Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baseball and the Gospel

Dressed and ready to go, we showed up at the gates of the baseball stadium 45 minutes before it was ready to begin. We had been selected to sing the National Anthem as a precursor to the game.

As with any event, we needed tickets to gain admission. Lizzie, the woman in charge, said that she would give us free tickets because we were singing. She told us to go to the Customer Service right outside the gates when we arrived and pick up the tickets right there.

When we arrived, we went to the Customer Service and asked for our tickets. The woman at the desk looked through several envelopes before declaring that she couldn’t find them. Mom suggested several different names to look under, but to no avail. “Do you think they’ll let us go through without tickets?” Mom asked. “It’s pretty obvious that we’re the singers.”

We walked up to the gate and asked if they would let us through. But the gatekeeper said that she could not let us in unless we had tickets, whether we were singers or not. There was nothing to do but to go back and wait. The woman in the Customer Service desk was able to track Lizzie down through the walkie talkie system and asked about tickets. Lizzie herself came down, bringing 9 tickets for our whole family. This time when we walked up to the gates of the stadium, the woman smiled and let us through.

Later I found myself thinking what a great analogy this is of the gospel. I know that on A Time to Dance we try to focus more on giving helpful advice in the lives of believers, but if you are not a believer, or maybe if you think that you are but you haven’t quite understood it, I believe that you need to hear this. I’ll lay it out, point by point, below:

When God created the world, and when He created man, his original design was that man would live in Paradise (the garden of Eden) in close relationship with God, and man would be the caretaker of the earth. Sin had not entered the world yet, and the world was perfect.

One of the gifts that God gave man was freedom of choice. Scripture makes it very clear that the way that God wants us to love him is by obeying his commands. But love is not love if obedience is mandatory. There had to be choice. Man (or rather woman) listened to the lies of the devil and the first sin was committed. Man fell from relationship with God, because God’s eyes cannot look on sin.

But God still cared about man, so He devised a plan to save Him from ultimate destruction and wrath in hell. Romans tells us that the wages of sin are death. Instead of punishing the guilty, God sent his own son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and take our punishment for us so that we could be purified and live in relationship with Him again.

God has extended His grace to us... but it is only ours if we choose to take it. The way to be saved is to confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and that He died to save us from our sin.

We need to note that we are not saved through anything that we can do, but through what Christ can do. Even if you think that you have never sinned, the truth of the matter is, you have, and you need forgiveness. You may have spent millions of dollars digging wells in Africa, feeding starving children, never broken a rule at school, or done whatever your parents told you. But have you always done that? Have you always obeyed your parents with a joyful heart attitude? Have you kept all the rules in your heart, or have you sometimes hated the kid who pushed you in your heart, even though you never pushed him back? If you have, you are guilty of sin and you need a Savior. Because someday, God will judge the world and all the inhabitants of it, and when you stand before Him, not even your best deeds can save you. You won’t be good enough.

And now back to my story and how it compares to all this. If the baseball stadium were heaven, we would be those standing outside it on Judgment Day. Without our ticket-- the blood of Jesus Christ-- we could do nothing. We would not be able to get in, not even though we were singing the National Anthem. However, when Lizzie brought us our tickets, she was being sort of like Christ, coming down and extending to us grace. Then, she could hold the tickets out, but they would not be ours unless we took them from her hands. When we did, we were able to show the tickets at the gates and pass through them to the other side.

That is the gospel as clearly as I can put it for you. I pray that you will take these words to heart and that you will decide to place your trust in Jesus Christ, if you have not done so already. If you aren’t sure quite exactly how to do that, you can contact any one of us here at A Time To Dance and we would be glad to give you any counsel or encouragement that you might need.

And on a side note, singing the National Anthem at a game of some sort has always been one of my dreams, and it was as much fun as I thought it would be. That is what Heaven will be like someday.

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"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not produce the righteousness that God requires." ~ James 1:19-21

"So whether you eat, or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31