No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
HE FOUGHT THE BATTLES, I ENJOY THE VICTORIES
Intro: Colin Chapman, in The Case for Christianity, quotes Ugandan bishop Festo Kivengere's account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of three men from his diocese: February 10 began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me. They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention.
As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage? We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance.
Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: "Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did."
The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands, which rattled their handcuffs. I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men's faces!
The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus. We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and defeats it. The next Sunday, I was preaching to a huge crowd in the home town of one of the executed men. Again, the feel of death was over the congregation. But when I gave them the testimony of their man, and how he died, there erupted a great song of praise to Jesus! Many turned to the Lord there.
This is but one example! There are literally thousands that could be given about the Lord and how He is able to snatch victory from the very jaws of defeat.
Whether we know it or not, whether we live it or not, whether we accept it or not, God's people, like those men facing that African firing squad, are a victorious people! And, we do not have live defeated and discouraged lives! In fact, quite the opposite is true, God has given us the victory already, Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor. 15:57. When we sing the old hymn Victory in Jesus, we are singing the truth, God has given us the victory through our Lord. I just want to remind you this evening that He Fought The Battles I Enjoy The Victories. Let me point out the victories that are ours as His children this evening.
I. v. 8a WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TERROR OF THE GRAVE
II. v. 8b WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TEARS OF A BROKEN HEART
III. v. 8c WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TRAGEDY OF OUR TRIALS
IV. v. 9 WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TIMES OF HIS DELAY
Conc: Dwight Eisenhower said, "There are no victories at discount prices!" Our military is finding that truth out this evening on the field of battle. Victory always demands a very high price! The victory that you and I have in Jesus this afternoon is ours because God paid the price of sending His Own Son to die for us on the cross. He paid the price so that we can have the victory. The victory I have this evening was not cheap, but it is mine for free! He gives me of His victory without asking for anything. All that is required fo me to have victory is faith in His Person, His Plans, His Purposes and His Power. Are there areas where you need His victory this evening? It's your's for the taking, just take it and go on your way rejoicing! (Ill. The young corporeal in Napoleon's army. He took the Emperor at his word and took his place with the rest of the officers.) Isn't it about time the Lord's people just started taking Him at His Word and walking in the victory that He says is our's anyway?