IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: BE OF GOOD CHEER, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NKJV
He comforts them with a promise of peace in him, by virtue of his victory over the world, whatever troubles they might meet with in it (John 16:33): “These things have I spoken, that in me you might have peace and if you have it not in me you will not have it at all, for in the world you shall have tribulation you must expect no other, and yet may cheer up yourselves, for I have overcome the world.”
The Believer is in two places, and he lives two lives. In the text there are two places spoken of—”in Me” and, “in the world.”
The saint’s noblest life is “hid with Christ in God.” This is his new life, his spiritual life, his incorruptible life, his everlasting life. Rejoice, Beloved, if you are in Christ, and enjoy the privilege which belongs to that condition—”that in Me you might have peace.” Do not be satisfied without it! It is your right through your relationship to the Prince of Peace. Because you are in Christ, your life of lives is always safe and should be always restful. Your greatest interests are all secure, for they are guaranteed by the Covenant of which Jesus is the Surety. Your treasure, your eternal portion, is laid up with Him in Heaven where neither rust nor robber can enter. Therefore, be of good cheer! Be restful and happy, for you are in Christ and He has said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace.”
You are sorrowfully conscience that you also live another life, for you dwell in the midst of evil men, or, as the text puts it, you are “in the world.” I need not enlarge upon that fact, for probably, dear Friend, every time you go out to business or to daily labor, you find by the ungodly speeches of graceless men, that you are in the world which lies in the Wicked One. Even while you dwell in the sweet seclusion of domestic life, though your family has been graciously visited, and your dear ones are all Believers, yet even there matters occur which make you feel that you are “in the world—a world of sin and sorrow. You are not yet in Heaven—do not dream that you are. It would be a pity for a sailor to expect the sea to be as stable as the land, for the sea will be the sea to the end and the world will be the world to you as long you are in it.
The Savior warns His people, “In the world you shall have tribulation.” That is to say, your condition will at times be as unpleasant as that of wheat under the flail, for the Latin word, “tribulation,” signifies threshing. Many blows of the flail are needed to separate your chaff from your wheat and, therefore, while you are in this world, you are on the threshing-floor. The Greek word which Jesus used is not quite of the same import as our English-Latin word, but it means pressing grief and searching trial. You must at times experience trial while you are in the world, though not always to the same degree, for God gives some of His people much rest even while here below—but this does not arise out of the world—it is His own special gift. “In the world you shall have tribulation” is as sure a fact as that in Christ you shall have peace!
Now, because of this tribulation and the sorrow which is likely to come of it, our Savior gives us the words of good cheer to which our attention is directed in the text.
“Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
WHEN these words were spoken our Saviour was about to leave his disciples to go to his death for their sakes. His great anxiety was that they might not be too much cast down by the trials which would come upon them. He desired to prepare their minds for the heavy sorrows which awaited them, while the powers of darkness and the men of the world wrought their will upon him.
“I have overcome the world.” So then beloved, in all times of depression of spirit hasten away to the Lord Jesus Christ; whenever the cares of this life burden you, and your way seems hard for your weary feet, fly to your Lord. There may be, and there are, other sources of consolation, but they will not at all times serve your turn; but in Him there dwelleth such a fulness of comfort, that whether it be in summer or in winter the streams of comfort are always flowing. In your high estate or in your low estate, and from whatever quarter your trouble may arise, you can report at once to him and you shall find that he strengthens the hands that hang down and confirms the feeble knees.
“I have overcome the world.”
If you look at this claim of Jesus without the eye of faith, does it not wear an extraordinary appearance? How could the betrayed man of Nazareth say, “I have overcome the world”? We can imagine Napoleon speaking thus when he had crushed the nations beneath his feet, and shaped the map of Europe to his will. We can imagine Alexander speaking thus when he had rifled the palaces of Persia and led her ancient monarchs captive. But who is this that speaketh on this wise? It is a Galilean, who wears a peasant’s garment, and contorts with the poor and the fallen! He has neither wealth nor worldly rank nor honour among men, and yet speaks of having overcome the world. He is about to be betrayed by his own base follower into the hands of his enemies, and then he will be led out to judgment and to death, and yet he says, “I have overcome the world.” He is casting an eye to his cross with all its shame, and to the death which ensued from it, and yet he saith, “I have overcome the world.” He had not where to lay his head, he had not a disciple that would stand up for him, for he had just said, “Ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone”; he was to be charged with blasphemy and sedition, and brought before the judge, and find no man to declare his generation; he was to be given up to a brutal soldiery to be mocked and despitefully used and spat upon; his hands and feet were to be nailed to a cross, that he might die a felon’s death, and yet he saith, “I have overcome the world.” How marvellous, and yet how true! He spoke not after the manner of the flesh nor after the Bight of the eye. We must use faith’s optics here and look within the veil, and then we shall see not alone the despised bodily person of the Son of man, but the indwelling, noble, all-conquering soul which transformed shame into honour, and death into glory. May God the Holy Spirit enable us to look through the external to the internal, and see how marvellously the ignominious death was the rough garment which concealed the matchless victory from the purblind eyes of carnal man.
“Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
WHAT IS THIS WORLD WHICH HE IS REFERRING TO? I scarcely know a word which is used with so many senses as this word “world.” If you will turn to your Bibles you will find the word “world” used in significations widely different, for there is a world which Christ made, “He was in the world and the world was made by him”— that is, the physical world. There is a world which God so loved that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him might not perish. There are several forms of this favourable signification. Then there is a world, the world here meant, which “lieth in the wicked one,” a world which knows not Christ, but which is evermore opposed to him: a world for which he says that he does not pray, and a world which he would not have us love — “Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world.” Without going into these various meanings, and shades of meaning, which are very abundant, let us just say that we scarcely know how to define what is meant here in so many words, though we know well enough what is meant.
“Sweet Peace for Tried Believers”
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Let us greatly prize this conclusion of the Saviour’s ministry. It is all the more endeared to some of us by the fact that our Lord finished as he began. He is our peace; he came to bring it, and he left it behind him as he went away. Even before he had commenced his life-work it was announced of him that he came to bring “peace on earth, good will toward men”.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” It was meet that he should close the service of his life wherein he had preached peace, by pronouncing this as his dismissary benediction. “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.”
It is worthy of careful consideration that in Jesus himself there was ever present an abiding peace. He had peace. If he had not himself possessed peace, we could not have had peace in him. But what a holy calm there was upon the spirit of our divine Master! Read his life through, and dwell upon any one delightful characteristic, and you will find him perfect; but if you study it carefully in order to remark upon his manliness, his self-possession, his calm and peaceful bearing in the midst of turmoil and provocation, you will find him to be a master of the art of peace. Truly in patience he possessed his soul. Never man had more to disturb him, but never man was less disturbed. He could not be turned aside from anything which he had resolved to do, for he set his face like a flint; and in the doing of it he could not be excited or discouraged, for his spirit was not of this changing world. Men might oppose him, but he endured great contradiction of sinners against himself with marvellous longsuffering. When his eager and foolish disciples would push him forward, or would hold him back, he was moved neither in the one direction nor in the other by any of them; but he steadfastly held to the even tenor of his way, his soul abiding in God, giving glory to God, and resting in the eternal Power and Godhead which he knew to be always at his side. The background of the life of Christ is the omnipresence of the Father. Wherever you see him— if you see him quite alone when every disciple has forsaken him— you see this text expounded, “Ye shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
You are not left without a friend more able than all other friends to enter into your secret griefs, and administer to you the most potent consolations. Think much of the Holy Ghost in his office as Comforter, and the meditation will foster peace within your spirit. How ill we treat the Holy Spirit by our few and superficial thoughts of him! Let us henceforth adore him with deeper love and reverence.
We derive, then, from the fact that Christ has overcome, the assurance that we shall overcome, since we are one with him, members of his body, and parts of himself. O brothers, sisters, you must fight your way through. You cannot quit this conflict. You have to cut your way through a solid wall of difficulties: there is no other course! But you are going to do it. You shall do it. A great commander commences a campaign. Does he desire that there shall be no battle? If so, how is it a war? How is he a soldier? He certainly can send home no reports of victory if there is no fighting. He can never come to be a great commander if he never distinguishes himself in the field. So let us consider that every battle-field to which God calls us is only another opportunity of victory, and, Christ being with us, another certainty of victory. Onward, then, ye Christian soldiers!
“Let your drooping hearts be glad;
March in heavenly armour clad.”
Let not the brightness of your armour be stained by the rust of fear. You shall overcome as surely as your Lord has overcome. If you commit yourself to his keeping, and abide in him who is all-in-all to you, no defeat can possibly befall you.
Hear you the gospel, each one of you! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The Lord lead you to do so, for his name’s sake! Amen.
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