KNOWING CHRIST AS THE OVERCOMER OF THE WORLD
A Sermon By Wayne Camp
TEXT: John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
INTRO: In chapters 14, 15, and 16 Jesus has been preparing his disciples for his coming death and departure from them. He began this address with the words, John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. Now he closes it with the words, "be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." It is simply amazing to me that, in the face of the terrible suffering he is about to endure, he is so concerned with their troubled hearts. Such a Saviour we have. He is full of compassion for his saints. He is a merciful high priest and fellowships with us in our sorrows. And says, "be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
He warned them of the tribulation they would suffer before he comforted them with the words of our text. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
In this message we will first ascertain of what world our Lord speaks. Then, we will determine the sense in which Christ is the overcome of the world. Finally, we will discover the reasons why this should cause us to be of good cheer.
I. ASCERTAIN OF WHAT WORLD OUR LORD SPEAKS
A. The world sometimes signifies the creation, this physical world. John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him.
B. There is a world which God so love and which Christ came to save. John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
C. The KJV often uses world to signify an age, an indefinite time period.
1. The disciples used this word when asking about the end of the age. Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (aiwn)?
2. Paul used both the singular and the plural of this word when speaking of the wisdom of God in the crucifixion of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world (aiwnwn, ages) unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world (aiwn age) knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
3. Paul called Satan the god of this world and used the Greek word, aiwn, signifying this age. 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
D. This is another word which refers to the land, especially the inhabitants of the land. Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world (gh) wondered after the beast.
E. There is the world system or arrangement. Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world (kosmos), and the glory of them.
F. There is also the habital earth, the inhabited world. Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world (oikoumenh) should be taxed.
G. There is a world which lies in the devil, in Satan, that is under his control, that Jesus has in mind, when he declares that he has overcome the world. 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
1. This is the world of which Satan is god. 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2. This is the world of which Satan is prince. John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
3. This is the world whose cries out in rebellion against God and his Christ. Psalm 2:1-3 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4. This is the world which hated the Lord Jesus Christ. John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
5. This is the world whose princes crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
H. There is a world for which Jesus would not pray, and that is the world which he has in mind in our text. John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
I. There is a world which has not known Christ and will not know him, and that is the world which he has in mind in our text. John 8:19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
J. It is this world to which Jesus refers in our text.
1. It is this world in which his people will have all kinds of sorrows and tribulation.
2. It is this world in which we live as, at the same time, we live in Christ.
3. It is this world which our Lord has overcome.
II. DETERMINE IN WHAT SENSE CHRIST HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD
A. He has overcome the allurements and pleasures of this world. Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
B. He has overcome the physical weakness of the flesh. John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
C. He overcame the temptations of this world.
1. All that is in the world that appeals to the sinful nature may be classified in three categories. 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
2. He met every one of these temptations and overcame them without ever committing a single act of sin.
a. Satan used the lust of the flesh as his first temptation of Christ but Christ overcame that temptation. Luke 4:3-4 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
b. Satan used the lust of the eyes as his second temptation of the man Jesus Christ but he overcame this world temptation. Luke 4:5-8 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
c. Satan used the pride of life as his last temptation against Christ but Christ overcame this worldly temptation. Luke 4:9-12 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
D. Christ has overcome the god of this world, as we learned last Sunday. Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
E. Christ overcame the world by always remaining faithful to his task and true in his testimony. John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
1. He never compromised his message; he always spoke those words which were given him by the Father.
2. His words were spirit and life. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
F. Christ overcame the world by never letting its flattery distract him from the truth. John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6:26-27 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
1. When they murmured he kept on preaching the truth. John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
2. When they argued and reasoned among themselves Jesus kept on preaching. John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
3. When they complained about the hardness of his sayings, he kept on preaching. John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
4. When they went back and walked no more with him, he kept on teaching the truth to those who remained. John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
G. Christ overcame the world by not giving in to its many comforts. Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
H. Christ overcame the world by refusing to use its power. John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
I. Christ overcame the world by refusing to even use God's power to deliver himself from its devices. Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
J. Christ overcame the world by fearlessly facing the religious elite and delivering scathing rebukes for their hypocrisy. Matthew 23:13-33 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
K. Christ overcame the world by fearlessly appearing before the political leaders of the day and denouncing them.
1. Listen to him set Pilate straight. John 19:10-11 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
2. Consider his response when warned about Herod. Luke 13:31-32 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
L. Christ overcame the world in his death.
1. He was delivered up by God for the very thing the world thought would destroy him and his mission. Acts 2:22-23 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
2. When he permitted them to crucify him he was allowing them to do exactly what God had ordained should be done. Acts 4:27-28 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
3. The world ignorantly fell right into the divine plan without even having an inkling that they were doing so. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
M. Christ has overcome the world by rising from the dead and ascending back to the Father.
1. This was such a victory that the chief priests and elders of the Jews gave large sums of money to try to cover it up. Matthew 28:9-15 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. 11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
2. This aspect of his victory is seen in the fact that the gospel of his death, burial and resurrection is still being preached 2,000 years later.
N. Christ's victory over the world will be further revealed when every knee bows and confessing him to be Lord of all. Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
O. Christ's victory over the world will be further demonstrated when he is ruling it with a rod of iron and is truly manifest to the kings of this world as King of kings and Lord of lords.
III. DISCOVER THE REASONS WHY THIS SHOULD CAUSE US TO BE OF GOOD CHEER.
A. If the man Christ Jesus overcame the world, we who are in him will overcome through the same power by which he overcame.
B. He overcame the world as our head and representative and his victory would not be complete if we who are in him as head did not overcome.
1. He is in us and we are in him and we have overcome. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
2. He has regenerated us and we have overcome the world. 1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
C. This world is an enemy and it is filled with enemies but through his name we will overcome. Psalm 44:5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
D. There are many things in this world that would separate us from Christ's love but there is nothing that can. Romans 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
CONC: Now, let us go out and face the world with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts for we have overcome the world through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has fought the fight and he has won the victory. The world has its trials and tribulations but be of good cheer we are overcomers because he has overcome the world. In this world there is disease but it can never get the victory over us. In this world there is death, but it can never get the victory over us. 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
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Last updated on Thursday, May 15, 2003