Bible talk

Hosted by PAULFROMNYS|Malachi 3:16-18/Bible talk

Based on Malachi 3:16-18 I believe the Lord will harken to us as we consider his word together.

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GRMD #179   T. Austin Sparks

Started Nov-15 by PAULFROMNYS; 22 views.




The Christian As Athlete

Our next 'group' consists of just this fragment: "If a man contend in the games, he is not crowned except he have contended lawfully." Here, hidden behind the English translation, is a Greek word - athleo - from which we get our English words 'athlete' and 'athletic'. The Greek word means to compete in, or take part in, the public games or contests. The Christian is compared to a Greek athlete. Now that sounds like sport, but it is not! For the word is a very strong word, implying one who engages in a contest for the mastery. That is making a business of things, is it not? We, as Christians, are called to engage seriously in a contest, at the end of which there is a prize, which it is possible for us to lose. That is the conception. Of course, there is a very large background of the Greek games to this word of Paul's; he knew all about it. The Greek athlete was called upon to spend ten whole months in rigorous preparatory discipline and training before he was allowed to enter the contests. And the rules for training were stringent. He must shun many things; he must observe certain regulations; he must discipline himself and put aside all his own preferences and his own likes. He must recognize that this thing is so serious that, should he break one of the regulations of his training, he is disqualified, he is not allowed to enter.

Well, here is a contest, here is an engagement, which calls upon us to be very watchful, and to be in many directions self-denying. But don't mix this up with your salvation - you can never be saved by good works! To be a Christian you don't have to give up this and give up that, and do all sorts of things that you don't naturally like doing! This is not IN ORDER TO BE a Christian; but when you ARE a Christian, here is a vocation, here is a responsibility. Paul said: "I buffet my body... lest... after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected" (1 Cor. 9:27), and he is thinking of this very thing - this business on hand, this great responsibility into which he is called, this great contest. 'I must see to it that my body, my fleshly appetites, don't get the upper hand; I must keep a strong hand upon myself; I must learn the disciplined life.' To most people that word 'discipline' is a most hated word. Yes, but this is not just discipline for its own sake - it is because of what is involved. And we can lose so much - young Christians, you can lose so much, and you can be disqualified from the great calling with which you are called, and from obtaining the great prize, the real prize, which is set before you, if you do not learn the disciplined life. Keep under your body. A Christian ought to be a very disciplined person, with a life well ordered and regulated - nothing loose or flippant or careless. We ought to be people girded on a great business.