We Shall Overcome
Scriptures: Revelation 1-3
I want to be blessed. I want the windows of heaven to be opened up and a blessing poured upon me that I can not store. The Bible tells us in the book of Ephesians that we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Realizing that there is a direct correlation between the spiritual world and the material world. So with that in mind beginning today I want to release these blessings and enjoy them in my everyday life. It reminds me of the Pastor who told his congregation that he had good news and bad news. The good news, he told them, is we have all the money we need for the building project and the ministries of the church and even have some left over to give to missions. The bad news is that it is still in your pockets.
Some of us have been struggling in many different areas in our lives. Instead of overcoming, we have been overcome. We've been overcome with debt. We've been overcome with sickness, We've been overcome with lustful desires, We've been overcome with all kinds of addictions. We've been over come with depression and the cares of this world.
As I read these first three chapters of Revelation and came across the seven "To him who overcomes" I was brought to the realization of the things in my own life that I was in need of overcoming. The Greek word that is translated overcomes is NIKAO. It is a verb, which means to subdue or conquer, to get the victory. It is an action word. That means that I have to take some action. There needs to be a balance in our lives between our own efforts and letting go and letting God.
Chuck Swindall was talking this week about an evangelist that overcame alcoholism. He told of how when the man was still in his alcoholism his daughter had died. He went to the funeral parlor where his daughter was laying and took his little girls shoes off her feet. He took those shoes to the nearest bar and gave them to the bar tender for a drink. Satan comes to rob kill and to destroy our lives but Jesus came that we might have a life full of abundance. That evangelist had stooped real low in his addiction, but he tells of how one glimpse of Jesus, just one look at the savior, Only one true revelation of the God of all creation and he never had the desire for another drink. When we come to the realization that nothing compares to His spender our desires for His will overcome all other worldly charms.
When it comes down to it; Romans 12:21 puts it plainly: "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." In our text today we find seven churches, seven things to overcome and seven rewards to those who overcome. The number seven represents clompleatness. It denotes all the churches, all the things we need to overcome and all of the rewards that await us.
As we look at the way God treats the seven churches we can learn a lot from the wisdom of His council. We all should model this type of leadership. The first thing He does is to compliment the church on the good things it is doing. Then He lets them know that they could improve their performance. Finally letting them know the rewards awaiting them as they make these changes in their lives.
The biggest room in the world ifs the room for improvement.
In order for our lives to improve we are going to need to change the way we live. In order for us to change our behavior we must first change our mind towards that behavior. That is why we see 4 times the Greek word METANOEO. It means to change your mind. META = change, NOEO= knowledge or mind. Most English Bibles translate the word REPENT. Simple put we, as Christians need to continually reevaluate the direction we are headed. Making sure that our eyes are firmly fixed on our savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church at Ephesus was told that they need to return to their first love and do the first works. So many people get caught up the religion they forget the relationship. That is what Christ is referring to when He mentions the synagogue of Satan. We can so easily start putting all the do's and don'ts on ourselves and others that we become more tightly bound up in the world then before Christ set us free. Did you hear the one about the guy who was taking up three seats in a fancy theater? The usher came up to him and told him that he had to get up but the man just grunted so the usher went and got the manager. The manager poked the man and told him that he could not lie on the seat. Again the man just grunted. The manager told the man that he was getting upset and was going to call the police. When the police got there He also poked the man and the man just grunted again. The cop asked him "What's your name?" the man groaned "Jim." The cop asked, "Where are you from?" the man then pointed up and said "The balcony."
We need to keep the main thing the main thing. The church at Ephesis left its first love. They took their eyes off of Jesus and became more concerned about doing what was right in other people's eyes. We all need to stop being people pleasers and start being Jesus pleasers. We need to start dating the Lord again. Too much stale religion and not enough new every morning relationship. Do what it takes to get His attention. Make Him smile. Laugh together. Hold His hand. Do the first works and He will give you to eat from the tree of life. Look quickly over in Revelation 22 verse 2; (Rev 22:2 NIV) down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
The tree of life is bearing its fruit right now. Jesus told us that the kingdom of heaven is within us. Listen, we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings. The fruit that brings healing to the nations and to our own lives are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. Fruit that just naturally grows upon the branches of life. An apple tree does not have to struggle to pop out an apple. Neither should we have to white knuckle through life to have self control over the things of the flesh. We need to return to our first love once again or may be for the first time, fall deeply in love; head over heals in love with Jesus.
I'll give you another illustration of how this truth can give us the ability to overcome life's temptations. I believe it was John McCarther who I first heard this from. First you need to realize that there is not temptation or trial or situation that you are facing that is not common unto man. You are not alone in your struggles. But God is faithful. You can completely trust in Him. He will always, with every trial or temptation make a way out. Not only that but He will go through the fire with you. Never forget God is Omni present. He is right there with you at all times. 24/7/365. He will always see you through it all and you can gain the victory and overcome the world because He overcame it already. The victory is ours. It is time to walk in strength and victory.
Have your ever seen anyone who had their dog trained to hold a biscuit on their nose and not eat it until their master gives them the ok. It is amazing to watch. The dog will sit perfectly still keeping its eyes firmly fixed upon its master. As soon as the master gives the dog the sign he quickly gobbles up the biscuit. You know that that dog wants that biscuit real bad, and it is sitting right there on his very nose. But do you know what that dog wants more that any physical gratification? That dog desires above all things to please his master. As long as that dog keeps his eyes firmly fixed upon his master he knows he will be able to please him.
As long as we keep our eyes upon the one who is worthy, as long as we desire to please him. He gives us the strength to over come the world. Let's look in 1 John 5:1-5: " Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
What is it today that you need to overcome? God has already prepared the path for victory. Let us all look deeper into the eyes of the creator and find the answers to our most heart felt questions. Let Jesus place His healing touch upon the areas of you lives that need a soothing balm. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with the very presence of the living God that you will have the strength to overcome every temptation. If you have never completely turned your entire life over to God and asked Jesus to come into your heart now it the time. Today is the day of your salvation. You see Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and he is knocking. He will not just let himself in. He is a gentleman and He will patiently wait for you to open up and let Him in. Remember this was written to Christians. We all need to continually open up areas of our lives and let God have His perfect will accomplished in our lives. Della Reese said it best "God loves you and He know the exact situation that you are facing, and it is going to get a whole lot better baby."
Amen (so be it)