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HOW TO OVERCOME THE DEVIL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, November 6, 2016

“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” (Revelation 12:11).


Satan and his demonic angels were cast out of Heaven. They were still loose in the heavenlies. Satan was called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The demons were still able to go into “[heavenly] places” (Ephesians 6:12) – they could go into “the heavenlies” at times. That is why Job 1:6 tells us that demons “came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” But they will not be able to do that after the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. The Tribulation is a seven year period of great persecution against Israel and Christians under the coming Antichrist. The Tribulation begins with the Antichrist signing a covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27).

In the middle of the seven-year Tribulation Satan and his demons will be expelled from the heavenly places and cast out on the earth! We read,

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

Satan will be furiously angry at this. For we are told “the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

The Devil is beginning to rage more even now. He knows that the rebirth of Israel is a sign of the end. He knows the signs of the end better than most preachers and theological professors. That is why Christians must be more aware of the “wiles of the devil.” That is why we must “wrestle” more and more against him and his demons as the end of this age comes nearer. That is why we are warned, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (II Timothy 3:1). The Devil already knows “that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

Some people teach that we cannot have revival now. They say the power of Satan is too great now for God to send down revival in our churches.

Attorney Jay Sekulow said recently, “It is the ultimate scenario for Christians in Iraq and Syria. They are burned alive, crucified and beheaded. Now ISIS has unleashed chemical weapons. The carnage is unbearable.” Yet at the same time the greatest revivals of all time are taking place in Iran, Iraq and Syria. Mr. Sekulow says to send him money to stop the Muslim terrorists there. I say that is nonsense! Hogwash! They don’t need money! They need us to pray for God to keep coming down there in revival! That’s why they need Christians to pray,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest [continue to] come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence...to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!” (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “That is the ultimate prayer in connection with revival! ...the special, urgent prayer for a visitation of God’s Spirit in revival. There is no term that better expresses this [prayer] than does that phrase in Cowper’s hymn, ‘Oh rend the heavens, come quickly down, and make a thousand hearts thine own’...The children of Israel...would have hostile nations to meet, enemies would gather around them, but what did it matter? Here is a God who can shake mountains and that is what [we should be] praying for” (Lloyd-Jones, Revival, Crossway Books, 1994 edition, pp. 305, 307).

When you read about the terrible things those Muslims are doing to Christians, do not send money to an attorney in America! How can he, or anyone else on earth, help them? They are already experiencing revival, with hundreds of Muslims turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t send money. That won’t help them at all! Send up strong prayers to Almighty God. He and He alone can save them. Even as these new Christians are burned alive, crucified and beheaded – God will open His arms and receive them into the everlasting joy of Heaven. And these martyrs will, by their sufferings, inspire more and more Muslims to turn from terrorism to the crucified Christ, who died on the Cross to save their souls. As Tertullian said in the second century of the ancient Christians, when they were persecuted by the heathen Romans, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” We hear reports that the Muslim leaders are already afraid because so many of their people are turning to Jesus Christ the Lord. The great Reformer Luther wrote a hymn for the persecuted Christians of his day. It’s number 7 on your song sheet.

A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing,
   Our helper He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe;
   His craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing,
   Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
   Lord Sabaoth His name, From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
     (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther, Th.D., 1483-1546).

And that is exactly what happened in China. The foreign missionaries were driven out of China by the Communist dictator Mao Tse Tung. During the cultural revolution, the churches were burned to the ground. The pastors were put in prison. Thousands of Chinese Christians were persecuted, murdered and imprisoned. But God was with them. A great revival of Christianity began. The Communists tried everything they could to stop Christianity from spreading. But they have failed. There are now more than 150 million Christians in China. More people are in church in China today than there are in all of America, Canada, and Europe! God did that in Communist China – and that same God can do that in the Middle East! In fact, He is doing it! Pray for God to raise up tens of thousands more Christians in those Muslim lands! As Martin Luther said,

Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also;
   The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

And that is exactly what will happen to the true Christians during the great Tribulation to come. Satan will attack them fiercely.

The enemies of Christ will come and imprison and behead thousands of Christians. But they will overcome Satan! How?

“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).

“By the Blood of the Lamb.” The Blood of Jesus Christ will make them eternally secure. Even today, when Satan attacks you, when he makes you feel sad and hopeless, remember the Blood of Christ. When you look to the Saviour’s Blood, you will be lifted out of self pity and fear, just as the Christians will in the Tribulation. You will overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb of God that takes away all sin and sadness.


And they will overcome Satan

“by the word of their testimony.” They will testify of Jesus their Saviour. Martyrdom is a great victory over Satan. “The blood of the martyrs is [indeed] the seed of the church.” Pastor Samuel Lamb was put in a Chinese prison several times. Finally he said, “The Communists stopped arresting me. They stopped arresting me because every time they put me in prison, our church grew. More persecution means more blessings!”


Stand and sing number 8 on your song sheet.

Faith of our fathers! living still,
   In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
   Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!
(“Faith of Our Fathers” by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).

And the Christians in the Tribulation will overcome Satan by their willingness to die for Christ. “And they loved not their lives unto the death.” They loved not their lives even if they had to die for Christ. That is how they overcome Satan! Stand and sing number 8 again,

Faith of our fathers! living still,
   In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
   Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
   Were still in heart and conscience free;
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
   If they, like them, could die for thee!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
   We will be true to thee till death!

“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).

People who overcome Satan now are those who live those words in their lives today. We prayed for God to send revival to our church for 42 years. But no revival ever came. The reason is clear to me. People came for a while and then left to go back to sin. How could unconverted people like that ever experience a revival? It was not possible. Year after year they left to live sinful, selfish lives. Finally they stopped leaving. Finally some of our own children were truly converted. Then, gradually a few more came in and were truly converted. At last there were only four or five “church” kids who remained unconverted. Then God finally answered our prayers. When the wicked ones were gone, God sent a revival down to us.

One girl began to pray real, heartfelt prayers for revival. Then one of the ladies broke down and prayed for revival in tears. About the same time three young men came to pray with me at my house for revival. At last, when almost all of the worldly lost people were gone, our prayers were answered. 24 people were hopefully converted in a few weeks’ time! They came under deep conviction of sin. They wept and cried as they came to Jesus. Two of them were over 80 years old, which is quite unusual in our day. Thirteen of them were college-age young people. One of them was a lost Southern Baptist man. He had argued with me for many months that he was already saved. But he was really saved this year in the revival! We had never seen 24 people converted in such a short time. All of us could sense God’s presence in the meetings. I will baptize about half of them in a few weeks.

This should be a very happy time, a time of thanksgiving to God for such an outpouring of His Spirit, drawing these people to Christ for cleansing from sin by the Blood He shed on the Cross. Be ready to give a testimony next Saturday night of what God has done for you!

There will probably be a few more hopeful conversions before this year ends. We had another one last night. And I am sure we will always remember this year 2016 as the year of our first God-sent revival.

But we must not think that the church will always be in a state of revival. There may be many months, or even years, before God does this again. In the meantime we must give thanks to God for this great outpouring of His Spirit. We must not try to live in a continuous state of revival or we will become disappointed and sad. A church cannot live in a continuous state of revival. We’d be revived on steroids! It would burn us out. So, let us stop now for a while and just praise God for those 24 conversions. There will be more conversions from time to time. And in the future, I believe there may well be another revival, a far greater one. But for the rest of this year, let us rejoice in the power of God and the Blood of Christ. And let us all pray for these new converts, that they, like the Christians in the Tribulation, will “overcome [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and...love not their lives unto death” (Revelation 12:11). Let us stand and sing the theme song of this God-sent revival. It’s number 9 on your song sheet.

Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray,
   Let me see only Jesus today;
Though through the valley Thou leadest me,
   Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, every desire
   Keep for Thy glory; my soul inspire,
With Thy perfection, Thy holy love,
   Flooding my pathway with light from above.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, let naught of sin
   Shadow the brightness shining within.
Let me see only Thy blessed face,
   Feasting my soul on Thy infinite grace.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

And if you are still not saved we ask you to repent of your sin – and turn to Christ and trust Him, and be cleansed from your sin by the Blood He shed for you on the Cross. You must feel that you are sinful. Then you must trust Jesus to wash your sins away with the Blood He shed on the Cross. Amen.


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(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Revelation 12:7-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
         “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (by Martin Luther, 1483-1546).