Let’s open our Bibles if you would please, to the book of 2 Corinthians 11. And let’s look down to verse 18.
2 Corinthians 11:18: “Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.”
And then Paul starts listing things. He went through all of this. A great Christian. And he says 2 Corinthians 11:23:
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;”
Verse 27: “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Verse 30: “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”
Verse 33: “And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”
Just some of the tough things that the apostle Paul went through, the one whom God used to write thirteen books of our great Bible right here.
Let’s have a prayer, and we’ll get right into the message. Father, bless this time. We thank You for all the preparation, the music, the busses running, clean buildings, visiting, tracts passed out, things being prepared, nursery shifts, Sunday School classes taught. We just pray that You would meet with us today. Give us a boost, a good push today to be what we ought to be. Most here are Christians. There are maybe a few that do not know You. So, I pray that You would speak to all of our hearts. Help us to be open, not distracted. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All over the country today — not everyone, but many millions — they’re preparing for the sports event of the year. Of course, the Super Bowl this afternoon at 3:30 PM California time. Pizzas, friends, food. One little boy said, “I can’t touch the food in the refrigerator. It’s all saved for the Super Bowl. That’s sad. And so, people from all over have already decided if they’re going to watch it and who they’re pulling for.
There’s a longing for belonging. People want to belong to a team. For some, it’s the team of their parents. Why are you a Raiders fan? Because my daddy was. Well, why was he? Because his daddy was. So, sometimes it’s inherited loyalty. Other times, it’s “I like their helmets.” it has nothing to do with the team at all.
I was at a San Francisco game years ago versus the New Orleans Saints. (Notice, the Saints are mentioned in the Bible more than any other NFL team!) The Saints were playing, and I knew someone that worked security. He said, “Pastor, I can get you on the field for about fifteen minutes. After they warm up and go to the locker room, I get you on the field. You can walk around the field. I said, “Really? On the field?” He said, “Yes.” It was a playoff game. So, I had on this jersey that says “Pastor Ray” on the back that someone gave me. And as I’m walking down the field, I’m walking and I’m doing a selfie video. I’m walking on the field, and I start to hear some of the fans. I start hearing, “Pastor Ray! Hey, Pastor Ray!” from this whole group in the stands. You know, they’re just seeing my jersey that says “Pastor Ray.” Then I heard one person yell, “Pastor Ray, what year did you play? What year did you play?” They thought I was some old, retired man that used to be… no wonder the Saints always lost. But I just enjoyed feeling a part of that atmosphere.
My wife, during my knee surgery, asked, “What can I do to encourage you?” I said, “I’ve always wanted a Super Bowl ring.” Well, who doesn’t? And she said, “I found one.” You can get them from China for $19 — a lookalike with about 100 diamonds on it. So, the Saints made the Super Bowl one time. She ordered me that ring, and it came in the mail after my surgery. I put it on, and I mean all these diamonds. The New Orleans Saints Super Bowl ring! So, I usually wear it when I’m on the plane, especially if I’m flying to the deep south to speak. So, I’ve got my New Orleans Polo shirt on. And the gray hair — I always wear that wherever I go. And then I had the ring on. I’m in line to get on the plane to fly to Texas, and I’m seeing this couple. The lady was just looking at my hand with that ring on. And she’s just kind of looking, and then she whispers something to her husband, and then he’s kind of looking. Then she asked me, “Are you one of the coaches for the Saints?” I said, “We’re not supposed to talk about it.” And she said, “We were just admiring your ring.” I said, “Would you like to wear it?” “Could we?” I said, “Sure.” And it weighs about a pound. I pulled it off and gave it to them. She put it on. I mean, they’re taking pictures with my $19 ring. I never had the heart to say, “It’s not real and I’m not a coach,” but I asked the Lord to forgive me later for impersonating a coach.
For 63 years Pop Shartells (sp?) has attended the San Francisco games without missing a game. 63 years except when one game fell on his wedding day. And it just kind of messed up his record.
All over southern California right now these fans are starting to go into the stadium. They’re getting ready for the game. A lot of difficulties getting in: metal detectors, hard seats, They have to get their own ride. They don’t send busses to pick them up. There’s traffic, there’s yelling, there’s screaming. There’s not even a roof on the building. It’s really hard. Sometimes there’s pushing as they’re going through the line. They have to sit by people they don’t know. There are the public restrooms. The food prices are astronomical. The weather — they never know. Their comfort level is different — sometimes it’s cold, sometimes it’s hot. Why are they doing all that today? I’ll tell you why. They are what we would call “fanatics.” Fanatics. Fans.
The definition of a fanatic is “a person carried away beyond reason by feelings or beliefs.” We might call it an admirer or a spectator.
I want you to ask yourself this question throughout the message today as we compare the fanatics of football to fanatics of Jesus: Are you a Jesus fanatic? Are you a Jesus fan? Would those closest to you say you are carried away beyond reason? Are you over the top with your Christianity?
For the rest of the message, be sure to watch the video above or visit our church website. You can watch archived services on Vimeo, YouTube, or audio podcast. Stay up to date by following us on Facebook or Instagram.
Hopewell Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church in Napa, California pastored by Mike Ray. It is Bible-based with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Hopewell is dedicated to bringing the water of life to the Napa Valley and beyond.