That We May Sure
1 John 5:13-21
June 14, 2020
Sermon Audio & Video
Three aspects of the confidence/assurance God intends to characterize the lives of believers.
I. Confidence in Our Salvation (verse 13)
- This is the main purpose statement for the whole letter to the church.
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life (verse 13).”
- John provides them with three tests – three ways to validate their Christian faith
- Belief: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
- Obedience: Is there an ongoing desire to obey the Lord and a growing success in your obedience to Christ’s commands?
- Love: Is there an evident love for God and others.
- John gives these three indicators of genuine, authentic faith. These three are woven together throughout this letter. He repeatedly speaks about them, so that the believer can be reassured that their faith is genuine
Why Is Assurance Important?
- Assurance Keeps Us From Legalism
- Legalism often flows from hearts not resting in the assurance that they belong to God.
- Those bound by legalism feel God will accept them on the basis of their performance.
- Those who are confident in their salvation, rest in the finished work of Christ. They obey out of gratitude, not a legalistic mindset.
- Assurance Helps Fend Off the Enemy’s Attacks
- The assured Christian rests in Christ’s atoning work.
- This assurance helps fend off the Enemy’s fiery darts that lead to condemnation, discouragement and despair.
- God wants us to walk in confidence of our salvation.
- Nothing is more important than possessing eternal life! God wants us to be certain!
- He wants us to be certain so that we can enjoy that certainty throughout our lives.
- Condemnation is a powerful reality for some
- We can think that God surely can’t forgive my sins
- A lack of confidence can tempt us to disbelieve the promise in Romans 8:1, which reminds us
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).”
- God wants us to be assured of eternal life.
- Though the enemy would want to sift us through discouragement and condemnation, God intends for you and I to bask in the joy — we belong to God!
II. Confidence in Prayer (verses 14-15)
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him (verse 14-15).”
- God loves to hear you pray! God loves to answer our prayers! God is eager for you to have a joyful, expectant confidence in Him when we pray
- Prayer is communion with God. What blessed communion it is! We talk with God. We pour out our heart to God. We seek His wisdom. We ask Him for requests. We humbly submit to His will.
- There is an element of mystery in prayer. God invites us to pray bold, faith-filled, expectant prayers (Matthew 7:7). Yet when God doesn’t answer our prayers in exactly the way we had hoped, we seek to trust His perfect goodness and rest in His sovereign wisdom. Our heavenly Father knows what’s best and will always act in accord with His perfect will.
III. Confidence in Christ’s Protection (verses 16-17)
“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life – to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death (verses 16-17).”
- If a person persists in their unbelief their whole life, if they refuse to believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for sin, if they persist in unrepentant sin – the outcome of that unbelief is spiritual ruin.
- The outcome is spiritual death – final separation from God.
- Sin that does not lead to death is sin that has been pardoned, sin that has been graciously forgiven and won’t be counted against us.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).”
- Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are protected from death!
- Though a genuine Christian may struggle with sin from time to time, may lapse in unbelief or disobedience or hard-heartedness at times
- But the mark of a true Christian is that they won’t stay there – they will turn away and repent of those things
- So we rejoice in the protection of Christ, of the assurance that our sins are covered by His blood!
- God eagerly desires that we have confidence – assurance – in Him.
“Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, o what a foretaste of glory divine, heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood”
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 John 5:13-21. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- What is assurance of salvation? Why does it matter?
- How would you seek to counsel and care for the person who is faithfully following Christ, yet frequently struggles with condemnation and a lack of assurance of salvation?
- Consider the situation where a person professes faith, yet they show little to no evidence of following Christ in their lives. They come to you and say “I lack assurance. I am not sure I am a Christian.” How would you see to counsel and care for them?
- What are some biblical prayers we can pray with certainty, knowing that we are praying in keeping with the will of God (Note: consider the Lord’s prayer, or prayers in the Psalms)?
- Beyond what scripture itself reveals, we do not know God’s sovereign will. What does it mean, what does it look like to be a person who both (A) prays bold, expectant prayers of faith and simultaneously (B) rests in God’s sovereignty when answers to prayers are either delayed or aren’t answered in the way you had hoped?
- What bold prayers of faith is God calling you to pray today?
- In what ways are you needing to rest in God’s sovereignty right now in the midst of prayers that God hasn’t seemed to answer yet?
- Consider taking time to pray bold prayers of faith while also expressing confidence and trust in God’s sovereign care.