Thursday, December 3, 2015

Overcomers in This Life

Dear God-seekers,

I want to encourage you today to be overcomers in this life. If you have been born again and come to know Jesus Christ, that's what He has made you to be. But you've got to persevere until the end, in order to make it to heaven. It is not enough to merely give you life to Jesus, or to begin following Him initially, but then fall away when things start to get difficult. It is only those who endure to the end that are saved. Jesus said:

"You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Mat 10:22)

He also said, "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Mat 24:13; Mk 13:13).

The Greek word for "endure" in these verses is "hupomeno", meaning "to stay under (behind), that is, remain; figuratively to undergo, that is, bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere: - abide, endure, (take) patient (-ly), suffer, tarry behind." (Strongs).

With that in mind, we have a divine mandate to endure to the end. The Lord has commanded us to endure patiently (see Rev 3:10, NIV). Unless we do so, we will not achieve the goal of your faith, which is the salvation of your soul (1 Pe 1:9). Therefore, I’d like to share with you some keys to overcoming.

Twelve Keys to Overcoming
There are many keys to being an overcomer that are given in Scripture, but here are twelve of them:

1. They overcame the accuser by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony:
The apostle John said, “Then 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 brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.’” (Rev 12:10-11)

In the passage, the devil is thrown down to the earth. With such an evil foe seeking to work them woe, they cannot fight him in their own strength. There are three ways cited, in which the saints who are on the earth overcame the accuser of the brethren. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

Make it your daily practice to plead the precious blood of Jesus. Plead His blood upon yourself and upon your loved ones. One single drop of Jesus' blood is more powerful than satan and all the demons of hell combined! He shed His blood for us on the cross, and it was through the cross that he made a public spectacle of the devil, as well as his subordinates, known as the world rulers and authorities. The Lord not only made a public display of them through the sacrifice of Himself, but He disarmed them and triumphed over them through the cross.

It's amazing how God allowed His Son to be beaten, humiliated, nailed to a cross, and brought to the point of greatest weakness that any man has ever known. He allowed the devil to take his best shot at Jesus. But satan could not defeat the Lord, even in that condition. Instead the Lord gave up His life -- nobody took it from Him. He conquered death, and took the keys of hell and death from the enemy. Then He came back to life and lives forevermore. His blood is alive, and the devil cannot stand the blood of Jesus. Therefore, we are victorious through His blood.

In addition to pleading His blood, you also need to testify for the Lord, because the saints overcame the accuser by the word of their testimony. That's when you tell others what the Lord has done in your life, including salvation, deliverance, healing, and whatever else the Lord has done for you. You overcome the accuser by the word of your testimony. And likewise, whenever you make Personal Proclamations of Faith in the face of the enemy, this too defeats them.

Lastly, there is self-denial. The saints overcame the accuser, because they did not love their own lives unto death. When you do not love your life, even to the point of death, then the devil cannot defeat you. The worst thing he can do to a person is to kill them, and this has happened to many martyrs down through the centuries, who have been put to death for their faith in Christ. But the devil could not defeat them any more than he could defeat Christ on the cross. So don't love your life, even unto death, and you will be victorious.

2. Faith in Christ, Who has overcome the world 
The second key to overcoming the world is our faith in Christ. Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (Joh 16:33). He said we would have trouble in this world, but no matter what kind of tribulation we face, we can be courageous, because our Lord has overcome the world.

The apostle John said, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1Jn 5:4-5)

Likewise, the book of Hebrews is full of conditions for reaching heaven. These conditions are indicated by the word "if" in many passages of that book. For example, Paul wrote, "But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end...For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end," (Heb 3:6,14). We are exhorted to hold fast our confidence until the end, as well as the beginning of our assurance and the boast of our hope. Only if we hold fast these things, keeping the faith, will we become partakers of Christ.

3. Trusting in Him Who is in You
The third key to being an overcomer is related to the second one. Trust in the One inside of you, who is greater than the devil who is in the world. His presence makes the difference.

The apostle John said, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1Jn 4:4)

4. In the Name of the Lord Jesus
A fourth key is the name of the Lord. We overcome the enemy in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mk 16:17-18).

There is power in the name of Jesus. "The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.'" (Lk 10:17, NIV)

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe." (Pro 18:10)

"For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:13)

Also see Ps 118:10-12; Joel 2:#2; 

5. Christ’s Authority
Another key, which is directly connected with the name of the Lord, is using the authority that Christ has given to us. When you speak in Christ's name, you speak in His authority.

When the disciples returned rejoicing that even the demons submitted to them in the name of Jesus, He said, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luk 10:19)

6. Overwhelmingly Conquer Through Him Who loved us
A sixth key is that it is through Him who loved us that we conquer, not in our own strength. Paul said, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37).

The Greek word for "overwhelmingly conquer" here is "hupemikao", meaning "to vanquish beyond, that is, gain a decisive victory: - more than conquer." (Strongs). Hallelujah! This is possible through Him Who loved us. We gain a decisive victory through Him.

7. Being strong in the Lord
A seventh key is to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, and to have His Word abiding in you.

John said, “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1Jn 2:14). These young men were strong in the Lord, and the word of God was abiding in them. That was how they overcame the evil one.

Paul said, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph 6:10-11)

King David wrote, "The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and overtook them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed. I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; They fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, And I destroyed those who hated me." (Psa 18:32-40)

8. Taking Up the Full Armor of God and Standing Firm in Christ against the enemy
An eighth key is to take up the armor of God daily and trust in it to protect you in the evil day, as well as standing firm in Christ against the enemy.

Paul said, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Eph 6:13). 

9. Pray at All Times in the Spirit
A ninth key is to pray in the Spirit at all times.

Paul said, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” (Eph 6:18)

10. Be Sober and Alert
A tenth key is to be sober and alert.

The apostle Peter said, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1Pe 5:8).

Being sober is not possible when you are under the influence of alcohol. It is also not possible when you are caught up in foolishness and silliness. May the Lord help us to be a sober people, who are on the alert, so that we can overcome our adversary, the devil.

11. Resist the devil, firm in your faith
Another key related to the last one is to resist the devil, who is seeking someone to devour.

Peter said, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1Pe 5:9). There is great power in simply resisting the devil.

12. Submit to God
Finally a twelfth key to overcoming, which is related to resisting the devil, is submitting to God.

James wrote, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jas 4:7).

More Keys
I have given you just twelve of the keys to being an overcomer, but you can find many more in Scripture, if you search for them, and I encourage you to do so. For example, wisdom is another important key (Pr 21:22, NIV), as well as the way of the Lord (Pr 10:29). So is the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:8), as well as the baptism with fire (Ps 97:3; Mt 3:11). I recommend reading Baptized with the Spirit and Holy Fire Baptism, as well as The Way, Will, and Word of God.

Eight Promises for Overcomers
I began by saying I wanted to encourage you to be an overcomer, and I hope that this message is doing that for you. Now I want to give you the following promises that the Lord made to those who overcome, which I believe are sure to encourage anyone who sincerely desires to do so:

1. The Right to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' (Rev 2:7)

2. Protection from the second death
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.' (Rev 2:11)

3. Hidden Manna to Eat, a White Stone, and a New Name
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.' (Rev 2:17)

4. Authority over the nations
'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; (Rev 2:26)

This promise is for he who overcomes, and he who keeps the Lord's deeds (works) until the end. For more on keeping the Lord's works, I recommend reading my articles, Practicing Your Righteousness and Faith Works! 

5. Clothed with White Garments, Name in Book of Life, and Name Confessed Before the Father and His angels
'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Rev 3:5)

6. Be an Eternal Pillar in God’s Temple, the Name of God Written Upon Him, and the Name of the City of God, and the Lord's New Name
"'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name." (Rev 3:12)

7. To Sit Down with Jesus on His Throne
'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:21)

8. An inheritance, Jesus Will Be His God, He will Be Jesus’ Son
"He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (Rev 21:7)

Since I do not want to add or take anything away from the words of the prophecy given in Revelation, I recommend reading the entire book, in order to get the full context of these promises. If you do, you will receive the blessing promised to those who read the words of that prophecy, and heed the things which are written therein. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Rev 1:3)

Putting it All Together
Now that we have received the Lord’s command to endure to the end, and we know that it is the only way to be saved, we must obey Him. We have at least twelve keys to overcoming. They include overcoming the accuser by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony; not loving your own life even when faced with death; faith in Christ, who has overcome the world; trusting in Him who is in you, in His name and authority; our faith in Christ is the victory; overwhelmingly conquering through Him who loved us; being strong in the Lord and His Word abiding in you; being strong in the Lord and the power of His might; taking up the full armor of God and standing firm; praying at all times in the spirit; being sober and alert; resisting the devil, firm in your faith; and submitting to God. But there are many more like wisdom, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and the baptism with fire.

And not only will the Lord save those who overcome and who endure to the end, He has even given eight promises in Scripture for overcomers. The promises include the right to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God; protection from the second death; hidden manna to eat, a white stone, and a new name written on it; authority over the nations; being clothed with white garments, your name in the Book of Life; the Lord confessing your name before the Father and His angels; being an eternal pillar in God’s temple, the name of God written upon you, and the name of the city of God, as well as the Lord's new name; to sit down with Jesus on his throne; and receiving an inheritance. Indeed for the one who overcomes, Jesus will be his God, he will be Jesus’ son.

Armed with this knowledge, and with the full armor of God, let us go forth, marching to Zion. Let's stay the course and press on toward the goal. If God is for us, who can be against us? No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper.

As the lyrics of that old song by Acapella say, "We've been made more than conquerors, overcomers in this life. We've been made victorious through the blood of Jesus Christ." -- More Than Conquerors.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The "Homecoming" painting © 2012 is by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note I invite you to visit these related articles of mine: Overcoming the WorldStriving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Taking Heaven by Force, Holding Fast the Faithful Word, Pressing on Toward the Goal, Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, The Straight and Narrow Path, Ask for the Ancient Paths, You Must Be Born Again, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Aim for Perfection, The Way, Will, and Word of God, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Righteous Deeds and White Robes,  Faith Works!, Practicing Your Righteousness, Keeping Power of God, The Lord Will Rejoice Over You, The Afflictions of the Righteous, Even if it doesn’t happen like we expect, Doing What is Right, and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? I also recommend my daughter's poem, Reward of the Overcomer. You can access more articles like this from the Home page of this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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