1 John 5:4-5

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 22, 1998


We’ve seen various characteristics of those who are truly related to God.

We’ve seen that there must be a belief in the correct truth about Jesus, there must be an obedience to God’s ways, and there must be love for others.

Tonight we take a look at another quality of those related to God, that of victory.

Know your enemies.

We face three enemies when it comes to temptation.

There’s a lot they have in common with each other, but they have some differences as well, and part of fighting a good fight is knowing how your enemy works, and what it takes to defeat him.


In WWII, one of the great, early triumphs was that of General George S. Patton helping British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to defeat the Desert Fox, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and his tanks in the African desert. One reason Patton was so successful was because he had read the books that Rommel had written on war and strategy.

Enemy #1:

Satan – Stand and Fight

Satan is the master architect of our temptations. He’s the master tempter who orchestrates and plans many of the attacks on us.

We are to fight him by taking a stand against him.

(James 4:7 KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

In practice, this happens through the Word of God and prayer.

We need to learn to answer those wild "where did that come from" wicked thoughts with the Word of God.

(Mat 4:3-4 KJV) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. {4} But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Learn the Scriptures that apply to where you’re tempted. For example –

(1 Cor 6:18 KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

We need to learn to bind the wicked forces in prayer with the authority that Jesus gives us.

(Luke 9:1-2 KJV) Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. {2} And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Enemy #2:

The Flesh – kill and fill.

Our flesh is that sinful nature within us that responds to the temptations. It loves to be tempted.

We are to handle the flesh in two ways:

1) Kill it.

Or better yet, crucify it.

(Gal 5:24 KJV) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

That doesn’t mean that you pamper it and give it every little thing it asks for. When your flesh gets hungry for sinful things, it’s amazing the kinds of tricks it will pull on us to make us give in. Sometimes it’s like a harmless little kitty, until we feed it and it turns into a roaring lion. Sometimes it’s like a spoiled child, throwing itself on the floor in a tantrum until we give in. But when you give in, it only gets stronger.

Let it die a long, slow death. Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Jesus.

2) Fill it.

With the Holy Spirit, that is.

(Gal 5:16 KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

To walk in the Spirit means to live each moment, taking each step, under the power of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

There’s an old Eskimo proverb that says, "There are two dogs fighting inside you. The one you feed the most is the one who wins".

Open yourself up to the things of the Spirit. Do the kinds of things that bless the Spirit instead of feeding the flesh. Don’t exchange your wings for worms –


G.H. Charnley, in The Skylark's Bargain, tells the story of a young skylark who discovered one day a man who would give him worms for a feather. He made a deal -- one feather for two worms. The next day the lark was flying high in the sky with his father. The older bird said, "You know, son, we skylarks should be the happiest of all birds. See our brave wings! They lift us high in the air, nearer and nearer to God." But the young bird did not hear, for all he saw was an old man with worms. Down he flew, plucked two feathers from his wings and had a feast. Day after day this went on. Autumn came and it was time to fly south. But the young skylark couldn't do it. He had exchanged the power of his young wings for worms. That is our constant temptation in life -- to exchange wings for worms.

Enemy #3:

The World – learn to trust

The World is that system of "things" that are used to tempt us.

John has already given us a picture of what the world is all about:

(1 John 2:15-16 KJV) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

It’s that organized system headed by Satan that leaves God out and is a rival to Him.

:4-5 Victory over the world

:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world

born of God – perfect participle, born of God in the past.

overcometh – present tense, "keeps on conquering the world"

There is continuous victory because there is a continuous struggle.

The victory is in the sense that they do not love it and obey its dictates

Mathew Henry: "We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin."


Victory comes from relationship.

We overcome the world because our Father who begot us is a victor too. It's in our genes.


We are told that a soldier in the army of Alexander the Great was not acting bravely in battle. When he should have been pressing ahead, he was lingering behind. The great general approached him and asked, "What is your name, soldier?" The man replied, "My name, sir, is Alexander." The general looked him straight in the eye and said firmly: "Soldier, get in there and fight—or change your name!"

What is our name? "Children of God—the born-again ones of God." Alexander the Great wanted his name to be a symbol of courage; our name carries with it assurance of victory. To be born of God means to share God’s victory.

:4 and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

victorynike – victory

The Greek goddess of victory was Nike, which also happens to be the name of a United States missile, and a few tennis shoes. All of them are named for the Greek word nike which simply means victory.

And no, we can’t translate this "these are the Nike’s that overcome the world …"


Victory comes through faith. (your "faith-Nike’s")

Faith is learning to trust in things you don’t see.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is what pleases God.

Heb 11:2-6 For by it the elders obtained a good report. {3} Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. {4} By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. {5} By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. {6} But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Faith isn’t a passive sit-on-the-couch kind of thing, but is learning to take action based on what you believe.

Heb 11:7-8 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. {8} By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Even the Old Testament saints experienced victory through their faith, through their trusting in God.

Heb 11:33-34 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, {34} Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.


Practical faith.

It's all good and well to talk about faith in a kind of hypothetical way. But what does real victory faith look like?

1. Nothing but trust.

Sometimes victory requires that we do nothing but trust and praise Him.

2Chronicles 20:1-19 - Jehoshaphat is faced with a huge foe. He cries out to God, and God promises deliverance through one of the prophets.

(2 Chr 20:20-22 KJV) And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. {21} And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. {22} And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

In this instance, God told them they wouldn't have to fight (2Chr.20:17), but to only stand and watch God bring victory.

Sometimes overcoming faith requires only that we believe, and it doesn't hurt to express our faith and trust by praising Him, even BEFORE we see the actual victory!

There are times when you've already done everything that can be done, and now all God wants you to do is trust Him to take care of the rest.

There are times when God doesn't want you doing anything because all you'll do is mess things up. Perhaps that person you're struggling with will just take anything you say wrong. And so God says "Do nothing, stand and watch Me work!"

2. Trust and Fight

Sometimes faith requires that we take up a sword and fight.

(Exo 17:8-16 KJV) Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. {9} And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. {10} So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. {11} And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. {12} But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. {13} And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. {14} And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. {15} And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: {16} For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Not all battles in the Bible were won without the help of human hands. Here Joshua was sent out to fight, but the victory came as Moses kept his hands up. Raised hands speak of praising God, and they speak of surrender and trust of God. Joshua had to fight, but Moses had to trust.

Sometimes your faith requires that you take action.

1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Will God provide a way of escape? He is faithful and will always provide the way of escape. The problem is not whether He’ll provide the escape route, but whether or not we’ll take it! Taking the escape route is an act of faith, trusting that it’s the right thing to do.

There may be times when you sit and think about a temptation long enough to be kind of mesmerized by it. And then the phone rings to momentarily distract you from the temptation. What will you do? Will you see the way of escape and take it?

How do I know when it's time to fight and when it's time to just trust?

That's part of what growing up in the Lord is all about, learning to tell the difference.


Faith grows as relationship grows.

Faith/trust comes from knowing somebody.

The more you know a person, the easier it is to trust them.

If a total stranger walked up to you on the street and asked to borrow $100, promising to meet you tomorrow at the same spot to pay you back, would you give it to them?

How do we grow in our relationship with God?

Reading His Word.

(Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The more you read about Him, the more you’ll find that you can trust Him.


Prayer is the other half of our communication with God, where we pour out our heart to Him.

The more time we spend in His presence, the more we know Who He is, and what He’s like.

The more we grow in prayer, knowing how to ask, and what to ask for, the more we'll see answered prayer, and the more our faith continues to grow.

:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

It’s not just faith in faith, but faith in Jesus that gives us the victory.

(John 16:33 KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Are you going to trust Him or not?

Ray Stedman writes this:

I once heard of a captain of a ship who was describing what it was like to go through a storm. He described the ship in the midst of mountainous seas, the waves mounting on every side, and the wind blowing hard with the pitiless rain coming down. The ship seems a helpless victim of the storm, caught up in the power of these mighty elements that are raging on every side. Its doom seems sure. But he said, "I stand there on the bridge of the ship and I grasp the railing. I can feel the throb, throbbing of the engines deep down inside the hull. The storm, the wind, and the waves seem to be saying to the ship, 'You cannot come, you cannot come.' But I hear the answering throb of the engines saying, 'Yes, we shall, yes, we shall, yes, we shall.' And so we do."

Don’t listen to the voice of the storms and temptations around you. Listen to what the Lord says. Hold on. Keep trusting.