HE FOUGHT THE BATTLES, I ENJOY THE VICTORIES
Intro: Colin Chapman, in The Case for Christianity, quotes Ugandan
bishop Festo Kivengere's account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of
three men from his diocese: February 10 began as a sad day for us in
Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the
execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three
thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak
to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me.
They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed
and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention.
As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to
say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething
with rage? We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at
us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and
Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: "Bishop, thank
you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my
prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in
and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing
between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am
going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I
The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands,
which rattled their handcuffs. I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the
soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into
a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there
with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so
dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men's faces!
The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked
toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved
back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus. We stood in
front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was
a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of
Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ,
which challenges death and defeats it. The next Sunday, I was preaching
to a huge crowd in the home town of one of the executed men. Again, the
feel of death was over the congregation. But when I gave them the
testimony of their man, and how he died, there erupted a great song of
praise to Jesus! Many turned to the Lord there.
This is but one example! There are literally thousands that could be
given about the Lord and how He is able to snatch victory from the very jaws
Whether we know it or not, whether we live it or not, whether we accept
it or not, God's people, like those men facing that African firing squad, are
a victorious people! And, we do not have live defeated and discouraged
lives! In fact, quite the opposite is true, God has given us the victory
already, Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor. 15:57. When we sing the old hymn Victory in
Jesus, we are singing the truth, God has given us the victory through our
Lord. I just want to remind you this evening that He Fought The Battles I
Enjoy The Victories. Let me point out the victories that are ours as His
children this evening.
I. v. 8a WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TERROR OF THE GRAVE
A. Ill. The universal impact and fear of death - Heb. 9:27.
B. Jesus has conquered death for His people - (Ill. The resurrection, Matt. 28:6) (Ill. 1 Cor. 15:53-55)
C. God's people need not fear death - 2 Cor. 5:1-8, Phil. 1:21-23; 1
II. v. 8b WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TEARS OF A BROKEN HEART
A. Ill. This world is a veil of tears, Ill. The soldiers who left for the
Persian Gulf and the families who will never see their loved ones
B. Even in the midst of heartbreak, Jesus goes on giving us the victory! Ill. Paul - 2 Cor. 12:7-9. Don't despair, do as Job did - Job 1:20-21
C. A day will come when Jesus Himself will wipe away all tears - Rev.
21:4. He will heal all broken hearts - Psa. 30:5.
III. v. 8c WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TRAGEDY OF OUR TRIALS
A. Trials are common fare for humans - Job 14:1; John 16:33
B. Even in trials, Jesus gives the victory - James 5:11 (Ill. The joy of
the Lord is a powerful thing - Neh. 8:10)
C. Remember these facts when trials do come - Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor.
4:17; 1 Thes. 3:3
D. Eventually we will go to a place where trials will be unwelcome, and
unable to enter, Rom. 8:18.
IV. v. 9 WE HAVE VICTORY OVER THE TIMES OF HIS DELAY
A. A Shout Of Reliance - (Ill. Where our faith should be!) (Ill. David
-Psa. 23:1) (Ill. Heb. 13:5-6)
B. A Shout Of Relief - Ill. He will deliver us and we will have all eternity
to enjoy Him! (Ill. Stephen - Acts 7:54-60) (I Thes. 4:17 - So shall
we ever be with the Lord.)
C. A Shout Of Redemption - (Ill. The progression of salvation)
Ultimate deliverance is coming for every believer.
D. A Shout Of Rejoicing - Since we have the victory, God's people
ought to be a rejoicing people - Phil. 4:4; Psa. 47:1) We don't have
to wait until we get to Heaven to praise the name of the Lord! After
all, we have the victory!
Conc: Dwight Eisenhower said, "There are no victories at discount
prices!" Our military is finding that truth out this evening on the field of
battle. Victory always demands a very high price! The victory that you and
I have in Jesus this afternoon is ours because God paid the price of sending
His Own Son to die for us on the cross. He paid the price so that we can
have the victory. The victory I have this evening was not cheap, but it is
mine for free! He gives me of His victory without asking for anything. All
that is required fo me to have victory is faith in His Person, His Plans,
His Purposes and His Power. Are there areas where you need His victory
this evening? It's your's for the taking, just take it and go on your way
rejoicing! (Ill. The young corporeal in Napoleon's army. He took the
Emperor at his word and took his place with the rest of the officers.) Isn't it
about time the Lord's people just started taking Him at His Word and walking
in the victory that He says is our's anyway?