Conquerors Through Christ: Embracing Victorious Faith

Becoming Like Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:46
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Good morning! It's a joy to gather as the body of Christ here today as we embark on a journey together to explore the theme of victory and overcoming. We live in a world that constantly presents us with challenges and obstacles, whether it's in our relationships, our work, our health, or even in our own hearts. It seems as though the desire for victory is universal, ingrained deep within us.
Think about it for a moment. We all long to rise above the difficulties that life throws our way. We strive for success, for breakthroughs, and for that sense of accomplishment. We celebrate when we see athletes pushing their limits, artists pouring their hearts into their creations, and individuals triumphing over adversity. Victory resonates with us on a profound level.
And so, today, we come together to explore the source of true victory, the kind that goes beyond temporal achievements and touches the very core of our being. But before we look at our passage, I want to share an illustration that beautifully captures the essence of our theme.
Imagine, if you will, a majestic oak tree standing tall and strong in the midst of a forest. This oak tree has weathered countless storms, its branches stretching out in every direction, reaching for the heavens. Despite the winds that have fiercely battered it, the tree remains steadfast, firmly rooted in the ground.
This oak tree symbolizes the victory we seek. It represents the resilience, strength, and endurance that we long for in our own lives. But as we look at our passage today, we will discover that there is an even greater source of strength and victory available to us. It is found in our faith, firmly rooted in Jesus Christ, the One who overcame the world.
So, with this image of the mighty oak tree in our minds, let us turn to our passage in 1 John 5:5-12, where we will uncover the keys to experiencing true victory over the challenges we face. Together, let us learn how our faith in Christ enables us to overcome the world and discover a victorious life in Him.
We first read in the last part of verse four and the first part of verse five
1 John 5:4–5 (ESV)
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
As we look at our verses, we encounter a profound truth that speaks directly to our lives as believers. John, in a concise and powerful statement, declares, "This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." Here, the concept of faith takes center stage as the source of our victory over the world.
In the following rhetorical question and answer, John clarifies the essence of this faith: "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." It is our faith in Jesus as the Son of God that empowers us to rise above the influence of the world.
In the context of this letter, where the secessionists and their false teaching pose a significant challenge, the victory over the world hinges on the believers' unwavering faith in Jesus. John reminds us that those who deny Jesus as the Son of God are still part of the world, subject to its sway and under the influence of the evil one.
Interestingly, John employs two different tenses of the verb "to overcome" (nikaō) in this passage. In verse 4, we find a form that depicts the victory of faith as a completed action. In contrast, in verse 5, John uses a form that highlights the ongoing nature of the victory, an ongoing process without specific time references.
This distinction serves as a reminder that our faith is not a one-time event but a continual journey of triumph over the world. It is through our faith in Jesus, as the Son of God, that we have overcome and continue to overcome the challenges, temptations, and falsehoods that surround us.
As we think about this truth, we need to recognize the power and significance of our faith in Christ. It is through this faith that we find victory over the world, transcending its grip and remaining steadfast in the face of opposition.
In verses 6-9 John provides us with compelling evidence of the authenticity of our faith and how it manifests in our relationship with God and others.
As we look at these verses, we will find a fascinating passage that sheds light on the nature of Jesus and the testimony surrounding His life and ministry. In this section, John addresses a crucial point of contention between his beliefs and those of the secessionists. Verse six serves as a pivotal moment where John distinguishes his understanding of Jesus from that of the secessionists. Through this exploration, we will uncover the profound implications of Jesus' coming "by water and blood" and its significance for our faith.
In verse six we read.
1 John 5:6 ESV
This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
John begins by highlighting the common ground between himself and the secessionists regarding Jesus' coming "by water." Understanding this shared belief is crucial to grasp John's intended message. One interpretation points to Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist, an event marked by water immersion and the descent of the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). This significant moment marked the beginning of Jesus' ministry on earth, as the Spirit empowered Him for the task ahead. It signifies Jesus' role as the Baptizer, whose ministry extended beyond water baptism to the baptism of the Spirit.
While John acknowledges the agreement on Jesus' coming "by water," he emphasizes that Jesus' coming encompasses both water and blood. Here, John draws a clear distinction between his understanding and that of the secessionists. He asserts that Jesus' ministry and identity go beyond baptism alone. The phrase "by water and blood" carries profound implications for our faith.
Another interpretation suggests that "coming by water" refers to Jesus' ministry of water baptism, symbolizing purification and preparation. Although Jesus entrusted the actual baptizing to His disciples, He inaugurated a new era where baptism signified the reception of the Holy Spirit. This understanding aligns with John's emphasis on the Spirit's witness in the Gospel of John and reaffirms the role of baptism as a significant aspect of Jesus' ministry. This interpretation also fits better with the connection that John makes to blood.
In contrast to the secessionists' limited view, John asserts that Jesus' coming "by blood" encompasses Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus willingly laid down His life, acting as the active party, not merely a passive victim. The mention of "blood" invokes the powerful imagery of atonement, as demonstrated in 1 John 1:7. Jesus' death becomes the ultimate act of love and redemption, cleansing humanity from sin and reconciling us with God.
To affirm the truth of Jesus' coming "by water and blood," John invokes the testimony of the Spirit. The Spirit, described as the Spirit of truth, stands as a witness to the reality and significance of Jesus' ministry. Just as the Spirit testifies about Jesus against the world in the Gospel of John, here in 1 John, the Spirit testifies to believers concerning the truth they received from the beginning. The Spirit's testimony serves as a guarantee of truthfulness, solidifying our assurance in Jesus as the Son of God.
Verses 7 and 8 provide a powerful affirmation of the witnesses that testify to the truth John affirms. John establishes the importance of multiple witnesses by referencing the practice in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, where significant matters were decided with the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 10:28). In the context of this passage, John cites three witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
In verses seven and eight we read.
1 John 5:7–8 ESV
For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
The role of the Spirit as a witness is reasonably clear. The Spirit confirms to believers the truth of the message about Jesus that they heard from the beginning (cf. 2:24–27). However, understanding how the water and the blood constitute the second and third witnesses is more challenging. Normally, witness is given by one person concerning another. Yet, in the Gospel of John, when people are reluctant to accept Jesus' testimony about himself, he points them to his works, for these works bear silent witness to the truth about him (cf. John 5:36; 10:25). Consequently, it is possible that John suggests that alongside the Spirit's witness regarding Jesus, there exists the silent witness of Jesus' work as the Baptizer and the one who made the atoning sacrifice—the witness of the "water" and the "blood."
John also emphasizes that the three witnesses—the Spirit, the water, and the blood—agree with one another. In legal proceedings, the agreement of testimony from different witnesses is vital. By demonstrating the concurrence of these three witnesses, John essentialy constructs his case. The secessionists, who denied that Jesus came by water and blood, solely focused on his coming by water, possibly associating it with their experience of the Spirit. In contrast, John asserts that Jesus came by both water and blood, and the Spirit also testifies to this truth. It is through the convergence of these three witnesses that the truth about Jesus is revealed.
In verse nine of this section we read.
1 John 5:9 ESV
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.
The first part of the verse employs an argument from the lesser to the greater, suggesting that if we are willing to accept human testimony, we should certainly accept God's testimony. John alludes to human testimony, but it is unclear to what specifically this refers. It is unlikely to be a reference to the threefold testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood. Nor is it necessarily an allusion to the witness of John the Baptist, as Jesus himself in the Gospel of John refers to the Baptist's testimony as "human testimony" of lesser importance than God's testimony (John 5:33–36). Another possibility is that it refers to the testimony of the eyewitnesses to the Word of life (1 John 1:1), which, though reliable, is not on the same level as God's testimony. Alternatively, it could be a general statement emphasizing the supremacy of God's testimony over human testimony. This latter option appears to be the most likely, as the first two suggestions raise additional questions. There are no other references to the Baptist's ministry in 1 John, and John would not diminish the significance of the testimony of the eyewitnesses, which he believes accurately conveys the truth of God.
The next question to consider is what John means by "God's testimony." Is it to be identified with the testimony of the three witnesses—the Spirit, the water, and the blood? Could God's testimony be heard through the Spirit or the anointing received by believers and through the baptizing and atoning work of Jesus? In both this letter and the Gospel of John, the Spirit bears witness to Jesus, and in the Gospel, the works of Jesus serve as a testimony to his identity. Another possibility is that the testimony of God is distinct from the testimony of the three witnesses, implying an ascending order of witnesses: the water, the blood, the Spirit, and finally, God himself. This view is supported by John 5:31–40, where Jesus speaks of an ascending order of witnesses, including the testimony of the Baptist, the testimony of Jesus' own works, and ultimately, the testimony of God. In this perspective, God's testimony represents the voice of God, which Jesus hears but his opponents have never heard (John 5:37). Another interpretation suggests that God's testimony is identified with the testimony of the eyewitnesses, with God speaking through them. This last option seems more preferable since the content of God's testimony, described in 1 John 5:11, is that God has granted eternal life through His Son, aligning with the central theme of the testimony of the eyewitnesses referenced in 1 John 1:1–4.
In the following section, we will uncover the implications and significance of understanding God's testimony and its relation to the witnesses mentioned, seeking to unveil John's intended message and the broader implications for his readers.
In verse 10 of our passage John reveals a profound truth that holds great significance for our faith journey. He tells us that anyone who believes in the Son of God accepts the testimony that God has given. This testimony is not just an external proclamation; it becomes something internal, a living truth within us.
We read in verse 10
1 John 5:10 ESV
Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.
Believing in Jesus as the Son of God is not a mere intellectual exercise; it is a deeply personal and transformative experience. When we put our faith in Jesus, we embrace and internalize the testimony about Him. It becomes a part of who we are, resonating in our hearts and shaping our perspective. Our belief in Jesus is the key that unlocks the door to eternal life.
But what happens to those who reject this testimony? John warns us that those who do not believe in God make Him out to be a liar. By denying the testimony about His Son, they cast doubt on God's faithfulness and His very character. Such unbelief undermines our relationship with God and hinders the transformative power of eternal life.
It is essential for us to grasp the weight of this truth. Our belief in Jesus, as the Son of God, is not a casual decision; it is a life-altering choice. It determines the course of our lives and our eternal destiny. By accepting God's testimony in our hearts, we align ourselves with His truth and open ourselves up to the gift of eternal life.
We must hold firmly to this testimony and the belief that we have in Jesus Christ. As we embrace this truth, we experience a radical transformation in our lives. This eternal life brings about a newfound confidence and assurance, empowering us to face the challenges of this world with unwavering faith.
We can have confidence because our belief in Jesus connects us to the victory He has already secured. The gift of eternal life transforms our present experience, infusing it with hope, purpose, and the strength to overcome. No matter what trials we face or temptations that come our way, we can stand firm in the knowledge that Christ has conquered the world.
In verse eleven John continues to expand on the nature of God's witness, shedding light on the incredible testimony we have received. He writes.
1 John 5:11 ESV
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
In these powerful words, John magnifies the depth and significance of God's testimony. He directs our focus to the incredible gift bestowed upon us: eternal life. However, it's essential for us to understand that eternal life is not merely an unending extension of our earthly existence. It goes far beyond that. Eternal life is not a thing; it is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ.
God's testimony declares that in Jesus Christ, we find the very essence of eternal life. He is the embodiment of life without end. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we enter into the fullness of eternal life itself. It is in Him that we discover true meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.
This testimony of eternal life is not some distant promise or vague concept. It is a reality made available to us through God's grace. He has lovingly granted us the privilege of partaking in this eternal life, a life that is found solely in His Son, Jesus Christ. This testimony resonates with hope, assuring us that our existence is not confined to this temporal world but extends into eternity.
We need to fully grasp the significance of this testimony. God, in His infinite love and mercy, has given us the ultimate gift—the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. This gift surpasses anything the world can offer. It transcends material possessions, achievements, and earthly success. It grants us a life of unending communion with our Creator, a life rooted in love, joy, and peace that surpasses all understanding.
As we reflect on this incredible testimony, let it ignite within us a deep sense of gratitude and awe. Let it inspire us to embrace Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, for in Him lies the fulfillment of our deepest longings and the assurance of eternal significance.
I hope we never lose sight of this truth. We must continually abide in Jesus, the source of eternal life. And as we do, let His life radiate through us, transforming our relationships, our actions, and our very existence.
Hold fast to the testimony of eternal life in Jesus Christ, cherishing this priceless gift and allowing it to shape every aspect of your life. Let the reality of eternal life in Him invigorate you with a passion to live fully for His glory, both now and for all eternity.
In verse 12 John further expounds on the connection between having the Son and possessing eternal life. He writes,
1 John 5:12 ESV
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Understanding what it means to "have the Son" is intricately linked to believing in the Son, as verse 13 will reveal next week. Believing in the Son entails accepting the proclamation of truth. However, we must explore whether "having the Son" is synonymous with "believing in the Son" or if it encompasses something more.
Drawing insights from the language of "abiding" in the Gospel of John (John 6:56; 14:23; 15:4–7), we find that "having the Son" goes beyond mere belief. It goes beyond our surface-level understanding and taps into the very core of our existence. For believers, it signifies being indwelt by the Son, an experience that transpires when we place our faith in Him. To have the Son is to be united with Him, to be intertwined with His very being.
This deeper dimension is important because it represents a strong and lasting connection and presence. It goes beyond loyalty and obedience, extending into the very essence of our existence. When we have the Son, He becomes an inseparable part of our being, shaping and transforming us from the inside out.
Having the Son is synonymous with having eternal life because the Son Himself is the embodiment of eternal life. He possesses eternal life within Himself, as He was with the Father from the beginning. And as we are united with Him, He imparts that eternal life to us. It is His life coursing through our veins, animating our spirits, and granting us the promise of everlasting communion with God.
On the other hand, those who do not have the Son, who do not believe in Him and are not indwelt by Him, do not possess this eternal life. Their separation from the Son means they lack the vibrant life that comes from being intimately connected to Him. They are bereft of the eternal significance and the transformative power that only the Son can bestow.
In the eyes of John, the secessionists, who deny the true testimony concerning Jesus Christ, do not possess this eternal life. Their rejection of the Son and refusal to abide in Him leave them outside the realm of the life-giving presence of God.
As we reflect on these words, we need to recognize the immense privilege we have in knowing and having the Son. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we enter into a profound union with Him, receiving the gift of eternal life. This life surpasses the boundaries of our mortal existence and grants us an eternal inheritance in God's Kingdom.
We need to hold tightly to this truth, cherishing our relationship with the Son and allowing His life to permeate every aspect of our being. We need to abide in Him, remaining rooted in His love, grace, and truth. And as we do, The life of the Son will radiate through us, bringing hope, joy, and transformation to the world around us.
Having the Son is the key to possessing eternal life. Embrace Him, abide in Him, and allow His life to flow through you, illuminating your path and bringing glory to His name.
Now that we have examined the details of 1 John 5:4-12, we must ask ourselves, "So what? How does this passage impact our daily lives?"

So What?

The words written by John carry great significance and provide us with practical guidance and encouragement. Let us consider how we can apply these truths and experience ongoing victory in Christ.
To begin, let's focus on strengthening our faith.

Strengthen Our Faith

Faith goes beyond mere intellectual agreement; it involves cultivating a vibrant, living relationship with Jesus Christ. We can nourish our faith by regularly engaging in prayer, studying God's Word, and surrounding ourselves with fellow believers who can support and encourage us along the way.
In a world filled with distractions and temptations, it is vital that we remain firm in our commitment to Christ. Just as the secessionists were influenced by false teachings, we too may face pressures to conform to worldly values and ideologies. However, we are called to stand firm and resist these enticements by holding fast to the truth of God's Word. We need to guard our hearts and minds, seeking God's guidance and strength to overcome the allure of the world.

Victorious Conquerors

Living as victorious believers requires personal reflection and commitment. Take a moment to assess your own life. Are there areas where you have compromised your faith? Are there temptations that have pulled you away from God's truth? It is never too late to recommit yourself to the Lord and His ways. Today, make a personal commitment to live as a victorious believer, relying on the power of faith and the indwelling presence of Christ in your life.
Lastly, remember that victory in Christ is not a one-time event but a continuous journey. It involves daily surrendering to His will and relying on His strength to overcome challenges. During moments of doubt and trials, find assurance in the testimony of God, the witness of the Spirit, the water, and the blood. They affirm the truth of Jesus Christ and the eternal life we have in Him.
Today, we have journeyed through the powerful words of 1 John 5:4-12, exploring the profound truths embedded within this passage. We have delved into the nature of faith, the testimony of God, and the eternal life found in Jesus Christ. But now, as we conclude, we must consider the transformative impact these truths have on our lives.
The message of 1 John reminds us that faith is not a passive belief but an active, living relationship with Jesus Christ. It calls us to strengthen our faith, resist the allure of worldly temptations, and experience ongoing victory in Christ. We have been encouraged to reflect upon our lives, to identify areas where we may have compromised our faith, and to recommit ourselves to live as victorious believers.
As we leave here today I pray that we carry these truths with us. Let us remember that faith is not a solitary journey, but a communal endeavor. We are called to surround ourselves with fellow believers who can support and encourage us along the way. Together, let us strive to strengthen our faith, to resist the seduction of worldly influences, and to experience the transformative power of Jesus Christ in our lives.
May we live as victorious believers, relying on the power of our faith and the indwelling presence of Christ. Let us be a living testimony of the eternal life we have received through Him. And as we walk this journey, let us share the message of hope and redemption with those around us.
In the face of doubts, trials, and temptations, remember the testimony of God, the witness of the Spirit, the water, and the blood. They affirm the truth of Jesus Christ and the eternal life He offers. Embrace the fullness of this truth and allow it to shape your thoughts, actions, and decisions.
Today, as we conclude, let us commit ourselves to live as victorious believers. Let our lives reflect the profound impact of faith, the power of God's testimony, and the transformative nature of eternal life in Jesus Christ. May we walk boldly, knowing that He who has the Son has life.
I pray that we would leave here today with renewed faith, with steadfast resolve, and with the assurance that in Christ, we are more than conquerors. Amen.
Closing Prayer
As we come to the end of this time of reflection and study, we bow our heads in gratitude for the truths we have encountered in your Word. We thank you for the message of 1 John, reminding us of the power of faith, the testimony of God, and the eternal life found in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that faith is not always easy to live out in a world filled with distractions and temptations. We confess that we often fall short and lose sight of the victorious life you have called us to. But today, we stand before you, seeking your forgiveness and renewed strength.
Lord, we pray that you would empower us to strengthen our faith, to stand firm in the face of adversity, and to resist the lures of the world that seek to pull us away from you. Grant us the discernment to recognize worldly temptations and the courage to turn away from them.
Help us, O Lord, to live as victorious believers. May our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of your Son, Jesus Christ. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, guiding us in every decision, thought, and action we take. Grant us the wisdom to walk in obedience to your will and to love others as you have loved us.
We lift up our hearts, our minds, and our lives to you, surrendering all that we are to your care. Strengthen our faith, deepen our understanding, and ignite within us a passion to pursue you wholeheartedly. May our lives be a shining light, drawing others closer to your saving grace.
In the name of Jesus, we pray.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts and minds as you go forth from this place. May the power of the Holy Spirit guide you in all your endeavors and strengthen your faith. May you walk in the assurance of God's love, experiencing ongoing victory in Christ. May you be a living testimony of His truth and grace, shining His light in the world around you. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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