1 John 5:13-21 – The assurance that comes from knowing Christ

1 JOHN 5:13-21.

The assurance that comes from knowing Christ.




Come to end of I John. Three basic Tests that John has set out in this letter


Q> What are these tests that John has referred to constantly?


– Belief

– Righteousness

– Love


These tests are not so that we can pass – these are the hall marks of the Christian faith. These are not there to trip us up BUT to give us confidence and assurance.


In his gospel John gives the reason for writing?


Q> Who was the gospel written to/for and what was it purpose


– for unbelievers

– reason given in  John 20:31 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (NIV)


Q> who was this letter written to and what was its purpose?

– to believers

– reason in 1 John 5:13

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (NIV)


Q> What is a key phrase that appears throughout these verses?

– “WE KNOW….”




In 3v21-22 confidence in prayer was linked to obedience to God’s commands.

In this present verse it is linked to conformity to God’s will.


Q> What is prayer according to God’s will?

– not a way of manipulating God.

– not a way of changing God’s mind?


Psalm 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the LORD

and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)


I used to think I had God over a barrel on this BUT as we delight ourselves in the Lord our desires become his and we then ask what according with his will.


Q> What about asking in Jesus name?


John 14:13-14 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (NIV)


ILLUS.: Secretary does things in the name of the Boss – eg. letters – BUT she knows tha Boss well enough to know what he wants said and often exactly the way he would.

As we grow in Christ we grow in the confidence that we will ask according to his will and that he will hear us and answer!!


All true prayer is simply a variation on a theme – “Your will be done….”


2. SIN UNTO DEATH – what is is?


The Xns assurance of eternal life and of answered prayer is no excuse for selfish contentment.


Q> What does John tell us about -“Being my brothers keeper”?


3v17-18 showed that we are to be concerned for materials needs of others and here in 5v16 to be concerned for the spiritual well being.


What does “SIN unto death OR not unto death ” mean??


physical death?  NO! clearly not physical as the life with which it is contrasted is clearly spiritual life!!



 a specific sin? – in the OT there some capital offences [Lev. 20:1-27 ……]

– in the early Church a list of grosser sins developed which led to ‘mortal’ and ‘venial’ sins – the seven dealy sins…. BUT there is no NT justification of this arbitary classification of sins.

[v.17 … all wrong-doing is sin]


Apostasy?? the renunciation of faith – the denial of Christ


Q> is apostasy possible for a true Believer??

– 3v9 – would John contradict himself ?? unlikely!!


blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? – pesistently rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit and attributing the Work of the Spirit to Satan [Matt.12v22-32]

John descibes such people in Jn3v18-21 – “…Love darkness rather than light…”

THUS will die in his sins [Jn 8v24]


Q>  objection – how can such a one be a brother??

– look carefully at the verse the sin unto death in not referring to a brother


Q> is the sin NOT unto death the sin of a Xn??

Q> – Can you pray for God to give a Xn life?? v16??

– a Xn has eternal life [Jn3v36]


Q> So who are these two groups??

– both unbelievers?


Q> Does the word “brother” refer exclusively to Xns?

– it is used in scripture – even in this letter – in a broader way

cf. 2v9 !! a brother still in darkness!!?


Q> How do you think the context of the situation to which John is writing may help us in this understanding??

– the gnostic teacher who had gone out from the church!!! – anti-christs — denying the Son — [2v22-23; 2Jn 9]


John does not want any misunderstanding about sin so adds v.17

All wrong-doing is sin!!




Q>  vv.18-20 what three things are Christians assured!

          – that our salvation is safe [- that we cannot continue to sin]

A Xn can only hope to keep the commands of God IF God keeps him  —– we pray this at end of Lord’s Prayer ” … deliver us from Evil….”  OR “Deliver us from the Evil One …”


          – that we are not controlled by Satan

KJV – “the world lies in the control of the Evil One…’

Q> What does this tell us about the world??

– The world is not struggling to be free – it is lying – perhaps unconsciously asleep – in the arms of Satan – helpless in his grasp UNTIL God come to the rescue.


          – that we can know Christ — historically and experientially

Christ is true – [real]

God is true – [real]


Without Christ we could have no knowledge of God NOR fellowship with God.

[compare John 14v19b – 23]



v21 – Any recognition of idols – of any kind – is incompatiable with true worship of God.


Q> How would you define an idol?

– a God substitute!!


[cf Jude 21 & 24.]





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