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Summary:

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Thesis: Assurance comes from confessing sin, practicing righteousness, and loving the brothers.

Intro.:

1. Illust. This year Kathy & I will celebrate eleven years of marriage. Having been both married and single, I would choose to be married any day! One of the most miserable periods in my life was when I was single! I never knew where I stood with a girl! I was always in doubt. Things could be fine one day, Jiltsville the next! Had to be concerned about matching clothes, ironed shirts, zits, and bathing regularly. One little mistake and it could be all over. Not now. Secure. I always know where I stand with Kathy.

2. God always wants us to know where we stand with him.

a. He doesn't want us to live in doubt.

b. He doesn't want us to live in constant fear of "blowing it."

c. He wants us to be confident & secure in our salvation, but not lazy.

3. The Apostle John writes to a group of Christians who, for reasons we will not go into this AM, have been made to feel insecure/uncertain.

a. This is what he has to say to them ..... 1 John 5:13.

b. When a Bible writer tells you why he wrote something you know it is important!

1) QUESTION: How can we know we have eternal life? Is it a subjective, mushy feeling, or is there something more concrete to base it on?

2) First John answers that question.

I. WHAT JOHN DOES NOT SAY (You have Eternal life ...)

A. Because after hearing, believing, repenting, and confessing you were baptized (immersed) by a faithful Christian in a faithful church knowing at the time that it was for the ROS and this was done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and these words were specifically said over you by the one who baptized you.

1. John doesn't. Why? Because these things are not important?

2. Because we'd always be looking at what happened in the past and never at what should be happening in the present.

B. Because you faithfully attend every meeting of the Lord's church and you are actively involved in teaching and many other church programs, you attend all the fellowships & you give somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% (give/take 7-8%) and do everything the elders or anyone else asks you to do.

1. John doesn't. Why? Because these things are not important?

2. Because we'd be more concerned with what was happening on the outside rather than what was happening on the inside.

II. WHAT DOES JOHN SAY? (Offers 3 tests--can you pass them?)

A. Are you confessing sin? (1:6-10).

1. Are there really people who say, "I have no sin"?

a. Simply say it!

b. Never met anyone who did--always qualified.

2. Another way is to simply never confess sin!

a. Always speak about sin in your life generally.

b. Engage in a twisted application of James 5:16--"Confess your sins one to another" --> "Confess one another's sins and not your own."

c. If you find it easy to focus on the sins of others and are hesitant, even stubborn about confessing your own--you may

be in trouble!

B. Are you practicing righteousness? (2:4-6)

1. Righteous people do righteous things! (Not complicated idea!)

a. The emphasis we put on grace sometimes devalues "works."

b. Grace & works go together! (cf. 1 Cor. 15:9-10).

2. Doing righteousness does not come naturally and nobody ever does it perfectly ...... that's not the point!

a. THE POINT: One born of God does not remain the same!

b. Read 1 John 3:6-10.

c. Illust. Pig & Sheep were walking down a wet, muddy, slippery road. Both slipped, fell into a muddy ditch. Pig: stayed there. Sheep: Got up, shook herself off, went on her way. When Christians fall, they get back up--they don't just lay there! That's what it means to "walk in the light as he is in the light."

3. Is your life characterized by growth & change or are you the same as you were when you came to Christ?

C. Do you love the brothers? (2:7-11).

1. This is the bottom line (4:20).

2. Love is the hallmark of the Christian faith (John 13:34-35).

a. Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-15.

b. Could it all really be that simple?

3. Illust. There's an apocryphal story about the Apostle John. As a very old man he was carried into a Christian assembly on stretcher. Asked to speak. Silence. "Little children, love one another." (3x) Asked why. "Because it is a command of the Lord and if it be done it is enough."

4. Do you love the people you go to church with? (4:20)

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