He Has Overcome the World
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Quite often people misunderstand the core message of the Christian faith. To them it is not about receiving an extraordinary gift of forgiveness from the very God who has every right to exact judgement on a rebellious people. Instead, some assume that we place ourselves on a pedestal. That we think we are better than everyone else and expect to be exempt from the material hardships that others face. In fact, we know that some churches wrongly embrace this type of false teaching. They say that coming to Christ means we can expect a multitude of blessings in the here and now and anything to the contrary means that we are out of step with God’s will for our lives. This thought was in the back of my mind when my mother asked me to speak at her funeral. I told her what I would say:
John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus had been encouraging the disciples with the news that the Holy Spirit would come in his place once he had gone. They would be comforted and led into truth… they would not be left alone. The coming of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of Christ into heaven was not a magic formula to protect them from hardship as they lived out their lives on earth. The Spirit is the presence of the living God walking with us through that hardship, guaranteeing our arrival in glory at the end of our lives. I did not want anyone attending my mother’s funeral to think for one moment that her faith was null and void because she died of cancer at the age of 61. Jesus never promised that anyone would sail through this life without hurt, pain or hardship, but what he did promise is that he has overcome the world. He has made a way for us to know forgiveness and to have an unending, faithful companionship as we make our way through life.
We are not to be surprised by the suffering that we may encounter. Some people reading this will have faced hurt and pain to an extent that I might have never known for myself. But what remains the same is that we serve a victorious and faithful Saviour who will walk with us through it. Take heart, for he has overcome the world.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
The COVID situation in Brazil is still very serious. The House of Hope has had some wonderful building work during lockdown but they are still unable to open. The teachers continue to care for the children and families by visiting homes in COVID-appropriate ways. Pray for the teachers and children not to lose heart and to keep trusting in Jesus.
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