Summary: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” 1 John 5:4-5.
Theme: Faith and victory all over the world
Man has a deep desire for certainty and he will go to great lengths just to be certain. For many people the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. For the Christian, however, there are many certainties revealed in the Scriptures that are more real than what can be seen with the eyes. Indeed the Christian life is built on the divine certainties that are found in Jesus Christ – the certainty of His death and resurrection and the certainty of His victory. These divine certainties should be a constant source of joy and happiness to the Christian even when he or she gets knocked down or gets hurt. This is because as a Christian we are certain of victory and the interesting part is that this victory has already been won for us. Christ, through His death and resurrection, has restored the believer to a life of victory and made it possible for us to experience fullness of life. Man lost his life of victory and fullness of life in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived him to disobey God. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, enmity was created between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman when God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers”. This enmity has existed since that time and was clearly manifested when Jesus was born. When King Herod learned of Christ’s birth, instead of bowing down and worshipping Him, he planned to destroy Him. Herod and his allies, who were seeds of the serpent, sought with all their resourcefulness to kill the seed of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King and Saviour of the world. But they were unsuccessful and Christ by His death and resurrection has won a great victory for us and through Him we are assured of faith and victory all over the world.
The assurance of victory means that we are engaged in a battle. This battle is with the world and what the world does is to misrepresent the real purpose of life. The world tries to convince us that the purpose of life is to reach the top of the ladder of success and amass a lot of wealth. It tries to make us miss out on the real purpose and meaning of life, which is to develop into the image and likeness of Christ. The world has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It sometimes refers to the physical world, the earth, and other times to the human world, mankind. However, when the Scriptures warn us not to love the world, it is referring to an invisible spiritual system opposed to God and Christ.
The Scriptures declare, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” Here the world is described as the lust of the flesh - passion; the lust of the eyes - possession; and the Pride of Life - position. The world still attacks us through these three areas of temptation. We have the world of entertainment, the world of finance and the world of politics. But behind what we see is an invisible system that we cannot see, a system that opposes the work of Christ on earth. The world undoubtedly dictates and influences almost every area of our lives. Today music, sports, films and fashion affect lifestyles in ways we could not even have imagined. You just have to come to Church on a Sunday morning when the national football team is playing in an international encounter to realise what a hold sports has on many people today. Too many of us have become so busy with the world that we have little time for God. Today we cannot get people to a prayer meeting, but we have no problems getting large crowds for Christian entertainment. Is this not the reason why many Christian meetings have become a form of entertainment? As Christians we are members of the human world and live in the physical world but we should not come under Satan’s system for opposing God. Only the life of faith will overcome the world. Faith will give us an attitude of victory; an attitude that believes that God has already won the battle against Satan and evil.
An attitude of victory sees the troubles of this life as only temporary. Putting our faith in God is to see God in control of everything that comes our way including the problems. Overcoming the world is not so much a matter of activity as of attitude. It is possible for a Christian to stay away from questionable amusements and doubtful places and still love the world for worldliness is a matter of the heart. Worldliness not only affects our response to the love of God; it also affects our response to the will of God. Christ’s victory is a victory over the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life - and His victory has given us victory. His victory is over the same things that trapped Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Today we experience greed in all its manifestations in a nation that prides itself as having many Christians. How is this possible when Christ has won the victory over the world? How is this possible when He has won the victory over greed and over worldly attractions and anxiety and we are beneficiaries of that victory?