Summary: Where do we place our confidence? In the Lord Jesus Christ.
Open your bibles with me to the book of Psalms, chapter 18.
What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?
Let’s together read what that verse says: (NIV) Psalms 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than to trust in man.”
I think the NKJV translates this verse more accurately when it says: Psalms 118:8, “It is better to trust in the LORD, Than to put confidence in man. “
594 chapters lead up to this spiritual truth, and then, 594 chapters reinforce this spiritual truth; Where do I place my confidence? My spouse? My pastor? My best friend? No...I place my confidence in the Lord. Do I place my confidence in my accomplishments, my education, my wits, or my problem solving abilities? No...I place my confidence in the Lord. Do I place my confidence in my cash flow, my health insurance, or my brand new four wheel drive truck? Of course not. Is there any person on this planet, is there any object in this whole world, is there and ideal, concept or philosophy, that I place my confidence in? No. Of all the aforementioned, only one will NOT fail us, that is, confidence in the Lord.
What is this confidence in the Lord? John gives us some insight into this in our Scripture today from 1 John 5:13-21. Here in these few short verses, John jam packs practical truth concerning our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; John teaches us about confidence in the Lord. The Apostle John wraps up his letter of 1 John by encouraging us to understand, encouraging us to grab a hold of the fact that behind everything we see and behind everything that we do, the Holy Spirit is there backing us up.
Look, verse 13, right up front here, John reminds us why he wrote this letter. What does he say there in verse 13? “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
John is writing specifically to believers here.
What is John assuming is this statement here in verse 13? John assumes that both you and I will have doubts about what? Eternal life. John assumes that just because we believe, just because we have given our lives over to Jesus Christ, John assumes that you and I do not have it all together. John assumes correctly, doesn’t he?
If you have ever had concerns about the afterlife...you’re normal. If you have, at times, worried or wondered if what the bible describes as the afterlife is real, you are not alone - most people have had difficulty relating to the afterlife, we have to die after all to have the experience of the after life don’t we?.
However, all that be said, many Christians do have an absolute confidence in this area.
I have told you before that I have had the privilege to be at the deathbed of quite a few people over the years. After being at so many deaths, one thing has had a very profound impact upon me - Some people struggle and have a great sense of anxiety at the time of their death while other people, other people have absolute and complete peace in their death. I decided years ago what kind of a person I wanted to be at my, inevitable death - I want to be one of those people who are at peace when they die.
I remember the first woman I encountered who had this perfect peace during her death. It was astounding. I had been at a number of bedsides and seen a number of people die, but this woman, she was so, completely different. Yes, Helen was a Christian, but many of the people I had seen die were Christians also. Yet this woman, who was certainly not going to last the hour, had absolutely no concern nor anxiety about her approaching death, let me emphasize - absolutely. Now, Helen could not explain why she had this great peace beyond telling me that she knows, that she knows...she knows Jesus Christ is very real, she had talked with Him as far back as she could remember.
What did this Helen have that so many other people did not? Look right there in verse 13: “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” In the Greek John says, “possess eternal life.” Helen knew that she was not entering into eternal life, Helen had eternal life. It was like it was a tangible item she could hold onto. Hear this: you and I, we who have given our life over to Jesus Christ, we actually carry with us eternal life, by the fact that we posses the Holy Spirit, we concurrently possess eternal life. Do you see how that works? God gives eternal life to us upon our conversion...and remember we are sealed by the Holy Spirit upon our conversion - and so nothing, nothing, can take this way from us. If you are a Christian, you now at this very moment possess eternal life, you literally carry it with you as a possession. At your death your will not enter into eternal life as I mentioned earlier, because you have already entered into eternal life. You are living eternal life as we speak.