Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bethany Bullet - May 22, 2012

Everyone likes to win and everyone seems to like a winner.  A number of years ago a strange phenomenon began to show itself in the late spring each year.  As the NBA season drew to a close and the playoffs began, cars all around southern California began sprouting gold and purple flags showing support for a certain home team.  Everyone wants to be associated with a winner.

A little over 10 years ago it was comical to root for a certain baseball team playing in Orange County, but a magical run in the playoffs, and the raising of a championship banner created a legion of new fans.  With a slow start to this season, a slumping slugger, and average attendance, interest has started to wane. Everyone loves a winner.

One of the most amazing journeys in sports begins on a sheet of ice. With thunderous hits, wicked slap shots, and superstitions galore, the quest for the cup culminates in intense drama unmatched in the sporting world.  With local royalty still skating in search of it, the cup represents a hard fought victory, a conquest of epic proportions.  Why? 

Watch this YouTube Clip; click HERE.
(*Unable to open link, then copy/paste this into your browser to view:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCwYZuglhfM)  

The Stanley Cup is unique.  The winner gets possession of it for only a short period of time.  In victory it is held aloft, kissed, hugged, and even used as a receptacle for celebratory champagne. But the cup is given back.  While each player on the winning team gets to spend a day with the cup any way they see fit, the cup will eventually return home to Toronto to await next season’s victors.
We have been walking though John’s first letter and as we wrap it up, we ask the same question, “How’s your walk?” and I will add, “Are you in it to win it?”

Ask any athlete and they will tell you, they play to win, to be victorious. They give all their effort on the field, court, and rink, whatever.  Add any cliché you would like: time to empty the tank, give it all you got, work hard, look for every opportunity, and take it one play at a time…

No matter the cliché, the goal is to win the game. 

In October of 2002, after a loss to the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards in response to a question about his team’s ability to win said the following, “This is what's great about sports. You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game.. When you start tellin' me it doesn't matter, then retire. Get out! 'Cause it matters."

Watch this YouTube Clip of this quote, click HERE.  
(*Unable to open link, then copy/paste this into your browser to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMk5sMHj58I)

There is something else in life that matters even more than sports, something that is not just a game, but something far more important, something eternal, and something with lasting consequences.  That is what John is talking about.

From 1 John chapter 5 starting at verse 4, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5)

The words, “overcome” and “victory” have the same root in the original language.  They both are from a word which means “to conquer,” “to carry off the victory,” “to come off victorious,” “to win.”

The noun of this word is used as the proper name for a goddess you may have heard of, Nike the winged goddess of Greek mythology.  Perhaps you have seen her statue in the Louvre museum as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, which has been prominently displayed in the museum since 1884.
But most likely you know Nike as the corporate magnate that is known for its shoes and athletic apparel, promising victory to those who sport, The Swoosh.

But John is not talking about victory on the field; he is talking about something that matters much more, an eternal victory.

It was a little over a month ago that we celebrated this great victory: victory over death, victory over sin, a victor who has ascended into heaven and has clothed us with power.  As Jesus said, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) And we read in Scripture that in this life we are “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37)

But how is that victory made known?  That is the question!

Our victory was assured on Easter and we have been given treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy (Matthew 16:19), but today is the day to bring that victory to others. “We play to win the game, Hello?  We play to win! Cause it matters!!!”

Perhaps you have heard the term, “In it to win it.”  It has been used a lot recently, from politicians to celebrities to sports analysts, but perhaps it is most appropriate for us a Christians. 

From our Gospel lesson for this week, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)

As Christians, we are in this world to win this world for Jesus.

We too are on a quest for the cup…the cup of life, to take possession of it, not just for a short period of time but to hold it aloft, to kiss it, hug it, and use is as a receptacle for celebration. 

This cup comes to you today.  You have possession of it; it is placed in your hands, held to your lips as you come face to face with the victory that is yours in Christ.  How?  He comes to you in his holy meal which is a true celebration.  And this is not something that we can keep to ourselves. 

The goal of all athletes is to win, it is a feeling like no other, words cannot describe it, and emotions get the best of us. Don’t you want to share it with the world?
Watch this YouTube Clip to see what I mean, click HERE.
(*Unable to open link, then copy/paste this into your browser to view:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSd8CqBEbcY)

You may not have words to say, but you have been given The Word who speaks to you and through you! You see, this cup is not given back, it’s given away!

We can bring victory to the world through our testimony.  That is what John gets to in our reading for today.  From 1 John 5 verse 10, “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.”  This testimony carries with it the idea of a conversation with another, to tell them something that is true or important. 

You see, victory is achieved when we tell others about Jesus.  As John says in verses 11 & 12, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son as life.”

When we give our testimony, we are “In it, to win it!”  We bring victory to others, we celebrate with others, we hoist the cup together, we have a community that gathers around the cup to celebrate the victory of Jesus and this victory is eternal. 
V  Because it’s the cup! 
V  We play to win the game!
V  Are you in it to win it?
 -Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter