There are times when the oppression brought on by the enemy gets harder, but that always seems to precede a great act of God! We can trust in God to deliver a victory! Is oppression over? No. But we are going to see God’s good work come shining through.
Scriptures used: 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, 35-37, 42-44; Exodus 15
Full sermon notes below
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
I Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
As we looked at last week, the enemy oppresses us, but he has only a limited time to do so. In fact, he now has less time than ever. You can sense the oppression of God’s people worldwide, the people around you, and in your own life, too. But, God is showing us that we have weathered our storms and we are going to start seeing some victory!
There are times when the oppression gets harder, but that always seems to precede a great act of God! We are in the running for victory now! Is oppression over? No. But we are going to see God’s good work come shining through. The title slide for this week is a dark storm cloud, but with rays of sunshine streaking through; and that is very much the idea of the message God is communicating to us. God always brings victory to His people. Leave today with the encouragement that victory is within our grasp!
The world around us needs to see victory in us even more than we need victory in our own lives. God can bring victory to the lost though His people - we are all He has in this work. He uses His broken, imperfect people to do it because it’s all He has! We aren’t much in ourselves, but we are more than conquerors through the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The church at Corinth was a brand-new church. They didn’t have it all figured out yet. Paul was trying to help them get established and get past their petty problems. Some of the people there had a hard time believing in the resurrection. In this chapter 15, Paul is telling them that there is a resurrection, lest everything we do is in vain.
“But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
I Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-44 NKJV
We have a natural body, prone to sin and sickness and weakness. But when Jesus raises our bodies, they will be a completely different body - a spiritual one. We don’t know what it will be like, but we do know it will be like Jesus’, a glorified body not susceptible to viruses, a new body that will not succumb to temptation. But we can’t have that body until this one dies. The wheat can’t grow until the seed is buried.
See the value in your oppression. See what God turns that stuff into - something glorious that works to our benefit. We can’t get our incorruptible body until we face the corruptible. We have to face the hardships first. In our dishonor, we corrupted this body; in God’s mercy, He trades it with a glorified body.
Power is only great when compared with weakness. We can look forward to the power we will one day receive, having experienced weakness. We can appreciate how powerful God is in light of our own weakness.
If Satan saw how much closer we are pushed toward God as a product of our oppression, perhaps he wouldn’t do it so much… oppression can become the key to the victory vault!
“I need some victory, God.”
“Okay, here’s your oppression…”
What? That is not what I was asking for! We get the immortal once the mortal dies. We get the incorruptible once the corruptible dies. That doesn’t mean we only get victory when we are physically dead, though! We can get our victory now! There is victory in this life. We are guaranteed by this same scripture that any temptation we face has a way out. God is faithful and with our temptations and oppressions and death and weakness, God makes a way of escape so that we can bear the oppression!
That said, the greatest victory of mankind, eternal life, doesn’t come until death comes first. The thing that we dread most of all unlocks the greatest victory we can ever receive! Death may seem like the end, but it isn’t. We believe in the resurrection, why should we not believe in the resurrection of a dead marriage?
The only way oppression can win is when we believe it has won. If we trust in God, and believe in a victory, we can receive it.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
I Corinthians 15:57-58 NKJV
Highlight this passage in your Bible and read it over and over again. Oppression won’t just go away, but we can see the rays of victory shining through when we believe in God for it. When all we have is the Word of God, rejoice! That’s so much more than all we need.
Last week when we talked about Gideon, as the army broke their vases and blew their horns, all they had was a word from God that they would have victory. They trusted God would be faithful to His word and He was! The Israelite army marched around the city walls of Jericho, not after the walls came down, but before they fell! You have the word from God that you are abiding in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. The nature of the oppression is different for every person, but the victory is the very same.
Praise God for the victory before you see it.
The victory in our lives begins at salvation. Though we do not get a glorified body until after death, we begin the process of becoming like Christ at the moment we are saved. That thread of victory begins right there.
In Exodus 15, the Israelites had previously been living at the end of an Egyptian whip. The oppression was so bad and had lasted for a long 400 years… but God heard their cry. We may be only one person in 7 billion, but God knows who you are, even how many hairs are on your head. When we cry to Him, He is moved with compassion for us. When the Israelites walked free from bondage, they sang praises to God for their delivery. Exodus 15 is a record of this song of praise.
Just as Moses’ staff-turned-serpent swallowed up the serpents of Pharaoh's magicians, just as the Red Sea swallowed up the entire Egyptian army, death has been swallowed up in victory!