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Overcome the World
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By Pastor Mick Wolfe
February 25, 2019

1 Jn.5:4-5 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The phrase, “…whatever is born of God overcomes the world…” indicates that whatever is the result of God’s influence, God’s provision, God’s design – whatever is the product of God’s doing has the effect of overcoming, having victory over or defeating that which the world is promoting. In order for this to make sense, we must deal with an important theological issue.

In various ways and in certain circles it has been taught or assumed that we glorify God by believing that, somehow, everything is God’s doing. Certain influential schools of theological thought stress that everything that happens is mysteriously part of God’s will and, consequently, God has a purpose for everything that happens. However, John’s instruction to the first century church makes no sense under this misguided premise.

In the verses quoted above he is speaking of that which is the result of God’s doing when he says “born of God” and indicates that such things overcome the world. If we back up to consider what he said earlier, he revealed something about “the world” by saying “…all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 Jn.2:16). Notice that that which is the product of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father. There are things that take place that are not “born of God” but are the result of “the world.”

Of these two categories (that which is born of God and that which is the result of the “world”) we must realize that that which God promotes produces good results, not just in our individual lives but in all areas of life and society. When we kick God out of our educational system, expect bad outcome – when we kick God out of family life, sexual practices, government, churches, etc., expect bad results.

However, it requires spiritual discernment and maturity to properly appreciate the above perspective. Jesus said, “…unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn.3:1-8). There seems to be an element of this in Paul’s statement to the Corinthians when he stated, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Co.3:2-3).

On the human level, being “born of God” (born again) refers to reconnecting with God through repentance toward God (a change of heart from supreme interest in pleasing Self to supreme interest in pleasing God) and faith (trust, confidence) in Jesus (Act 20:21), at which time the Spirit of God makes His abode within us, reigniting and expanding our spiritual sensitivities to see the significance of living life on God’s terms.

With such faith, trust and confidence active, we can be led by God to “…overcome…”and experience victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. In our personal lives we need not be governed by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life and we can become a positive influence on the world around us.

Sadly, we now live in an age when many professing Christians are attracted to what the world offers and produces; they defend the lust of the flesh and try to justify those who live accordingly. There is a lack of spiritual dynamic and insight that leads to under estimating God. Many are so busy defending and justifying fleshly behavior that they do not overcome the world nor can they help others overcome the world. On top of this they claim that sympathizing with those in bondage to the flesh is an act of love.

William Booth stated, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.”

The church faces a crisis in which many want an empty, religious form of “Christianity” that has no power to advance the kingdom of God and will be used by Satan to deceive people and discredit real Christianity.


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