IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: FULLY EQUIPPED TO CONQUER THE DRAGON
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
We have before us the old original quarrel between the woman and the serpent with which the inspired volume commences, and a clear development of the first promise, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed.”
Woman in her innocence was attacked by "that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan," and she readily enough fell a prey to his deceptions, to the utter ruin of our race. At the end of that first crafty assault and speedy victory the dragon met with his rebuff in words like these: "The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel"; a promise which declared that, though the woman's seed must suffer greatly at Satan's hand in consequence of sin, yet he would conquer in the end, and destroy the power of evil. In the Revelation the scene is changed from Eden to the heavens, and there before you stand again the woman and the serpent, in the same position of antagonism as before, the serpent still the assailant, only this time more openly so.
Observe how both woman and serpent have developed; the one has become a queen bedecked with celestial splendor, and the other a python with tail so vast that he threatens to obliterate the stars with every sweep of it. The woman is no longer a simple, childlike personage, but a wonder; she walks not among the trees and the flowers, but amid the orbs of heaven. She is clothed with the sun, the moon is under her feet, and upon her head is a coronet of twelve stars.
In her you see the great cause of truth and righteousness embodied—she is, in fact, the church of God in all ages, the woman whose seed blesses all the nations of the earth. The glorious cause of holiness and God, incarnated in the church, is clothed with the splendor of light, and truth, and majesty. We will not stay to explain the details of the gorgeous imagery, for in such a matter it is almost frivolity to go into detail. The church has her greater and her lesser lights: she is covered with the underived splendor of indwelling Deity, and her walk is bright with the reflected glory of holiness, while her crown of joy is found in her complete ministry as represented by the apostolic twelve. She is fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. Behold, then, the typical woman, and see how glorious is the cause of truth and holiness.
In the vision the queenly woman is about to bring forth the promised seed; she cries in her anguish, "travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." This, of course, may represent the church crying day and night unto God in times gone by for the coming of the promised deliverer—a cry which increased in intensity and agony of desire as the time drew on; but it may also depict the constant condition of a true church, always travailing in birth till Christ be formed in the hearts of men, till the
man-child, namely Christ mystical, be born here below till the Christ be so brought forth among the sons of men that he and all those who by grace are enabled to overcome the wicked one, shall rule the nations with a rod of iron. (Revelation 2:26-27.)
To-day, brethren, the man-child, even our Lord Jesus, is caught up unto God and sits upon his throne; and in part also the mystical body of Christ is there also, far beyond the reach of the dragon. Jesus reigns with his saints in a region in which there is no more place for the dragon, a domain from which he is for ever cast out into the earth. All the power which Satan ever had in heavenly things is now ended by the finished work of our ascended Lord.
“We do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
2 Corinthians 10:7
That is referring to Satanic strongholds, strongholds of deception, fortresses of deception. He goes on to say, “We are destroying speculations…”8 meaning false ideologies, “and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”9 Beloved, please here me. We assault systems of deception, not the spirits that concoct them. We don’t go around casting out demons. We unleash the gospel of truth for it is the power of God unto salvation.
We are warned, 2 Corinthians 2:11, to be wary of his schemes. Are you wary of his schemes, what he is trying to do to destroy you and your family and your children? And we are also commanded to give him no opportunity, Ephesians 4:27. But we are not commanded to go around and to do exorcisms and to try to bind Satan and all of those things. Instead, as James tells us in chapter four verse seven we are to “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will [what?] flee from you.”10 “Thank you, Lord. I will do that. I will submit to you. I will resist him and he will flee from me.” And why will the devil flee from us? Because, beloved, when we are submitting to God we are filled with the Spirit of God. And, as John tells us in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
We can’t fight this war with mystical incantations, binding Satan, rebuking him.
We don’t fight this supernatural enemy with human intellect or the power of persuasion. We have to have supernatural weaponry. And that is the power of the Word of God and prayer.
The point is this: Satan is the primary opponent of God in this cosmic battle. He wages war against God’s kingdom using the powers of persecution, false teaching, and seduction, but he is the source of all opposition.
If you are arrogant, thinking yourself to be self-sufficient in this wold, my prayer is that you would sober up and come to realize that “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”
(1 Peter 5:8, ESV). May you sober up concerning the treat and run to Christ, the shepherd of the sheep, for shelter.
But if you are a timid Christian I would urge you to remember who you are in Christ Jesus.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”
(Romans 8:37–39, ESV).
But notice a decisive victory has been won. Michael throws the Dragon out of heaven (Rev 12:9). To this point, Satan was able to accuse people in heaven. We find him doing this with Job. Satan enters among the sons of God and questions Job’s faithfulness (Job 1:6-9). In Zechariah 3:1-3, Satan accuses Joshua for his uncleanness before the Lord. Colossians 2:14 describes a certificate of debt. We owe payment for our sins. Satan uses that certificate to blackmail people. Then here in verse 10, Satan is “the accuser of our brothers…who accuses them day and night before God.” This is a pattern.
However, John reveals a decisive change. Satan is no longer allowed to accuse us in heaven. What led to this change? Verses 10-12 give the answer: “I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him [because of] the blood of the Lamb…”
What conquered the Dragon? What work silences his accusations? What act disbarred him from God’s court? Jesus’ death on the cross and Jesus’ enthronement in heaven (cf. John 12:31). The cross is where Jesus dies like a Lamb for our sins; and the enthronement is where Jesus applies the benefits of his death. Think about it! What sins can Satan accuse you for if Jesus’ blood washed them all away (Rev 1:5)? What certificate of debt can he hold over your head if God took that certificate and nailed it to the cross (Col 2:14)? None! His accusations fall flat.
But the victory of Jesus would do these professed believers no good if they counted their lives as more precious than his death. Do you see how, in verse 11, John explains “the word of their testimony” with the follow-up phrase, “for they loved not their lives even unto death”? If, as Christians were being ridiculed or pressured or threatened, they were not willing to speak up and identify with Jesus, but bowed instead to the supposed lordship of a divine Emperor (?!), the dragon would be victorious… not over Jesus, but over them. Satan would expose the hollow-ness of their profession of faith and, by his own estimation, and in the eyes of many, he would expose the futility of faith in Christ.
Whatever the specifics of these attacks from the dragon, please remember the dragon’s most common strategy in weakening your grip on that second weapon, is tempting you to doubt the power of the first. What is the “word of [your] testimony” if not the outward expression of that inward focus on the Lamb and faith in the power of his blood? But if that Enemy can make your past regrets ring louder in your mind than Christ’s past sacrifice, if he can make what others say about you more important than what the gospel says about you, if he can lead you to believe that you need to do more, in spite of the fact Jesus did it all, if he can get you to believe that real change is accomp-lished through worldly techniques, political action, or circumstantial modification, rather than the eternity-transforming power of Christ’s death and resurrection, than he will weaken your witness.
But if Jesus and his gospel (that Good News) are more precious to you than even your own existence on this planet, then no threat of loss or enticement to gain will be effective against you. Remember, brothers and sisters, the dragon’s time “is short”, but as we heard in the previous chapter, Christ.. “shall reign forever and ever.” (11:15)
If you’ve read this message up to this stage and don’t personally have this confidence through Jesus Christ, then God wants to change that, today. You don’t have to live a life of fear and compromise. Admit that you, in spite of the fact that God is above everything else, that you have loved your life here and now above everything else, and receive in faith the forgiveness made possible by Jesus’ blood.
May all of us remember why this Revelation, why this book was given: that we would be prepared for hardship, and that we would honor Jesus in the midst of it. How? By remembering that the Lamb remains worthy, and God remains firmly seated on his throne. Amen
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