Summary: Today's sermon looks at how we are to live victoriously for the Lord from Revelation 12:11, which is through the blood of Christ, the words of our testimony, and our total commitment to Christ.
While I only watched a little bit of the Super Bowl last Sunday, by all accounts it was more of a defensive game than an offensive one.
Now, in the sports world, there is a saying that a good offense begins with a good defense, and it’s defense that wins the game. And while this seems to be the case with last Sunday’s Super Bowl, what I have found is quite the opposite, especially in the spiritual realm.
Let me explain. In sports I don’t care how great your defense is, if you don’t put points up on the board, you will lose.
And I think it’s the same thing in the spiritual realm. As Christians, if all we are doing is playing and praying defensively, then we’ll never gain any ground or see victory over the forces of evil that assail our lives.
Now, I thought of calling today’s message, “Living Offensively,” but that could be taken another way, and let me just say that there are a little too many offensive Christians out there, but let’s not dwell on that.
This is why today’s message is entitled “Living Victoriously.”
As I began putting the message together, I realized that while our victory is in Jesus Christ and what he did upon the cross, taking our place and dying the death that we all deserve, what I found is that most sermons and messages deal with our victory over this present world, and while there is nothing wrong with this, I don’t think they deal with the real victory we have.
Our victory is not so much over the trial and tribulations that we have to endure, and that’s because Jesus said that in this world we will have these sorts of trials and tribulations, but instead Jesus had victory over this world, and in this we can rejoice (John 16:33).
And so today’s study is about how we can live victorious lives because Jesus overcame this world, and the goal is more than merely our victory over this present world, but it is also for our eternal future.
In our study on living intentionally, we saw that the first thing we need to do is to identify God’s eternal values, and the main one is that of salvation and an eternity in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ. It is in this value that we then need to invest ourselves on a daily basis if we’re ever going to have the victory.
Some time ago I read an Ugandan bishop’s account of an execution back in 1973 of three men from the bishop’s diocese.
He begins by saying; “February 10 began as a sad day for us. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A crowd of about three thousand watched silently. I had permission to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me. They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention.
“As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage? We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all light with an unmistakable grow and radiance.
“Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: ‘Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to comes into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God!
“The other two men told similar stories. I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. They were standing with their guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men’s faces!
“The three faced the firing squad. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus. We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Through dead, the men spoke loudly to the District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and defeats it.
“The next Sunday, I was preaching to a huge crowd in the home town of one of the executed men. Again, the feel of death was over the congregation. But when I gave them the testimony of the man, and how he died, there erupted a great song of praise to Jesus! Many turned to the Lord there.”