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Our Greatest Victory
I am old enough to remember the original, “The Absent Minded Professor” with Fred Murray, and how he kept forgetting his wedding day. And while I never met an absent-minded professor, there have been plenty of times in my own life when my mind has been absent, hopefully not where it concerns my wife’s birthday or our anniversary.
But I did hear about an absent-minded professor. He was having breakfast with his family when his wife said, “Now remember, this is the day we move. When you come home, go to the new house, and not this one.”
Now, all day there was something that he knew that he was supposed to remember, but he couldn’t remember what it was. So that night he went home and found the house empty. Then he remembered that they moved, but couldn’t remember where they moved.
Seeing some children playing in the yard he said to one of the little boys, “Do you know the people who used to live here?” And the little boy said, “Yes sir.” And then the professor said, “Do you know where they moved to?” And the little boy said, “Yes, mother said that you would forget.”
Now, when it comes to Easter, there was nothing absent in the mind of God about His purpose. Easter is a time for us to remember the incredible power of God. But before we get there, let’s consider the power of God in creation.
A. Cressy Morrison, former president of the New York Academy of Sciences, wrote a paper entitled, “Seven Reasons Why a Scientist Believes in God.” In his first reason he talked about the earth and the “what ifs.” Like, what if the earth rotated a little slower, then the sun would burn the vegetation during the day, and at night the plant life would freeze.
Or if the sun were just a little cooler or hotter, then the earth would not be able to sustain life. Or if the slant of the earth was a little bit different, or if the moon were closer, then the same would be true. Or if the crust of the earth were ten feet thicker, then there would be no oxygen, or if the ocean had been a few feet deeper, then both the carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetation could exist. And these he said were but a few of the many other examples that life on earth was not by accident.
Now, this is just the earth we’re talking about. What about the universe? As far as visible universes, through the Hubble Space Telescope they estimate that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. A super computer in Germany estimates that there may be as many as 500 billion galaxies in the universe. And as far as stars go, there can be as many as 10 sextillion up to 1 septillion. Now, my brain can’t even comprehend those numbers, it’s like 10 to the 22 power and more.
In our own galaxy, the Milky Way, it is said that there are over 200 billion stars, and if you traveled the speed of light, 186,000 miles and hour, which is 5 times around the earth in a second, it would take you 100,000 plus light years to get across.
(A light year is the distance it takes for a beam of light to travel in one year, which is 6 trillion miles)
And as far as the universe is concerned, or shall I say the “observable” universe, it would take 93 billion light years to cross. For me, what these numbers represent is that the power of God is incomprehensible.
Therefore, when we see this great and awesome power of God in creation alone, this makes the hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” even more awesome.
“Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder.
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder.
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee,
How great Thou art. How great Thou art.”
It was also this awesome awe inspiring power of God that was on display on that Easter/Resurrection morning 2,000 years ago, or in Judaism, it was the morning of the Feast of Firstfruits, as Jesus rose from the dead, and as the Apostle Paul describes Him as the Firstfruits from the dead.
• Easter is then all about God’s power on full display.
• Easter is all about the God of creation coming down and becoming one of us, becoming part of His creation.
• Easter is all about God coming and sacrificing Himself for our sins, and then coming out of the grave and saying, “I’m alive and you can be alive too.”
Easter is a time to celebrate that our God is an all-powerful God, but it’s more than that. Easter is also a time to celebrate the fact that God entered this world and became a part of our history.
But Easter is even more than that. Easter is about the all-powerful God at work for us and in us. Easter is about living forever in the presence of God. You see Easter is our greatest victory because of what Jesus Christ did for us, as He died, was buried, and then rose on the third day. And all of this is in accordance to what the Scriptures says, and what Jesus Himself promised.
And here’s the point, because of the resurrection, Easter isn’t God’s greatest victory, it is our greatest victory.
The Apostle Paul said, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-56 NKJV)
If Easter is then our greatest victory, what does God give us victory over and in?
1. God Gives Us Victory Over Sin
Our greatest victory is the victory we receive over sin, and then by extension, victory over death.
As Jesus died upon the cross, God laid bare the reality and truth that without His perfect and sinless sacrifice, we are all lost and doomed to hell for all eternity because of our sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
That is, because we have all sinned we, therefore, fall short of God’s holy and righteous standards for life. Our problem is that we no longer take sin as serious as we should. We see it as this little word and think that it it’s not all that serious. But it is! The prognosis of sin is that it is fatal in that it leads to death, not just a physical death, because we all die, but it is more, that is we die in our sins, that is spiritual death, and thus eternal death.
“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a NKJV)
Sin is not only what messes up and messes with our lives, but it is what’s going to keep us from eternal life once this life is over, that is, if we do not confess and repent.
Sin has therefore perverted God’s purpose for our lives. Sin is our rebellion against God, and what we have seen through the awesome power of God through creation and through the resurrection, is that to rebel against God is about as smart as rebelling against oxygen and refusing to breathe. In the end it results in death.
Now, I really don’t have to convince anyone that they are sinners. I think everyone knows the reality of that. But we also don’t need to go around condemning ourselves as well. Rather we need to accept the free gift of God’s wonderful and amazing grace that sent Jesus Christ to the cross. Take a moment and now look at the ending of verse 23.
“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b NKJV)
Yes we all sin and fall short of God’s holy and righteous standard for life, but the Lord in His amazing grace sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be that perfect sinless sacrifice so that all who will believe in Him will have their sins forgiven, that is, they will have the victory over sin and death, and therefore have eternal life with Him in heaven.
2. God Gives Us Victory In Life
Because Jesus gives us victory over sin, He then gives us victory in life.
Now, a lot of people think that Christianity is all about not frying after dying. But it is so much more than that. Jesus said that while Satan is all about stealing, killing, and destroying, He said that He came to bring abundancy.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b NKJV)
You see, Easter is all about God giving us victory in life.
Two of Christ’s Victories for Us
When you walk with Jesus, you no longer need to experience guilt. When God forgives us of our sins, what that means is that He no longer holds them against us. The Apostle John tells us that if we confess our sins, then He is faithful and just to not only forgive us of our sins, but also cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Therefore, when we come to Jesus Christ, making Him both Savior and Lord, our guilt and shame have been forever removed.
There is no fear when you walk with Jesus. People are afraid of two main things. They are afraid of dying, and they are afraid of living. But when we walk with Jesus we no longer have to fear either one, because of the victory He gives us over both.
Basically, Jesus tells us that we no longer need to be afraid, because He is with us. In the Shepherd’s Psalm it says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV).
When we walk with Jesus through this life He gives us a new perspective about this life. Generally life is lived from birth to death, from morning to evening, from the beginning to the end. But with those who walk with the Lord it is the other way around.
Believers in Jesus Christ are not moving toward the end, but rather we’re moving towards a new beginning. We are moving from evening towards morning, and from death towards eternal life.
And finally, because we are moving toward a new beginning this brings me to the last aspect of this victory.
3. God Gives Us Victory Over Time
How or why is that? Because when we know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we become timeless. In other words, we are never going to die.
One old saint as he was about to die was asked, “How are you doing?” to which he replied, “I’m almost well.”
When we move on from this life, we don’t stop living. As believers we are promised eternal life in heaven. Again I go to that beloved Shepherd’s Psalm and while we have victory in life as it says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” but then it goes on to talk about the life to come, as he said,
“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6b NKJV)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we are not moving towards the end, but rather we are moving toward a new beginning, that is, from death to life.
And so, we’re moving toward a timeless existence in heaven, and if I may, let me quickly outline for you why it is going to be a blast.
• We’re going to have a brand new body, and we’ll live in a custom designed home built by God just for us, and eat some of the most amazing food.
• We’ll live in a perfect place and in a perfect environment.
• It will be a place where there is no more suffering, sorrow, pain, tears, hurts, hunger, thirst, night, darkness, excessive heat, and the greatest ‘no more’ of them all, the curse of sin.
• It’s also going to be a place of awesome worship.
• But greater than all of that is that we’ll be forever in the presence of God.
Easter is all about God’s wonderful offer to humanity to come and know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NKJV)
Easter offers to everyone the greatest victories they can have for their life: victory over sin, victory in life, and victory over time. When we know Jesus as our Savior and Lord then we can say with Paul, “Death where is your victory, and Hell, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 NKJV)
And we can say all of this because of the victory Jesus procured for us as He died upon the cross and rose from the dead, and that is our greatest victory.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study