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Sermon Illustrations: Victorious Living

Victorious living is a struggle between the old man and the new man. It's like a dog-fight. If you feed one, it becomes strong. Starve the other it becomes weak.

Someone could put $1million in your bank a/c and you still live as a pauper. "I don't believe it. If I draw some money I could be in serious trouble."

You must deal with the giants in your life, otherwise they have children. Phil Pringle

Jack Dempsey, former world heavyweight boxing champion said, "A champion is one who gets up when he can't."

Robert Louis Stevenson had not enjoyed a single day of good health in 14 years. One day, when he had been forced to set aside his writing because of violent coughing and wracking, his wife said to him, "I suppose you're going to tell me it's a glorious day." As he watched the sunlight streaming through the window, he said, "Yes, because I refuse to allow a row of medicine bottles to form the circumference of my world."

Col 2:15 - Roman triumph1. The victory had to be decisive and complete, over a foreign foe, at least 5000 of the enemy slain in a single battle, the conquest extend the territory of the state, and put an end to the war. Prisoners of war were compelled to march in the procession. The general rode in a special chariot drawn by four horses. People crowded the streets, the spoils of war were paraded. Incense was burned, there was great applause and celebration and sacrifices.

Many Christians are living in the victory of the cross, but not the triumph of it. E.g. after the Second World War there was victory, but many people were still living with the devastation. They were not experiencing the triumph. Illustration from Trevor Chandler

The triumph of Jesus Christ at the very juncture over the powers and principalities of evil is a major theme of the New Testament. He was tested by persecution at his birth and throughout his life. He was tested by false friends, by hostile religious leaders, by Jewish and Gentile civil authorities. He was tested in the healings, the exorcisms, the temptations in the wilderness. The principalities and powers attacked him through opposition from within his own circle. His own family assigned his notoriety to the devil (Mk 3:20-35) and one of his intimate friends sold him for thirty pieces of silver. No man was ever tested like Jesus Christ. He faced it all, and overcame it all, as no man before or since has done. The secret of his life was his determination to please his heavenly Father at all points (John 8:29) The spirits of disobedience had never before in the history of mankind discovered a person who was both totally obedient and totally fulfilled in that obedience. No wonder they could get no grip on him no wonder the demons felt threatened at the very presence of Jesus: "Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matt 8:29). The evil spirits perceived the ultimate judgment, and they realised that in Jesus Christ the end-time had broken in - and that his appearance in the world spelt their doom.2

The winner is always part of the answer. The loser is always part of the problem. The winner always has a program. The loser always has an excuse. The winner says, "Let me do it for you." The loser says, "That's not my job." The winner sees an answer for every problem. The loser sees a problem in every answer.

The enemy is behind us. The enemy is in front of us. The enemy is to the right and the left of us. They can't get away this time. General Douglas MacArthur

Charles Steinmetz, one of the founders of General Electric, was made of the right stuff. Crippled from birth, he was so short in stature that he looked like a dwarf. His mother died before he reached his first birthday. His father was poor but he was determined that young Charles would have an education. Charles couldn't run and play games like normal boys, so he decided to devote himself to science. He set this goal: "I will make discoveries that help other people." When Charles immigrated to the United States he couldn't speak a word of English. His face was swollen from the cold he'd endured on the boat passage. His sight was defective. His clothes were shabby. The port authorities were tempted to return him to Switzerland. But he stayed and found a job that paid $12 a week. There he showed amazing abilities. The infant company, General Electric, quickly realised his incredible potential. His career was marked by unparalleled research and development. When he died in 1923 one writer said, "He had the mind of an angel and the soul of a seer." Word For Today 23-6-08

1 Freeman, James M. Manners And Customs Of The Bible (Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos 1972) p. 460-461
2 Wagner, C. Peter Territorial Spirits p186 quoting Green, Michael in I Believe In Satan's Downfall