Christ has come. Salvation for the unsaved earth. The true power of the kingdom of God beloved. When you hear the modern church preach power it is always in relation to this fragile and passing world. This glimmer of a life. The power to have a better career or fun marriage. Whatever. These are not the power of the kingdom. Think of the most powerful men throughout history. Alexander the Great. Caesar. Napoleon Bonaparte. They are all dust under the feet of God. This is why God asks, almost rhetorically, why do we fear man? Fear God who has real power. Power beyond this life.
There is however, an opposition to this power beloved. This opposition is clearly seen here in verse ten. We hear all the time and use phrases like "accuser of the brethren" but rarely stop to consider what that means. We certainly will not hear it preached. The authority of Christ, the power of the kingdom and the salvation of God are all opposed by the enemy as he accuses us day and night. The enemy is relentless beloved. The Bible says that his native language is lying. That means if we can only speak English for example, he can only speak lies. He is not bilingual either. Sure he may mix in a whole lot of truth but the little bit that is a lie will kill you. He lied to Eve in the garden. He lied to David on the rooftop when staring at Bathsheba. Beyond the deception however Satan is also our accuser. I know this flies in the face of modern preaching which elevates man to God's level but we deserve death. Those are the wages we have earned. If you want to read the true state of man before a holy God read Romans 3. All have turned away. The poison of asps is on our lips. Our throats are open graves. I know the church has spent the last twenty years telling you how special you are but you are not. I am not. Only God is and in His unrelenting grace and mercy He spared us from the truth of the accusations of Satan. That is right beloved. Satan may lie and overinflate but when it comes to accusing us we give him enough material I am sure. Every angry word. Every unloving thought. Every defense of evil. Thankfully he can be overcome. He can be conquered and we see how in the following verse:
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. -- Revelation 12: 11 (ESV)
I am sure we have all heard this verse at one point or another as a referent but I doubt it is ever preached anymore. What a shame because there is so much power in this verse if we are willing to put down the pursuit of this world for a minute. In this one verse, God gives us three keys to conquering the accuser of the brethren. To some, they may sound trite but to others they will they will taste of living waters quenching their souls, left barren and dry by years of purpose driven pablum and seeker friendly gruel. We will overcome and conquer the enemy to our souls with three imperatives -- the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony, and the devaluing of our very lives. Before getting into each of these, please read the following three paragraphs about these three imperatives taken from Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible. In addition to the hearing the truth, capture the passion with which this is written as that is the same passion we need to approach this as well.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,.... The Lord Jesus Christ, by whose blood they were redeemed and ransomed out of the hands of Satan, that was stronger than they; and by which they were justified from all sin, and so all charges and condemnation were of no avail against them, whether of Satan or the world; and by which they were cleansed from all pollution, both internal and external; and by which even their conversation garments were washed and made white; by this they also, drew nigh to God with boldness, as to their own God, notwithstanding the accusations of Satan; and this they could, and did make use of as a shield to defend them against all his charges; and this being sprinkled upon them, as it gave them an inward conscience peace amidst all, so it was their security from the destroying angel; and under this purple covering they went triumphantly to glory, having through it obtained an entire conquest over Satan: as also
and by the word of their testimony; either by Christ, the essential Word, they bore record of, who is sharper than any twoedged sword, and through whom they were made more than conquerors; or rather by the use they made of the Scriptures of truth, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, to which they bore a faithful testimony, and to which they adhered, and by so doing gained the victory over Satan and his instruments, whether false teachers or persecutors; and particularly by the Gospel, which they embraced, professed, and preached with constancy and courage, and by their last testimony they bore to it at their death, on the account of it, as it follows:
and they loved not their lives unto the death; they did not value them; they made no account of them; they were not anxiously careful to preserve them; they chose to lose them; they ran to the stake, and willingly and cheerfully laid them down; they did not count them dear unto them, as said the Apostle Paul, that they might finish their course with joy, and testify the Gospel of the grace of God, or bear a testimony to it, Acts 20:24; yea, as Christ has directed, Luke 14:26 ; they hated their lives in comparison of him, and when in competition with him and his Gospel; and by dying thus they conquered Satan; had they loved their lives, and saved them by denying Christ and his truths, Satan would have conquered them; but dying in the cause of Christ, and for it, they got the victory over him." -- Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Beloved it always starts and ends with the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no Gospel without it. Satan is stronger than we are. We were in his hands. In his clutches. He owned us when we were in this world. God redeemed us however. He bought us back. He paid the ransom price to free us from the clutches of Satan. The blood of Jesus Christ justifies us from all accusations of sin. Therefore it does not matter what the accuser accuses us of. We are covered by the blood! Cleansed from all pollution, the blood acts as a shield for us, rendering the enemy's lies and accusations powerless. Because of this we are able to draw near to God with boldness. Not an arrogance of thinking who we are but an amazement of what He has done for us! As the blood sprinkled on the doorpost protected the Israelites living in Egypt from the death angel, so the blood of Christ protects us from the coming judgment upon this earth. It is our very security in an unsecure world. It is, as Gill points out, our very transition to glory.
Do we hear this preached anymore today? No. Sure there may be a passing mention of the blood, maybe even a bloody song on Easter, but generally it is considered most seeker unfriendly for many reasons. The blood leads to the cross and that leads to sin. While the blood secures the believer it does not cover the faithless. They remain accused. That is why the cross offends. It is meant to offend. That is why the Gospel divides. It is meant to divide. The sad truth today is we have bloodless churches across Christendom that prevent people from being able to even come to Jesus Christ. You simply cannot be saved without the blood beloved. There is no overcoming. There is no conquering.
The same can be said for word of our testimony. Sometimes this has been mistakenly taught as our personal testimony. No beloved. This speaks to the Gospel in which we have believed. Romans teaches us that only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man. When Paul leaves the elders at Ephesus he declares himself innocent of their blood because he did not hesitate to proclaim to them the entire Gospel. What we believes matter. What we profess matters. Our personal testimony only matters in light of Scripture. Look at who Gill correctly lists here as instruments of Satan! False teachers and persecutors. Adhering to the Word will help us to gain victory over Satan. How? Because for every lie he utters the Word of God will tell us the truth and assure us he is lying. How do we overcome and conquer the enemy in our lives? Through Jesus Christ beloved. Through His blood and His Gospel. He has the power.
Is this reinforced or taught anymore in the church today? Rarely. The Gospel is watered down, sugar coated, feel good, motivational, self-help, and cliche'd stories that are leveraged to make this life your best it can be now. So instead of hearing the Gospel, the cross and the blood, you will hear a seven part series on feeling more significant or a month long series on love and marriage. And who knows? Perhaps when you stand before Christ you will feel as if your life had more significance and your marriage was agreeable. Then you find out though that you never were covered by the blood. You put your faith in a false gospel and false christ. Only now it is too late. Too late to overcome. Too late to conquer. That is because you believed teachers that convinced you to love this life.