Saturday, January 14, 2017

the flip side (part 2)

(written by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Revelation 12:10-13:1
mark this: Revelation 12:11
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Whether or not you are a fan of philosophers or people from Denmark, I am sure that you will be a fan of this piece of advice from Soren Kierkegaard. He writes:
"While reading God’s Word, you must incessantly say to yourself: It is I to whom it is speaking; it is I about whom it is speaking."
This does not mean to that we ignore context or what the author intended, but rather that we take God at His word that His Word is indeed living and active. It means that we come before the word NOT to study and dissect it, but rather we come before the world and let the Word study and dissect our hearts and lives and motives.
We want to allow today's passage not just to inform us, but also to transform us. But the tendency with a complex passage like today's is to try to come up with some feasible explanation and then move on to more "pertinent" or "understandable" sections. After all, things like battles, angels, dragons, and the very elements of the earth fighting may not normally interest everyone.
But right in plain sight of these very action-filled verses are two very important concepts, and we are going to look at them in reverse order.
The first concept is found in verses 13-17, and describes the Dragon’s attack on Earth. Here we learn the Reality of Warfare. We have already seen the devil’s violent attempts to overthrow heaven and destroy Christ. We have also seen the angels of God, and Jesus Christ Himself fighting back and being victors.
But this last passage shows us that although he has been defeated, Satan is still making war against those who follow Jesus. Satan is a defeated foe, but a very desperate and dangerous one as well. Peter warns us that our "enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1)" Until we grasp that our enemy is real, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. After all, we can’t win a war that we don't know we are in.
The second concept is found earlier in verses 7-12. This section shows us the Reality of Victory. It takes us way back to when Satan rebelled against God. We are witnesses to a cosmic battle between good & evil. And Satan is defeated and thrown out of heaven. God wins!!!
This message is not unique to Revelation- that's been the plan since Genesis 3:15: "He (Christ) will crush your (Serpent) head" up through 1 John 3:8- "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work."
What is even more amazing is that we see that not only did God’s angels overcome the enemy, but we can share in that victory. Look again at verse 11. The amazing truth is that we overcome the enemy not by our might or religion or wisdom or piety. We are victors because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
We can share in that victory.
We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (2)
Victory means not that we are suddenly immune from failure or pain or setbacks or struggles or suffering. Rather, it means that we can work through these hard times in Christ’s power.
This passage in Revelation is a call to wake up:
To realize the reality of the unseen world
To realize the reality that we have victory in Jesus Christ
And to realize the reality that we are in war and have a battle to fight.
It is an invitation to believe in God and join with Him. He is calling all of his children into his service, because that is what it means to be a Christian.
(1) 1 Peter 5:8
(2) Romans 8:37

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