Christian Overcomers

Standing Against Evil

The Cross and The Sword | You need both


INTRODUCTION:

You may have already noticed, but we had a new logo made for our ministry. It is a picture of a cross turning into a sword. Now why would we pick something like this? Well, the obvious reason is that in many places the Word of God is likened to a sharp sword. And since we teach the Word, chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse, I thought this symbol illustrated our ministry well.

cross and sword

And by the end of this study we’re going to see an amazing truth, hidden from most people’s eyes, how Jesus’s cross was actually turned into a sword, like our logo depicts, a sword that split hell itself wide open stripping Satan of his power and authority over us.

You will be amazed when you see what was before us all along. And you’ll never look at the cross quite the same. It will mean so much more to you. I promise. If you pay close attention.

But, what do the sword and the cross have in common with each other and with the Gospel? They seem to be complete opposites.

  1. The cross is a symbol of peace while the sword is a symbol of war.
  2. The cross is a symbol of forgiveness while the sword is a symbol of judgment.
  3. The cross is a symbol of mercy while the sword is a symbol of wrath.

While they seem like opposites, they are both a part of the Gospel. In fact, you can’t have one without the
other. As you will see.

Since most people don’t want to hear about the wrath or judgment of the sword, it’s tempting for pastors to teach
only the cross of Christ and the love of God. And that seems to be what has happened. It’s very rare to hear any messages about God’s judgment anymore. The judgment of God and the truth of God are missing from a majority of Christians churches today.

It’s too offensive. And it turns people away, so they fear.

"There can be no Gospel, no good news, until you first find out you are a damned sinner in need of a savior."

The problem with this is that the cross becomes meaningless without first understanding the sword. In other words, we can’t possibly know what the love of God is until we first understand that we are damned sinners in need of a savior. Else how can we know what he has done for us, and what He has saved us from?

Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” The good news is Jesus took that punishment for us on the cross, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). Now, all we have to do is acknowledge we are sinners in need of a Savior and the blood He shed on the cross covers us. It protects us from the wrath of God. We’re free! We’re guiltless before the throne of God, even though we deserve the judgment of His wrath.

For “without the shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Heb. 9:22).

So the cross is a symbol of peace, peace with God, not with the world.

Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

The flip side of the coin is, if we don’t repent and accept Jesus, and the sacrifice he made on the cross for our sins, then we will receive the wrath of God. In other words, if you refuse the cross you
will get the sword.

Just as Jesus said:

Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

In Revelation 19 we see the same thing. All those who reject the message of the cross are doomed to the sword. It reads:

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.


Here we have a sharp sword coming out of Jesus’s mouth, not to speak sweet things, not to say love, love, love, but to inflict harm to the nations that reject Him.

Revelation 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Revelation 19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.


That’s a lot of dead bodies my friends. I want you to hold on to this thought because we are going to develop it later. The sword of the word and the sword of God’s wrath appear to be one and the same in these passages. The word coming out of Jesus’s mouth will slay these people. So God’s sword symbolizes both punishments and spiritual truths.

Whether spiritual or physical, the purpose is the same. The sword of God is used as a weapon to inflict injury upon those who hate Him. Sometimes it slays them and sometimes it exposes their lies.

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

A very graphic picture. One might say, “Hey, that’s not the loving God I’ve learned about. We don’t read those kinds of verses at our church. The Jesus I know would never be so violent. He would never use a sword. He loves the LGBTQ’s and everyone else. Jesus loves. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE”.

You’ve never read the Bible then. All you’ve done is listen to your pastor peddle to you a false Jesus and a false Gospel. And you’ve been worshipping a Jesus carved out by your own imagination. Yes, Jesus is love (1 John 4:8), but he is also for justice. Anyone who refuses to repent and accept Jesus, as Lord, has refused his love, and they will get the sword. It’s their choice. That is justice.

As it is written:

Deuteronomy 32:41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.

Isaiah 65:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

He called but they refused. What else should God do? Would He be just and righteous if He turned the other way and just let people violate His laws and do whatever they want? Some heaven that would be. I don’t want to live in a place for the eternity like that.

"Those who refuse to repent and accept the grace of the cross will receive wrath at the point of God's sword."

Again, we see God holding out the olive branch in the book of Isaiah. It reads:

Isaiah 66:12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.

Isaiah 66:13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66:14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.


There is the part they skip! The part where He says He will show indignation towards His enemies.

Isaiah 66:15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

Isaiah 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.


He says it over and over again throughout the Word. The LORD will plead with you to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. But if not, you will be slain with the sword of judgment. You will be slain with God’s sword. That
is love.

But if you don’t know that you are destined for the sword, if no one tells you, what is going to motivate you to come to the foot of the cross? I mean, if you’re an overall good person, then you just deserve to enter the gates of Heaven, Right? Wrong. Our righteous acts are as filthy rags. Nothing we do is deserving enough to get ourselves into heaven.

Bottom line, God says His method of pleading with all flesh is by fire and by the sword. The true Gospel message starts there. Face it, you are a sinner deserving of God’s wrath, and there is nothing you can do by your own efforts to change that. But the Good News of the Gospel is that God provided a way for you to escape His judgment by believing in the blood sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of the world. That’s truly the good news.

Jesus says:

Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

And:

Psalms 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.


FIRST MENTION OF THE WORD ‘SWORD’

Interestingly the first time the word ‘sword’ is used in the Bible is in Genesis 3 after Satan deceived Eve.

Check this out:

Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The Cherubims were place at the entrance to guard the tree of life with flaming swords. Since Adam disobeyed, and the curse of death was now upon him, he and his descendants were now banned from paradise, and from life eternal, to this very day! I assure you, had Adam, Eve, or anyone else later on tried to gain entrance into the Garden to partake of the tree of life and live forever, they would have been hacked to pieces with the flaming sword of the Cherubims.

Anyone who tries to gain eternal life through any other means will be hacked to pieces with the sword. That’s the warning my friends.

You try to get there through Buddha, Allah, or through some great scientific breakthrough you will get nothing but the wrath of God. I assure you that.

For:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The good news is that Jesus provided a way. Jesus provided a path back into paradise that bypasses the flaming swords of God’s wrath. Adam’s sin brought death into the world but Jesus’s death on the cross defeated the power of death (1 Cor. 15:21-22). In other words, all of God’s wrath was poured upon Jesus instead of us, and He being perfect, was able to withstand that wrath without perishing.

What fool would not accept this kind of grace and mercy? What fool would harden his heart to refuse this path into paradise? What fool would try to find a different way?


THE CROSS TURNS INTO A SWORD

This truth that Jesus defeated death was illustrated in a manner few have grasped. Listen to this. The cross Satan used against Jesus actually turned into a sword that was used against him. Just as it was prophesied long ago when God said unto the Serpent:

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

That’s exactly what happened! This was not only the first prophecy of the Bible, but it is a prophecy of Jesus’s crucifixion. Thousands of years beforehand! Though Jesus was bruised by Satan on the cross, the cross in turn crushed Satan’s head. That’s the meaning of this passage.

And this picture was drawn beautifully for us in the scriptures. Listen closely.

Jesus was crucified on a mountain named “Golgatha”, fully translated it means “the place of the skull” (John 19:17). This area no doubt represented death itself.

Now what’s fascinating about this is that many believe that this mountain where Jesus was crucified was where Goliath’s head was also buried. We don’t know for sure. The Bible doesn’t say. But it does say that David, a type of Jesus, brought Goliath’s head to Jerusalem (1 Sam. 17:54). So, it isn’t a far stretch to say that this is likely the spot where it was buried.

What’s the significance of that?

Well, Goliath was a type of the Antichrist or Satan himself. So his head, or his skull, represents the head of Satan.

"What looks like just a cross to many was actually a sword God thrust from Heaven splitting the earth deep into the pits of hell to deliver the captives."

The Bible says, “David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David” (1 Sam. 17:50). However, after David managed to knock Goliath to the ground, he took Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head. Thus, the sword Goliath intended for David became the very sword that that killed him.

Now step back and look at the picture. Up until David came, no one could defeat Goliath. Up until Christ, no one could defeat Satan. Now this is the picture drawn for us. And it is amazing.

Jesus’s cross that day had the resemblance of a sword thrust into the “place of the skull”, or into hell itself. Next, we have a great earthquake, dead saints coming out of the graves, and the veil of the temple rent in two opening up the way into the Holy of Holies or back into the presence of God that had been previously guarded by Cherubim with flaming swords (Matt. 27:50-52).

In other words, the power of death was defeated! God thrust his sword into the earth, split hell wide open, and freed the captives!

Just as it was written:

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;


Satan thought to use the sword against Christ but in reality it was God’s sword all along. Satan may be more “subtil than any beast of the field”, he is not wiser than God. God outwitted him every step along the way.

For “He takes the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:19) and the wicked fall into the traps they have set (Psa. 7:15-16).

Satan intended to bring death to Christ, but in turn Jesus defeated death:

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Psalms 7:16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

war on the saints by Jessie Penn-Lewis

THE SWORD OF TRUTH

Though Jesus defeated Satan’s power over death at the cross and made a way back for us to the Father, the battle is far from over. Satan still has a mighty weapon in his hand, and he can still cause you a lot of harm or even death if you’re not on guard. If you’re not battle ready. God still allows him to use the power of deception. And Satan takes full advantage of it. You must know how to overcome it. You must know how to engage in hand to hand combat with Satan or any of his demonic lies.

The biggest lie in the churches today is that everything has already been done for us. Jesus defeated death on the cross and now we are glory bound. Praise God! It is finished. They say.

Jesus’s work on the cross may be “finished” but the battle still wages. You are still in this fight. Now you must overcome as He overcame.

Just as Jesus says,

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

How do we do that? Let’s read:

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:


Along with all the other armor, we need a sword. And we need to know how to use it. If you’re a Christian without a sword, you’re on a suicide mission. Satan will eat you alive. In fact, he already has most professed Christians. And they don’t even know it.

Jesus has given us a powerful weapon to protect ourselves, our family, and to advance His kingdom.

Check out this description:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Now, we just need to know how to use it.

And Jesus showed us how as He demonstrated hand to hand combat with the Devil.

Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


Satan tempts Him, and Jesus responds with “It is written”. He pulled the sword of truth out and struck Satan back. But Satan doesn’t give up that easily.

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Matthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Here Satan quotes a Bible verse! But he quotes it out of context. Jesus strikes back again by saying “It is written again”, putting in context the words Satan twisted. But Satan still doesn’t give up.

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Matthew 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.


Three times Jesus struck back with “It is written”. Are you skilled enough in the Word to be able to strike back when Satan attacks you? Are you skilled enough in His Word to strike back against Satan when he lies to others?

There were other times later on when Jesus did not hold back from striking the enemies of God with his sword.

"God has given us a powerful two-edged sword, but do you know how to use it?"

In Matthew 21:13 Jesus said to the Pharisees, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.” In Mark 7:6 Jesus says, “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

There are times to strike the enemy with the full force of the sword, like Jesus did, by exposing them for being thieves and hypocrites! And there are times when we use the sword of the Word to rescue people from Satan’s lies and deception.

As Christians, we are to use the word to attack Satan’s strongholds and to liberate the captives.

When the liberals say, Jesus would be for abortion, or Jesus is for illegal immigration, or Jesus supports the LGBTQ movement, or Jesus supports socialism, or any other lie Satan might throw at us, we have the right and duty to strike back. If we don’t, we give up ground to Satan and allow him to take more captives.


CONCLUSION

Every time I see our new logo, with the cross turning into a sword, I want it to remind me of two things.

  1. Teach the full message of the Gospel, both wrath and grace.
  2. It will cut, but never be afraid to use the sword of Truth.

If we teach a half-gospel, or a gospel without the force and power of the Word, we are not teaching the gospel at all. And that is not loving at all. My friends, there is a stern warning for all who do that.

I’ll close with that verse:

Jeremiah 48:10 Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

The implication is that those who are too pius to use the sword of the word, are in fact doing the work of the LORD deceitfully.

Stand strong and be a Christian Overcomer!

In His Service,
Pastor Ben Heath

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