Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Overwhelming Victory

As I was praying for God’s direction in writing this message, an old, old hymn came flooding into my heart and soul. The words reminded me of my acceptance of Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. As a young man, I sang this song many times in church. Each time I sang that hymn, I felt the Spirit moving in my soul. In time, that moving feeling soon became a stirring that resulted in the calling to serve in the Kingdom and to preach the Word of God.

That hymn, “Victory in Jesus”, continued to repeat itself over and over in my mind and heart. I asked God for the words that He wanted me to give to His children. After much prayer and reading, God revealed those words in a passage from Romans. In William Tyndale’s analysis of Romans, largely taken from the writings of Martin Luther, Tyndale writes, “The sum and whole cause of the writings of this epistle, is, to prove that a man is justified by faith only.”

As I thought of Tyndale’s words and the message laid upon my heart, I was led to a particular chapter and passage that deeply resonated with me. The words written to the early Christians in Rome are truly inspiring to today’s Christians. It is not through good deeds that we are able to receive redemption. It only comes from having faith and understanding and accepting the true depth of God’s love for us. It is only through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, that we are given the precious gift of salvation. Because of that one life given as our sacrifice, the debt of sin was once and for all time cancelled. Our wages of sin were paid in full by the precious blood of Christ Jesus who won an overwhelming victory over the grave and death. Because of his sacrifice, the curtain of sin that separated us from our Almighty Father was torn in half from top to bottom.

In chapter 8 of his epistle to the Romans, Paul writes, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Notice what Paul writes. Even when we go through the darkest times of trouble and tribulation, Jesus loves us. No matter what happens in our life, we can know without a single shred of doubt that Jesus will remain with us and continue to love and support us. With that knowledge firmly planted in our hearts, minds and souls, we know that we have overwhelming victory over this sinful world. It is only through Jesus that we can declare this victory. We did not do anything to deserve it.

In chapter 2, Paul writes, in his letter to the Ephesians, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

There are those who believe and even preach that we can earn our way into Heaven. That is simply not true. If we can take credit for our salvation, then why would we even need Jesus’ sacrifice or, for that matter, God and His love and grace? We could just simply do good deeds and earn eternal glory all on our own. It is important that overwhelming victory over this world did not come through winning a celestial lottery or by the good things that we have done. That victory can only come through Jesus. 

Paul tells us in chapter 2 of Ephesians, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

Even when we walked in death and defeat, God loved us enough to give His son as our sacrifice to fulfill the requirements of the law. Jesus was our atonement sacrifice on the altar. It is only through his blood that we are able to receive salvation. We no longer shuffle through life with our heads hung low with nothing to look forward to in our lives. Because of that victory, we can hold our heads high and show the world what love truly is. Because of His love for us, we are called upon to serve those around us. For some of us, we are called into missionary service to preach the word of God to those who walk in darkness. Some face death each and every day and are, as Paul wrote, “slaughtered like sheep.”

As Paul closes chapter 8, he writes, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The overwhelming victory that we received through Christ Jesus and his love for us is the knowledge that we can never be separated from the Father. It is through that belief and sustained faith that we have that victory in Jesus.

Look closely at the words of Paul. He tells us that nothing can separate us from God and His love. The words that really caught my attention were “neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow.” Paul, in just those few words, summed up the way most of us feel from moment to moment. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, much less in the next few minutes. We have no control over our lives. But, as Christians, we know that a Savior came from glory and how he gave his life on Calvary to save each of us.

So, I say this to each of you. Sing out in your loudest voice and praise God for the overwhelming victory over death through His son, Christ Jesus. Our good deeds cannot pay for our salvation or redeem us. It is only through God's love and plan of salvation through His son that we can stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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