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Part of the series: BE AN OLYMPIAN
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BE AN OLYMPIAN (1)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.    The Winter Olympics and the Special Olympics have just concluded. 

1.     These types of games were held hundreds and hundreds of years ago in a town in Greece call Olympia.

2.     The modern Olympics, however, were founded in 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

3.     The organization that oversees the Olympic events is known as the International Olympic Committee.

 

B.    The Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia this year.

1.     The athletes competed in 98 different events.

2.     There were about 2850 athletes from 89 different countries competing.

3.     There were 17 days of fierce competition.

 

C.    It is interesting that Paul often uses the Olympic games to discuss some of the aspect of the Christian life.

1.     I Corinthians 9:24

 

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run that ye may obtain.

 

2.     Philippians 3:14

 

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

3.     II Timothy 4:7-8a

 

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…

 

D.    In our lesson this morning, we want to examine some of the comparisons that exist between the Olympic Games and the Christian life.  The title of our lesson is:  “Be an Olympian.”

 

I.               PARTICIPATION

 

A.    Here we find a contrast between the Olympics and the Christian life.

1.     Not everyone can be an Olympic athlete.  Age and ability are two factors that exclude many people.

2.     Not so with the Christian life.  Every human being can participate.

a.     For God so loved the world… (John 3:16).

b.     Romans 3:29

 

Is he the God of the Jews only?  Is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also.

 

c.     To wit that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself… (II Cor. 5:14).

d.     I Timothy 2:3-4

 

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

B.    Participation involves a wilful decision on the part of the participant.  It is not forced upon anyone.

1.     There have been time when a parent, or, perhaps, a government has forced one to participate in an Olympic event, but most athlete freely choose to participate.

2.     Men must choose to become a follower of Christ.  God calls man to come, but He will not force Himself upon anyone.

a.     Matthew 11:28

 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

b.     Revelation 22:17

 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athrist come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

3.     NOTE:  We are free to participate or not.  Make certain if you refuse that you understand the consequences of that decision.

a.     Don’t make your decision out of emotion.

b.     Don’t make your decision from your fleshly passion.

c.     Don’t make your decision from ignorance.

d.     Don’t make your decision based upon false information.

 

II.            RULES

 

A.    The Olympics has what is called The Olympic Charter that sets forth the rules and guidelines for the Olympic Games.  These rules are to be followed by all judges, coaches, and athletes.

 

B.    Christianity has a rule book also.  This book is called “The Bible,” or, “The Word of God” (II Tim. 3:16-17).

 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly funished unto all good works.

 

1.     This book guides us in the darkness (Ps. 119:105).

2.     This book instructs us in life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3).

3.     This book affirms what is right and discourages what is wrong (Tit. 2:11-12).

 

C.    Just as the Olympic Charter is designed to be obeyed, so also is the Word of God.

1.     Deuteronomy 27:10

Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.

 

2.     Revelation 22:14

 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

 

III.          SERIOUS

 

A.    Those who compete in the Olympic Games take them seriously.

1.     They realize the opportunity that is theirs.

2.     They understand the fierceness of the competition.

3.     They are cognizant that they are representatives of their country.

 

B.    Those who are Christians should be serious about their Christianity.

1.     Another word for seriousness is “soberness.”

a.     In Titus 2:1-6, Paul exhorts the aged men, the aged women, and young men, and the young women.  The one common characteris-tic all should be possess is soberness.

b.     I Peter 1:13

 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

2.     Our seriousness about our Christian life will manifest itself in many ways.

a.     Holy living will be our daily practice.

b.     The worship of God will be a priority.

c.     Our Christian life will be filled with good deeds.

d.     The promotion of Christianity will be our focus.

 

IV.          DISCIPLINE

 

A.    When an athlete gets his sights set upon the Olympics, he must become a very disciplined individual:  sleep schedule, training schedule, strict diet, denial of certain activities, and constant focus upon goals.

 

B.    Paul picked up on this and applied it to the life of the Christian (I Cor. 9:25-27).

 

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain an corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:  lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

 

1.     The word “temperance” is self-control or self-discipline.

2.     Paul notes that the Olympians practice temperance in order to obtain a corruptible crown.  We, on the other hand, are seeking an incur-ruptible crown.  Our discipline, therefore, should be with a stronger purpose.

3.     Areas of discipline:  Bible study, prayer, worship, holy living, giving, personal work, visitation.

 

C.    A well-disciplined Olympic athlete is a thrill to behold.  We well-discipline Christian is also a blessing to see.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    The Olympians and Christians have a lot in common.

 

B.    It would be a rewarding experience for all of us to study the life of a successful Olympic athlete.  He/she would encourage us to become a better Christian.

 

C.    We close with the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13-14.  He pictures for us an athlete who is sprinting toward the finish line and stretches himself with all his might to win the race and capture the victory.

 

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.