Posts Tagged ‘Victory



The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This message is about Jesus’ Resurrection and is based on 1 Corinthians 15.


No Victory For Death!

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  — 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (NIV)

Sometimes it seems as though death wins.  We lose someone we love and cherish and there is no consoling us.  The memories of their life linger on and make the sting of death that much more unbearable.  Life goes on for everyone outside of our realm, but for us it stands still for days.  We don’t know how people can go on living their lives when for us there seems to be nothing but numbness.

As a pastor, I deal with death often.  More often than I would like.  I spend time with families who have lost loved ones and that is the time that I feel most inadequate.  What words can I offer that could comfort them in this difficult time?  Sometimes words fail me, but I know that Truth never fails.  The Truth is that Jesus is coming back.  There is no sting in death or victory for the grave!  Jesus conquered the grave when God raised Him from the dead!  Though tears may sting our cheeks for a while, death will not sting our souls forever!  Just as Christ was raised, those who have died and have been buried with Him will be raised as well.  That’s the promise of Romans 6 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Our hope is in Christ and He gives true victory over the grave!

All praise be to His powerful, holy Name!

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for raising Jesus from the dead and conquering the grave forever. Thank You, Father, for the hope that we have in our resurrected Savior. Fill me with hope today.  In Jesus’ name, amen.


The Struggle


I hate it.

Sin separates people from God.

Sin separates me from God.

Sin is what caused Jesus to die on a Roman cross.

Sin is what sends people to an eternity separated from God in Hell.

When we think about overcoming temptation and sin, it may seem like an insurmountable task.  So we give up before we ever start to fight.

The author of Hebrews talks about the struggle we have with sin:

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. – Hebrews 12:4 (NIV)

It calls to mind a boxing match where two opponents struggle and fight and blood is drawn.  I can just picture two heavyweights going at it in the middle of the ring, toe-to-toe.  Neither opponent wants to give up and they slug it out for 12 rounds.  Blood is shed.  Bodies are bruised.  Eyes are swollen shut.  It is a battle for the ages!  It is an epic contest where there can only be one winner!

This is a picture of our struggle with sin.  You stand toe-to-toe and resist temptation and the devil.  You fight with all you’ve got!  You get knocked down but you get right back up.  You keep struggling and resisting and fighting!  Don’t give up!  Fight the good fight!  You’ve got three things going for you…

  1. The crowd is on your side (Hebrews 12:1).
  2. Jesus is your corner Man (He’ll never tell you, “You’re a bum, Rock!  A bum! – apologies to Burgess Meredith!)
  3. The power of the Holy Spirit dwells within you and gives you victory!

You’re not alone in the struggle.  You’ve got power and perseverance on your side.  Don’t give up!  Never, ever give up!  Keep struggling and fighting and resisting sin.  Remember this one thing – when sin knocks you down, God’s grace will always pick you back up again.

What is the sin you’re struggling with the most right now?

Pray and ask God to help you in your struggle and to help you keep fighting and resisting today.

PRAYER: God, I need Your strength to overcome the temptations that will come my way today.  I don’t have the strength to do it on my own.  Help me to repent of sin and to run to You for strength.  Thank You for forgiving my many sins in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.


Using What You’ve Been Given

Solomon recounts a story of a king who laid siege to a city.  The wealthy king had a powerful army, but the city had a poor, wise man.  The wise man came up with a plan that saved the city, even though they were outnumbered.  Solomon’s point is that “wisdom is better than strength” (Ecclesiastes 9:16, NIV).
It reminds me of a proverb I read about in the book Good To Great by Jim Collins.  There are two animals: a fox and a hedgehog.  Inline image 1The fox is bigger and stronger than the hedgehog and tries a myriad of ways to eat the hedgehog.  The hedgehog is small and easy prey for the fox.  The hedgehog knows one thing – roll up in a ball.  He may be small, but he wisely uses what he’s been given to live another day.
The point is to use what you’ve been given in a wise manner to overcome the obstacles, temptations and struggles in your life.  Sometimes the answer or solution is the most obvious one – prayer.  Don’t try to overcome your struggles on your own.  You’ve been given the power of the Holy Spirit!  Trust in the Lord with everything you’ve got and let Him lead you and guide you to safety.  Let God protect you and your heart.  Let God defeat your enemies.  He’s given you what you need (His Word and His Spirit), so use the tools you’ve been given to overcome a formidable enemy.  Victory is assured if you will use wisdom and the tools you’ve been given to seize it!
Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 (NIV)

I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me:14 There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.

17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good.


Victory By Faith and Purity

Paul tells Timothy to hold “on to faith and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:19, NIV).  He says that this is how you “fight the battle well” (vs. 18).  Holding on to faith means that we are committed to the Christian faith – its doctrines as revealed in the Word of God.  Holding on to a good conscience means to live a pure life, according to pastor John MacArthur.
We are in a battle.  We battle not against people (flesh and blood – Ephesians 6:12, NIV), but rather against the enemy of our souls.  The enemy will use whatever tactics he can to try and trip us up and ensnare us.  If we study God’s Word and know it, we can fight back against the devil’s trickery.  If we have a clean conscience, we know that the accuser has nothing against us.  No one will believe a bad word about us if we live good lives.  The Holy Spirit will lead us in the battle and will give us the victory through faith and by the power of God’s Word.  This victory does not come through our strength or power.  It is only by faith in the power of God and His grace.  Jesus gives us the victory over the evil one.  Don’t try to fight against him on your own!  Study your Bible and pray, pray, pray for God’s blessing of victory.  Then, when victory over temptation and sin comes, give God the glory for it.
1 Timothy 1:18-20 (NIV)
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

Calling On Jesus

Jesus and the three disciples who accompanied Him up on the mountain for the Transfiguration came down from the mountain to a desperate father.  His son was possessed by a demon and the father didn’t know what to do.  Matthew’s Gospel says that this demon caused the boy to be thrown into fire and water.  The demon was trying to kill this boy.  The man had taken his son to the other nine disciples so that they could cast out the demon.  Remember, at the beginning of this chapter, Jesus had given His disciples the authority to cast out demons.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases – Luke 9:1 (NIV)

In Mark’s Gospel, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive the demon out and this was His reply:

“This kind can come out only by prayer.” – Mark 9:29 (NIV)

In other words, the disciples had faith in themselves, but not faith in God.  This is why Jesus rebuked them in Luke 9:41 (NIV):

“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?

When will we learn that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing?  There is no possibility of spiritual breakthroughs or victories without Jesus Christ!  We need Jesus to give us strength in the battles we face.  We need Jesus to give us victory over temptation and sin.  We need to believe in His power and might.  Too often we rely on our own strength and abilities.  This leads to defeat and spiritual stagnation.  So let us learn to call on Jesus when defeat seems inevitable and then He will give us the victory.  Let us call on Jesus when we are too weak to stand and then He will lift us up.  Let us learn to call on Jesus in every and all situations we face.

Luke 9:37-43 (NIV)

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.



300 Equals Victory

The Lord has a funny way of doing math sometimes.  In Judges 7, Gideon is going up against the Midianites.  Look at how their army is described:

The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

​ – Judges 7:12 (NIV)​
How could Gideon defeat such a huge army?  Well, he had 32,000 soldiers!  That’s how, right?  Wrong!  God said that there were too many!  So the Lord tells Gideon to send home anyone who was afraid.  22,000 chickens went home!  That left 10,000 soldiers.  While the odds are a little less in their favor, surely 10,000 is a good number for an army in one battle, right?  Wrong!  God said to Gideon that there were still too many!  So Gideon does what the Lord commands and he takes his soldiers down to the river.  There, he separates those who get down on their knees and put their faces in the river to drink from those who cup water in their hands and drink from their hands.  300 men drank from their hands.  9,700 put their faces in the river…and went home.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” – Judges 7:7 (NIV)

Gideon was afraid.  How do I know this?  Look at what God said next:

…the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.

​ – Judges 7:9-11 (NIV)
​God told Gideon to sneak down to the camp with his servant if he was afraid.  What does Gideon do?  He sneaks down to the camp with his servant.  Gideon was afraid!  I would be, too!
Sometimes it is really hard to take God at His word.  It can be really hard to trust Him completely.  Especially when you don’t see how things are going to work out in your favor.  Gideon had 300 soldiers and was going up against a massive army.  God said that He would deliver Gideon, but Gideon had his doubts.  But God came through, just as He said He would.  God gave the Midianite army into Gideon’s hands and the Israelite soldiers completely destroyed them.  ​
It may seem like God is doing some strange math in your life.  It might feel like you’re an army of 300 going up against an army of countless soldiers that is more powerful than you.  Just remember, God is on your side!  He is the One who gives victory.  He is the One who defeats the enemy, not you.  It is by His strength and His power and His might and His Spirit that you have victory in Jesus’ name.  Don’t rely on your own strength and power.  Let God defeat the enemy for you.

Judges 7

New International Version (NIV)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

7 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash,the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”

19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

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