Text: I John 3:19-24
ASSURANCE AND OBEDIENCE
In I John John repeatedly gives 3 tests by which we may discern whether we are truly saved.
1. Obedience to the Word.
3. Correct doctrine - especially of the Person and Work of Christ.
Last week we looked at I John 3:13-18 ,
(13) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
(14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
(15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
(16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
(17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
(18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
In I John 3:19-24 we see some results of obeying God and His Word.
I John 3:19-21 - 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
Hereby means by this or by means of this.
We know is we understand or we come to know.
That we are of the truth means that we have the truth
Shall assure = shall set at ease
Our hearts is ourselves as believers in the innermost recesses of our beings.
Before him means in the presence of Him, where him refers to God
The facts that believers love one another, that they are willing to lay down their lives for each other (3:16), and that they are willing to demonstrate this love for one another in their daily existence (3:18), provide them with the assurance that they are genuinely saved people who have the truth.
I John 3:20 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Verse 20 provides the reason the statement and shall assure our hearts before him is true. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
For is the word ordinarily translated because and should be understood in this sense here as well.
If our heart condemn us may or may not be true. It depends on the situation. If our heart condemn us implies that our heart may condemn us or may not condemn us.
Our heart speaks of ourselves in the innermost recesses of our beings and implies our consciences.
Condemn is a word which literally means to know against, and it implies that our heart knows something against us, thereby, bringing us into judgment by ourselves. Our goes with heart and implies the heart of a believer.
However, if our heart should happen to condemn us, we know that God is greater than our heart, which means that God is in a position of being superior to (or larger than) our heart.
One's heart may sometimes be confused and is, therefore, not always reliable. God, however, is never confused. If our heart should happen to condemn us, God has already saved us and has told us that we are His children.
God . . . knoweth all things is God knows all things. There is nothing that He does not know. He knows those who are saved and everything about them, including their weaknesses and shortcomings; and He has saved us in spite of this. One is reminded of Peter whose heart condemned him following his denial of Christ. John 21:15-17 says,
(15) So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
(16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
(17) He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
I John 3:21 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
Confidence = openness, boldness, courage, fearlessness, especially in the presence of someone of high rank such as God Himself.
Not only does obeying God result in confidence before God, but
I John 3:22 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Believers keep God's commandments because they are saved and not just to get their prayers answered. The fact that they are saved indicates that they will keep His commandments; and because they desire to keep his commandments, they are saved people, they are going to receive the requests that they have made of God. The emphasis in the Greek text is on commandments. It reads literally, Because His commandments we keep.
And do: those things that are pleasing in his sight indicates something else that we as believers are doing, are keeping, are carrying out, or are practicing. We are always doing the things that are pleasing to Him because we want to.
Not only does obeying God result in confidence before God and answered prayer, but
I John 3:23 a - 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.
That we should believe is that we might believe, that we should trust, or that we might trust. It indicates action contemplated as a single whole.
On the name of his Son Jesus Christ indicates what we are to believe. It means that we believe all that the name of Jesus Christ represents:
He is God the Son Who became a man and was born of the Virgin Mary; He lived a sinless and spotless life; He eventually went to the cross where He died, paying for the sins of all humanity; He rose again bodily from the grave, thus demonstrating God's seal of approval on His atoning work; He ascended into heaven; and He is coming again to receive believers unto Himself. All of this is implied in believing on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.
The fact that Jesus Christ is his Son means that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father and indicates that He is the Messiah or the Christ.
Not only does obeying God result in confidence before God, in answered prayer, and in salvation, but also
I John 3:23 b - 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.
Love one another. By love John means be loving, that we might be loving, or that we should be loving.
One another is each other.
As is just as and introduces a comparison.
He is God the Father.
Gave (or has given) is a commandment, i.e. (a) command or (an) order. As he gave us commandment is equivalent in meaning to as He commanded us.
Us refers to believers.
Not only does obeying God result in confidence before God, in answered prayer, in salvation, and in loving one another, but also
I John 3:24 a - 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
He that keepeth his commandments is the one who is keeping His commandments.
Dwelleth in him (i.e. in God the Father) = means remains, abides, or stays. It means that he does not leave the realm or sphere in which he finds himself. It will go on throughout eternity.
I John 3:24 b - 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
And he in him indicates that God the Father is also dwelling in the believer. Someone who is genuinely saved will habitually obey God, and God the Father will dwell in him along with Christ and with God the Holy Spirit.
I John 3:24 c - 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
The indwelling Holy Spirit is evidence that God the Father abides in the believer.
By the Spirit, where the Spirit is a reference to God the Holy Spirit, may mean by means of the Spirit, but it is more likely understood in the sense of because of the Spirit.
Which refers to the Holy Spirit.
He hath given is He has given or He gave. He is God the Father.
Us is believers, all of whom have been given the Holy Spirit.
Again, the indwelling Holy Spirit is an evidence that God the Father abides in the believer. By the Spirit which he hath given us is used to introduce the section which follows in 4:1-6.
Cf. Romans 8:8-9 - 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION:
In today's message we have seen some of the results of obeying God and His Word.
1. Obeying God results in confidence before God - 3:19-21
2. Obeying God results in answered prayer - 3:22
3. Obeying God results in salvation - 3:23a
4. Obeying God results in loving one another - 3:23b
5. Salvation results in dwelling in God - 3:24a
6. Salvation results in God dwelling in the believer - 3:24b
7. Salvation results in receiving God the Holy Spirit - 3:24c
This sermon is the 8th part of the series, Study of I John. Other sermons in this series are: