Ever turn off the radio when they are going to announce the final score of a game? Not me! I am not going to waste my time watching a game where I am just going to be frustrated because my team didn’t come out on top. Just tell me the score and I can get over it and move on without the stress of watching the agony of defeat unfold in front of my eyes. The other night I did just that. I looked on my phone for the score of the football game, and knew going in that my team had one. It was still interesting because I still didn’t know exactly how it would all unfold. It was noted that while my team was 17 points behind, I was remarkably unconcerned. Of course I took the opportunity to say that I felt like they were going to make a comeback and win this thing.

The final battle for our eternal destiny is the same way. Jesus gave this unveiling of the climax of history when He gave John the Revelation. I used to sum up the theme of Revelation in just two words – we win! But I have changed that summation to a different two words – Jesus wins! You see, we don’t automatically win, unless we are in Christ. If that is the case, then when He wins, we win in Him! It is so much less stressful to live life knowing that, no matter how bad things may look from where we sit in space and time, that we are still on the winning side.

In Revelation 12:11, John is given a summary of the winning strategy for believers to follow if we are going to defeat the enemy.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (NKJV)

Our first key to victory is the blood of the Lamb. The primary reason this is so is that without it, we are on the wrong team, and still in our sins. The latter part of Revelation 1:5 speaks of Jesus as “Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood”. That’s a big deal! And being washed in His blood happens when we begin our journey “in Christ.” But how does one get into Christ and onto the right team? Paul told the Galatians that, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” We are in Christ when we are baptized into Christ. If you have not been baptized, you are not in Christ. I am not usually so blunt, but this is too big a deal to soft pedal it.

The second key to victory is the word of our testimony. We need to be telling people about what Christ has done for us! The 1st Century Christians did just that. When persecution broke out at Jerusalem, they scattered. But they didn’t go into hiding. They went everywhere telling people about Jesus! (Acts 8:4) We need to tell others about Jesus and not deny Him. Jesus put it this way:

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV)

The third key to victory is that they did not love their lives to the death. This is a difficult one. The vast majority of us will not be presented with this proposition in the physical sense. But we are also to die another way. Jesus said we need to take up our cross daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:23) There is only one reason to take up a cross that is yours – to die on it. We are commanded to put give up our lives, and live for Him instead. Paul said that he died daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). But it is necessary if we are to walk in a new life. Paul told that Galatians “ I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). When does this initially occur? I think Paul was making a reference in that verse to his baptism. And the connection is at Romans 6:3-4, where Paul likens baptism to a participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

So there we have it. The three-point strategy for victory. But that assumes that you start the battle on the side of Jesus Christ. Get in the battle on the winning side and move on to victory in Jesus. We already know the score!

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