Saturday, August 23, 2008

Succumbers or overcomers?

As I have studied Revelations recently, I have been reminded of something that readily escapes middle-class Americans--life can brutal. I have also been reminded that Christians throughout the centuries who have experienced the greatest hardships and persecutions seem to be the least inclined to think it unfair that a child of God should have to go through these things. They discover the glory of the overcoming Christ in their lives. I've got to believe that we can become overcomers, as well. In the next few posts I want to explore that.

To begin with I want to share an excerpt from my father's book Overcoming with Christ: God's Message to the Church from the Book of Revelation.

So God’s message to the Church through the visions of the Apocalypse is:

1. Take a realistic view of life, past, present and future. Recognize that faithful Christian living involves persistence in both good times and bad.
2. Do not fall asleep! Be alert! Be faithful! Only those who overcome whatever conditions they face will be rewarded.
3. Live by faith undergirded with hope. Consider the promises of God—they are all for you. You can and will overcome all the wiles of the enemy.
4. You do not have to face life alone. God has abundant resources at your command. Rely on him, use the armor he provides, and by so doing develop those traits of character—reverence, obedience, faith, honesty, patience, faithfulness—that will help you be an overcomer.
5. The final message is the key to the whole book—Christ overcame! We can overcome with Christ. OVERCOMING WITH CHRIST—that is God’s message to the Church through the book of Revelation!

It would be interesting to know the timing of events at the close of the present age and when Christ will return, but God has not chosen to reveal these details to us. In fact we cannot know the times and seasons God has placed in his own power. The Second Coming of Christ will be sudden and unexpected, like a thief in the night.

The central theme of the book of Revelation is OVERCOMING. It is the golden thread woven throughout history. He wrote to a persecuted Church to assure them that with Christ they too could overcome all the power of the enemy by drawing on the resources God has provided. He dramatically illustrated the final downfall of Satan and his followers, the triumph of Christ and the eternal blessedness of his faithful followers. Even those who give their lives in the struggle against evil will share in the final triumph.

So when you study the book of Revelation, don’t think so much about the antichrist as of the triumphant Christ.

Don’t read about the scarlet woman, but the woman clothed in light.

Don’t be frightened by the Beast and the False Prophet, but look to the Lamb without spot and without blemish.

Don’t worry about the mark of the Beast, but seek for the seal of the Holy Spirit on your life. . . .
Excerpt from Overcoming with Christ by F. Burleigh Willard Sr. (Xulon Press, 2008), 120-121.

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