I hope to encourage you this week by expanding on a portion of a sermon I preached last month at Cross Community Church, entitled “The True Overcomer.” There is a lot of talk these days about overcoming this and overcoming that, but before we can begin to understand the process of being an overcomer, we must first take a good look at the One who is the True Overcomer: His name is Jesus Christ.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Notice first what our Lord did not say; He did not say, “I will overcome the world” or “I hope to overcome the world.” He simply stated, “I have overcome the world.” And remember, Jesus spoke these words just hours before He would be betrayed, arrested, beaten, nailed to a cross. When Jesus announced that He had overcome the world, He knew—He had told His disciples several times—that before the sun set on the next day He would be dead and buried.
In the eyes of the world and the disciples, Good Friday did not look like Jesus had overcome anything! Rather, it looked like the world had completely overcome Him. And yet . . . three days later, when Jesus got up and walked out of that tomb, the world was turned upside down!
This week we’ll look at the three pillars that point to the True Overcomer: Today we’ll examine Pillar #1, which is His life; on Wednesday, I’ll show you Pillar #2, which is His death; and on Friday, we’ll look at His resurrection, which is Pillar #3.
Pillar #1 – His Life
Jesus overcame the world by the life He lived. As you know, Jesus was not born on Good Friday; He was born on Christmas morning, so that He could live the life we could not live and fulfill the demands of the Law that we could never hope to meet. He fulfilled the Law of God completely—every jot and tittle of it—in order that we could receive His perfect righteousness, because we have no righteousness in and of ourselves. As Isaiah said, even our righteous acts are no more than filthy rags when compared to the perfect holiness of Almighty God.
In theological circles, Jesus’ perfect, sinless life is called His “active obedience.” In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)
In fulfilling the Law of God, Jesus earned for us the righteousness we could never get on our own. Scripture tells us that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Despite every temptation that the world, the flesh, and the devil could throw at him, Jesus’ perfect life—His active obedience—makes Him the True Overcomer.
One final note of encouragement for you before we close for today: during His wilderness experience and battle with the devil, remember what Jesus used as the source of His strength to overcome temptation: the Word of God. For each of the three temptations the devil threw at Him, Jesus responded each time by quoting Scripture—IT IS WRITTEN . . . IT IS WRITTEN . . . IT IS WRITTEN! That is the key to being an overcomer like our Lord. Study the Word of God—marinate in it and memorize it—and you will be well on your way to becoming an overcomer.
I hope you’ll be back on Wednesday, when we will look at Pillar #2—His death.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!