Is life hard? Do you feel opposed? Those are dumb questions – of course you can’t catch a break. Life is hard and you are opposed. That’s the big idea for today: Satan puts up a fight but he has lost.
The first thing we see in Revelation 12:7-17, is that God has an enemy. John really wants us to know who this enemy is, so he goes by five names:
- The Great Dragon
- The Ancient Serpent
- The Devil and Satan
- The Deceiver
- The Accuser
All these names basically communicate two things about the enemy: He deceives us and then he accuses us. He tempts us and then he tries to bad-mouth us to God, bringing up true ways we have sinned. Think of Job. God and the angels were having a meeting in heaven when Satan shows up. Then, he began to accuse Job of impure motives, saying that he only worshipped God because of what he did for Job (Job 1:9-11).
Following the story from last week, Jesus had already lived, died, and rose. He reigns now and since he rules, the accuser no longer has free access into the court of heaven to accuse the children of God. John says it like this in another place:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
(1 John 2:1 ESV)
Jesus paid it all! I’ve heard it said that when the devil accuses us before God, Jesus stretches his nail-scarred hands showing that he took our place. After studying this passage, I no don’t believe that is true because the accuser no longer has access to heaven. He may accuse us in our own self-demeaning thoughts about ourselves, but he cannot bring a case before God. I believe I agree with Paul when he said:
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34 ESV)
Jesus intercedes for us as we pray and go about living our lives, but he doesn’t pay the devil the time of day. He’s got bigger fish to fry. I know this because the text here says that he’s also given us gifts. What gifts are you excited about? What do you expect to get? What’s at the top of your wish list? Have you thought about what God has given you? If you started, the list is endless (and I speak for everyone).
For today however, we see that God in Jesus has given us salvation. Another word for salvation is security. This isn’t the absence of conflict or a hard life, but a confidence that God will never fail. It’s not about the strength of your faith but the strength of the object of your faith. In short, I fail often, but God will never fail!
He has also have with us the power of God, the kingdom of God, and the authority of Christ. This power is active. If you wonder what God is doing, you can be sure that he is at work, regardless of if you see him or not. (In fact, next week is called God in the Background!) His kingdom mean God is sovereign – that he rules over everything (as we saw last week in Revelation 12:5). The authority of Christ is the same kind of language as sovereign. Despite the dragon’s attempt to take Jesus out, Jesus still rules.
In conclusion, we can rejoice with heaven this holiday season because our enemy has been defeated by heaven and has been conquered by the Church.
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