Overcomers By The Power of God
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
1 John 4:4-6
Text: "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." 1 John 4:4-6
The New Testament tells us that we have three main enemies – The world (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:2), the flesh (Romans 7:18; Romans 8:5) and the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Our primary focus has been on the devil that empowers false preachers and teachers in the propagation of their subtle lies. In our last message we saw that we are "try the spirits… because many false prophets are gone out into the world." The old Apostle John gives those he was writing to and us these tips -
Don’t Be Gullible – 1a
Today we will answer these four questions from our text –
Who Is An Overcomer?
How Do They Overcome?
What Is The Origin of False Teachings?
How Can You Know If Someone Is An Overcomer?
Look at verse 4. John is addressing born-again believers in these verses. We know that from the phrase "Ye are of God, little children…" John asserts that genuinely born-again believers will not be mortally seduced by false doctrines that are promoted false teachers. They will not be brought into spiritual bondage. These believers had frustrated or thwarted all the attempts to turn them away from the truth. We know this by the phrase "overcome them" in verse 4. The word overcome is a translation of the Greek word, which means to be victorious. This verb is in the perfect tense, speaking of a past, completed victory, and a present state of being a conqueror. Simply stated, the believers that John was writing to, were not deceived by the heresy. 1 John 5:4 confirms this
But, that bring up the question, why had they gained complete victory over the false teachers and their heresies? The victory came because of the Holy Spirit! It was not anything these Christians had done that delivered them; it was the One who dwelt within them. It was the greatness of God that kept them straight. The Holy Spirit who dwells in believer’s hearts, and by whose strength and grace alone that believers have been enabled to achieve this victory, is mightier and stronger than "he that is in the world." "He that is in the world" is a reference to Satan who rules in the hearts of the people of this world, and whose seductive arts are seen in the efforts of these false teachers.
Let me put it very simply. It is the Holy Spirit alone that keeps the believer from falling prey to false teachers and their heresies. I am reminded of what we read in Isaiah 59:19 "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."
In this verse we see that the origin of the heretical teachings of false teachers is this world. Satan and demons are a part of this world system, and the source of all heresy. The result is that the unsaved world accepts their teachings. There are several Bible passages that characterize how God looks at those who teach and follow worldly wisdom. Turn to Jeremiah 4:22 "For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." The word sottish means dull; stupid; senseless; very foolish.
1 Corinthians 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
1 Corinthians 1:19 "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." (reference to Isaiah 29:14).
For an illustration of where worldly wisdom leads all you have to do is read Romans 1:18-32. Where is our nation in this downward spiral?
Every one that has a true relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and is indwelt by His Spirit will receive and believe the doctrines and teachings recorded in the New Testament. In fact, a person’s attitude to the doctrines and teachings of the New Testament shows whether they are following "the spirit of truth" or "the spirit of error." Read the words of our Lord – "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." John 18:37
Turn to John 10:27-30 "My
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which
gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to
pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my
Father are one."