Summary: What do you think would happen if you were an athlete and you knew that you had already won the game before you even started? How do you think that would affect your performance? Would you go through the motions? Would you try even harder?
“I Am Victorious”
What do you think would happen if you were an athlete and you knew that you had already won the game before you even started? How do you think that would affect your performance? Would you go through the motions? Would you try even harder?
It’s kind of a catch 22, because you would have to play well to win and yet you knew that you already won, but still had to do what was necessary to win. That would be weird wouldn’t it? But in some ways that is what Jesus’ situation was like. He was God, He knew he was going to win, yet he had to play a certain way and do it perfectly in order to have this victory.
So we end our series in Ephesians kind of like we started, with an emphasis on being in Christ for the victory, and that’s the only way there is victory. In Ephesians 1 it says that in Christ we have redemption through His blood. In Him we have obtained an inheritance (of which spiritual victory is a part). And once we are in Him we are predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. We are then sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee or down payment of this inheritance until we acquire possession of it.
So there it is if you see it. We have victory over sin and death through Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but we are not yet in full possession of the victory. Just like Christ was victorious before He even came to earth, but did not have full possession of the victory until he rose from the dead. So obviously the ultimate victory is rising from death to eternal life in Christ. But in the meantime, as there was for Christ, there is a battle waging that we have won in Christ, but still have to fight. We have won the game if we are in Him but we still have to play and use the gifts and armour that he provides.
That’s where our passage today comes in. Ephesians 6:10-20….
You might ask as I have at times, if we are on the winning team already through faith in Christ, why do we have to play, why do we have to fight this battle? Can’t we just be fans? That sounds a lot easier and more pleasant.
This is Palm Sunday and the whole idea of this day is that Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey as the victorious king. We call it the triumphal entry where people were laying down their coats in front of him and waving palm branches, which was customary for welcoming royal victors back into the city. And of course he had just raised Lazarus from the dead.
But look at what the rest of the week looks like. First he weeps when he sees the city, then he goes in and angrily cleanses the temple. The rest of the week consisted of arguing with religious leaders who were plotting to kill him. He has the last supper with his disciples and then is arrested, tortured and, crucified. Hardly the life of a victorious king is it? Of course we know it’s at the end of the week when he rises from the dead that we see him as victorious.
That’s our model folks. We come into his kingdom victorious but we still have go through the battle to claim the victory. You are part of the team and you have to play. And in the book of Revelation in Jesus letters to all the churches, he says that those who conquer, get the victory, hold fast, will receive the rewards. They will not be hurt by the second death, they will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God, they will eat hidden manna and receive a new name, they will receive the morning star, they will be clothed in white garments and never be blotted out of the book of life, they will be pillars in the temple of God, and they will sit with Jesus on his throne as He conquered and sat down with his Father on his throne.
Here’s what I think all this means in a nutshell. If you are part of the team you play. If you don’t play you aren’t part of the team. That’s what most of this book is about, being part of the body and functioning in that body. And if you are part of the team, there are going to be opponents you have to play against, and in this case the primary opponent is Satan who also has several teams.