"THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS"
I. FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT SATAN WAS SEEKING TO KEEP JESUS FROM THE CROSS.
A. When Jesus was first born, Herod, inspired by Satan, sought to destroy Him by ordering the death of all of the children two years and under in Bethlehem.
B. When Jesus was baptized and after His 40 day fast Satan tempted Him by taking Him to a high mountain and offering Him all of the kingdoms of the world in exchange for His worship.
1. Satan was well aware that Jesus had come to redeem the world back to God, by dying on the cross.
a. In the beginning the world belonged to God.
b. When God created man, He gave the world to man to have dominion over it.
c. Man through sin forfeited the world over to Satan.
d. It was no longer God's for He had given it to man, no longer man's because he had given it to Satan.
e. There was no way that man could redeem the world back.
2. Satan is the ruler of this present evil world.
a. Paul said that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the rulers of darkness of this world.
b. Jesus called Satan the prince of this world.
c. This is why it is wrong for man to try to blame God for the pain and suffering in this world.
d. We sing, "This is my Father's world." But even in the song the lyrics go, "And though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." "The battle is not done, Jesus who died shall be satisfied and earth and heaven be one."
e. Satan still rules over the powers of darkness that control this world. And one of Satan's names is destroyer. He seeks to destroy man, he would like to destroy you, and he will if you yield your life to obey his temptations.
D. It would seem that the final round of this battle was fought in the Garden of Gethsemene.
1. The struggle was so intense that as Jesus prayed, His sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.
2. We hear his words, "Father if it is possible let this cup pass from Me." Our hearts sink, will He walk away from the battle and leave the world under the control of Satan?
3. But then we hear His words, "Not My will, but Thy will be done." I am certain that we do not understand, nor can we comprehend the depths of that particular hour, all of the spiritual conflict that was being waged, we do know that the angels came to comfort Jesus.
II. WHY DID SATAN SEEK TO KEEP JESUS FROM THE CROSS?
A. Satan knew that the price of redemption was the death of the Son of God.
1. Basically in offering the world to Jesus in exchange for the worship of Jesus, Satan was an attempting to keep Jesus from the cross.
a. It was through surrender to the suggestions of Satan to eat of the forbidden fruit that man lost the world.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
b. Had Jesus bowed down to Satan that would have made Him subservient to Satan, and the world would have remained in Satan's control.
B. When the disciples first acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, He told them that He would be brought before the religious leaders who would turn Him over to the Romans, who would crucify Him, but the third day He would rise again.
1. Peter began to rebuke Jesus saying, "Be that far from Thee Lord."
2. Jesus in turn rebuked Peter saying, "Get thee behind Me Satan, you are an offence unto Me, because you cannot tell that which comes from God and that which comes from Satan."
3. The suggestion that He try to save himself from the cross was recognized as a voice from hell.
C. Satan knew that the cross would spell the end of his reign over the world.
1. Once the price was paid for the atonement of sin, he would lose his claim of rulership over the earth and over man.
2. The situation now is that any man who so desires can change his allegiance from the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan to the Kingdom of light ruled by Jesus.
3. On the road to Damascus Jesus commissioned Paul to go to the Gentiles
To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:
D. In our text we read that you who were dead in your sins has He made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses.
1. It was through the cross that the door was made for us to be delivered from the power of sin.
2. Jesus Christ our Lord, opened up the way, the way to heavens gate, when He died on the Cross to redeem all the lost, he prepared the road that leads to His abode, its a road marked by blood, but it leads us home to God.
E. If Jesus redeemed the world back to God, why has God not taken it back from Satan? The book of Hebrews tells us that
God made Him a little lower than the angels; but crowned Him with glory and honour, and did set him over the works of His hands: God has put all things in subjection under Him. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing [that is] not put under Him. But we do not yet see all things put under him.
1. That is the key, we do not yet see all things under Him.
2. From the time that Jesus paid the price of redemption until now we still see Satan ruling over this world.
3. God is giving man time and an opportunity to become an heir to His kingdom. James said, "Have patience brethren unto the coming of the Lord, for the husbandman is waiting for the complete fruit of harvest and has long patience for it."
4. Peter tells us that the reason for the delay is that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, so that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.
5. I for one am very thankful that He waited as long as He has for it has given me an opportunity to become a son of God, and thus an heir to His kingdom.
III. WHAT DOES PAUL TELL US ABOUT THE CROSS OF JESUS IN THESE VERSES?
A. That Jesus through His death on the cross spoiled the principalities and powers.
1. That word spoiled is a word that was often associated with war. The old adage, "To the victor belong the spoils."
2. The words principalities and powers, as referred to here are those spiritual entities of darkness with which we still contend, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6
that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of darkness over this present evil world.
3. But because Jesus triumphed over them on the cross, Paul wrote to those in Rome,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4. Hear the words of Paul to the Colossians,
Having spoiled those principalities and powers, He then made an open display of His victory as He triumphed over them on the cross.
IV. THE VICTORY OF CHRIST THUS BECOMES OUR VICTORY. AS PAUL DECLARED, "WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US."
A. As Martin Luther wrote, "The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not at him, one little word will fell him."
B. You can have victory over all of the powers of darkness today by entering into the victory of Christ.