Summary: Through Jesus Christ we have victory over sin and evil; this series of 3 sermons describes the nature and sources of that victory.
DRAGON-SLAYER! (PART 2)
Rev. 12: 10-11, 17
Sermon Objective: Through Jesus Christ we have victory over sin and evil; this series of 3 sermons describes the nature and sources of that victory.
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
17Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
“It is finished.” You know those words and you know who said them and when. It is very pertinent to our conversation about sin, Satan, and victory because it was on the cross that Jesus overcame (prevailed against and subdued) sin’s grip. It was there that he canceled sin’s debt. As we will see soon, the resurrection broke its power but only after the debt was paid for on the cross.
I am sure that all of us would agree that “It is finished” has far greater implications than we can imagine. Someday, the full impact of those words will be realized but not in this life. Here we get glimpses but even those glimpses have powerful potential. For example, if “It is finished” means anything it must mean that Satan’s hold on humankind has been broken and we can now, through the cross, live victorious lives.
Revelation 12 affords us the opportunity, once again, to look at what it means to be over-comers. As we are discovering, verses 10 and 11 give us three descriptive phrases to help us grasp what it means and how we can be described as over-comers – dragon slayers.
Last week we looked at the first and the foundational one. Jesus’ own victory over sin by shedding his blood. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” is a very beautiful and powerful portion of the declaration of praise we find in the midst of this chapter on our struggle with Satan and sin.
Human sin … your sin … my sin … places such a stain on the human heart that we cannot, even with all the effort we can muster, cleanse it. There is no industrial strength bleach that can even begin to make the heart white as snow; only the blood of Jesus can remove the scarlet stain (c.f. Isaiah 1:18). We fall so short of God’s glory and expectation that we are disqualified from fellowship. Something … someone … has to come to our rescue and Jesus Christ was more than adequate for restore us to God’s favor.
Jesus broke the penalty of sin and washed us clean. Revelation alludes to this over and over as the source of our victory over sin (c.f. Rev. 7:14). You have nothing to rely on to cleanse you from sin except Jesus’ blood.
May I digress for a moment and speak of the power in the blood? I know many colleagues and friends that rail against human vice. They preach incessantly against things like pornography, gossip, dishonesty, anger, lust, corrupt speech, or whatever their “pet” vices are (since there is no way they can list them all). I understand their passion and I know there is a place for addressing specific sins but I am convinced that we leave the Church weak when we preach like this because it misses the point. These vices are simply “thresholds” or “windows” to the soul. They are not the real problem. The problem is that the heart is not set free from the grip of sin.
I know a man who has diabetes. It has gone unchecked and he has some serious problems with his feet. He is always hindered by his foot problems and he’s afraid he will lose one to amputation so he has the tendency to treat the foot concerns. The problem is that any treatment he gives his feet is temporary and inadequate. He may get them to feel good for a while but until he addresses the real disease … the diabetes … he will always have recurring foot problems.
Some people are, similarly, fixated on a sin (s) that they keep having recurring problems with. They beat it down but eventually it rears its ugly head again. Some say, you need counseling. Others think the answer is hard preaching or strict accountability – but those don’t work either. The problem is the “disease” of sin that resides in the heart has never been addressed. Until the heart is fully surrendered to God and purified the sin will continue to shackle them. There can be no victory until the power of Jesus’ victory over the enemy is applied to the diseased heart. Only then will the dragon be slain.