March 1, 2020
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Gain and Celebrate Victory.
It happened when I was a young teenager. I’ll never forget the day. After 5 long years of war, the Japanese surrendered. There was no internet or 24/7 news channel—we heard it on our radios. We all came out in the streets and celebrated the victory. That day was named “V-J” Day. Some folks now in their 80s will remember it.
But for the Christian, there’s coming another “V-J” day—the once-and-for-all “Victory in Jesus.” Revelation 15-16 celebrates that victory—a glorious scene in Heaven.
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb… (Revelation 15:1-3)
If our topic is “How to Gain and Celebrate Victory,” why are we reading this future scene in Revelation? Because the victory-winning saints in these chapters have something to show us. You’re going to see victory in three steps.
We know a future time is coming when a ruthless world leader called the Antichrist (this passage calls him “the beast”) will rise to power during a period known as “The Tribulation.” He will wreak havoc on earth. Many who come to faith in Christ will be martyred by the Antichrist because they refuse to worship him. We see them in these verses gathered near the throne of God, standing on a sea of glass, praising God because they’ve gained victory over the Antichrist. How did they get that victory? We need to find out.
First, this sea of glass depicts the Word of God as the fulfillment of that Old Testament symbol of water, cleansing from all sin. Old Testament priests always washed themselves before entering the temple in the water held in a bronze basin. Ephesians 5:26 mentions the cleansing power of water and its symbolic relationship to the Word: “That He [the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest] might sanctify and cleanse her [the Church] with the washing of water by the Word.”
Revelation 4:6 calls this sea of glass in Heaven “The Crystal Sea.” But these saints coming out of The Tribulation don’t wash in it. It’s now crystallized. Saints now stand on the Word of God.
If you want to live in victory—not some day in Heaven, not in the sweet by and by, but in the nasty now and now, in your office tomorrow, when you go back to school, in your neighborhood—you must learn to stand upon the solid Word of God. When Joshua was going into Canaan, God gave him a formula for victory, as fresh as tomorrow’s newspaper.
This Book of the Law [the Bible] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
If someone were to eavesdrop on your conversation, would it lead them to Christ? John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, was converted by listening to a conversation between some women talking about the Word of God. The Word of God is to be in your mouth.
When you meditate on the Word of God, it becomes like a song you can’t get out of your mind. You hear it over and over. You’re thinking God’s thoughts after Him, finding wisdom as you meditate on the Word.
When God gives you a command to obey, stop right there if you’re not obeying. Don’t go any further. Make up your mind: “I will obey the Word of God.” The Bible bursts aflame in your hand, mind, and heart as you obey. Jesus promised, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).
When you obey the Word, God becomes real to you. Anything less is just religious talk.
You gain and celebrate the victory by planting your feet firmly on the Word of God.
Revelation 15:3 continues:
They [the saints] sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!
They stand upon the Crystal Sea in Heaven and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
The first recorded song in the Bible (Exodus 15) is the song of Moses. When God freed them from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and redeemed them by the blood of the Passover Lamb, they sang a song of redemption. The last recorded song is this one, the song of the Lamb. Both sing of redemption. Victory’s song celebrates not what we’ve done, but the works of Almighty God—works of redemption.
When Paul and Silas were arrested for preaching the Gospel and thrown into the Philippian jail, they were singing and praising God, and the jailer and his entire household came to redemption. You talk about jailhouse rock—God sent an earthquake and set the prisoners free!
The way you celebrate the Lord Jesus is to sing of His works. Praising God precedes and follows every victory. If you don’t praise, you’re not going to have victory. There are as many commands in the Bible to sing as there are to pray. When God gives you victory, sing praise!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested. (Revelation 15:4)
You wouldn’t expect to see judgment as a principle of gaining and celebrating victory, but it is.
We gain victory by knowing not one iota of sin will ever go unpunished. You say, “I see so much wickedness, rape, arson, pillage, child abuse, blasphemy, war. Where is God?” On His throne. You can be certain every sin will be punished. The only question is: Who is going to bear that punishment? Your sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell, but it will never be overlooked. No one’s ever is.
The saints standing on the sea of glass, the Word of God, sing of His works and see His righteous judgment unfold as God puts the final period on the final paragraph, on the final page of the final book of history. Our God is a Mighty God. As He pours out His wrath on this world (chapter 16), things begin to happen. By the time the seventh angel arrives (v. 17), “a loud voice came out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’”
“It is finished”—the same words Jesus said from the cross. He poured out His blood, bowed His head, and said, “It is finished. Redemption is complete.” Now retribution will be completed. Sin must be dealt with. Apart from His righteous judgment, there’ll be no ultimate victory.
If you will trust God, you’ll gain and celebrate victory by
Stand. Praise. Obey. See His judgment. Rejoice in final victory.