1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4, 5
There is a great deal of defeat in our world today. Discouragement, lack of hope is in epidemic proportions. It is pervasive, from our inner cities to college campuses there is a very dark spirit. We find ourselves in a social climate that dwells on the negative things in life. I am happy to report that IN CHRIST WE CAN HAVE VICTORY!
I am a simple guy. My folks were farmers and I guess to a great extent that country mentality is still part of my makeup. A farmer is happy and pleased if he has his pantry full, a roof over his head his family safe. He is fulfilled if his animals are healthy and his crops are doing well. Many would say that is a rather naive way of looking at life. That might be, but I want you to know that it is also a biblical attitude. Paul challenged his young friend:
(1 Timothy 6:8) “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
What does it take for us to be content? Do we measure our contentment by comparing our lives with the folks next door or the latest commercials on TV? As I already said, I realize that I am a simple guy, but I know that God loves me, I had breakfast this morning, I have a lovely wife and Jesus is coming again. I totally believe that IN CHRIST WE CAN HAVE VICTORY.
What does it mean to be victorious? When the team wins their game we declare they were victorious. When an army conquers their enemy they are victorious. Sure those are definitions of victory. But, the passage that precedes Paul’s declaration in verse 57 describes our Savior, Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, death and the grave. According to verse 26 He was completely victorious in defeating the last enemy.
(1 Corinthians 15:26) “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
My goal this morning is to help us celebrate the victory that Jesus has won for us.
I. THERE IS VICTORY FOR THOSE IN CHRIST. 1 Corinthians 15:57.
There is a stress and tension that exists as the contestants prepare for a race. They are sizing each other up to try and get each other’s measure. Some are seeking to psyche out the others in the race. The pre-race tension can help the contestants to compete at their best. The stress that obviously would exist between warring armies is far greater and far more serious. That high level of stress will sharpen the senses of those about to enter battle. But, neither of those examples come close to the situation that we were in as lost people. The victory that we have in Christ is far greater than any earthly victory.
Beloved, consider this; in our lost condition, we were not preparing to compete in a contest. We were not getting ready to enter combat to determine whose army would be victorious. As lost people we were losers from the get go, totally lost and undone. We were the defeated ones with the foot of the enemy on our throat. Without Christ, the question is not what will happen to us when we leave this world. Without Christ we were lost and condemned.
(John 3:18) “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The Christian does have victory, but our victory is not a victory that we won. We did not defeat anyone or anything. Our victory is a victory that we receive through our victorious champion the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ enters in and rescues us from certain destruction.
Because we receive that rescue from Jesus Christ,
A. THIS VICTORY PRODUCES GREAT GRATITUDE. “But thanks be to God.”Take note of verse 55, 56.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”
What is the first word of verse 57? “But,” Death surely is the wages of sin. And as the Bible says, sin is the breaking of the law of God.
(1 John 3:4) “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
“BUT” that is not the end of the story in Christ. “Thanks be to God.” Jesus defeated death. He conquered the grave. Thank you Jesus, thank you our Savior. Thank you God of glory.
B. THIS VICTORY IS THROUGH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Where did that victory come from? How did we come to receive that victory? “Through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
II. THERE IS VICTORY FOR OVERCOMERS IN CHRIST. 1 John 5:4, 5.
A. THOSE BORN OF GOD OVERCOME THE WORLD. Vs. 4a.
The Apostle John makes much of how we enter into the victory that is ours in Christ. It is not by crossing the finish line first. It is not by forcing the surrender of an enemy. It is by being “born again” as a child of God.
What did Jesus tell Nicodemus? “Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. He did not say, “you should be born again.” Nor did He say, “I would like you to be born again.” No, Christ makes it clear that there was no other way to see heaven.
(John 3:3) “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Some hate that we claim there is only one way to heaven, but I love God for the way He gave us. I realize that it is not acceptable in a politically correct gone crazy society to say someone is wrong about what they believe, but they are wrong. Some want to get to heaven their way. But God is not the “Burger King.” You cannot have heaven your way.
B. FAITH IS THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMES THE WORD. Vs. 4b.
Everything comes back to faith; our faith in the God who is able to save us. We are dying people reaching out by faith to One that has the power cure that which is killing us. Friend, You will not reach out to Him until you believe He, Jesus Christ, can save you.
C. BELIEVERS IN CHRIST OVERCOME THE WORLD. Vs. 5.
John expresses this eternal victorious truth to us in a couple different ways. In verse 4 he makes the statement that those who are born of God overcome the world and that the victory that overcomes the world is “our faith.” In verse 5 He reverses it and says the overcomer is “he that believeth.”
Lost Friend, this world is not your friend. Three times in two verses John talks about overcoming it. The world desires to hold you in its power and take you to destruction. This world system in which we live tells us that we should not feel guilty over immorality. We need not be concerned about what takes place after death. It tells us there is no such thing as sin. The world tells us that there is no hell and even if there is a God; He would not actually send anyone there. That is a complete lie. Sin has a price to pay. God says, “The wages of sin is death.” God says, (Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” That is the reality: that is the truth.
But, hallelujah, God also gave the answer, Jesus saves from sin. “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
CONCLUSION: in Christ we have the victory. It is not someday we will have the victory. Those who have trusted, that is believed in Jesus Christ the Son of God to save from sin, have the victory.
(John 1:12) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
CHRISTIAN, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rejoice in Christ, celebrate Christ. In Christ we have the victory!