AGCC Sun. a.m. 4/1/2001
#10 (Book of Revelation Series)

TEXT:  Rev. 11:15-12:17


Mankind's history is full of the struggle between good and evil. Our actual history reflects this, our literature reflects this as does our films ... our stories are almost always about the struggle between the two. Think about some of the biggest hit movies ... what do they all have in common? Most of them present an evil power or person making inroads in conquering the world as we know it, then along comes someone who rallies a challenge against this evil and ultimately good is triumphant. There is something in the human heart that both fears evil and hopes for good to overcome it. This situation is real and NOT JUST STORY! The story of Jesus is the fulfillment of all of man's hopes. Satan and evil is real ... and Jesus' life and power is the force that will deal Satan his final defeat. Even when it looks like Satan has won the day we must remember that he is a defeated foe already! Satan as the serpent in the garden of Eden threatened God's plans for man, but God found a way to destroy Satan ... and with his final defeat Christ will rule as conqueror over the earth. ILLUS:When the snake is dead, his venom is dead. - French Proverb - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 3419. PROP. SENT:      The Bible clearly teaches that Christ has vanquished Satan's power and will one day even vanquish his presence from the earth. For you to be victorious you must belong to Christ.

I. FINAL CHALLENGE     11:15-12:9

A. Victory Acclaimed     11:15-19 1. When the 7th seal was opened "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (see 8:1) -- however, here as the 7th trumpet sounds there are "loud voices in heaven." a. Quite a contrast! b. Why? c. Here Christ is revealed as the conqueror ... hardly a reason to be silent! 2. We are witnessing here the final events of the tribulation period, the last 3 years. 3. It will be a horrible time of evil, Satan will lash out as never before ... but he does not win! a. There is little question about the final outcome, already those in heaven are proclaiming Christ's triumph. b. Without even finishing the events of the tribulation period the proclamation in heaven is that Jesus is about to rule and reign forever! c. Never has there been doubt in heaven who the victor over sin is! 4. The day Christ arose from the dead Satan's power ended ... the snake who had bruised the heel of mankind now has his head crushed as was promised by God in Gen. 3:15. a. Even in Jesus' time on earth before the cross the demons of hell had to obey Him ... it is tragic that any human being would so ignore Christ who alone has power over evil! b. All that is left to Satan in fury! ILLUS:Satan must be the most frustrated personality in the universe! His army of demons is compelled to obey Jesus, and whatever the devil does to discourage a Christian, God can use for the Christian's benefit. - Billy Graham (1918- ) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 9858. c. The power of Christ is so great that even Satan's evil is turned to accomplishing God's purposes! d. If Satan is the biggest loser in the universe, what does that make all those who will follow him instead of Christ? 5. The temple in heaven is now opened, and the mention of the ark of His covenant simply remind the reader that God's promises and power have not been forgotten or lost ... they were symbols of God's covenant to destroy evil and save Israel. B. Vengeful Attack!     12:1-9 1. The "woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars" is most likely a reference to Israel. a. God had a plan ... for which Abraham was raised up to be the father of a nation in which the Messiah would be born. b. God's plan was from the beginning of time. c. God was always aware of Satan's schemes to destroy. 2. Even as this "woman" was about to give birth to a son, a son who would "rule the nations with an iron scepter." (12:5) the dragon stood in front of her with the hopes of "devouring her child." a. Clearly Satan attempted to destroy Christ when He was born, this was evident by the decree given to kill all the male children around Bethlehem who were 2 years old and younger. b. Satan also attempted to destroy Christ on the cross of Calvary. c. Perhaps at first Satan thought he had won the victory on the cross, but was he sorely mistaken ... which is always the case with him! 3. So many times throughout history ... and at the end of time, it appears that evil has won, that good has been vanquished, but the truth is that evil will NOT prevail! ILLUS:"Evil often triumphs, but never conquers." - Joseph Roux (1834-1886) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 3366. 4. Satan is full of hatred, envy, pride, lies, ... he can not accept the consequences of his own actions and he foolishly commits himself to try and destroy God and God's people! a. It is a tragic picture ... but God not only protects the child born (Christ) and snatches Him up to heaven (the Ascension of Christ) ... He also protects the woman (Israel). (1. Note that God protects the woman an equal period of time that Satan is chasing her. (1,260 days as mentioned here - 3 years) (2. The point is simply that God protects His own for as long as Satan does his evil deeds, God's people are never unprotected! b. Satan has so often tried to destroy Israel, he is fixated on destroying all things that God blesses. 5. Here at the end of time Satan wages war in heaven as well as on earth ... but Michael the archangel fights back successfully. a. Michael is an archangel apparently chosen to protect Israel throughout time ... in Daniel 12:1 he is also mentioned as protector for Israel. b. As God prepares to usher in the millennial reign of Christ Satan is cast out of heaven for good! 6. Satan failed miserably in destroying Christ ... and he will fail ultimately in destroying Israel ... and Christ will rule and reign for ever! II. FAITHFUL CHRIST     12:10-17 A. Vanquished Accuser     12:10-12 1. Again we hear the "loud voice in heaven" proclaiming Christ's victory! 2. Satan's war against God is coming to a close ... he won't even be allowed to make accusations against God's people anymore! a. We know from the book of Job that Satan at times comes before God in heaven to accuse believers ... but this freedom is about to be lost forever. b. No longer will Satan be able to accuse the brethren, he is banished from heaven for good! 3. Satan has gained nothing ... and he only revealed God's great grace and power instead of destroying it. ILLUS:When Robinson Crusoe's good man Friday asked him, "Why doesn't God destroy the devil?" Robinson Crusoe gave him the right answer, the only answer, the great answer. He said, "God will destroy him." -- R. Geoffrey Brown, "Look! A Great White Horse!," Preaching Today, Tape No. 111. 4. Note that all those who overcame Satan did so in the same way: "by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony..." 12:11 a. Our power over Satan does not arise from within us ... that is why all sinners will fail to overcome Satan! b. The ability to overcome Satan starts at the cross, and follows through by our testimony. 5. Once we accept Christ and His sacrifice we are out of reach by Satan's powers ... for we have been delivered, only then can we live a godly life. ILLUS:The devil is like a mad dog that is chained up. He is powerless to harm us when we are outside his reach, but once we enter his circle we expose ourselves again to injury or harm. -- Aurelius Augustine, Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 2. 6. Do you want to live outside of Satan's control and power over your life? To do so will require you to accept the life of the only one who has beaten the Devil and death ... Jesus Christ. a. No other religion has conquered death! b. No other religion has an empty grave for its founder! c. No other religion has a founder who has completely defeated evil. d. All other religions require you to find your way to God, only in Christ do we see a God who found His way to us by becoming one of us and dying for us. e. Do you still want to stand against the Devil alone and without God? B. Victorious Aid!     12:13-17 1. You can imagine that Satan's expulsion from heaven and his imminent final defeat does not sit well with him. a. He becomes enraged even more ... and he pursues the "woman who had given birth to the male child." b. This means Satan's final crazed act will be a final attempt to destroy Israel! c. As Satan has tried before, he will try again to destroy the chosen people, and once more God will provide a miracle of help for Israel! 2. Israel will be given "two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." a. God will protect them again supernaturally during these 3 years - the meaning of the phrase "for a time, times and half a time." b. Satan's powers are always contained. c. The only power in the universe that can protect against Satan is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Himself! ILLUS:When a Moslem makes a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, he kisses the Black Stone (the stone that came down from heaven), drinks from the well of Hagar, and throws stones at the three pillars that represent Satan. No doubt Satan is more amused than offended. Certainly he is not wounded. If we want to do battle with evil, we will have to do more than throw stones at pillars. We will have to live holier lives and help others to do the same. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). 3. Such protection will only cause Satan to spew out a flood of evil to sweep Israel away -- Rev 12:15 "Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent." (NIV) a. However, God opens up the earth to swallow this flood up and Israel is saved again! -- Rev 12:16 "But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth." (NIV) b. Every attempt of Satan to destroy God's plan and people will fail! (1. This was seen when Rome tried to destroy Israel. (2. This was seen when Hitler tried to destroy the Jews. 4. This final loss by Satan will send him into a rage that will include attacking not only Israel, but all believers. -- Rev 12:17 "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring -- those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." (NIV) a. Nothing Satan can do will shake God's plan or destroy God's people. b. There is no safer place to be than in the arms of God! 5. If God can protect His own when Satan is at his worst, how much more can He help us today? a. Christ IS THE CONQUEROR ... and Satan is the conquered! b. Have you accepted Christ into your life, or are you outside the protection of God? c. You either belong to God or to Satan ... the choice is yours! 6. Why stick with a loser, Satan has no hope of victory, and all he brings to his followers is painful loss. Satan's ONLY desire for you is your destruction, and God's only desire for you is reconstruction! CONCLUSION:    There have been plenty of times in history when things were so bleak as to defy the notion that good triumphs over evil! So often it seems that evil wins and good loses. Yet, today good still survives ... in spite of those evil times, and we must remember no matter how dark a trial we will overcome BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, not our own strength. Christ is victor ... and all those who follow Him! Rom. 8:37 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV) Follow the true conqueror!