Overcoming the World
1 John 5:1-5
May 24, 2020
Sermon Audio & Video
- John writes to assure the original readers of their family heritage in Christ.
- He begins in chapter 5 by using this phrase “born of God.” He uses that phrase 3 times in 5 verses.
- He’s seeking to point their attention to the fact that they’ve been acted upon by God. This truth is intended to give them, and us, assurance.
- Four effects of being born of God…
I. Faith in Christ
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God (verse 1)”
- Faith in Christ is the fruit of being born of God
- If our assurance of faith is based on something we did, then we will lack confidence, because it will be based on our works. But if in fact our faith is the result of God’s activity in our lives, then it changes our confidence.
- The emphasis of the NT is not on man’s activity in salvation, but on God’s activity in salvation
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).”
- Paul’s point? That you were dead in our sins, unable to act. But God acted on us, making us alive in Christ. He regenerated us, which resulted in faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is the fruit of being born of God!
- Regeneration is first, then faith. Our confidence is not based on a work we have done, but a glorious regeneration that God has done. Faith is the fruit of regeneration
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).”
- Who caused us to be born again? It was God who causes spiritually dead people to be born again.
- John wants this dear group of believers to know that they are securely in God’s family. The fact that there is faith in Jesus Christ in their hearts is evidence that God has acted upon them. He wants them to be assured of this.
II. Love for One Another
“Everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him (verse 1b).”
- If we truly love God, how could it be any other way than that we would love their brothers and sisters in Christ? It would be incompatible to think that we could love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength and yet hate those who have likewise been adopted into His family.
- The basis of our love and unity with one another is not:
- That we like the same things
- That we agree on everything together
- That we share the same interests
- The basis of our love for one another is that we have a common Father, and a common Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the source of our love for one another
- This is a major theme in this letter – he repeats this refrain many times.
- Our love for God will find expression in loving the people of God.
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers (1 John 3:14).”
- When we have been born of God, we will love the brethren.
- That’s why we look forward with eager expectation to the church regathering again soon! While we give thanks for technology that has helped foster community during this unique time, nothing replaces being with one another.
- We recognize that at times, we can hurt one another. And loving others in the Body can sometimes be a real challenge. However, as God’s love pulsates in our hearts, it will cause a desire to love His people as well
- An evidence that we love the people of God is the way that we love God and obey His commands
III. Obedience to His Commands
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments (verse 3)”
- Genuine love for God will result in keeping the commands of God
- What did the law of the OT accomplish?
- It helped us see that, by ourselves, we could never keep the law of God.
- It helped us see that we need a Savior, who would change our hearts.
- We needed a heart change in order to see and savor God and His commands.
- That’s John’s point!
- By being born of God, we have a new heart, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and now we have the power to obey His commands.
- When we are born of God, He changes our hearts. We new creations in Christ. The old has gone, the new has come. And this change transforms the way we see God.
- Our perspective about God has changed. We no longer hate His commands, but see them as God’s goodness to us. His commandments are no longer burdensome to us.
“His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3)”
- We see God’s Word and His commands as an act of His love.
- We are not begrudgingly obedient. We are joyfully obedient, because we know these Words of God are the pathway to life.
 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
 the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:7–9)
“His commands are no more burdensome than wings are to a bird (David Jackman).”
- I’m not suggesting this is all easy! No – obeying His commands are a call to death to self. But we notice something – that in dying to self, we find life.
- So we view his commands, not as a burden, but as a delight.
IV. Victory Over the World
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world (verse 4a).”
- There are forces at work in the world that will seek to overwhelm the Christian.
- We already know that the dominion of sin is death. And the world can hold sway in our hearts and in our minds.
- John says earlier that all that is in the world –
- The desires of the flesh
- The desires of the eyes
- Pride in possessions
- Those things are not from the Father but are of the world.
- So how would we describe the world?
- The “world” is anything that is in opposition to God and to His purposes.
- John writes with great joy that “Everyone who is born again overcomes the world” Why is this great news? Because the power of sin has been broken!
“And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith (verse 4b).”
- Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can have victory over any sin.
- We have our sins forgiven. If death is defeated, what is there to fear? If Jesus is powerful enough to conquer even death, what other power can challenge Him?
- Anyone who can conquer death can conquer anything else.
- John reminds us in chapter 3 of the reason that Jesus came
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil ( 1 John 3:8).”
- The victory over the world that we have been given is by faith.
“Faith says to every temptation of the world: NO, BE GONE! I know where true satisfaction is to be found. God has loved me with an infinite love. He promises to work everything together for good for those who love Him. He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Nothing you offer can compare to the joy of His fellowship now and the glory to be revealed hereafter. World, you have lost your power (John Piper).”
- The light in us will never be overcome by the darkness. The Key – is the faith that we have been given. Faith has been granted to us by the new birth, and faith overcomes the world
- Furthermore, we have the Holy Spirit
“He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4).”
- Yes we still struggle, Yes we still can be swayed into sin and unbelief. But for the Christian, the ultimate power of sin and unbelief been broken.
- Jesus came not to negotiate a deal with the works of the devil. No He came to destroy the works of the devil!
- The power of sin is broken!
- John concludes this section by asking a rhetorical question
“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (verse 5)?”
- Let’s ask God for even greater faith to believe His word. Any struggle with sin we have is in part a struggle of faith and belief in His word — a struggle to trust in the character of God.
- Do some of His commands seem like a burden? Ask the Lord to change your perspective. Ask Him to restore the joy of your salvation
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 John 5:1-7. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- What does it mean to be “born of God” or “born again” ? What are the positive effects in a person’s life that result from being born again? How has God changed your life since causing you to be born again?
- Why do you think the Apostle John keeps reiterating in this book the truth that a primary effect of love for God is love for others? What should we glean from the fact that he underscores this truth so many times in this letter?
- How practically can we grow first in our love for God and secondly in our love for other people?
- What does it look like for each of us to love other Christians who may share differing opinions and viewpoints from our own regarding issues raised by Covid-19?
- ‘Those who love God obey God’ — that is the plain point of verse 3. Do you think the Apostle John is being legalistic in calling his original readers and us to obey God? Why or why not?
- How can John call God’s commandments “not burdensome (verse 3)” ?
- Read Psalm 19:7-9. How practically can we grow in our delight in the law of God?
- Re-read verse 4. What encouragement can we derive from verse 4?
- Consider taking time to thank God for the miracle he has done in our lives in regenerating our hearts and causing us to be born again. Consider also praying that God would strengthen us in both our love and our obedience.