Monday, February 26, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, February 25, 2018

Our Victory Was Won Over Two Thousand Years Ago

The 2018 Winter Olympics has ended and we have seen participants push themselves to win medals or even have the privilege of participating in the games with some of the world’s finest athletes.  This was an awesome display of dedication, talent, and determination to test their bodies to their extreme limits.  Most of us will never stretch our bodies to see what we are capable of.  Perhaps we might have also stood proudly on the podium with the anthem of our country being played.

In a given contest, it would have been much easier to know that you had already won your prize before you began.  The Bible says that we are already seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that He could show how kind He already has been to us in the ages to come (Ephesians 2:6, 7).  We are not winners because of our own fleshly efforts trying to beat someone else, score more points, or to please earthly judges.  If we did, we could boast about our efforts, but it is God’s unmerited favor or His gift to us (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul speaks about his pressing toward his goal to win his prize (Philippians 3:12, 14).  However his goal was not to defeat others, but to be more like Christ.  Paul wanted to know Him experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him and experiencing the mighty power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). 

Thank God for the splendid and overwhelming performances of our athletes.  However, we are in an eternal battle that Jesus has already won. He defeated death, hell and the grave (Revelation 1:18). He stands victorious on the podium and we are with Him in victory since we are just like Him in this world (1 John 4:17).  Thank God for our victory in Him. We triumph with Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Ephesians 2:6-9
New International Version (NIV)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Philippians 3:12, 14
New International Version (NIV)
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:10
Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did];

Revelation 1:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades

1 John 4:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus

2 Corinthians 2:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

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