Summary: Through Jesus Christ we have victory over sin and evil; this sermon describes the nature and sources of that victory.
Rev. 12: 10-11, 17
Sermon Objective: Through Jesus Christ we have victory over sin and evil; this sermon 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.
I want to read to you the opening story from David Platt’s book “The Radical Question” (Multnomah Press).
Imagine a scene that took place in Asia not so long ago:
A room in an ordinary house, dimly lit, all the blinds on the windows closed. Twenty leaders from churches in the region sit quietly in a circle on the floor, their Bibles open. They speak in hushed tones or not at all. Some still glisten with sweat; others’ clothes and shoes are noticeably dusty. They have been walking or riding bicycles since early morning when they left distant villages to get here.
Whenever a knock is heard or a suspicious sound drifts in, everyone freezes while a burly tough-looking man gets up to check things out.
These men and woman have gathered in secret, arriving intentionally at different times throughout the day so as not to draw attention. In this country it is illegal for Christians to come together like this. If caught, the people here could lose their land, their jobs, their families, even their lives.
I was in that dimly light room that day, a visitor from America. I huddled next to an interpreter, who helped me understand their stories as they began to share.
The tough-looking man-our “head of security”-was first to speak up. But as he spoke, his intimidating appearance quickly gave way to reveal a tender heart.
“Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult,” he said. Tears welled up in his eyes. “We are hurting. I need God’s grace to lead my church through these attacks.”
The cult that had been preying on his church is known for kidnapping Christians, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them, my interpreter explained. Many brothers and sisters in the area would never tell the good news again. At least not with words. Their tongues had been cut out.
Have you ever wondered why and how Christians are able to withstand torture and death in Jesus’ name?
Have you ever wondered whether you would be able to withstand it?
I am sure we all have, and the answer is that God will give you grace for such a time when you need it.
But there is also a second portion of that answer. There are things that we do which equip us to be faithful in such times. There are things we can do that will allow us to prevail when the evil one unleashes his fury on us. Our brothers and sisters across the globe have proven that the Scriptures admonitions are trustworthy and that we can prevail or … “overcome” by the power of the living Christ.
The Biblical word “overcome” (nikao) means to prevail, to conquer, to subdue. It is used many times in John’s Revelation (14 to be exact) and is the root for the word “conquerors’ in Romans 8:37 too.
Paul’s beautiful expression of praise and confidence has specific application to such an event as I read above. Listen to 35-39.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nikao’s use in Revelation 12 affords us the opportunity to see “overcoming” in a practical setting and to ask practical questions about who is defined by the term.
• How is it that we are defined as an overcomer?