1Jn 5:5 “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
The word ‘believeth’ means to entrust the Lord with your well-being. This is a belief that affects your behavior and decisions.
Gen 32:24-30 “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed [or overcome]. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Jacob is scared for his life because his brother Esau has got a bunch of guys together and is coming to kill him. The phrase ‘Jacob wrestled’ means he held onto someone all night long. He wouldn’t let go. This wasn’t WWF, it was just holding onto God with all his might. Jacob recognized the power of this man. The man touched his thigh, the hardest joint to put out of place. A simple touch caused incredible pain. Yet, Jacob STILL held on! Jacob still said, ‘Bless me!’
‘What is your name?’ the man asked. Jacob replied, ‘My name is Jacob, the liar, the failure, the un-favored son, the one who always falls short.’ The man said, ‘No more will you be called Jacob, but from now on you will be called Israel because you have power with God and with man. You have power to overcome.’
Jacob overcame all those things, lying, failing, falling short, being lazy, tricking. He overcame his very nature. He didn’t settle for being second best. He didn’t want to be the trickster. He made vows unto God. He wanted to do things right. Instead of tricking Uncle Laban, he was tricked by Uncle Laban. He changed. He didn’t leave Leah and run off with Rachel. He stayed and honored a dishonorable man to legally get his daughter. He honored his word. He held onto that man in the night.
Are there things in your life that you’re holding onto, that instead you need to be holding onto God? Are you expected to be a certain thing? Are there ways in your life that are wrong? Were you taught to be a way that is wrong? For a parent to look at their child and say, ‘You will never amount to anything’ is brutal.
Do you think it’s harder to wrestle with a man all night and hold onto a man who is worlds beyond stronger than you or to overcome your own bad nature?
Bruce Lee is credited with creating his own martial art. He didn’t teach to do certain moves. Instead he threw things at people and saw their natural reaction. Then, he taught them how to use what they already had.
However, our Jesus is different from that. He says, ‘I know what your nature is and that it is lying or stealing, but I can change that about you. I know that you have this pride that doesn’t allow others to say a negative thing about you without your reacting in anger.’ That is hard. Overcoming the flesh and the works of the flesh is hard.
We have this way of putting certain sins and saying, ‘Oh no, I would never do that’, but we need to see those things in our lives that keep us bound. We need to see those things and say, ‘This is disgusting.’ Our nature is sinful. We need to recognize that and overcome that evil in ourselves.
There are ways to overcome these things, but we need to decide to overcome. We lost the right to demand things, to get angry and demand our way, when we gave our lives to Jesus.
We like to talk about the devil. He made me do it. It’s easy to blame him. There’s a joke that goes, the devil was sitting in his office and asked one of his demons ‘How many people did we cause to sin today?’ The answer was, ‘100,000.’ The devil got mad and said, ‘What?!’ The demon said, ‘Don’t worry boss, we got blamed for 100,000,000.’ The devil doesn’t have to cause us to sin, we can do it all by ourselves.
If we overcome, the Lord will give us the right to eat of the tree of everlasting life. If I overcome my nature and submit to what God wants me to do and be, then I will be able to partake of the tree of life, not taste of the second death.
Rev 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Rev 2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
God will speak to us and reveal things to us. He will give us a new name. He did that for Abraham and Israel.
Rev 2:26-29 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Rev 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
Check out the word ‘pillars’. Twelve pillars were in the temple, and comparing us to being made pillars, means making us rulers.
Jesus said that the apostles would sit in judgment over the twelve tribes of Israel. We will rule. There are levels of reward in heaven. God will actually make us rulers in the New Kingdom in Jerusalem. This isn’t for a select few. This is for everyone who overcomes. All you have to do submit everything that your flesh wants to God and instead do what God wants.
Don’t just get caught up in just barely getting in. We don’t want to just barely make it. I want to hear ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ It’s not about pride, it’s about pleasing God who saved our souls. He did it all for us.
It’s not about ‘squeaking by’. Let’s do something extraordinary. Let’s not be normal. Let’s leave a mark. Let’s leave a memorial that the Lord speaks about us. ‘Look what My child did for Me.’
Rev 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
This is the story of James and John and their mother coming to Jesus.
Mar 10:37-40 “They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”
This isn’t a gift. It’s earned. It is for those who overcome. It’s not about favoritism. It’s not about blood or race or personality. God does have favorites. He chose twelve apostles, but there were three that were in the inner circle. Maybe they were in the ‘inner circle’ because they chose to press close to Him. They made sure they stayed close to Him. If you want to be a favorite, press close to Him and learn of Him and live your life His way. Overcome. Don’t give in to the flesh. Overcome the flesh over and over again. Don’t accept Jacob as your name. Demand more of yourself. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things.
Jas 4:7-10 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Rev 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Jesus already did the first part by shedding His blood. The word of our testimony is speaking of the way the Lord changed our lives. He hasn’t only done stuff for us; He has done stuff to us. The third is loving not your life unto death.
Pride comes from loving your life. Greed comes from loving your life. Hate and bitterness and all sins come from loving your life. If you try to hold onto what you want, you will miss out on everything that Jesus has promised us. If we love our own life so much that we are not willing to overcome our habits, the world, our society, our expectations, then we will not overcome. If we love not our lives even to the point of death, then we can have everything that Jesus said.
Don’t get caught up with thinking that heaven is some far off place that we hope to have one day. Don’t think ‘just as long as I get in’. I don’t want to ‘barely get in’. There’s a difference between doing all you can do to get into heaven and finding out how little you can do to get into heaven.
If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by: Skip Christo.