Summary: Sermon series on 1 John
Series: 1 John
Passage: 1 John 5:13-17
Title: Three of God’s Responses to Prayer
INTRODUCTION: A tale is told about a small town that had historically been "dry". One day a local businessman decided to build a tavern in the middle of town. A group of Christians from a local church were concerned and planned an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene. It just so happened that shortly thereafter lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground. The owner of the bar sued the church, claiming that the prayers of the congregation were responsible, but the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they were not responsible. The presiding judge, after his initial review of the case, stated "no matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not." (J.K. Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 129.)
It has been said that God answers prayer in three ways.
1. He says “yes” and you get exactly what you prayed for.
2. He says “no” and you’re left wondering why God would abandon you in your time of need.
3. He says “wait” leaving you wonder about the date in the future He will say “yes”.
With that said, we often misunderstand how communication with God actually works. The person in prayer often deems God’s answer based on his or her own predetermined thought instead of getting to understand the reason in which God answered the request.
Therefore, it is more proper to evaluate the answer instead of the solution when it comes to prayer. When we talk to God we must remember that He responds (1) according to His will, (2) in His own time, (3) in relationship to our faith, because ultimately, through everything, He is good.
SCRIPTURE: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.” 1 John 5:13-16
TITLE: Three of God’s Responses to Prayer (1 John 5:13-16)
POINT #1: God Responds to Prayers According to His Will (1 John 5:13)
• Explanation: John says “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13) The key to the verse is to understand the statement “that you may know”. John has already written about the testimony from God, assuring us that despite anything the antichrists have said we indeed possess eternal life. Therefore, the assurance of our salvation points us to understand that what happens to us rests on God’s promises (according to His perfect will). If we ask of God but don’t receive, we must still understand all things happen in His will.
o Example: Jesus personal example of prayer:
• Pleading - Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
• Participating - Jesus told us to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
• Jesus pleads and then participates. We ask (plead) and then responded to God’s will. Can this cup be passed? No? Then let your will be done.
o NOTE: The more mature we grow in Christ, the more we will realize how our prayers and petitions line up with God’s will.
• Illustration: When my daughter asks her Daddy for something, I can see that it is in my power to provide properly for her request. My response may or may not make sense but regardless of her response she must have faith and believe that the greater good is being done in her life (Daddy knows best.). As she matures, she will begin to see these reasoning for the “yes” and the “no” answers and in turn stop asking for things she knows will not work for the ultimate goal. At a proper age she can either choose to continue to follow her father or go her own way. She has a choice to respond according to her Father’s will or go on her own path.
• Application: Either you are in a state where you are pleading with God or moving past the pleading, understanding the answer and now participating in His plan. Maturity in Christ happens when we reach the place where we are willing to accept God's will instead of our own. While our emotions try to convince us there is no possible way we can give in to God’s Will, we must submit to His plan instead of our own because God is trustworthy. We must have faith that God’s has our best interests at heart. He is doing what is most beneficial for us, no matter how it appears on the surface.