Joel Osteen - It's Already Defeated
I want to talk to you today about It's Already Defeated. We all face situations that should hold us back, what we're up against is bigger and stronger, and it's easy to live in fear, intimidated, thinking that we could never move forward. But the scripture says in 1 John 4:4, "Because you belong to God, you have already defeated the enemy". What's up against you has already been defeated. God is not in the heavens fighting with the enemy, trying to free you, heal you, deliver you, favor you - the battle has already been won. 2 000 years ago, when Jesus came up out of the grave, he defeated everything that can hold you back. He took care of it once and for all. The scripture (Hebrews 2:14) says, "He rendered the enemy powerless". One translation says, "He brought him to naught". Naught means zero, wasn't even closed - it was a shutout.
Here's the beauty: because you belong to God, because you're his child, you have already defeated the enemy. Anything you face in life, you need to see it as defeated. Don't pray for victory, pray from victory. "Father, thank you that I am free. I am healed. I am forgiven. I am prosperous. I am victorious". But the challenge is: even though our enemy is defeated, he makes a lot of noise.
The scripture says, "He goes about as a roaring lion". He's not a lion, he can't overpower you, he can't control your destiny. He's like a lion. That means he's loud, he'll roar negative thoughts, "That sickness will be the end of you. You'll never meet the right person. You've made too many mistakes, nothing good is in your future". Do yourself a favor: ignore the roar. Don't believe his lies. When those thoughts come, just give him the zero sign. Remind him, "You have no power over me. You've already been defeated. Because I belong to God, I will walk in victory. I will live and not die. I will prosper and succeed. I will stay in peace in the midst of a storm". When you know what comes against you has already been defeated, it changes your outlook. You won't live in fear, worried about your future, letting doubt hold you back. You'll move forward, knowing that God has already taken care of anything you'll ever face, the path has already been cleared.
It says in Daniel 11:32, "The people who know their God will be strong and do exploits". When you know your God and what he's done, that he's already defeated the enemy, that he's taken away his power, that he's brought him to zero, then you'll be strong. You won't be moved by opposition, you won't fall apart when trouble comes, you won't give up because somebody did you wrong. You know it can't stop your purpose. You'll not only have a supernatural strength, but you'll do exploits, you'll take your family to a new level, you'll break addictions that have held you back, you'll accomplish dreams that are bigger than you've imagined. Have the right perspective: whatever enemies you face, enemies of fear, enemies of depression, enemies of sickness, enemies of insecurity, they have already been defeated. Now here's the key: if you don't realize this, you can let a defeated enemy keep you from your destiny.
Years ago there was a missionary in Africa. He was traveling by horseback down this narrow winding trail. It was a hot Sunday afternoon. He was on his way to one of the little villages. As he approached a sharp turn in the trail, the horse stopped and wouldn't go any further. It sensed that something was wrong around the corner. He couldn't make the horse go. Finally got off and looked around the curb. There was a huge snake, about 10 feet long, very thick, curled up right in the middle of the path basking in the sun. He had his head hidden under this small flat stone. The man's heart was gripped with fear. He'd been warned about how dangerous and poisonous the snakes were, and he didn't know what to do. He didn't have any kind of weapon, there wasn't any other way around the path. It was thick with trees and brush on each side.
After about 15 minutes he got his nerve up, he picked up the biggest rock he could possibly find. He was going to throw it on top of that flat stone where the snake was hiding his head. He hoped the force of that big rock would cause that flat stone to crush his head, and kill the snake. He moved very cautiously forward, trembling in the back of his mind thinking, "What if I don't kill him? What if I miss? What if he turns around, comes back and bites me"? Amid all those fears, with the adrenaline flowing, he hurled that rock on top of the snake with all of his might. Much to his surprise, the snake didn't move. He got a little closer, and suddenly realized: the snake was already dead. Somebody passing that way before him had crushed the snake's head, and just left him lying under that rock. The good news is: someone has already been down our path, and cleared it of everything that could harm us.
When Jesus came to the earth, he went around doing good, healing sick people, lifting the fallen, but the religious leaders didn't accept him. Even though he had done no wrong, they put a crown of thorns on his head, forced him to carry his own cross to be crucified. Hanging on the cross, he could have called angels to come rescue him, but he didn't do it. He hung there for you and for me. The nails didn't hold him on the cross, love held him on the cross. It was all a part of God's plan. The scripture (1 John 3:8) says, "For this reason the Son of God came to earth, to destroy the works of the enemy". Jesus went before us and crushed Satan's head. He took away all of his power.
Now we can live a victorious life. But I wonder, if you're letting a dead snake keep you from moving forward? What's in your path may seem harmful, looks like you can't get around it, you're afraid, you can't sleep at night. The trouble at work, the child is off course, mistakes you've made, guilt, condemnation... If you'll start moving forward, you'll discover: the snake is already dead. God didn't leave you here on this earth with enemies that can stop your destiny, they're already defeated. But in order to see what God has done, you have to take steps forward. You can't let fear dominate, live worried about your future, believe in the roar that the obstacle's too big, the addiction too strong, the sickness too powerful, the mistake too great. Yes, it looks intimidating, but it's not what you think. The head is already crushed. God has already taken care of what's trying to stop you.
Don't let a dead snake keep you from reaching your destiny. The power in you is greater than any power that's coming against you. If you were on your own, it would be a problem. But you're not on your own. The Most High God lives in you. Isaiah said he goes before you and makes crooked places straight. He's already gone before you and defeated those enemies. Jesus said in John 14:30, "The prince of this world comes and he has no power over me". I'm not saying you won't have difficulties, things that are not fair. The prince of this world will come, that's the enemy, but you can say like Jesus, "He has no power over me. I know a secret, he's already been defeated". We didn't defeat him, but Jesus defeated him. Because we belong to Christ, his victory is our victory. Because he lives, we can live. Because he rendered him powerless, we can walk in freedom.
Now to see this victory you can't have a defeated mindset. "Joel, I'm under attack. The enemy's working overtime on me. I don't know what I'm going to do". No, the right attitude is, "The enemy has no power over me". He used to have power, he used to have the keys to death in hell, but Jesus took away those keys. He lost his power, his conqueror, our Savior gave us the keys. Now we have the authority. Now we can live in victory. Instead of being under attack, when things come against you, you need to be on the attack. "Father, thank you that every force that's trying to stop me has been defeated. I will not shrink back in fear, letting a dead snake fool me. I know you've already crushed his head. I know you've already win once, so I'm going to move forward, knowing that you always cause me to triumph".
When my father was in his 40s, he had a dream one night. He was in this room, about 30 feet by 30 feet. In one corner was this very evil being, like Satan himself up on the throne. And another corner was this man trying to get out of the room. There was only one door. My father was standing by that door, watching all this take place. The man wanted out so desperately, but he couldn't move. He was flailing his arms, like he was swimming, struggling to inch forward, but Satan just kept staring at him. It was like this evil gaze was holding the man captive. He kept working, striving, putting forth all this effort, but he never moved. At one point in the dream my father spoke up, and said very forcefully, "I will walk out of here in the name of Jesus". Satan looked at him, tried to hold him with his gaze, but it had no effect. My father opened the door, and walked out.
He woke up, and didn't know what the dream meant, didn't think much more about it. Several months later he went through one of the most difficult times in his life. He'd been doing great, pastoring his church, happily married, but he suddenly felt overwhelmed by life, lost his passion, couldn't sleep at night. He sunk into a deep depression. He told how when he woke up, he couldn't wait till night came. At night he couldn't wait till the morning. Started having panic attacks, heart racing, blood pressure going up. He began to feel guilty about past mistakes. This deep sense of shame and guilt, condemnation, so much so, that he closed his offices, thought he was having a nervous breakdown. It came out of the blue: there was no warning, he was faithfully pastoring, serving his church, then the bottom fell out.
Being a believer doesn't mean we won't ever be attacked. The prince of this world will come, but what I want you to see is: he doesn't determine your future, he doesn't have the final say. Thoughts told my father that he would never minister again, that he had a terminal illness, something incurable, that it would get worse and worse. Fear gripped his heart. One day while he was praying, he said "God, where are you? Why won't you do something"? Suddenly he remembered his dream. The scripture (Isaiah 65:24) says, "Before you call, God will answer you". Before he ever came under this attack, God gave him the dream. It was as if God was saying, "Son, tell me what happened in the dream". My father recalled how that one man couldn't get out. God said to my father, "What did you do in the dream"? My father said, "I walked out in the name of Jesus". God says, "Son, you're in that room right now. The enemy is fear, the enemy is torment, the enemy is lies. The only way to get out is to walk out in my name, remind him of my victory".
Sometimes we're praying, "God, when are you going to do something? Don't you see I'm under this attack"? God says, "I've already done it. I've already defeated every enemy that will try to stop you. Now you have to get on the attack, you have to rise up and walk out of it". My father dried his tears, and he got his passion back. In the face of those fears he started speaking faith, "I will fear no evil. I am strong in the Lord. No weapon formed against me will prosper". Little by little he got his passion back, got his vision back, got his power back.
After several months of staying in the house, being overwhelmed, he took a step of faith and accepted a speaking engagement. Was in another city where he would have to fly. Well, he had flown all over the world, it was no big deal, but suddenly he had a fear of flying. Thoughts told him, "You better not get on that plane, if you do it'll be the last time you ever see your family". The only tools the enemy has is deception and lies. It's no different today than in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve. "If you eat this fruit you won't die. You'll become like God. Come on, you can eat it". He's called the father of lies, there's no truth in him. To reach your potential, you have to become skilled at dismissing his lies. He'll try to talk you out of your destiny. He has a big roar. "You can't get well. You'll never get past this addiction. This problem's too big. Don't get on that plane", ignore the roar. He's all bark and no bite. The only power he has over you is the power you give him, by believing the lies.
My father finally got his faith up, he was going to take that flight. This was the first time going out in months and speaking, a very big moment. Then a friend called and said, "John, I have a strange feeling about this that you're not supposed to fly. I just sense something bad may happen". I know people can give us counsel and advice, but sometimes the enemy will use people to try to keep you from moving forward. He'll do everything he can to try to keep you stuck, in fear, thinking, "You can't get well. You can't get out of debt. You can't accomplish that dream". My father was at a critical point: was he going to act on fear or was he going to act on faith? Was he going to stay in that room, believing he was held captive or was he going to walk out, knowing that the enemy was defeated?
He took a step of faith. He got his courage up and went to the airport. Normally the flight was a large jet, with several hundred people. But this particular day it was a twin-engine prop plane, held about 30 people. When my father saw the plane, everything in him said "You better go back. This is a sure sign you're not supposed to go". He ignored it, got on the plane. When the pilot took off, my father told how he lifted up his seat, trying to help the pilot. When the pilot turned left, daddy leaned left. He made it there safely, flew for many years after that. Had my father not walked out of that room, had he let that dead snake paralyze him, he would have missed his destiny.
Jesus said, "When the prince of the world comes, he has no power over me", but the next verse, "But I will do what the father requires". That last part is the key: we're all going to face attacks, trouble, opposition. The prince of this world will come, he has no power over us, but we have to do what the father requires. We can't sit back, "Why did this happen? This is not fair". What the Father requires is to move forward in faith. Don't let fear hold you back. Don't believe the lies that it's permanent. Don't water down your dreams, that snake is dead. You can walk out of that room. Now, get your passion back, and go after what God put in your heart.
This is what Joseph did. His fiance Mary became pregnant without knowing a man. She gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem. When king Herod heard about Jesus, the scripture says, he was deeply disturbed. He didn't like the thought of someone having more power, and more influence than him. An angel appeared to Joseph, and told him to flee to Egypt, because Herod was going to try to kill Jesus. Joseph left in the middle of the night. Herod was so upset, he sent soldiers out to kill all the male babies two years of age and under. For two years Herod wreaked havoc, causing so much pain, and so much sorrow. One night an angel appeared to Joseph again. He said, "Get up and take the child and his mother back to Israel. For those who are trying to kill the child are dead". Joseph's whole world had been turned upside down, imagine having someone trying to take your child's life, how on edge you would be, always looking over your shoulder, wondering what might happen. Then the news came to Joseph: Herod is dead. What's trying to stop you is defeated.
I'm sure Joseph was thrilled, now they could relax, now they could enjoy their life. But the next verse is the test, the angel said "Go back to Israel, take your son to his home". Joseph could have thought, "God, I'm grateful that Herod is dead, but I don't want to take any chances. Let me stay here in Egypt. Let me stay here where I know it's safe". But to reach your destiny, you have to do what the Father requires. "Herod is dead, the enemy has been defeated, now Joseph, you have to go and take your child to Israel". Notice "Go and take". Don't stay in the room, don't stay where it's safe, don't let that setback keep you from pursuing your dream. Go and take what belongs to you.
It's interesting that the pandemic has lasted a couple of years. Many of us have had to put dreams on hold. Our plans were interrupted, people have gone through loss. It's easy to settle where we are, just be grateful that we made it through, thankful that the virus is hopefully passing. No, Herod may be dead so to speak, but God is saying, "You have to go and take". If you're going to reach your potential, you have to stir up your gifts, pray some bold prayers, take steps of faith. What's trying to stop you is defeated, the people who were holding you back, they've lost their influence. The sickness, the addiction, the trouble at work, those powers have been broken. Now, do what the Father requires - move forward, believe for your healing, speak victory over your children. It's time to take possession of what God promised you.
See, if Joseph would have played it safe, Jesus would have never made it back to Nazareth, like it was prophesied. If my father would have stayed in that room, not gotten on that plane, I wouldn't be here today. The enemy has no power over you. Now, do what the Father requires. Don't let that dead snake cause you to settle for less than what God put in your heart.
As a young man Moses knew that God had called him to deliver the Israelites out of slavery. He was a Hebrew, but he was raised by the Egyptians. Pharaoh's daughter saw him floating down the Nile River, she took him in as her own son. One day Moses saw an Egyptian foreman mistreating a Hebrew slave. Something rose up in him, and he killed the Egyptian man. He didn't think anyone saw him, he hid the man in the sand, but the next day two people confronted him about it. Moses had to flee for his life. He spent 40 years on the backside of the desert. I'm sure he thought he'd missed his destiny, he'd made too many mistakes. At night the guilt would come, "You blew it, man. You had your chance, now you're stuck out here in the desert". 40 years later God came to him and said, "Moses, I didn't forget about you. Go tell the Pharaoh to let my people go". I can't imagine Moses saying, "God, those people want to kill me. I'm a wanted man". God said in Exodus 4:19, "Don't be afraid to return to Egypt, for all those that were trying to kill you are dead". God was saying, "Moses, I've already taken care of what's trying to stop you. I've already dealt with your enemies. I wouldn't ask you to go if you were going to be defeated".
We can all look back, like Moses, and see mistakes we've made, things we should have done better, it was our fault. We think we just have to live with it, but God is saying, "I've already taken care of your mistakes. I've already dealt with your past. I've already defeated what should have stopped you. I've already moved the wrong people out of the way. Your mistakes didn't stop your purpose. Don't sit on the sidelines, thinking you can't fulfill your destiny, "Look what I've done. I didn't make good choices, should have raised my children better, should have finished school, should have been more disciplined". Can I encourage you? All those that were after you are dead. This is a new day. God has forgiven your sins. He has mercy for your mistakes. Nothing you've done has to keep you from your purpose. Now, you have to do what God requires: the enemy is defeated, but your part is to go and take. Go after your dreams, take possession of what God promised you.
Moses went back to the Pharaoh, the very place that he thought he would never see again. They didn't arrest him, he wasn't harmed. Despite his mistakes, he ended up delivering the Israelites. See, Joseph was afraid of his future, "What will Herod do"? Moses was afraid of his past, "I've made mistakes". Both times God said, "There's nothing to fear. I've defeated your enemies. I've taken care of what you're afraid of".
When my father was six years old, there was this house in the neighborhood that was abandoned, all run down, very torn up, boarded up. As little kids it looked very spooky to them, they called it the haunted house. They didn't walk by it unless they had to. When they did, they went as fast as they could. They were all afraid of that house. Well, my father had a brother named Jack. He was several years older than him, and Jack would fight a tiger. He was brave, courageous, he knew no fear. One night about dusk, my father and some friends were standing off in the distance, looking at the haunted house. Jack said, "You know what? I'm going in the house". He might as well have said, "I'm going to end my life". They thought he'd lost his mind. Nobody ever got close to that house. My father was so worried, so concerned, tried to talk him out of it. "Jack, there's no way. You can't go in. There it's dangerous". Jack wouldn't hear it. His mind was made up.
They all stood over to the side. Jack opened the front door, and just like a movie, it creaked so loudly, so eerie, sent chill bumps up and down their spine. He went in. They waited, waited, waited... One minute, nothing. Two minutes, nothing. Five minutes, still no sign of Jack. Seemed like five hours. They were sure something was wrong, something must have gotten him. About that time they saw the shutters on the upstairs window begin to slowly open. Jack stuck his head out, and said with the big smile, "It's okay, fellas, there's nothing in here to harm us".
On a Friday, 2,000 years ago, Jesus was crucified, they put him in a tomb, looked like it was over. All of hell was celebrating. The demons rejoicing. But on that third day, on resurrection Sunday, Jesus, our elder brother, opened the window and said to all of us, "There's nothing to fear. I have the keys to death and hell. I've defeated the enemy. I've cleared the path. I've gone ahead of you, to take care of anything that could harm you".
We don't have to live in fear, fear the past, fear the future, worried about what we're up against now. The prince of this world may come, but we know a secret: he has no power over us. He's been dethroned, defamed, brought to zero. My challenge is: don't let a dead snake keep you from becoming who you were created to be. May look intimidating, but God has already defeated it. Go and take what belongs to you. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: you're about to step into new levels of favor, influence, freedom, courage. Chains that have held you back are being broken right now. The right people are going to show up, healing, restoration, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you believe, it can you say amen this morning? Amen.