Faith is the Victory that Overcomes the World

February 8, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Christian Living, The Gospel Scripture: 1 John 5:1–5

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 08 February 2019

Text: 1 John 5:1-5

Opening Discussion: Before we look at the subject of spiritual life, let us share our stories of physical life. Every parent knows the great joy of seeing a new life come into this world. Do you have a favorite memory of a child’s birth? Share your experience…

Observation - What does God’s word say?

In the spiritual realm, as in the physical, new life means everything! If a person is truly born of God, there will be signs of life. If those signs are missing, there is cause for great alarm. Jesus warned that there will be many who call Him “Lord” who even have done miracles in His name, but at the judgment He will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23). In light of these things, we all need to be clear about whether we truly have been born again or not. In 1 John 5:1-5, the apostle continues with his tests of salvation. The three vital signs of new birth he uses are: 1. the moral sign of obedience to God’s commands; 2. the social sign of love for others and 3. the doctrinal sign of believing the truth about Jesus Christ. If a person has truly received new life from God, these vital signs will be evident.

What are your observations?


  • 1 John 5:1-5
  • Psalm 119:47-48
  • Revelations 2:7, 11, 17, 26

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

As the apostle John moves toward the conclusion of this letter, he brings together into one paragraph the three tests of authentic Christianity that he has repeated throughout the book. He does this to summarize and to show that these three tests are part of an interwoven fabric. They all depend on the new birth as their foundation. We may view them as three vital signs of the new birth. If a person has truly received new life from God, these vital signs will be evident. While they grow stronger over time, if there is no evidence of these signs, a person needs to examine whether or not he truly has been born again. John shows that the vital signs of the new birth are faith in Jesus Christ, love for others, and obedience to God’s commandments.

The call to God’s commands is no longer a burden to bear but an aspect of new life in Christ (1 John 5:3). It is, in fact, “easy and light” (Matt. 11:28–30). Thus, part of the victory of 1 John 5:4–5 is the fruit of the faith of 5:1–3—the freedom to love God and obey his commandments. Matthew Henry sums it up well in his commentary on these verses. He says; “The same Holy Spirit that taught the love, will have taught obedience also; and that man cannot truly love the children of God, who, by habit, commits sin or neglects known duty. As God's commands are holy, just, and good rules of liberty and happiness, so those who are born of God and love him, do not count them grievous, but lament that they cannot serve him more perfectly.”

Read:  1 Peter 1:17-25

What are your observations from these verses?

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Read the gospel of John 14:15–24. What help is there for the believer in keeping the commandments of God? What additional promise is there for those who keep the commandments of God? How does this impact your reading of 1 John 5:1–3?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

How are our love for God and obedience to his commandments related to the love we give others? In verse 2, John says the love of the believers is attained through loving the Father and obeying his commands. How is love of the children of God shown through obedience to God? (See Galatians 5:13–14 and 1 John 2:4–6.)

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Faith is defined by John as belief in Jesus the Christ and Son of God (5:1, 5). And while he speaks firmly of love of the body and obedience to God, these are but fruits of a living faith. In what ways are you still trying to earn the love of the Father? When do you look at the naked simplicity of faith and think, ‘Not enough!’?


The apostle John does not mean that obedience to God’s commandments is always easy or effortless. The warfare terminology of “overcoming” and “victory” shows that obedience is often a battle. The world, the flesh, and the devil are formidable foes that we must constantly fight against. An immature believer may view God’s commands as restrictive. But our heavenly Father knows that sin will damage and destroy us.

If we have come to know His love in Christ through the new birth, then we must trust His love and obey His commandments. When we see that God’s commands stem from His love for us as His children, they are not burdensome.


Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for NLC to experience love and acceptance by God through faith in Jesus, so that their motivations to live for and glorify him are rooted in love, not fear.
  2. Pray for anyone in NLC who may be experiencing burdens to live in God’s freedom.
  3. Pray that NLC would experience victory in Christ over the temptations and sins in the world.

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