What sports fans can teach Christians. Sports is one of the largest pastimes in the world. Billions of

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1 What sports fans can teach Christians - MLB Extra Innings Sports is one of the largest pastimes in the world. Billions of dollars are spent on sports events and sports related items each year. The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the world each and every year. The World Series and NBA Finals attract worldwide media attention. Many of you probably follow athletics in one way or another. So this message is not to condemn someone who is excited about sports. On the contrary, I believe there are some things that we as Christians can learn from sports fans. What can sports fans possibly teach Christians? The word fan is a shortened form of the word fanatic. A fanatic is one who is unreasonably enthusiastic or overly zealous, going beyond what is reasonable. The dedication and zeal that a sports fan shows for his team or sport is considered socially acceptable. However, showing excitement for Jesus Christ and the things of God usually isn t. I believe that most of us stop short of being excited about what the Lord has done for us because of what

2 people might say. After all, we don t want to be considered fanatics, do we? In Acts 26, Paul addressed King Agrippa and Festus. As Paul preached Christ the two leaders had totally opposite reactions. Agrippa said in verse 28. Festus, on the other hand, had this reaction: verse 24, 25 The word in verse 24 that is translated out of your mind or mad is the Greek word for mania. This is the only time in the Bible the word mania is used. It means excessive excitablility, a persistent, obsessive, enthusiasm. Festus, in essence, was saying Paul, you are a fanatic! You are crazy about this Jesus. Festus thought Paul s words were unreasonable and overzealous. I believe we as Christians can learn some important lessons from sports fans who are sometimes considered unreasonable and overzealous. I. Sports Fans Are Faithful They Don t Conform! Sports fans like to identify with their team. They have hats, shirts, socks, even underwear with team logos on them. Sports

3 fans don t mind being different. They enjoy being the only one in a crowd to represent their team. Story of Braves vs. Cubs game Michael Jordan, all the way up until he retired, wore North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform. When asked why his response was Once a Tar Heel always a Tar Heel. If sports fans are empowered by representing their teams, why aren t Christians empowered by representing the Lord and Creator of this Universe. Why is it we can stand proudly wear our baseball cap anywhere we go, but get lost in a crowd when it comes to our Christianity? Acts 1:8 We represent Christ to the lost, we are His witnesses, and we shouldn t be afraid to tell others what he has done for us. We can cheer for our team in front of thousands in a football stadium, we can do the tomahawk chop at a Braves game, but we are too afraid to tell anyone about Christ or dare let anyone

4 know that we are a Christian. Isn t there something wrong with that picture. II. Sports fans are spenders They Don t Withhold! Another truth about the sport fan that Christians could emulate is their reputation for spending money in support of their team. Besides the unbelievable amount of merchandise purchased, every year during the holiday season, thousands of fans follow their college football team to a bowl game. Fans order tickets to the game, plane tickets, and hotel accommodations. An individual fan can spend in the neighborhood of $2,000-$3,000 on their trip. Super Bowl or World Series tickets can cost thousands of dollars. No sacrifice is too great though, when their team is involved. Contrast this attitude with the Christian s attitude to giving during the collection. 2 Corinthians 8:7 When talking about giving, Paul writes We are asked to excel or to exceed what is expected in our giving. When we consider all that Christ has done for us and

5 the heavenly blessings awaiting us, we should be eager to worship God in our giving. Someone said, You can give without loving, by you can never love without giving. How much do we love Christ? Is our eternal reward worth no more than a dollar when the plate is passed? Giving is a true test of our love. III. Sports fans are tireless They Don t Rest! Sports fans will travel for hours to see their team. Some fans will travel to every road game, no matter how far. Fans of college teams often join booster clubs to further the efforts of their teams. Little league moms and dads will sell candy and other items to help raise money to buy jerseys and equipment. Sports fans are tireless in their works they never rest. Further, they are emotionally attached to their cause. They feel it is important and they are accomplishing something. Now compare that to the work of many Christians. Many Christians don t even want to travel to the building for worship on Sunday night or Bible study on Wednesday. Many

6 Christians don t want to take the time or effort to be involved in church activities outside the worship service because it takes up too much time. What does that say if our service to the Lord is supposed to be from the heart? James 2:14-20 Our service is a test a test of our loyalty and love for our Master. IV. Sports Fans Are Loyal They Don t Switch If you enjoy sports at all, then you have probably heard of the term bandwagon jumpers. These are the so-called fans who switch from one team to another according to who is winning at the time. These fans are looked down upon by most true fans. Most fans choose their loyalties based on their parents or their childhood experiences. Once you become the fan of a certain team, that bond is for life if you are a true fan. Win or lose, sink or swim, they are your team! Christians should have that same loyal attitude. Salvation is a lifetime bond with the Savior.

7 Philippians 3:10-12 The personal relationship to Christ is primary to the believer. We may make a mess of our lives, but Jesus is never to blame. The world should not be able to lure us onto it s side, just like a true sports fan will never be caught jumping on the bandwagon of a winning team. We should never lose sight of our first, true love. V. Sports Fans Are Passionate They Don t Give Up On Their Team! Another distinguishing characteristic of the sports fan is their passion for their teams. True fans will never give up until the last second ticks off the clock or the last out is made. They never stop believing in their team no matter what the circumstances. A great example of that is all the true Boston Red Sox fans, not all the bandwagon jumpers, who waited 86 years for the Red Sox to win a World Series and the true Chicago Cubs fans, like my wife, who have been waiting on their team to win since the Some teams seemingly give

8 their fans more misery than excitement, but true fans continue to support no matter what. John 6:66 The things Jesus was saying were difficult to accept. When it got tough, they no longer followed. Jesus watched them leave and asked his disciples. John 6:67-69 Our relationship with Him is the reason for anything good and blessed in our lives! There should be no bandwagon jumping, no turning 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, just like the weak sports fans loose sight of their love when their team isn t winning. But remember, a true fan never gives up! Paul stood before Festus and was ridiculed for his faith. Festus was fearful of Paul s words and beliefs. So is today s society. The world tries to label a Christian who takes a stand for God as some type of madness or fanaticism. The victorious, true

9 Christian should reflect the love and joy for Christ in his/her life, and should be excited about what the Lord has done for us. We can learn a lot about how we as Christians should be by watching sports fans. Are you faithful to your Lord, just as a sports fan is faithful to his team, or do you conform with the rest of the world when the pressure is on? Are you a spender for the Lord or do you withhold what is rightfully His to begin with? Are you tireless in your work for the Lord? Or are you selfish with the time you have? Are you loyal to the Lord? Or do you switch teams when things start to get tough? Are you passionate for the Lord? Are you excited about what the Lord has done for you? If you are not a Christian, then you haven t even chosen a team. You haven t put on a jersey or made a decision. You are riding the fence. The difference in sports and Christianity is there are

10 only two choices, not 100s of choices as the world likes to think. If you aren t on the Lord s side, then you are against Him. Luke 16:13 Matt. 7:13-14 Joshua 24:15 You have to make a choice and you are making that choice right now. If you aren t for God, then you are against Him. If you aren t a Christian, if you have not obeyed the Gospel and been immersed with Him in baptism, you are NOT on His team. If you are a Christian who is struggling, and haven t been loyal to the Lord, you can come back to your first true love. If you have any need, please come as we stand and sing.

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