“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4
I was a 20-year-old college sophomore and still 15 months shy of receiving a call into the ministry when our church selected me as “pastor” for the annual Youth Week. Basically, that meant I was to preach a sermon that Sunday night. Yikes. That was excitingly scary.
The text was this verse. I’ve never forgotten it, primarily because I never quite got the significance of its meaning. It sounded wonderful and encouraging, even motivating. But what little I was able to glean from its riches is thankfully gone and erased from the minds and memories of those present that night in the Spring of 1960.
I love the promise. “Greater is He who is in you than the one in the world.”
The Lord is with you, He is in you, and He is for you. Scripture declares each one in no uncertain terms.. Need some verses for those?
–He is with us. This truth is found in a dozen places in the Old Testament, chiefly where the Lord is dealing with someone’s doubts and hesitations.
–He is in us. Colossians 1:27 is the best statement of this. Also, see Romans 8:9-10 and Ephesians 3:17.
–He is for us. Romans 8:31 says “If God be for us who can be against us?” but the strong message of that chapter is that God is indeed for us. And therefore, verse 1, there is “therefore now no condemnation.” The entire message of Scripture says God is for us. See Mark 1:41 where Jesus says “I am willing” to the leper. That sums it all up.
And because the Lord is greater than any opposition, any opponent, any obstacle you may encounter, it should make a great difference n our lives. What kind of difference? .
So what? What are the consequences of believing this?
That’s the question before us. What difference does it make–what difference should it make–to know that He is in us and is greater than all? That He is in us, with us, for us!
One. We will not fear. How foolish to fear other people, unknown circumstances, need and want, or illness and disease. Or death? “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
Two. We will not worry. To worry is to fear that our Lord will not be enough, that His supply will be insufficient, that His word can be broken. We are not adequate for these things, that is true, says 2 Corinthians 3:5. But our adequacy, our sufficiency is of Christ. Therefore, we will be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).
Three. We will not put our trust in man. Some will trust in chariots and some in horses, some will trust in armaments and nuclear arsenals, some will trust in peace treaties and the United Nations, but we will make our boast in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).
Four. We will not be overly impressed by the world, whether it seems friendly or antagonistic. The spies who returned from checking out Canaan were too impressed by what they saw–the standing armies, the walled cities, the giants. The other side of that coin is they saw how little they were in their own eyes–like grasshoppers. (Numbers 13)
Five. We will rejoice in the Lord and celebrate our victories in advance. We recall how the army of Jehoshaphat sent the singers and musicians out in advance of the armies to send a message to the enemy! (2 Chronicles 20:21ff). When we give thanks to the Lord before the victory (see John 11:41), we honor the Lord and show our faith.
There are five of the probably one hundred consequences.
We will live differently, on a higher plane, not weighted down by fear and anxieties when we put our trust in the God who made Heaven and the earth.
Let us live in such a way that no one doubts when we make our claim that “our God is greater than yours!”