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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Jesus and His Power

Jesus and His Power

In this engaging message, Dr. Tony Evans explains that in the cosmic chess game between good and evil, Jesus is the winner. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides power for victorious living for those who identify with Him, who testify about Him to others, and who love Him more than life itself.
Original Air Date: April 3, 2015

John Fuller: Well, you go to God in prayer asking for specific things, maybe salvation for a family member or healing from an illness, or maybe you need a new job. But do you ever pray asking what God wants from you? Here’s Pastor Tony Evans.

Dr. Tony Evans: What Jesus Christ wants to be in our lives is the sum total of the definition of who we are. If you want victory and you want authority, if you want the risen Christ to be risen in you, then you must be clearly identified with Jesus Christ.

John: It’s Good Friday, and you’ll hear more from Dr. Evans about the amazing relationship you can have with God because of the cross. Our host is Focus president, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, it occurs to me that not everybody understands what’s happening on Good Friday, and Good Friday is the day we Christians celebrate Jesus dying on a cross, his sacrifice for everyone. And when you embrace him, you’re forgiven of your sins and you’re reconnected to the Father. That is what it’s about and, uh, we are going to hear a great message from Dr. Tony Evans, who speaks about this with such great passion.

John: Hm. Yeah, every time we air this particular message, we always get a strong response. As some background for you, uh, Dr. Evans was speaking in 1999 when this was recorded. His daughter Priscilla was in the audience and, uh, she got married shortly thereafter. And, uh, he’ll make reference to her, I think, along the way here. So with that, here’s Dr. Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship on our Good Friday edition of Focus on the Family.

Tony: I have the, uh, great challenge today of trying to preach the whole Bible in the next 20 minutes.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: Communication is always tough. I don’t wanna be like the, uh, gentleman who was in Chicago who was, uh … It was pretty cold and so he, he wanted to get out and make his way to Florida, so he thought he’d surprise his wife. He went down to Florida and he wanted to s-, he wanted to send an email back to her to let her know to meet him in Florida to get outta the cold weather ’cause she was on a business trip. But he didn’t remember all of the, all of the, the, the address of the email. And so he put in one wrong letter. Instead of going it to his wife, it went to a, uh, elderly lady whose husband had just died the day before. She went to her screen and read it and screamed and fainted to the floor. When the relatives came in to read what had come up on her email, it … First note said, uh, “Just wanna let you know, dear, that I’ve arrived safely.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: Second one said, “I await your arrival tomorrow.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: Signed, “Your husband. P.S. Sure is hot down here.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: So it’s a, a …The story is told of a, of a chess champion who went to, um, to Europe and he was perusing the various galleries. And he came across a portrait that galvanized his attention, that, uh, mesmerized and stupt-ified him as he looked out and, uh, saw this particular portrait. It, it just captured his attention. It was the painting of a chess game. On one side of the chess game was a, a picture of the devil and, uh, he was laughing and rocking back in his chair and full of frivolity and gaiety and all, uh, excited, uh, with his hand on the board ready to make a move. On the other side of the board was a young man, and he was, uh, in despair, crying, sweating, knees knocking, teeth chattering. He was in utter despair. And, uh, he understood what it was all about when he read the title of the chess game was simply Checkmate. The devil’s about to make the last move to win this young man’s soul and there was nothing he could do about it and he sat there in utter despair.

The chess champion studied this painting, this portrait, for about six hours until it finally dawned on him that it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked. He asked the proprietor, “Do you have a chessboard around here?” They discovered one, found him one. He positioned the chessboard as an exact replica of what he saw in the painting, and, uh, after doing that, he began to smile. He looked over, uh, at the portrait where the young man was sitting and said, “Young man, I wish you could hear me right now because I have some good news. I wish you could hear me right now and could be animated because things are not near as bad as they appear. You see, it only looks like the devil gets to make the final move. There’s one more move left on the board that he didn’t bank on.”

When I look at world history, it, it really is a cosmic chess game. Lucifer decided that he would rebel against the rule of God way back before creation ever began. His rebellion was, was uncovered, and according to Luke 10:18, a trial was held in which he was found guilty of cosmic rebellion against the holy God and was booted out of Heaven. He was booted to a place of in- incarceration until his final sentence of eternal damnation would be held. That place would be called Planet Earth.

There God intervened and created man a little lower than the angels so that God could demonstrate what he could do with lower creatures who were dependent upon him than greater angelic beings who were in rebellion against him. Satan knowing that he would have to now trick man as he had tricked the angels, went and got Eve to rebel against God, to lead Adam into that same rebellion against God. And that led to rebellion in history, where mankind was placed under the rule of the evil one.

But that’s when … Uh, as a result of that, God responded on his side of the board and created redemptive covering by slaying an animal so that salvation would be provided for the rebellious first parents. But Satan, not to be outdone, responded by getting Cain to kill Abel in order to cut off the godly line. But, of course, that’s when God responded and allowed there to be the birth of Seth so that the godly line could be reinstated. That’s when Satan responded and demonized angels infiltrated ungodly men to produce a demonized race. But that’s when God responded by finding a faithful man named Noah and building a ship on dry land, giving him a three-word sermon, “It’s gonna rain,” and allowing him-

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: … to proclaim it to that generation. But, of course, that’s when Satan responded because he got a man named Nimrod to build two civilizations, Assyria and Babylon, to rebel against God and to try to bring all the world under humanism. But, of course, that’s when God responded by confusing their language, going to Ur of the Chaldees, finding a man named Abraham, and said, “I will create my own nation that will obey.” Course that’s when Satan responded, because then he went and got Israel captive in a place called Egypt. But that’s when God responded because he went to Midian, found a man named Moses, send him to Pharaoh, and told him, “Let my people go.”

In fact, all of history is this cosmic chess game, this battle between evil and good. And every time Satan would find a man, God would counter it, and he would find a man. And all of the Old Testament is move, countermove, move, countermove, where the forces of God would be counteracted by the forces of Satan, to which God would respond. So that by the time you get to the end of the Old Testament, you have an apparent draw. There is no clear winner. In fact, there are 400 silent years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament, where both sides sit and look at the board to determine what the next move will be. Evidently it is God’s move because when Matthew opens up, it says so-and-so begot so-and-so, begot so-and-so, begot so-and-so, begot so-and-so, til you get down to verse 16. It says, “Who, uh, who begot Joseph, who was married to Mary, by whom was born Jesus Christ.”

Now up until this time, God would find a man and use a man. This time, God said, “Let me come on down here and take care of this mama myself.” And so God enters into human history in the person of Jesus Christ. In Matthew chapter four, he goes into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. That is because the devil came into the garden and got the first Adam kicked into the wilderness. So the last Adam pays him a return visit in the wilderness so you and I can be escorted back into the garden.

Satan must now try his cosmic move. He must do his definitive act. He must get rid of the Son of God. And so on that Friday, Jesus Christ was crucified. He was, he was killed, and it looked like the demons had won. But early on Sunday morning, just a little while before day, early, when Mary Magdalene came to the sepulcher and here the gardener showed up here, here, one who … She, she wanted to know where they had laid her Lord. And then she discovered this was her Lord, but he said, “Don’t touch me. You can’t touch me right now, not yet. Don’t touch me now.” Yet just a couple of hours later, he would go and allow, uh, Thomas to put his hands and his … uh, his fingers in his hands and in his side. Why could not Mary touch him, but Thomas could touch him just a little bit later? Because you see, in the Old Testament, you could not touch the High Priest until he had delivered the blood to the sanctuary. Jesus could not be touched until he had delivered the salvific blood to the throne in Heaven so that you and I would be sanctified by that blood forever.

But having heard that, it is easy to allow that to just be good news for yesteryear, just a great event that we celebrate as history. But the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is far more than that. It is the power for victorious living today. It’s not only good news for the past, it’s power for the present and hope for the future. It’s comprehensive good news, and that’s why I like the statement in Revelation 12, verse, verses 10 and 11. “And I heard a voice in Heaven saying, ‘Now the salvation and power and the kingdom of God and the authority of his Christ have come. For the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.’”

He proclaims in this prophetic passage something and I … you and I need to take advantage of today, and that is the power of the blood. It’s not just powerful because of what Jesus did yesterday. It’s powerful because it keeps on cleansing. It keeps on empowering. It keeps on strengthening. It is as potent today as it was 2000 years ago. It is potent to give life, sustain life, and provide eternal life. It is that ever powerful blood.

One day I was caught on the highway with a dead battery, and I had someone to pull over. And they took out their jumper cables and lined their car up with my car. And they put their positive to my positive and their negative to my negative. And what they gave to my battery was the life of their battery, so that even though my battery had no life, it piggy-backed on the life of another. So that after I let it sit there for a while, that which it did not have, it now possessed, not because it owned it, but because something else was loaning it to it. And what happened was, the life of the living battery came into the deadness of the dead battery being transferred by the power of the cable, so that after 20 minutes or so, my dead battery became as alive as his living battery was, not because it had life, but because it borrowed life.

Jesus Christ died 2000 years ago, but he can take dead people in 1999 and by the cables of the Holy Spirit transform life here today. It’s not just a historical event. It’s a contemporary power. It is a contemporary power that you and I must take advantage of so that we not only name Jesus Christ, we live Jesus Christ. It’s n- So that not only is this a pontification for church on Sunday, but it’s a powerful living on Monday.

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and today we’re featuring Dr. Tony Evans. And you can find more inspiration for living out your faith in his book, Kingdom Focus: Rethinking Today in Light of Eternity. It’s published by Focus on the Family, and we’ll send that to you when you make a donation of any amount to the ministry of Focus on the Family today. And we’ll also include a free audio download of this entire presentation. Donate today and request those at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. When you get in touch, donate generously as you can.

Let’s return now to more from Dr. Tony Evans.

Tony: He says though that there must be three things operative in the life of a Christian if you want the death and the resurrection, if you want the power of the blood to operate in your life right now today. He says in verse 11 three things. The first thing is that they overcame him because of the power of the blood of the Lamb. The first thing he says is they were identified with Jesus Christ. They were in identification with him. In other words, uh, they now identified themselves in light of their new relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not just interested in being in your life, he is interested in being your life. “When Jesus, who is our life, shall appear …” the Bible says. What Jesus Christ wants to be in our lives is the sum total of the definition of who we are. If you want victory and you want authority, if you want the risen Christ to be risen in you, then you must be clearly identified with Jesus Christ.

My daughter is sitting over here next to my wife. And on July 24th, I have the joy, great joy, of giving her away. She doesn’t know how much joy I’m having at the thought-

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: … of giving her away. I will walk down the aisle and, uh, uh, one of our staff, one of the ministers will say, “Who gives her away to be married?” And I’ll say, “I do.” And then we’ll switch, and I’ll come up and I will finish the ceremony with much joy as I give her away.

Now in one hour, her name will change. It’ll change from what it is now, Evans, to the … to her new name, Shirer. And, uh, and I will not be the chief man in her life anymore. I will not be the number one influence in her life anymore. And la- All she wants from me anyway is to pay the bill.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: So, so I, I, I won’t, I won’t matter that much anymore. I will be secondary. Why? Because some smooth-talking dude who showed up nine months ago-

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: … started rapping and telling her that same old jive I told my wife when she told me, “I do.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: And because of his rap, she’s gonna switch loyalty and have a new identity. One hour earlier, I could have spoken and had sway with her. But one hour later, if I ask her to do something, she now has the legitimate right to say, “I have to ask my husband first ’cause you are no longer the primary male influence in my life.” That’s a lotta power for one hour.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: One hour, all that got switched over. How did all that get switched over in one hour? For one reason, she had a new identity. Her identity changed. And I don’t care how long Satan been raising you. Now that you’ve met Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is the new authority in your life. He is the new power in your life. He is to be your new identity. He is to be your new reference point. Why? Because we have been given authority over the evil one by the blood and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We now call the shots.

You know, when the Cowboys play these big guys come out on the football field, they’ve been working out, they’re strong, they’re vibrant, and all of this, you know? But they’re not the most powerful guys on the field. The most powerful guys on the field are little short guys with striped t-shirts and a whistle.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: See, the Cowboys can knock you down, the refs can put you out-

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: … because while the players have power, the refs have authority. And you and I cannot defeat Satan by raw power, but we do have authority. You have policemen, I saw, outside stopping traffic. They don’t stop traffic by power. A car can run over them. They stop traffic by authority. Because they have the blue uniform and the badge, they … We stop when they put out their hand because they have authority. The blood of Jesus Christ, by virtue of his resurrection, gives us authority in history.

Secondly, he says not only did they overcome him by their identification with the Lamb and his blood, but because of the word of their testimony. They weren’t secret agent Christians. They weren’t spiritual CIA representatives. They weren’t covert operatives for the Kingdom. These were public saints. They didn’t mind other folk know wherein they stood. Everybody else is coming out of the closet, we might as well come out too.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: It was publicly demonstrable where they stood. They stood for Jesus Christ and did not apologize. Jesus said, “If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father who is in Heaven.” If you keep silent in history, then how can I validate you from eternity?

People today cuss and fuss and use all kinda language o- on television and we sit and laugh, and then we must be muzzled about Jesus Christ. We’ve been called to be public representatives of Jesus Christ. Okay? Lot of us name the name of Jesus Christ, but nobody knows we’re Christians but us. And we not hundred percent sure. It’s absolutely critical that we are public.

A lot of us are like the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Now I’m sure there are not too many Susan B. Anthony dollars here today because, uh, uh, uh, people stopped using them. And one of the reasons that they stopped using them is ’cause they’re the size of a quarter and people kept getting confused about the difference between the two so they stopped fooling with it. A lot of us are like that. We worth a dollar, we just look like a quarter.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: We have, uh … We have great spiritual value, but we spend like spiritual chump change.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: We do not take a stand. We do not witness. We are not publicly identified with Jesus Christ. There ought not to be any question when people meet us where we stand. There ought not to be any question about our position, that we name the name of Jesus Christ. And if you don’t accept Christ, you don’t accept me. It’s a family thing. We are connected with him by birth.

Finally, he says … He says, “And they did not love their life even to death.” In other words, they loved Christ more than they loved themselves. Their love for Christ was passionate. Jesus Christ had their affections. He had their decisions. All other loves were secondary to that love. Uh, that love compelled them. The love of Christ constrained them. They were just in love.

A lotta times, we try to pull people to be evangelists, beg them to take a stand for Christ, plead with them to serve the cause of Christ, when the problem is, they’re not in love yet. ‘Cause you don’t beg folk in love to go on dates. You don’t beg folk in love to spend time talking. Folk in love, you gotta get them to hang up the phone. You gotta get them to stay home. Why? Because they’re in love and the passion dominates.

I was catching flight 74 from Atlanta to Dallas, and I had to … Uh, I, I was hungry so I, I saw they were serving on the side the gospel bird, fried chicken.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: And so I went over there and I ordered me three pieces of fried chicken. And, and, uh, sitting down, it was hot and piping and … Then I heard, “Last call, flight 74 to Dallas.” Okay? The flight was calling my name, but the chicken was also calling my name.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: But I’m sure you’d, uh, you would agree with me. I did not come, I did not come to the airport to eat chicken. Okay? That was a extra. That was a bonus. I would be a fool for r-, uh, risking my flight for the love of my chicken.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: But, but you don’t know how much I love chicken. I, I, I was-

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: I sat down there debating what am I gonna do here? Whether I gonna stay here with my chicken or whether I’ll leave my chicken and catch my flight. I tell you what I did. I took my chicken on my plane. That’s what I did.

You see, God is not asking you to give up the chicken, he’s just saying don’t miss the flight. He’s not asking you not to enjoy the things in life, not to benefit from life, but they can’t be your first love. They can’t be … They can’t be the thing you love most because if they’re the things you love most, you’re gonna miss the flight and enjoy the temporary satisfaction of the immediate.

Jesus Christ is calling us to intimacy with him. He’s calling us to closeness with him. And he says and when you identify with me, when you do not deny me, when you passionately love me, Satan will have no authority over you because of the power of my death and resurrection. So it’s not only something for the past, it’s something for the present.

My little, uh, seven-year-old granddaughter one day was being chased by a dog. And the dog was chasing her. And she calls me Poppi. And she was screaming, “Poppi, Poppi, the dog’s gonna get me! The dogs will get me!” The dog was barking and chasing her, and she ran and jumped up in my arms. The dog stood there at the base of my foot barking and barking, and she was screaming and crying and petrified. Then after a few minutes with me patting her on the back, she looked up at me. Then she looked down at the dog. She looked up at me. Then she looked down at the dog. She looked up at me. Then she looked down at the dog. This time, she looked at the dog and said, “Nah, nah, na nah nah.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: Now where she get that power from? How can she be running one minute and victorious another minute? How can she be terrified one minute and a victor the next minute? Because of who she was hugging. She was hugging somebody bigger than her problem. She was hugging somebody bigger than her need. She was hugging somebody bigger than her situation. And when she learned to hug me, her love with me took care of her barking dog problem.

Satan has got a lotta you on the run, and he’s got a big mouth and he’s making a lotta noise, and you are terrified. You know you can’t beat him on your own. His teeth are too, too violent. They are … They have too much power, but I know somebody bigger, that when you identify with him, do not deny him, and are passionately in love with him, he gives you victory. And then when you become victorious, you can take out to this world what it looks like to be a victorious Christian.

You know, my favorite program growing up was Superman. I loved me some Superman. Of course as Clark Kent, he was a bumbling idiot. Lois Lane couldn’t stand him. Jimmy Olsen didn’t respect him. Perry White wouldn’t use him. But don’t let him find a telephone booth.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: You know, he go f-, he go for … You know, they say … Those criminals, uh, in Metropolis would come out. The Daily News would pick up the story. They’d say, “Well, where’s Superman?” He’d go in the closet, come out lickety split, you know, with a red and blue jumpsuit on. Man, he was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you know? He’d go streaking across the sky. They’d say, “It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane. Uh-uh, it’s Superman.”

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: All right? And the man of steel would go out there and catch bullets, break knives, crush guns, take criminals and discard them. He’d do all this. Now, now, now how could he do this? I’ll tell you how he could do it. He wasn’t from here.

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: He was from a long way away. He was from a place called Krypton. But you know what he did? He brought the power from up there and lived it out down here. He brought the power from up there and exposed it down here, so that down here got to look like where he was from, not where he was at.

But in order for that to happen, he’d have to change clothes. Some of us need to take a trip to God’s telephone booth and take a change of clothes. We need to get outta this old way of thinking and old way of talking and old way of walking and put on our heavenly jumpsuit. Now, to have an S on your chest, it don’t mean you’re Superman, but it does mean you’re saved. (laughs)

Audience: (laughs)

Tony: Yeah, you have an S on your chest, it doesn’t mean you’re Superman, but it oughta mean you’re being sanctified. It doesn’t mean you’re Superman, but it oughta mean you’re a saint, so that when people see you coming because of your identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they say, “It’s a bird. No. It’s a plane. Uh-uh, it’s them super saints. They’ve fallen in love with Jesus Christ.” That is the challenge that he gives us today based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Shall we stand for a word of prayer?

Dear Lord, take the words of my mouth, meditations of my heart, make them acceptable to you because of the victorious one whom we worship, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Audience: Amen.

John: Oh, what passion from our speaker, Dr. Tony Evans, on today’s Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, as he challenged us to put our complete trust in the Lord.

Jim: I’d imagine most of us probably struggle with that level of dependency on God, but I like the challenge Tony gave us to think of ourselves in a different way-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … as super saints operating in God’s ultimate power. He is such a compelling speaker. I love listening to him. And I guess that’s why we’ve had him on the program so many times, because he teaches with great enthusiasm and conviction. And I especially appreciated Tony’s reminder that Jesus Christ has ultimate power and authority, not just in Heaven, but here on earth right now. He’s got this, and he’s the Son of God, our Creator.

And as Tony said, if we want the power of Jesus Christ to work in our lives, we need to embrace three key attitudes. First, we need to identify ourselves with Christ. Second, we need to be bold in sharing our testimony so that others can see the difference that Jesus has made in our lives. And finally, we should love the Lord more than we love ourselves. That’s a tall order, but isn’t it worth it? I’d say yes. And boy, that fills me with encouragement as we head into Easter weekend.

John: Yeah, me too. And there may be some who are listening, uh, who feel far away from God and want to learn more about what we celebrate, uh, this coming weekend, what the death and resurrection of Jesus really signifies.

Let me encourage you to visit us online and download a complimentary resource we have. Uh, it’s a booklet called Coming Home, and it explains what it means to follow Jesus and how to have a relationship with him. You’ll find that booklet at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

And then when you’re online with us, be sure to check out the latest book that Dr. Tony Evans has written called Kingdom Focus: Rethinking Today in Light of Eternity. It’s a great book.

Well, I hope it’s a meaningful Easter weekend for you and, uh, invite you back on Monday when we have encouraging insight into the world of teenage girls.

Kari Kampakis: You know, what I have to remind myself when there’s something I have to tell my child, and I’m like, “She is not gonna be happy about this.” And I have to think that she’s got lots of friends, but she only has one mom. And if I don’t mother her, then who’s going to do it?

John: On behalf of the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Kingdom Focus: Rethinking Today in Light of Eternity

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