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First John: 1 John 4:4b-The Recipients of First John Experienced Victory Over the False Prophets Lesson # 152

First John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:04:10
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First John: 1 John 4:4b-The Recipients of First John Experienced Victory Over the False Prophets

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1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (ESV)
And have overcome them” is composed of the following: (1) conjunction kai (καί), “and” (2) second person plural perfect active indicative form of the verb nikaō (νικάω), “have overcome” (3) accusative third person masculine plural form of the intensive personal pronoun autos (αὐτός), “them.”
The conjunction kai is a marker of result which means that it is introducing an assertion which presents the result of the previous assertion that each one of the recipients of First John does possess the characteristic of truth which originates from God the Holy Spirit.
The verb nikaō means “to be victorious over.”
The second personal plural form of this verb refers to the recipients of First John as a corporate unit and is used in a distributive sense meaning “each one of you.”
The verb’s object is the accusative third person masculine plural form of the intensive personal pronoun autos, “them” which does not refer to the spirits or teaching which rejects Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior.
Rather, this intensive personal pronoun refers to the false prophets mentioned in 1 John 4:1.
This is clearly indicated by the fact that the word agrees in gender (masculine) with the noun pseudoprophētēs, “false prophets” which appears in 1 John 4:1 while on the other hand, the noun pneuma is neuter.
The intensive personal pronoun autos is functioning as an accusative direct object which means that it is receiving the action of the verb nikaō indicating that these false prophets are receiving the action of being defeated spiritually by the recipients of First John.
Therefore, this verb nikaō expresses the idea that each one of the recipients of First John were victorious over these false prophets as a result of obeying John’s Spirit inspired apostolic teaching which declared that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior.
The perfect tense of the verb nikaō is an intensive perfect, which is used to emphasize the results or present state produced by a past action.
The present state are the recipients of First John experiencing victory over these false prophets.
The past action is that each of them obeyed John’s Spirit inspired apostolic teaching which declared that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior.
1 John 4:4 Each and every one of you, dear children, does possess the characteristic originating from this, the one and only God (who is the Spirit). Consequently, each of you are victorious over them because the one in each of you is greater than the one in the world. (Author’s translation)
The apostle John solemnly affirms with and commends the recipients of First John that they were remaining faithful to his Spirit inspired apostolic teaching concerning the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Consequently, he is affirming and thus encouraging them that they were in fact experiencing fellowship with himself and the Trinity which is the overriding concern of this epistle (cf. 1 John 1:3).
John does this by asserting that each of the recipients of First John did possess the characteristic originating from this, the one and only God, which is a reference to the Holy Spirit.
This of course implies that they accepted by faith John’s Spirit inspired apostolic teaching which declares that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior, which is indicated by John’s assertions in 1 John 4:2-3.
Now, in 1 John 4:6, the characteristic which the recipients of First John possessed as a result of accepting by faith John’s Spirit inspired apostolic teaching that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior is truth.
This is indicated by John’s statement in 1 John 4:6, which asserts that truth originates with the Holy Spirit and associates error with the devil.
The latter in this verse is called “the spirit of error” whereas the former is identified as “the Spirit of truth.”
Therefore, the characteristic of truth is referred to here in 1 John 4:4 since John in 1 John 4:6 associates truth with the Holy Spirit and the error with the devil, which is a reference to the false doctrine propagated by the false prophets or antichrists.
The apostle John then presents the result of the previous assertion that each one of the recipients of First John does possess the characteristic of truth which originates from God the Holy Spirit by asserting that they were victorious over the false prophets which he mentions in 1 John 4:1.
He identifies them in 1 John 2:18 as “antichrists” and non-believers in 1 John 2:19.
They are described as such because they reject the Spirit inspired apostolic teaching which declares that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior (cf. 1 John 2:22-23; 4:2-3).
Therefore, the recipients of First John were victorious over these antichrists as a result of possessing the characteristic of truth which originates from God the Holy Spirit.
They possessed this characteristic of truth because they were obeying John’s Spirit inspired apostolic teaching that Jesus of Nazareth is the God-man Savior.
Consequently, they were rejecting the false doctrine of these false prophets who taught that Jesus was not the God-man Savior since they denied he was a human being (cf. 1 John 1:1-4; 2:22-23; 4:2-3).
The apostle John then presents the reason why the recipients of First John were victorious over these false prophets or antichrists by asserting that the Holy Spirit who indwells them is greater than Satan who is in the world.
This indicates that the recipients of First John were not only victorious over these false prophets but also they were victorious over the devil since he sent these false prophets into the world to deceive the world about the person of Jesus Christ.
This is the third time the apostle John has commended the recipients of First John for being victorious over the devil.
The first was in 1 John 2:13 and the second was 1 John 2:14.
1 John 2:13 I am writing at this particular time to each one of you fathers that each of you know experientially the One from eternity past. I am writing at this particular time to each one of you young men that each of you are victorious over the evil one. (Author’s translation)
In this verse, the apostle John presents two more affirmations which serve as commendations.
In this verse, he addresses the younger and older men in this community.
He first affirms in this verse that the older men in the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia knew Jesus Christ experientially.
Then, he affirms that the younger men in this community were victorious over Satan in spiritual combat.
1 John 2:14 I am presently writing to each one of you children that each of you know the Father experientially. I am presently writing to each one of you fathers that each of you know experientially the One from eternity past. I am presently writing to each one of you young men that each of you are strong. Specifically, the Word originating from God is resident in each one of you. Consequently, each of you are victorious over the evil one. (Author’s translation)
1 John 2:14 contains five affirmations which commend the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia.
The first affirmation is addressed to the entire Christian community as a corporate unit.
The second is addressed exclusively to the men in the Christian community who were forty years of age or older.
The third is addressed to the young men in this community or had not yet reached the age of forty.
The fourth, fifth and sixth affirmations are also addressed to these young men.
The fifth explains the fourth and the sixth present the result of the fourth and fifth affirmations.
Though John addresses the older and younger men individually, all of these affirmations are directed at the entire Christian community as a corporate unit.
This is indicated by the fact that he affirms that they knew the Father experientially and this can only happen by knowing Christ experientially which he affirms the older men were doing.
Therefore, if the older men knew Christ experientially, they knew the Father this way as well since the believer comes to know the Father experientially by knowing the Son experientially since the latter came to reveal the former.
Furthermore, if the congregation knows the Father experientially by knowing the Son this way, then they are spiritually strong.
If they know the Father and the Son experientially, then they are obeying the Word of God which John asserts of the young men in the congregation since obedience to the Word of God is the means by which the believer knows the Father and the Son experientially.
If the congregation knows the Father experientially by knowing the Son experientially as a result of obeying the Word of God, then they are experiencing victory over Satan since obedience to the Word of God is the means by which the believer experiences victory over Satan in spiritual combat.
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