These are dangerous times we’re living in. Wars and rumors of wars are in the news every day. There’s war and fighting between nations, within nations, in our neighborhoods, and even between family members. Despite advances in science and technology, sickness and disease still wreck havoc in many lives. There’s trouble of one sort or another on every side. Jesus warned of these troubling times in Matthew 24. He said that unless these days be shortened, there would no flesh be saved alive. It’s going to get so bad that unless God intervenes, all human life will be wiped out. The good news is, God will not allow that to happen!
Mankind chose to believe a lie, and built a world that now teeters on the brink of destruction. But God has provided a way of escape through His Son. A whole new system of government will soon be instituted upon the earth, bringing with it everything man has always wanted; health, prosperity, peace, happiness; that utopian state which existed in the beginning. But until that government is set up on the earth, Jesus said, “See that you are not troubled. In this world you will have tribulation, but fear not, I have overcome the world.” So what exactly was it in this world that He overcame?
The Source of Trouble
When God first created mankind, He blessed him. He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, to have dominion over everything created. So in essence, man was given the reins to rule on this earth. The blessing of God provided them with peace, joy, beauty, abundant health and prosperity. God gave them instructions on how to walk and remain in His blessing. They could stay in direct cummunion with God and live under His provision as long as they didn’t eat of the forbidden fruit – didn’t take to themselves the knowledge of good and evil. If they did, it would mean certain death and eternal separation from Him. But the choice was theirs to make. God didn’t force His way on them. At first, everything was wonderful. All their needs were met. There was no sickness, no poverty, no labor and toil. Then the original liar showed up on the scene.
Satan cast doubt on everything God had told Adam and Eve. In essence, he said, “You can’t believe everything God’s said. He’s holding out on you. You should decide for yourself. And God knows when you do, you’ll be like God, deciding for yourself what’s good and evil – and you won’t die either!” It all sounded great, so they made the decision to go their own way. Basically, they told God, “Thanks, but no thanks! Don’t think we need you telling us what’s good or bad for us, we’re smart enough to figure all that out. We can handle it from here.” Although the Bible says God cast them out of the garden, it was their decision that took them out. It took them out from under the protective provision and blessings of God. They gave their dominion over to Satan, whom the New Testament calls, “the god of this world.” But Satan’s way is the exact opposite of God. Instead of blessing mankind, Satan cursed mankind. The curse produces labor and toil, sickness, poverty, despair, war and death. And since the day they departed from the presence of God, and gave the reins over to Satan, this way of living has become the norm. But God has given mankind a way out of this mess, and provided the path that leads us back to Him and all His blessings.
God’s Answer to Our Trouble
Jesus, a member of the Godhead, devested himself of his divinity, came to this earth as a human, and lived a perfect life before the Father. He gave his life, poured out His blood, as a sacrifice to pay the death penalty in our stead, to take back the rein of power from Satan, and reconcile us to the Father. Isaiah 53 is a prophecy describing the life and death of Jesus, and states, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Colossians 1:13 says “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” II Corinthians 5:18 “…God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ…” Jesus came to pay the penalty, to redeem us, and became the bridge back to our Father. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So Jesus came to pay the penalty and reconcile us to God. He had to suceed where the first man had failed. But to do so, he had to face and defeat the devil.
Jesus not only faced the devil, but He soundly defeated him. The first head-to-head meeting is described in Matthew 4. Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. First, the devil tried to provoke him to perform a miracle, to prove himself and satisfy his physical hunger. But Jesus quoted scripture and said, “It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then he tried to get Jesus to jump off a mountain, just to prove God would rescue him. But again, Jesus quoted scripture saying, “It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Then the devil pulled out his biggest gun. He offered Jesus rulership over all the kingdoms of the world if he would only bow down and serve him. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For is is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and Him only will you serve.” Jesus defeated Satan that day by standing on the written Word of God. And Jesus not only defeated Satan, but displaced him as ruler over the Earth. Jesus took back the dominion Adam had given to Satan.
Not only has Jesus taken back the authority to rule over the Earth, but Colossians 2:15 says he disarmed Satan and his hordes and made a public spectacle of them. Jesus has been given the keys to the Kingdom of God. And the most amazing thing about this is the fact that it was all done for us. He redeemed us from the curse! Eph. 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Jesus now sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Eph. 2: 6 states that God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. Eph 1:22 “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body…” Jesus is the head of the Church, and we are His body! Hebrews 1:13 says “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool.” And chapter 10:13 says “Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.”
Jesus, the head of the church, is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. The church, Jesus’ body, though physically on the earth, is spiritually seated with Him in the heavenly realm. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, and he in turn has given that same authority to his followers. Jesus said in Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” The victory has been won! The Church’s commission is to stand in that victory until all things in heaven and earth are reconciled and made one through Christ Jesus. We’ve been given our marching orders, the commission to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
Although Satan was defeated, he hasn’t been removed from the scene yet. That will take place upon the return of Christ and the literal setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Until that time, our enemy tries to stand against every advancement of the Kingdom. But thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph through Christ Jesus, we have the example of Jesus himself, and thorough instructions on how to trample the enemy under foot. And best of all, we’ve been given the armor of Almighty God, not only as a defense, but as an offensive weapon to destroy the works of the devil!
As Christians, we need to keep in mind that the battles are actually being fought in the heavenly realm. And 2 Corinthians 10:4 says “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” These strongholds have been set up by the devil, and he will come against any attempt to remove them. Eph 6:10-18 gives battle instructions to the saints of God, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…… so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…..with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place……the shield of faith…..and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….” Notice, we are to stand. Once we do all God shows us to do, we are to STAND! The war has already been won by Jesus, and we his soldiers are to occupy the territory until He comes. We stand against the devil’s attacks by standing on the word of God – just as Jesus did. Everything the devil brought against him was shot down by the word of God that came out of Jesus’ mouth! It doesn’t matter what the evil one brings against us: war, sickness, financial peril – disasters of any kind; We stand in full assurance of the truth and faithfulness of our God – and we speak that truth out of our mouth! The truth – the Word of God will destroy all the works of the devil!
We win! You can read about it yourself at the end of the Book. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” And chapter 21 describes the wonderful world that is coming. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. The Spirit says, “Come! And let him who hears say, Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” God is offering this wonderful life to all who will come and receive.What an awesome God we have!