Winning is a big deal. Take the Blues for example earlier this month. They had never won the Stanley Cup and only played for it one time, 49 years ago! This year they triumphed! Beating the Boston Bruins in game six to bring home good ole' Stanley. It was an amazing winning season for the St. Louis Blues. I know my partner in crime in the worship office, Ryan Ward, who played collegiate hockey was one happy dude! He and his dad are the biggest Blues fans I know!
That is certainly one aspect of "winning". There has been a struggle and you or your team have reigned victorious…you have won. I think there is another sense of the word "won" that brings a different nuance. Let me see if I can illustrate. When I was in college in St. Louis, my wife (then my girlfriend) lived in my hometown of Washington, MO about 45 minutes away. I would make every effort during get home as much as I could. I would leave silly notes on her car at school just to make her smile. She has kept most of those notes. I would send emails constantly and call all the time. I so desperately wanted her to like me, that I went to extreme lengths to "win" her. We were separated by great distances when I moved to Chicago and then Seattle, so I had to get a little more creative. But still did my best to keep her close to my heart and draw her even while we were engaged. When we finally got married 19 years ago this month, I had officially "won" my bride.
In a new song we will sing this week at 11:00, the title gives us both of these meanings of the word "won". 1 Corinthians 15 is perhaps the clearest articulation of the gospel in all of Holy Scripture. In it Paul demonstrates that "death has been swallowed up in victory" because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says in vs. 55-56:
"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
We have victory over sin and death because of Jesus and His resurrection. No matter what you are facing today, Jesus knows and understands. He understands hurt and pain better than anyone that has walked this earth. He recognizes wounds, both spiritual and physical, emotional and psychological and will be a comfort and guide to you.
Not only has he won the victory over sin, but He has "won" your heart. The Bible uses the same language in words like "draw". John writes in his gospel the words of Jesus; "no one can come to me unless the Father who send me draws him." And later in John, Jesus, says, "when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." The great love of the Father beckons us to come to Him. We are drawn and wooed by the Spirit to receive His free gift of grace and then receive His Spirit into our hearts, by which we can cry "Abba Father" according to Galatians 4:6.
What a great God! This victory of our Lord calls us to worship Him with all that we have. Listen to the words of the chorus:
Jesus, You have won me You have broken every
Chain with love and mercy You have triumphed over
Death and You are worthy of glory and praise
As we worship the whole world will hear of this great gospel story of our God who rescues and saves. Check out the lyrics to the bridge:
Shout it out and lift up one voice in worship !Sing it out until all the earth can hear it! Jesus is alive and He saves, He rescues and saves!
Lift it up this week church!