their hearts captive, eat them with their flattery, lift himself up, smack them in the face, and then they have the nerve to call Paul an idiot.
Let us look at what it cost Paul in II Corinthians 11:23…
23) Are they (The false prophets) ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; Paul is saying that it cost him more to serve God.
…in labours more abundant (more hard work),
…in stripes above measure (Paul was being whipped),
…in prisons more frequent,
…in deaths oft.
24) Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25) Thrice (Three times) was I beaten with rods,
…once was I stoned,
…thrice I suffered shipwreck,
…a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26) In journeyings often, Now Paul goes into details of his pain he suffered while on the road from one place to another to share the gospel of Jesus Christ…in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27) In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28) Beside those things that are without, (Added to the occasional suffering that Paul experienced) that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (Now he mentions the “daily” abuse of the churches towards Paul)
Have any of you in our church service this morning suffered as did Paul?
To win at anything requires pain and suffering for a while.
The problem with people today is they want everything now, without any pain or hassle.
What would the Super Bowl be like if all the players were careful not to over exert themselves and played careful not to get hurt or hurt anybody? You would have to call it the “Wimpy Bowl.”
B) Winning has requirements
It requires work. It requires pain. It requires memorization. It requires teamwork. It requires knowledge of the rules.
Christianity is much the same. Paul has shown us this.
Christ tells us what in John 14:15? “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
A) God’s team has losers
In the world’s eyes, Paul would be considered as a “loser.”
All the persecutions that Paul faced daily from the so called “religious folks” was huge. And many would think of him as a cursed man.
Paul was always in jail, ship wrecked, beaten, whipped, stoned, verbally and mentally abused, and more. But Paul counted it all as waste (dung), not anything to get all upset about.
In the Super Bowl there will be a loser. But they get another opportunity next year to play in the big game. When I think of God’s team, I think of 3 different kinds of players… Revelation 3:16…So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Let me ask you a question… If you coached a ball team and wanted to go to the biggest game of the season, which players would you keep and which players would you get rid of?
The “cold” being those that don’t practice, those that don’t know all the rules, those that never listen to anything you say, those that waste your time trying to train them, those that do not practice, and etc.
The “hot” being those that are on fire with enthusiasm, those that are at practice all the time, those that pour their hearts out in training, those that have memorized the playbook, those that take everything you say as gospel.
The “lukewarm” being those that could care less about anybody or anything.
Like Christ said “…I will spue thee out of my mouth.” This is a strong response by our Savior to those who could care less what happen, or who they hurt. They are rejected by God and His Son.
No coach wants a player who does not have a desire to be a winner. No coach wants a player who is cold
Every coach wants a winner.
A lukewarm player is someone that the coach really has to ask himself “What am I going to do, I can’t afford to keep him and he barely does enough to stay on the roster.”
God wants people in His kingdom who are goal setters, goal achievers and goal successors.
What kind of a player (Christian) are you in the Super Bowl of Life?
III. Be a Continual Winner
A) Apply Jesus
Look at II Corinthians 10:7…Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
Paul was telling the church here to not look at the outward appearance of the false prophets, Look to the obvious, look at the facts and evidence that proves apostleship.
The false apostles (or Christians for that matter) claim to be something they are not. Paul had witnesses to his Damascus road experience. The false prophets had no witnesses to their claim as being witnesses to the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our goal should be that of Paul’s goal in Philippians 3:8…Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
The “knowledge of Christ Jesus” here is an intimate relationship with his Lord.
Paul had made many sacrifices in his life (suffered loss) for Christ.
The biggest requirement of all is to “win Christ.” How do I do that? How do you win Christ? What does that means?
To “win” means to gain something. It could be a reputation, a love, a value, a place of worth, a respect, an honor, a reward, a commitment, etc.
Paul says that he counted all his sufferings to be worthwhile to win the heart of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.