Sunday School Prizegiving- Sermon 191

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ


Football – these days – most of us don’t play it but – watch it – and for some it has become almost a religion – worshiping the players as modern day idols –

But Football does have some similarities with our Christian Faith – and of course the world Cup – – our theme today – the ultimate world football tournament has many similarities with God’s wish to bring us together in a common goal – to reach His ultimate prize –

So what are the similarities:

Well –


point 1   There is a prize to win


No prizes for guessing which one of our 5 objects this first one refers to –

The dream of every footballer is to win the game and hold the world cup –

In the same way in the Christian Faith -there is a unique prize to win – and that prize is salvation from God – and being with Him forever –

Winning means everything – but there is a difference in the way that we win

To win the world cup you have got to have the skills and be good enough – and you can only win by progressing through the different stages and winning the final –

But to win Jesus Christ – and be saved you’ve got to admit that your skills are not good enough – and will never be good enough – and that only Jesus can make you good enough –

you’ve got to admit you are a sinner – and then you’ll be a winner – and as soon as you do this and offer yourself to Jesus – you will win the prize –

no intermediate stages to go through – no final knockout – as soon as you take Jesus into your hearts – your salvation is assured – 

point 2    There is a Team to play with   

No one player – by themselves – can win the world cup – they may think they can but – and all eleven players have to play their part –

they have to work together- for each other in order to win –

It doesn’t matter if its Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Rooney, Villa, or Forlan the top scorer in this year’s tounament – if it was just up to them on their own – they would never win a match – even the best of the best need other players – to help them score –

and – its no good scoring two goals in your opponents net – if your defence lets in four goals in in your own net –

The Christian Faith – is a team activity too –

The Bible tells us that when we put our faith in Jesus – we become part of a team – one of his disciples –

In our first reading we see Jesus choosing His team – selecting His main players – and interestingly He surrounds Himself with those who are already committed –

Jesus prayed about who He wanted to be leaders in His kingdom – and even sought them out where necessary

Can anyone remember their names? – Simon called Peter; Andrew; James and John sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew tax collectors; James son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot; Judas Escariot.

In many ways they were different but in one way they were the same – they were all devoted to God and willing to follow Jesus –
And later when they realised He was the Son of God – His final 11 – all but one of them – died for Him –

They were the twelve who represented many others

The words used by St. Paul for the team of Christian followers – is Body – we are all part of the body of Christ – and we all play different parts of that body – and we all need each other –

The important thing in football is that you don’t keep the ball for yourself – you have to pass it to another player in your team and involve them in the game –

In the same way in the Christian Faith we need to link up with each other – and make sure we all work together and involve each other for Jesus’ goals – sometimes it might seem easier to do it ourselves – but its important that everyone gets a chance to be involve and play their part –

point 3       There is Training to be done

Any winning football team has to train hard.

To play well in a game and on the pitch they need to be fit and everything they do needs to be well

They need to sharpen up their skills through regular training – penalties – passing -free-kicks – corners – all need plenty of daily practice – the players also need to build up their speed – muscular endurance – strength and co-ordination-

If they train well – they do well –

Its the same in the Christian Faith – we too need to be well practiced –

reading the Bible – saying our prayers – finding some daily time for worshiping God –

Day by day we have to build up our Godly muscles – we have to learn to say no to what is wrong – and choose what is right in God’s eyes – the more we do this the more – we build up our Godly muscles –

We need to get together – regularly in church – to help and support each other – the more we do this – the more we build up our Godly muscles –

All these things help us to resist temptation – and keep in God’s ways – We need to to have a daily training programme and stick to it –

point 4      There is a Captain to follow

Off the pitch the manager and coach are in charge – but on the pitch its the captain – who is the leader – He’s the one we have to listen to and follow –

In the Christain Faith we also have a captain – called Jesus Christ –

and He’s not just any captain – He’s not just one of us – chosen – because he’s good at being a leader –

He’s special – He’s God’s Son – and when we play in Jesus’ team – because He’s God’s Son – we are sure to win –

but -we have to listen to every command He gives us – do everything He tells us – the job of the captain is to keep us playing well –

Sometimes we forget we have a captain – and think we can do things without His leadership –

Sometimes the match is hard – and we think we are losing – that’s when our captain encourages us – and urges us on –

We have to trust Him and follow His commands – do the things in life that He wants us to do –

point 5        There are Goals to score

In any football match you can’t win unless you score goals – you have to put the ball in the net – if you want to win the cup –

And in the Christian Faith we have to score goals too – goals for Christ – and the goals we have to score are the goals that Jesus sets us –

Goals to do with our faith – goals to do with our nature –

Our faith goals are about having faith in Him – trusting in Him totally for all our needs – relying on the manager Father God – for selection and the team coach – the Holy spirit – for help and guidance –

Our nature goals are about changing our nature – crucifying our old nature of self importance – and living in God’s new nature – of self sacrifice

We also have to make sure we don’t get any goals against us – in other words slip in the other direction – in such cases we might need saving from ourselves and from getting further behind –

By achieving Jesus’ goals – our game – our lives will be transformed –

the crowd watching us – will see things in us – that are different to what what they have seen before –

they will see things like – love – joy – peace – kindness – goodness – as described in our second lesson –

These things will become part of our new nature – part of the new way that we play the game – part of the way we live


So when Jesus calls us to step out in faith – as part of His team – on the world stage – He is calling us to play the game of life His way –

to connect with others – to demonstrate the kingdom – and show Jesus’ presence in our world

and we can do this by:
trusting and depending on our Captain – Jesus
sticking to a daily training program of prayer , bible reading and praise
playing our part as a team member
and scoring the goals that Jesus sets for us –

and all these will enable us to win the ultimate prize – and become one of His Team forever –

Prayer to finish