We can rejoice every day because Jesus won the victory.

 

 

Matthew 28:6

 

Wide World of Sports TV opening from 1978 – The thrill of Victory and the agony of defeat.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2AZH4FeGsc)

Does that bring back memories?

 

There is a Thrill in Victory – a fist pump, a jump, a scream, a muscle pose, hand over mouth, mouth wide open and many other reactions.

There is Agony in Defeat – hands over head, a blank stare, falling on the ground and many other reactions.

 

During March Madness we see both reactions at the end of every game.

 

Do you have the thrill of victory every day?

Romans 8:1  There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

We are not condemned. The opposite of being condemned is being set free.

We are free in Christ. We are free because of Jesus’ victory over death.

 

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

 

Every day we can wake up knowing we won. Every day we can walk in the thrill of Victory.

Heads held high, a bounce in our step, pumping our fist saying yes, yes.

 

It was not easy for Jesus to bring us the thrill of victory but before the creation of the world he was willing to suffer to bring us life.

 

We have been walking through the Gospel of Matthew to see who Jesus is.

Last week we saw His Triumphal entry and listened to Him teach to the crowds.

 

Thursday

Now it is Thursday and the Jews have had enough of this self-proclaimed Messiah. They plot to arrest and kill Him.  It seems God is on their side and opens a door of opportunity; one of Jesus’ close friends and disciples, Judas, is willing to betray Him.

Would you ever betray Jesus?  Would you be a Benedict Arnold?

A traitor in America but a Hero in England.

Every traitor is considered a hero to someone.  Judas was a traitor to Jesus but a hero to the religious leaders.

 

Edward Snowden is a name we know as being charged with being a traitor to America.

(On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of US Government or foreign government property.[5] On June 23, he flew to Moscow, Russia)

 

There is known to be at least 250 Americans who have become traitors and joined ISIS.

 

What a horrible thing to be known as a traitor to one’s country. It is even worse to be known as a traitor to ones Lord.  Betraying Jesus simple means you are not loyal to Jesus.

Matthew 10:32  “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Don’t be like Judas – don’t betray or even deny Jesus.

Even after Judas has been paid to betray Jesus he is with Jesus during the Last Supper and even had the nerve to say, “Surely not I, Rabbi”

Jesus told the twelve that one of them would betray Him.  When Judas asked, Surely, not I; Jesus said yes it is you.  You would have thought that would have convicted him but it did not.  How many times do we know that what we are about to do is wrong, sinful and we do it anyway?  I pray that we come to repentance and not just get sad like Judas and never repent.

After Peter denied knowing Jesus he wept and still hung out with the other disciples.  When he had a chance to see Jesus he ran to Him and Jesus forgave him.

Judas was sorry and even returned the money he had been paid to betray Jesus; but he isolated himself from the other disciples and killed himself.

Sin has a way of isolating us but don’t let it.  When you sin confess your sin and remain with Christian friends.  That is the only way you will not become hardened and live in despair.

If you live in despair you will suffer the Agony of Defeat like Judas.

I want you to live in the Thrill of Victory – there will be failures but you are still living a Victorious life.

 

After the Supper Jesus and the disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane where we hear Jesus’ prayer; Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 

Can you imagine Jesus heart break? He knew Judas had betrayed Him and He knew that He was about to suffer death on the cross.

 

So Thursday late and all morning Friday Jesus is arrested and paraded to different mock trails until He is nailed to the cross at 9:00am until His death at 3:00pm.   Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body and buried it in his own tomb before Saturday, the Sabbath, began at 6:00pm.

 

Jesus’ death on the cross brought us salvation (1 Peter 1:19).

Ephesians 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.

 

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

The atoning work of Christ was finished at the moment of his death, “It is finished.” Jesus in His divine nature suffered an eternity of hell for each one of us.

 

We know that Jesus’ physical body was buried in the tomb but where was His spirit?

Just like Lazarus, just like the thief and just like us we are alive even when our physical body is dead.

 

2 Corinthians 5:8  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

 

Jesus taught that God is God of the living.

Matthew 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

 

So what was Jesus doing from the time He died on the cross Friday till He was resurrected Sunday?

 

Luke 23:42  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43  Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

Guess what – Jesus was waiting for the thief in Paradise because Jesus died first. Jesus was in paradise from 3PM Friday until His resurrection; His spirit was in paradise before His body was placed in the tomb.

While the disciples were in despair and weeping over His death; Jesus was in paradise proclaiming His Victory.

 

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19  through whom also he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison.

 

We get a glimpse of this prison – what we call Hades in Luke 16:23. Hades is merely the abode of the dead, the righteous are in Paradise with a great chasm separating them from the unrighteous. Jesus was not giving the rebellious people of long ago a chance to repent (Hebrew 9:27) after we die we face judgement.  Jesus was telling righteous and unrighteous what He had accomplished on the cross.  The Thrill of Victory; I bet there was a party in Paradise.  There was probably a collective groan across the chasm realizing the Agony of Defeat was for eternity.

 

Then came Sunday

Matthew 28:5  The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. …7  … Go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead.’”

 

He is Alive! We can experience the Thrill of Victory.

 

We can walk in the Thrill of Victory but we often walk in the Agony of Defeat.

We forget what Jesus has done for us.

Instead we define ourselves by our sins.

We forget that Jesus loves us.

Instead we believe Satan’s lies.

We forget that Jesus has everything under control.

Instead we let the worries of this life weigh us down.

 

Are you living in the Thrill of Victory or in the Agony of Defeat?

Remember what Jesus has done for you

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. …11  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

 

Remember that Jesus loved you while you were a sinner.

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Remember that Jesus has everything taken care of.

Matthew 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Because Jesus Arose we can live a Victorious life. A Victorious life is a Holy life.

 

Colossians 3:1  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. …12  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. …17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We can live in Victory because our names are written in the Book of Life.

Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

 

Revelation 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

 

Because Jesus is Alive; because Jesus conquered death; we can walk in the Thrill of Victory every day if we will remember that He loves us, that He died for us, and that He is preparing a place for us in Heaven.

 

Let me show you what the Thrill of Victory looks like.

I posted a video on Facebook that shows the excitement we should feel every day as we wake up and remember what Jesus’ resurrection means.

What if the Resurrection happened today? (http://www.churchleaders.com/daily-buzz/275716-what-if-the-resurrection-happened-today.html)

 

He is Risen! I will rise; I will walk daily in the Thrill of Victory.

Christian you have won because you are in Jesus, don’t put your head down, you are not experiencing the Agony of Defeat. You are living in the Thrill of Victory.

 

If your name is not written in the Book of Life then sign up today.

Jesus is ready to write your name in if you will accept Him.

He asks you to believe in Him, He asks you to repent of your sins, and He asks you to come and be immersed into Him. Then your name will be written in the Book of Life – your sins will be forgiven and you receive the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.