How Do We Conquer the Evil One? #146
Hello friends, and welcome to the beginning of the long weekend! Some of you will be headed out to newfound freedom this week, some of us are still stuck in quarantine. Pour a Mountain Dew out for us quarantiners as you go out into the real world again and be careful and wise!
Today’s Bible readings include Numbers 32, Psalms 77, Isaiah 24 and 1 John 2. Our focus passage is in 1 John 2, and comes right from this interesting little poetic feature towards the end of the chapter:
I am writing to you, little children,
since your sins have been forgiven
on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you have come to know
the one who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the evil one.
14 I have written to you, children,
because you have come to know the Father.
I have written to you, fathers,
because you have come to know
the one who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
because you are strong,
God’s word remains in you,
and you have conquered the evil one.
1 John 2:12-14
How have these young men conquered the evil one? I think the clue is in the line right before the statement – the Word of God lives in them. How did Jesus overcome the evil one in the desert of His temptation? The same way!
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
So – how do we overcome the enemy? By the WORD OF GOD! The Word of God is an offensive weapon, as is mentioned many times in Scripture.
10 things you may not fully appreciate about the Word.
1. It is living and active – biological – it has life and it brings life. It is alive and pulsing with power and truth. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2. In fact, the Word of God (IN SOME WAY) IS JESUS! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Revelation 19: 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. When we partake of the Word of God, we are partaking of Jesus.
3. Salvation actually comes, in some way, through the Word!
A. James 1:18 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth
C. Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation The Gospel IS the power of God FOR Salvation.
4. The Word washes us and makes us holy. (in addition to bringing salvation) The Word saves and the Word sanctifies. HOW is this possible? In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. “3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.“ John 15:3 “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Illustration: With his best friend, Alypius, he was talking about the remarkable sacrifice and holiness of Antony, an Egyptian monk. Augustine was stung by his own bestial bondage to lust, when others were free and holy in Christ.There was a small garden attached to the house where we lodged. . . . I now found myself driven by the tumult in my breast to take refuge in this garden, where no one could interrupt that fierce struggle in which I was my own contestant. . . . I was beside myself with madness that would bring me sanity. I was dying a death that would bring me life. . . . I was frantic, overcome by violent anger with myself for not accepting your will and entering into your covenant. . . . I tore my hair and hammered my forehead with my fists; I locked my fingers and hugged my knees.
I flung myself down beneath a fig tree and gave way to the tears which now streamed from my eyes. . . . In my misery I kept crying, “How long shall I go on saying ‘tomorrow, tomorrow’? Why not now? Why not make an end of my ugly sins at this moment?” (Confessions, 177)
In the midst of his weeping, Augustine heard the voice of a child sing, “Take it and read. Take it and read.”
At this I looked up, thinking hard whether there was any kind of game in which children used to chant words like these, but I could not remember ever hearing them before. I stemmed my flood of tears and stood up, telling myself that this could only be a divine command to open my book of Scripture and read the first passage on which my eyes should fall.
So Augustine grabbed his book of Paul’s letters, flipped open its pages, and rested his eyes on Romans 13:13–14: “Not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
“I had no wish to read more and no need to do so,” he wrote. “For in an instant, as I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled”
- Keeping the Word of God is one of the primary fruits/proofs of being a follower of God: Revelation 22: 8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
1 John 2:3-6 “This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: 6 The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.“
- The Word is a key to intimacy and relationship with Jesus and the Father. John 14:23 23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.24 The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.”
7. The Word of God causes Faith to come to us. Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
- The Word is a key to being mighty in prayer and fruitful as a Christian: “7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” John 15
9. Holding on to the Word of God firmly is the key to persevering 1 Corinthians 15 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
10. It is an offensive weapon in spiritual warfare: Ephesians 6 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
B. Revelation 1: 12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. (3 x in Scripture, The Word of God=Sword) His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.