Derek focuses on weapons of warfare, not only on the basis of Scripture, but proven from his own experience. From Revelation 12:10–11 he begins a look at the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, and the testimony of believers. These weapons are used for final victory and are available for us today.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue with our vitally important Theme: How to Overcome Evil.
Yesterday I shared the one basic, scriptural fact which alone makes it possible for us to overcome evil. The fact is this: that on the cross Jesus has already defeated Satan on our behalf. You must lay hold of that fact and retain it. It’s essential to overcoming evil. On the cross, Jesus has already totally defeated Satan on our behalf. How did He do it? Well, He deprived Satan of his basic weapon against us, which is guilt, by doing two things. First, He provided forgiveness of past sins so we’re no longer under the guilt of the sins we’ve committed in the past. Second, He cancelled the written code of the law as the requirement for achieving righteousness. So we no longer have to keep every detail of the law in order to be received as righteous before God. On the other hand, now, through the new covenant, our faith is reckoned to us as righteousness without the observing of the law. So, in this way, Jesus achieved two things. First, He rescued us from the dominion of darkness. Second, He brought us into the kingdom of light. These are like the two opposite sides of one coin. We’re delivered from the dominion of darkness from Satan’s kingdom; we are carried over into the kingdom of light. We pass from one kingdom to another kingdom. And in the kingdom of light, the Kingdom of God, we are in a kingdom which rules over all in the universe.
Now, as a result of this, Jesus sends us out to administer His victory over the kingdom of Satan. Let’s look at one specific promise that He gave to His disciples while He was still on earth, a promise that’s still valid for us as His disciples today. It’s found in Luke 10:19.
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (NIV)
That’s as true for us today as it was for those early disciples. On the basis of the cross, Jesus has given us authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, that’s all the representatives of Satan’s kingdom, and to overcome all the power of the enemies. See it is possible for us totally to overcome the power of evil and then that last beautiful little promise that’s added on, “Nothing will harm you.” In other words, “You don’t need to be afraid, just believe in me and do what I tell you and you’ll see My victory worked out in your lives.”
Today I’m going to explain the spiritual weapons God has provided for our spiritual warfare. Since our warfare is spiritual, our weapons have to correspond. Material, physical weapons, armaments, guns, tanks, all these things are of no avail in this spiritual warfare. I’m going to turn to Second Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 4 and 5.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, [They’re not carnal; they’re not physical. By implication they are spiritual. But, Paul goes on:] divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. [Our weapons are devinely powerful; they have the power of God Himself in them and they enable us to destroy Satan’s fortresses. Please note that the Bible does not picture us as on the defensive but as on the attack. We are not cowering behind our fortresses wondering what Satan can do against us; we’re out on the attack, attacking and destroying Satan’s fortresses. And then Paul continues:] We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God...” (NASB)
Wherever Satan raises a fortress, something lofty, something proud and arrogant, and self-assertive, asserting his kingdom and his claims, there we move against it with the weapons that God has given us and we destroy these fortresses.
Now God has provided many marvelous weapons. But today I want to focus on what I believe to be the most powerful of all and I say this not only on the basis of Scripture, but of my own personal experience. I’m sharing with you now lessons out of Scripture that I have proved again and again in my own experience. I’m not offering you just theology or theory; I’m speaking of the basis of experience and facts that I have proved. I’m going to turn to Revelation, chapter 12 once more, verses 10 and 11. That’s the verses that follow immediately after the revelation of Satan as the dragon and the serpent. This is what we read:
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’” (NIV)
Now that’s a picture of total, final victory by believers over Satan and his kingdom. Notice it’s the believers who won the victory. I personally believe that that final total victory has not yet been achieved. I believe it’s ahead in the future. I believe it will be totally achieved. But in the meanwhile, we are advancing fortress by fortress against Satan and his kingdom. And there in that description of the victory, we see this marvelous array of weapons that brought the victory. I want to read that section again. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Let me point out certain things. First of all, it’s “they overcame him.” “They” is the believers; “him” is Satan. In other words, there’s a direct conflict with believers on one hand, Satan on the other. Believers confront Satan directly, personally. Secondly, it speaks of total commitment. It says, “They [the overcoming believers] did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” That’s essential. It’s only the totally committed who have the authority to wield these weapons. It’s like a soldier, when he serves in an army, he does not serve with the reservation that he must stay alive. He’s prepared, if need be, to lay down his life. And that’s the same kind of commitment that we have to make in this war against Satan.
And then notice the weapons, the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, and the testimony of believers. Let me just say those three weapons that go together once more. They’re so important. Lay hold of them, the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, and the testimony of believers.
In the latter part of my talk today, I want to speak about that phrase, “the blood of the Lamb.” It’s so important that we understand exactly what that denotes. It has an Old Testament background. For any Jewish reader, when they heard about the blood of the Lamb, their first thought would be the Passover Ceremony which was how they were delivered out of their bondage in Egypt and that which they celebrated every year as a continual reminder of that deliverance and that victory. So I’m going to read a brief passage in Exodus, chapter 12 which describes this passover ceremony and it will show you the place of the blood of the Lamb. Exodus 12, verses 21 through 23:
“Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of this house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.’” (NIV)
See, the entire protection of Israel centered in the lamb that was to be slaughtered and its blood. The only way of protection was through the blood of the Passover lamb. What happened was that each Israelite father took the lamb for his house and slaughtered it. And he caught every drop of that precious blood in some kind of basin or receptacle. Now at that point the lamb was slain, the blood was in the basin, but the blood in the basin did not protect a single person. God is very specific. The blood has to be transferred from the basin to the place where protection is needed, the home of that father, and it has to be applied over the entrance to the home, the lintel and the two sideposts, but not of course on the threshold. We must never walk over the blood. It’s too sacred. And only when the blood had been applied, thus visibly on the external of the home was protection insured for those in the home provided that they remained in the home, that is, behind the blood.
Now, to get the blood from the basin to the doorpost, there was only one means provided; that was hyssop, a little plant that grows very commonly throughout the Middle East and can be found anywhere. After the lamb had been slaughtered, its blood had been caught in the basin, that Israelite father had to take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood, and then sprinkle the blood on the lintel and the two door posts with the hyssop. So you see, hyssop was a very humble thing, very common, very easy to obtain, and yet it was crucial because without the hyssop the lamb would have been slain in vain and no protection would have been provided for that Israelite family.
Now, in the New Testament, God has given us something that corresponds to the hyssop with which we apply the blood of Jesus and thus avail ourselves of the total protection and provision which is ours through the blood.
Now tomorrow’s talk I’m going to focus on this vital issue. I want you to be sure to tune in again tomorrow because I’m going to explain to you, in the New Covenant, what it is that corresponds to the hyssop in the Old Covenant, how we can actually avail ourselves of the blood of Jesus in such a way that we are totally protected from the destroyer, from the enemy.
Well our time is up for today. Tomorrow I’ll be explaining, as I’ve said, and I really want you to tune in again, I’ll be explaining in simple, practical terms just what it means to overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I’ll be explaining what the New Testament “hyssop” is.