In reading Revelation 21 this afternoon for my sermon prep, among all the wonderful verses in this chapter, one verse really jumped out to me.
"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son." (v. 7)
The verb “conquer” in the Book of Revelation can also be translated “overcome”, as it is in several other New Testament passages, including this one that helps us to determine what it means to “conquer” or “overcome”:
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:4, 5 (ESV)
It is not enough to just have a desire for spiritual things. There are a lot of people in this world who desire spirituality but who will never enter the new heaven and new earth because they seek to satisfy that desire in the wrong manner. It is only through faith in Jesus alone that we can become overcomers. Any other method that we try to use in order to satisfy our spiritual desire will come up short.
But although our faith in Jesus is what provides us with the ability to be overcomers who experience the new heaven and new earth, the book of Revelation also makes it clear that our faith must be demonstrated by our actions. In each of the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus promises a reward to those who overcome, or conquer by remaining faithful to Him in spite of the difficult circumstances they face. Go and read chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation:
Church at Ephesus:
To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:7 (ESV)
Church at Smyrna:
The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Revelation 2:11 (ESV)
Church at Pergamum:
To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
Revelation 2:17 (ESV)
Church at Thyatira:
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star.
Revelation 2:26-28 (ESV)
Church at Sardis:
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
Revelation 3:5 (ESV)
Church at Philadelphia:
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
Revelation 3:12 (ESV)
Church at Laodicea:
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 3:21 (ESV)
What great rewards await those who overcome!
So let me ask you a question:
Are you an overcomer through faith in Jesus?
Let me share a few additional questions you can ask yourself that might help you to answer that question honestly:
Have I satisfied my spiritual desire by trusting in Jesus Christ alone or have I tried to satisfy that desire by some other means – either through my own good works or by placing my faith in something or someone else?
Am I living my life in a manner that is consistent with my professed faith in Jesus?
Am I holding fast to Jesus even if I am experiencing difficult circumstances in my life?