Monday, August 10, 2009
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If you've ever listened to the fans at a college or professional football game, you know some of them are the ultimate experts at what their team is doing wrong and what they should be doing. It's just amazing some of those fans haven't been hired as head coach of the team, right? After speaking for professional football chapels and getting to know some of the players, I was less than patient with their critics all around me in the stands. I knew those guys on the field. I knew they had everything on the line when they played and that the only heroes were in the game, not in the stands. Sometimes I just wanted to stand up and say to one of those guys: by the way, I never did because they were all bigger than I am. But I wanted to say, "Hey! Why don't you get out of the stands and get in the game!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Too Many Fans."
I've got to wonder if Jesus isn't trying to say something like that to many of His "fans," which by the way, He has plenty of. There are millions of believers who are willing to go to Jesus' meetings, give to Jesus' causes, and cheer for the ones that are on the field. Oh yes, and sometimes criticize from the stands how the players are playing. But Jesus doesn't need any more fans. He needs players; players who will join Him in winning some victories; some lives for the cause that He gave His life for!
In Numbers 32, where we find our word for today from the Word of God, there is a sobering picture of the spiritual dynamics in Christ's church today. The Jews are preparing to go in and challenge the Canaanites for the Promised Land. The Jewish tribes of Reuben and Gad had been told that the land God was giving them was on the East side of the Jordan - the safe side. All the other tribes would have to go in and fight for their land on the other side of the river. The "East-siders" had this great idea, "Moses, how about we just stay here with our families and set up our little homes and farms?"
Moses' reply in Numbers 32:6 comes echoing down through the centuries as a wakeup call for complacent Christians today. He said, "Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?" Man, I can almost hear Jesus saying that to us today. "Should persecuted Christians and struggling missionaries take all the risks and fight all the battles to reach the lost while you sit here?" Or, in other words, "Get out of the stands and get in the game!"
Later, Moses said that if they failed to leave their comfort zone and go with their brothers into the combat zone, they should "be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). Did you know that's where that verse comes from? And sin that will find you out is the sin of complacency and passivity when there are battles to fight for the Lord!
Today, the battle isn't for land, but it's for lives; people who will spend eternity in either heaven or hell; people all around us and half a world away. Jesus' Great Commission to get out His Gospel can't be delegated to a few spiritual daredevils we call missionaries. The Great Commission is always first person singular! Jesus intends for the cost and the risk of rescuing a dying world to be equally shared by all those who belong to Him! The Son of God sacrificed everything for it, and many have over the years, including this past year, sacrificed their lives for it. And many others have given their whole lives to this greatest cause in the universe.
So who are we to just sit passively in the stands, simply cheering or even jeering? So many of our brothers and sisters have gone to war, how can we sit here and ask them to make all the sacrifices? There's a war to win for Jesus Christ! It is time to get out of your comfort zone and join your Savior in the combat zone!