Saturday, June 26, 2010

Faith and Practice


This morning I want to cover three essential elements of the Christian faith and practice. I going to use two stories from the bible, one in the Old Testament about a young man who discovered how to access the power of God and one account from the New Testament book of Acts about a miracle which happened in Jerusalem.

Let’s begin with our Old Testament story by turning to the book of 2 Kings, chapter 2. While you turn allow me to catch us up on the story.

This story actually begins in 1 Kings 19 just after the prophet Elijah had experienced a crisis in his life and ministry. It appears that Elijah felt a bit overwhelmed and thought that he was surely the only one left on planet earth that loved and was committed to serving God. In 1 Kings 19 God explained to Elijah that there were still 7000 others in Israel who had not bowed their knee to false gods.

God told Elijah to anoint a young man named Elisha to replace him. So, 1 Kings 19 records Elijah doing just that. We are told that Elisha was working in his father’s field with 11 other servants. They were all plowing with oxen and Elisha was plowing with the 12th pair.

This indicates that Elisha was not only a young man of means with a wealthy father, but also a responsible man of good character who possessed a strong work ethic. As Elijah walked past Elisha, Elijah threw his mantle on the young man. This act was immediately recognized as the call of God upon Elisha’s life.

In response to the call, Elisha burned his plow, sacrificed his oxen, blessed the people and left to follow the Lord. Elisha’s new life began with a sacrifice.

Sometime later we pick up on Elisha’s story in 2 Kings 2. At this point the old prophet Elijah was finally ready to retire. Both Elijah and Elisha crossed over the Jordan River east of Jericho and walked onto the plains of Moab headed west towards Mount Nebo. As they journeyed God sent a chariot of fire from heaven which swept down close to the ground causing a whirlwind. The whirlwind lifted the old prophet up towards heaven and as he was ascending Elijah pulled off his prophet’s mantle and threw it to the ground. The mantle represents the anointing which is the power of God’s grace with man.

About 800 years later Jesus also sent His anointing back to earth. That anointing was resident in the Holy Spirit which manifests His presence and the power of God’s grace on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the crucifixion.

2 Kings 2 KJV
13 ¶ He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

What made this possible? Three things … 3 Essential Elements of Faith and Practice

1. The Blood
It began with the blood of a sacrifice. It is the blood which sealed the calling, brought deliverance from the old life and adventure to the new. The blood is salvation.

2. The Name
Elisha walked up to the Jordan River and smote the waters with the mantle of Elijah, calling upon the Name of the Lord. “Where is the God of Elijah?” This is how Elisha knew Jehovah, as the God of Elijah his master. The name speaks of authority. Who has the authority to invoke the name of God?

3. The Anointing
It is the anointing which contains and releases the power of God’s grace to move mountains, work miracles, and change lives. This is the same anointing which was in Elijah’s mantle when he first threw it over Elisha while he was plowing his father’s fields. This anointing is tangible and transferable. It is the power of God available to man.

The Blood The Name The Anointing

Salvation Authority Power

Our next story comes from Acts 3. Sometime after that first Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit fulfilling the prophecy of Joel, the church in Jerusalem was in its infancy already with several thousand members. We are told by some that the first church met on the southern steps leading up to the temple from the city of David near where the Western Wall is today.
One day around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Apostles Peter and Paul were on their way to pray and as they approached the temple steps they saw a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb sitting beside the entrance begging for money.

Acts 3 KJV
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Again, how did this miracle take place?

1. It began with The Blood.
2. It was declared by The Name
3. It was manifest by The Anointing

Acts 3:12 … Why are you looking so intently at us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Acts 3:16 It was His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

The Blood

• Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins
• I would not want to be without the blood

The Name

• Jesus is the Name above every name … At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father.
• The Name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower …
• If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.

The Anointing

• It was the anointing that healed the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25ff
• The yoke is destroyed because of the anointing
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power Who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil for God was with Him.

#1: Are you born again? Have you been covered by the Blood?

#2: Do you use the Name? Have you discovered the authority available in the Name of Jesus?

#3: Are you aware of the supernatural power available to the believer which is resident in the anointing of God? God sent this anointing on the day of Pentecost to empower every follower of Jesus who will dare to take it up and release its grace.

The Blood gives you access to the Name; The Name gives you access to the Anointing; The Anointing gives you access to the Grace of God’s power.
Get saved; Invoke the Name; Release the Anointing in everyday life. This stuff still moves mountains … begin moving your mountains today!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Focused On Change


In December of last year we declared that 2010 would be a year in which we consistently worked on our Physical Health, Personal Finances, and the Relationships God has given us. Since January we have worked the plan God gave us to faithfully keep these goals before the eyes and in the minds of our congregation.

• We began the year by re-ordering our Sunday morning and Wednesday evening services to include two approximate 5 minute segments which specifically target these three areas of life, giving scriptures and exhorting on the daily practice of Godly principles.

• Each month the topic for our small group discussions have centered on health, wealth or relationships. During these times of fellowship and word, people are both ministering to others while receiving ministry themselves through the body edifying itself in love.

• I have written, published and made available, weekly family Bible study materials which many of you have taken advantage of. These character studies are designed to focus the family on these three major arenas of life, giving concrete biblical examples which will grow the individual and the family.

These, along with the many other planned, purpose-filled events and activities are having an impact on your life.

For those of you who have been out of high school for any period of time, let’s say ten years or more, and you run into someone you haven’t seen since high school, the change can be shocking. Over time people change … that’s a fact! However, it is less evident to the person who sees a person on a daily basis than it is to the person who goes a long period of time between visits. Nonetheless, everyone changes daily.

Little by little, here a little and there a little, we are changing. The good news is that to a great extent, we can control what we will eventually become. Barring some unexpected occurrence or unavoidable tragedy, we can determine if we will end up in life basically healthy, wealthy and happy with our relationships … or not! However, like anything else worth having, in order to be successful it will take time, effort and resources to make it happen.

Tonight we are going to relationships, specifically family relationships, more specifically child raising. Now, I know that many of you who are here, as well as those listening to this broadcast, are beyond the age and/or stage of raising young children. However, the principles covered tonight will most assuredly apply to your life and relationships on many levels. For example, I imagine that some of you have husbands who are still in need of some training. At any rate, let’s continue …

Proverbs 22:15 ¶ Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Let’s just face it … some behavior simply needs to change.

When I use the term, “behavior”, I am referring to attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof, gestures, and/or other characteristics exhibited in an individual’s nature and conduct.

Often when we encounter repetitive behavior which needs to be changed, we can get more focused on how that behavior irritates us, than with the behavior itself. In other words, we often respond to our anger instead of the behavior. And an angry response is seldom read as anything more than anger and it almost never changes anything for the better.

The first thing we must do is learn to identify the behavior we want to change and then endeavor to stay focused on that behavior.

Once we have identified the behavior we want to change, it is imperative that we take the time necessary to consider what we can do to effectively change that behavior.

Then it is vitally important to consistently employ the remedy and continually monitor the process. I know this sounds like work and it is. Child raising or husband training or motivating employees to accomplish their goals is work.

We have to find out what works and work it.

If what you are doing is not working, you need to change what you are doing.

Proverbs 22:15 ¶ Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

• A staff used to measure and guide
• A scepter or mark of authority

The Rod of Correction in this case speaks to the right measure of guidance given by an authority figure to discipline and affect the necessary change in behavior.

Punishment should not be the focused goal of any correction or discipline.

Even our penal system is founded on two great needs:
1. The further protection of other members of the community.
2. The rehabilitation (change) of the offender.

The first tenet is of the most importance and the system must be willing to take whatever measures to secure further protection. However, when these two tenets are satisfied, the system is satisfied and offender is set free.

It should be the same with any measure of correction or discipline. It should always be aimed first at curbing the behavior so as not to allow things to become worse, then at altering the behavior so re-offense will not advertently occur.

What does all of this mean in plain English?

Simply put: If what you are doing is not working – you need to try something else.

Imagine with me a mother with an active young 3 year old boy named Johnny. She is cooking the evening meal when little Johnny comes into the kitchen and ask for a piece of cake which she has just baked for the after dinner desert. Mom tells Johnny no in a nice way since it is so close to dinner and it might ruin his appetite.

Johnny begins to beg before mom tells him to be quiet and go on into the other room and play and don’t ask again. Well, you know active little Johnny just can’t get his youthful focus off of the cake and circles around to pull on mommy’s apron and begin begging again. Mommy is of course mentally busy with her duties and lets it go on for a minute before telling Johnny to be quiet, go play and don’t ask again or he would get a spanking.

That seems to work for a moment but soon little Johnny is back begging and crying this time. Mommy tells him with a much louder voice, “now if you don’t quit and go into the other room I am going to spank you.” She counts to two before he slides off the stool, slaps her apron, and goes into the other room.

But, you guessed it. Just when the critical moment comes of adding the spaghetti to the boiling water, Johnny is back … he has thought of a new approach and decides to try one more time … after all, he is hungry and the cake smells so good. However, he picked the wrong time to return. As the spaghetti goes into the hot water some splashes out and burns the top of mommy’s hand. She backs up and almost steps on little Johnny who says in a whiney voice, “mommy I want …”.

Before he can get the rest of his sentence out, loving, gentle, sweet, caring mommy, grabs his arm, jerks him up halfway off his feet, begins saying, “I’ve told you and told you and told you to be quiet, get out of here and don’t come into the kitchen again asking for cake …”, and she begins to spank little Johnny as he runs in circles around her legs, trying to defend himself until he can get away.

Ok, so what have we, or rather, what has little Johnny learned from this experience? What have we taught him?

Well, mom did not teach Johnny that it was wrong to disobey nor did she teach him the benefits of waiting on a nutritious meal before filling your stomach with sweets. Neither did she teach little Johnny anything about cooking spaghetti or the dangers of boiling water, the need to have dinner ready for the family on time, or that she cared about his stomach pain … what mom did teach Johnny was:

“Don’t make mommy mad!”

He learned that it is not wrong to do wrong. And, you don’t get punished for disobeying or doing wrong … you get punished for making people mad … for going too far.

And little Johnny grows up processing life with that standard. He is one of the ones who sets his cruise control on 73 or 74 and then complains when he gets a ticket for going over the speed limit. He just figures he is within the acceptable margin of doing wrong and it must have been that the policeman was just having a bad day. Johnny will always be prone to feel unjustly treated when he gets punished for doing wrong, because it is not wrong to do wrong, it is just wrong to go too far or make someone too mad and Johnny has become a master at knowing when to stop before he gets in trouble …

… All of this because the spaghetti was seen as temporarily more important than guidance and discipline from an authority figure at a critical moment in life. (One time is never the problem, but it is seldom one time.)

Relationship takes time. And if we want our relationships to reach their potential we must give them the time, effort and resources they deserve. Believe me; it will pay huge dividends for a lifetime to come.

Take time for relationships and remember: If what you are doing is not working … you may need to change what you are doing. And, if you are not focused on what needs to change, you are probably just complaining.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father’s Day


In February of 1998 both of our children got married and left home to begin a new adventure and build their own families. The next few days found me and Brenda alone in our home for the first time in a couple of decades. Even though we had been wise and prepared ourselves for the empty nest syndrome by building our personal relationship with one another, and even though we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, nonetheless, it was a challenge not to feel lonely.

After a day or two Brenda found me standing in my closet, staring at the floor looking sad and in serious thought. She asked me what was wrong. The answer leaped out from deep within and before I could think I heard myself say with a bewildered sense of revelation, “All I ever wanted to be was a father … what am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

Through the next few weeks I pressed myself into the study of God’s Word which I knew would be the answer to my dilemma and this is what my study revealed:

• When God could have cast Himself in any image whatsoever, He chose that of a Father.

He could have appeared as the sun, the moon, fire, wind, a bull or whatever He wished. There would have been no wrong way for Him to portray Himself. However, He chose to be a Father.

• All God ever wanted to be was a Father.

I understood where my desire came from and counted myself in good company. I only wanted what God wanted and I didn’t see that as wrong.

• When it is all said and done, the only thing God will have left is family.

I realized that family matters … and … thank God, I still had family. It wasn’t the situation that needed to change, it was me and my perspective.
I had only been affected by something that had also affected God. You know, some things in life should affect us – some things should change our life – some things should challenge our perspective – some things should hurt … if they did not, we would be neither human nor Godly.

But, it’s what we do about those things which affect us that make us either more or less like God.

Seeing today is Father’s Day in the United States, I want to use a passage from the Bible, specifically a passage from the book of Luke, chapter 15, beginning in verse 11, to discuss some Godly attributes of a father. This story speaks to much more than just fatherhood but allow me to focus this morning’s message to the benefit of fathers.

Luke 15 NKJV
11 Then Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal (riotous) living.
14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.
15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry:
24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

Five attributes of a Godly Father

1. Respect for evolving family relationships
a. V 12
b. As our children and our family grow, we must adjust ourselves to meet the evolving criteria of that growing relationship.
c. Different seasons demand different perspectives.

Galatians 4
1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all,
2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

d. Children are not meant to remain children forever.

2. An established reputation for being kind and generous to others
a. V 17
b. Not only to the family but to servants, employees and strangers as well. This son knew his father to be a just and kind man.

3. Approachable
a. V 18
b. Accessible and approachable with any problem.
c. Not judgmental, critical, condemning or rejection prone.

4. Unashamedly Compassionate
a. V 20
b. Strong enough to show his love.

5. Forgiving
a. V 22-24

Forgiveness says: I do not wish you to bear the guilt or any longer stand in danger of being punished for what you did. Therefore I choose to declare this thing completely settled and I will not bring it up ever again:
1. To You – in efforts to illicit guilt
2. To Myself – stirring up anger or resentment, criticism or judgment
3. To Others – in hopes people will see me better or saintly
4. To God – trying to get Him to punish or change you

All God ever wanted to be was a Father. And, before God’s Son was born, God chose a man to be the earthly representation of a father to Jesus. God evidently values the role of a father in every child’s life.

Men, you have the potential to be the perfect father God chose for your children, your biological children; your adopted children; and the spiritual children God intends you to have.

Families, honor the fathers among you as gifts from God. Pray for us – we need it – being an earthly representation of God is not always easy.

You can read the rest of that story at your leisure and as you do, see if you can find some other redeeming qualities that make a man the father God intended him to be. And remember men,

Respect the growing family relationships and let them evolve in a healthy way; establish a reputation for being kind, generous and just; always be approachable; don’t get too big or important to show your family the compassion they deserve; and don’t’ forget … be forgiving.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Higher Levels of Reality

• Jesus wants to take us into new and deeper dimensions of our walk with Him
• There are spiritual levels in the Lord
• Levels of Faith, Maturity, Obedience, Worship
• Today we are going to look at the results and reality of higher levels

Dan 3:1-7… King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the princes, prefects, governors, advisers, counselors, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 When all these officials had arrived and were standing before the image King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, 4 a herald shouted out, "People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."

7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. NLT

1. Moving In Higher Levels- Will Go against Conventional Wisdom
• Worshipping this idol was the conventional wisdom of the day
• Today there are idols that are worshipped
• The Higher Level is not popular
• The Higher Level does not conform to man’s ways

Dan 3:8-13… But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They have defied

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be brought before him. NLT

2. Moving In Higher Levels- Will Bring Opposition
*Three Men discussing their wives

• When you stand up & stand out for what is holy - count on opposition
• Holy living brings conviction and people don’t like to be convicted
• Shadrach, Meshach & Abed-nego were marked men

James 1:2-4…Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. NLT

2 Cor 10:3-4… We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. NLT

Dan 3:13-18
When they were brought in, Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? I will give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments, all will be well. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. What god will be able to rescue you from my power then?"

3. Moving In Higher Levels- Will Bring The Temptation To Compromise
• When you are challenged over & over, the natural man wants to compromise & justify the world’s view.
• Moving in the Higher Level, will develop higher levels of character and integrity

Quote… Have you ever wondered why opportunity knocks once – yet temptation bangs on the door constantly?

1 Peter 2:12… Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world. NLT

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." NLT

4. Moving In Higher Levels- Will Produce Holy Boldness
• They spoke freely and they spoke boldly
When you move in the higher levels, you move in a supernatural confidence and courage

Dan 3:19-30… Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully clothed. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames leaped out and killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in! 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, as he was watching, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, "Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?"
"Yes," they said, "we did indeed, Your Majesty."
25 "Look!" Nebuchadnezzar shouted. "I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren’t even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!"

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the princes, prefects, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

5. Moving In Higher Levels- Will Manifest The Miraculous
• They did not escape being thrown in
• Sometimes God delivers us from the trial, Sometimes He delivers out of the trial
• When you move in the Higher Level, you will find divine intervention

James 4:7-10… So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. 9 Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. NLT

If you want to see the miraculous, move in the Higher Level

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be crushed into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!" 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach,... Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon. NLT

6. Moving In Higher Levels Brings Higher Levels
• They were promoted because of the miraculous

2 Chron 16:9… The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
• As a result God was exalted and so were Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego

Matt 23:12… But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. NLT

Moving in the Higher Level is not for us to look good, but always to see God exalted

• There is a price to pay to move in the higher level
• It is not complicated but it is not easy
• It is a laying down our will for His
• Having a real relationship with God
• This is the reality of the Higher Level

Sunday, June 6, 2010



I know that I have been called by God and am anointed to preach the Gospel. After 30 years of diligent pursuit, now I find myself more confident and more passionate about my calling than ever.

So, this morning I have come to preach to you the ‘Good News’. Hear the Word of the Lord.

Open your heart and mind to the Gospel as we open our Bibles to the book of Revelation, chapter two.

The whole second chapter of the book of Revelation and on into the third chapter, contains exhortations given to seven churches. Some have designated these churches to be a representation of churches in each generation.

1. The Church of Ephesus The Loveless Church
2. The Church in Smyrna The Persecuted Church
3. The Church in Pergamos The Compromising Church
4. The Church in Thyatira The Corrupt Church
5. The Church in Sardis The Dead Church
6. The Church in Philadelphia The Faithful Church
7. The Church in Laodicea The Lukewarm Church

Although each church is different with its own set of circumstances and varying problems, nonetheless there is a common thread of encouragement given to every one of them. You can read about their differences later but for now, let’s focus on this single similarity. It involves the promises made to certain people within each church. Who are these people? Overcomers … Look at verse seven of chapter two …

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The Greek word originally written in this verse by John, which was dictated by Jesus, is the Greek word: Nikao. Here it is translated ‘overcomes’; in other scriptures in the Bible this word has been translated: conquer; prevail; get the victory.

Perhaps a good 21st century understanding of this word might be: “gains the victory”.

In each exhortation to every one of the Churches, Jesus gives a message and a promise to those who overcome, those who gain the victory. Let’s look together:

Revelation 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.

Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Revelation 2:26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations –

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God …

Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

In every church there is a message to the overcomer. But how does a person overcome when in this world they are surrounded by: Loveless Relationships; Persecutions; Compromise; Corruption; Dead Works; Pride; and Lethargy?

Glad you asked! For herein is the ‘Good News’ I came to preach. Who are these overcomers in life? Well, I sure hope Jesus is talking about you!

1 John 5
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God …

4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.

What is faith? Faith is confidence in God’s potential.

5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

He who believes, overcomes. Come on now – is He talking about you?

When the Apostle Paul took up this subject he used the same Greek word ‘Nikao’ but added something to it. Look with me in the book of Romans, chapter 8.

Romans 8
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Which is in Christ … IN CHRIST! --- there is something powerful about being ‘In Christ’. You can think about that later …

Verse 37 says that we are more than conquerors.

The phrase, “more than conquerors” comes from the Greek word:
• It means: Super, abundant, above, and more than victorious; a super overcomer; more than a conqueror; someone who gains more than simple victory in the battle, and wins the whole war!

Now I think that qualifies as good news. What can you do to get this super power to overcome, to gain the victory and be more than a conqueror?

If you are interested I will tell you where you can find the answer to that question. I know it’s summer time but I am going to give you some homework.

Here are three scripture references that you can go home, read and put into practice. If you do this, you will begin to experience the power of God in your life to overcome. You will not only be victorious in battle but ultimately you will win the whole war against the enemies of your soul.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Pay particular attention to truths: “in Christ” & “made the righteousness”.

Revelation 12:11 This verse will tell you how it works.

Philemon 6 This verse will give you something practical to do each day.
Like Jesus indicated in Revelation: The good news is that you can overcome – but it’s going to be up to you!