Make me a Winner
Most of you will know that this is the year of the Olympic Games and as is usual, thousands of athletes from every strata of the sporting world will be preparing for the Olympic Events with great determination, commitment and stick-ability right now. “Stick-ability” is a word which I first heard my School Headmaster use, I believe he may have invented it in his efforts to get his pupils to endure study and win the prizes.
Over the course of my Christian life and ministry, I have been challenged by the characteristics of those who I saw as “winners” in the Church of Jesus Christ, and I’ve set my mind to try to discover what makes a man or a woman a Christian Winner? My Sermon today entitled “Make me a Winner”
is focused on what I have uncovered in that search.
First of all I discovered that in order to be a winner,
you must know how to “Walk in Glory”.
I made this kind of comment some time ago to a fellow Christian who rebuked and rebuffed me with the words “God does not give his glory to another”. He was of course rightly quoting the prophet Isaiah 42 verse 8 which says “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images”.
What my friend did not seem to know however was that I was speaking of another “glory” the glory of Jesus, the glory in which He walked while here on earth. Turn with me if you will back to Johns Gospel and the 17th chapter which we read earlier at verse 22 where Jesus says: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me”.
Jesus has given US His Glory so that the whole world might know who HE is. So when someone tells you that you should not walk in Glory, they don’t know what they are talking about, and are probably not saved at all, unaware of the privileges and rights of the children of God.
God has given us in Christ “His Glory” in fact it should be all over us every day. And Paul writing in 2nd Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are being changed (transformed) from one degree of glory to a greater glory all the time. This is Gods down-payment of the life to come, and this is
what a winner will walk in. Winners know who they are in God, they know they are forgiven, they know they are justified by faith, they know they have been transferred from this world of darkness into Gods world of light, they do not live as “earth-bound” they win and walk as “heaven-bound”. Don’t allow the Devil to keep you as “a miserable offender” – that kind of thinking belongs to the old nature. NOW you have a new nature in Christ Jesus – you can walk as a winner, walk in the glory. We all know that a winning athlete may well walk in their own glory, but this glory of which I speak is not our own, it is that we walk in Christ’s Glory and in Christ’s Victory, and the more you appreciate the “glory” that Jesus has won for you, the greater a “winner” you become and the greater success you enjoy in life. So start walking in the Glory!
“There is therefore now “No Condemnation” to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the spirit is life and peace”. Romans 8 – Winners know that they walk in a way that’s different from the rest. I am not an ordinary man, you are not ordinary, we are not as some say: “ordinary people doing an extraordinary job for God” – that is a misunderstanding of the work of grace.
We are extraordinary people, and God has made us so. We have been given the spirit of excellence (Dan 5:12) and Paul says
if we are walking in love we are walking in a “more excellent” way. 1 Corinthians 12&13. Focus on “who you are” and not “who you were”. We are walking in the spirit of “power and love and a sound mind, not in the spirit of fear”. 2 Tim 1:7. Learn who you are in God and walk like a winner. I can not be defeated by one who has already been defeated. Jesus is Victor, and praise God, I’m on the Victory side where no foe can daunt me and no fear can haunt me. It is not MY victory but Christ’s yet I must walk in a way that reinforces it, for I am a winner!
I walk in His Glory not my own, and am being transformed by
a greater glory every day. I’ve got Heaven in me!
Is this where you walk?
Secondly, I noticed that winners “Walk in Communion“.
They know what it is to be in constant communion, constant connection with the Lord – they do literally “pray without ceasing”. They have learned the secret of living in the presence of God all the time. They have come to the place that the Psalmist had come to when he says “my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” Psalm 84:2 Sadly for most of us, we have not yet reached that place. While our hearts do truly cry out or crave and long for Him, our “flesh” often longs for other things. We are often “double minded” and thus we fail to enjoy his constant communion, his continuing presence and his clear voice. We may have come to enjoy these at times, but don’t have them all the time. A winner walks in constant communion.
They have learned to Host the Presence of God… and they enjoy
“what He is saying” today, not just “what He has said” yesterday? Let me explain this.
As believers, we need to understand that it is possible to confuse “what God is saying” with “what God has said”? This concept has never dawned on many of us. I have discovered that for too long, many Christians are relying on what we call “Bible reading notes” in their daily devotional times. Now please do not misunderstand me, I have no quarrel with such devotional notes, indeed I have been blessed myself by such in the past, but these things are perfectly OK for “babes” in Christ. (Perfectly OK for the first few years.) Yet once we come on into Spiritual Maturity, such notes should not become a study crutch.
God wants you to get “what he is saying” not just “what he has said” – God wants you to get the “rhema” of the word, not just the “logos”. Don’t just expect the “preacher” to have a word
for you, get the word for yourself!
Let me try to illustrate or explain this for you.
If you read through the four Gospels and on into the book of Acts, you will discover that one day a woman touched the hem of Jesus garments and she was healed. She was troubled with internal haemorrhaging for 12 years (Luke 8:43) and was instantly healed. In Matthew 14:36 – Others sought to Touch His Garments in order to do likewise. In Acts 19:12 Handkerchiefs or Aprons were brought from the Apostle Paul’s person and laid on the sick so that many of them recovered. In Acts 5:15 they carried the sick into the streets so that the shadow of the apostle Peter passing, might fall on them, and thus they would recover. Now we need to understand, that (unless I am otherwise mistaken) such practices were
Never Taught, but thought.
I cannot find any teaching in the Bible about touching garments,
healing aprons or men’s shadows, (neither Jesus himself nor his apostles ever taught on these subjects) but without the teaching the miracles happened. This was all about what God was saying, rather than about what God had said. The people recognised that both Jesus and these apostles were walking in Communion, walking in the constant presence and power of God, and they knew that while in close proximity to them, there would be a supernatural effect. They were hosting, carrying the presence of God with them wherever they went. This is what God wants for us all. Don’t just settle for what God has said, ask Him what he is saying to you today. There are many things which I have never TAUGHT in these services week by week, but equally there are many things THOUGHT as a result of the teaching. That is God speaking, not God Spoken! – And when you walk in constant communion with God, you will hear Him speaking all the time. Jesus only ever said what he heard His Father first say. (John 15:15) Wow, what communion!
What God is saying will NEVER contradict what He has said.
When God is speaking to you, it will always be in parallel
and in harmony with what His written word says.
Tragically some people get to go to their graves without ever hearing what God is saying to them, and it is usually because they don’t believe that God wants to personally interact with them?
God made you for himself, he designed you for fellowship, for connection to him, and if you are not experiencing his presence
in your life – then you are not where you need to be in God. Wherever I go I carry the presence of God with me, I feel him present – I know he is actually nearer, closer to me than those
around me. But when we are walking in disobedience to God, and are grieving His Spirit, the result will be that we become more conscious of ourselves and less conscious of Him. Those who call themselves Christians and are focused on themselves, talking about themselves, complaining about their circumstances, weary with their walk, and angry with their friends are usually walking in disobedience and at a distance from the Lord.
I can sense it as soon as I walk in a house or a room, even in a prayer fellowship or church setting, I sense the absence of the Lord, for the Spirit in that place is not the warm loving Spirit that I know? There is a coldness and a deadness present that I just don’t like. Gods presence has withdrawn from that place?
I have been making some studies in more recent times, yet still without a lot of concrete evidence, but I do believe that in Gods Throne Room, in His nearer presence, there is a Perfume of his holiness lingering. Those who carry his presence should carry that lingering fragrance. He is the Rose of Sharon, he is the Lily of the Valley, and when our lives are All about Him there will be that sweet “fragrance of communion” resting upon us. I know it, and have experienced it, I just can’t prove it to you right now. It is what he is saying, and it does bear parallels with what he has said. Portions of The Song of Solomon are a pictorial reference to the preparations of the Heavenly Bridegroom (Jesus Christ) for his earthly bride (the Church)
and we read there:
“The sweet smelling-flower hath opened. The pomegranates have blossomed, There do I give to thee my loves; The mandrakes (baskets) have given fragrance, And at our openings all pleasant things, new, yea, old, my beloved, I laid up for thee”
S of S 7:12-13. In Exodus 30 – God gave regulations regarding Aaron and his Sons and the Tent of Meeting all to be anointed with a sweet smelling oil, the essential ingredient of which was Frankincense after the art of a perfumer.
Exodus 30:25 In that place of “fragrance” God promised to
meet with them. v36. Are you walking in Communion with God, in the fragrance of Heaven every day? I know that’s where I want to be. Make me a winner Lord!
The Third characteristic of the Winner is that they “Walk in the Supernatural.” They see the “super” the Divine ability being added to their own human “natural” abilities. Winners, do not limit God in either their asking or their faith to believe him for the answer. I thank God that I discovered a long while ago, that my God is an awesome God, a mighty God, a powerful God, a Sovereign God, an Indwelling God, a Merciful God, a Pardoning God, and (to crown it all) a Loving God.
Paul writing to the Church at Colosse says that …
“… God would make known what is the riches of the glory of
this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory: Col 1:27
Then the writer to the Hebrews makes it clear WHY Christ dwells IN the believer to …
“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Heb 13:21
If God makes you “perfect” “in every good work” (in his sight) how dare the Devil point out your imperfections? This perfection enables you to walk in the supernatural, to walk
and live in that dimension which is above the human,
to walk in the heavenly.
If Jesus said to his followers 2000 years ago -“heal the sick,
raise the dead, cast out the devils…” (and He did)
then he made it possible – and he gave them (and us) the Holy Spirit – (GOD) in you the hope of Glory. You cannot walk in the supernatural without the Holy Spirit, you cannot even live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible. So Jesus asked “is there anything too hard for me”? The Angel Gabriel said to Mary “ With God all things are possible”. Its not possible to be impossible – nothing NO THING is impossible! Is that how you think, – for that’s how winners think!
The tragedy within the Church for much of its recent history is that many of us have never discovered this “God of the Impossible” for ourselves. Our unbelief has robbed God of his power, his efficacy and his ability. But thank God my Jesus can do for me “exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I can ask or even think”. Those who have not yet the faith to believe for better things, and the faith to trust God for the miraculous have circulated the lie of the apostolic dispensationalist? It is the lie of unbelief, and short-changes the Church. These teachers would have us believe that much of what Jesus said regarding the “supernatural” and the “miraculous” he meant only for the apostles, and not for the Church. Yet they cannot explain why those (like me) who believe what Jesus said, and not what they say, see miracles every day?
When do you stop saying this was for the apostles, or this was for me? And how would you be expected to know? They have no answer! In other words, they pick and choose over the scriptures that suits their lack of faith and their inability to trust God completely. The Devil has them on the run, when
he should be fleeing from them. What a tragedy!
They talk about faith, but know nothing about it, for their faith is in their “pay cheque” or “their investments” or their
“retirement nest-egg”, they know nothing about waiting
on God for their daily manna, their daily bread?
Jesus never asks of us, anything that he will not equip us to do.
As I said a moment ago, when Jesus said “heal the sick” he meant it, and he meant it for me, and for you TODAY.
and he adds: “this is how you’ll know the believing ones”
“… these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly
thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17-18
So “if you will believe for it” you too will lay your hands on the sick and they WILL recover, believe me, I do, and they do – but there must be FAITH, for without Faith, it is impossible to please God. And that faith must be a pleasing faith,
it must not be a wavering faith. Winners know their God,
and they know his power, and they put their faith in that. Remember, God never asks or expects us to do what he will not empower us to do. Now you may be thinking that this sort of living is not for you, it may well be alright for the Pastor or the Priest or the Religious, but not for you. One young man said to me recently “you have to be a “super” Christian to live “supernaturally”? But he was mistaken. Let me explain.
There is a Difference between the Holy Spirit living IN the believer, and the Holy Spirit resting ON the believer.
Turn with me if you will to the Book of the Acts of the
Apostles and to Chapter 2: verse 1 (we read)
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit
gave them utterance”.
Here on the day of Pentecost God had a tongue for all. This Heaven sent anointing rested upon each one of them. God has
a supernatural tongue for you too, and when that super
tongue meets with your natural tongue, then some amazing things happen, as they did on that day.
The power of God is not only something that dwells in you, but for those miraculous times it rests upon you, empowering you for the supernatural. Now you will never get this power if you don’t want it, and you most certainly will never get it if you don’t believe in it. People who do not believe in “speaking in tongues” will never, never be able to speak in tongues, but if
you believe for it, and know you can do it, you can live in the supernatural, in the miraculous every day. Praise God.
So are you a winner? Do you want to walk every day in the Glory, in the shadow of God, in the presence of God and in the supernatural? If so, it is not an impossibility, and it is not only for the “chosen few” – You can do it too, … but you will never do it, unless like a true athlete, you want “that prize” more than life itself. God Bless You.