And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

 Rejoice then, 0 heaven and you that dwell therein. But woe to you, 0 earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short"

                                                                   Revelation 12

This prophecy tells us that this world is not a rose garden; it is a battleground. The war in heaven between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels, has spilled down to earth. The dragon and his angels have been thrown out of heaven, and are busy breathing bitterness into the human race.

In the midst of this revelation comes a loud voice from heaven announcing to the believers that the salvation,

the power,

the kingdom of our God,

and the authority of his Christ,

have come to them, because Satan has not only been conquered by the Lamb; he has also been conquered by the Lamb's people. They have conquered Satan by the Lamb's blood and by the word of their testimony, a word to which they have been faithful even unto death.

At every crisis in history since the Lamb died and rose again, whenever the Dragon and his angels have been on a rampage, whenever evil has broken loose, whenever hatred and violence and war and chaos and injustice have erupted like huge running sores over the surface of this planet, (as we see happening right now), people have been raised up to stand against this evil and conquer it, not with guns, but with a Word which the dragon and his hosts cannot withstand.

"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb And by the Word of their testimony,

For they loved not their lives even unto death."

This message has been around for a long time as we read in Jeremiah 1:

Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and said to me,

"Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

And this word that shakes nations, breaks the strongholds of Satan, and smashes the gates of death is no longer given to solitary prophets like Jeremiah, but to a people, a Body.

"They have conquered him..... by the word of their testimony for they loved not their lives even unto death."

Jesus did not entrust this word to Peter alone or to Paul individually, but to the Body..."I have given them thy word."(John 17) Always corporate. Always the Body.

"Grant thy servants (plural) to speak thy word with all boldness" .... And when they had prayed the place where they were gathered together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they (all) spoke the word with boldness."          (Acts 4) `

We know that the purpose of God for our assemblies is not just to have one person stand up here and speak the word week after week. The purpose of God for our assemblies is to have hundreds and hundreds of people so enflamed with the Spirit that they speak an anointed word with their mouths and with their lives---a word so powerful that the dragon and his hosts are driven back. And one of the signs that this: is actually taking place is that many people in our assemblies can stand up and feed us consistently with an anointed word.

We are to be a people of the word, a people who together are conquering the dragon by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony---a word which is so strong in all of us that it frees us from the fear of death and empowers us to say what we have to say and do what we have to do, even if it costs us our life.

This is nothing new.     We've known for a long time that this is God's will for our fellowships. We know that we have been given the holy fire of the Word, not to warm our own souls, but to ignite the world around us.  If we try to keep it for ourselves, it will die in our midst.  This fire of the Word will only increase among us, if it flows out as cleansing, judging, redeeming force in the world we live in every day.

If we are to be part of what the Lord is now doing on the earth, as nations clash, and the flood of suffering refugees continues to swell, the fire of the Word will have to burn in us and through us as never before.   In three simple ways, we need to…..

1. Actively receive the word,

2. Forcefully speak the word,

3. Consistently live the word.

1. Actively receive the word from the mouth of our Lord himself.

Actively, not passively. Not hit or miss.  But alert, disciplined. White folks can get a sunburn without any effort. All they have to do is lie in the sun and it happens. But the word never gets into us through passive exposure. We have to take hold of it.

"It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are life."

.....but we have to reach out and take hold of those words with our minds and wills.

"Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he trims, that it may bear more fruit. You are already trimmed clean by the word which I have spoken to you."                               (John 15)

"You are already trimmed clean by the word which I have spoken to you...." If we are listening to what Jesus is saying to us our lives become clear, simple, uncluttered. When our listening is flawed, we become cluttered, distracted, fleshy and flabby.

"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified; that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples."                                                      (John 15)

To have our Lord's words abiding is us, we have to be drinking them like water, taking them in; constantly receiving more and more.

Daily we need to get alone and listen for a word from him as we feed on scripture and open our hearts in prayer.

"Lord, be not silent unto me; lest if thou be silent unto me I become like them that go down into the pit."

And weekly we are given this precious time together in the assembly. This time of worship and breaking of bread is essential to our life together. If we are faithful in coming together to receive a Word, there will be a living Word each week, no matter who stands up to deliver it. If we are careless and undisciplined in this matter our corporate (and individual) life will suffer.

Added to this is the need to encourage each other in smaller settings whenever we meet informally.  To "teach and admonish one another in all wisdom."  

 2. We need to forcefully speak the Word.

The Word cannot live long in our hearts unless it crosses our lips. We need to confess the name of Jesus with our mouths.

"Whoever confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father who is in heaven; whoever denies me before men, him will I deny before my Father who is in heaven."

 We deny him by our silence. We need to confess, to speak, to teach all that our Master has taught us.

Saul of Tarsus had barely come into the Kingdom before he was confessing Jesus, speaking the word, to the point where it endangered his life. He had to be slipped out of Damascus in a basket. Soon Paul reappears in Jerusalem, speaking the Word with such boldness that his life is threatened again. Paul grew so fast and so far because he was bold. He spoke the word.

When Jesus says to us, "Go, make disciples," how else can we do this except by a spoken word? Those of us who have been timid can no longer afford the luxury. Our timidity is a form of pride, an excessive concern for other people's opinion of us. If "they loved not their lives even unto death," we can afford to push aside our timidity and speak with boldness, and be wonderfully carefree of the consequences.

3. We need to consistently live the word.

"For they loved not their lives even unto death," meaning they lived the Word, even if it cost them their lives. That world out there may be confused about God. But when they look at us, they aren't stupid. If we are living the Word they will see light. If we are not living the Word, they will see darkness.

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

By the power of his Spirit God is making us a people of the Word. "Let not your hearts be troubled," says our Lord...."Believe in God. Believe also in me. Believe! Be certain! Trust me all the way!"

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.