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This is a Football
One of the most well-known names in all of NFL history is Vince Lombardi. He is specifically known for coaching the Packers in the 1960’s to five NFL Championships, including winning Super Bowl I and II. He was known for his strategy, winning seasons, and for the way he ran his practices. Vince Lombardi held intense practices during the off-season as recorded in his biography. In the summer of 1961, Lombardi took his professional football team, the Green Bay Packers, walked onto the field holding a football, as the whole team circled around him to listen. He says this, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
He took 36 professional football players to the basics and to remind them that nobody graduates from what seems elementary. They needed to be reminded of what they overlooked. Lombardi would continue to walk his team through the fundamentals of how to block and tackle. He even took the playbook and started from page 1!
Can you imagine the feeling of these players? Yet, the would finish out the season 11-3 and beat the Giants in the Western Championship 37-0. Remembering what seemed as the basics is more crucial than we could ever think.
Forgetting the Gospel
So it is with American Christians. When God saves us we needed the gospel; it was what we needed at the time for crying out loud! “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) was Jesus’ declaration to a perishing world. We covered that. Done. Now, we need to know how to act at work, tips for bettering our marriages, ways to love our neighbor without having to bring up the gospel, and what Sunday school class to attend.
The words of the Apostle Paul, however, seem to fly in the face of this type of Christianity:
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved…”
- 2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.”
Do you sense that Paul believes that the church in Corinth, a whole church, and a pastor, Timothy, are prone to forget the gospel? Gentlemen, this is a football. You need the gospel. There are no gospel graduates.
Could it be true that we forget the gospel? Is it possible that we strategize church growth, schedule activities, plan retreats, and even preach sermons that are foreign to the sinless life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to impart perfect standing before God by his grace alone through faith alone?
Remember Jesus Christ
So, how do we act at work or better our marriages? What do we do to show love to our neighbors? What then should we preach on? Remember Jesus Christ and be reminded of the gospel.
For instance, the way we act at work is crucial to how you understand who Jesus Christ is and what he did:
- He came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).
- Jesus did not count his high position (as Creator of the universe) a thing to be used as an advantage, but in humility he counted others more valuable than himself (Philippians 2:6).
- When those whom Jesus was over (i.e. the universe) rebelled against him, he took the blame on himself to preserve them (1 Peter 2:24).
We love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her in all things (Ephesians 5:25); and wives are to respect their husbands as the church follows the leadership and serves the Head of the church (Ephesians 5:21, 33). The Son of God loved even his enemies (Romans 5:10) and gave of himself. How could we not love those around us? We could go on and on with the flowing rivers of the gospel in our daily lives.
This is what you preach on, seek to understand, adore, and center your life on – the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ is not the basics we need to revisit but the core of all that we are and all that we do. Heaven itself will sing of Jesus Christ and his death for all who he saved (Revelation 5:12). This is the centrality of history – Jesus Christ slain for sinners and risen for their eternal life.
Remember Jesus Christ. Delight in his perfect life credited to your account by faith alone. Treasure your adoption by the Creator. Rejoice that you who were dead are now alive. Praise the God who saved you wholly by himself. Think on these things.