1 John 5:4-5 - The Overcomers
Review of last week: Much of 1 John discusses the subject of love. However, last week we looked at the kind of love that is not honoring to God; rather it is a love that He hates.
The apostle John says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (v. 15).
The meaning of the term "world" in the context of 2:15-17 refers to the system of evil that dominates the earth. Christians are not to love that system because it is inconsistent with their love for the Father.
First John 5:19 says that the whole world lies in control of the wicked one. It conveys the picture of a nurse cradling a child. The whole world is cradled in the arms of Satan.
We also looked at The Methods of the world. The world, as we looked at last week, has methods to try and destroy our faith and walk with God and to have us walk with it rather than God:
As we just mentioned that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. “ (1 John 5:19, NASB95)
Paul exhorted the Corinthians that "no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2 Corinthians 2:11, NASB95)… we don’t need to be ignorant…
And since we are not ignorant of his schemes, Paul exhorts us to "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11, NASB95)
…and so last week we looked at the Methods of the world… and the scheme or method we looked at was that of compromise. Although true Christians do not love the world, we sometimes flirt with it. We learned that our compromise will lead to…
Friendship with the world, James put it this way: "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)
Our friendship will lead to being spotted "Pure and undefiled religion says James in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27, NASB95)
So now our being spotted will lead to being conformed "And do not be conformed to this world, Paul said but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. " (Romans 12:2, NASB95)
And our being conformed will lead to being condemned or disciplined "But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:32, NASB95)
We also looked at The Might of the world, the power working against us in (v.16) the lust of the flesh, eyes, and the pride of life. The things of the world are these mentioned in (v.16).
And lastly, we looked at The Perspective we are to have of this world. The Christian is to look at the world with the perspective God has of it… and this is found in (v.17):
Realize everything in this world is passing away and there is nothing you can take with you: John says that "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:17)
Realize your citizenship is in heaven, for this is what Paul says in (Philippians 3:20).
And lastly, Beware of paying too high a price for temporary satisfaction. Esau traded the lasting benefits of his birthright for the immediate pleasure of food (Genesis 25:27-34).
This week we will be looking at the subject of Overcomers. Three times John uses this word overcome, which lets us know that a real conflict is going on in the world. Furthermore, the Bible declares that Christians can experience overcoming, conquest, and victory. There also is no reason at all to be a defeated Christian. If you are a child of God, everything you need for victory is available to you.
Two different tenses of the verb overcome are used. The first and third time is used in the present tense; it is a daily overcoming. The second time it is used in a tense that means something took place in the past and was settled once and for all. “This is the victory that overcame the world—our faith” (v.4b); it took place in the past.
Overcoming: The Initial Conquest (v.4b).
1. ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith…’ (v.4b).
a) The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
(1) How did Christ destroy the works of the devil? The text gives two answers and we need to ask how these two are related to each other
(a) By appearing… that is by coming from heaven and being born in the form of man.
(b) The second answer is in verse 9. "No one born of God commits sin." Sin is conquered; the work of the devil is destroyed, when a person is born of God.
(2) "destroy" means "to loosen," "to undo" or "to remove." Satan's works were like chains around us. When Christ came, He threw off the chains and freed us from sin.
(3) Satan’s power to accuse men with sin is now “cast out” (Zechariah 3:1-5). Men now have the power to escape the penalty of sin. Christ took the sins of men upon Himself and paid the penalty for their sin. He died for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ Himself “Bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness----by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)
Paul said Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. (Romans 8:33 NKJV)
No condemnation "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom8:1)
(4) Satan’s power to cause death is now “cast out” (Heb.2:14-15). Satan knew that God required death for us because of sin and if we remained in sin and then die, we would go out of God’s presence forever in hell. Christ died for man, became man’s substitute in death.
(a) Jesus went into death, through death, and came out on the other side, conquering it.
Jesus said to His disciples "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (John 14:19 NKJV)
(b) We have been released from bondage & the fear of death & actually look forward to it.
Paul said For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NKJV)
Also "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)
(5) Satan’s power to cause men to be separated from God is now “cast out” (1Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ bridged the gap that He might bring us to God, enabling us to enter His presence.
Paul said we have "been justified by faith, and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand." (Romans 5:1-2, NKJV)
Paul said the Jesus "Is our peace… "For through Him we… have access by one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2:17-18, NKJV)
And because Jesus destroyed the works of the devil, we are invited to "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)
(6) Satan’s power to enslave men with the habits of sin is now “cast out” (Rom.6:1-2). By His death, Christ made it possible for man to be freed from sin. The believer, cleansed by the blood of Christ, becomes a holy temple unto God, a temple fit for the presence and power of God’s Spirit. Man can now conquer the enslaving habits of sin by the power of God’s Spirit.
(a) Romans 6:6-8, 12-14, 18-22; 1 John 4:4 “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”.
(7) Satan’s evil spirits and forces were conquered by His resurrection (1 John 3:8).
Paul said Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15 NKJV)
(8) The proof of these works being destroyed in our lives is by being freed from living in sin (v.9) – “for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God”.
This leads to the next point…. The continual conquest
Overcoming: The Continual Conquest (4a).
1. ‘For whatever is born of God overcomes the world…’ (v.4a).
a) Present tense - the daily overcoming:
(1) What does John say in this epistle about being born of God (2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18)?
(2) To be an overcomer, you must first be born of God (John 1:9-13) – “born from above”.
Jesus said “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
Peter put it this way "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…" "…for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Peter 1:3, 23)
b) What does it mean to be born again (John 3:1-10)?
(1) Jesus gave the source of the new birth (3:5). Jesus said, a man “must be born of water and the Spirit”. And according to Jesus, Nicodemus should have understood something from the Old Testament. What does it mean to be born of the water and spirit? Several Interpretations:
(a) Natural birth – As the fetus is in that water sac being protected, and then there is the water bursting and the child is born.
(b) Water Baptism – You cannot be saved by taking a bath!
(c) Takes both parts “symbolically” – Water refers to cleansing: Spirit refers to power.
(d) Water is used as a metaphor to refer to the Holy Spirit – (John 4:14; 7:37-38; Isaiah 44:3 &55:1 Nicodemus should have known these verses).
(e) Water is used as a metaphor for the written Word of God – (Eph.5:26; Psalm 119:9; John 15:3; James 1:18)
(f) Here we see the Father using the written Word of God together with the working of the Holy Spirit is the means by which the new birth is accomplished
(2) Born of water & the Spirit – Symbolic of the Old Testament Purification.
(a) Ezekiel 36:25-27 — this is the O.T. promise of regeneration by water & the Spirit.
(b) The only baptism implied here is the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”
(i) This happens at salvation (1Cor.12:13)
(ii) & purifies the believer by the water of the Word (Eph.5:26; cf. John 15:3)
(iii) Paul refers to this as “the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
(c) Therefore, Jesus was making reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (Eph. 5:26 cf. John 15:3; Titus 3:5).
c) The Result of the New Birth is possessing:
(1) A new nature, which consists of…
(a) A divine nature: Peter said God "He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Peter 1:4).
(b) A New Self: in reference to this, Paul said to "put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts… and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
(c) And a capacity for righteous living.
!!!!! (2) A new Life, which consists of…
(a) A new mind that you might now God: Paul said "For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).
(b) A new heart that you may love God: Romans 5 says "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5)… "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9).
(c) A new will that you may obey God: "Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Romans 6:13).
!!! 2. This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (v.4b)
a) The believer’s victory is the believer’s faith in Christ (1 John 5:5).
(1) In order to be born again, you need to have faith in, believe in Christ (Eph.2:8-9).
(2) What does John say about believing in Jesus (3:23; 4:16; 5:1, 5, 10, 13)
John gospel has a clear statement & purpose for which he wrote it "Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30-31, NKJV)
But those who reject Him are under condemnation "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”" (John 3:36NASB)
(3) What is faith (Heb.11:1-12:4) – the world wants us to put our sight in the things seen and that are temporal… God says put them into the things unseen and that are eternal.
(4) Have you ever seen Jesus (John 20:19-29; 1Pet.1:6-8).
(5) Because of this we ought to “give thanks to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. And because of this victory we ought to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain” (1Cor.15:57).
b) New Testament Illustration: the faith of the nobleman (John 4:46-54).
(1) He had a desperate need and brought it to Jesus (v.46-47).
(a) “Seeing is believing” is not the Christian approach (John 11:40; 20:29). First we believe then we see.
(b) Miracles can only lead us to the Word (John 5:36-38) and the Word generates saving faith (Romans 10:17).
(c) He was forced to take Jesus at His Word (v.50)!
(2) Needs confront every human being, including you. How are you going to react (Matt13)?
(a) Are you going to believe the Word of God? Do you need to see signs and wonders?
(b) Do you give up in prayer or do you persist in prayer?
(c) Are you growing in the area of faith? Are you taking Jesus at His Word?
(d) Does your faith lead to obedience?
c) Old Testament Illustration: David-Overcoming by Faith (1 Samuel 17:31-51)
(1) The physical armor weighed David down when he walked (v.38-39)
(2) When you give to the Lord what little you have staff, stones, & a sling, he will multiply it (v.40)
(3) Goliath fought David with physical weapons but David fought with spiritual weapons (2Cor.10:4)
3. Taking up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).
a) Trust in God.
(1) The faith to which Paul refers here is not the body of Christian belief (for which the term is used in 4:13), but basic trust in God - the faith in Christ that appropriates salvation and continues to bring blessing and strength as it trusts Him for daily provision and help.
(2) What are the “fiery darts of the wicked one”?
(a) ‘Fear’… ‘evil thoughts and imaginations’…. ‘temptation’….
(b) ‘condemnation’… & ‘thinking you will never have victory in a certain area of your life’
Overcoming: The warning of not overcoming the world (2 Tim.4:10).
1. Demas, the Unfaithful Deserter (2 Timothy 4:10).
a) Demas loved this present world.
(1) He possessed the love that we are to hate (1 John 2:15-17).
(2) Demas’s heart may have been a rocky place, covered by just enough soil to superficially accept the seed of the gospel but not enough to bring full salvation. When the heat of the world’s “affliction or persecution” became too fierce, he withered and fell away (Matt. 13:5–6, 20–21).
(3) Or perhaps his heart was thorn infested; and when “the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches [choked] the word,… it [proved to be] unfruitful” (Matt.13:7,22).
I. The Overcomers (1 John 5:4-5).
A. Overcoming: The Initial Conquest (v.4b).
B. Overcoming: The Continual Conquest (4a).
C. Overcoming: The warning of not overcoming the world (2 Tim.4:10).
Luke 16:9-13 You cannot serve two masters
q Luke 12:16-21 The Parable of the Rich Man
q Hebrews 11:30ff. Those who lived by faith
q 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 Always abound in the work of the Lord
· How Did Christ Regard The World And Its Honors?
o Jesus did not receive honor from men (John 5:41)
o The eager pursuit of riches are forbidden and discouraged (Pr 23:4; Haggai 1:2-9)
o It is our duty and to our advantage to be contentment (Phil. 4:11)
o Worldly idolatry forbidden—the contrary required (John 6:27)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14) & … who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV)… who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4 NKJV)
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 )
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21 NKJV)
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1) The Promises To Those Who Overcome – This Is Every Redeemed Person
q No Partition in Heaven between the “overcomers” & the “defeated Christians” (Matt.8:12). Perseverance of the Saints (1Pet.1:5 cf 1Jn.2:19). All Christians are Overcomers
q We will be clothed in white garments, will not have our name blotted out of the Book of life, and Jesus will confess our names before our Father in heaven (Rev. 3:5)
q We have overcome false teachers (1 John 4:4); overcome the world because of our faith in Jesus the Son of God (1John 5:4-5); We will be able to eat from the tree of life (Rev.2:7).
q We will not be hurt by the second death (Rev.2:11 cf. 20:6,11-14; 21:8), & we will inherit all things (Rev.21:8), have hidden manna to eat (Rev.2:17) & have power over the nations (Rev.2:26)
q We will be a pillar in the temple of God (Rev.3:12), sit with Him on His Throne (Rev.3:21)
(4) It is also impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6)
(5) Our Faith in Jesus Christ Is The Only Way To Overcome This World.
Speaking about those who have eternal life, Jesus said
2) Our shield of faith Eph
3) God is a Shield To Those Who Put Their Trust In Him.
In Proverbs 30:5–6, the writer said, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar.”
What God says is true. Satan says, “I know God said that, but let me add this.” No. God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
As long as you believe God, your shield is up. When Satan lies and you believe it, then the shield comes down. Trust God in everything. The Apostle John wrote, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
We win by trusting in God. Even though Satan hurls his flaming missiles at you, you will find strength by believing in His Word.
4) If You Don’t Trust God, You Don’t Know Him Well Enough.
The more you know God—through studying His Word, meditating on His majestic person, and praying to Him—the more you will trust Him. If you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and believe He is who He claims to be, and that all His promises are true, you will stand in the place of greatest blessing.
1. This kind of faith or living hope can enable believers to rejoice even when they have been grieved by various trials (1Peter 1:6-9).
2. James says the trials themselves are occasions for joy (1:2-7)
The more difficult your experience and the greater the challenges, the more time you need to spend with God.
“But where will I find the time?” you may ask.
If you don’t spend sufficient time with the Lord, you will be overwhelmed by life, and all of the time that you do have will be filled with stress, frustration, and a series of failures.
Some of the busiest and most productive people for the gospel through the centuries have been men and women who spent hours every day in prayer and reading the Scriptures. The greater the call of God on their lives to give of themselves, the greater their need to receive from Him first.
To endure and overcome means to outlast. It means that when the trouble comes to an end—and certainly, no trouble lasts forever—you are still standing in faith, declaring that Jesus is Lord over all.