Sunday, February 9, 2014

Have You Overcome?

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:1-4  NKJV

All too often we as believers struggle with the feeling that we are failing in our attempts to live the life that God expects from us.  When life presents us with problems or struggles or persecution and we fail to react or perform in the manner we feel would be acceptable to God we often despair that we will ever get it right.  Those feelings come because we make the mistake of focusing on the problem facing us rather than the victory we already have by the grace given to us when we first believed.  You see, we have already won because our faith is in Jesus, and He has already overcome the world.

 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?                                 1 John 5:4-5   NKJV

I know I have mentioned before that I participated in track and field for most of my early years.  My main event was hurdling and I was fortunate enough to run at a college where a coach from the US Olympic team coached.  One of the corrections he made to my technique which helped more than any other was to teach me to focus on the finish line instead of focusing my attention on the hurdle in front of me.  As soon as I began to do that, my times dropped dramatically.  I believe that this is exactly what God is telling us when He tells us we are overcomers.
Our final victory is already assured by the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and all who have accepted that gift are overcomers.  The word overcome, used to describe those who have made this choice, is found throughout the New Testament but primarily in the letters to the seven churches found in the Book of Revelation.  In these seven letters we find seven spiritual sins the churches are guilty of, and the overcomers are those who stay true to the gospel.  It is here where Jesus reveals the rewards overcomers will receive when the race is finally over and we join our Father in Heaven.  

….“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’  Revelation 2:7  NKJV

He who overcomes will meet Him at the Tree of life in Heaven.  We will be free to eat of the fruit just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden before their sin.

….“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’  Revelation 2:11  NKJV

He who overcomes dies in faith and receives life.  The second death refers to spending eternity in Hell, something all who believe in Jesus will be spared from.

….“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’                 Revelation 2:17  NKJV

Overcomers are promised the gift of eating the Bread of Life, and the present of a new name given specifically by God.

….“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; “and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’  Revelation 2:26-29  NKJV

This refers to the Millenium, where Jesus will again rule on the earth for one thousand years.  Overcomers will be given the right to rule with Him during that time.

….“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’  Revelation 3:5-6  NKJV

Here we find our promise of eternal salvation.  White garments are a symbol of our redemption by being washed in the Blood of the Lamb. 

….“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’  Revelation 3:12-13  NKJV

A pillar is the strongest part of any structure.  It supports everything else and is meant to be a permanent part of the structure.  Overcomers are promised the permanence of being the foundation of what is to come.

….“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”                   Revelation 3:21-22  NKJV

What better picture could we imagine than sitting with Jesus on His throne? This is the finish line, the victory we already have in Jesus.  As overcomers we are promised all these things as a reward for making the choice to accept the gift of eternal life given to us by the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  If you have never accepted that gift, I encourage you to do that today.  Simply confess to Jesus you are a sinner in need of salvation, and ask Him to forgive you of your sins.  Tell Him you believe that He died for your sins and that He has the power to give you eternal life because you believe.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.         1 John 1:9  NKJV

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