“They 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.” – Revelation 12:11
Most people go to great lengths to avoid the slightest bit of pain or suffering. Drugstores are full of medications to relieve any discomfort in our lives. The Bible gives a stark contrast between man’s desire to avoid hardship and God’s call for us to suffer. We are even told to rejoice about it! The Scriptures describe being counted worthy to suffer for Christ as a privilege, which brings a blessing to us “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. It is through our reliance on Christ and our perseverance in the face of suffering and hardship that we truly grow and mature in our faith.
Christianity provides a full life of challenge and adventure. We here in Denver, being on the mission field, have faced our own set of challenges in just the few short months that we have been here. Giving up everything to follow Christ, we left our homes, jobs, and even friends and family behind to bring the “Good News” to the Mile High City. Here on the mission field, we have faced the challenges of obtaining new jobs, new housing, and new friends. We have tirelessly shared our faith, fundraised, and even faced persecution for the sake of the Gospel. One might ask, “What do we do with these overwhelming challenges?” “How can we defeat Satan?” The answer: Inhale, remember Jesus is Lord, and let out a few heartfelt resonant tones of “We Shall Overcome.” The Bible teaches in Revelation 12:11 that though Satan hovered near our brothers in the first century, they overcame him. We need to keep our eyes on God and His plan to have confidence, conversions and commitment. We are called to sacrifice money, time and personal desires for the sake of the Kingdom. At times, this becomes our greatest struggle – Overcoming one’s self. This can be the greatest obstacle you face in gaining spiritual victory. That is why the final instruction from Revelation 12:11 is that we be willing to give up our lives, go anywhere, do anything and give up everything for the cause, and He will give us the strength and power to Overcome! The hope of Martin Luther King’s words might be recaptured: “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne, yet behind it in the dim unknown standeth God keeping watch above his own!” We need to keep our eyes on God and His plan for confidence, conversions and commitment.
We must all develop a relationship with God which goes beyond our morning quiet times. Revelation 12:11 states that the blood of the lamb will help us to overcome. This is the conviction that God is forever with us! He washes us clean of our sins through the blood in the hope we will be able to know His intense love and desire for us through the sacrifice of His own Son. We must live in confidence that God will fight and win this great war! Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We must learn to go to God as we have need, relying on him entirely throughout the entire day. It is only through fully relying on God whenever we have need that we learn to confidently overcome.
The second lesson from Revelation 12:11 is that we can overcome through the Word. When we resist Satan through the preaching of the Word and the faithful sharing of our testimony, he will flee. There was a day when the Disciples of Jesus were known as “walking Bibles.” They knew the Word and preached it. If we would stop observing the condition of society with unbelieving eyes and preach the solution God provides, we would convert the world! You do not have to overcome a converted world! Through sharing the Word of God and our testimony, we are able to give the world hope! They see the answers from the scriptures and a walking example through us. To God be the Glory!
We are called to sacrifice money, time and even our personal desires for the sake of the Kingdom. At times, this becomes our greatest struggle. Overcoming myself is one of the greatest obstacles I face in gaining spiritual victory. That is why the final instruction from Revelation 12:11 is that at we be willing to give up our lives, go anywhere, do anything and give up everything for the cause. Romans 12:1-2 calls us to be “living sacrifices.” “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) What an amazing passage! We are called to offer ourselves each and every day as a holy sacrifice to God. It is through this sacrifice that we truly see God’s plan and purpose for our lives come to fruition. The longer you live the greater the suffering God allows in our lives to make us His vessels. We shall overcome!
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (Hebrews 3:12-14) Lastly, we overcome through Godly relationships with others in the body of Christ. Satan works so hard to steal faith and courage from each and every disciple. Sin is deceptive and it hardens our hearts. However, this passage teaches that we can overcome through Godly relationships with other disciples. According to this passage, we are to give each other courage in the face of opposition and challenge. We do this through sharing our sin and through sharing the word of God with one another, encouraging one another in the faith so that we will remain strong when the days of testing come. It has been so amazing watching God add 25 to our number here in the Mighty Denver church over the last few months. Let us continue to work with all of our hearts, encouraging one another daily, and relying on the strength that God provides through His Word as we hold out the “Good News” to many more in 2014!