Summary: Why settle for just surviving when you can be an overcomer.
“How to Be a Real Life Survivor”
“FROM SURVIVORS TO OVERCOMERS”
There has been a lot of interest recently about a television series called “Survivors.” Regardless of what you think of this Television series it is something of a Phenomenon. It was reported that 50 million Americans watched these broadcasts. In case you know nothing of the show a group of people volunteered to be marooned on an island and the last person not voted off the island won a million dollars.
But, “What does it mean to be a Survivor?” In our world today we talk about all kinds of survivors: cancer survivors, abuse survivors, tornado survivors, earthquake survivors and the list goes on and on! It is great to be a survivor but I want to do more than just survive. The Bible does not use the word “survivor” but it does use the word “overcomer.” The root word for overcome has a very interesting meaning in the original language (Greek) it means to prevail, to pass over, to gain the victory (20 times). I don’t want to settle for just surviving, I want to get the victory, I want to be an overcomer!
As most of you know the new Survivor Television Series premiers today. But far more important than the ability to survive on a desert island or in the Australian outback or even to win a million dollars, is the ability to be a spiritual survivor in this world. In order to grasp what it means to be a Spiritual Survivor we want to ask and answer a series of four questions.
I. WHAT MUST WE OVERCOME
Turn in your Bibles to 1 John 2:15-16. The Bible says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) 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.” (NKJV)
Here the world is described as over-fold foe. The Lust of the flesh; this speaks of passion, Lust of the eyes, this speaks of possession, the Pride of Life, this speaks of position. This is the unbridled ambition, the desire to put oneself first. The world still attacks us through these three areas of temptation.
Jesus taught his disciples to be confident and optimistic. Jesus said in John 16:33, “…In this world you will you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We can be overcomers because Jesus was an overcomer. The Lord has provided a way for the believer to be victorious over every foe he faces.
II. HOW CAN WE BECOME OVERCOMERS
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who 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 burdensome. (4) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (5) Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (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.” 1 John 5:1-6 (NKJV)
This text reveals that we will face powerful opposition in this world. This opposition is necessary. Helen Keller, famous for the difficulties she overcame being born blind. made the observation that, “The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” It is the difficulties in life that give us the opportunity to know what it is like to have victory.
This text reveals three resources that are given to us to enable us to be overcomers.
First, it requires a Birth (v. 4). “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” There is no way to be an overcomer without a new birth, without being born again. Jesus described this process to a man by the name of Nicodemus in John 3:1-3, “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. (2) This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (3) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”