The Christian life is not a weak-anemic existence – rather it is a triumphant, victorious, and very real living, sourced by the Spirit of God living in our lives. We were not made for defeat but for victory. In this episode, we listen to part one of Paris Reidhead’s sermon Victory from his series So Great Salvation.

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Episode 55 Overview

In this episode …

  • you will discover how God has enabled Christians to walk in victory and triumph
  • we will listen to a powerful sermon by Paris Reidhead entitled Victory (part one)

Show Notes / Additional Resources

Transcript of Victory (Part 1) by Paris Reidhead

Victory (Part 1) – by Paris Reidhead

Now we begin today with item number eight, line number eight entitled Victory. And I want you to turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verses six through 13. I would like to read these verses and then just a brief word of review and then to move quickly on into the study of the morning.

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:6-13)

Last night we talked about temptation and sin, declaring on the Word of God that at any time in our pilgrimage, as long as we live, we are going to be subject to temptation. Now everywhere I have gone I have found people wanting God to give them an experience with himself of such a nature that they would never be tempted again, but may I assure you this? That if you ever come to the place that you are not subject to temptation, then you will be holier than your wonderful Lord, because he was tempted in all points like as you are, yet without sin. And therefore we have to recognize that as long as we live we are going to be subject to temptation and as long as we live we are going to be capable of yielding to temptation. But that isn’t the issue right now. The question is: Is there victory over temptation and, if so, how should we have it?

Now remember that the basic theme of these days together is Hebrews chapter two verse three wherein we read:

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” (Hebrews 2:3)

“… thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Not just from hell, not just from the penalty of sin, but to save his people from their sin. And therefore we are going to have to expect that included in the cross work of our Lord was a means by which we could escape from temptation, overcome temptation, where we could have victory.

Now I would think we should realize what this verse says. I want to read it again, this 13th verse.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (Hebrews 10:13)

Some years ago I was invited to speak at Lake Winnipesaukee up in New Hampshire to Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship retreat, all the Boston universities and colleges came together for a weekend retreat, Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. And I was asked to be the speaker. I had been there the same retreat the year previously and I arrived at this lovely inn on Friday afternoon, as I recall, about 3:30 or four. And the young man over at the piano trying to play and hammering away there without too great success, but there weren’t many people there to find fault with it, either. When I came in he stopped and he looked over and he said, “Oh, hello there. I came up a little early so I could get a chance to talk to you.”

Well, I said, “Now here we are. What is it you would like to say?” I just dropped my bags and sat right down beside him.

“Well,” he said, “I wanted to get here just to warn you. If you are going to give any of that victory stuff that you gave last year, I would just like to suggest that you don’t do it.”

“Why is that?”
“Because it doesn’t work.”

“Well,” I said, “Now that is important and I am glad you are here to warn me. Will you explain to me what you mean?”

“Well, you remember last year you were here and you taught us that there was victory over temptation.”

“Yes. Yes, I recall that.”

“And I was just afraid you might be going to give us something of the same stuff this year and I didn’t want you to do it because it doesn’t {?}.”

“Well, explain.”

“Well, there was one particular area in my life I was having problems with and when I listened to you I was so excited about being able to get victory over it. And I went back home and I was tempted and I did just what you told us to do. And it didn’t work.”

“Well,” I said, “What was it that you recall that I told you to do.”

“Well you remember that verse in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 13. I memorized that while you were giving it and then I got so I really knew it and when I was tempted I would just quote that verse and quote that verse and quote that verse, but I went right ahead and it didn’t help.”

And I said, “Well, lets look. Open your Bible.” And I had him read it and I said, “What does it say?”

And he read it and he said, “That there will be a way of escape.”
“Well,” I said, “That is exactly what it says. But what is the way of escape?” “Well,” he said, “This verse.”

I said, “No. This verse is not the way of escape. This verse tells you that there is a way of escape. But I also went ahead to explain to you what that way of escape is and apparently all you remembered was the verse that says there is a way of escape. Now this verse isn’t going to give you victory. This verse simply tells you that there is a way to escape from temptation. Now you better sit.”

“Yeah,” he said, “I guess I… You are going to give it again this year?”

I said, “Don’t you think I had better.”

He said, “Yeah, I think you better.”

So I realized that the people sometimes only listen for what they want to hear. And I am hoping that you will be more than that.

Now last night we saw what you carried into the Christian life with you. You carried appetites and drives and urges and propensities, all of these memories of how you gratified those appetites and drives in the past, all of those learned responses, those habitual responses and you had… we found out what happened when we were tempted and we sinned and what we have to do about it. Now the question is: Is there any way by which we can escape from temptation and not be overtaken by our appetites and our lusts and our drives?

Now we found that there are three major enemies that we confront and than attack us. The first one is this one that is called the flesh. It is also called self. It is called the old man. And Paul spoke of it as I and you can do the same thing. You have his permission. Flesh, the old man, self. That is one enemy and that is your worst enemy. The second is the world. The world system in which you live and move, that is organized by its god and it has every effort put forth to make the gratifying of the appetites against the will of God so attractive, so desirable, so beautiful and that world is totally arrayed against all the purposes you have formed in your heart to please God and it is an enemy. And the third enemy is the god of this world, his ancient foe, the foe of the Lord Jesus Christ, the one whom he declared through the prophet he saw cast out of heaven and down to earth, the one whom he called the prince of this world who is coming, who had nothing in him. He is elsewhere described as the god of this world. We are talking about Satan.

Now these are the three main enemies that we have that assault us and that give us problems. And we would expect, therefore, that if God is going to provide us victory it is going to be complete and it is going to address all of these enemies and he is going to give us a rather simple and practical and certainly most effective way of dealing with all that these could bring against us.

So, first, we have to recognize that none of us are exempt, none of us. I went to Bible school here, as I mentioned several times. Seven years after high school getting ready to be a missionary. Went to Africa to the Sudan and I have been preparing so long and anticipating it so keenly that in my own mind I think I was convinced that somehow when I put my feet down on the continent of Africa there would be a radical transformation of me. I hadn’t been a great prayer, but from that time on I was going to be a great intercessor. I hadn’t been all that effective as a witness, but when I hit African soil and drank African water, that this was going to happen. I was going to out Dan Crawford and Marry Slessor and I was going to make David Livingstone wish that he had had another chance to go another go at it.

But when I reached Africa and looked back on the travel, all I discovered was that on that ocean voyage that the best thing I got… the only thing I got out of it was seasickness and the best thing I got out of it was getting on land again where I got over my seasickness. There wasn’t any great spiritual progress made. And when I got down to our station on the White Niles down at the Khartoum ant Maloot and began to go into the actual work of missions—we were assigned to work for the education department as doing linguistic survey work among some tribes that had had no contact with the gospel—I discovered that I wasn’t nearly as spiritual as I had planned on being. I wasn’t spending as much time in the Word or as much time in prayer. I wasn’t seeking God the way I was certain previously I would. And I was disappointed in me. And about the only way that I could find to survive with this discovery that I wasn’t as spiritual as I knew I ought to be and as I wanted to be and had planned on being, was to prove that none of my colleagues were either.

Now to prove that I had to be quite discerning. I had to have a very critical mind. I had to have a censorious spirit. And I found that with these two things it wasn’t very difficult to develop a fourth or another, rather, a third problem. I learned to my grief that I had a very sarcastic tongue. I hurt people with my sarcasm. I cut them. They put pressure on me for reasons that I didn’t think were fair and it built up that pressure and then I would just say a few words and cut right through. I guess I kind of thought I was God’s little ice pick to break all the balloons {?}.

And I can recall when I had said something sarcastic or hurt someone that I would go to my room just so crushed. I knew it was sin. And I would get down on my knees and cry out to God to forgive me. “Forgive me. I ask you to. I promise you I will never ever do it again.” I can recall crushing my teeth together, putting the fingernails of my hand, “Oh, God, if you forgive me I will never do it again.” And he forgave me and I did it again, because victory doesn’t come from grinding your teeth. Victory doesn’t come from puncturing the heel of your hand with your fingernails. That is all I knew.

Now I had had a course, taught by Maude F. Groom, at the school on the Christian life and I had gotten an A in it. But, you see, it had all been up here as I thought where I thought truth went. It went up here. But my problem was down here. And the truth that I had studied had never migrated 18 inches. And so here I am having had an A in the course in the Christian life and in total failure in this area, hurting my fellow missionaries and grieving the Lord.

Well, of course, we came home on furlough and I determined that I would never go back to Africa. I would never go on in the ministry unless somewhere, somehow I could find victory over my traits, my tendencies, the habits of my mind, my disposition, these attitudes.

I went to a pastor where my family was living, my parental family in Florida, in Palm Beach. I talked with this pastor and he said, “I think what you need, brother, is seminary.” And so I following this matriculated in a seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. And went there, paid my money, bought my books, went to my room and sat there and looked at these books on my desk. I had read half of them and didn’t like what I read and now I had to study them. And the other half didn’t … and I knew right then that my need was never going to be met in what was going to be offered at seminary. Not that there was anything bad with it, but it wasn’t the right medicine for my illness, my problem.

So the next day I went back to the bursar’s office and dematriculated and got as much money back as I could. They said, “Well, we are going to have to charge you one month’s rent for the room anyway.”

I said, “Fine and I am going to stay here and live it out.” If I am honorable enough to be a student here, I am honorable enough to stay here for a month and live here. And I had spiritual inventory. During that month I started to go back through the years. I went back right back and, you know? Everything I found in all those years was leaves off of other men’s trees. My heart was like a theological compost pit where you take all these leaves ands you pile them in. Some of them were still there green because they were true. But they were not attached to me. They were just truth. And I began to … what is real?

Where is reality? And I got back down there to that night at South Saint Paul at that Red Rock holiness camp meeting when at an altar in the straw I knelt there and I opened my heart to Jesus Christ and was born of God and had the witness of the Spirit.

The last real thing that ever happened to me was the first real thing that ever happened to me with God. And from that time on it had been just words piled in on my mind. Now I know how I got off on the wrong foot. The next day I went to the one who was the children’s worker there at the camp meeting, Julie Hibbard from Chicago Evangelistic Institute, a wonderful woman of God. And I said, “Miss Hibbard, last night I was born again.”

And do you know what she said? “Oh, that is nice, sonny. Now you need to be sanctified.” And so she said, “Come, let’s go into the auditorium and we will pray.” So we came back into the auditorium where I had been the night before, where God had met me and now this dear one who was so concerned is trying to bring this one who has just been born again into something into sanctification. So she put words in my mouth and I prayed them and I went from reality, from the revelation of God in my heart that I had been born again, into presuming that if I knew the words and can quote the Scripture it was mine. And from that day on I had had religious unreality. It had been in my intellect. I assumed if my mind perceived it, my heart had received it. And now here I am in my own eyes a missionary failure, back from Africa and I have had spiritual inventory and I have gotten down to the last real thing that ever happened to me was that day when I was born of God. And I determined then that as long as I live in the flesh, as long as God lets me breath, walk on top side of his green earth I am going to make a distinction between what my mind perceives and what my heart has received and experienced. And I will never confuse the two. You have got to know with your mind in order to have the basis of that appropriating experiential faith.

Now here I am at a seminary having made an awesome discovery that the last real thing that ever happened to me was the day I was born of God. Oh, I had a mind full of truth. I could have given you chapter and verse for a lot of things.

Well, then I got a request from the mission in New York to go back. I was going to back to Florida. My family was still down at West Palm Beach. And so they said, “When you go back, Clearwater, Florida, there is a conference there. And will you go and represent the mission at the conference?”

Oh, I headed back down to Florida driving the car I had bought while we were in Louisville. And got down there late at night, got a room, went to breakfast and went to the morning service. I didn’t know anybody and I sat there listening to this speaker. I had never heard of him. His name meant nothing to me and I listened to him and I said, “That man knows the Word. He knows the Word.”

Well, I went through the day talking with people, doing the things I was supposed to do, went to the service that night and heard him speak and I said, “That man knows the Lord. He not only knows the Word, but he knows the Lord.”

The next morning to that morning service—and by this time I am feeling very warm and open toward him—and he did something that I considered at the time being a little bit cruel. I found out that that man knew me. And the worst of it was he was telling those people about me, about my failure and about my problem and about my difficulty. Now I didn’t know who had squealed on me or who had been giving him information, but I tell you. He quit preaching and went to meddling. It wasn’t very pleasant.

Well, that night it was terrible. I went to the service. I sat way back on the right and this speaker put his arm halfway out across the auditorium, wiggled his finger under my nose and he told everybody about all the problems I had been having. And I sort of just dropped my head and let it hang on my chest there and just let her go. I wasn’t going to fight him. He was right and I was wrong and I didn’t know how he had gotten there.

But finally he made a statement. He said, “Do you know what is the matter with you?” And I felt like breaking the silence of the meeting and saying, “Well, you have been telling everything else. Go ahead. Tell them.” I had sense enough to keep my big mouth shut. He said, “You know what your problem is?” And I am out of it. “Go ahead, tell me, tell me.”

“Your problem is that when you came to Christ you knew what you needed and what you wanted. You wanted pardon. You wanted forgiveness. You wanted to be born again. You knew what you wanted. You weren’t very interested in what you needed or what God wanted.”

Well, that made sense. And so I perked up a little and listened. He said, “You came there saying, ‘Oh God, forgive me. Pardon me. Give me eternal life.’” And God forgave you and pardoned you and gave you eternal life. And then you went in, as it were, through the cross. The cross was behind you. The gates of heaven in front of you and you started running and you were tripping all over your feet. You were just falling all over yourself. You would run and then you would trip and get up and you would have to go through your first works again and run a little and fall and run a little and trip and you have gotten a little bit tired of this up and down thing. And do you know what it was, why it has been like that?

And I almost broke the silence again saying, “No. You are right so far, but why has it been like that?” But I didn’t.

He said, “The problem with you is you never turned around to look at the cross from the inside.” He said, “If you had, you would have found that there were two people on that cross. You see, Jesus Christ was there as your representative, as your substitute, dying your death in your place. He had identified himself so completely with you that it fulfilled the Word which says the soul that sinneth it must surely die. And when the Lord Jesus was there, he was there as you and embracing you, as it were, made to be what you were and so that from the eyes of God on the throne looking down upon his Son he saw his Son on the front of the cross dying for you, but it was as though you were on the back of the cross dying with him. And you have never seen that. Now turn and look. Turn in your mind. What do you see? Don’t you see there the nails that went through the board were long enough for another pair of hands? Those were for your hands. And all this look like an empty person there, just like a shell of a person. That is you, but you have never backed up to the cross. You have never put your hands on those nails. You have never taken your place there. You have never said, ‘Father, from today on as long as I live I am going to stay here on the back of the cross crucified with Christ.’

“And so what has happened? You have been leaving. You haven’t seen yourself there and you have been going ahead up and down, stumbling and falling. Aren’t you tired of it? Don’t you want to stop that course?”

And of course I did. But do you know what I did? I went home, went to my room. I took a piece of paper. I put the date on it. The place was already on it. Those two things are required for a legal document and I started to right in the best legal language I know, “I, my name, do hereby declare that from this day on as long as I shall live I shall stay here on the backside of the cross, crucified with Christ.” That I that I am by nature—and I described the good, whatever it was and the bad and there was more and I put it all down. I considered to have died the day the Lord Jesus Christ died. And the next paragraph, “Furthermore, I do affirm that every day before I see another human being, I shall return again to the back of the cross for that day seeing myself crucified with Christ.” And then I signed it and I sealed it and I still have it and I will think of going to look into anybody else’s face until I have gone back to see myself on the backside of the cross.

Oh, I haven’t always done it, but that has been the purpose of my life to do it. Because for the next day I went down and during the night somebody came in from another mission society. You know, you have got to put the truth to work. Now I knew him. I had met him. And the last time I met him he had taken and gone to great pains to tell me how terrible the Sudan {P} mission was and when I saw him after breakfast before the meeting he got me against… I was… had my back in a big tree and he came up and he put his arm up like this and he was right here in front of me and he is telling me what a terrible mission I am a part of and then he says, “And you are just as bad.” And he is after me.

Well, normally, you see, something would start down around my shoe tops and would begin to worm its way up and it would get up here and it would go like Zorro. And I would cut him with sarcasm or whatever required, a few well chosen words leave a wound that would never heal. But this time I am standing there and as I look at n opera through the wrong end of your opera glasses, way down there is a tree and somebody looks like me in front of it and he is there beside him. I looked at him and smiled and I said, “Brother, a miracle has just happened. You are going to have to forgive me. I have got to go seek the Lord.” And I slipped out of his arm, went back to his room. It was the first time in my whole Christian life I had been in a situation where that type of thing had gone and I had had victory. And I was so elated, so thrilled, so delighted I had victory for the first time over that criticism and censoriousness and sarcasm. I had had victory over it.

But about a week and a half, two weeks later somebody came up behind me, got a hold of my little prayer rug I was standing on, gave it a jerk and I was … I had done it again. And that is when I realized what Paul meant when he said, “I am always being delivered unto death.”

Now we have sung it for years. I don’t know that we knew what we were singing, but we have sung it. What is it?

Dying with Jesus by death reckoned mine, Living with Jesus a new life divine,
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, Moment by moment, oh Lord, thou art mine.

Moment by moment, I am kept in his love…

What was the song writer telling us? He said, “Moment by moment when we are under temptation we go back and see ourselves crucified with Christ.”

You see, at Calvary you were wired for victory just like this room was wired for electricity for light. They didn’t have to come in today and stretch wires back and forth and hang lamps on it. All they did was find the switch and put it on. And at Calvary you were wired for victory. All you have to do is find the switch and put it on and the switch is this. Reckon yourself to be dead, indeed, unto sin. And reckoning releases the flow of the resurrection life into your life to give you victory over yourself, you traits, your tendencies, your habits, temptation of whatever kind it may be.

Well, George Mondell, pastor of Maranatha Tabernacle, Upper Garden, Pennsylvania was the speaker. I later shared several conferences with George Mondell. And he is still living and still glorifying God, still preaching Christ. And here is one person that will be as long as he has breath so grateful. And I found that the day Christ died for me I died with him. There were two people on that cross, Christ and you. And you can have victory at the moment of temptation. You can have victory by reckoning yourself to be dead indeed unto sin. Just put the switch on.

I was down in First Presbyterian Church of Flushing, Long Island, New York and I was telling the people this and I said, “Now if you are here and you would like to have victory, you go into the prayer room and I will be in and I will talk with you about it.” And there were probably 20, 25 people who were there and one of which was Ronnie Avalon a singer in the New York area who God used, made a blessing and his wife. They were there. And I said, “Now between now and this time tomorrow night, you are going to have a personal opportunity to test whether this truth of identification with Christ and victory through your reckoning really works. Now tomorrow night after the service, I will give an invitation. I want all of you to come back, plus those others who may respond. But I am telling you now that in the next 24 hours you are going to be tempted and you are going to have an opportunity to test whether this truth works or not.” Now I said, “I don’t want to fill you mind with theory. I want you to be a walking sermon. I want you to have the experience of victory and not just the theory of it.”

Well, the next evening people came and Ronnie Avalon and his wife were there and he looked smug. He looked just as though he had had the greatest day in his life. In fact, he said he had the greatest day in his life when I talked to him with just a word passing. But he came in to the meeting after the service and we had another singer in the New York area, a man by the name of Antoine Marco. Now I looked at Ronnie Avalon and I said, “Well, brother Marco, would you please tell us what happened to you?”

Now what I didn’t know was that the one thing in the world that Ronnie Avalon didn’t want was to be called Antoine Marco. Now he had nothing against Antoine Marco, but he is not Antoine Marco, he is Ronnie Avalon, see. So he just would get angry when people called… and I saw this red begin to rise up his neck and up his face and here he is and his eyes are flashing and then all of the sudden he looked at his watch and he said, “Yeah, well, you were right. It is three minute to go till 24 hours.” He said, “You said it would happen at 24 hours. It happened three minutes before the time.” He said, “I had the greatest day I have had in my life and I just knew I could tell you you were wrong that I hadn’t been tempted during the whole day. And here you told me Antoine Marco.” And he said, “And something that just infuriates me and I was just about to tell you off when I put the switch on.” And he said, “It works. It works.”

Friend, in the next 24 hours you are going to have an opportunity to prove whether or not this truth works. Do you know where the switch is? Do you know when to put it on? Do you know how to release the resurrection life of Christ into your heart at the moment of temptation? Well, I have news for you. In the next 24 hours you are going to have an opportunity. And I hope you heard what was said. Because I don’t want to just give theory. I want you to have something that works. Otherwise, if it doesn’t work, maybe that boy back there at Winnipesaukee was right. I don’t want to peddle stuff that doesn’t work. But I have got a lot of years telling me that it will work.

Now sometimes you don’t want to work it. You know, you can have victory. You think somebody needs a good telling off. Well, that is your problem. That is your problem. God will give you victory if you have ever discovered that you are on the backside of the cross.

Father in heaven, grant to this people the experience, proving the truth we have been talking about, the power of so great salvation is victory over ourselves, our tendencies, our attitudes, our disposition, our traits, our appetites. Grant, Father of Jesus, that in these next 24 hours, each person here will have at least one opportunity to prove that the Word really works. And we will give thee all thanks for it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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