Summary: In troubled and uncertian times, 1 John 5 provides us with 5 truths of which we can be certain: our promise, our prayers, our protector, our place, and our Prince!
Truth for Troubled Times
Scott R. Bayles, preacher
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/14/2020
We are living in very uncertain times. Everywhere I turn—in print, on the news, or on social media—everyone is talking about this coronavirus. Fears are rising all around the world. People who have never felt anxious before are suddenly weighed down with worry and are not sure what to do next. Schools are closed, travel is banned events canceled, even churches with more than 250 people have to close their doors. People are stockpiling hand sanitizer and toilet paper. I understand the hand sanitizer, but toilet paper!? People do unpredictable things when they’re motived by fear and uncertainty.
In these uncertain times, the Bible assures us that there are some truths that we can know for certain. The early church was no stranger to plagues, epidemics, and mass hysteria. They experienced their fair share of uncertainty and even panic. So, in 1 John 5, the apostle John directs believers’ attention to five things we can be certain about even in uncertain times—five truths that cannot be denied and will never change. Given the current climate of fear and uncertainty, I thought today would be a good day to focus on the things we can sure of.
If you have a Bible or an app on your phone, feel free to follow along in 1 John 5:13-20. First, John tells us we can be certain about our promise.
• OUR PROMISE
John begins by saying, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 NLT).
As believer in Jesus Christ, we can know that we have eternal life. God has gone on record in His Word as offering eternal life to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. This is God’s promise, and we can count on God’s promises. Listen to just a few of the verses in the Bible that assure us of eternal life: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36); “Truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life” (John 5:24); “Truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (John 6:47); and “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Life is full of let downs and empty promises, but eternal life with Jesus won’t be one of them! How do we know that Jesus knows what he’s talking about? Because he’s been there. Jesus has been to the grave. Numbered among the dead. Heart silent and lungs vacant. Body wrapped and grave sealed. But then the miraculous happened. And the Bible says, “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven” (1 Peter 1:3-4 MSG).
In times of confusion, in times of fear, in times of uncertainty, the first truth of which we can be certain is God’s promise of eternal life. Next, John goes on to tell us that we can also be certain about our prayers.
• OUR PRAYERS
In the next verse John says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV).
The second truth of which we can be sure is that God hears and answers our prayers. Now more than ever, Christians ought to be responding not in panic, but in prayer. We have so much to pray about. We need to pray for the medical leaders. We need to pray for decision makers. We need to pray for governments around the world. We need to pray for the people who are already afflicted by this virus. We need to pray for those who are especially vulnerable—the elderly, those who are already sick, or have immune deficiencies. In uncertain times, it so essential that Christians choose prayer over panic!
And when we pray, we can be certain that God is listening. We know that he hears us. Now, in my experience, I don’t always get what I pray for. Do you? As far as I can tell, there are four different answers that God will give concerning our prayers.
If the request is wrong, God says, “No.”
If the timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, “Go.”
So how do we make sure that everything is right? Well, John answers that for us: “if we ask anything according to His will... we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” Pray in line with God’s will and you can pray with confidence!