The Greatest of All Time – 1 John 4

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, ESV).

In a world with ever-changing vocabularies being generated on social media with every meme, rap song, or YouTube video, it’s difficult to keep up with the latest slang.

But, there’s a recent idiom that has relevance for 1 John 4, especially as it relates to describing God Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

G.O.A.T. is an acronym for the Greatest Of All Time. The acronym is usually used to describe an outstanding player in a particular sport.

So, G.O.A.T. is not a title that is easily bestowed. G.O.A.T. is not used to refer to those who are “kind of great” or “approaching greatness.” G.O.A.T. is a term reserved only for the truly GREATEST OF ALL TIME!

1 John 4:4 is one of the most well-known and often-quoted Bible verses among Christians .  We quote it to remind and encourage Christians that they can overcome any difficulty or hardship in their lives.

In fact, I use it on myself in exactly the same way–to remind myself that the God I serve is greater than the devil that creates many of the problems I face in this world.

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Careless Christianity – Romans 16:17-20

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Romans 16:17-18, ESV).

In the Book of Romans the Apostle Paul offered several theological discussions about Christian living. In the previous post in this series from Romans (see Pusillanimous Christianity), we learned that Christians don’t need to be afraid of the future. If your hope is in God and God is in control of your life, then you have nothing to fear because God is in charge of your future.

In Romans 16 Paul continues the lesson about becoming a mature, grown-up Christian. He said that when a Christian is immature and naive, he or she is susceptible to being deceived.

That’s because there are persons that claim to be Christians, who even teach other Christians, but think more about themselves and stroking their own egos than they do about serving Jesus and helping Christians grow spiritually.

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The Devil Amongst Us – Lessons From John 6

last_supper_restored_da_vinci“’Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’” (John 6:68-70, NASB).

This declaration by Jesus spoken at the end of a lengthy John Chapter 6 may, at first, seem ambiguous. But, given the events of this chapter, Jesus’ response to Peter’s question is quite revealing. So, let’s do a quick recap of John 6 to see why Jesus would tell Peter that He chose a devil to be one of His disciples.

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Power in the Blood – Revelation 12:10-11

BloodyJesusOnCross“For the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:10-11, ESV).

Some people try to turn the source of evil in the world, Satan, the devil, into a fairy tale. But, the Bible makes it clear that he exists and that he hates those who have been saved by the blood sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. He hates Christians so much that he accuses them before God 24/7.

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The Defectors – 1 Chronicles 12:1-22

armyboots“At that time men came day after day to help David until there was a great army like an army of God.” ( 1 Chronicles 12:1-22, HCSB).

1 Chronicles 12 records the assembling of David’s army during the years that David was in hiding from King Saul.

What’s interesting about these warriors that joined up with David was that they were defectors! They changed loyalties! They transferred their allegiance!

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Enemy Occupied Territory – Exodus 6:5-6

“You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. Therefore, say to the people of Israel: I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment” (Exodus 6:5-6, NLT).

Moses was commissioned by God to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. Before confronting Pharaoh, Moses and his brother Aaron met with the Israelite leaders and rallied them with the hope that God would rescue them from Egyptian slavery, as stated in these verses.

When Moses and Aaron demanded in God’s name that Pharaoh release the Israelites, Pharaoh considered their demands an affront to his own sovereignty and reacted by increasing the Israelites’ workloads to an overwhelming level.

The more Moses demanded the release of the Israelites, the tougher Pharaoh made their lives.

This defining moment in the history of Israel is a classic case of the adversity one may encounter individually and collectively when trying to live faithfully for God.

When we are trying to live for God and obey Him, we should not be surprised or dismayed when we are confronted by hardships and adversities.

Because we live in enemy-occupied territory!

There is a dark power in the universe, Satan the devil, who was created by God but rebelled against Him.

And, Satan enticed humanity to commit the same sin (rebellion) he did. When humanity joined Satan in his rebellion against God, we became natural born citizens of Satan’s domain.

Since this dark power was originally created by God, his insurrection does not even constitute a war between equal or independent powers. It is more like a civil war—an uprising of a subversive political faction trying to overthrow a legitimate government.

And the main issue in this conflict is not an individual’s personal sins, though one’s sins may be many or few.

The real issue in this cosmic conflict is where your allegiance is—you are either a part of the rebellion or a citizen of God’s Kingdom (Colossians 1:12-13).

Satan and his cohorts continuously attempt to thwart the plans and purposes of God’s Kingdom that are being carried out by God’s people. And, Satan does not give up any ground without a fight!

But remember that God works best when all seems lost, when there’s no hope, when failure is inevitable, when it seems impossible to succeed!

So, we must stand firm in our faith when Satan causes adversity to attempt to deter us from obeying God.

We know that God will eventually rescue us and secure the final victory in our behalf.

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, NLT