Saturday, May 25, 2024

Morning Message: Overcoming the World


Bobservations' Column
Titled: "Overcoming the World"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The enemies of the Cross are the same that are the enemies of Israel. And what we have seen since October 7, 2023 and April 13, 2024 is the promises of God fulfilled against that enemy. This is a hard saying to receive because of all the destruction and death reported in the media since those days. It has infiltrated every nation, and polarized both sides of the war, and even the unlearned on our college campuses. (See Joshua 5:13 – 6:27)

Hamas and Hezbollah share Iran’s ideology. It promotes violence against Israel (Jews), and the West (Christians). The Islamic teachings state it clearly: “Do not make friends with the Jews or the Christians; for they are friends of one another.” “O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.” (this one was spoken by a tree, in the Hadith, one of Islam's holy books.)

“And I shall bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” from Genesis 12:3, spoken as a promise to Abraham and his progeny. Considering the Palestinian battle cry, “from the river to the sea,” it has backfired on them just as Pharaoh’s threat backfired on him when he cursed the firstborn of Moses. Likewise, the Israelis have pushed Hamas to the sea.

But there’s more: Iran’s attack against Israel on April 13th with hundreds of rockets, drones, and missiles has stirred the ire of the living God! President Raisi of Iran, and many of his upper-level cabinet members were killed in a helicopter crash. Many of his Generals in Syria and Lebanon have also been killed in recent months, including one just Wednesday who was responsible for rockets being launched into upper Galilee from the City of Tyre, in Lebanon.

Why am I telling you all of this? I am telling you this because God’s Word is true. And the media is reporting it! The hardness of the heart of God’s enemies today numbers more than the Chariots and Horsemen of Pharaoh’s Army in the days of the Red Sea crossing. They all perished in the Sea.

Perhaps even more sad is that peace-loving Iranians who hate the regime they live under, danced in the streets and celebrated President Raisi’s death with fireworks! What kind of legacy has he left behind for his family and children. After killing thousands in Iran, he became the Butcher of Bagdad, just as surely as President Bashar al-Assad became the Butcher of Damascus after killing so many of his own country. THIS is the religion of peace?

From Proverbs 8:13 -

 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth.”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message
1 John 5:1-9 - "Overcoming the World"

Summary/Additional Commentary and Definitions

This marvelous epistle has a very clear-cut purpose. It has the purpose of demonstrating the tests by which someone can know they’re a Christian. Chapter 5 verse 13 is really the key verse to the whole epistle. 
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”  
This is a letter written to provide assurance of salvation.  It's basic Christianity 101. It cycles back through the same themes again and again, and each time John cycles back through he broadens and widens our understanding of those themes. 

As we come into chapter 5, however, there’s a special note here in the first five verses. It is the issue of the overcomer. Of the twenty-four times the word occurs in the NT, John uses it twenty-one times (See also: Revelation 2:7, 11, 17; 2:26; 3:5, 12, 21). There are several different forms of this term in these verses, all emphasize the victorious nature of the believer.  

There are so many wonderful titles in the New Testament by which we describe believers in Christ.  We are called Christians, children, children of God, children of light, children of the day, and children of obedience. We are called believers or the faithful. We are called friends of Jesus Christ. We are called brothers and sisters. We are called sheep. We’re called saints, holy ones. We are called soldiers. We are called witnesses. We are called stewards. We are called fellow-citizens. We are called lights in the world. We’re called the elect of God. We’re called the chosen. We’re called ambassadors of Christ. We’re called ministers. We’re called servants. We’re called disciples. We’re called heirs. We’re called joint-heirs. We’re called branches in the vine. We’re called members of the body of Christ. We’re called living stones by which the temple of God is built. We are called epistles, living letters. We’re called temples. We’re called beloved. We’re called followers. And there are more.

Each of these terms give us the definition of who we are in Christ Jesus.  And in a sense, it takes all of those terms to express the fullness of what it means to belong to God through faith in Christ. There’s one other title that is used a number of times in today's text. We are overcomers. 
 Overcomers are victors, or winners. And they are those who love and obey His commandments.

According to John, entrance into God’s family comes by faith alone. Yet, this faith is never truly alone since it always results in love and obedience. Unlike the apostle Paul, who was at pains to distinguish sharply between saving faith itself and the good works that result from it, for John faith and love are so tightly connected that he can’t speak of one without implying the other. This by no means blurs the lines between the two, but it does highlight one particular strand of our spiritual DNA: Those born into God’s family obey God and love their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. As we have already heard, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

There’s an important caveat here, however: Obedience isn't the entrance fee we pay to get into the family of God. John has already shown that our spiritual heritage is a product of God's great love in Christ and not our own efforts (3:1). Notice also the lack of an imperative in verse three. The translation is not “For this is the love of God, that we OUGHT to keep his commandments," but rather "This is the love of God, that we KEEP his commandments.” Can you see the difference? It’s promissory in nature. We aren’t able to birth ourselves spiritually by demonstrating the requisite amount of love.  We cannot bring about our own spiritual birth any more than a newborn can deliver itself. We need someone else to do it for us, outside ourselves.

So, chapter 5 emphasizes the believer's ability to "overcome" the world (1 John 5:1–5) through the power of Christ. Overcomers are those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The term witness is the theme of verses (6-12).  The passage concerns the witness or testimony of God and the Spirit to the world regarding the great truth of the deity of Jesus Christ.  He gives two kinds of testimony: external (6-9) which we will cover today, and internal (vs. 10-12) which we will cover next week.

Sunday Morning Audio Message:

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Whoever believes (5:1) The term believes conveys the idea of continuing faith, making the point that the mark of genuine believers is that they CONTINUE in the faith throughout their life.  Saving belief is not simply an intellectual acceptance, but wholehearted dedication to Jesus Christ. 

Jesus is the Christ (5:1) - Believes what? The object of the believer's faith is JESUS.  That He is the promised Messiah, the Anointed One. That God sent Him to be the Savior from sin. Whoever places faith in Him as the ONLY Savior, has been born again, and is an overcomer, a winner.

Loves Him Also (5:1) - The test of true love for God is whether we love the children of God, our Christian brethren.

Keep His Commandments (5:2) - This phrase is repeated in verses 2 and 3.  Obedience is a characteristic of an overcomer.  The word keep conveys the idea of constant obedience (see John 8:31, 32; 14:15, 21; 15:10).

Commandments Are Not Grievous (5:3) - Grievous means burdensome.  They are not like the man-made religious traditions (Matthew 23:4).  Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30).  

Overcomes (5:4) - The word overcomes in the original language conveys the idea that believers have continual victory over the world.

The World (5:4, 5) - Satan's worldwide system of deception and wickedness.  Because of Jesus Christ and His provision of Salvation, Believers are victorious over the invisible system of evil that Satan operates to capture people's souls for hell.   Faith in Jesus Christ and dedication of one's life to Him make a person an overcomer.

Water and Blood (5:6) - These constitute external, objective witnesses to who Jesus Christ is.  They refer to Jesus' baptism (water) and death (blood).  John again writing to show that God has given testimony to the deity of Jesus through both His baptism and death. 

Spirit that Beareth Witness (5:6) - This is the witness of the Holy Spirit, who bears testimony of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the world.  Christ's baptism, and shed blood, and the Spirit of truth all give a united testimony concerning the saving work of Jesus Christ. Since the Spirit of God cannot lie, His testimony is sure.

Three That Bear Record (5:7) - Old Testament law required "the testimony of two or three witnesses" to establish the truth of a matter (See Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; John 8:17, 18; 1 Timothy 5:19).  The three that bear record in heaven are the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost - our triune God.

The Spirit...the Water...the Blood (5:8) - At Jesus' baptism, the Father and the Spirit testified to the Son (Matthew 3:16, 17).  The death of Jesus Christ also testified to who He was (Matthe 27:54; Hebrews (;14).  

Witness in Earth (5:8) - The reference to three witnesses "in earth" strengthens the case for the validity of reference in 1 John 5:7 to the three witnesses "in heaven."  They are the same - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  

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