“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” 1 John 4:5
Well I must say, this was an interesting verse to write on! 🙂 The best thing I did was to take a look at how it fits into the whole message of 1 John. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to read through the entire book; it’s short but it’s rich in truth! What themes stand out to you in 1 John? What message burden’s John’s heart as he writes this letter? One message I see is a message contrasting the ways of the world with the ways of God.
“They are of the world…” Who is “they”? The false prophets introduced in verse 1. Actually, John talks a lot about false teachings and false prophets that the early church faced. The church has had to tackle many difficult issues throughout history, and it certainly hasn’t slowed down. Even as individuals, you and I are constantly evaluating the messages we receive based on our understanding of truth, and sometimes our understanding changes. This should motivate us to seek out truth, wisdom, and discernment. Most of all, it should motivate us to seek out the One who Himself is truth and wisdom.
What deceptions confront you now? How are you engaging in the fight for truth in this culture? Christian, you have been placed here and now for His Kingdom; will you rise up and equip yourself for such a time as this? God’s soldiers are courageous and strong only because of Him, but there is something else very powerful about them: love. Love is the strongest and most effective weapon we have. For centuries, people have used revenge and self-protection and self-exaltation. Jesus turned the world upside-down when He showed us a new and higher way to live. Actually, it’s the only way true life can be lived: it’s the way of love.
These false prophets are from the world, and who do they communicate with? Naturally, they “speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.” The world feels comfortable with itself and enjoys its own conversation condoning worldly living. But we are not of this world. God does not call us to casually hang out with the world but to intentionally engage them in a way that allows the truth to penetrate this world. This isn’t effectively done with an attitude of pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, or anger. Truth is most effective in love. Maybe that’s because the greatest truth of all is that God is love and that He loves us! Won’t His love compel you to love your neighbor? To love your enemy? People all around you are crying out for truth and love but they don’t know what it looks like. Won’t you offer it to them? “The world listens to them.” How can you gain an honest hearing? They will listen when they sense your love for them. Think about it: you listen to people that you respect.
One last thought: “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.” There’s another verse that I think of here. It’s Luke 6:45:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Of course false prophets “speak as from the world”—they are from the world! How else would they speak? So now let me ask you, who are you from and how do you speak? Christian, you have been born of God and your life originates from Him. Since you have been transformed on the inside, your true life will work its way out in how you live, in what you say, and in what you do. Are your thoughts, words, attitudes, actions, and motivations being transformed by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit? Is His love changing you through-and-through? May the love of Christ flow in and through you, fellow soldier of the cross!