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1 Jn 4:4-5 says, “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” We are in the world but we are not of the world. In Jn 17:15-16 Jesus prayed, “I pray not the thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” In Jn 15:19, Jesus said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
So, in this world, we are going to face constant opposition. And no matter what people do, they are not going to improve the world or change the world’s opinion of God and God-fearing Christians. Modern preaching suggests a trouble free Christianity with prosperity and pleasure. That’s not the Christian life, as you well know. Believing that your life should be like modern preaching portrays it frustrates you because, when you encounter trouble, you begin to think that something is wrong with you or with God. It’s not like that. When we encounter opposition in this world, it’s to be expected and we are to overcome it, conquer it, and triumph over it, not run from it.
We overcome by Christ – 1 Jn 5:4-5 – and 1 Jn 4:4. The epistle of 1 John has strong Tribulation references. And notice in Rev 12:9-11 the saints are troubled by the devil unto the death. But they overcome him. Specific to overcoming is faith in Christ.
To overcome something is to get the better of it, to overcome obstacles and difficulties. These difficulties strengthen your faith. The disciples encountered difficulties and their faith was strengthened. In Lk 22:31-34, Jesus said that Satan desired to have Peter and sift him as wheat. Jesus prayed that his faith would fail not. He already knew that Peter would deny him. Nevertheless, his faith was strengthened so that he could strengthen his brethren, which he did. Faith in Christ is the VICTORY in the trial.
We conquer through Christ – In Rom 8:37 we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. But notice that, according to Rom 8:35-36, we are in the midst of tribulation, distress, persecution, etc. and we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. And like Peter, Jesus intercedes for us, Rom 8:34
To conquer is to subdue opposition, to gain by force, to win, to gain dominion or sovereignty over. The conqueror is the one who defeats his antagonist, opponent, or adversary. So, all the things listed in Romans are meant by the world and the devil to defeat us and separate us from the love of God. Yet, through Christ, we not only defeat them but are made better by them. That’s why we are more than conquerors.
In Rom 8:28 “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Specific to the conquering is the love of Christ, and the love of God. It’s in all of these things listed that you seek and find the love of God. It’s always there. The devil tries to get you to be mad at God because of the trial through which you’re going or to think that God is punishing you or abandoning you. No. God wants the trial to draw you closer to his love. That’s where you conquer and come out more than a conqueror.
We triumph in Christ – 2 Cor 2:12-14 – When Paul was in Troas, Acts 16:8, a door was opened to him in Macedonia, Acts 16:12. So, he left and went to Philippi where he preached and was beaten and imprisoned. He wrote, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.” He did triumph. He was released from prison, the warden and his household were saved, and a great church was started in Philippi. This was an answer to the prayers of the women who had been praying on the sabbath, Acts 16:13.
To triumph in Christ is to obtain the victory with joy. Triumph speaks, not only of the victory but, of the joy in the victory. To triumph is to celebrate victory with pomp; to rejoice for victory. In Col 2:15 Christ triumphed over principalities and powers when he died on the cross. Jesus cried in Gethsemane, yet Heb 12:2 says “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.” They killed him. Yet, from that very day to to this day, people are still being saved. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner the repenteth,” Lk 15:10.
Paul’s triumph was not without hardship and suffering. In this he was like Christ who triumphed at the cross. Paul wanted to finish his ministry with joy, Acts 20:24. He wrote in 2 Tim 4:7-8 that he finished his course and fought a good fight. Then he said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” In 1 Thes 2:19 he said, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” Specific to the triumph is the joy of the Lord. Like Nehemiah said, “the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Neh 8:10.
They threw Paul in prison and tried to have him killed. Yet, he wrote his prison epistles while he was there, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. And so, even to this day, like Abel, “he being dead yet speaketh.” He triumphed and continues to triumph!!
Conclusion: Christians think that something is wrong if they are facing problems in their lives. We spend a lot of time praying the problems away. We are like the armies of Israel entrenched against the Philistines. We aren’t fighting. We just want the Philistines to go away. They aren’t leaving. Problems are a necessary part of the Christian life.
The victory didn’t come to Israel until someone (David) stood up to fight. David fought Goliath, who is like the big problem in your life, and defeated him. Then the armies of Israel fought and defeated the Philistines. You can’t have victories without battles. Don’t sink when the battle comes. Realize that when you fight, you overcome. When you fight, you conquer. When you fight, you triumph. It’s that way, Paul said in 2 Cor 2:14, ALWAYS.
And if you’re not saved, this is the time to join the winning team. Right now, without Christ, you are a Loser. Join the winners. From the world’s perspective, we look like the losers. But be sure of this, we overcome, conquer and triumph now and in eternity. And so can you if you will trust Christ today.