The Winning Team

Philemon 1-25

1)Love for Christ and for each other (v. 4-5). If you are to be on the winning team, you must care for each other and love one another. A team that has “superstars” is not a team.

2)Dedicated to a common goal (v. 6). You must have goals. What is our common goal? To reach people for the Kingdom Of God.  To bring glory to the name of Christ Jesus.

3)Taking up the slack when someone is down (v. 7). Refreshing one another. When someone cannot go, we pick up, refresh them and take up the slack.

4) Bold (v. 8) Sports fans like to identify with their team.  They have hats, shirts, socks, even underwear with the logos of their favorite teams on them.  They don’t mind being different.  They enjoy being the only one in a crowd with the logo of their team on it.  They are “representing”. It has been said that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, wore his North Carolina Tar Heel gym shorts under his uniform while he was winning championships for the Chicago Bulls.  “Once a Tar Heel always a Tar Heel”, he has said.  Some fans have even been buried in a replica jersey of their favorite player.

So if sports fans are emboldened by representing their teams, why are Christians so shy about being a witness for Christ?  The Braves fan or Falcon fan can leave his native Atlanta and wear his colors proudly wherever he might go, but the Christian gets in a crowd of lost people and loses his voice!

…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  (Acts 1:8) The witness represents Christ to the lost; he testifies of what Christ has done for him.  Some Atlanta Brave fans would do the “tomahawk chop” in a crowded mall to show their spirit, but some Christians have trouble passing out tracts in such an environment.

5) Accomplish more together than separate (v. 10-11). What could Bo Jackson accomplish by himself? What could Derrick Thomas accomplish by himself? Nothing. They were great players, but they needed the others around them in order for them to accomplish much.

6) Exhibit Loyalty (v. 12-16). Most fans choose their loyalties based on their parents or their childhood experiences.  Once you become the fan of a certain team, the bond is for life if you are a true fan.   Win or lose, sink or swim —they are your team!

Christians should have the same attitude as Paul taught the Philippians in Chapter 3: That I may know him…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Salvation is a lifetime bond with the Savior.   The personal relationship with Christ Himself is primary to the believer.  No one has ever been disappointed in Him.  We may make a mess of our lives after salvation, but Jesus is never to blame.  The world should not be able to lure us into it’s web.  Satan’s wiles should never make us lose sight of His love and goodness to us.

7) Are generous (v. 17-22) Another truth about the sport fan that Christians could emulate is their reputation for spending money in support of their team.  Every year during the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, thousands of fans follow their college teams to a “bowl” game.  This game is their reward for a winning season.  Fans order tickets to the game,  plane tickets, and hotel reservations before they leave for their “reward.”  An individual fan could spend as much as $2000 on his bowl trip.  NFL Super Bowl tickets, World Series tickets, and college basketball’s Final Four weekend cost in the hundreds of dollars.  No sacrifice is too great when your team is involved in these special events!

Contrast this attitude to that of many Christians.  “Why does our pastor always preach on money?”  Maybe it just seems that way to those who do not give!  Concerning the grace of giving Paul said to the Corinthians, …see that ye abound in this grace also. (2 Corinthians 8:7)   Abounding in giving actually means to “exceed what is expected.”  When we consider all that Christ Jesus has done for us and the heavenly blessings awaiting us, we should be eager to worship God in our giving.  Someone said, “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”  How much do you love Christ?  Giving is a true test of our love.

Rob Jackson
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