Most who read this tract will be professing Christians.If you, dear reader, are not a Christian, please read the tract anyway, especially the last section titled The Champions.
The Bible sometimes likens the Christian life to sporting events.The apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 9:24, writes, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”In this passage, the Bible compares Christian service to a race.Such is also the case in Hebrews 12:1-2:“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The Christian life is in some ways like a race, as the above verses imply, but have you ever compared the Christian life to the game of football?That’s right, football.Please keep reading and see if it isn’t true that YOU are right in the middle of the biggest game ever.
As you know, any football game consists of two teams.Every player on the field is either on the home team or the visiting team.There is no third team.So it is in life.The Christian is a player on God’s home team.Satan owns the visiting team, and he has come to deliver a defeat to God’s team—to those who know and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.Like a roaring lion (I Pet. 5:8), Satan roams the field seeking to devour anyone who might gain a few yards for Christ. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Mat. 12:30)Friend, are you certain that you are on God’s team, or could you be gaining yards for the devil?
A football team, at least at the professional level, has an owner.The owner has all the money and resources needed to build a good team.He pays all the salaries, purchases all the uniforms, and takes care of all other expenses of the team.The owner actually buys his players, either fresh out of college or from other teams.Well, in Christian football, God our heavenly Father is our Owner.He purchased us by sending His only begotten Son to die at Calvary for our sins.Because of this, the Bible says in I Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”Are you a true Christian?Have you been born again?If so, then you have been purchased by the team Owner to be a player on His team!You belong to a team owned by God Himself, and He expects to get His money’s worth.
Football teams also have coaches.Usually, the coach is a man who had once played football himself.Then he went into a coaching career.His job is to train his players to carry out his will on the playing field.He spends hours each week training his men to think as he thinks so that on the playing field they will do as he would do in any given situation.The best quarterbacks, for instance, can call their own plays because they know how the coach thinks.They are so in tune with the coach’s mind that they can call the same plays that he would call.So it is with our Coach, the Lord Jesus Christ.He spent 33 years on the playing field of this world, and now He’s the Head Coach.His best players are so close to Him that they know His mind.Speaking of those who have been born again, those who are on the Lord’s team, Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:16, “. . . But we have the mind of Christ.”Friend, are you obeying the Coach, or could He be on the verge of taking you out of the game for disobedience?
Then we have the team spirit, that unifying, bonding, encouraging and strengthening spirit that pulls individual men together and makes them function as one man, as a team.The Christian’s team Spirit is the Holy Spirit Who puts us into one body and indwells and leads us throughout the game of life.(I Cor. 12:13, Eph. 4:30)
Every good football team uses a playbook.Through the week the team reviews and practices certain plays over and over so that they feel comfortable and confident during the game.In fact, a team that doesn’t use a playbook will quickly become a losing team.Football requires strategy and planning, and this is all found in the playbook.The Bible is the Christian’s playbook.The more familiar we are with its pages the more productive we will be as players on God’s team.The Bible says in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”We cannotwork our way down the field of life and score points for God if we neglect the playbook He has given us.
The football itself is essential.A running back can run 90 yards down the field and cross the goal line, but if he isn’t carrying the football it means nothing.The object of the game is to advance the football, not to advance the team or the players!After all, the game isn’t called the player game or the team game; it’s called the football game.This represents the cause of Christ.Our duty as Christians is not to advance ourselves, but rather to advance the cause of Christ.Our duty is to move forward, holding tightly to the cause of Jesus Christ, never turning back, never fumbling the ball, and always gaining new ground.If we do stumble and fumble, we are to recover the ball quickly and press onward.Christian, have you fumbled the ball and not recovered?How long will you lie there on the field while your team needs you in action?
Teams practice on one field and then play on another.The practice field is usually nothing fancy, just a grass field with some goal posts and some practice equipment.Most teams also have weight rooms for working out and even film rooms for reviewing game films.There’s nothing elaborate about the practice field or the practice facilities.These things exist for training and building up the team, not for actual games.The game field, on the other hand, is where it all comes together.The team appears in its best uniforms, the field is neatly cared for and marked, the scoreboard is all lit up, the crowd is seated in the stands, and the battle is about to begin.So it is with the church.God’s team comes together and trains in the house of God with all the other teammates.Our duty is to practice and train together, then go out and wage war on the devil’s visiting team.Many churches today have lost sight of this by thinking that the church house is the playing field.They’re dead wrong.The field is the world (Mat. ), and our job is to conquer it for Jesus Christ.God help us to keep a clear vision of this and remember where true Christian service is to be performed.Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)That’s where the action is.The world is ourplaying field; the church is our practice field.
Let’s also consider the scoreboard because this device regulates the whole game.The scoreboard has a clock that tells how much time remains in the game.The wise player, especially the quarterback, will keep his eye on the clock and make the most of his time.Likewise, the wise Christian will value his time and make the most of it.The Bible commands us to redeem the time (Eph. 5:16) rather than waste it.
The scoreboard also displays other vital information, such as the score, which down it is, yards to go, and the exact location of the ball.A good football team knows the importance of this information.A wise quarterback, for instance, willnot attempt a 20 yard pass if the scoreboard reads “4th Down and 1 Yard to Go.”Nor will he attempt a quarterback sneak if the scoreboard displays “3rd Down and 15 Yards to Go” and there are only 8 seconds left in the game!The wise Christian keeps his eye on the scoreboard of life.He knows the score at all times, he knows the field position of the ball, and he knows when time is running out.The wise Christian knows that we are living in the last days before the return of Jesus and that time is running out.He knows that he has no promise of another day or another play.He treasures each moment and makes the most of it for his Coach, the Lord Jesus.
The scoring system itself offers instruction to the Christian.The best score is a touchdown, which is worth 6 points.We might compare this to one of the best things a Christian can do for the Lord—leading another soul to Christ.If you’ve led someone else to Christ in your life, then you have scored a touchdown for your team.After the touchdown comes the attempt for 1 extra point.In the Christian lifethis might compare to getting a new convert baptized after they receive Christ.But there’s a way of earning more than 1 extra point.After scoring a touchdown, a team can try for a 2 point conversion.That’s an interesting word because that’s the kind of Christian conversions we need these days!We need to see people receiving Christ (6 points), getting baptized (1 point) and becoming faithful servants of God (1 more point).We need touchdowns followed with 2 point conversions!
When a team cannot score a touchdown, they can oftentimes score a field goal.So it is with the Christian.We cannot always lead a soul to Christ, but we can be faithful to God and tell others about Jesus, distribute gospel tracts, help those in need, go to God in intercessory prayer, invite our friends and neighbors to church services, read our Bibles faithfully and obey its words.We should always strive for the touchdowns, but let’s not forget that field goals are also important.In fact, games are sometimes won by field goals alone!When is the last time you scored a field goal for your Coach, the Lord Jesus Christ?
After scoring points, a team must take the defensive position and stop the other team from scoring.This is also true with Christians.In fact, Satan fights harder than ever after a Christian has scored some points for Jesus.Armed with salvation, truth, righteousness, and faith, our duty is to defend our victories until we have the opportunity to score more points and win the game.A team who does well on offense, but lousy on defense, will lose many games.The Christian must put on the “whole armour of God” (Eph. -18) and play the whole game, both offense and defense, in order to secure a victory.
Finally, all football games have the crowd.The crowd only watches the game.No one in the crowd ever gains a yard on the field.No one in the crowd ever adds a single point to the scoreboard.The game is played and won by the players on the field, and not by anyone else.Friend, are you a player or a spectator?Just being a Christian isn’t enough.You were bought with a price, and you belong on the playing field, not in the stands or on the sidelines.Are you on the field playing the game and gaining ground for Jesus Christ or are you merely watching the game?The clock is ticking away, and time is running out.Get in the game before you lose your chance forever!
Most people who play football never get to play on a championship team.Most high school players never play in a state championship.Most college players never play in a bowl game.Most professional players never play in the Superbowl, much less win it.Yet, YOU CAN play on a championship team!God’s word is very clear in stating the fact that Satan is a loser and all who follow him will end up in Hell with him (Rev. 20:10-15).Many today are playing football for the devil, and they don’t even know it!Satan is a deceiver, and he has millions of people thinking that they’re on God’s team when, really, they’ve never truly received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.Friend, are you 100% CERTAIN that you are on God’s team, that your Head Coach is none other than Jesus Christ Himself?Has there been a time in your life when you “signed up” to be a player on God’s championship team?If not, why not today?
The Bible says that you can receive Christ by BELIEVING on His name (John 1:12).He paid for your sins, and by CLAIMING Him as your Saviour--resting in His finished Blood Atonement for your sins--you can be saved!Romans 4:5 says,"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."Ephesians 2:8-9 says that you are saved by GRACE THROUGH FAITH, not by your works.God does not want you to do good works to get on His team.The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23)You do not need God to judge your good deeds and your evil deeds; you need a SAVIOUR to save you from your sins.Jesus Christ is the Saviour, and He’s the best Coach you could ever have.If you'll call upon Him for Salvation, trusting Him alone to save you, He'll save you from your sins, give you eternal life, and make you part of His championship team.It's that simple.You cannot earn a position on God’s team; you can only receive one as a free gift from God."For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9)Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."Why not call upon Him right now and begin your career on the championship team?After all, everyone else is on the losing team.
It was the state championship, and Larry was having one of the best games of his life.His team had come from being over twenty points down at halftime to within only one point of tying the game.Two points would win it.This didn’t look likely, however, since the other team had the ball and there were only eight seconds left in the game.Then Larry got his lucky break and intercepted a pass.With lightening speed he raced down the court to make the winning basket.As he went for the lay-up, he was aggressively fouled and fell to the hard floor with his wrist trapped behind him.Immediately, he felt a sharp pain and knew he had been injured.However, having played well all season and throughout the championship game, Larry quickly chose to hide his injury and remain on the court.Knowing that he was entitled to two free shots and could possibly win the game, he assured his coach that he was perfectly fine and did not need a substitute.“Are you sure,” asked the coach, “I can send John in for you, and he never misses a free throw.”Larry insisted that he was fine and could make his own shots.
He then stepped up to the free throw line.One point would only tie the game, so he neededbothshots to win.As Larry gave the ball three quick bounces, he felt the pain increase and shoot fiercely up his arm.“I can’t quit now,” he thought to himself, so he took aim and released the ball.Tears filled his eyes as the pain became almost unbearable, and the ball arched its way toward the goal.Then another pain hit him, the pain of regret, as he watched the ball fall short, hit the rim, and then bounce away.He knew he had made a terrible mistake.
Just then the referee bounced the ball back to him for the second shot.“I’ll just have to try harder to make up for the injury,” he quickly reasoned.He wiped his eyes, gave the ball his standard three bounces, and then released the final shot of the game.Immediately, he knew the result, and so did the crowd.This one was worse than the first.As the ball arched upward, it was clear to everyone that it would never even reach the goal, much less go through it.It actually fell about two feet short and a little to the left.As the ball fell to the floor, Larry’s head fell in shame.What had been one of the best games of his life was now his worst nightmare.“John could have won this game,” he thought to himself, “but I have lost it.I’ve let down my coach, my teammates, my family, and my community.If only I had another chance!”The wrist injury was not as serious as he had thought, and it healed rather quickly, but his regret never healed, especially not after his whole school and town learned the truth of what had happened.From that very night he would always be remembered as Larry the loser.
Unfortunately, Larry isn’t the only loser around.In fact, you too might be a loser, even a bigger one than Larry!Just as Larry was dishonest about his injury, millions today are dishonest about a far greater injury, the injury of sin.The Bible says, in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”God is holy, thereforeHe cannot fellowship with men who are sinners.Many have the idea that they’ll go to Heaven as long as they do more good than bad, but God’s word never says this once.The Bible record is that we have all fallen short of God’s glory due to sin.Larry’s free throw fell short of the goal due to his injury, and men fall short of God’s goal due to sin.We are injured players in the game of life.
The reason for this is given in Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” According to the Bible, God’s inspired words, all men are sinners because all men have inherited a sin nature from Adam, the first man to sin.So, in a sense, you have been injured with sin.You are playing the game of life with an injury, and God expects you to be honest and stop ignoring this.In Isaiah 1:18, God says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”John the Baptist once pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”(John 1:29)God has provided a means of healing your sin injury, but you must go to Him to receive it.
A sick man can live next door to a doctor all his life, but he will still die with his sickness if he doesn’t GO TO the doctor.It isn’t enough to know about the doctor or to believein his head that the doctor is a good one.The sick man must make a personal visit to the doctor and receive personal treatment.
The treatment that God has for your condition is a new birth.Jesus said, in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”This new birth is a spiritual birth that removes your sin (John 3:1-8).II Corinthians 5:17 makes a similar statement: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”The true Christian is the person who has been born again on the inside through faith in Jesus Christ.He has been to the Great Physician, confessed his sin condition openly, and then received the cure.Those who refuse God’s cure are only hurting themselves by adding to their sin injury.
Doctors are required to keep good records.If you have ever been to a doctor and received treatment, then your name is in his record books.Jesus, the Great Physician, also keeps good records.He once told some believers to “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”(Luke 10:20)According to God’s word, a person’s name is written in the book of life when he receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.The apostle Paul confirmed this in Philippians 4:3: “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”These were people who had been sinners, but they received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and their names were recorded in the book of life.Revelation 13:8 calls this “the book of life of the Lamb.”As already noted, Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.Those who have trusted him for salvation have their names in His book, but most people have never trusted Christ and are on their way to an eternal lake of fire.Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Many people like having their names in lights, in the newspapers, or on the front of businesses, but few seem to care if their name is in the Lamb’s book of Life.What about you?Have you been to Jesus and had all your sins removed?Friend, have you ever experienced a new birth?Are you a born again child of God?Has your sin “injury” been cured by the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ?Maybe it’s time for YOU to call the Doctor.
Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall besaved.”God’s word tells you howto do this in Romans 10:9-10:““That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Friend, don’t make the stupid mistake that Larry made.He should have stopped playing the game, turned to the coach, and then said, “I’m injured.Send in a substitute for me because I can’t win.”Jesus is your substitute, and God the Father is well pleased with His performance (Mat. 3:17).You can keep playing the game of life and be a loser, or you can have your sin injury healed and be a winner by faith in Jesus Christ.Why not turn from your sins right now and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your heart and cleanse you from all sin?Only in Christ can you win in life, and only in Christ can you win in eternity.Everyone else is a loser—for all eternity.“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:15)Don’t be a loser, friend.The Great Physician is in His office right now.Call upon Him and start winning today.Contact us if we can help.
If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, start looking for a good Bible-believing church and speak with the pastor about Baptism, church membership, and how you can start serving God.
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