The game of basketball continues to grow in popularity all over the world. It has a universal language that everyone speaks. It’s development from the peach basket, to huge arenas. God has truly used the game to teach us about Him. I want to talk about the game and the greatest Head Coach of the Game.
First about playing your position: There are several positions in the game of basketball, guard, forward, center, etc. Then you have the most critical position of all which is the Head Coach. Now a coach will tell you what position you play.
Here are some things God says about us when He puts us in our position in Jesus Christ
- You are a totally new creation in Christ Jesus 2nd Corinthians 5:17
- You have everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3
- You are loved by God. Ephesians 1:6
- You are Forgiven. Mark 2:5, 1st John 1:9
- You have eternal life. John 3:15
- You are witnesses Luke 24:48
- You have the Holy Spirit: 1st Corinthians 6:19
1st Quarter: The Plan Psalm 53:2 “…He looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see there are any who understand, who seek God.”
A coach always has a plan on how to play and win a game. First, He looks at his team to see how they are playing. Next He considers the opposing team with their strengths and weaknesses. Then after looking at the aspects of the game, He comes up with a plan. God has done the same things he has looked at us very closely. He wants us on His team, to follow His game plan, and to win by knowing, loving, and enjoying Him forever.
Time-out: If you trust God and His game plan through repentance, you are assured of eternal life and
victory! This is because of what God has already done for you through His Son Jesus Christ.
2nd Quarter can’t do it alone Ephesians 2:8-9 “you are saved by grace through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, lest any man should boast.”
Basketball is a team game, but many players try to win games all on their own. The pride and selfishness hurt them and the team. So, the head coach has to teach all the players how to play the game and follow the game plan. It’s the same thing in life. People try to win in life and reach God in their own efforts. Isaiah 14:13, Romans 10:6 I will, and who will ascend into heaven. But our good efforts do not follow or measure up to God’s plan. Only God has a strategy to overcome our
weaknesses and limitations. And the big problem we face is the problem of sin. “All have sinned and
come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Time Out: Are you willing to trust God and His Son completely by faith and turn from your sin which keeps you from being a winner.
3rd Quarter The Substitute “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life so that we would be justified.” Romans 4:25
During any game, things can go wrong. A player may be shooting or passing badly. The team on the
court might not be working together as a unit. When those things start to go wrong the head coach
needs to do something to help. What typically does He do? He brings in a substitute to help. Not any
substitute, the right substitute at the right time. “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Time out: God cared about us so much that He sent His son to die in our place so, that we could win in this life and more importantly in the life to come.
4th Quarter: Crunch Time
A good head coach has a good game plan that goes all the way down to the final second and the very last shot. The expert player needs to do more than just know the coach’s game plan. The smart player has to trust the coach completely and follow his game plan even when the whole thing seems impossible and doesn’t make any sense. So the question I have for you this day is are you going to trust God’s game plan? Will you decide to follow his plan, believing and having faith in what Jesus did, is doing, and will complete based on the finished work of the Cross?
“But as many received Him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12
“ Your sins have separated you from God.” Isaiah 59:2
There it is. Every team needs a good head coach to help them win the game. The plain fact is we are going to lose in the game of life if we don’t follow the head coach’s game plan. As a player do not be anointed by a world obsessed with putting people on a pedestal. Why? Because no man was made to be put on a pedestal. The spot was reserved from beginning of time for one, Just and True (Jesus Christ The Righteous). No player can carry the weight of glory, nor is he supposed to. We are but children of the one who carries that weight (Jesus bore our sins and our burdens). As a player, refuse to play for acceptance because “Excellence” is your Head Coach. God is personally and deeply concerned about you. Are you convinced you have eternal life? This is eternal life, that you may know, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” Isaiah 55:6 If not, you need another game plan.
The Word of God clearly teaches that in the very Last Days, one of the main SIGNS of the TIMES to look for will be the great FALLING AWAY of those who profess to be Christians. Jesus clearly teaches that in the very Last Days, the lost will become more and more blinded from hearing Biblical truth, because many who claim to be God’s anointed will NOT be preaching the whole truth! Jesus clearly teaches that He will return. However, it seems that this will happen when many within this young generation aren’t looking for Him to come (I Tim 6:3-15, 2 Tim 4:1-8, Rev Ch’s 2-3). We need to discern the times! “Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the APOSTASY comes first (2 Thess.2:3 Amos 8:11-12). It seems that many who have eliminated the last days’ message of the soon coming of our Lord along with prophecy from Sunday sermons will not be able to discern the times. Will our Lord find faith on earth when He returns?
The concern with the young generation is not heeding the stern warning Paul gave us “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits, and doctrines of demons” (I Tim 4:1). “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Pet 4:17). Many younger Christians are cognizant that their peers are increasingly unfriendly or indifferent toward Christian beliefs and the gospel message. As a consequence, young Christians recognize that the nature of sharing one’s faith is changing. So, the devotion of this younger generation also changes. Instead of being more faithful to Jesus Christ, many are falling away!
The power of darkness is certainly upon us, For example, many young Christians believe they have to be more culturally engaged in order to communicate Christianity to their peers. For younger Christians, matters of orthodoxy are deeply interconnected with questions of how and why the Gospel advances among a post-Christian generation.” Jesus warned us about deception more than anything else in the last days. “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)
There is little discernment from this generation and most young believers have been culturally frozen and it seems “…fear of man has brought a snare.” (Proverbs 29:25) Jesus summed it up best when Babylon comes it is coming not only to absorb a backslidden church/Christian, but also our children (this young generation). “And a great multitude of people followed Him and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28) We need to cry out for this generation and especially our children, that none would fall away. May God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ keep us all!
There are questions we don’t have the answers to. And there are questions that are not seeking an answer, but rather open “a wide gate” Matthew 7:13 – questions like the one posed long ago: “Has God indeed said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1
A New Age of Religion is attracting many and is based on concepts that are irresistible. Like Eve, some are enticed with Lust of the Eyes, attracted by the Flesh, or by the Pride of Life. Faithful followers of Jesus Christ are seen as to rigid and narrow minded, versus the new age of religious thinking that says God would never impose an irrational boundary between us and Himself. Sometimes the lie creeps in subtly, remember “…Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of Light.” 2nd Corinthians 11:14. No matter how uplifting and innocent some religious practices appear, Christians need discernment in these “…perilous times”. 2 Timothy 3:1
We need to understand the distinctions, between the new age of religion and Biblical Christianity. The less vulnerable we are ourselves, the better able to address the confusion of people we witness to who may be earnestly seeking the truth. If we begin to understand the origin of the word “religion” its meaning is to adhere or bind. With today’s religious manifestations, faith is alluring and seductive precisely because it’s driven by propositions that bind a person to a compelling set of ideas that satisfy rationally or spiritually, but always obligate an individual to some form of works. And the common denominator in all of these “isms” is Jesus being displaced from his seat as “…Lord of Lords and King of Kings..”. Revelation 17:14 Some basic examples of this principle we can find in some of today’s religious manifestations are Jehovah Witnesses who believe Jesus is not God, Mormonism; Jesus is the half brother of Satan, Catholicism Jesus is beneath Mary, Mother and Queen of Heaven.
What exactly is this New Age of Religion? It is impossible to narrow down, but it is presented as a vast smorgasbord of beliefs and practices. Each person has his/her own ability to fill their tray with whatever assortment that fits their appetite. All is seasoned with self-centeredness and self-effort. It’s really a Have-It-Your-Way religion – thus its modern appeal. Although there are many branches ranging from meditation to lent – they come from an ancient beginning, the roots stem from the “Garden” with the residue of “…a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:18 Instead the new age of religious believers, believe that: God is in everything (pantheism), all things are one (monism), Man is God, mind creates reality and one’s own experience validates the truth, which is opposite of what Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6
There is a distorted definition of evil. Therefore, they (new age believers) do not accept man’s problem of sin that has separated us from God. Unfortunately, many Christians, living in the twilight of the 21st century, have either forgotten Christ’s warnings or no longer believe them. For whatever reasons, Christians, because of their ignorance, have been seduced into thinking that man-made philosophies are religiously neutral. Thus this new age of religion promises everything, it delivers nothing; and claiming to be one thing, it turns out to be something else entirely! “If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is useless.” James 1:26 In the end many will be disappointed because they have chosen a different way and that way does not lead to Jesus, “…it leads to destruction.” Matthew 7:13
“Truly I say unto you, all things shall come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:36) We are certainly in the last days and we live in a generation in which all these “things” have come upon us. “…lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” riddled with “positive thinking” that sanctifies covetousness, glorifies selfishness, and makes religion a way of gain (I Timothy 6:5). This generation is an age where men are also “…covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unloving, without self control…having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy. 3:1-5). The “good things” of this life are available to those who seek both material prosperity and psychological fulfillment. They are found by faith in one’sown possibilities and faith in oneself! “And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, why does this generation seek after a sign? Truly I say unto you, there shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:12)
It is intellect without enlightenment and knowledge without wisdom that rules the day. Those that think and behave contrary to this belief are seen as negative. Positive thinking has taken over this generation, leaving the youth falling by the wayside and families destroyed!
Therefore faithful followers of Jesus Christ must stand against this error. We need those who have a love for the truth, not crowd pleasers. We must comprehend that while we need to stand on the promises of God, we must at the same time; realize His complete displeasure for error and sin.
Ministers of the gospel in this generation are more concerned with what man wants to hear, rather than with what God wants him to hear. “After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy. 4:3). The vague generalities and “positive” sayings of psychology may meet one’s need to “think good” about himself, but such positive thinking and teaching does nothing to address the real need of a person. Man’s real need is to be “convicted of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John. 16:7-11). Those that preach the truth of the gospel expose sin, prick the heart, and cause people to tremble while pointing to Jesus Christ as our only hope for eternal salvation and redemption.
Jesus was not oriented toward rewards in this life nor did He teach such. This generation rewards Jesus with hate and He promised His disciples they would get no better (John 15:18-21). And Peter in his sermon, made clear God’s intentions for us “… with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). Evil must come to a head, and to this generation “…this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53) Let those of the household of faith “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Knowing that “…this generation shall not pass away until all things be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:32)