1 John 3:19-24 Five Practical Aims To Strengthen A Believers Confidence Part 1

Last week we looked at 1 John 3:15-18. We saw that a believer is radically changed when the truth of the gospel is received by faith. They become children of God. A believer has eternal life abiding in them and they also have the love of God abiding in them. And where these two things come together in the life of a believer profound things can happen.

Now all of this sounds great! We look at this and we expect that every believer will immediately dogreat exploits and profound achievements for the kingdom of God in this life. We consider the fact that the love of God and the life of God dwells in us and we think that this means that we will never struggle with anything ever again.

And yet, the very next part of the text that we come to today in 1 John 3:19-24is about how a believer can experience assurance and confidence before God. We have the love of God and the life of God in us but we will still have to deal with indwelling sin which often makes us lack assurance and lack confidence to come near to God. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, but we have only begun the process of learning how to rely upon Him and not upon ourselves.

Consider the church in Galatia who struggled with this. They responded well to the gospel initially but when they began to walk out their sanctification they responded in the wrong way and they found themselves in a very dire situation. They abandoned Christ and began to accept a false gospel. Paul says in Galatians 1:6-7, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Then in Galatians 2:17-21Paul says, “But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live, in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

In a similar way, the believers that John is writing too have been thrown into confusion by the false teachers and their deceptive teachings. John has been addressing these teachers and their teachings throughout this letter and will continue to do so. Now he encourages these Christians in practical ways that will keep them abiding in the truth and in ways that will help them to rely upon the truth of God and not be deceived. They have the love of God and the life of God abiding in them but it is best manifested among those who apply the gospel in five different areas of their life.

Let’s read 1 John 3:19-24,

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Our text this morning is about how a believer can have assurance before the Lord. It is a text that gives us instruction as to how we can know that they are enjoying fellowship with the LORD. To do this John gives us five things to consider. We will consider these things over the next two weeks. These five things are:

  1. A confident and assured Christian addresses the issues of the heart (19-21)

  2. A confident and assured Christian prays and sees that God answer (22)

  3. A confident and assured Christian walks by faith in the Son of God (23)

  4. A confident and assured Christian loves the brothers and sisters in Christ (23)

  5. A confident and assured Christian keeps the commandments of God (24)

If a Christian makes these five things the AIM of his life he will reassure his heart and have confidence before God. (1 Cor. 9:26; 2 Cor. 5:9, 13:11; Rom. 14:19; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:4, 3:10) He will discover that he abides in God, and God is in Him; and he will know that God abides in Him by the Spirit that is given to us. None of these five things can be done apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who fulfills our attempts by His power (2 Thess. 1:11)

This morning we will be celebrating communion and this has directed my thoughts concerning this sermon. Here are the two main things that I will focus upon. First, we will consider the arrogance of the sinner and the apprehension of the saint before God. Why is it that a sinner is so confident in their sin and the saint can be so uncertain about the grace that they have received?

Secondly, we will spend some time looking at where John tells us to begin. A saint is to plumb the depths of their soul and heart with the truth of God and the light of God to mortify the sin that dwells there and to witness the grace of God at work. (Psalm 43:3)

Let’s Consider The Arrogance Of The Sinner And The Apprehension Of The Saint

There is a paragraph that is found in the book, Flower’s From A Puritan’s Garden, that I would like to read. The book does not tell who the original author was but the text applies to our topic today. It says,

The story of our lives is all engraved upon the heart, and when God awakens the heart, and when God awakes the conscience, it tells of past sin. God will open the sinner’s eyes in the next world, not by a holy illumination, but by a forced conviction. We are told in Revelation 20:12, ‘The books were opened’, and one of these books is conscience, and though it be in the sinner’s keeping, and therefore may become blurred and defaced, yet our story will be legible enough, and forgotten sins will stare us in the face: ‘Be sure your sin will find you out’ (Numbers 32:23). We forget it now, and we think we shall never hear of it more; but God can make all occur to memory as fresh as if newly committed, and in an instant represent the story of an ill-spent life, and show us all the thoughts, words, and actions that ever we have been guilty of. The paper goes white i