This is a shortened version of my Palm Sunday sermon on March 24th, 2013.
Wrapping up the theme I’ve been running through Lent this year on spiritual warfare, we come to the focal point of all spiritual warfare: the battle and victory undertaken by Christ. Because ultimately, we have no power and authority without God, and Christ is our bridge or link to God.
Christ’s victory is where our victory is founded. This victory is taught in scripture: Romans 6:9-11 says, Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives for God. In the same way also consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. This victory is expressed beautifully in the hymn Sing my tongue the glorious battle. We sang it in church; check it out, it’s worth the read!
Understanding and trusting this victory is critical to a true Christian life. For example, many Christians today are caught up with end-times fever. They’re looking for signs of the “Great Tribulation,” wondering when “The Rapture” will occur and who “the Antichrist” might be. With these questions come an attitude of uncertainty: “when will Jesus bind Satan? When will good triumph over evil?”
I say to you, Christ has bound Satan; good has defeated evil!
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was a victory and an enthronement. The victory, as I already said, is mentioned in Romans 6:9-11, “Death no longer has dominion over him.” The enthronement we can see promised in Luke 22:69, “From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” Hence today, Palm Sunday: we process into church as the disciples marched into Jerusalem for the victory and enthronement of King Jesus!
These, now, are the end-times. Satan is walking from his former throne to the lake of fire. We’ve seen the vision, it’s written in the final chapters of the Revelation of John. Satan is on his way there now. Jesus is King, and is exercising his authority in the world. The lame walk, the sick are healed, demons are cast out, the oppressed are set free, the dead are raised.
With Jesus as King, we’ve been made “ambassadors of Christ,” and have been sent all over Satan’s former dominion with the King’s ultimatum: “Christ has conquered! Surrender and repent, and he will welcome you into his kingdom forever.” But too many people are fooled; they look at the cross and see only death. Even on his way to the Lake of Fire, Satan still screams out lies, to drag down as many people with him as possible. He has rejected God; he’s trying to re-fill that gap in his being. It’s the same sad story with humans – nothing can replace our need for God either. So don’t be fooled; look to the cross and see the victory of Christ. Look to the cross and see the throne of Jesus.
One last thing. Let us not overlook the strangeness of our Lord’s victory and enthronement. He conquered death through death because of us. Adam & Eve brought death into the world through sin, and every one of us perpetuates that through our own sins. Therefore, as we glory in the victory of our King, let us also be soberly aware of the lies Satan screams at us constantly: he still tricks us into sinning, into turning away from the victory of our God. So we still need to fight off those temptations and sins. Jesus won, but it was a costly victory. Yes, your sin is shameful. So is mine. But there is a victory that takes away the same even of the worst sinners.
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the winning of the fray;
Now above the cross, the trophy,
sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world’s Redeemer,
as a victim won the day.
So yes, please, tell the world how Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer, as a victim, won the day.