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VICTORY OVER SATAN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, September 21, 2014

“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” (Revelation 12:11).


“They overcame him.” Who is it they overcame? That is made clear in verse nine. He is described as “the great dragon,” “the Devil,” “and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” The one they overcame was Satan, the Devil.

They overcame him.” Who are “they”? This refers to those who are saved during the Great Tribulation, that is the seven-year period at the very end of this age. Revelation 7:14 says,

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

These are the Christians of the Tribulation period. Satan hates them because they “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). But these Christians will overcome Satan. And our text tells us exactly how they will overcome the Devil,

“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” (Revelation 12:11).

I am not going to go deeper into the prophecy of this passage. In this sermon, it is enough to say that these are Christians in that fearful time of Tribulation, and they will overcome Satan.

Our text has been a great blessing in the past when Christians were severely persecuted – as they were persecuted under the Roman emperors, as they were persecuted by the Roman Church during the Inquisition, as they were persecuted by Muslim terrorists through the centuries, as they were persecuted in China by the Communists during the Cultural Revolution. And as they are being persecuted throughout the world this morning, in every time of persecution true Christians have been encouraged by the faith of these Tribulation saints,

“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” (Revelation 12:11).

And even today, in America, we as Christians are looked down on, found fault with, defamed, and persecuted. Christianity is the only religious group that it is correct to attack and defame in America. The news media does it all the time. So do college professors.

In his book Christianophobia, A Faith Under Attack, Rupert Shortt catalogues the current persecution of Christians throughout the world today. The flyleaf says, “Christians around the world suffer violence or discrimination for their faith. In fact, more Christians than any other faith group now live under threat” (Rupert Shortt, Christianophobia, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012). If you are a college student, you know very well that Christianity is constantly spoken against by your professors – and you know that it is the only religion they attack that way! You also know that Satan is against you coming back to this church. You know full well that Satan is against those “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). If you become a serious Christian, Satan will be against you. The Apostle Peter said, “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).

So, how can you be a faithful Christian in a hostile world? The Tribulation saints give us the answer. They tell us how to overcome Satan in our everyday lives,

“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” (Revelation 12:11).

I. First, you can overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb.

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...” (Revelation 12:11).

“The Lamb” is the Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist called Christ, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Dr. Henry M. Morris said that “There are at least 43 such references [to the Blood of Christ] all testifying in one way or another to its significance in our salvation. Here, very appropriately, the emphasis is on [Christ’s Blood having] power for overcoming Satan” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The New Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, p. 2016; note on Revelation 12:11). Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

There is wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb. Don’t forget that. Let us not minimize that. The many references to the blood of the Lamb necessitate its being on display in heaven [Yes, Dr. McGee believed the Blood of Christ is there! His note on Hebrews 9:12 says, “Christ took His literal blood to heaven”]. This is not a crude conception; rather the crudity is in our sins which made it necessary for Him to shed His blood (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume V, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, p. 993; note on Revelation 12:11).

Some of you remind me of Horace Bushnell (1802-1876). Bushnell became a Congregational pastor, but he is a tragic figure. Dr. David Larsen said, “He was not happy, nor was he ever healthy” (The Company of Preachers, Kregel Publications, 1998, p. 529). He remained unconverted as revival came to Yale when he was a student there. He reacted against the revival by adopting gradualism instead of conversion. In his book Christian Nurture he said that a child is not depraved. He taught that a child should grow up never thinking that he is not a Christian. He thus rejected the idea of sudden conversion. He also rejected Christ’s atonement on the Cross and salvation through the Blood. He thought that a person gradually learns to be a Christian.

Some of you remind me of this man. He is a tragic figure who was never truly happy. Like him, you think that salvation comes by learning about Christ rather than conversion by trusting Christ, and suddenly being cleansed by His Blood. You are so full of religious thoughts that you will not do that which is simple, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

You can go on wandering in a maze of religious thoughts until you die. But you will never be truly happy. Where is Jesus Christ in your thoughts? Where is His Blood in your thoughts? Like Bushnell, you are a tragic figure. You will never have peace unless you stop reasoning and trying to figure it all out. You must come to Jesus in simple faith! You must be saved in a moment by trusting His Blood!

Cain was a tragic figure like Horace Bushnell. All Cain had to do was trust the Blood. But he refused the Blood and became a lost wanderer, “and a vagabond in the earth” (Genesis 4:14). Like Bushnell, Cain was never a happy man in his heart. Peace comes by an unsophisticated, simple-hearted trust in the Blood of Jesus! Don’t go to Hell with Bushnell and Cain! Find victory over Satan by the Blood of the Lamb!

The Devil does not want you to trust the Blood of Jesus. The Devil tells you that it is hard and complicated to trust the Blood of Jesus. The Devil tells you that you will lose something important if you trust in Jesus’ Blood. In a way, the Devil is right! You will lose something important! You will lose your sin if you trust the Blood of Jesus! You will lose your anxiety about eternity if you trust the Blood of Jesus!

How tragic and horrible it must be for you to go to sleep each night thinking that you may wake up in Hell! How can you go on living like that? Yes, you will have to go through some hardships as a Christian. But I can’t think of anything as hard as going to sleep night after night after endless night, thinking that you may wake up in the eternal flames! How much more peaceful and calm you will be when “being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). Nothing is required of you but to believe in Christ’s all-forgiving Blood! There is no other way to overcome the Devil, but by child-like faith in Christ’s Blood!

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...” (Revelation 12:11).

“But,” you say, “What if I sin again? How can I overcome the Devil if I sin again?” Why, nothing could be more simple! The Apostle John was an old man. He was about 90. Surely, in seventy or more years since he had been saved, he had a bad thought or a sinful attitude. But he said, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins...” (I John 2:1-2). “And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Once you have been saved by faith in the Blood of Jesus, you can rest assured that His Blood will cleanse you from all future sins as well! How sad that Horace Bushnell never found that blessed cleansing! How sad that he went “in the way of Cain” (Jude 11). How sad that he lived and died without finding peace through the Blood of the Cross!

Moravian missionaries led John Wesley (1703-1791) to salvation. They pointed him to faith in Christ’s Blood. One of his first converts was his own mother. She had lived as blameless a life as any child of Adam can. But when John spoke to her after his conversion, she said, “I have scarcely heard such a thing as forgiveness of sins now (in this life).” But when John gave her the cup in Communion and said, “The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,” his mother said, “The words struck through my heart, and I know that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me all my sins.” Wesley himself had only been saved a short time. Just before he was saved, he told a Moravian preacher, “When the gift of saving faith comes to me, I will preach on no other subject.” And that is what he preached for the rest of his life – salvation by faith in the Blood of Jesus. As he lay dying at 87 years old, those by his death bed could hear him whisper again and again,

“I the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.” 

“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...” (Revelation 12:11).

II. Second, but briefly, you can overcome Satan, as the Tribulation saints will, by the word of your testimony.

And what will be “the word of their testimony”? It will be the same as John Wesley’s dying testimony,

“I the chief of sinners am,
 But Jesus died for me.”

When many people give a “testimony” they talk on and on about their sin – what terrible sins they committed before they became religious. Then they go on and on about this and that, all kinds of things that happened to them when they were lost. At last they come to the end and say, “Then I trusted Jesus.” They say very little (sometimes nothing!) about Christ Jesus and what He did for them. That kind of “testimony” will not overcome the Devil! He laughs behind your back when you brag about your sins and self-reformation. The Devil does not flee until you start talking about the Blood of Christ! Nothing can overcome the Devil but a testimony about Jesus’ Blood!

John Wesley’s brother Charles was also converted during that period of time. Like John, Charles Wesley (1707-1788) preached to great crowds every day on salvation through the Blood of Christ. That was his testimony, and he also gave it in the more than six thousand hymns he wrote. He wrote one hymn every three days for fifty years! All of them are classics, testimonies of the Cross and the Blood of Christ. Here is one of them.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
   He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
   His blood availed for me.
(“O For a Thousand Tongues” by Charles Wesley).

That was his testimony! He testified of the saving Blood of Jesus! Here is another of his hymns,

Five bleeding wounds He bears,
   Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
   They strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, Oh forgive, they cry,
   Nor let that ransomed sinner die,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die.”
    (“Arise! My Soul, Arise!” by Charles Wesley).

Here is one more,

"And can it be that I should gain
   An interest in the Saviour’s blood?...
Amazing love! how can it be
   That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
(“And Can It Be?” by Charles Wesley).

Can you give a testimony like Charles Wesley? Can you speak of the sin-cleansing Blood of Jesus? Then your testimony, like that of the Tribulation saints, will overcome the Devil! But a bunch of talk, on and on, about what happened earlier will only make the Devil laugh at you!

III. Thirdly, also briefly, you can overcome Satan, as they will, by loving Jesus more than life itself!

“They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

You can overcome Satan by loving Jesus more than life itself. You may say, “Nobody would do that!” But you are wrong. About a year ago a young woman in Northern Africa who was a Christian was told she had to convert to Islam or die. She chose death.

Here are a few examples of that kind of faith from Christianophobia, A Faith Under Attack. In North Korea 900 pastors and 300,000 Christians have been killed. One woman in North Korea formed a small Bible study group of 10 people. She was arrested. She said, “I went through six months of extreme torture. I was repeatedly beaten. My teeth were knocked out. My fingernails were pulled out [by the roots]. Raw chili was rubbed into my wounds. After that I was sentenced to four years in Kyo-Haw-So prison. Around 30 or 40 people died there every day. We were so hungry we would take food from the mouths of dead people. I was once so weak I was given up for dead, and my body was put on a pile of corpses awaiting burial” (Shortt, ibid., pp. 221, 222). She went through all that for reading the Bible with a few friends! In North Korea Christians were hung on crosses and burned to death over fires, they were thrown off of bridges, and crushed under steamrollers. Even with all this horror it is estimated that 2 percent of North Koreans are underground [secret] Christians. About half a million are secret Christians in North Korea, even though they are in danger of being killed every single day (ibid., p. 220). In India between August and September 2008 Hindus murdered 90 Christian people and displaced 50,000 Christians from their homes in the state of Orissa (ibid., p. 149). In China the Communist government continues to repress and persecute Christians (ibid., p. 204). I am just mentioning a few incidents in the 18 countries where Christians are persecuted and killed simply for believing in Jesus. I will give just one more,

Pastor George was held [in Nigeria] refusing all efforts to convert him forcibly to Islam. He called on his captors to repent, then began singing praises [to Christ] before he was beheaded. Some of his final words (subsequently circulated around the world) were addressed to a fellow captive: “If you survive, tell my brothers I died well and am living with Christ. And if we all die, we know we die for the Lord” (ibid., p. 121).

All he had to do was say, "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."  But he died rather than deny Jesus!

Millions of Christians, in all parts of the world, are overcoming Satan right now by loving Jesus more than life itself!

“They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

What is there about Jesus Christ that makes millions of people willing to die for Him? Why do they think that the Blood of Jesus is the most important thing in the world? Why do they speak of Jesus dying to save them, even though such speech can cost them their lives? Why do they risk having their heads cut off for Him?

They love Jesus more than life itself because He died on the Cross and shed His Blood to save them from sin. Jesus Christ and His Blood are the most important things you will ever hear about in your life. Why? – because only Jesus can pardon your sin by His Blood. And only Jesus can give you eternal life. I plead with you in the name of God, come to Jesus and trust Him!

Only trust Him, Only trust Him,
   Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
   He will save you now.
(“Only Trust Him” by John H. Stockton, 1813-1877).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Revelation 12:9-11.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“There Is a Fountain” (by William Cowper, 1731-1800;
sung to the tune of “Amazing Grace”).


THE OUTLINE OF

VICTORY OVER SATAN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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” (Revelation 12:11).

(Revelation 7:14; 12:17; I Peter 5:8)

I.   First, you can overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb,
Revelation 12:11a; John 1:29; Acts 16:31; Genesis 4:14;
Romans 5:9; I John 2:1-2; 1:7; Jude 11.

II.  Second, you can overcome Satan by the word of your
testimony, Revelation 12:11b.

III. Third, you can overcome Satan by loving Jesus more than
life itself! Revelation 12:11c.