OVERCOMING THE WORLD
1 John 5:1 ¶ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
The Greek word, here translated, “overcometh” means, “to subdue; to conquer; to prevail, and to get the victory.” And what is it that we are to overcome? We are to get the victory over the love of the world and the things of the world. For those who do not do so are seen only to be religious hypocrites, with none of the Father’s love abiding within!
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
It is an inward, spiritual struggle that every believer must undertake as an individual before the Lord. No one else can do it for them. It must be done by each believer from his own inner warfare of faith. For it is a warfare of our spiritual man against that which was born of the flesh. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
It is our individual responsibility to conquer our old nature and bring it under obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Our Lord spoke of us as being both in him and at the same time being in the world. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. We must live in both, dying to the world, but enhancing the spiritual man with every grace provided. It is one thing for the boat to be in the water, but quite a different matter for the water to be in the boat.
“Dying with Jesus by death reckoned mine.
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine.
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.”
D. W. Whittle (1840-1901)
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Here is a testimony of the Apostle Paul in his struggle as a believer against the workings of the fleshly nature. Romans 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
And here is how he instructs the believers in his Colossian letter concerning this matter. Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, (that is, being spiritually raised by redeeming grace from sin’s deadness into salvation), seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, (that is, dead to the spirit of the flesh and of the world), and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Our Lord informed us of this in his parable of the sower. Of the four soils he informed us of the one that reveals this situation. It is the thorny ground hearer. For this religionist seems, by all outward appearances, to start out very well. But it is in his failed warfare to overcome the world that he meets a dreadful end.
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And the Lord leaves us not to wonder at his meaning, but clearly inform us of his intent. Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
And we have an example of this in one of the followers of the Apostle Paul. 2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Demas had once forsaken his former life and was, at first, devoted to the Lord’s work in accompanying the Apostle on his missionary journeys. But sadly his name is mentioned to be read these thousands of years later as one who made shipwreck of faith! And the only thing listed to reveal the cause of his apostasy? – the love of this world!
And sadly we are told of those who were ever “once enlightened,” and then fell away, that it is impossible to renew them to salvation ever again! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Dear Reader, it is not the starting gate, but the finish line that should be observed in the true identity of one who is an actual believer! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. As our above listed text states, it is only those who overcome the world who are those truly “born of God.”
We have the greatest example in our Good Shepherd. For as stated in that John 16:33 verse listed in column two of the first page of this article, that He has already overcome the world. And he instructs us in his letter to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. That is the pattern of those made to be sons of God by regenerating grace. For as He overcame the world and is sit down with his Father in his throne, so the true believer overcomes and spiritually sits in heavenly consciousness. And this is so in this present world as the Apostle Paul states that true believers are those who have been raised up from death into life and are then made to spiritually sit in heavenly places! Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
And as we are both in the world and in Christ, we shall meet with the world’s evil, but we have access to the Lord’s goodness and can thereby overcome their evil with our good. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
There are two basic things in the Christians possession by which he can overcome. The first is his spiritual birth. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Having been born from above, the believing soul has been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The second overcoming possession of the true believer is his testimony. Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Their testimony based on the word of God is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
But what is the result to the believer as he is, by faith, overcoming the world? First he learns to be supported by that which in physical reality cannot sustain him! Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Matthew 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
For as the believer becomes more mature in the realm of the Spirit, the bud of grace begins to blossom into glory. And he steps into the realm of faith’s insights. For his faith evidences those things unseen to the natural man. 2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. He is equipped to stand in the most trying times. Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand..14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Secondly he comes to recover a spiritual diet. Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna,…
John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. Christ is the Bread of Life. John 6:48 I am that bread of life. And the true believers are given that blessed hunger for Him! Matt. 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. And Christ is that tree of life from which, if a soul eats, he shall live forever! Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: His is the carcass where the believers, as eagles gather to feast. Matthew 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Pastor Gene Breed
February 28, 2020