Winners in Christ!
Peggy Kannaday

Matthew 19:30, "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."

I remember when I was young, we were told, "It is not who wins or loses, but it is how you play the game". We were taught that the game itself could teach us how to become "good sports" and how we could learn to work together as a team.

Jesus Christ says in Matthew 19:30 that things are not as they seem in this world. To paraphrase Jesus' Words the statement could be, "But many that are winners shall be losers, and the losers shall be the winners".

Jesus did not seem to be a winner in His time, and He even appeared to be a loser. If we would look at His physical existence; we would think that He was just a man Who was rejected, despised, and then murdered without a cause.

Isaiah 53:3-6, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

This seems like a loser's end, but in God's Kingdom; the reverse is true. In the Kingdom of God, it is the meek and lowly who shall find an eternal resting place for their souls.

Psalms 149:4, "For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation."

However, in the supernatural Spiritual realm; He was the greatest of all winners! He not only overcame Himself, but He provided a Way that all who come and follow Him could also be overcomers in this world!

Jesus was the opposite of the way some in the world picture a leader or a success. He did not wear a designer suit nor did he look polished or affluent. He was actually rejected by most of the religious leaders of His day and by the people of the world, and He had no reputation or even a place to lay His head.

Matthew 11:29, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

We can become anything and gain everything in this world and still be total losers regarding the most important things in our lives. Our main goal should always be to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first.

Matthew 16:26, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

We may have persecutions and trouble in this world, but if we obey God then we will have great success in the Kingdom of God. It may not look like success according to the world's standards, but it will be an everlasting victory in the eternal Kingdom of God.

There are many Christians today, who have given their lives away for Christ's sake and in turn have found their lives. The opposite is true of those who hold on to their lives.

Matthew 16:24-25, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

Jim Elliot, who died at the hands of those he went to save in Ecuador said it like this, "It is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Many in ancient times refused to hear from and about God. They went their own way despite the warnings of Noah.

They went about their daily business as usual until the flood came and wiped them off the face of the earth. It will be the same in these last days.

Matthew 24:38-39, "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

We should not wait until it is too late to repent and turn to God; we need to turn to Him now, today, and come back to our first love of the Lord. We need to go to Him and buy gold, and white raiment and eye salve so that we can be purified, cleansed and to be able to see.

Revelation 2:4-5, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

Many are seeking the Lord today as never before. They are trying to come back to their first love and greater. They are finding the Lord because they are seeking Him with all of their hearts. Hallelujah!

Luke 19:46, "Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves."

God is building His House and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It will be a House of Prayer for all nations and all peoples. The Lord will build His House by the mighty power of The Holy Spirit.

Psalms 127:1, "<A Song of degrees for Solomon.> Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

There are many great ministers who have been called and commissioned by God to build large churches, large buildings and large ministries. They would not leave the ministry if persecution came, and they no longer were wealthy, influencial and popular with the people. They are simply obeying God.

There are also many great ministers who seem like total failures in this world. They were called, and they obeyed God, but they were rejected, persecuted and seemed unsuccessful in this world. However, because they loved God and sought Him first; the Lord will welcome them with the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant".

A missionary, Martin Burham in The Philippines was martyred, and that may seem like the end of his mission here on earth, but his blood has not been spilled in vain. According to a news report; the had told his wife a few days before his death that the Lord had spoken to him that He wanted Martin with Him in heaven.

His sacrifice in losing his life for Christ's sake because of his obedience to the Lord will win more souls to Christ then he could have ever dreamed possible. God uses the blood of the martyrs to plant new seed which will yield 30, 60 and 100 fold.

His wife reported that every night when Martin was tied to a tree by his captors; he prayed for them, and he asked God to bless them. That is what Jesus told all of us to do to be winners in this life and to become the children of our Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

God is making His people into winners who can walk as He walked, and who can die to the ways of the world. The seemingly greatest failure is a winner in God's eyes as He looks straight into our hearts.

Greatness in God's Kingdom:

1.) The greatest in the Kingdom of God has a servant's heart.
Mark 9:35, "And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."

2.) When we lay down our own lives for Christ's sake then we will gain His strength.
In 2 Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

3.) Greatness in God's Kingdom is measured by the intangible condition of our heart's toward Him and towards each other.
John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

There is a race set before each and every one of us when we enter into this world, and we can become winners through Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter how great a title we have, how much education we attain, how much wealth we accumulate, or how popular we are in this world.

Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

How do we accomplish this most crucial and all important task? It is in looking unto Jesus as He is our ultimate resource in this life and in the life to come.

He paid the price, and He is now praying for our victory at the finish line. He is our Victory, and our Overcomer, and we will be winners in this life through Him!

Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."