Summary: The struggles and hardships of life, and our sinful failures, can bring us to a point where we don't feel like overcomers. John calls us not to trust our feelings, but to trust Jesus who truly calls us overcomers.
You can listen to the full message here:-
Read 1 John 5:1-12
When we read this section of 1 John there is no doubt about it … we are blessed. We are so blessed to know Jesus and to be included in the family of God.
We are blessed to serve a God who doesn’t put burdensome commands upon us … the yoke is easy and the burden is light.
We are blessed to hear the testimony which reminds us of our cleansing from sin … a cleansing that come through water and the blood. Cleansing sealed by the sacrifice of Jesus.
We are blessed to know that we have eternal life – when we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord we have the Son. Whoever has the Son has life. Life now. Life beyond physical death.
So many blessings.
And here is another blessing – the blessing which will be the focus of our attention this morning.
4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
This is the blessing of being overcomers. With all that is going on around us today in these COVID-19 times isn’t that a blessing we could use.
Because my sense …
Certainly what I have felt at times … and what it seems that many faithful believers have also felt …
Is NOT like an overcomer.
Tired … always tired.
On edge and a little uncertain.
Frustrated and even a little annoyed.
Defeated and wondering how our faith is going to keep up.
Weary because of the constant changes and uncertainty and mixed messages.
You put your feelings and thoughts into this space.
And I suspect that very few of us would say, “I’m feeling like an overcomer.”
We don’t feel like overcomers. But know this:- we are not the first to have those thoughts. Indeed, when John wrote the book of Revelation …
… remember, it is the same John who wrote these letters …
When John wrote to the seven churches the Holy Spirit inspired John to reveal the spiritual temperature of the churches.
To the Church in Ephesus - Revelation 2:4-5
4 I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
To the church in Pergamum - Revelation 2:14-15
14 I have a few things against you: there are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
To the church in Thyatira - Revelation 2:20
I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
To the church in Sardis - Revelation 3:1-2
1 I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die
To the church in Laodicea - Revelation 3:15-16
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
That doesn’t sound like overcomer language does it.
Among the churches there is a cold mechanical faith, which has lost the initial love of Jesus. There is a mixing of different religions. People where tolerating and making peace with error. Others are spiritually lazy, or fence-sitters, or spiritually dead.
The world has distracted them, or caused them to lose focus, or lulled them into a false sense of security. The hardships of faith were just too much, and some are finding it difficult to count the cost. The Christians were struggling.
It doesn’t sound like “overcomer” language.
When we hear these descriptions … do you resonate with them?
Those people back there in the first century are so much like us.
They are people going from day to day living in response to Jesus. And their testimony is – I don’t feel like an overcomer.
But here is the reality about feelings.
What we feel … and what is true … can often be quite opposite.
Let’s go back to 1 John 5:4-5
4 Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.