Jentezen Franklin - How To Be An Overcomer
I wanna talk to you today on the subject of how to be an overcomer. Joseph is the perfect type of you and I, the believer, and his story is told in the coats that he wore. He wore the coat of many colors, and I'm going to call that today the coat of salvation. He wore the coat of Christian character. It's the coat that he left in the hand of the woman who wanted him to commit adultery with him. And then there was, finally, the coat that Pharaoh put on him and made him to ride second in the chariot. It's the coat of the overcomer. And this story is a message to you and I on how to overcome, no matter what life throws at us.
Let's look at that first coat. In Genesis 37:3, it says, "Now Jacob loved Joseph more than all of his children, and he made him a coat of many colors". The coat of salvation was... Notice, first of all, it was a gift from the father. Notice that Joseph never paid a penny for it. He never provided one inch of fabric for it. He never sewed one stitch in it. He did nothing to contribute to that coat. That coat was a free gift from the father to the son. It's a beautiful picture of salvation. Twenty-one times, the New Testament calls our salvation the gift of God. No one in this room will stand before God and say look what Jesus and I did. If you can produce one cent's worth of your salvation, that makes you a co-redeemer with Jesus Christ, and it nullifies the work of the cross.
Ephesians 4:32 said, "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us". If you ever learn that... That God doesn't forgive you because you deserve it or you earn it. But God for Christ's sake has forgiven you. It's a free gift. The coat of salvation. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "What do you have that He did not give you or that you did not receive"? And the answer is absolutely nothing.
There's an interesting scripture in the Old Testament that says this. It said and when Lot was in Sodom and Gomorrah, God remembered Abraham and spared Lot. Seems like its written wrong. It seems like it should be God remembered Lot, and God spared Lot. But when God opened up Heaven and poured Hell out, and judgement fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible said the only reason that Lot was spared and brought out was because he had a praying friend up in the mountains named Abraham. And God spared Lot because of Abraham.
Well, that's our testimony today. The only reason and claim that we have to salvation is that because of our praying friend in the mountains of glory named Jesus. He's a friend that sticks closer than a brother. And because of Him, God will remember me. And He's going to translate me out of this world, transport me into God's presence, transfigure me into God's image, and because of what Jesus did, it's a gift from the Father. I have on today the coat of salvation. I didn't earn it. It's a free gift, and all you've got to do is take it.
Notice something else about the coat of salvation. It's called the coat of many colors. It was skillfully pieced together by the hand of the father. The father put it together from the beginning. The father had a plan. I want you to understand that our salvation is not an accident, and the cross was not an after-thought. As a matter of fact, before there was ever a sinner on earth, there was a savior in Heaven because He was the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the earth was ever laid. The coat that saved Joseph was blood-stained in the blood of a goat. And our coat of salvation is blood-stained. It's stained by the blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
As a matter of fact, what can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. If you take the blood out of the Bible, it becomes nothing more than a boring history book. If you take the blood out of this church, it becomes nothing more than a dead corpse. If you take the blood out of the preaching of the gospel, men walk away condemned and on their way to Hell. But through the blood and the word of our testimony, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for a blood-dipped coat of salvation. The second coat that I wanna introduce you to is the coat of Christian character.
Now I want you to understand that Potiphar had a young wife. Potiphar was the chief executioner for Pharaoh, and he had a beautiful young wife. She was beautiful, she was lonely, she was bored, and she was spoiled. On the other hand, Joseph was handsome, he was rugged, he was every inch a man, and he had sterling character. And this woman, when she saw him, he had the power of the presence with character. The Bible said five times, God was with Joseph. He had the power of God's presence, but he had character, and the scripture said she set her eyes on him. She was attracted to him, and she went after him to seduce him repeatedly. And over and over, the Bible says, but Joseph refused.
Finally, one day when the house was empty, the stage was set. She moved in for the kill, and she said sleep with me. She offered him her body, and he refused. He ran from her. And this bitter, disillusioned, rejected woman suddenly screamed rape. And as he ran, she grabbed his coat, and she held the coat as evidence that he had been there. And Potiphar came home and didn't even hear the other side of the story and instantly condemned Joseph to prison for 13 years. But God was with Joseph in the prison. For 13 years, he suffered, and his name was slandered, and he was lied on. And he was broken, and hurt, and done wrong for something that he wasn't even guilty of.
Now listen to me carefully. Every believer has two coats. The first coat is the coat of salvation, and God's responsible for that. But the second coat is the coat of Christian character, and you're responsible for that coat. The Egyptians never saw the first coat. They never saw the coat of many colors - the coat of salvation that the father put on the son. But they saw the second coat, the coat of Christian character. Because a lot of those people in that house knew that she was lying, and they saw the coat in her hand, and they saw that he would not sleep with her. She had to rip the coat off of him. And that's what the world sees. They may never see our invisible coat of salvation, but they see the coat of Christian character.
There are two sides to the proposition of Christian living. There is your position in Christ. That's what Jesus did on the cross. When He went to the cross, and he paid the price for our sins, that's your position in Christ. But then there is your condition in Christ, and that's how you respond to what you do, and you let your light shine before men. It's your actions. There's imputed righteousness. That's when Jesus goes to the bank of Calvary, makes a withdrawal from the riches of the cross, and freely fills your account up with His grace.
That imputed righteousness. But then there's practical righteousness, and that's when you practice your faith by the lifestyle that you live. You let your light shine. You do not compromise. You let the world see the second coat. That I'm different to make a difference. That I could sleep with that girl, but I don't because I have character and integrity. I could go to that party, and get drunk and get wild, but I don't because Christ has made a difference in my life. And they may never see your first coat, but they will see the second coat; the coat of Christian character.
Let's do some plain talking about temptation for just a few moments since you're so quiet. If you don't deal with temptation, temptation will deal with you. I don't care who you are. From 8 to 80, we're all the same. All of us, every day of our lives, will face temptation, and dishonest Christians are ashamed to admit that they're tempted. Christians would rather seemed spiritual than admit they're being tempted. Let's tear away the pretense this morning. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that we're all the same. Isn't that amazing? That no temptation has taken you such as is common to all. We're all the same. Blind, crippled, or crazy, we're all the same. We all have this flesh, and we're all in the same boat.
Somebody said well, I doubt a preacher knows how to deal... Listen, the higher you climb up the mountain, the stronger the wind blows. I probably know more than you think I know. Why does God permit temptation? Can I give you four quick reasons? Number one, to reveal our weaknesses. God will not allow us to live with an outsized opinion of our self. And just about when you get to thinking that you're Mr. Wonderful or Mrs. Godly Two-shoes, you know, walking around, "Oh, I'm so holy". God will allow temptation to come to show you just how weak you are without His grace and without His help.
If you would have told David that he would commit adultery, that he would create a bunch of lies, and steal another man's wife, and then have that man murdered, and then spin lies like a web to try to cover his deception, on his heyday, when he was on top of the world after he just fought Goliath in the name of the Lord, he would have looked at you and said that's crazy. I'll never mess up like that. If you would have told Peter, one day you're going to deny Christ three times within a 24-hour period, he would have said those other 11 are losers, and they'll fail you, but I'm your home run king, God, and you don't have to worry about me. I'm holier than they are. But later you see them after they fall and their weakness is revealed, and David cries, shame has covered my face, and Peter goes and weeps bitterly.
I'm saying to you, Mr. Wonderful, be careful. The fact is, if some of us had not failed, nobody could live with us because we would be so full of us that we would forget that it's God's grace and God's power that helps us live this life. It's in our brokenness that we lose our pride. Another reason that God permits temptation, listen to this, is to reveal to you and I the need for watchfulness. We need to be watchful.
There was a little boy who was fishing on a rock out at the ocean. And the waves came up, and the tide hit his legs, and somehow he lost his footing. And he slipped into the water, and went all the way under, and came up gasping for breath, shivering in the freezing breeze of the ocean air, and came up out of that water soaking wet, tackle box and all. And a older man watched the whole thing, and walked over to him and said how did you come to fall in? He said I didn't come to fall in. I came to fish. I just fell in while I was fishing. We didn't come to do it. It just happens. And when it happens, it reveals your weakness.
You take your eye off the compass, and the tide of carnality pulls your footing out from under you. And suddenly, if you're not watchful, you will fall. I'm saying to you today, you better live alert. You better be awake. The need for watchfulness. It's while Saul slept that David crept into the cave and cut his skirt off, and took his staff, and went across the valley and said I could have killed you while you were sleeping. It's while he slept. It's while Samson slept that he received the most expensive haircut in human history, and Delilah cut the seven locks of power off. But it happened while he slept.
It was while Sisera slept, the Philistine king, that that woman took the tent peg Jael. And she drove it through his, spiked his head to the ground and killed the powerful king of the Philistines. And it's while the servants slept in Jesus' parable that the man came and sowed wheat among the tare. And what I'm saying to you is if we are to protect our anointing, if we are to protect our positions, if we are to protect our families, if we are to protect our integrity and our character, we better stay awake.
Jesus said watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation. You cannot afford to come to church and have a sleepy spirit. I'm not talking about physical sleep. I'm talking about spiritual sleep that allows you to be dulled and bored with your walk with God. Stay awake, and stay on fire. Come on. You need to be alert. The enemy is seeking whom he may devour. Be aware of it. Turn to somebody and say watch and pray.
Thirdly, God permits temptation, especially for self-made people to force them into a position of trust and dependence again. There's something about us. The more that you pat us on the back, the bigger our head swells. The more success we get, the less we depend on God. There was a large portly man who was bragging about his business achievements. And he was very large and very heavy. And he said, "Yes, I've done this, and I've done that, and I'm a self-made man". And a little boy heard him and looked up and said, "What'd you make yourself like that for"?
So this is a special word to the self-made people out there. Deuteronomy 32:11 tells us how God gets people in a position of trust and dependence again. As an eagle flutters over her young and stirs up her nest, so the Lord guided and developed Israel. And what I'm saying to you is sometimes we pray God, deliver me. And God says no, I'm not going to deliver you. I'm going to develop you. And the only way God can get us to advance is through adversity. And we're more interested in comfort than we are character. But God's not. And we're crying, take me out.
And God says no, I'm going to take you through. But when you get through with this, you're going to have wings, and you're going to know how to fly, and you're going to know how to depend on me, and you're going to know that I am your source, and without me, you can do nothing. Clap your hands, somebody. It's God in you that works to both will and do His good pleasure.
And lastly, the reason why God permits temptation is to teach you, listen to this, to starve the flesh and feed the spirit. You can't hear that phrase enough. Everybody say it with me now. Starve the flesh, feed the spirit. You see, if you hold a post-mortem over the greatest defeats in your life, you will discover in the debris a broken-down altar, and a closed Bible, and cut off communication with God every time. When you have a broken-down altar, you're no longer praying, and you're no longer opening that book, and you're no longer communicating to God, that is a set-up for tremendous failure.
But when we understand that we rebuild the altar and restore the Word of God to our life in a daily diet, then we discover that weak can become strong. It takes 150 degrees to make tin. It takes 500 degrees to make brass. It takes 1.030 degrees to make silver, and it takes 1.400 degrees to make gold. Do you wanna be a tin Christian, or do you wanna be a gold Christian? And if you wanna be a gold Christian, God's going to turn the heat up until all the scum rises to the top. He's going to skim it off, and skim it off, and skim it off until He sees His reflection, and you look like He looks, and you think like He thinks, and you act like He acts, and you live like He lives. That's how it's happen.
And lastly, there's the coat of the overcomer. Well, what did Joseph have to overcome? He had to overcome hatred from his own brothers. It's hatred and unforgiveness that he could have harbored, but he had to overcome because it was his own family. And the Bible said a man's enemies will be in his own house. His greatest enemies. He had to overcome temptation of the worst kind. He had to overcome slander. They lied on him. They drug his name through the mud. He had to overcome disappointment. The butler forgot him even after he got the butler out of jail. He had to overcome the desire for revenge and retaliation on his enemies.
Listen to this. I can tell you whether or not you've forgiven someone by this test. You know you have forgiven them if, when you have power to hurt them, and you don't do it. You have forgiven them. When you could retaliate with revenge, but something restrains you, and you don't do it. You have forgiven them. And Revelation says that there's a reward for the overcomer. Those who overcome slander, temptation, hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, disappointment. And many of you are listening to me today, and the enemy has you in a cage of resentment and bitterness, even to your own family. And God says, "If you overcome this, I'm going to bless you". Because you're going to find out you're not holding them captive. It's your unforgiveness. And when you release them, you're really setting yourself free.
Listen to this, "People are often", someone wrote this, and I thought it was brilliant, "People are often illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives, but do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies, but succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten by many tomorrow, but do good anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you, but be honest anyway. The biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest minds, but think big anyway". Can I get an amen?
"When you spend your years building, someone can destroy it overnight, but build anyway. People need help, but they may attack you if you try to help them. But help people anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it will never be enough, but give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway". "They meant it for my evil, but God meant it", Joseph said, "for my good".
Does anybody want victory in your life? Do you wanna be an overcomer today? I'm not asking you to try to get stronger and fight it with your strength. I'm asking you will you place your weakness, your temptation, your need in the hands of Jesus? Stand to your feet. I feel like God's about to do something great in this place. Hallelujah. I want you to say:
Lord Jesus, I give you my life today. I surrender completely. I believe that you have provided total salvation through the blood-dipped coat. I put it on, and my sins are covered. Today I need your help because I know I'm your demonstrator. How I react to what I'm going through, others are going to see in my character, or lack thereof. So give me the coat of Christian character. Help me to love my enemies. Help me to do good to those who curse me and do wrong to me. Give me more than talk. Help me to walk what I believe. And Father, in Jesus' name, put on me the coat of the overcomer. I overcome the bitterness, the hatred, the slander, the lies, the deception. Just like Joseph, I've gone through some of those things, but I am an overcomer, and today I put on the coat of the overcomer. I will not stay in that prison of unforgiveness. I ask you to help me release forgiveness to that person right now. And now I lift my hands, and I say Lord, come and empower me with the Holy Spirit power to overcome everything I've been through. Every lie that's been told on me. I lift my hands, and I thank you that they meant it for my evil, but you're going to use it for my good.
Now open your mouth and praise Him just a moment. All over this room, begin to thank Him. God is doing a mighty work right now. God is doing a mighty work right now. Come on. Praise Him just another moment. Praise Him until you feel freedom in your soul. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. And now I declare this over your life. I decree this over your life. This is a breakthrough day for many people, and I feel this for many families. That no longer do you need to talk about what you have been through. That this day, your status has changed, and you're not an undergoer. You're an overcomer. And no matter what has been thrown at you, you're going to overcome it. You can't come over something if you don't have something to come over. So in Jesus' name, say I am an overcomer.