Assuring Our Hearts

I Jn 3:14-23

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.

20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (NKJ)

This message was preached April 7, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at  

 By this

  1. By our love to the brethren v-14
    1. We have went over this time and again but that is because it is the key.
    2. Saying that you love God or leaning the doctrines of Christianity can become a matter of pride, and not humility.
    3. But if you do not love God's children you have betrayed your heart, John says.
    4. If we harbor feelings of hate and contempt for the children of God, John says we are liars in our confession of Jesus Christ.
  2. Following the example of Jesus Christ. V16
    1. Jesus set the supreme example.
    2. Now if you are willing to lay down your life for someone, what would you not be willing to do for them.
    3. If I am willing to lay down my life for my daughter, what good thing that I had in my power to give her would I withhold.
    4. That is why I have problem with Christians who claim to love one another and will fight among themselves over things that a matter of taste or preference.
    5. Christians who claim to love one another fight over the type of music, the times of the service, the color of the carpet, and a hundred other things, just because they must have their own way.
    6. Paul once wrote if eating meat causes a brother to stumble, then I will eat not meat. 1 Cor 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (NKJ)
  3. By how we help those in need. V-17
    1. John says the place where this is worked out is in our dealings with those in need.
    2. My view is that God has given us an opportunity to help those in need to test our dedication.
    3. It tells how greedy we are.
    4. It tells how much we really love the brethren.
  5. By loving in word and deed. V-18
    1. Here John draws the contrast between what we say and what we do.
    2. There is often a great difference between the two.
  6. Keep His commandments. V-22
    1. Believe on Jesus Christ. V-23
    2. Love one another. V-23
  1. We know that we are of the truth
    1. John wants the readers to live a life of assurance.
    2. Many people who base their relationship with God on works have no continuing assurance.
    3. John says there is a way to know.
    4. We are all in part insecure beings.
      1. That is why we buy insurance.
      2. We take all sorts of precautions.
      3. But this is something you can be sure about if you want to.
    5. Consider Abraham Rom 4:20-21 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (NKJ)
    6. Rom 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJ)
    7. 2 Tim 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (NKJ)
    8. Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (NKJ)
  2. And shall assure our hearts
    1. Being sure is a matter of the heart, not the head. V-21
      1. Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (NKJ)
      2. There are those who mock the idea of believing with the heart but there it is.
      3. Our faith is not solely based on things of the heart or on feelings but it is what gives us that assurance that no one can take away.
    2. It is because we now commune with God.
    3. God's Holy Spirit has moved in and that affects the heart, our affections.
      1. Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJ)
      2. Rom 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (NKJ)
      3. Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (NKJ)
      4. 2 Cor 5:5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (NKJ)
      5. I Jn 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. (NKJ)
      6. I Jn 5:10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. (NKJ)
  3. Before Him.
    1. This is the crucial part.
    2. That we cannot have assurance unless it is before Him.
      1. How could you have assurance if you do not come to Him in prayer.
      2. How could you be sure of the condition of your relationship without talking to God.
      3. Jesus said that Men ought always to pray and not to faint. Luke 18:1
      4. The idea is that if you do not pray you will faint.
      5. I think that God designed it that way.
      6. No fellowship with God, no assurance that you are His child.

The key to all this is that our heart will condemn us if we are not where we ought to be. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

If your heart is speaking to you today then take the words of Hebrews 3:15

15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." (NKJ)