Monday, July 11, 2011

Overcoming - Four Keys

Intro.: Until a few years ago, there were no laws about child safety seats and automobile restraint systems. Many young children who were not safely belted in their seats died in car accidents.

Today laws prohibit children from riding in a car without special seating facing the right direction and properly installed. New mothers must have the seat in place before taking a child home from the hospital.

A parent’s love for a child is beautiful. Yet when a child’s safety is at stake, it seems a parent’s love is not always enough. Many parents needed a seat belt law to ensure the safety of their children.

The same is true of our love and devotion for God and other people. Feelings are not enough. We needed laws and boundaries in the form of commands to help us love God and others.i Let us look at a passage that will help us understand how love and obedience fit together.

Read: I John 5:1-5


Trans:How do you know what is important when you read a book?

  1. Bold faced terms

  2. Maybe the title gives hints

  3. But part of it are those terms that are repeated.

  4. And ...

T.S. In these five verses, four important words are used three times each. These four words help us understand Johns message.

  1. Word #1: Everyone

    1. I would be deceptive if I stopped there – John is not talking about “everyone”

    2. Each of three times that John uses this word – he narrows down those who he is talking about:

      1. v. 1 – everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God

      2. v. 1 (again) – everyone who loves the father, loves his children too

      3. v. 4 – everyone born of God, overcomes the world

    3. You see, John is not talking about “everyone” - but everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, everyone who loves the Father, everyone who is born of God

    4. And note one other key fact here – John is not talking about three different groups – but they are all one and the same:

      • Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is the same everyone who loves the father is the same everyone that is born of God

(Ill.) Lou Johnson, a 1965 World Series hero for the Los Angeles Dodgers, tried for thirty years to recover the championship ring he had lost to drug dealers in 1971. Drug and alcohol abuse cost him everything from that magical season, including his uniform, glove, and the bat he used to hit the winning home run in the deciding game.

When Dodger president Bob Graziano learned that Johnson’s World Series ring was about to be auctioned on the Internet, he immediately bought the ring for $3,457 and gave it to Johnson, sixty-six, who has been drug-free for years and a Dodger community relations employee. He did for Johnson what Johnson could not do for himself.

The ball player wept when given the gold ring. “It felt like a piece of me had been reborn,” he said.

Likewise, Christians can testify to a spiritual rebirth as a result of the price that Jesus paid on the cross in their place. He did for them what they could not do for themselves.ii

    1. John is talking to everybody that has been born again.

  1. Word #2: Love

    1. I John is all about love – it seems that every chapter seems to bring up this theme in some way.

(Ill.) Always, love is a choice. You come up against scores of opportunities every day to love or not to love. You encounter hundreds of small chances to please your friends, delight your Lord, and encourage your family. That’s why love and obedience are intimately linked—you can’t have one without the other.iii

    1. And that is exactly what John does – links love and obedience.

    2. Listen to I John 5:2-3 - By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.

    3. We cannot separate our love for God or for His people from our obedience to God – the come together.

  1. Word #3: Commandments

    1. Which is the natural next word after love.

    2. Let me read it again: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

    3. I am reminded of another verse, one of my favorites. Maybe you will remember Jesus' words: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    4. In most contexts the words commandment and love don't seem to go together. Yet in Christ it is exactly what we need to do – allow our love of God to bring us to a place where we joyfully obey Him.

(Ill). Hazel Simon understood this connection:

Love makes obedience a thing of joy!

To do the will of one we like to please

Is never hardship, though it tax our strength;

Each privilege of service love will seize!

Love makes us loyal, glad to do or go,

And eager to defend a name or cause;

Love takes the drudgery from common work,

And asks no rich reward or great applause.

Love gives us satisfaction in our task,

And wealth in learning lessons of the heart;

Love sheds a light of glory on our toil

And makes us humbly glad to have a part.

Love makes us choose to do the will of God,

To run His errands and proclaim His truth;

It gives our hearts an eager, lilting song;

Our feet are shod with tireless wings of youth!iv

  1. Word #4: Overcome

    1. Ovecome, Victory, Conquer, Prevail, Vanquish, Outstrip, Excel

    2. Strong words that describe the believers relationship to the world: everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. 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?

    3. What allows us to overcome life's most difficult circumstances is not good behavior, it is not good thoughts, it is not good food – what allows me to overcome whatever this world throws at me is my faith.

    4. Perhaps I need to reword this verse: And this is the victory that has overcome the world—my faith.



iTroy Dean, Fullerton, California. Quoted in Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (304). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

iiRick Kauffman, “Team President Redeems Athlete,” located in Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (427). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

iiiJoni Eareckson Tada, Diamonds in the Dust quoted in Larson, C. B., & Lowery, B. (2009). 1001 quotations that connect: Timeless wisdom for preaching, teaching, and writing (301). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

ivHazel Hartwell Simon in Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

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