Bible Ballistics: In The Game or On The Sidelines?           Vol. 4 #14

We in the US know that it’s ‘Football’ Time!! Time for high school, college and professional ballgames, virtually every day of the week. But there is a great difference between ‘playing ball’ and ‘watching the ballgame’!!

The ‘players’ train, run, lift weights, practice plays and eat to stay in shape for the game. They study game films to know the plays, strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. All this to play in the game, for 60 minutes each week, for a season.

We saw a group of motorcycle riders the other day, all stopped to eat at the same place. Now you could surmise that they were bikers by their attire, their boots, head garb….etc., and it came to me that they were identified as ‘bikers’ by these things. But they could have all these things and still not be a biker!! How, you might ask? They could have all the paraphernalia that identified them outwardly as a biker but without a ‘motorcycle’ they aren’t really a ‘biker’.

Just like a ‘Football Player’ is only a ‘player’ when they play the game. The ‘arm chair’ quarterback may have clothing, helmets, and even know every play in the book, but unless he gets in the game, he’s only on the sidelines. I believe there is a parallel to our Christian life. We can claim to know Jesus, have all the outward trappings—we can wear Christian themed clothing, giant crosses, and even carry a big Bible, but if we aren’t in the game, what’s the point?

Matthew 7:22-23 says, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Saying so doesn’t make it so. Jesus makes it clear that just claiming to be a Christian, even doing ‘churchy’ things isn’t what makes us a ‘Christian’. A Christian is one who belongs to Jesus—being ‘born again’, saved by grace through faith.

Ephesians 2:8-10, “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are totally saved by grace—God’s work imparted to us by faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work of dying for our sins. But we are saved with a purpose—“ created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”; to do good works for, in and through the power of Jesus Christ. I don’t do good works to be saved, but I do good works because I am saved. I am to be in the game and not sitting on the sidelines or in my ‘arm chair’.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When Christ Jesus saves us, we are made new—born again, as John 3:3&5 tells us. Born again of God, as John 1:12-13 says,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

God gives us new life; He equips us to be in the game. As Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, we are saved to be in the game–by God’s power not our own!!

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-12, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal……. 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Every believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit manifests Himself in each believer with a special spiritual gift through which we are to minister within the body of Christ. We are saved to be in the game—not on the sidelines.

What are you doing for the Lord? Have you found your spiritual gift/gifts? Are you functioning within the body using your gift, which the Spirit gave you to minister through? We are each given a gift—as the Holy Spirit chooses– to function within the local body and beyond at every opportunity. What are you doing for the Lord with your gift?

Are you in the game, or sitting on the couch giving instructions to others? Are you wearing all the apparel but you don’t have a bike? Are you using Jesus’ name to blend in or stand out, and yet you don’t know Him in His saving power?

We will all give an account. If we belong to Jesus we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. If we don’t we’ll stand before God at the Great White Throne. (See Rev. 20)

1 Corinthians 3:11-15, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Romans 14:10-12, “ But why dost thou judge thy brother?

or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?

for we shall all stand

before the judgment seat

of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord,

every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall confess

to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account

of himself

to God.

So, are you ready to give an account? Are you willing to get up and get in the game? Are you just dressing up to look like a Christian without knowing Christ? Are you a Christian but you’re still waiting on some perfect opportunity? Get right with God, come to Jesus and get in the game. The results are eternal!! Are you a Player or Spectator? It’s your choice. But the truth will be known one day!!