"THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS"
Intro. It indeed is finished, the horrible, unthinkable crime against righteousness and justice, against God Himself has been committed. We read that at noon there was darkness over all the land, this surely was mankind's darkest hour. The ultimate demonstration of his total depravity is clearly manifested in the limp body of the innocent Son of God that is hanging on that cross. This is Satan's hour, he has bruised the heel of the Seed of the woman. The hope of a better world has died with Him, the hope of a world that is free from suffering and pain, free from crime and wars. The announcement be the angels at His birth of peace on earth, goodwill toward men seems as taunting mockery from heaven. It would seem that there is no hope for man in his struggle against the powers of darkness.
I. OUR REAL BATTLES ARE IN THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. "WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS, THE RULERS OF DARKNESS IN THIS PRESENT WORLD."
A. The three great enemies of the Christian life are the world, the flesh and the devil, which work in concert against you as you seek to live a righteous life.
1. When we speak of the world, we do not speak of the world as God created it in all of it's pristine beauty, but the world system that is in rebellion against God and pollutes and perverts the gifts of God.
a. All that is of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life is not of the Father but of the world.
b. This is what the believer is told, not to love. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for he that hath the love of the world in his heart, has not the love of the Father."
c. "Know ye not that friendship with the world, is enmity with God and he that would be a friend of the world is an enemy with God."
2. When we speak of the flesh, we speak of our fallen nature, that takes the beautiful gifts of God and perverts them to other uses.
a. The glorious gift of reproduction that God designed for the perpetuation of the human race. Look how it is being perverted by man today who thinks only of the sensual delight.
b. Man can become so addicted to sex, that the desire for sex becomes even stronger than the self preservation drive. He thus continues in promiscuous sex even though there is the present danger of being infected with the H.I.V. virus, or any of the other more than 20 different sexually transmitted diseases that are presently being passed around.
c. We are told in the scriptures that there is a war that is going on between our flesh and our spirit, the flesh that desires the baser things and the spirit that seeks the higher purer life.
3. When we speak of the devil, we speak of that once beautiful creation of God, called in the scripture the anointed cherub, who was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, but who led a rebellion against God, and was cast as profane out of heaven.
a. He still leads the rebellion against God and seeks to conscript men to join with him in that rebellion against the righteous laws that God has proscribed for man.
b. Many of his conscripts now rule in the highest places in government, and are determined to spread the rebellion against God by advocating that the scouts admit lesbian and homosexual leadership, they have been appointed by the president, many believe under the pressure of his wife to their high positions of power and influence.
c. The Supreme Court this week has ruled that one of the State houses of Legislature must remove the ten commandments from the wall.
d. The devil is in rebellion against the law of God and has many eager helpers.
B. It is not easy to live a righteous life against all of the pressures of the world, the flesh and the devil.
1. Even though you may have a strong desire to do so, it is becoming increasingly more difficult all of the time.
2. Is there any hope? Must I always be stumbling, and falling?
3. Strange as it may seem, our hope for a righteous life of victory over the world, the flesh and the devil lies in the limp body that is hanging on that cross.
C. His death was purchasing my redemption from the powers of darkness. "We are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver or gold, from our empty living, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who was slain as a lamb without spot or blemish."
1. Jesus made a strange statement to His disciples just before He was arrested and crucified. He said, "In that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you."
2. Christ dwells in me, and I dwell in Him, thus when He was crucified, I was crucified with Him.
a. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."
b. He said, "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world." In Christ, I have been crucified to the world, thus I have victory over the world.
3. Through His death, I also have victory over the flesh.
a. He said, "Reckon yourselves to the dead to sin, but alive unto God through faith."
b. He then asks, "How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?"
c. You see, you can place all kinds of the most sensual, alluring, exciting things before a corpse, and it will not even stir, its dead.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
d. Thus through being crucified with Him, the flesh, the body of sin is put out of business. Kata gero thrown down, defeated.
e. When Paul was struggling with his flesh and found out the power it had over his life. "When I would do good, evil is present with me, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?" He answered his own question with the statement, "I thank God through Jesus Christ."
4. Through His death, Satan was also defeated, through His death the head or the power or authority of the serpent was bruised.
a. John tells us that,
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
b. How did He destroy the works of the devil?
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
[And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
c. We need to recognize that Satan is a defeated foe, "This is my Father's world, The battle is not done, Jesus who died, shall be satisfied, And heaven and earth be one."
d. Jesus had said when the Holy Spirit comes, He shall testify of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He then amplified, and said, of judgment because the prince of this world is judged.
e. On the cross the powers of Satan were judged and defeated, in Jesus you can now enter into the victory of Jesus over the power of darkness.
f. We are told that if we will just resist the devil, he will flee from us.
g. The cross spells our victory over the world, the flesh and the devil.