How many times do we have to be told something before we have got it? John certainly has repeated his points over and over but we must remember that they would have received and read this all together as a letter, whereas we are taking 24 weeks to study it in detail. As we have repeated some subjects like ‘love’ and ‘obedience’ we have been able to look at them from various angles so receiving a new depth of understanding of our wonderful One True Living God. By this time in the study of 1 John we should feel we are ‘able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’, Ephesians 3:18-19. Stop now and ask the Holy Spirit to make this your experience.
Let us quickly remember what we have learned previously and is repeated here. If we believe, adhere to, trust and rely on the fact that Jesus is the Christ we are born of God so we are His children. If we love the Father, we must also love the rest of His family. By loving our brothers and sisters we prove that we love God even when we cannot see Him. The Love we have for God is the same love He wants us to give other members of our God family. Love for God is simply obeying all His commands, which are basically loving Him first (John 14:21) and then our neighbour as we love ourselves, Matthew 22:37.
God’s commands are not burdensome 1 John 5:3
This can be true when all our obedience is done by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:18. Also in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” This is vitally important as we can come to the point of feeling that our Christian walk has become a great effort and we lose the joy and excitement of our walk with Him. We can even feel challenged by Jesus’ warning to the Church in Laodicea that we are ‘lukewarm’ and know we do not want ‘to be spit out of Christ’s mouth’ (Revelation 3:16) we panic as to what we can do.
Ask the Father where we have lost our zeal (Romans 12:11) for the things that are on His heart. It is often that we have become so busy with the things that are attachments to the Christian life rather than the whole reason for our new life, Jesus Christ Himself. Re-focus, taking time out, forget the cleaning, have freezer meals for a couple of days and take the time to seek God for however long it takes. Be restored to a life of passion for the heart of God, let nothing get in the way and show God you really mean business and are willing to do whatever it takes to have your relationship with Him restored to 100%. Watch as your life of love and ease of obedience to His leading really is so easy and not burdensome.
Ask ‘Lord how can I stir myself up again?’ Listen to what He says and obey, James 1:5. Make up your mind that you expect an answer from the Holy Spirit and you will not ignore His direction when it comes. Sometime this may look like it is going to cost us dearly but the Truth is it always pays off richly in the end. For example when He tells us to forgive that may seem tough but with His grace it leads to peace of mind, good health and being forgiven by Him for our own sin – fair exchange indeed!!
We need to make a commitment to God to obey His Word, no matter what it cost us as everything God tells us to do is for our good. Although it may seem difficult at first, ultimately it will bring the greatest blessing, Isaiah 55:8. The difficulty comes when we sit on the fence not taking God’s direction seriously and hovering over our decision, shall we; shan’t we; shall we; shan’t we? If we stop doing what the Lord tells us to do we will get stuck in our walk. Even if we keep on studying the Word and praying we will realise we are not hearing from God as we used to. This is usually because God will not reveal something new when we haven’t done the last thing He told us to do. We can’t read the Word and enjoy all the benefits of the promises without being a doer of the Word. We must make a lifestyle of going after the Word of God to see what He is saying to us about every area of our lives. Then we must be willing and obedient to change.
It is the Word acted upon that gets results. We have to hold onto His instructions, keep the Word of God in our hearts and in our mouths and not let the devil talk us out of obeying God’s Word. It may be difficult at times and it may seem like our obedience is going to cost too much but that is where faith comes in. Obeying God does not cost, it pays!! When we obey we find that being obedient is the most fulfilling and satisfying way to live. Be determined to take firm hold of the instructions of God, trusting Him with your life, choosing not to be double-minded but obeying the Word, receiving His Love and believing ALL He says. We must make sure we tell Satan where to go or he will be the one telling us! The Bible says to ‘submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you….. draw near to God and He will draw near to you’, James 4:7-8. He will give us the strength to keep going even when the enemy comes against us and natural circumstances seem to dictate against the Word. We have to choose to believe God’s Truth above the world. Don’t resent God’s teachings or His ways as a burden but rejoice over them and choose them as first choice then we will be choosing victory.
Overcome the world 1 John 5:4-5
How do we ordinary human beings with no special abilities or lots of wealth have victory in the world? Well, John sums it up in these two verses, saying whoever is born of God conquers the world and believing Jesus is the Son of God, adhering to, trusting in and relying on this fact gives victory over the world. Look at Lesson 7 to see previous considerations of what the Word means by the ‘world’ and how not to love the world. Learning about ‘a new way of Living’ considering the ‘craving of the sinful man’, the lust of the eyes’ and ‘boasting of what he has and does’. This study has warned us about the dangers of worldliness. The world only has power and influence over us as long as we are enticed and dazzled by its shallow attractions. When we see the world for what it is, in the grip of the evil one from the day Adam handed it over, we realise that what the entire world has to offer, is nothing in comparison with the riches that are ours in Christ, then there is no battle.
These two verses are saying that if we are born again we have absolute right to be a winner, a conqueror, victorious in every situation in this evil world. We need to think about this constantly, developing a winning attitude all the time. Lots of us have quite negative attitudes when we come to Christ and we need to work at renewing our minds to a winning attitude, Romans 12:2. We can look at any situation the devil throws at us and we can say with confidence ‘I am going to be victorious and there is not a thing the devil can do to stop me’. Jesus knows everything that is going on in our lives and He says “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.].” John 16:33 Amp ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:21
Jesus is the only one who knows what it takes to have victory in this world. Certainly the world cannot tell us how to live victoriously. Jesus made things work even in the middle of the darkest situation (Matthew 8:23-26) and if we follow His instructions from the Word and obey His commands, we can too. When God gave us the command to love one another, He wanted us to obey because it is the key to our freedom. If we can walk in the love that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, (Romans 5:5) we will have joy every day. God made it this way as love works! Without love there will not be any joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength, Nehemiah 8:10.
There are amazing promises given in the Book of Revelation to all who overcome the work of the devil in their lives. Look at these:
‘To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ Revelation 2:7
‘He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.’ Revelation 2:11
‘To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.’ Revelation 2:17
‘To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.’ Revelation 2:26
‘He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before My Father and His angels.’ Revelation 3:5
‘Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God; and I will also write on him My new name.’ Revelation 3:12
‘To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’ Revelation 3:21
‘He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be His God and he will be My son.’ Revelation 21:7
All of this is so amazing as we get new spiritual food, a new name, no experience of death; authority in the Nations and to live in the Temple of our God and sit by His throne, wow! Think about that.
How do we overcome the world?
There are so many ways open to us. Use the weapons of our warfare which are mighty through God to the bringing down of strongholds, (2 Corinthians 10:5) and we put on the full armour of God every day, Ephesians 6:10-18. So we have the Word of God which we can stand on in all situations and as we have been saying we need to grow to the point where the Word is so strong in us that we believe it more than we believe what we can see, hear or feel with our senses.
We will focus on two activities we have that give us guaranteed victory. We need to see that the power to be an overcomer is in our mouth. When we became a Christian we believed in our heart and then confessed with our mouth and so we were saved, Romans 10:8-10. The same principle works when it comes to all the gifts that Jesus paid for at the Cross. We find out what God says in the Word by seeking His face, and then only speaking God’s answer, not rehearsing the problem. We can have healing, deliverance from all the work of the enemy, safety, and wholeness in body, mind and spirit. So for miracles to happen in our life we have to focus on God’s Word being the final authority. It does not matter how long it takes for the Word to work, it will, as long as we believe and hold onto the Word, Proverbs 18:21.
David was a hero of the Old Testament who had great victories over the world and also had great defeats. ‘David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied …. The Lord will hand you over to me and I will strike you down’ 1 Samuel 17:45. He spoke out his victory over Goliath before it happened and silenced not only the voices in his head but the whole Philistine army. He gave God words to work with so creating a victory.
Another activity we have in our lives to overcome the world is the power of praise ‘From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger,’ Psalm 8:2. We see that as we praise God giving Him thanks for Who He is the work of the devil is silenced. Praise is focusing our heart on God Himself and off our problems and our small focus onto God’s enormous character, and praise allows us to appreciate Him. Praise is thanking God firstly for our salvation and then for His many gifts, and we are reminded in Psalm 103 to constantly remember all God has done for us, ‘Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ What awesome promises if we just praise Him. Use Psalm 145-Psalm 150 to praise God; they show us where, why and how to praise God.
Check out the powerful story in 2 Chronicles 20 of the power of praise seen when Ammon and Moab came to attack Jehoshaphat. All the people prayed and the King put praisers in the front of the army, ‘as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and they were defeated. Whatever our problem as we focus on Jesus and praise Him, He works out the situation for our good often without us doing anything.
21 Victory over the world – 1 John 5:1-5 Challenge Questions
Read all the notes on ‘Victory over the world’ -1 John 5:1-5
1. Since starting to study 1 John do you feel you know God’s love for you in a deeper level? Can you share how you recognise this?
2. What area of your life are you finding obedience to God burdensome? What point in the notes do you find helpful?
3. What part of the ‘world’ do you find attractive? How does God see this?
4. Consider ways, other than those in the notes, to have victory over the world. Write them here and give verses to back up your point.
5. Give a point in David’s life where he did not overcome the ‘world’. Note the verses here. Does this encourage you and why?
6. Write down a point where David did have victory in his life. How does this speak to you?
7. Do you understand how powerful the muscle in your mouth is? When does it let you down most? What will help you have victory in this area?
8. What do you feel about the power of praise? Do you find it easy?
9. In the story of Jehoshaphat can you map his steps from major problem to outstanding victory?
Read the verses 1 John 5:6-12
10. What two things confirm Jesus as the Son of God?
11. Which two situations written about in the Gospels tells us that Jesus is God’s Son? Give verses.
12. According to these few verses who declares who Jesus Christ is?
13. Do you think people believe what people tell them today? Give reasons for your opinion.
14. If we do not believe God what does that mean we are saying about Him? Also about ourselves?
15. How important do you think is the testimony of Christians today? How long is it since you shared yours?
16. What does eternal life mean to you?
17. Sum up in one short sentence what you have learned in the study.
Memory Verse. ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.’ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8