What Do You Know For Sure? Part 1 (1 John 5:6–21)

1Jn 5-13Welcome back to our series in the Apostle John’s first letter. This will be the last article in our study of this inspiring portion of Scripture.

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin wrote those words in 1789. Of course, a wise man like Franklin knew many other things are also certain. The Christian knows there are many certainties. Of spiritual truth, Christians are not afraid to say, “We know!” In fact, the word know occurs thirty-nine times in John’s brief letter, eight times in this closing chapter.

Man has a deep desire for certainty and he will even dabble in the occult in his effort to find out something for sure. A businessman having dinner with his pastor said to him, “Do you see those offices across the street? In them sit some of the most influential business leaders in this town. Many of them used to come over here regularly to consult a fortune-teller. She isn’t here anymore, but a few years ago you could count up the millions of dollars in this room as men waited to consult her.”

The life that is real is built on the divine certainties that are found in Jesus Christ. The world may accuse the Christian of being proud and dogmatic, but this does not keep him from saying, “I know!” In these closing verses of John’s letter, we find five Christian certainties on which we can build our lives with confidence.

JESUS IS GOD (1 John 5:6–10)

In 1 John 5:1–5, emphasis is placed on trusting Jesus Christ. A person who trusts Christ is born of God and is able to overcome the world. To believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God is basic to Christian experience.

But how do we know Jesus is God? Some of His contemporaries called Him a liar and a deceiver (Matt. 27:63). Others have suggested He was a religious fanatic, a madman, or perhaps a Jewish patriot who was sincere, but sadly mistaken. The people to whom John was writing were exposed to a popular false teaching that Jesus was merely a man on whom “the Christ” had come when Jesus was baptized. On the cross, “the Christ” left Jesus and so He died like any other human being. John refutes this false teaching and tells us Jesus is God.

People often say, “I wish I could have faith!” But everybody lives by faith! All day long, people trust one another. They trust the doctor and the pharmacist; they trust the cook in the restaurant; they even trust the person driving in the other lane on the highway. If we can trust men, why can we not trust God? To not trust God is to make Him a liar!

Jesus is God: this is the first Christian certainty and it is foundational to everything else.

BELIEVERS HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (1 John 5:11–13)

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13).

Eternal life is a gift; it is not something we earn (Jn. 10:27–29; Eph. 2:8–9). This gift is a Person—Jesus Christ. We receive eternal life not only from Christ, but in Christ. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:12).

This gift is received by faith. God has gone on record in His Word as offering eternal life to those who will believe on Jesus Christ. Millions of Christians have proved that God’s record is true. To not believe it is to make God a liar and if God is a liar, nothing is certain.

God wants His children to know they belong to Him. John was inspired by the Spirit to write his Gospel to assure us that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn. 20:31). He wrote this epistle so we may be sure we are the children of God (1 Jn. 5:13).

It would be helpful at this point to review the characteristics of God’s children:

  • “Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 Jn. 2:29).
  • “No one who is born of God practices sin” (1 Jn. 3:9).
  • “We know we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren” (1 Jn. 3:14).
  • “Let us love one another, for love comes from God.       Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 Jn. 4:7).
  • “Everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 Jn. 5:4).

If you bear these “birthmarks,” you can say with confidence you are a child of God.

GOD ANSWERS PRAYER (1 John 5:14–15)

It is one thing to know Jesus is God and that we are God’s children, but what about the needs and problems of daily life? Jesus helped people when He was here on earth; does He still help them?  Earthly fathers take care of their children; does the heavenly Father respond when His children call on Him?

Christians have confidence in prayer, just as they have confidence as they await the judgment (1 Jn. 2:28; 4:17). As we have seen the word confidence means “freedom of speech.” We can come to the Father freely and tell Him our needs.

Of course, there are conditions we must meet. First, we must have a heart that does not condemn us (1 Jn. 3:21–22). Unconfessed sin is a serious obstacle to answered prayer (Ps. 66:18). It is worth noting that differences between a Christian husband and his wife can hinder their prayers (1 Pet. 3:1–7). If there is anything between us and any other Christian, we must settle it (Matt. 5:23–25). Unless a believer is abiding in Christ, in love and obedience, his prayers will not be answered (Jn. 15:7).

Second, we must pray in God’s will. “Your will be done” (Matt. 6:10). Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done on earth. Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness.

There are times when we can only pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done” because we simply do not know God’s will in a matter. But most of the time we can determine God’s will by reading the Word, listening to the Spirit (Rom. 8:26–27), and discerning the circumstances around us. Our very faith to ask God for something is often proof that He wants to give it (Heb. 11:1).

There are many promises in the Bible that we can claim in prayer. God has promised to supply our needs (Phil. 4:19)—not our greeds! If we are obeying His will and really need something, He will supply it in His way and in His time.

“But if it is God’s will for me to have a thing, then why should I pray about it?” Because prayer is the way God wants His children to get what they need. God not only ordains the end, but He also ordains the means to the end—prayer. The more you think about it the more wonderful this arrangement becomes. Prayer is really the thermometer of the spiritual life. God has ordained that I maintain a close walk with Him if I expect Him to meet my needs.

John does not write, “We might have the requests,” but, “We know we have the requests” (1 Jn. 5:15). The verb is present tense. We may not see the answer to a prayer immediately, but we have inner confidence that God has answered. This confidence, or faith, is “the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). It is God witnessing to us that He has heard and answered.

What breathing is to a physical man, prayer is to a spiritual man. If we do not pray, we will faint (“give up”) (Lk. 18:1). Prayer is not only the utterance of the lips; it is also the desire of the heart. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17) does not mean that a Christian is always saying an audible prayer. We are not heard for our many words (Matt. 6:7). No, “Pray without ceasing” suggests the attitude of the heart as well as the words of the lips. A Christian who has his heart fixed on Christ and is trying to glorify Him is praying constantly even when he is not conscious of it.

Charles Spurgeon, the famous preacher, was working hard on a message, but was unable to complete it. It grew late and his wife said, “Why don’t you go to bed. I’ll wake you up early and you can finish your sermon in the morning.”

Spurgeon dozed off and in his sleep began to preach the sermon that was giving him so much trouble! His wife wrote down what he said and the next morning gave her preacher-husband the notes.

“Why, that’s exactly what I wanted to say!” exclaimed the surprised preacher. The message had been in his heart; it had simply needed expression. So it is with prayer: if we are abiding in Christ the very desires of our heart are heard by God whether we voice them or not.

The pages of the Bible and the pages of history are filled with reports of answered prayer. Prayer is not spiritual self-hypnosis; we do not pray because it makes us feel better. We pray because God has commanded us to pray and because prayer is the God-appointed means for a believer to receive what God wants to give him. Prayer keeps a Christian in the will of God and living in the will of God keeps a Christian in the place of blessing and service. We are not beggars; we are children coming to a wealthy Father who loves to give His children what they need.

While He was God in the flesh, Jesus depended on prayer. He lived on earth, as we must, in dependence on the Father. He arose early in the morning to pray (Mk. 1:35), though He had been up late the night before healing the multitudes. He sometimes spent all night in prayer (Lk. 6:12). In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed with “fervent cries and tears” (Heb. 5:7). On the cross, He prayed three times. If the sinless Son of God needed to pray, how much more do we?

The most important thing about prayer is the will of God. We must take time to ascertain what God’s will is in a matter, especially searching in the Bible for promises or principles that apply to our situation. Once we know the will of God, we can pray with confidence and then wait for Him to reveal the answer.

To be continued…

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About Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pastor Joe has been serving in Christian ministry for 15 years. He desires to nurture and disciple believers, helping them experience a deeper level of commitment and faith in the Lord. He is the author of "Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living." Through a commitment to servant leadership, he strives to proclaim relevant Bible truth, equip the saints for effective ministry, and build up the body of Christ. Married eleven years, Pastor Joe and his wife live in New Jersey and have two children.
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29 Responses to What Do You Know For Sure? Part 1 (1 John 5:6–21)

  1. Kim says:

    Reblogged this on DiscernIt.

  2. Rita D. Palmer says:

    This is so timely. Here are my thoughts on your Lesson.
    God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. 1 John 3:20
    “Since God already knows what everyone needs, why do we need to ask Him for things in prayer?”
    I think it’s definitely true that God already knows all our needs. Jesus says exactly that –

    “When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:7-8
    Still, Jesus goes on to teach the disciples how to pray, so He still thought it was vital. And James also points out the necessity of prayer when he tells Christians that –

    “You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2
    The Bible teaches that God knows all we need, yet God sometimes doesn’t give us what we need until we ask. Why is that? I’m not sure if the Bible tells us exactly, but I believe it is because the act of praying, and then receiving answers to our prayers, actually increases our faith, and strengthens our relationship with God. Loving the Father, means having a relationship with Him all day, every day and night. He has become my counselor and the One who calms me and loves me. I know He is there in my heart and I have every confidence that God will always be there for me. When I pray the Our Father, I understand why now. The words become part of me and help me overcome any ill feelings I have towards others. :)

  3. “Prayer is not spiritual self-hypnosis; we do not pray because it makes us feel better. We pray because God has commanded us to pray and because prayer is the God-appointed means for a believer to receive what God wants to give him”

    Pastor Joe, this is a particularly deeply insightful profound statement! Prayer can become this, if one is not careful. It can be the pendulum in timed syncopation to the utterance…”you are getting sleepy”
    Anthony

    • Rita D. Palmer says:

      Prayer is a relationship with God. Prayer is our thoughts, our reading, our searching, our requests for others and ourselves, our walk with Jesus, who walked with us. There is only one who calls us His own, and understands us and loves us as His child. That One is the Alpha and Omega, and we obey Him because we love Him.

    • Thanks Anthony. God bless.

    • I agree Brother Anthony, if we have to make ourselves pray, then it is not by The Spirit and as we can see below this is how we are to always pray.

      Ephesians 6:17-19 And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all Saints;

      This is the same as having Love for God and others, if we have to make ourselves it is not of the Spirit and will be shown in our actions even if we our words claim differently. Love is not just a word it is an Action.

      1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not Love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in Truth.

      2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

      Blessings dear brother – Christian Love – Anne

      • A soldier, A warrior well equipped, fully armored, in the heat of battle stricken, wounded, blinded, with his finger on the trigger of his weapon fires blindly at friends and enemies alike. Not because he means to but because he was caught in the moment about to pull the trigger before the mortar flash and explosion and the shrapnel ripping into the flesh. In that moment he doesn’t distinguish between friends and enemies…he shoots blindly.
        It is but a moment…not a place in which to dwell indefinitely. And when he realizes what he has done…comes the real pain such as he had never felt before.-Anthony

        • Are you referring to you Brother Anthony?

          Blessings – Anne

          • To every one of us! But If that is the way you see it nothing I can say can change it…if you say that I am a “chair” and you believe it to the point that a polygraph would attest to it. Then therefore in your mind I will always be a “chair”. And you know even a chair can be put to good use.-Anthony

            • No Brother Anthony, I was not thinking it was you or anyone else, I was just asking because I didn’t know who you were referring to.

              Take Care – Anne

            • Duly noted, no offense taken.
              I am reminded of this verse as I stepped out back to pray…and it lingered with me.
              I do not possess vast Bible knowledge, though some might think so, I am given what is needed as needed and I can trust fully in that.
              1 Corinthians 1:27
              But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

            • Rita D. Palmer says:

              Knowing and interpreting the Bible comes with time for many of us. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and knowledge to know His Word.. The Bible comes alive and the people written about are real people who had struggles just like we do. The Bible is our history and the more we research it, seek it, and engage in it, the more understanding we have. I have always looked for preachers or pastors that, write or preach the Bible as if the people therein were alive today and the meaning open to my understanding. One book that I found increased my knowledge was Moody Handbook of Theology. I learned about the different religions and who was the force behind them. For instance, what is the Charismatic movement and what is Covenant Theology. I also have a Study Bible. You can get Study Bibles in KJV, and the one Pastor Joe uses and Harper Study Bible. When a word comes up that I don’t understand, I go to my Bible dictionary or Concordance. Knowledge is everywhere, and if we seek, we will find with the help of our wonderful Counselor Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I am not bragging,

  4. Do you not see Pastor, every Christian should know these things. So are we to only preach to the choir…be heard and irriterate verbatim what is posted here.
    “Prayer is not spiritual self-hypnosis; we do not pray because it makes us feel better. We pray because God has commanded us to pray and because prayer is the God-appointed means for a believer to receive what God wants to give him”-Pastor Joe
    Nobody preaches the dangers anymore…not politically correct, n’cest ce-pas?
    People need to heed these words, this is a real imminent, clear and present danger!
    I understand prayer and if the reader didn’t The Pastor has explained it thoroughly here.
    I have seen prayer at work, the hand of a “Master Craftsman” healing, something beyond comprehension, humbling, awe-inspiring.
    Anthony

  5. Pingback: OF INTEREST: Independent Thoughts from Around the Internet May 21, 2014 | End Times Prophecy Report

  6. If one moves forward in prayer but doesn’t heed the dangers up ahead, as you’ve pointed out, it “availeth” not. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much then what is to be said for the prayers of one “self” righteous and that is the danger of “self hypnosis”. A very real danger and not to be taken lightly. Excellent thought provoking offering P.J.Q.
    God Bless.

  7. Pingback: What Do You Know For Sure? Part 2 (1 John 5:6–21) | Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

  8. Pingback: A disciple's study

  9. There is a “wonder-child” within us all, that must be reclaimed in order for faith to be fully realized.
    Anthony

  10. I have no doubt Pastor Joe that Jesus Christ is God, as the Scriptures confirm He is part of The Godhead or Trinity as we call Them today, they are 3 in One Spirit, meaning they have the same seed or Nature, they are Love and Love cannot do evil or sin but they have different roles as we can see below, God The Father is in Total Authority.

    1 Corinthians 15:27-28 For He (God The Father) hath put all things under His ( Jesus Christ) feet. But when He (God The Father) saith all things are put under Him ( Jesus Christ) it is manifest that He (God The Father) is excepted, which did put all things under Him (Jesus Christ). And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (Jesus Christ), then shall the Son also Himself (Jesus Christ ) be subject unto Him (God The Father) that put all things under Him (Jesus Christ) that God (The Father) may be all in all.

    When God ( Jesus Christ) came to earth He was conceived by The Holy Spirit, God cannot die He is Spirit, that is why Jesus was born in the flesh of a woman and to Redeem us He had to die as a man and be resurrected so we could be too, He was the Firstfruit but being Christ in the flesh He defeated death our sins were paid for in His death and so death could not keep Him down because He was King of Kings (He wore a Golden Crown).

    Good and evil cannot co exist that is why Jesus was separated from The Father on the cross and so cried out Father why has thou forsaken me, He was laden down with our sins, He had to die as a man so He could be glorified in the flesh, so we can be too. You will find what I have shared is confirmed in the Scriptures below and we see it clearly in this verse that Jesus became man.

    1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

    1 Corinthians 15:12 -29 Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

    Take care Pastor Joe , I wish for you in Christ Jesus God’s Love and His wisdom, ask and receive.

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne.

  11. I don’t have a title for this piece I’ve just written, but it speaks to the many things discussed in this posting. it manifested so quickly and I did not want to lose any of it…I will post it in a few minutes, whatever time it takes to type what has been frantically scribbled across four pages. It will be there if you care to read or perhaps I should post it here. These exchanges are very revealing and a blessing, being real with one another…this is “Church” in earnest. I am very happy and humbled to witness this and be a part of it!
    Anthony

  12. The link as promised.
    Anthony

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