Faith that Overcomes the World
1 John 5:5-12
May 31, 2020
Sermon Audio & Video
- The question that faces Christians in every generation is – “how do I, how do we, how does the church overcome the world?”
- How do we successfully resist the pull the world has on our own hearts that has the potential to greatly undermine our effectiveness for the kingdom of God and cause of Christ?
- John says – “this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (verse 4).”
- The victory John speaks of is so certain, that it is past tense!
- The Holy Spirit wants to strengthen our assurance as believers – that we in fact do possess genuine, authentic, real faith that enables us to overcome the world.
- John’s primary concern was to encourage his original audience by helping them to see the evidence of God’s grace in their lives; by helping them to see how in contrast to the false teachers, they did have saving faith that overcomes the world.
Main Point: Truth faith overcomes.
In this sermon, we consider three characteristics of genuine saving faith that overcomes the world.
I. The Content of Genuine Faith
Verse 5 – “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
- Genuine saving faith that resists the pull of the world, that overcomes, that conquers is characterized by deep conviction that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh.
- The conviction that Jesus is the Son of God held the original readers fast. It steadied them. It kept them from embracing false teaching about Christ — false teaching that would invariably lead to worldly, sinful licentious living.
- This conviction helps hold us fast too. Why do you live for Jesus? Why do you fight your sin? Why do you resist the pull of the world on your heart? Well because you believe Jesus is the Son of God and therefore have submitted your life to Him, so you obey Him.
“We believe in God, the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord…” – The Apostles Creed
II. The Grounds of Genuine Faith
This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood (1 John 5:6).
- The phrase “came by water” refers to Jesus’ baptism.
- And the phrase “came by blood” refers to Jesus’ shed blood on the cross.
- Here John reminds us that authentic faith which overcomes the world, is not based on subjective experience alone; nor is it based on the testimony of mere man, rather it is based on objective, historical fact–it is grounded in events that really happened.
- Vs.7 – the water and the blood testify that Jesus is the Son of God.
- At Jesus’ baptism, you will recall a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
- When Jesus was crucified, the Roman centurion exclaimed – “Surely this was the Son of God (Matt 27:54).”
- It seems John is inviting these historical events– Jesus’ baptism and His death—to the witness stand as it were, to bear testimony to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.
- And the Holy Spirit does the same thing as well.
“the Spirit is the one who testifies because the Spirit is the truth (verse 6)”
“There are three that testify: “the Spirit, and the water and the blood; and these three agree (verse 7)”
- Our faith is grounded in historical fact, yet there is also a subjective element. The Holy Spirit agrees with and affirms to our souls, what Jesus’ baptism and his death on the Cross say about who Jesus is.
“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son (verse 9).”
- Jesus’ baptism, Jesus’ Cross, and the work of the Spirit in our hearts serve as God’s testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
- Authentic Christian faith is not grounded in contrived fictional stories; it is grounded in God’s own testimony through history and by the Spirit to our own souls.
- This awareness should strengthen our confidence in what we believe and heighten our determination to give our lives in worship and obedience to Him.
III. The Fruit of Genuine Faith
- In verses 10-12 here is what the Apostle John is saying: If we believe God’s testimony about Jesus, we have eternal life. If we don’t believe his testimony, we make God out to be a liar and we do not have eternal life.
“whoever has the Son has life.” Notice the present tense.Whoever has — meaning now (verse 12)”
- In the NT, the gift of eternal life is not only our future inheritance, but our present possession as well. Eternal life is as theologians say “already, but not yet”
- We experience eternal life in part now and in full at the return of the Lord.
- Jesus said “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- Through Christ, we are free from sin’s dominion and rule.
- The Spirit of God dwells within us.
- Christ is ours and we are His.
- “To live is Christ” the Apostle Paul said.
- While the Christian life is not free from sorrows, trials and tears – there is no better life that can be lived than life with Christ, for Christ, about Christ.
“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil. 3:8).”
- If Christ is my everything, I am less inclined to look to the things of this world for satisfaction.
- If the life of Christ is pulsating in my soul, while the draw of sin might still be there, I have the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God.
- If eternal life is my possession, no matter what trials come my way, I need not yield to despair and run to the world for comfort–because I have hope of a better day yet to come.
- The fruit of genuine faith is life. I trust you can see why John says – “this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
- No matter how weak your faith, don’t forget, it is not the amount of faith you have the matters, but the object of your faith that matters. Your faith, if it is in Christ, it is an overcoming faith.
- You will make it to the end when you see Him face to face.
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 John 5:5-12. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- Re-read the Sermon Recap under point number 1. Why is the truth that Jesus is the Son of God so essential the Christian faith?
- Describe your own journey of faith of coming to believe in Jesus as God’s Son.
- In verses 6 & 7, the Apostle John demonstrates that authentic faith is rooted in both historical fact and the inward witness of the Spirit. What events, in the NT, can you think of that testify to Jesus identity as the Son of God?
- Eternal life is a fruit of faith. In the NT, the gift of eternal life is not only our future inheritance, but our present possession as well. Eternal life is as theologians say “already, but not yet. ” How do we, as Christians, now, in the present experience life? How will we experience life in the age to come in greater ways and in new ways?
- What do you most look forward to about heaven?
- Consider taking time to pray, thanking God for Spirit’s opening our blind eyes to understand and grasp the identity of Jesus as God’s Son. Also, thank God for the amazing gift of eternal life He has given us.