- By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
- Posted 05/10/2020
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- Validity of Faith in the world: Assumptions: Faith is irrelevant and a failure in this world in terms of trends and worldview today.
- Biblical perspective on Faith: Faith is totally opposite to world’s view on it and it is victorious and a power to overcome the world.
- How can our faith in God overcome this world? Today’s reading gives us enough answer to this question.
Two Metaphors of Christian Life in the Bible
• Spiritual Battle: Christian life is a spiritual battle between Faith in God and world. It is not with blood and flesh but the principalities and power. Battle needs participation, discipline, training, resources, strategies, power and success.
• Running a Race: Christian life is a spiritual race to overcome all stumbling blocks in this world by faith. Race needs participation, discipline, training, power and accomplishment.
• Overcome: Greek word: Nikao that means to conquer or to prevail in the face of obstacles. It is written here as the present imperfect tense and it means constantly overcoming the world like a habit of life. It is a process. Rev. 2:7,11,17; 2:26;3:5,12,21.
• Victory: Greek word ‘Nike” that means the result of the overcoming process. It is understood as conquest or defeat of an enemy.
• World: Greek word ‘Kosmos’ that means an ordered system which is totally agains God’s values, priorities, beliefs ands kingship.
How can we overcome the world victoriously by faith?
1. We overcome the world victoriously by faith because Christ has already won it through his death and resurrection.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that God’s only begotten Son overcame the world, flesh, devil and death by his sacrifice. John uses the term as we are born of God by believing Christ.
1. 1 John 5:1: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God
2. 1 John.3:9: Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
2. We are Christ’s generation and family. We are saved. Christ is not a just a theological or positive religious idea but our God. He overcame the world. So we can.
1. John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
2. John.16:33. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [f]will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
3. Biblical example: David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:45: Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
4. When we are born again and become part of Christ’s family, our faith can overcome this world victoriously by faith.
5. Illustration: Abraham Lincoln wrote in his diary during the worst part of the civil war: "Without Christ I cannot succeed. With Christ I cannot fail.”
2. We overcome the world victoriously by faith because we obey Christ’s commandments without any reservations.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that Christ’s commandments are given to his children. God’s children do his commandments and obey them without any reservations because they love God.
1. 1 John.5: 2-3: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
2. John15:10: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
2. As we obey God’s commandments, then overcoming the world is an easy task for every believer. If we do not obey, then our faith has no power to exercise and our life face failures
1. Proverbs.1:33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be [m]secure, without fear of evil.”
2. Deuteronomy. 28:1-2: “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
3. Biblical example: Sins of Achan: Joshua.7:10-11: So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the [g]accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.
4. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
5. Illustration: A Scottish mother who lost her son who was the missionary in Sudan said to the Mission Director who reported about it: “ Sir, I would rather have my son die in the middle of Sudan, alone, than to have him living here with me, disobeying God’s will.”
3. We overcome the world victoriously by faith because we pray based on the power of Holy Spirit.
1. In this passage, Apostle John writes that the Holy Spirit who is with Christ in His baptism (water) and in His death (blood) is with us and he tells us the truth. He guides us how to overcome this world victoriously by prayer.
1. 1 John 5:6:This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
2. 1 John 5:14-15: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
2. As we rely on the Holy Spirit and his power, through prayer, we easily overcome this world by faith. Prayer is a powerful resource or tool God has given to us to deal with our battles.
1. John 15:16: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
2. Luke 18:6-8: Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
3. Biblical example: Acts.12:5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but [b]constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. The result: Acts.12:17:…, he ( Peter) declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.
4. Our battle with the world is spiritual and we are called to do with prayer by wearing the spiritual armour mentioned in Ephesians.6:14-18: Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
5. Illustration: E.M.Bounds: What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use-men of prayer, mighty men in prayer.
As the people of God, in order to overcome the world continually and victoriously by faith in Christ , we need to remember these truths.
1. We need to believe and accept the fact that our Lord is victorious and we are his generation and children and are also on the winning side.
2. We need to be obedient to God’s commandments without reservations regardless how hard they seem to be to us in order to win this battle.
3. We need to be engaged in prayer with the power of the Holy Spirit and overcome this spiritual warfare continually.
Questions for Your Reflections
1. If someone asks you whether you are a child of God, how would you respond to the person based on 1 John 5:1-6
2. How do you feel about God’s commandments? Are they hard or unbearable? Do you have any reservations to obey God? Why or why not?
3. If God asks you to love one another, what are the ways you are doing or you can do to fulfil this commandment. List them one by one and if you can share with someone, please do it in your family or church?
4. Our spiritual battle is not with blood and flesh. It is all about principalities and powers of this world and Devil. How can you overcome the world by your faith? In what ways, do you encounter spiritual warfare in your life and work in this nation and world?
5. How do you engage in prayer with the power of the Spirit? What does it mean to pray in the Spirit based on Ephesians.6:18? In what ways do you gain victory through prayer by the power of the Holy Spirit?