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Confidence in Our Salvation 1John 5c

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1 John 5:14-21

Stephen Caswell © 2001


Last week we saw how that personal faith in Jesus Christ assures us of eternal life. The moment we believe we can be confident we have salvation. We are on our way to heaven. But what about the here and now? Is Christianity just pie in the sky for when you die? Or is it relevant today also? As we go through the struggles of life will God help us along the way? Will He assure us we are on the right track? Can we have confidence in our salvation? Man has a deep desire for certainty, and he will even dabble in the occult in his effort to find out something for sure. Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin wrote those words in 1789. Of course, a man like Franklin knew that many other things are also certain.

The Christian also knows that there are many certainties. Of spiritual truth, Christians are not afraid to say, we know! In fact, the word know occurs 39 times in John’s letter, 8 times in this chapter. The life that is real is built on the divine certainties that are found in Jesus Christ. The world may accuse the Christian of being proud and dogmatic, but this does not keep him from saying, I know! In these closing verses of John’s letter we find three Christian certainties on which we can build our lives with confidence. Every Christian should know these three things in their life. To Know God Hears Our Prayers, To Know We Are God's Children, To Know God Personally. Christianity is not just pie in the sky for when you die. It's also steak on your plate while you wait.

Firstly,     To Know God Hears Our Prayers

a. Pray For God's Will

1 John 5:14-15: Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

It is one thing to know that Jesus is God and that we are God’s children; but what about the needs and problems of daily life? Jesus helped people when He was here on earth; does He still help them? We know that earthly fathers take care of their children; how does the Heavenly Father respond when His children call on Him?


Firstly, believers have confidence approaching God in prayer. We know that God hears our prayers because we want to do God's will. Since God is omniscient He hears all prayers. But God hears believers prayers favorably because we ask according to His will. He will always grant that kind of request. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray He told them to pray that God's will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. The unsaved person doesn't ask for the Father's will. He prays selfishly. Robert Law said: Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth. George Mueller wrote: Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness.

There are times when we can only pray, Not my will but Thine be done, because we simply do not know God’s will in a matter. But usually, we can determine God’s will by reading His Word, listening to His Spirit, and discerning our circumstances. Unconfessed sin is always an obstacle to answered prayer. Psalm 66:18: If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me. We must first confess our sins and grievances if we want God to grant our requests!

Prayer And God's Will

When children first start to color in, they have two problems. First, they choose colors that are inappropriate. Secondly, once the colors are chosen, they have a difficult time staying within the boundary lines. As they mature and keep on coloring, they learn to keep within the guidelines and to choose the appropriate colors. This results in great looking pictures and increased confidence in their artistic endeavors. As children of God, our prayer life resembles a child's coloring in. At first, we don't know what to pray for nor do our prayers stay within the guidelines of His will. As we mature and continue praying, though, we begin to pray for the right things and stay within the His will. This gives us confidence in our prayer life.  

b. Pray For God's Wayward Children

1 John 5:16-17: If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

Our prayers should include the needs of others. God wants us to pray for one another. Since we're all part of one family we should be concerned about each other's needs. An important way that we can help each other in the Christian life is prayer. This is especially true of struggling saints. Unfortunately, too often we gossip about our sinning brothers instead of praying for them. If we gossip about them we are only making the situation worse. The Devil accuses the brethren day and night before God's throne. When we gossip about our brethren we do the Devil's work. If we love one another we will take the time to pray for a wayward brother. Abraham, Moses, Daniel and Nehemiah all prayed on behalf of their people and God heeded their prayers. This may also involve graciously challenging them about their sin.

c. Don't Pray For Sins Unto Death

Although all sin is offensive to God some sins are more serious than others. When a believer sins God punishes him so that he will repent. If the believer continues in His sin God may take him home early so that he won't bring further shame upon the name of Christ. John talks about this situation here. The words, a sin that does not lead to death, can be easily misunderstood. All sin ultimately leads to death, but the expression that does not lead to death should be understood in the sense, not punished by death. The distinction is between sins for which death is a rapid consequence and sins for which it is not.

The Bible mentions people who died because of their sin. Ananias and Sapphira lied to God about their offering, and they died. Some believers at Corinth died because of the way they had acted at the Lord’s Supper. There are times when God punishes and will not show mercy because the sin is too great. Jeremiah 7:16 says: Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.



Firstly, God's children receive assurance from answered prayers. We can come before God's throne with confidence. Do answered prayers encourage you in your Christian life?

Do you pray for God's will to be done on earth? Do you pray for others? Do you pray for your brethren? When a brother stumbles do you pray that God will deliver them from sin? Or do you gossip about them to others and do the work of the Devil? If we really love our brother we will pray for him!

Secondly, To Know We Are God's Children

a. Sons Kept From Sin

1 John 5:18: We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

Secondly, believers have confidence in overcoming sin. The believer keeps himself from sin. The word keep threw means to observe, hold fast, watch. John has stated this many times throughout his epistle. Now he presents it as grounds for confidence in our faith. Believers have experienced a new birth. Because they have been born again of the Spirit of God they don't practice sin. The word sin ajmartinw is in the present continuous tense. Occasional sins are not here in view, but habitual sins, the practice of sin. A Child of God cannot live a sinful lifestyle, because he has a new nature, he has new desires and appetites and is not interested in sin. The key to overcoming sin is to obey the new nature not the old. Galatians 5:16 says: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. If we obey the new nature we can keep ourselves from sin. But if we obey the old we are overcome by sin.

To Know Two Natures Well

Once the great French preacher Bourdaloue was probing the conscience of Louis XIV, applying to him the words of St. Paul and intending to paraphrase them: For the good which I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do. He began: I find two men in me. …  The King then interrupted the great preacher with the memorable exclamation: Ah, these two men, I know them well!

Satan can't overcome believers because of the Spirit's life within them. The word touch ajptw means to assail, cling to. Satan can't cling to a believer because God is holding him. God's children can find help to overcome sin through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and prayer. 1 John 4:4 says: Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. When we compare our lives with the life of an unsaved person we see God at work in us. This gives us confidence to continue in our faith. Although we may fail at times, God will complete his good work in us.

b. Sinners Kept By Satan

19: We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

Satan’s Sly Spiders

Along the banks of the Amazon River lives a species of large, colorful spiders. When one of these creatures spreads itself out, it looks exactly like the blossom of a brilliant flower. Bees and other insects lighting upon it expect to find honey. Instead, the spider secretes a poison that drugs some of them to sleep and kills others.

Satan snares men like the spiders did to their prey. He lures them in with his temptations that lead to death. The word lies keimai means to recline, to lie down. It describes a mother nursing her baby to sleep in her arms. Satan has the world completely under his control. In fact the world is like a sleeping baby unaware of all that's happening around them. In contrast to a believers victory over sin the rest of the world lies under Satan's control. All of humanity is divided into one of two camps we are either on God's side or we belong to the Devil.


Ephesians 2:1-2: And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. The believer keeps himself from sin whilst Satan keeps the lost in sin. Satan controls the lives of every lost person on planet earth. He is the prince of this world and he rules over his subjects. Consequently, every believer can compare the difference between themself and the world. They live under God's authority not the Devil's. This gives us further confidence that we are God's children.


Secondly, we know that we are God's children because we live differently. Is your lifestyle different to the people around you? Do you keep yourself from sin by obeying the new nature? Since you were been born again has your lifestyle changed? Satan keeps the world in sin. In fact the whole world lies peacefully in his death like grip. Does your lifestyle assure you that you are a child of God? Does it reflect the new nature you have received? It should.

Thirdly,   To Know God Personally


1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.


a. Jesus Christ Is God

How can someone come to know God since Satan holds the whole world under his sway? By believing in Jesus Christ. The first thing a child of God realizes is that Jesus Christ is God. Many people in the world recognize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But few of these appreciate that Jesus is God. They don't really understand the purpose of the incarnation. Jesus came to reveal God to men. Only Jesus gives understanding about God and salvation. John 1:18: No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus came to reveal God to sinful man. John 1:1, 14: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus Christ is called the Word because He has communicated the invisible God to mankind. In Colossians 1:15 Paul calls Christ the image of the invisible God. Jesus said to Philip, he that has seen Me has seen the Father. Yes Jesus Christ is God who alone reveals the Father to us. Jesus said that He was the only way to God the Father. 

Liar, Lunatic Or Lord

C. S. Lewis said this about Jesus Christ: A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said could never be a great moral teacher. He'd either be a lunatic on the level with  a poached egg in your kitchen. Or he'd be a liar far worse than the Devil of hell. The only other choice is that He is who He said He was, the Son of God. No, Jesus Christ cannot be just a good man or great moral teacher. He is either a Liar, a Lunatic or Lord.  Who do you believe Jesus is?

b. Jesus Christ Is The Truth


1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.


Secondly, every child of God recognizes that Jesus is the Truth. We wouldn't believe in Christ if we thought He was lying to us. He was the truth yesterday and He is the Truth today. What's more, He will be the Truth tomorrow. John says that Jesus is true tree times in this one verse. When Jesus was being judged by Pontius Pilate, He told Pilate that He had come into the world to bear witness to the truth. In fact John calls Him the True God and so He is. There are many false gods that have deceived mankind but there is only one True God. Earlier in his epistle, John emphasized that Antichrist is a deceiver. Antichrist leads people astray, but Jesus Christ leads people into the truth. Jesus Christ is that true God and is so closely connected with the Father and the Holy Spirit that they can't be separated. To know One is to know them all. To abide in One is to abide in them All. Yes, Jesus Christ is the Truth and always will be. In fact He is the standard of truth.

Truth Stands The Test Of Time


A man came to his old music teacher and said to him, What's the good news today? The old teacher was silent as he stood up and walked across the room, picked up a hammer and struck a tuning fork. As the note sounded out through the room, he said, that is A. It is A today; it was A five thousand years ago, and it will be A ten thousand years from now. The soprano upstairs sings off key, the tenor across the hall flats on his high notes, and the piano downstairs is out of tune. He struck the note again and said, That is A, my friend, and that's the good news for today. Jesus Christ is the true God and always will be. This is Good News!

c. Jesus Christ Is Eternal Life

Thirdly, every child of God believes that eternal life is found Jesus Christ alone. Most of the world doesn't understand the incarnation. They don't realize that Jesus Christ came to give us life. He came to put God back into man. Ultimately, God's plan of salvation is to bring the life of God to dead men. Without God we are dead in trespasses and sins and there's nothing that we can do about it. John 10:10: The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Jesus Christ came to give eternal life to dead sinners. This is our greatest need. Jesus put these themes together in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Eternal Life In The Bahamas?

According to a tradition current among the natives of Puerto Rico, there was an island of the Bahamas group which had upon it a marvelous fountain, whose waters produced perpetual youth. For this elixir of eternal life, Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish navigator, sought long and hard, yet in vain. However, we know that eternal life is found in Jesus Christ!


d. Jesus Christ Is Real  1 John 5:21: Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Finally, children of God distinguish between dead idols and the True God. John wrote this letter to the Church at Ephesus where idols abounded. The temple of Diana, one of the wonders of the ancient world, was located in Ephesus, and the making and selling of idols was one of the chief occupations of the people there. Surrounded by idolatry, Christians there were under tremendous pressure to conform. So John commands his children not to have anything to do with idols. Believers mustn't compromise their faith in even the slightest way. 

This explains why God warns us against the sin of idolatry. Not only is it a violation of His commandment, but it is a subtle way for Satan to take control of us. When things take God’s place in our lives, we are guilty of idolatry. An idol can be a car, a boat or a house. It can be a job or money. It can even be another person. An idol is something we worship in God's place.  An idol is something that consumes our time and resources so that we can't serve the Lord.

The tragedy of idolatry is that a dead image can do a worshiper no good because it is not genuine. It means we are living for the unreal instead of for the real. Hebrew writers in the Old Testament called idols nothings, vain things, vapors, emptiness. An idol is a lifeless, useless substitute for the real thing. A Christian has turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. Idols are dead, but Christ is the living God. Idols are false, but Christ is the true God. Idols are temporal, but Christ is eternal. This is the secret of the life that is real! So John’s admonition, Keep yourselves from idols, can be paraphrased, Watch out for the imitation and the artificial and be real!



Thirdly, we know that we are God's children because we know God personally. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you believe that He is the one true God? Have you come to Him to receive eternal life? Only Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Do you believe this? Do you receive assurance because you know this? Do you have a personal  relationship with God?  If you don't will you believe in Jesus Christ today?


Is Christianity just pie in the sky for when you die. No we have seen that it's steak on your plate while you wait. Today we have seen three Christian certainties on which we can build our lives with confidence. Every Christian should know these three things in their life. We Know God Hears Our Prayers, We Know We Are God's Children and We Know God Personally. Do you know these certainties in your life? You Can in Jesus Christ!


Benediction  2 Peter 3:17-18:

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