Summary: Awesome message, on how God's kingdom strikes back against self-righteousness, sin, lethargy, and by imparting spiritual power.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
A. HUMOR: Survivor
1. Did you hear about the three college students who were selected to take part in the next series of “Survivor?” 2. One was from UT, one was from SHSU, and the third one was from A & M. They were going to the desert to be a contestants on “Desert Survivor.”
3. Each was told he could take one item. Jeff Probst, the host, asked the Longhorn, “What one item will you take?” He replied, “Water, so I can drink when I'm thirsty.”
4. Then Jeff asked the Bearkat what one item would he take, and he said he'd take a sandwich to eat when he was hungry.
5. Finally Jeff asked the Aggie what he would take, and he said he'd take a car door, so that if he got hot he could roll the window down.
B. STAR WARS’ PARALLEL
1. A new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens” came to theaters on Dec. 18. It picks up from the earlier Star Wars series that included the classic, “The Empire Strikes Back.” There are many parallels between the movie & the Bible.
2. In a way, that’s what Christmas is; the Kingdom of God striking back against the tyranny of Satan, to retake planet Earth. In the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Adam & Eve and caused them to sin, and since that time “the Dark Lord” of evil has dominated the human race through Sin.
3. Christmas was really God invading this world in human form as a Baby – Christ – and dying to save us from our sins. Since that time Jesus is taking over this world, not visibly, but one heart at a time.
C. TEXT & THESIS
1. The Book of Revelation foresees the day when this world will be completely delivered from the presence of evil: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’” Rev. 11:15.
2. So the beginning of the End of the rule of Satan started in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago when a baby boy was born to an obscure carpenter and his wife in a barn.
3. But the final end will come when the Lord comes back with the armies of heaven and overwhelms all the evil of the world. John in Revelation saw this:
4. Rev. 19:11, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
5. The title of this message is, “The Empire Strikes Back.”
I. WHO WAS THIS CHILD?
A. HIS IMPACT ON HISTORY
1. The great historian Kenneth Scott LaTourette said: “Jesus has had more effect on the history of mankind than any other of His race who ever existed.”
2. He never wrote a book that we know of; and yet, library after library could be filled with the volumes, the multiplied millions of volumes, that have been written about the Lord Jesus.
3. He never painted a picture, so far as we know; and yet, the world’s greatest art, the world’s greatest dramas, the world’s greatest music, the world’s greatest literature has Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, as their center.
4. Jesus never raised an army, as far as we know; yet multiplied millions have died for Him. He never traveled very far from His birthplace; and yet, His testimony has gone around the world, and today, over 30% of the world’s population call Him Savior — this Jesus of Nazareth!
B. HIS NATURE: GOD IN THE FLESH
1. A Pastor (Jerry Vines) imagined Jesus Christ going into the temple and having a conversation with the teachers when he was a 12-year-old boy.
2. One of the learned doctors there strokes his beard, and says, “Son, how old are You?” “Well,” He says, “On My mother’s side, I’m 12-years-old, but on My Father’s side, I’m ‘He whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting’” (Mic. 5:2).