The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.”
+ Pagan Festivals +
According to the world, the Olympics is the most important athletic event involving many different sports with competitors from nearly every nation on earth since 1896. These events are held every four years with smaller scale winter games midway between the summer games. These games are attended by millions of people and are watched by even more on television. This article will show why Christians should not participate in, nor watch them. May the Lord use this brief sermon in print to convict the hearts of God’s people pertaining to the Olympics. These activities are filled with prideful carnality, vanity, covetousness, nudity, paganism, and breaking the Sabbath. Amen.
“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
This article will consider three areas of the Olympics: Its origin, its paganism, and its worldliness.
The Origin of Olympic Games
The Modern Olympics are named after the ancient Greek sporting events held from 776 B.C. to A.D. 394. The first recorded Olympic game (s) took place in Olympia, Greece in 776 B.C., even though it is believed the games were played much earlier. Some believe they originated as early as the thirteenth century B.C. The recorded Olympic games lasted about 1170 years, over a millennium, making them the longest recurring event in antiquity as one writer put it.
There are many legends surrounding the Olympics, but one thing is sure, the games originated with the Greeks. Greece was a leader in athletics, “The ancient Greek civilization gave the world the institution of athletic and organized sports as an art form on par with the arts of architecture, sculpture, poetry, theater, and discourse.” (quote taken from another author). Even Alexander the Great, in the fourth century, promoted sports among the people. A sports hero in Greece was as a religious figure and would be elevated and praised (worshipped). They received money, benefits, and fame. During the Olympic games, the warring Greeks would lay aside their weapons. This way, athletes and spectators could travel safely.
The games ended in 394 A.D. when the Roman emperor, Theodosius, forbade all pagan worship, and the Olympic games were included in his prohibition. As Christianity grew, the games faded. The church continually spoke out against the Olympics and other sporting events in the Roman empire. Early church writers during the first three hundred years of church history, gave much warning about sports. Candidates for church membership, baptism, and communion were not considered if they participated in the games. The Olympics became non-existent for 1500 years until their revival in 1896.
The Paganism of Olympic Games
Many today say that our modern Olympics are only about sports. If so, then why are the opening ceremonies becoming increasingly pagan, glorifying ancient religions, in which we will illustrate. This is the very reason the games were banned in the fourth century A.D. The ancient Olympics had their roots in religion, honoring pagan deities. The games at Olympia were in homage to Zeus. Winners of games gave sacrifice at the temple of Zeus. The Olympic games were sacred to the Greeks, for they were a religious act in honor of deity. This cannot be denied, for secular and religious historians testify to this fact.
To illustrate the paganism in modern Olympic games, consider the opening ceremonies in 1996 at Atlanta, Georgia. They gave homage to Zeus, a portable silhouette temple was erected with fifty foot pillars. There was also a high priestess there to cast her silhouette in front of the ceremonial light. With over three billion people from around the world watching this event, Dick Emberg, NBC sports commentator spoke of the ceremonies. He spoke of the five Olympic spirits that called the tribes of the world to Atlanta, the global family. He described the procession of athletes and priestesses and the giant columns which formed the temple of Zeus. As the athletes bowed to Zeus, Emberg explains, “Now, the tribute to the supreme Greek god in whose honor the Olympics were once held. As the athletes appear magically, a fifty foot temple will be erected as the priestesses carry offerings for Zeus, the lights dim and darkness represent 1500 years when the games were forgotten.” After a loud sound, Emberg states, “And now the five Olympic spirits awaken calling for rebirth of the modern games.” If this is not paganism, I must be confused concerning the issue.
The Worldliness of Olympic Games
Christians are commanded in the Holy Scripture to keep themselves unspotted from the world (Romans 12:2, John 17:16-26, I John 2:15-17, James 1:27, 4:4), yet, the Olympic games are associated with nudity, vanity, covetousness, carnality, and pridefulness.
The Bible defines nudity quite different than the world. One only has to look at the swimmers, ice skaters, etc. to see an array of nakedness. Many of the Greek athletes participated in the ancient games in the nude and modern Olympics are not far from that. Even the skin tight clothes is a display of the flesh. The Greeks showed off the body, celebrating the male physique. Again, this is unscriptural, unholy, and ungodly.
There is also the issue of many injuries and even deaths. This has been true throughout the entire history of the Olympics, ancient or modern. There is the issue of gambling and also the breaking of the Sabbath. To repeat what has already been said, the Christian has no business playing or watching the games.
The following is taken from an article Summoning the Olympic Spirits: “The origin of athletic games lie in the ancient world, where they were treated as a ritual festival, especially in Greece…The temple of Zeus at Olympia was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It contained a gold and ivory statue of the god that was more than forty feet high…In the beginning the games were few and were held in less than a day. However, by the sixth century B.C., there were thirteen events, and the contest lasted several days. The first day was devoted to worship and preparation…on the second day, the contest began…day three of the Olympics began with religious rites. A parade of judges, priests, athletes, and trainers marched to the sacred alter of Zeus. There, one thousand oxen were sacrificed to the god…Thus the Olympic games were pagan festivals for the believers in the polytheistic Greek pantheon. By the fifth century B.C., Olympia was the holiest place of ancient Greece, because so much religious ritual was tied to the game.” The cult of sports has carried people from Christ and His church back to pagan Greek gods. If you doubt this, try to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible at any of those events and see how far it goes. The Olympics are pagan in every aspect.
The Christian is to be salt and light in the world, Matthew 5:13-14, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” He is to be a testimony to the lost and not join their ungodly festival. Please ask this simple question, “What would Jesus do?” Would the Lord attend or promote the very thing that stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God? I think not. Repent and receive the truth, for the Olympic spirit is pagan, wicked, and worldly. Amen.
“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523