A Fervent Finale
(I John 5:13-20)
1. A pastor was trying to teach a children’s class about how to be saved.
2.”If I sold everything I have and gave it to the church, would I go to heaven?”
The children answered, “No.”
The pastor said, “Very good. That’s right. And if I worked hard at keeping the 10 commandments, would that get me into heaven?”
The kids answered, “No.”
The pastor said, “Very good. That’s right. And if I was baptized, would that get me to heaven?”
The kids once again answered, “No.”
The pastor replied, “Very good. If I repented of my sins and believed Jesus died for my sins and asked Him to save me, would I go to heaven?”
The kids, to the pastor’s surprise, answered, “No.”
“No?” questioned the disappointed pastor. “Then what would I have to do to go to heaven?”
The kids answered, “Die!”
3. Many of us have known the Lord for years, and we know heaven in our home. But we want to live for him and end well, too.
4. John was no doubt concerned about ending his letter well.
Main Idea: John wants to leave us with certainty and clarity about what we believe and in Whose hands we rest.
I. Assurance of ETERNAL Life (13)
Verses 13 can be considered the purpose statement of this letter.
A. “These things” refers to all that has come BEFORE in this letter.
B. We can KNOW that we have eternal life by BELIEVING in Jesus.
Four people—a pilot, a professor, a pastor, and a hiker—were flying in a small plane when
the engines died. The pilot said, “There are only three parachutes. Since this is my plane, I’m taking one of them.” He put it on and jumped out. The professor said, “I’m brilliant and the world needs me, so I’m taking a parachute,” and he jumped out.
Then the pastor told the hiker, “I don’t want to be selfish, so you take the last parachute.” The hiker replied, “There are still two left, so we can each have one. The professor jumped out with my backpack instead of the parachute!” Though the professor thought he would land safely, his assurance was based on faulty thinking.
Some people have an assurance of salvation based on faulty thinking. They believe that church attendance, baptism, or just being good will gain them approval from God. (Source: Our Daily Bread)
C. We know we have TRULY believed because of a changed life.
1. If God wants the genuine believer to have assurance, the opposite is true.
2. If our lives show no sign of regeneration, we should doubt our salvation.
3. Our changed life doesn’t save us; we are saved by faith; a changed life is the evidence that our faith is genuine.
II. Assurance that God HEARS and Answers Our Prayers (14-17)
A. God hearing us means that He ENTERTAINS our requests (14).
Some folks struggle with attention deficit while others have their minds on something else. You talk to them, but you can tell that they are not really listening. Not so with God.
B. Prayer and requests are not without CONDITIONS (15).
1. According to God’s WILL
• I don’t appreciate it when people assume I enjoy certain things that they enjoy. It might be a style of music (country, rock, etc.) or things I do in my spare time. I appreciate when people inquire first before presuming, and I try to catch myself because I can presume too.
• We assume what we think is God’s will. We often do not know. We should not presume that God wants us healthy or wealthy, but He does want us wise.
• One child prays for rain so she doesn’t have to go to her brother’s baseball game. Her brother prays for sun so he can play a good game. This creates a dilemma.
• Jesus exemplified praying within God’s will in Gethsemane.
• We ask, but leave matters in God’s hands.
2. We must be living OBEDIENTLY (I John 3:22 reads: “…and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”)
C. An example of praying in God’s will: discerning SINS (16-18)
1. God wants us to pray for erring BROTHERS.
2. We are not required to pray for APOSTATES (but not forbidden).
III. Assurance that We know the TRUTH (18-21)
A. We know that one genuinely born-again CANNOT commit apostacy (18).
Christian Standard Bible, “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin…”
1. God protects the genuine believer.
2. The devil cannot rob the genuine believer of eternal life.
3. Judas Iscariot was insincere from the beginning (treasurer).
B. We know which of the two KINGDOMS we belong to (19).
1. We are from God.
2. The culture (world) is under Satan’s power.
“In Japan, they have learned how to grow square watermelons. They do this because they fit in one's refrigerator better and don't roll around. When the melon starts to grow, they place it into a square mold, and the melon conforms to the shape of the mold.
The moment a person comes into this world, they are put into the world's "square mold." But when one receives Christ as Savior, he is taken out of that mold and set free to be what he was intended to be ...” [David Mcfadden, Sermon Central]
C. We know GENUINE spiritual understanding & eternal life come only through Jesus (20).
“The Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez…The canal offers watercraft a more direct route between the North Atlantic and northern Indian Oceans via the Mediterranean and Red Seas, thus avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian Oceans and thereby reducing the journey distance from the Arabian Sea to…London by approximately… 5,500 miles…”
Jesus connects us directly to God, but, unlike the Suez canal, there is not second, long route to the Father. Jesus is it.
D. We know the battle to avoid IDOLS is perennial.
1. Literal idols have been and continue to be a SNARE.
• Christians pressured to worship an idol of emperor or suffer consequences
• Idolatry associated with holidays and family events
2. Less-literal idols – God replacements – are a struggle for EACH of us.
• Anything we enjoy can be an idol
• Anything we are compulsive about can be an idol
• Most of us probably do not struggle with literal idols, although some may; but all of us struggle with less-literal idols.