John is very clear about his motives. Eight times in this epistle John says “I write” or “I have written.” For example, in chapter 2 verse 1, he says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” In chapter 5 verse 13, he says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” In our text, four times he says, “I write to you … because” and two more times he says, “I have written to you … because.”
PETER’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE PASSION Translation by Mark E. Hardgrove Text: Mark 14:12 – 16:20 The Early Church Fathers believed that John Mark wrote the Gospel that bears Mark’s name. Papias said that Mark derived his content from Peter, whether from sermons Peter preached, or from conversations that Mark had with Peter. As such, the...
THE FATE OF THE FRUITLESS By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Text: Mark 11, Read vv. 1-11, NKJV 1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you...
MORE ABOUT JESUS By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Mark 6-10, Read 8:27-33, NKJV 27 Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” 28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and...
What do you have faith for? Do you have faith for God to heal a headache? Do you have faith for God to supply the funds you need to pay a bill? Do you have faith for God to provide employment? We talk about having faith and we say we believe, but there will be times when our faith is tested, and this is part of the process by which God works in us to “purify” our faith (1 Pt. 1:6-9), to take us from shallow faith concerned only about our own wants in the moment, to larger concerns that comprehend the implications of eternity in all that we do, or think, or believe. It is through this process that we become mature believers who endure to the end, who remain faithful when the pressure is on, and who learn patience when everything in us is crying for Jesus to do it now (Ja. 1:3).
Jesus became flesh, because until He did the prophesies were unfulfilled, the promises were waiting, the symbols had no meaning, the type had no antitype, and the story had no happy ending. Imagine Cinderella without the Prince showing up to save her from her tormentors, or Sleeping Beauty never to rise again to the kiss of her Prince Charming. Imagine, the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird,” with no Atticus Finch, or Paul Harvey without “the rest of the story.” Without Jesus, there is a gaping hole in the plot of the Old Testament and main character never shows up.
Living the overcomer’s life is not about living a miserable life now and hoping to have a good life someday. It’s about living a victorious life, a triumphant life, an abundant life now, even if it means denying ourselves as we take up our cross daily to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Even if it means we stand against the current of a perverse media-driven culture and refuse to go-along to get-along. We do it gladly, give cheerfully, and live joyfully because we know that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).
It’s not about becoming overcomers, but about living as overcomers, because when we gave our heart to Jesus, we became an overcomer. We overcame the chains of sin. We overcame guilt and condemnation. We overcame death, hell, and the grave. We overcame, because when we put our faith in God’s grace, we tied our destiny to Jesus and our victory is guaranteed through His victory.
Have you ever been promised something, but then the person who promised it was either unable to fulfill the promise, or simply refused to keep their promise? Broken promises often result in broken hearts, broken homes, and broken dreams, leaving people cynical and bitter. But when it comes to God, the Bible tells us in Numbers 23:19, that
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
There are many and precious promises to the believer in the Bible, and we can be sure that if God said it, He will do it. However, of all the promises in the Bible, I don’t think there are any more powerful or profound than those found in the book of Revelation; especially the powerful promises to the overcomers.
Paul tells us that we do not have to be overcome by evil. Notice also that Paul isn’t telling us to learn to tolerate evil. He doesn’t say, “Hang in there till Jesus comes.” What does Paul say? He says “overcome evil”! We can be the victors and not the victims. We can live the overcomer’s life! And then Paul tells us, as Jesus did, how to overcome evil; he says “overcome evil with good.”