Tag Archives: victory

Christ The Lord Is Risen Today!

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

Words by Charles Wesley, 1739
Music by unknown composer, ca. 1708

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them,“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Matthew 28:1 – 10

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55 – 57

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2


The old saying is that bad news travel quickly. Of this, I have little doubt. Life experience has confirmed it. But if bad news travels quickly what happens with Good News? Well, there is good news that simply is nice to know and there is good news that you can not keep to yourself. It is this latter good news which is declared in Charles Wesley’s, “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today.”

The account of that Sunday Morning gives us the greatest good news ever. In Matthew 28:1 – 6 we are told:

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”

He is risen! What more joyous message could you imagine. These people who saw their friend and Savior die on the cross, had now received the news that He was no longer dead, that he had risen.

Upon receiving such incredible news what would you do? Imagine to be the first to hear the words that He was alive. This message that the angels shared was followed with instructions. In Matthew 28:6 – 7 we read “Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’”

Go and tell! This is the instruction given to the first to hear the truth. But need it be said. If you were to learn that one you loved with all your heart was actually alive, would you wait for instruction or would you want everyone to know right away. This is the message declared in the hymn when it reads, “Christ, the Lord, is risen today.” He is alive and I want the world to know!

The hymn continues, “Sons of men and angels say, . . . Raise your joys and triumphs high, . . . Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply.” Jesus is alive! Let the news echo throughout all the earth. All creation join in with celebration.

The hymn declares, “Lives again our glorious King, . . . Where, O death, is now thy sting? . . . Once He died our souls to save, . . . Where thy victory, O grave?” Jesus death on the cross, was but a step in the plan of salvation. It paid to penalty that we owed, but was not the end. His resurrection showed him victorious not only over sin, but death itself. This is why Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:55 – 57, “’O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Not only do we celebrate that He is alive, but that through Jesus death and resurrection we to share in the victory. This is why the hymn continues, “Love’s redeeming work is done, . . . Fought the fight, the battle won.” Jesus has won. In Him alone the work is done. Nothing we could do, would prove victorious, yet we may share in His victory when we accept his gift of salvation through His work.

Yes, He is Risen, and there is no greater news that could fill this earth. In Him we claim the victory that He has won. We know that we shall be “made like him.” (1 John 3:2) So we join in with the voices of those who came before and those who will come knowing that in Him all is “Ours the cross, the grave, the skies.”

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Read more about “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today.

Read the full text of “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today.

Traditional Choral Arrangement

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Lead On, Oh King Eternal

156234_572903450925_1750536026_nLead on, O King eternal, The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest Thy tents shall be our home.
Through days of preparation Thy grace has made us strong;
And now, O King eternal, We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal, Till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
And holiness shall whisper The sweet amen of peace.
For not with swords’ loud clashing, Nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy The heavenly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal, We follow, not with fears,
For gladness breaks like morning Where’er Thy face appears.
Thy cross is lifted over us, We journey in its light;
The crown awaits the conquest; Lead on, O God of might.

Words by Ernest W. Shurtleff, 1888
Music by Henry T. Smart, 1836

 


For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:2

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
Zechariah 4:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
Titus 3:5

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Timothy 4:7 – 8


 

Remember when you were a kid, all the games you used to play. Duck, Duck Goose, Red Rover and of course, Follow the Leader.  My son used to play a version of follow the leader that he loved when he was little.  I would say, “Hey, do the dance.” He would jump up and proceed to walk me through the steps. He would call out the move and do it, then wait for me to repeat it.  Every time it was done, it varied slightly but had the same basic moves.  It was loads of fun and he would be so excited to lead. And why not? Everyone likes to be the leader.  The catch is that not everyone can be the leader.  Someone has to follow.

It really doesn’t change that much when we grow up. Yes, many of us will have the opportunities to be a leader, but all of us are followers at some point in time.  Now we really should not look down upon following, because that is how we learn and grown in our skills and roles in life. So it is to with our walk with Christ.  Christ is the leader that we have been given the opportunity to follow and learn from so that we can grow to be more like Him.  This is the theme found in Ernest W. Shurtleff’s “Lead On, Oh King Eternal.”

The hymn begins by presenting us with what appears to be a theme of war.  “The day of march”, fields of conquest” and “our battle song.” Is this really a song of war? Well to begin with the concept of a battle is not foreign to the Christian faith but we do need to see it in context.  Ephesians 6:1 says, “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” As followers of Christ we are in a battle, a spiritual battle.  As Paul states in this passage, there are indeed evil spiritual forces that come against us.  But we are not alone, Christ himself faced these battles as described most clearly in Matthew 4.  Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He “has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” Christ is our example in the battle that we face each day against temptation, again the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” By following His lead, we can find the strength and guidance to stand strong in the face of these battles.

No the message of this hymn is not war, but that we can stand strong in the face of attacks that come our way when we follow the lead of our King.  So the hymn continues by not focusing on the battle, but the victory that we can have in Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) So we read, “Lead on, O King eternal, Till sin’s fierce war shall cease, And holiness shall whisper The sweet amen of peace.” While we may be in a battle, we can look forward to the day when peace shall reign. We can look forward to the day when the struggles are gone and we can rest in God’s presence.  It is a victory we can not achieve through our own strength in battle.  As Zechariah 4:6 says, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

No the victory does not come through our strength, but through God’s Spirit which he bestows on all those who believe. So we do not set out looking for a fight, but to live by Christ example, to follow his lead “with deeds of love and mercy.” For Christ Jesus has saved us through His love (John 3:16) and mercy (Titus 3:5).

Yes, God leads us through the struggles and battles of this life.  He leads on to a day when we will can rest in the peace of His presence. And we can know that if we follow Him, “there is in store . . . the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award . . . on that day.” (1 Timothy 4:8) So as we look toward that day, we continue to call out, “Lead on, O God of might.”

 

 

Read more about “Lead On, Oh King Eternal.”

Brian Olson is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ having worked with both youth and adults.

I Heard

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and bro’t
To me the victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Words and Music by Eugene Bartlett, 1939

 


But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:13 – 15


 

I have always enjoyed learning the details around historic events. One of the most compelling is learning about the events of WW II. One of the reasons is that it is still recent history, having occurred in my parents lifetime. This means that I can actually hear from people who were there and remember the events.

To hear people recount where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked. They tell the stories of what they were doing, and how it impacted everyone. To hear from those who served their country with honor as they fought in the war.  Hearing about the celebration in the streets as the news traveled of the victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.

It was a hard earned and long awaited victory, but ss great a victory as this was to celebrate, it is a pale shadow of the victory that those who believe in Jesus find. This is the subject of Eugene Bartlett’s” Victory In Jesus.”

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:57 , “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  A victory over sin and death that we can not achieve on our own.  Yes we know that the victory is found in Christ, but as I sing through this hymn one recurring phrase jumps out at me.

We read “I heard an old, old story, How a Savior came from glory.” After this we find “I   heard about His groaning, Of His precious blood’s atoning.” The theme is beginning to form and continues as we sing, “I heard about His healing, Of His cleansing pow’r revealing.” Finally we conclude with “I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory”, “And I heard about the streets of gold Beyond the crystal sea.” Over and over again, the phrase “I heard” jumps out at us.  Why is this important? Because while victory is found in Jesus alone, that victory is impossible if we have not heard.

And so I am reminded of Paul’s statement in Romans 10:14 – 15 where we read, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  To believe in Christ, to claim the victory, you have to hear the story of Jesus.  But in order to hear, someone has to be sent to tell the story.

This is the call on the lives of those who have claimed the victory.  In Isaiah 6:8 we read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'”  Those of us who have heard the story and claimed the victory that comes from believing can not simply rest in that victory, but must in turn tell the story to others.  Only if we are willing to tell, can other hear and believe.

There is victory to be found in Jesus.  A victory that can redeem us from the our sins and plunge us beneath the cleansing flood.  A victory that must be told to other. May those of us who have experience this victory not keep it to ourselves, but share it for other to hear.  Then, and only then, can they have the opportunity to join together with each of us and those believers who came before singing “O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.”

 

 

Read more about “Victory In Jesus.”

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

I can not count the number of times that I have heard sermons and lessons on Christ being tempted in the wilderness. We learn how Christ was tempted in every way that we are, so He understands. (Lust of the flesh – bread from stones, Lust of the eyes – Satan would give him the wealth of the world and the pride of life – if he was the Son of God he deserved to be treated as such) We hear about how Christ used scripture to resist the devil and how this shows us how important it is to memorize scripture. (Which of course it is, but I digress.) But as I was reading through the passage in Luke this week, my mind began to ponder the final sentence of this passage. “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:13

I realize that all to often we, . . . I, fail to see that Christ temptation was not a one time thing. Too often this passage is breezed through and the cliche answers are given. And while these answers may be valid and helpful in our lives, temptation does not end that simply for us, and it did not end that simply for Christ. While scripture does not specifically tell us of these other temptation, we can see them between the lines. When he became angry with the money changers, I am sure the temptation was there to do more than simply overturn their tables. When in the garden, the temptation to run away could not be more clear. While hanging on the cross, can any of us doubt that the devil whispered in His ear, “Are they really worth it?” No the temptation surely did not end with the three described in Luke 4.

I know that we give people comfort as we teach that Jesus has been tempted in every way that we have. We give people strength when we teach them that God has given us the scriptures that we can call upon to resist the devil. But we do a grave injustice if we fail to remind people that the devil is not so easily discouraged. I Peter 5:8 tells us that “the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking those that he might devour.” He may leave, but he waits “until an opportune time” to return. While these opportune times may come at any moment, sometimes out of the blue and often when we least expect them, we must always be on guard. (“Self controlled and alert” 1 Peter 5:8) We can not think that once we have resisted the devil and he has fled (James 4:7) that it is over. This is the very opportune time that the devil is looking for, when we let our guard down, when we say to ourselves, “I have stood up to that temptation and it is behind me. I do not need to worry about it anymore.”

Only when we stand in glory, before our Lord and Savior will all temptations finally be set behind us once and for all. Until then, we must always stand on guard because temptation is not a one time thing. But we need not fear these temptations for we have our victory in Christ. He has given word to keep in our hearts so we do not sin against him. He has faced every temptation faced by man, and emerged victorious. Most importantly, he has not left us alone. He has granted to those who believe in Him, the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. So while we may continue to face temptations in this life, we know that we already have victory in Christ Jesus.

Already, But Not Yet!

“I was brought to the conviction that mine was only an intellectual belief – a belief in which there was no life. It looked for salvation in the future after death; and consequently my soul had not ‘Passed from death unto life.'” Pandita Ramabai (India, 1858-1922)

Last week I had the privilege of hearing Dr. D.A. Carson, a man I have known and respected for many years, speak on Ephesians 1. As I was reading through my personal devotions for later that week I found the above listed quote. As I read this my mind was drawn back to the message on Ephesians and one particular phrase used. Already, but not yet. While this phrase was not new to me, I was compelled to examine it more closely and in so doing examine my own belief.

“How so?” you may ask. Let me begin by reading Ephesians 1:3 – 14:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

The Bible is very clear, every blessing I have, and I must stop to realize that I am truly blessed, comes from God. But I must realize that his greatest blessing is not found in material “blessings” but in a spiritual blessing. What is this blessing? This blessing is that despite my selfishness, despite my sin, despite my nature to turn away from God, He has chosen to reach out to me. He chose to send His Son, Jesus Christ, who carried the punishment I deserved for my rejection of a holy God, so that I would not have too. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.” This is the greatest blessing of all, but what does it mean? We may stand before God legally and relationally justified if we have put our trust in the “riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” Simply put, by recognizing our sinfulness, accepting the forgiveness that Jesus Christ provided in our place and putting our trust in God, we are forgiven.

But not only forgiven, we are made part of God’s family. We had an “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” And this is not simply the adoption of a newborn child into a family, this is the adoption of one who has lived a life on their own being made part of a family with all the rights and privileges, and “In Him we have obtained an inheritance.” What is this inheritance? The truth is that it is many fold, it is the forgiveness of sins, it is the freedom to choose to follow Christ, it is being united with Christ, it is the right to stand in the presence of God, it is eternal life, it is being identified as part of God’s family. I could continue, but for the sake of this writing this will do. The point is that the blessings bestowed on us by God are but the beginning of our inheritance, and it is all “to the praise of His glory.”

So how does this bring me back to Already, but not yet. “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.” To often I find myself, as many Christians do, looking forward to What God will do. We look for his coming again. We look forward to eternity with him. We look to be made holy. We look to find ourselves in the heavenly places.

And while we should look forward to these, we miss what God is doing in our lives and the world around us today. We miss that he has sent the Holy Spirit: John 16:7 “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go I will send him to you.” We miss that we are already in his presence: Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We miss that we have already been made Holy (set apart): Hebrews 10:10 “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” We miss that we have already been placed in the heavenly places: Ephesians 2:6 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Yes it is true that we do not yet possess our full inheritance in Christ – we do not see him face to face, we are still surrounded by sin and death, we still face temptations, – we have, however, already obtained our inheritance in Christ, and it is guaranteed through the Holy Spirit. So I must ask myself, is this only intellectual and academic to me and I continue to live in the defeat of sin seeing only the “not yet”, or does this truth permeate my entire being and I live in the victory of Christ declaring “Already, but not yet.”