I don’t know about you but I was thankful to see the rain this past week and also the blue sky on thanksgiving day....
After two weeks of smoke and bad air quality… it was such a reprieve… to go outside… Thankful that the fires are now contained.
• We are living in interesting times and we really at the beginning of the “Camp Fire” disaster… Over the next weeks and months and year we are going to have to continue to be aware of the great needs that are around us…This definitely is going to be a new season for the Church (capital C) - Season where we are to demonstrate compassion, live out generosity and love unconditionally…
• Over the past several weeks we together as a community have been in the Epistle of John the beloved disciple of Jesus… in this series entitled Radical community .
I personally feel this is a timely message.... John encourages us to live out our Faith in deeds and truth… but this all comes from a deeper place.
• One of the main themes that runs through 1 John is the importance of having Assurance of our Faith, that is knowing with certainty that we are the Children of God…
• Throughout his letter John says things like we Know, you Know, that you may know..
• The reason John wanted them to have assurance of their faith, is that he was preparing the church for difficulties…that lay ahead…
We are living in a world that is becoming more and more uncertain....
The National Geographic just published and released a study this past Friday on Climate change… And they said that we are not waiting for the effects of global warming but we are already being impacted by it..
• The new report states that without "substantial and sustained reductions" in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will hurt people, economies, and resources across the U.S.
• But the report also highlights how its worst impacts can be avoided, by adapting to our warmer world and by working to lessen future changes in Earth's climate.
More than ever we are aware of the changes in our world.. and that can cause some anxiety…
In his book Worry Less, Live More, Robert J. Morgan illustrates the fact that many in society are very conscious of anxiety
He tells of how Amazon keeps track of your highlights.
When e-book owners mark sentences, the online retailer knows and notes it.
• Recently Amazon released a list of the most popular passages in some of its bestselling books, such as The Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series, and Pride and Prejudice.
• Also released, the most highlighted passages in the Bible.
You would expect, America's favorite biblical portion to be John 3:16, Psalm 23, or the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
But, no, it was a less prominent text, but one that's striking a deep cord in today's worried world.
ESVdo not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Isn’t that a great verse… What a promise?
• Paul clearly outlines the answer to anxiety…Is to approach God with Prayers and supplication…When we do so the peace of God which passes ALL UNDERSTANDING will guard our hearts and minds...
• The very thing that we looking for peace of mind….
Is found in prayer!
On the surface we might think that prayer should be the most natural and uncomplicated part of Christian living.
But in practice prayer can be confusing…
We might find ourselves asking - What is prayer?
• Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying?
• How should we pray?
• What should we pray for?
• Can we be sure that God always hears prayer?
• Can we be confident that he will answer it?
• T/s John tells us in Chapter 5, HOW TO APPROACH PRAYER… HOW TO COME TO GOD WITH CONFIDENCE.
• John starts off with a propositional statement --- Which is really the summary of the purpose of the book..
T/s John’s Point for writing is that believers might have assurance of eternal life.. we are talking about full confidence and total trust in everything that God has said about himself.
T/S How do we Approach Prayer?
With Assurance - We have Confidence in the Architect and His Design.
• John is very purposeful in his writing....
He tells us that he is writing to us with intention....
He desires these Christians to know what it means to be a Child of God.
John says he wants them to know that those who believe in the name of the Son of God have Eternal life..
• John says that we have come to know eternal life through believing.
• Now the word belief means to place ones trust in another - quite often it means that we accept something as true… John uses this word as special expression when it comes to salvation “to believe into” - Jesus himself is equated with eternal life… and through believing into Christ we share in Eternal life… and therefore -whoever believes into Christ has eternal life….
• Now, I want us to notice John says something quite specific here.
He writes to those who believe into the NAME OF THE SON OF GOD…
• I will never forget years ago this African Pastor visited our Bible College.
And He preached his whole sermon on Praying the Name of Jesus… He said that he noticed that many Christians don’t use the name of Jesus when they pray.
He said that is why much praying lacked in power… There is power when we invoke the name of Jesus… When you examine scripture you see that this is what Jesus himself taught…
Jesus taught his disciples to Pray in His name.
John records this in the Gospel of John
• When Jesus sent out the 70 Disciples we are told that they returned with joy.
They reported that “Even the demons are Subject to us in your name”
• The demonic world responds to the name of Jesus..
This news excited Jesus… here is the reason…
• It is one thing to have Jesus (singular) casting out demon — dealing with darkness..
• What happens when empower and unleash 70 Disciples into the world or how about 1 Billion Christians in the world who use the name of Jesus…
Jesus response is quite telling -- Jesus said I saw satan fall like lightening from Heaven…
• Jesus also cautioned them not to rejoice only because the demons listen to them but that their names are written in the book of life.
When the apostle Paul was confronted with a demon possessed girl who followed Paul for several days — Repeating the mantra that these men come proclaiming the words of eternal life.
We told that she became a nuisance and finally Paul turned to the girl and said to the the spirit “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her.”
There is power in the name of Jesus…
Origen a theologian in 185AD noted that Early Christians drew courage and strength from the name of Jesus…
• “The name of Jesus heals the afflicted in mind, puts to flight the spirits of darkness, and to the sick is an ever present remedy.”
• There is a connection to believing in Jesus and eternal life..Those who have believed into Christ the Son of God share in His eternal life…
T/S We approach God with Confidence in his name... and we approach him because we have eternal life.
John says that he writes that they MAY KNOW ETERNAL LIFE…
Now eternal life is written in the present tense - eternal life doesn’t begin at the end of your life… Eternal life begins at the moment of regeneration at the point that God spirit indwells a believer…
• Eternal life can be described as Abiding Fellowship with God.. Eternal life is a personal-encounter knowledge of God, leading on to a lifetime of fellowship with him.
ESV3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Eternal life is connected to our fellowship with Christ...
John talks about this relationship in terms of abiding in Christ.
Knowing God means talking to God and listening to God..Confidence of Eternal life is Going to give us confidence in Prayer.
How Does this help us in Prayer?
Let’s take this stool as example… there obviously is a company somewhere that made this stool..
There was a designer who came up with this design.. there are plans are somewhere…maybe in a company computer.. Now, ever week I’m putting my weight on this stool… and I am assuming that it’s going to hold me.. I’m placing my faith in the designer and his design… .. DID I have any input in the design?…
God is the designer.. His plan is a big one… that includes eternal life….
I don’t understand everything that happens in life – … but I have confidence in the designer… and his design.. this is assurance..
John Stott shares this great quote - “Assurance gives a man poise in the midst of a troubled world, though it does not give him cut and dried solutions of life’s problems”
How do we approach God?
T/S First we have assurance in approaching God - Second come to God with our petitions...
T/S How do we Approach Prayer?
With Assurance - We have Confidence in the Architect and His Design.
2. With Faith Believing - We have Confidence that God hears and Answers our Prayer.
This is an interesting text… Some people have interpreted this verse as God kind of giving us a blank Check… All we have to do is fill in the details and our prayers are guaranteed… There is the element of answered prayer that I want to get too… But I first one to make the point that … God anticipates our prayers..
What John is talking about here is really our approach to prayer…
John tells us that.. God anticipates his Children to come to him with their requests… When you look at the word
The word “Ask” means to petition…to request.. it speaks of persistence.,
This word comes up often in the teaching of Jesus.. one example is in
Jesus describes Petitions in three words.
1. Ask - Request - (verb - action) to ask with urgency - lou Nida says even to the point of demanding...
Not sure if my prayers sound like that
2. Seek (verb)- to try and find something - by moving from one place to another place...
When we loose something in our house -- we help each other out...
We go through everywhere we've been... Petition means keep seeking for an answer... listening -- asking.
3. To knock -- this is also a verb- It means to rap with ones knuckles to signal ones presence.