Overcome the World in Jesus and as Jesus — First Sunday After Easter — Adult Class
Morning and Evening Readings of Previous Week Leading to Sunday’s Epistle and Gospel
See complete readings in the lectionary. This lesson contains only a tiny portion of the daily readings, in some cases, just a summary statement.
- Ps 2 Trust Him and overcome the world
- OT God will remake the world. Is 61…so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
- NT Something New and wondrous. Luke 24:2-6 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
- Ps 103 God’s Nature & View of Us: 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
- OT Deliverance through water: Exodus 15:4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea…The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.” In him we over come the world — Egypt
- NT A New Deliverance not yet comprehended. John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre…9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
- Ps 30 Mourning will turn to dancing
- OT The Resurrection of all to come. We all have the same hope. Daniel 12:2a “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”
- NT The Resurrection hope expanded: 1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
- Ps 115 The true God contrasted with the world’s idols which with eyes, ears, and mouth can neither see, hear, nor speak. These Gods, the work of our hands, our own schemes and plans cannot help us overcome the world.
- OT Isiah 30 The true God “waits to be gracious,” though he disciplines and directs us.
- NT John 20 Mary waiting at the empty tomb. Christ reveals himself to those who love him and desire him above all else.
- Ps 97, 99 God puts the idols to shame
- OT Micah 7 What other God pardons and delights in mercy like our God.
- NT 1 Tim 6 Trust only in God who offers the only everlasting reality. Flee unrighteousness and lay hold of righteousness.
- Ps 148 “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”
- OT Is 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
- NT John 20 He came among them and showed them his hands and feet.
- Ps “Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song,” We will overcome the world.
- OT Though man cannot raise one man from the dead, God can raise an entire army representing his power to raise all believers. Ezekiel 37 The valley of dry bones. “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves
- NT The central most important event and experience that our lives must revolve around. Phil 3 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body”
- Ps 147 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
- OT Isiah 52 and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
- NT Believing, trusting, and abiding elevated above man’s prideful lust for empiricism. “I won’t believe unless I see.” John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing…31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
- Ps 124:8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Ps 125:1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. Ps 126:3,5 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
- OT Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
- NT Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
- Ps 110: 4b-5 You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
- OT 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
- NT John 21:1,13-14 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, …13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
- Ps 145:18-20 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. 19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
- OT Isaiah 25:7-9 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
- NT Rev 7:9-10 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
- Ps 18:2-3 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
- OT Jeremiah 31:12b-13 and they shall not sorrow any more at all. 13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
- NT John 21:17b, Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep… 19b Follow me. 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
Overcome the World: Comments and Questions for Readings before Sunday:
- What part of God’s nature in Psalm 103 do I have the most trouble accepting or experiencing (noted by some inner disturbance when I read)? Why? What part gives me the greatest joy? Why?
- What part of Egypt might I hold onto if I purposely want to return to it?
- Egypt represents the power of man, the world, of Satan. What is my personal Egypt that needs defeat? Has it been drowned in the sea of baptism but do I still fear or have regard for its phantom?
- How might I be tempted to use the power of this world to accomplish what I think are God’s purposes? What examples can I think of where the power, metrics, systems of this world are given a religious glaze? In general? In my life?
- How do I hinder God’s deliverance from a circumstance by thinking I need to understand how he is going to do it?
- If the open tomb and relationship with Jesus is our hope to overcome the world, what did our hope in overcoming look like before we believed in Jesus? What does it look like for most of the world?
- How is trusting and believing in Jesus more powerful for living daily life than the world’s empiricism (what I can see and touch) represented by Thomas?
- How can I better live today no matter how difficult if I meditate upon my coming deliverance and the glory I will share with Jesus?
“Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.”
— Oswald Chambers
“If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish—His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (6: 49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.”
— Oswald Chambers
Exercise: write out your personal testimony from when you came to know Jesus as Friend and Lord. Primarily for your consideration but perhaps also so you will have it articulated for when it is needed to share with someone else.
Overcome the World: The Epistle
1 John 5:4-12 KJV – 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:4-12 ESV – 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Commentary (from Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, IVP):
Overcoming Not by Our Own Efforts verse 5:4 Bede, On 1 John The commandments of God are not burdensome. All those who are bound to keep them with true devotion, despite the adversities of this world, regard its temptations with equanimity, even to the point of looking forward to death, because it is the gateway to the heavenly country. An lest anyone should think that we can somehow achieve all this by our own efforts. John adds that the substance of our victory is our faith, not our works.
Who Overcomes? verse 5 Bede, On 1 John The person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world by adding works worthy of that faith to it. If you think that faith in his divinity and a profession of that faith are enough by themselves, read on!
One Who Believes in Jesus verse 5:5 Oecumenius, Commentary on 1 John It is not faith in the abstract that overcomes the world. It must be faith in Jesus Christ, as John makes plain.
By Water and Blood. verse 5:6 Oecumenius, Commentary on 1 John Why did Jesus come? To give us new birth and to make us children of God How are we born? Through water and blood. The Jesus who came gives us new birth by water and by blood The water stands for his baptism, when Jesus was revealed as the Son of God. The blood, of course, stands for his crucifixion, when he prayed that eat Father would glorify him and voice answered from heaven: “I have glorified and and I will glorify.”
The Three Witnesses Agree verse 5:8 Augustine, Sermons 5.3 What was it that flowed from Jesus’ side if not the sacraments which believers receive? The Spirit, the blood, and the water — the Spirit which he gave up, the blood and water which flowed from his side. The church is signified as being born from this blood and water.
The Witnesses Distinct yet not Separated verse 5:8 Leo the Great , Letters 28 This means the Spirit of sanctification, the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism, which three are one and remain distinct, and none of them is separated from union of the others. This is the faith by which the church lives and moves.
The Witness of Men verse 5:9 Hilary of Arles, Introductory Commentary on 1 John The witness of men refers to the testimony of people like Moses and the prophets, who were all men of God.
The Witness of God verse 5:9 Bede, On 1 John There many great testimonies to the Son of God, for example: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,” and “The Lord said to me, You are my Son.” This testimony is great and true and worthy to be received by everyone., but the testimony of God to his beloved Son is much greater still. For the Father himself spoke form heaven, saying: “ Your are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Does Unbelief Make God a Liar? verse 5:10 Hilary of Arles, Introductory Commentary on 1 John God can never turn himself into a liar, because he is the essence of truth. But an unbelieving man is a liar, because he does not believe in the truth of God.
Life Only in Christ. Verse 5:12 Augustine, Against Julian 6.9.27 Here John testifies that no one has life unless he has Christ.
The Son is Our Life. Verse 5:12 Bede, On 1 John John does not simply say that there is life in the Son; he says that the Son is life itself. The Son in his turn gloried the Father by saying: “Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has given the Son also life in himself. He goes on to show how this life common to both Father and Son, when says: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Comments and Questions:
- Which comes first: action or belief? Is not action an outward expression of belief?
- “Belief is not the result of an intellectual act, but the result of an act of my will whereby I deliberately commit myself. But will I commit, placing myself completely and absolutely on God, and be willing to act solely on what He says? If I will, I will find that I am grounded on reality as certain as God’s throne.” Oswald Chambers
- When you ask people how to overcome: bad habits, vices, etc., what are some common responses?
- On those occasions when we don’t overcome the world, why do we fail? Consider the question in the context of these three passages:
- John 15:4-5 KJV – 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
- Galatians 3:3 KJV – 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- What is the relationship of prayer to belief? Abiding?
- What does the water, blood and Spirit mean?
- Why does one choose not to believe? Can one find truth without God?
- Why can one not have life without God? If I claim that I don’t believe, what do I have?
John 20:19-24 KJV – 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
John 20:19-24 ESV – 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
Jesus Does not Delay verse 20:19 Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of John It was likely that when the disciples heard these things from Mary they would either not believe the woman — or if the did believe her, they would be sad that he had not considered them worthy of such a vision even thought he promised to meet them in Galilee.
The State of Our Resurrected Bodies verse 29:19,20 Augustine, Letter 95.7 But since you have repeatedly asked me what I thought about the resurrection of bodies and the future functions of the members in that incorruptibility and immortality, listen briefly to what could with the Lord’s help be further discussed. We must hold most firmly that pain on which the statement of the holy Scripture is truthful and clear, namely, that these visible and earthly bodies that are now called natural will be spiritual in the resurrection of the faithful and righteous. But I do not know how the character of a spiritual body, unknown as it is to us, can be either comprehended or taught. Certainly there will be no corruption in them, and for this reason they will not then need this corruptible food that they now need.
They will, nonetheless, be able to take and really consume such food, not out of need. Otherwise, the Lord would not have taken food after his resurrection. When he appeared with all the members of his body and used their functions, he also displayed the places of his wounds. I have always taken these as cards, not as actual wounds, and saw them as the result of his power, not of some necessity. He revealed the ease of this power, especially when he either showed himself in another form or appeared as his real self to the disciples gathered in the house when the doors were closed.
Resurrection Was One More Miracle verse 29:20 Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 175.2 You asked me and say, If he entered through closed doors, where is the bulk of his body? And I reply, If he walked on the sea, where was the weight of his body? But he [walked on the sea] as the Lord. Did he, then, because arose, cease to be the Lord? What about the fact that he also made Peter walk upon the sea? What divinity could do in the one, faith fulfilled in the other. Christ was able to do it, and Peter could because Christ willed it. Therefore, when you begin to examine the reasonableness of miracles by you human senses, fear that you lose your faith. Do you not know that northing is impossible for God? So when anyone tells you, If he entered through closed doors there was not body, answer him on the contrary, No if he was touched there was body, and if he ate there was a body.
Comments and Questions:
With what power do we overcome the world?
Why do we sometimes revert to what we understand?
How is Jesus being among us and with us important to us overcoming the world?
When can we be glad on seeing the Lord?
St. Bede the Venerable, Bede (born 672/673, traditionally Monkton in Jarrow, Northumbria [England]—died May 25, 735. During his lifetime and throughout the Middle Ages, Bede’s reputation was based mainly on his scriptural commentaries, copies of which found their way to many of the monastic libraries of western Europe. The method of dating events from the time of the incarnation, or Christ’s birth—i.e., AD (anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”)—came into general use through the popularity of the Historia ecclesiastica and the two works on chronology. Bede’s influence was perpetuated at home through the school founded at York by his pupil Archbishop Egbert of York and was transmitted to the rest of Europe by Alcuin, who studied there before becoming master of Charlemagne’s palace school at Aachen. From Britannica
Oecumenius, a Byzantine ecclesiastical writer of the 10th century, of whose personal history nothing is known except that he was bishop of Triceca, in Thessaly, and wrote Greek commentaries on various parts of the Gospel. From McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia
St. Augustine, also called Saint Augustine of Hippo, original Latin name Aurelius Augustinus, (born November 13, 354, Tagaste, Numidia [now Souk Ahras, Algeria]—died August 28, 430, Hippo Regius [now Annaba, Algeria]; feast day August 28), bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430, one of the Latin Fathers of the Church and perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul. Augustine’s adaptation of classical thought to Christian teaching created a theological system of great power and lasting influence. His numerous written works, the most important of which are Confessions (c. 400) and The City of God (c. 413–426), shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought. From Britannica
Saint Leo I, byname Leo The Great, (born 4th century, Tuscany?—died Nov. 10, 461, Rome, pope from 440 to 461. His pontificate—which saw the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West and the formation in the East of theological differences that were to split Christendom—was devoted to safeguarding orthodoxy and to securing the unity of the Western church under papal supremacy. Consecrated on Sept. 29, 440, as successor to St. Sixtus III, Leo, one of the few popes termed great, immediately worked to suppress heresy, which he regarded as the cause of corruption and disunity. Yet his most significant theological achievement was not his negative suppression of heresy but his positive formulation of orthodoxy. From Britannica
Hilary of Arles, Latin Hilarius, (born 401, probably northern Gaul—died May 5, 449, Arles; fGallo-Roman bishop of Arles who is often regarded as providing the occasion for extending papal authority in Gaul. While young, Hilary entered the Abbey of Lérins that was presided over by his kinsman Honoratus, who later became bishop of Arles. In 429 Hilary succeeded Honoratus as bishop and vigorously promoted reforms through several councils, From Britannica
St. John Chrysostom, (born 347 CE, Antioch, Syria—died September 14, 407, Comana, Helenopontus; early Church Father, biblical interpreter, and archbishop of Constantinople. The zeal and clarity of his preaching, which appealed especially to the common people, earned him the Greek surname meaning “golden-mouthed.” His tenure as archbishop was stormy, and he died in exile. His relics were brought back to Constantinople about 438, and he was later declared a doctor (teacher) of the church. From Britannica
Saint Caesarius of Arles, (born c. 470, in the region of Chalon-sur-Saône, Gaul [France]—died 542, Arles; leading prelate of Gaul and a celebrated preacher whose opposition to the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism (q.v.) was one of the chief influences on its decline in the 6th century. From Brittanica