Text: I John 4.1-4
Theme: We are from God and will overcome the world.
At the time of this writing it is thought John was now elderly living in Asia Minor and pastoring churches in and around Ephesus (FCA). John looks back and explains from experience that Jesus was the living, breathing Son of God, clothed in human flesh.
1.1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
The purpose of chapter 4 seems quite clear, he wants to define the principles of a true Christian and speak against the claims of the false teachers (FCA). This is what Christianity is all about. This is what living as a Christian is all about.
4.1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
It is dangerous to accept everything that is said in the name of God (FCA). John asks us to think, give it a test. The test John suggests is based on the question, who is Jesus? The world often speaks of satisfying personal desire and in some cases how Jesus can satisfy our personal desires. Yet, Christianity speaks of satisfying the desire of Jesus, how can we live out God’s will. In reflecting on challenges to my faith I’m reminded from John,
4.4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
It’s as if he is pointing the finger at us, you! You, the one who is being seduced. You, the one who is going through a transition. You are from God. We are the children of God by adopting grace (Gill’s). You, is an emphatic, you who confess Christ in contrast to those who don’t. You are from God. There is a clash of worldview today, but we are from God. I’m old school, being raised on King James which reads, greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. John affirms the faithful Christian’s victory over false teaching. This victory is not a personal accomplishment, but comes about through relying on God’s indwelling Spirit, which is greater than the spirit of the world (GPH, p. 80).
Brothers and sisters we can know truth, and we can live by truth. Doesn’t mean it will be easy or free of pain and suffering, but it does mean that the Holy Spirit is our source of strength and victory and we will overcome, because greater is He that is within us than he who is in the world.