Assuring Our Hearts Part 2
1 John 3:18-24
18My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23And 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.
24Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
This message was preached April 14, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com
Last Sunday we considered the major portion of this passage. But we did not get down to the real meat of the passage. Last week we said that assurance in our relationship with God is one based on the heart and not as much on the head. But often our hearts fail us. We give in to times of temptation and struggle with our weaknesses. It is in those times that we loose a measure of our assurance. How do we deal with those times. There is a wide range of answers for that. And many of them come from this one passage. This passage has been variously understood since the early days of the church. We will not solve that question today, but I will give you what I think John is saying, and how it can give us the assurance we were meant to have.
- Before Him - Prayer
- This is an awesome thought.
- Some translations indicate that this is the time of judgement.
- Others think it is speaking of the Lord's return.
- I Jn 3:19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence (NIV)
- I Jn 3:19 It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord, (NLT)
- I rather think it refers to going to God in prayer.
- Very few things confirm our faith as does prayer.
- Prayer is a testimony to what we really believe.
- Jesus said we ought always to pray and not to faint.
- Paul said we ought to pray without ceasing in all things.
- Going to God in prayer is to be in His very presence.
- But the assurance that we have is based on the finished work of Jesus.
- A Guilty Conscience - When Our Hearts Condemn Us
- He says if our heart condemn us.
- The idea is that when we come to Him and in our hearts we know that we have some secret sin our heart will find us guilty.
- David said that if we hide sin in our hearts that the Lord will not hear our prayers.
- We know that and when we come to Him we feel guilty for our sins.
- Now there are some who are overly sensitive.
- God know that we are dust.
- He knows that we cannot be perfect.
- He will not reject us for those things.
- But He still wants us to confess them and forsake them.
- On the other hand there are some who are not sensitive at all.
- I think this is the group John is addressing.
- These make a profession of faith and join the Christian community but they have never been born again.
- These are the ones who make a great profession but do not love in deed and action.
- They can do all the forms and they know all the right answers.
- But to love their Christian brothers an sisters they do not.
- Loving each other enough to die for each other is a supernatural mark of the Christian.
- It is not a natural thing.
- It cannot be faked.
- Prayers can be faked.
- Bible study can be faked.
- Church attendance can be faked.
- But you cannot fake love, it will give you away every time.
- An Omniscient God - God Know Everything About Us
- He is greater than our hearts, John says.
- He knows our sins better than we do our selves.
- We cannot hide anything from Him.
- He knows the thoughts of the hearts.
- He knows our purpose and our motives.
- Now that will either condemn us or set us free.
- It can set us free is although we fail, God looks at our hearts and knows that we are sincere.
- It could also mean that He looks at all our outward works or righteousness but He knows the condition of our hearts.
- Keeping His Commandments
- Keeping the commandments will also keep our heart clear.
- We may not be able to be prefect but there are some things that we can do.
- We may not always resist temptation, but we can resist.
- John does not want us to be overly self-condemned by our failures.
- But he also does not want us to have assurance that we do not have.
John wants these people to know they have eternal life.
But he does not say, just look to the cross.
Looking to the cross is what gives us eternal life, but not what gives us the heart felt assurance. That assurance is for those who keep His commandments.
It is for those who love and believe.
But is also for those who have the witness of the Spirt. But that is next weeks message.