Going For The Gold by James Merritt

"Going For the Gold"
James Merritt
I Peter 1:3-9


Introduction

1. One of my favorite experiences that only comes once every four years is to watch the Olympics. It's a marvelous thing to see the world's greatest athletes achieve their lifetime dream of a gold medal. But it is also interesting to see the athletes who do not win the gold medal. For one thing that is abundantly clear in the Olympics is that in each event there is only one gold medal for one athlete, representing one country. And most athletes, and therefore, most countries are not going to win the gold medal. With all of their training and all of their sacrifice and all of their work they are not going to get the gold.

2. Now the Bible says that the Christian life is a spiritual Olympic race. Paul says in I Cor 9:24, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize. Run in such a way that you may obtain it." As Paul was nearing the end of his life he looked back over the course of his Christian walk with God and said in II Tim. 4:7, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race." Paul could see the end of his Christian race he had the finish line in view.

3. But there are some tremendous differences between this race and a race that you would run in the Olympics. First of all, everyone who enters this race will finish the race. No one will be disqualified for the race. No one will start the race that does not finish the race. Secondly, even though everyone will finish the race, not everyone will finish in the same order. There will be some who will get more gold than others. There will be some who will gain more crowns and rewards than others. But nevertheless, everyone is guaranteed to finish this race. You say, well how do you know that? I know it because of what Peter has to say here in this passage concerning the faith of a born again Christian. In this scripture I want you to see four fantastic facts about faith. For your faith and your faithfulness to your faith will determine whether or not you get the gold.

I. The Producer of Our Faith - V.3-4

1. I want you to see the tremendous doxology that is bursting in Peter’s heart. He says, "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now whatever Peter has discovered about faith has given him a bad case of the holy hallelujahs. He is filled with praise for his heavenly father because of what he has learned about his faith.

A. The Birth of Faith - V.3

1. We are told here that God has begotten us again to a living hope. You know, some people think that they "decide to get saved". But that really is not true. The Bible says in Eph. 2:1 that a man without Jesus is spiritually dead in his trespasses and sin. Now one thing we know about dead men is, they cannot decide anything. They must first be given life. When Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, Lazarus did not come forth dead, and then have Jesus bring him to life. Jesus first brought him to life, and t ...


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