Summary: Is My Life a Victory? (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


Belief (vs 1)

Love (vs 2)

Obedience (vs 2-3)

Triumph (vs 4)

Belief (vs 5-12)



• The Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson;

• Had not enjoyed a single day of good health in 14 years.

• One day, when he had been forced to set aside his writing;

• Because of violent coughing and wracking,

• His wife said to him,

• "I suppose you’re going to tell me it’s a glorious day."

• As he watched the sunlight streaming through the window, he said,

• "Yes, because I refuse to allow a row of medicine bottles to form the circumference of my world."

• Robert Louis Stevenson lived life with a victorious attitude;

• And was determine to live in victory over his circumstances.


• The Bible uses many different terms to describe what Christians are;

• e.g. believers, friends, brothers, sheep, saints, witnesses etc.

• John highlights one particular term in this chapter.

• That is the ‘victor’ or the ‘overcomer’.

• It is emphasising to the victorious nature of the believer.

Question: What are the characteristics of the victor?

Answer: The apostle John gives us a number of key thoughts.

Pause to say:

• Really these first few verses of chapter 5 really belong at the end of chapter 4;

• As they are a continuation of those thoughts.

• In fact they are a summary of what he has already said,

• We often say that chapter and verse divisions were added after the Bible was written.

• They are not inspired;

• They are simply there to help us find our way around the Bible;

• Most of the time they are very helpful;

• But occasionally the breaks come in the wrong places.

• These verses here are a good example of that.

• So these thoughts at the beginning of chapter 5;

• Are in fact a summary of what he has already said,

• So you will be familiar with some of the expressions and language used;

Question: What are the characteristics of the victor?

Answer: The apostle John gives us a number of key thoughts.

(1). Belief (vs 1):

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”

• Saving faith is the first characteristic of an overcomer.

• The first distinguishing feature of a life of victory.

• The term ‘believe’ carries the idea of continuation;

• That is the believer keeps on believing throughout their life.


• When they were translating the Bible for the Inuit people;

• The translators had a hard time finding a word for “believe.”

• One day, a Bible translator and an Inuit man were going for a walk.

• Outside the ice on the water was just thick enough to walk on,

• So the Inuit man stepped out on the ice and bounced a little to see if it would hold him.

• The translator asked what he called walking on the ice,

• And he knew straight away that he had found his missing word.

• To ‘believe’ is ‘to place one whole weight on’.

This is what it means to believe in Jesus.

• It is not to just give metal assent to the truth about him.

• It is to place the whole weight of your life on him.

• So saving belief is not simply intellectual acceptance;

• That is in agreement to all the facts.

• Rather it is the whole-hearted dedication to Jesus Christ that is permanent.


• Just as marriage is more than the ceremony;

• It is more than just living together in the same house.

• Rather it is a relationship that grows deeper and deeper each day.

(2). Love (verse 2).

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God”.

• Once again John tells us that we cannot separate the love that we have for God;

• With the love that we have for his people.

• The love for God and his people are so intertwined;

• That the apostle takes a different slant in this passage.

• Instead of saying that we love God by loving his people,

• He says that we love his people by loving him.

• The truth is that much of the things that God wants us to obey him in;

• Are about loving his people!

• Last week you looked at how this love is to be like God’s love for us:

• Practical, sacrificial, and intimate.


• Have you heard the story about the actor;

• Who was playing the part of Jesus in the local Passion Play?

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