In light of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus I would like to ask this question, “Does your church cower or conquer?” To help you answer this question, the two words are defined in the following way. Cower means “to crouch, as in fear or shame.” Conquer means “to gain a victory over; surmount, master, overcome.” Does your church cower or conquer?
One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness.
A battle in the grave,
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken.
The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome.
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated.
Forever, He is glorified.
Forever, He is lifted high.
Forever, He is risen.
He is alive!
These words come from the song “Forever” performed by Kari Jobe. I have recently been listening to this song and others about the resurrection. They all have the common theme of victory. They declare that Jesus will not only conquer evil in some great event in the last days, but they declare He has already conquered our enemies (death, sin, evil, and Satan). Victory is not only a future reality, but it is a present reality that belongs to all who follow Jesus.
These resurrection songs are merely reflecting the reality expressed in scripture of Christ’s victory.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4,5 ESV)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
(Luke 1:68-75 ESV)
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15 ESV)
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
(1 John 2:8 ESV)
Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come…Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.
(Revelation 1:4-5 NLT)
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
(Matthew 2:18-20 ESV)
These scriptures and many more speak of the victory that has been accomplished by Jesus Christ. The New Testament witness is not that we are waiting for Jesus to conquer the enemies of sin, death, hell and Satan, but that He has already conquered them. We are not waiting for Him to be made King of kings. He is already King of kings. We are not waiting for Him to be given authority. He already has all authority in heaven and earth. We are not waiting for Him to set us free from our sins. He already sets us free from our sins. We are not waiting until His return to live victoriously over sin and evil. We can live victoriously today in righteousness and holiness all of our days.
We are living in the age where the kingdom of God has come to earth in the person of Jesus. We are living in the age where sin has already been defeated. We are living in the age when the Light of the world shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. We are living in the age where the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. We are living in the age where if we need anything to drive back the forces of evil we are to ask the Father in Jesus’ name and He will give it to us. We are living in the age when the victory has already been won.
So if we believe Jesus has already conquered evil, then why do we seem to cower more than we conquer? Why do we live as if evil is greater than good? Why do we live as if hate is stronger than love? Why do we live as if ungodliness is greater than holiness and righteousness? Why do we live as if the one who is in the world is greater than the One living in us? Why do we live as if the governments of this world are stronger than the church? Why do we live as if the rising tide of evil is irresistible?
Jesus did not call the church to cower. He did not call us to crouch in fear in our churches and just wait out the raging storm of evil until we either die or He returns. Jesus promised that the gates of hell could not prevail, or conquer, or overcome HIS church. Whether you see this promise as speaking of the church on the offensive or being assaulted, the point is that HIS church is the conqueror. HIS church is the greater of the two forces. HIS church is called to continue His mission of establishing the kingdom of God on earth. HIS promise and 2000 years of church history tell us that when the church stays faithful to Jesus the forces of hell cannot stop it.
Living OnMISSION is to continue the mission of Jesus Christ. We cannot cower and live OnMISSION. His mission is only worth giving our life for if we believe that Jesus has conquered and will conquer. Continuing the mission of Jesus requires a posture of victory. You cannot cower and conquer at the same time. Does your church cower or conquer?
Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o'er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.