Summary: A lot of people dream about conquering the world, but how do we get there?
Are You a World Conqueror?
As an avid reader of history, I have read many accounts of would-be world conquerors. A small sample would include Darius the Great and the Persian Empire. But their dreams of world conquest ended at the Battle of Salamis. Alexander the Great conquered as far as far away Afghanistan, but he was conquered, not by an army of people but and army of bacteria. Rome’s conquest ended at Parthia and the forests of what is now northern Germany. Napoleon met defeat, not by Russian armies but the Russian winter. Hitler’s dream of a 1000-year Reich ended at Stalingrad. All of these would-be world conquerors fell short of the goal. The white horses have been vanquished. Yet the text here today says we can conquer the world. How can this be if all these mighty men and their armies fell short? Let us see.
The 5ht chapter of 1 John begins with the words. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten from God. In other words, God is the Father of all believers. This makes all those who have been begotten by God brothers and sisters to each other. This leads to the other half of verse one which says: (Therefore,) every one who loves the begetter loves the one who is begotten of Him also. This means that the one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the only-begotten of the Father is one who also loves the Father. One cannot love the Father until one is begotten from Him, and no one is begotten from Him who does not believe that Jesus is the Christ. This verse certainly says that we should love the one begotten of Him, Jesus Christ.
But it also says more than this. John in this epistle is not only concerned that we love the Father and the Son as well as confessing both. The loving of those begotten of God goes beyond Jesus to our fellow believers who are said to be begotten of God by their faith in Jesus Christ. John is as concerned that we love one another as we love the Father and the Son. John does mention the Holy Spirit but does not develop the love and loving of the Holy Spirit to the level of that of the Father and the Son. If we surmise that a split had happened in the church, and some had left the church, we can see the context of why John was so interested in the loving of the brothers. As I have said elsewhere, the ones who had left had in some way felt superior to the ones who were left behind. As these people may have been teachers in the church, the believers left behind were probably in a sense of depression and confusion. John had to deal pastorally with the believers and confirm that they and not the ones who had left were the true beloved of God. One has standing with the Father by remaining in the Body of Christ. Without this, one can not be a Christian at all.
The believers needed to be comforted by hearing that they were loved by God. The ones who had left were not loving. They did not love the brethren by abandoning them. John would compare these people to Cain who slew his brother Abel. These who had left were no better than murderers because they sowed discord among the brethren. For those who remained in the church, they needed to close ranks and encourage and embrace each other in love.
John begins verse two with the emphatic “By this we know.” What is the proof that these believers who remained were the true children of God in contradistinction to the claims of those who left? Here it says that the proof is in their love for each other as God’s children as well as their keeping of His commandments. The first part of this has already been elaborated, but what does John mean by keeping His commandments? What commandments? Not only is keeping the commandments a proof that they love each other, but also is a proof that they love God as well. John goes on to say that the commandments are not burdensome, but what the commandments are is unclear. The Gospel of John also talks about the link between loving Jesus and keeping His commandments. We should not look here to the ten commandments or the Law of Moses, but rather in the commands to love. Jesus distinctly taught a twofold commandment. One comes from Deuteronomy which calls for us to love God with all of our heart, soul, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5). The second came from Leviticus 19 which commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Jesus does not state this directly like the other gospels, but it seems to fit well here. It should not be a burden to love God; neither should it be a burden to love each other. This is the proof that we are God’s children.