Summary: Assurance & certainty of our faith. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: 1 John chapter 5 verses 13-21.
• Mrs Fisher the primary school teacher was at home recovering from surgery;
• She heard the letter box bang,
• Her husband brought the post into her,
• One of the letters was a get well card from her class which 2nd year class which read;
“Dear Mrs Fisher, your class wishes you a speedy recovery by a vote of 15-14”.
The object of John’s letter:
• Is to make sure the Christians were in good spiritual health;
• And to expose and remove those people or doctrines that would cause them harm.
• In our section this morning;
• We are looking at the concluding remarks of this letter.
• The letter is finished.
• It only remains for John to sum up and conclude.
• John’s final summary actually turns into a postscript;
• As John adds new material to his summing up.
• In his postscript;
• John draws to our attention to 4 certainties that the Christian enjoys.
(1). THE CERTAINTY OF ETERNAL LIFE (vs 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”.
“My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God's Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion”.
The whole book of 1 John:
• Centres around the fact of life in the Son of God;
• And that whoever has the Son has life!
• My foot has life because it is part of my body,
• It has no life apart from my body.
• But joined with my body,
• It has the life of the body.
• John reminds his readers that:
• Jesus Christ produces eternal life in us; and he also sustains this life for us.
• Because our ‘eternal life’ is sourced in Jesus Christ and is a gif of God:
• We cannot lose it; for it does not depend on us but on Him.
The great Chinese leader Watchman Nee tells the story;
• Of how a new convert who came to see him in deep distress.
• He said to Watchman Nee:
“No matter how much I pray, no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my Lord. I think I’m losing my salvation.”
Watchman Nee said,
• “Do you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house-trained;
• He never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me.
• Out in the kitchen I have a son, a baby son.
• He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess.
• But who is going to inherit my kingdom?
• Not my dog; but my son who is my heir.
• You are Jesus Christ’s heir because it is for you that He died.”
• We are Christ’s heirs, not through our perfection but by means of His grace.
• And what we have in Christ;
• No-one can take away.
(B). THE CERTAINTY OF ANSWERED PRAYER (vs 14-17):
“And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.
16If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17Every wrong is sin, but not all sin leads to death”.
• These verses repeat the words that John wrote earlier in this letter in;
• Chapter3 verses 21-22.
• Prayer of course is both essential and important to the Christian;
• No-one can do with out it!
• In one region of Africa,
• The first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying.
• In fact, the believers each had their own special place;
• Just outside the village where they went to pray in solitude.
• The villagers reached these “prayer spots”
• By using their own private footpaths through the brush.
• When grass began to grow over one of these trails,
• It was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much.
• Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare,
• A unique custom sprang up.
• When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,”
• He or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!”