Summary: God want us to take seriously the call to overcome the world because what we believe has been certified by the best witnesses possible.
Overcoming with Confidence
1. Two guys are walking through a game park & they come across a lion that has not eaten for days. The lion starts chasing the two men. They run as fast as they can and the one guy starts getting tired and decides to say a prayer, "Please turn this lion into a Christian, Lord." He looks to see if the lion is still chasing and he sees the lion on its knees. Happy to see his prayer answered, he turns around and heads towards the lion. As he comes closer to the lion, he hears the lion praying: "Thank you Lord for the food I am about to receive."
2. The world has little understanding as to what a Christian is. They think it simply refers to someone who is nice, not someone who prioritizes following the Lord Jesus Christ. But not all of us live out this priority. And it shows in our decisions.
When some Christians are given a choice to stand firm with God’s revealed Word or to make a choice based upon worldly or false thinking, they are like a squirrel making a decision, whether to cross the street or not. You don’t know which direction they will head.
3. God calls us to rise above, to be overcomers. Webster defines as overcomer as, “a person who overcomes something : one who succeeds in dealing with or gaining control of some problem or difficulty.”
4. Logically, you would think the best way to avoid surrender to the world is to isolate yourself from it. In John 17:15-18, Jesus' prayer for His followers: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."
5. How do you balance this with Paul’s teaching, “ Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (I Corinthians 15:15)? We are called to live within the culture, but we should avoid aspects or environments that drag us down. You don’t put yourself in the way of temptation. Sometimes, no choice. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
6. How do we do this balancing act? We must be overcomers.
Main Idea: God want us to take seriously the call to overcome the world because what we believe has been certified by the best witnesses possible.
I. We Are Designed to Be OVERCOMERS (1-5).
A. We have firmly CONFESSED our trust in Jesus Christ (1a, 4-5).
John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
B. We have come to spiritual LIFE (the New Birth) (1b).
1. Difference between being compliant and regenerated; there is a difference between knowing about our beliefs & developing convictions, making those beliefs part of us.
2. Sometimes what we teach is like a foreign film without subtitles, and people just don’t get it, not because of I.Q. issues, but regeneration issues.
C. We are drawn to LOVE fellow believers (2a).
D. We seek to OBEY Jesus’ commandments (2b3).
1. We view keeping His commandments as a means to LOVE God.
John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
2. His commandments are not BURDENSOME.
• Argument: loving others, turning the other cheek is burdensome
• God works in us so we want to do His will. Things work for me pleasure for you.
• Some of your friends think you are crazy, giving up time to be in church and volunteering to help the Kingdom of God.
• God’s commands are not tedious, as, for example, rabbinic Judaism.
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Acts 15:28-29, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
The world offers us praise, power, pleasure, comfort or reward for making the thinks of the world the treasure for which we seek. God offers us peace, divine joy, purpose, and eternal meaning if we make Him and His kingdom the treasure we purse: Seek ye first…