Have you ever felt that you just can’t win for losing? That no matter what you do, why you do it or when you do it, you fail to come out ahead. Certainly there are many things in life that can get to us, can discourage and even defeat us. But the Bible teaches us that when we believe in Jesus we are victorious. How do we reconcile these two truths? Simple, we read John 16:33. Jesus says “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Two truths reconciled. In Jesus we have peace; in the world we will have trouble. The peace we have in Jesus wins out because he has overcome the world. The real trick is learning to live in that truth. To live as if our King and Saviour has already overcome and made us overcomers.
Sermon Big Idea:
Those who overcome are promised eternity with Jesus in Paradise.
- John 1:1-5 Jesus is the light shining in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome him.
- Because Jesus is victorious, we are victorious through him. (Revelation 5:9-10)
- Jesus tells us to take heart because he has overcome. Take heart means “Cheer up!”
- In this world of trouble, we sometimes need something to help us “cheer up” to see the bright side, to remind us that we are overcomers.
- Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3 have promises for us that help us “take heart” when things seem bleak.
- Revelation 2:1 – displays Jesus as the one who holds the church in his hand, but who also walks among the churches, meaning he is present and active (how encouraging!)
- Revelation 2:2-4 – Jesus is pleased with the Ephesian church because of their labour, their endurance and their commitment to the truth.
- Revelation 2:5-6 – Jesus is displeased because the church has lost its “fine flush of enthusiastic love”, for Jesus and for one another.
- Revelation 2:7 – Jesus promises the right to eat of the tree of life which is in God’s paradise to those who overcome.
- We lost the right to eat from the tree when Adam and Even rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden.
- Jesus redeemed that right when he lived and died obediently, and he gives that right to us.
- Paradise is the place where we will share perfect fellowship and communion with God, where we will once again walk with God in the cool of the evening.
- What is Jesus promising here? Life forever in the presence and in the company of our Lord.
Take some time pondering, meditating on this promise. How would God use this to encourage you, to help you “take heart”. Is there something claiming victory over you in your life that God wants to free you from? Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to show you these things.
Questions for families with small children:
Spend time with your child talking about paradise, about heaven. Ask them what their picture of heaven is, and what they think it will be like to be there. Their answer may surprise and encourage you!