The past few weeks, we have been talking about the power and the authority available to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Last week, we learned that one of the keys to experiencing that power in and through our lives is simple obedience.
We learn that this was the key to the incredible success of Jesus, God in the flesh, and so it still is for us today. He said:
… “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Obediently cooperating with God is the key to unlocking the power of God in and through our lives. It enables us to be overcomers in life; victors and far more than conquerors!
When we more fully realize our position as sons and daughters of God, our Father, we’ll begin to see that anything is possible for us! All of the petty things that trip us up and entangle and ensnare us will seem so insignificant as we step right out of them.
This is all made possible because of Jesus! There is a much bigger picture regarding what is happening around us to cause our everyday struggles. How do we overcome them?
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This struggle began long before you and I chose to follow Jesus! As a bit of a history lesson:
Revelation 12:7-12 (NKJV)
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
The devil was cast out of Heaven to the earth along with what are now called demons; fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God. Now, their goal is to war against God through His creation; especially us who are created in the very image of God.
They work to prevent anyone from realizing their full potential and all that God has done for them. They have established their kingdom of darkness here on the earth and don’t want to lose an inch of ground or a single soul to God’s Kingdom! The wrath of Satan is being poured out onto the earth because he knows that his days are short.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the devil can be overcome! The kingdom of darkness can be pushed back by the kingdom of light! Those held captive by the devil to do his will can be set free! Those possessed and oppressed by the devil can be exalted from it!
Satan thought that he had won the ultimate victory of God when he had Jesus crucified and buried. Three days later, he learned that he had been defeated!
Fifty days later he found that not only had he been defeated, but that he just paved a way for the power of God to become unleashed throughout all the earth when the Holy Spirit was poured out into the lives of all followers of Jesus.
Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of Christ have come! Now the accuser has been cast down! Now, we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!
Now at every turn, in every part of the earth, the devil comes face-to-face with the children of God and the Kingdom of Light! What he thought was his ultimate victory became one of his greatest mistakes.
Through the Holy Spirit, we find access to the raw power of God through the raw Presence of God:
A power within that upholds us
A power within that shapes and defines us
A power within that nothing, absolutely nothing, outside of us can change
A power within that is only revealed in an even greater measure when placed under the greatest of pressure and opposition
As Paul described it:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Here’s what our life looks like before we surrender it to Jesus:
* Blow up balloon with air *
Appearing to be full and plentiful, but really it’s void and empty.
As soon as the fires of life come our way…
Here’s what our lives look like after surrendering them to Jesus and allowing Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit:
* Balloon full of water *
Rivers of living water flow from within us.
We’re living life to its full.
It doesn’t matter what persecution or fires of life come our way from the outside.
They can’t change who we are.
They can’t take away what is within us.
Although our flesh is just as weak as it was before Jesus, it is now strengthened and empowered by the Spirit of the Living God within us!
This is what the life of an overcomer looks like!
This is someone who is so much more than a conqueror!
Sure, we still go through the same struggles and challenges as the rest of the world does. However, there is a living hope within us that empowers us that makes all of the difference!
There is a power within us that enables us to bless when we are cursed.
There is a power within us to bring peace where there is chaos.
There is a power within us to uphold us under incredible opposition.
There is a power within us to quench all of the fiery darts of the enemy and to stop every weapon that could be formed against us!
Although it doesn’t look like much has changed about us at all, we know that we are radically different inside. We know that we are a new creation and that a great transformation has taken place.
We were once blind, but now we see God’s handiwork everywhere. We were once deaf, but can now hear God’s voice. We were once spiritually dead, but now His resurrection power has given us a new life! We have been made new and every day, that work of the Holy Spirit continues within us.
In contrast to this ever darkening world which glorifies victims and holds them up as heroes, God’s Kingdom instead heals victims and empowers them to become overcoming victors!
Jesus sent out 72 of His disciples ahead of Him into the towns that He was travelling to and gave them power and authority to minister in those places.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
Simple, common people like you and I who are empowered to overcome all of the power of the enemy simply because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us. You and I still bring great joy to Jesus and praise to the Father as we choose to walk in that power and authority here on the earth.
It’s all because our names are written in Heaven; we are sons and daughters of God and that’s why we rejoice!
Another time that Jesus sent His disciples out to minister, He said:
7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Later on, Jesus tells His disciples about His upcoming death and resurrection and then reminds them:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Following His resurrection, He gives what we call the Great Commission to all of His disciples including us now.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
And of course, us Pentecostals like to also quote this commission as Mark recorded it:
15 … “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
We have been freely given access to the raw power of God through which all things are possible! We have been given authority to overcome
All of the temptations of our flesh
All of the schemes of the enemy
All of the opposition that this world could ever throw at us!
Romans 8 reminds us that we are more than conquerors, that if God is for us, then nothing and no one can successfully stand against us, that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God, that there is no condemnation for us because the only One worthy to condemn us, Jesus, Himself, is day and night interceding for us and defending us with every accusation!
From now on, shake off the dust of the past and do not fear whatever troubles lie ahead of you. Through Jesus, you are unstoppable, you are more than a conqueror, you are an overcomer!