The Message of the Cross for Easter 2010:  

Overcoming

By:  Izak & Michele Bester

1 John 4:1-4 [MKJV]:

“By this you know the Spirit of God:  every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every
spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.  And this is the antichrist you heard is
coming, and even now is already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them, because He
who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

We are completing the season and time that Christians call Passover, Holy Week, Palm Sunday and Easter.  This time
frame commemorates the Lord Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the events of the week, His crucifixion
on Good Friday, and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.  

1 John 4:4 plainly tell us that the antichrist is in the world.  All you have to do is look around you, and you know this to be
true.  In fact, it seems at times that darkness is ruling over light in this world and in our lives.  However, the message of the
cross – the message in 1 John 4:4 – is one of overcoming.  That is the message we, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ,
need to carry forth and begin living out on a daily basis.  That is one of the messages that Jesus Himself demonstrated
every day of His life here on earth, and especially in His excruciating death by crucifixion and subsequent rising from the
dead.

God is merciful, and God is love.  He desires that none should perish apart from Him, but that all His creation should walk
in relationship with Himself through the atoning presence of Jesus Christ. He desired that so much that He gave up
everything – including His life – so that we might live.  In giving up everything, He had to set aside all that He was in order to
overcome and triumph over evil.  Jesus came, lived, and died so that those who would believe in Him and confess Him as
Lord would be saved.  But He came, lived, and died in such a way as to demonstrate to each and every person coming after
Him the ability and desire to overcome and how to apply that in our lives.  Jesus did not come just to save us.  He came that
we might have life – overcoming, abundant life – so that He might be glorified in the face of evil and His Kingdom
demonstrated in power and authority.  

Mt 7:13-14 [WEB] says, "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and
many are those who enter in by it.  How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who
find it.”

Lk 13:24 [MKJV] says, “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate.  For I say to you, many will seek to enter in and shall not be able.”

The way of the cross is a way that leads to salvation.  But the way of the cross is a narrow way; a way of difficulties; a way of
sacrifice; a way of discipline; a way of overcoming human desires, adversities, sickness, needs and wants for the Kingdom’
s sake.  This is the way that seems to have been forgotten by the church.  We are called to be like Jesus Christ.  We are
called to be overcomers of the world.  Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have spoken these things to you so that you might have
peace in Me.  In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world.”  In John 17:14-16,
Jesus says, “I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am
not of the world.  I do not pray for You to take them out of the world, but for You to keep them from the evil one.  They are not
of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  We are physically born into this world, but when we accept Jesus as our
personal Savior and Lord, we are born into the Kingdom of God, and are no longer of the world.  However, the world that we
came from is still in us, residing in our flesh, and it is that world that must be overcome, driven out, and eradicated.  We
have this ability within us through the overcoming power of Jesus Christ and the dunamis power of Holy Spirit.  But in order
for this to be effective, we must work with and cooperate with that power and not resist it.  It takes effort, discipline and
courage on our part to overcome, just as it did with Jesus.  It takes patience, perseverance, and tenacity to keep fighting
against the flesh.

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”, and in John 14:21, “He who has My commandments
and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.  And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal
Myself to him.”  These are powerful verses.  Firstly, this demonstrates the importance of being obedient to the Word of God.
Jesus Himself said that He came not to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.  Jesus fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law that
we cannot fulfill.  We are saved not by our own abilities, but we are saved by grace.  However, once we accept Jesus as
Savior and Lord, we are still to attain and aspire to that perfection.  Jesus Himself even gives us this command in Mt 5:48:  
“Therefore be perfect, even as Your Father in heaven is perfect.”  Our love of Jesus Christ is demonstrated to Him not by our
words, but by our actions.  It is in keeping the commandments – yes, the laws of God – that we show we love Jesus, with
the result being further revelation of who Jesus is in our everyday lives.  The power within us is revealed and multiplied as
we are obedient to the cross and overcome our flesh.  

Jesus overcame the world.  He overcame the cross.  He overcame the grave.  If we have Jesus, we have that same
overcoming power within us to overcome any test, any temptation, and any affliction.  But to overcome means to prevail; to
get the victory.  This means you will have to fight, you will have to stand against, you will have to sacrifice, and you may get
wounded in the process.  It takes strength of character, determination, and endurance to stand.

My question for you today is:  are you exhibiting Jesus in your life today by evidence of overcoming?  Again, in John 17:14,
Jesus says, “I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am
not of the world.”  What is the current state of Christians in America today?  Are we looking to be approved and accepted by
man – by our peers, our bosses, our families, our friends – or are we willing to risk shunning, ridicule, rejection, loss of our
job, loss of our friends, jail and confinement for Christ’s sake?  All these things Jesus and the early church faced as they
boldly declared the message of the cross.  If you are truly walking with God, and overcoming the world, the world and those
operating from a worldly foundation will hate you, just like they hated Jesus.  Jesus says in Mt 12:30 that the one who is not
with Him is against Him.  There is no in-between, which is where modern day Christianity is trying to live.  The day is
coming where believers will be tested for what they confess, and sadly there will be many who fail the test and fall by the
wayside.  They will not be prepared for the trials that lie ahead, because they have not submitted to the Lord’s rule and
authority, and overcome the world within them.  

Overcoming is a process.  It is a daily walk, and a daily decision to be obedient to the cross.  If we look back over the last fifty
years, the moral decline within society is evident, along with the increase of compromise and tolerance within the church.  
The church sets the standard for the rest of society.  If this is the case, and the church was healthy and overcoming, then
why is there such moral decay and depravity?  There are many who are crying out for revival in our land.  There are millions
of emails that go out telling people that the solution to the problems in our nation and our government is simply to pray.  
They use the scripture in 2 Chr 7:14 to convince people that praying is the answer.  However, in doing so, they neglect the
entire verse.  The verse is conditional:  Christians must first humble themselves [EG confess and repent of pride and
rebellion against God], then seek God [not their own agendas or political candidates], then turn away from their wicked
ways [which means start really loving Jesus by obeying His commands].  This calls for a complete life-style change, not just
a change one day here and there.  James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He shall lift you up.”  Both
these two scriptures speak in continuous tense, not just once off.  Only when all these things are done will God hear,
forgive and heal.  No matter how much we pray, and how much we verbally repent, if we do not demonstrate our
commitment and love of the Lord by becoming active witnesses by [through] our lifestyles, our land will not be healed.  
Revelation 12:11 (GW) says, “They won the victory over him because of the blood of the lamb and the word of their
testimony. They didn't love their life so much that they refused to give it up.” As long as we allow the anti-christ to exclude our
Creator – God Almighty - from all aspects of society, He is excluded…no matter how much we repent. We, as His followers,
are to set the standards, and we will do so when we, as individuals, understand that the church is not peripheral to the
world, but rather the world is peripheral to the church. We as the body of Christ, the church, are called to overcome the
world. We are NOT called to compromise and to sacrifice our values and the Godly values as defined in the Constitution; on
the contrary, we are called to stand united because in our God we place our trust. The question is: Why are we celebrating
Resurrection Day if we deny our Lord because we fear reprisal and rejection, and then run to compromise every time the
anti-christ bears his teeth?  We celebrate Resurrection Day because HE HAS RISEN, because HE HAS OVERCOME THE
WORLD - period!  We have been given everything we need to overcome, and now is the time to do just that… overcome
adversity, overcome the fear of man, overcome temptations, overcome the spirit of the anti-christ, overcome and return this
nation back to God. After all, He is the Supreme founder of the United States of America!

God reveals the power and importance of overcoming in His words to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.  These
seven churches are representative not only of the church at large, but also individual believers.

Rev 2:7  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give to eat of
the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

Rev 2:11  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  He who overcomes will not be hurt by the
second death.”

Rev 2:17  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give to eat of
the hidden manna, and will give to him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he
who receives it.”

Rev 2:26  “And he who overcomes and keeps My works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations.  And he will rule
them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter they will be broken to pieces, even as I received from My Father.  And I will
give him the Morning Star.”  

Rev 3:5  “The one who overcomes, this one will be clothed in white clothing.  And I will not blot out his name out of the Book
of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”  

Rev 3:12  “Him who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will go out no more.  And I will write
upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven
from My God, and My new name.”  

Rev 3:21  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My
Father in His throne.”

God’s greatest gift to mankind – to you and to me – is Jesus Christ.  The ability to overcome every circumstance (and
obstacle) we will ever face is birthed within us the moment we receive Jesus Christ as not only Savior, but also LORD.  God
has a plan and a purpose for each and every person – something He created that person specially to do.  It is when we
discover who Jesus Christ is within us that we will discover the reason for our existence, and realize the ability within us to
overcome.  It is through the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom is given to the Children of God, that we begin to understand the bible
and walk in the precepts and teachings of God, and that our minds are transformed and renewed.  As human beings, we
are made in the image and likeness of God, and it is only when we get to know our Creator in an intimate relationship that
we begin to understand who we are. Life apart from a relationship with Jesus – not a casual affair, not just in moments of
desperation – is no life at all.  It is in Him – in Jesus – that we live, and move, and have our being.  When we discover who
we are in Him, that love and that knowledge will flow into and permeate every other relationship we have. The knowledge of
that love within our own hearts will well up to overflowing until all we do, say and pray will permeate society around us.  That
will bring about a complete new recognition and acknowledgement amongst the unsaved that any society who denounces
God Almighty is a society that is without life and doomed for destruction.

God’s plans for us are for good and not for evil; for us to succeed; for us to walk in health, happiness, and victory.  Problems
[and evil] quite often come into our lives because of our own selfish motives and desires; because of walking contrary to
God’s word in the bible; because of God allowing circumstances to happen to test us, refine us, sharpen us, and deal with
sins and patterns in our lives in order to break us free for the ultimate purpose of blessing us.  Healing, deliverance,
overcoming, and victory come when we are willing to stop looking at others and look at ourselves:  our makeup, our
weaknesses, those places in ourselves that need to change.  It is then that the power of the cross – and our devotion and
discipleship to Jesus – becomes evident to the world.

May we, this Resurrection Day, be truly willing to humble ourselves before God and allow Holy Spirit to examine us and
show us what we really are.  May we be willing to face ourselves, admit our weaknesses, and make up our minds to turn
away from the attractions of this world, and begin walking the narrow path to God’s Kingdom.  On this day of glorious
remembrance, let us be willing to acknowledge that our lives began when BC was changed to AD because HE has risen!

As Christians, our new year should not start on January 01 of every year. Our new year should start when we celebrate
Resurrection Day. That way, when we amend our ways, we can truly honor Him as being the One who overcame, who
changed death to life, and who brought life to whosoever would believe. Let us make a quality decision today, April 05,
2010, to let this be a continuation of AD – a new life, a new beginning, a new epoch, a new opportunity to live our lives in a
manner worthy of Him, and truly give Him the glory He deserves by becoming vessels of honor, useful in the Master’s
Hand.  

Our gift from God today…and tomorrow….is Jesus.
Eagle Christian Ministries International