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More than Conquerors 10 July 2011 Elder William Seah

In the Bible, believers are called by many names, the most common being ‘disciples or followers of Christ’. In Acts 11:26, we read that it was in Antioch that believers were first called Christians. Many Christians in the early church suffered much for their faith in Christ, yet the more they suffered, the more they were emboldened, becoming more courageous in living out their Christian faith. Contrary to popular belief, persecution does not destroy but rather strengthens the faith of a believer! Acts 5:40-42 testifies to this and records that “..when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10 made this personal profession, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” He saw beyond the present sufferings to the eternal glory of the future and boldly declares, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) So much so that when he wrote to the Christians in Rome in Romans 5:3-5 he was able to testify that “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” And it is this love of God that constrains us to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) willing to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Yes, the Christian is indeed a soldier of Jesus Christ waging a spiritual warfare with victory being assured! We gladly echo the words of 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” and hearken to the exhortation to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (15:58). The best pre-occupation for the believer who is also called a ‘steward or servant’ is to serve the Lord of lords and the King of kings, even our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that our Master has a reward for all His faithful servants, who labour under much ‘trial and tribulation’ following in His footsteps till He calls us home to glory. For He has said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12) Consider Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Yes, not only conquerors, but “more than conquerors through Him (Christ) that loved us.” How assuring this is for all of God’s servants especially those in countries where freedom of worship is non-existent. Yes, it is because of His great love for us, that Christ “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) What condescending love which must certainly cause us to love Him in return. And to serve Him will gladness (Psalm 100:2), wholeheartedly with greater zeal and fervour wherever He has placed us! Having been assured as believers that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us, allow me to share with you three separate occasions in the Scriptures where the Lord gave victory to His people. For it has been said that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

Dearly beloved, consider Genesis chapter 14, how after Abram (later called Abraham) parted company with his nephew Lot, he settled in “the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.” (13:18) In the war between the kings of the various nations, Lot was captured and all his goods taken from him. When the news came to Abram’s ears “he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan….and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah….and he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.” (14:14-16) And Melchizedek, king of Salem who was the priest of the most high God said, “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (14:19-20). It is here that ‘tithes’ is first mentioned in the Bible. Dearly beloved, consider Judges chapter 6-8 in which is recorded for us the faithfulness of God to Israel by the hand of Gideon when he with 300 men subdued more than 100,000 Midianites who had plundered their land and left it in waste. Other enemies included the Amalekites and the children of the east who came up against the Israelites “and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth….and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.” (6:4-6) The people had to flee for their lives and made their homes in the mountains and caves for fear of the enemies. To say the least, it was a hard and trying time for Israel during this period of their history (the darkest period) for “in those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (17:6; 21:25) In their despair, they cried unto the Lord who heard them and sent a prophet unto them who said, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice. And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” (6:8-12) In that darkest hour of Israel’s history, God raised a man, called Gideon, the son of Joash, a worshipper of Baal to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Midianites. The story of Gideon is certainly familiar to many if not most of us, especially those who have attended Sunday School. Young Gideon was ‘fearful and scared’ as the task was humanly beyond him. He had seen with his own eyes the brutality and ferocity of the Midianites. Naturally, Gideon had his doubts and said to the prophet, “Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said unto Him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” (6:13-15) However, God had to confirm with Gideon his calling by one sign and two miracles. Finally with a ‘greatly reduced army’ of 300 men (from initially 32,000), Gideon in obedience to God did as God had commanded him and killed 120,000 of the enemies, and “thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon” (8:28). Dearly beloved, consider 1 Chronicles chapter 5 and know that as it was in the days of old, so it is now, if the war or battle be of God the victory is assured! We read that the sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh could hardly muster 45,000 fighting men against their enemy, the Hagarites who had more than 100,000 men on their side. But “the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him. And they took away their

cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men a hundred thousand. For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God.” (5:20-22) The Lord saves not by many nor by few; it is ours to go forth into our spiritual battle in Christ’s Name even if we be but just a handful for the Lord of hosts is our Captain and as such victory is assured! Recall the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16-18 thus, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me....Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly Kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” With God, ONE is majority, the likes of Paul who was willing to give himself for the cause of the Gospel, having suffered much for his Master described thus, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed forevermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-33) Are we so soon troubled because of some light affliction which comes upon us? Remember that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:12-13)
In conclusion, let us remember that Tengah is the Lord’s work which He has established for His own glory. Therefore, by the empowering of His Spirit and in His strength alone let us advance His Kingdom before the King returns. Let us be assured that if God be for us, no one can be against us (Romans 8:31) and that through Christ alone, we are more than conquerors!