Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Power to Overcome
1 John 4:1-6
There is a beautiful church building a short two minute walk from my house. The solid brick construction rests in the middle of a flawless green lawn adorned by majestic oak trees. It is always well maintained. On the outside it is very attractive. On the inside however, there is a confession of Jesus Christ that is very different from the confession found in God’s Word spoken by the Apostles. In the words of the Apostle John, “who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:22) Despite the outward attraction, something in my spirit will not allow me to unite myself with this church.
John loves those to which he writes. This section of text once again begins with a term of endearment; “beloved”. It is clear that John is warning his readers through a heart filled with love. He knows the dangers to the faith in this world. His warning is clear: behind every statement is a spirit, a pneuma(gk.), but not every spirit is the Spirit of God.
Many years ago a mentor of mine (in the business world) taught me a valuable lesson regarding understanding between two parties. He made this statement which I have never forgotten; “every business deal has a spirit”. He went on to explain that each time he shakes someone’s hand in agreement to provide or purchase a good or service, he already knows how he wants the deal to benefit both parties. “Legal documents”, he stated, “never reflect the proper spirit of any agreement. They are filled with fine print stating what will happen when one party fails.” He went on to explain his model of always including a cover letter to every agreement he signed. The cover letter was always entitled, “Spirit of Agreement”. This letter stated in clear plain terms the intention of the agreement and the bright future my mentor intended for all parties entering the agreement. Like the Apostle John, my mentor knew all to well that many in the business world had a spirit that was not in accord with his own. This cover letter attached to the legal document and signed by all parties brought a unity or made clear any division of each spirit involved.
Like this cover letter, John commands us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”. (1 John 4:1) John makes it clear that all believers are to exercise the responsibility of discerning truth from error. However, John doesn’t allow us to believe that somehow by ourselves this could be possible. No, John calls each of his readers “overcomers”. (vs 4) His reason for naming us as such has one basis, and only one; “for he who is in you is greater that he who is in the world.” This should be a source of great joy for every believer.
Work of the Holy Spirit
From last week: (2:24)
Evidence of His work:
Focus on Confession of Faith (vs 1-6)
What we say (vs 2)
Confesses Jesus has come in the flesh
Genuine confession (like confessing sin in 1:9)
How we listen (vs 6)
Listen to the truth and accept it
Hear the false teachers and reject it
Sovereign work of the Holy Spirit
Why are we able to overcome the false teachers? (vs 4)
To overcome or conquer
The Holy Spirit is greater
We can only give God the glory (credit where credit is due)
Use this truth to work in mighty ways