This morning Graham looked at 1 John 5:4-5, and the victory that can be ours because we know God and he lives in us.
1 John 5:5-12
Intro: what it is not
What is this victory? Victory over what?
What this victory is not:
- It is not “How to be a winner”
- It is not “How to be prosperous”
- It is not “How to be successful in life and in business”
- It is not “How to have influence or dominion over others and be the leader you were always meant to be”
Each of these are probably titles of Christian books, sermons or conferences. They are usually peddled by shallow people who cater to self-centred people, with self-centred appetites, while pretending it is the Christian faith. Much of what I have heard form those sorts of places is certainly not Christian. Is a comfort religion. It is an invention of the self-absorbed and prosperous (or those who want to be prosperous) to justify their sub-Christian values.
Reading about one of these preachers I read that he counsels patience, compassion, kindness, generosity and an overall positive attitude. This is familiar to any reader of self-help books. Avoided are the themes of sin, suffering and self-denial. This would be “Christianity lite.”
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world— the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does— comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.
1) It is an inner victory
The victory here is about the inner person. Before this victory is seen outside of us, it takes place inwardly. The inner person is sustained by prayer devoted to Jesus, a spirit fed on the scriptures, God’s word, and upon the regular act of worship. This is a victory we win alone with God. It is not found in the crowd or won by singing our hearts our in a Christian gathering.
See 1 John 2:13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 5:4-5 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
The act of love is a means by which we are victorious over the world. This verse links victory with the action of love.
Here in “everyone born of God” and in other contexts the verb is the prefect past tense. This means the birth being referred to has already taken place. for each believer it is an event in their history, something already done.
The reason the commands are not a burden is that whoever is born of God is victorious and overcomes the pressure from the world around.
See Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2) It is a continual victory
This victory is past, present and continuous into our future
“Is victorious” implies a present victory or state of being victorious in a constant struggle in an ongoing battle (love of the world, pride of life). Here the world is a threat to the believer. the desires and values of the world is under the control of the antichrist spirit. The values of the world try to make God’s commands, standards and values “burdensome”. They are not, and find this to be true is part of our victory.
When did this victory take place? “This is the victory … our faith” verse 4. It took place in the past when we believed on Jesus, and continues as we continue to believe on Jesus. This wording points us back to a moment of personal victory.
Did the victory begin then? Not really. Our victory goes beyond our moment of trust in Jesus and goes back to the Saviour himself.
Jesus established this victory as seen in John 16:33.
Jesus said “I have been victorious” to disciples about to face the opposition of the world to their values and standards. How did they fare eventually when trying to live out the values of the kingdom? Some of them gave their lives for the faith as martyrs. Many other disciples down the centuries have followed that example. Currently Pastor Yousef in Iran is one such of many.
How is this victory expressed or seen? Bearing in mind it is living our the values of the kingdom of God and of the ruler of that kingdom, Jesus. Victory would therefore obviously include resisting the temptations the world presents to us to choose the way of the world instead of the way of our Master.
It would include resisting the following temptations:
Theft. To steal is an imagined short-cut to material gain which is assumed to bring quality of life. this includes benefit fraud, copyright theft, petty pilfering from work, etc. An illegal immigrant is trying to steal state benefits that are the property of the citizens there, such as health or education. It is a form of theft.
Lying. This is usually used as a device to steal from someone favour, advancement, relationship, or some other selfish desire. Again it is thought to be a short-cut to achieving some thing believed to bring greater quality to a person’s life. It may be used to bring harm to another, but that is usually motivated by a grasping on the part of the liar.
Sexual temptation. This is particularly relevant to our church due to the high number of student and young adults. This temptation affects all ages but students tend to have a number of extra factors, novelty, opportunity, unusual levels of peer pressure and hormones like popping popcorn.
This temptation is again a delusion that it provides a short-cut to fulfilment of the whole person and the inner person. It is often believed to offer to add to the qualities of a person’s life. Outside of marriage, intercourse, the bible makes clear, is a stealing from another person what is not rightfully there to take. It may be said that he or she was willing, but in reply to that I would say that the other person’s vulnerability or damaged values is no excuse. This is again a reflection of the values of the world as opposed to the values of the King Jesus and his kingdom, as outlined here in the text.
Love of money.
3) It is our victory
Our victory is not only in what we do not do, but it is in what we choose to do.
I have been reading about the history of China in the twentieth century and the sacrifice of individual believers that the gospel might be known there. Some went there as missionaries knowing they risked their lives in doing so. Now the church in China is growing at an amazing rate, but it depended on the sacrifice of so many until very recently.
Over many years in the history of this country believers have travelled from here to many different lands carrying their belongings in their own coffin, never expecting they would live to return in any other way than in it.
This is a far cry from:
- How to be a winner
- How to be prosperous
- How to be successful in life and in business
- How to have influence or dominion over others and be the leader you were always meant to be
“This is the victory … our faith” verse 4. It took place when we believed on Jesus, and continues as we continue to believe on Jesus.
1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” What sort of life is that?
See John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Full life means…
Living in the power of the Spirit. Loving in the power of the Spirit. In other words. Living for others in the power of the Spirit.