How To Be a Jesus Fan
Sports is one of the largest pastimes in the world. Biillions of dollars are spent on sports events and sports related items. Events like the Super Bowl and World Series attract worldwide interest. Many Christians would also add that sports is probably the biggest idol in many people's lives. Many Christians also follow athletics. This message is not to condemn all sports as bad. In fact, there are some things sports fans can teach Christians --if we are willing to learn. What can sports fans possibly teach the Christian?
Did you ever study the origins of the word "fan?" The word "fan" is a shortened form of "fanatic." A fanatic is "one who is unreasonably enthusiastic or overly zealous, going beyond what is reasonable" A fan, however, is "one who is enthusiastic about a sport, pastime, or performer."We can see by the definitions that there is a fine line between the two, with the difference possibly only being in the eye of the beholder.
The dedication and zeal that a sports fan shows for his team or sport might be considered fanatical if the object of that enthusiasm was Jesus Christ and the things of God. I believe many Christians stop short of full surrender to God because of "what people might say." After all, we don't want to be fanatics, do we?
In Acts 26, the great Apostle Paul addresses King Aggripa and Festus the governor at the Caesarian judgment seat. As Paul expounded and preached Christ the two leaders had totally opposite reactions. Aggripa said in verse 28, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Festus, on the other hand, had this reaction:
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.The word in verse 24 that is translated "mad" in the English is the Greek word "mania." This is the only time in the Bible the word "mania" is used. It is still used today across the world as a psychological term. It means "excessive excitability, a persistent, obsessive enthusiasm."
Paul was accused of the same mental conditions many committed Christians down through the ages have heard. Festus was saying, "Paul, you are a fanatic! You are excessive about this "Jesus." Festus thought Paul's words were unreasonable and overzealous. Yet politicians in his day thought nothing of murdering potential rivals to their power. Paul was fanatical in the eyes of Festus, but murdering for political gain was okay.
I believe Christians can learn a lot from sports "fanatics" of our day. It is socially acceptable to be a sports "fan" and they are ready illustrations for us to study. The average sports can can provide a window to us as we consider our faithfulness to Christ.
I. Sports Fans Are Faithful -They Don't Conform!
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!
II. Sports Fans Are Spenders -They Don't Withhold!
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 Cor. 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.
III. Sports Fans Are Tireless -They Don't Rest!
Now examine the good works of many Christians. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' time, they do their works to be seen of men. They get upset if they are not recognized from the pulpit for their efforts. I do not mean to categorize all Christians in this way. Many believers go their whole lives working in obscurity, never getting credit in this world. Others, though, pick their spots of service. They want the premier place --and the accolades that go with it.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.Our service should be from the heart, with both our Savior and our fellow man in view. Our good works are a testimony of our changed life and God's residence in our hearts. (James 2:14-20) Our service is also a test --a test of our love and future rewards. (I Cor. 3:9-17)
IV. Sports Fans Are Loyal -They Don't Switch!
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.
V. Sports Fans Are Passionate -They Don't Give Up!
In John Chapter 6 we read of followers who walked no more with him. They heard hard sayings that were difficult for them to accept. Jesus watched them leave, and asked His disciples this question, Will ye also go away? Peter replied with the great acclamation: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Our relationship with Him is the reason for anything good and blessed in our lives! There should be no "going back" to our old lives; there should be no doubting His love and compassion for us, His children. So many Christians lose sight of His goodness to us. Its easy to let other things crowd our minds to the point of temporarily forgetting His great blessings.
Conclusion: Paul stood before Festus and was ridiculed for his faith. Festus was fearful of Paul's words and beliefs. So is today's society. We must realize that this world is no friend to grace; it does not comprehend true faith. It seeks to label our stand for God as some type of madness or fanaticism. The victorious Christian life is an existence of fullness of joy. It affects us deeply and thoroughly. It can be no other way.
G. Campbell Morgan writes these words in Handbook for Bible Teachers and Preachers:
Why is it that when a man steps over the line and finds Christ he so often leaves his passion, his common sense, and his business ability behind him? When Christ arrests a man, He wants the whole man;, every part of him, every ability he has....The supreme thing is that we should be wholly, absolutely master by Christ, that we should be captives of the Lord. That is the ideal...our only ideal. (pg. 233)May we never lose the passion and joy of being His. Like Paul in Acts 26:29, we can say to the world: I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am...
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