As we come to the closing remarks of John’s first letter we see a familiar phrase found in his gospel.
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
And now in the letter:
“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. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5 v 13-15)
The gospel was written evangelistically that people may believe. The letter was written to bring assurance to those who do believe.
Why do people in church need assurance?
In John’s day the ‘antichrists’ as he calls them came from within the church causing disturbance amongst the believers, casting doubts on all they held dear and what they had believed from the beginning, leading them astray from their leaders and eventually outside of the church where they had found salvation. I see it today. The stories of those who have found themselves outside the church are many. The reason is not necessarily their own moment of madness in pressing self-destruct buttons. I have heard stories that resulted from the pain they received from the pulpit and those who stand there will face a higher judgment for it. But speaking from my own experience as I visit churches every week and am confronted by some within the pews who are complaining about the most smallest of things I realise that what John faced still exists today. Who needs a devil when we can do his work for him? Recently I met a lady who had been led astray by certain members campaigning against their Pastor. I use the words ‘led astray’ because once she had been enlightened to the truth I saw her return immediately to a better mental, emotional and spiritual health. She had been released from the snare. This morning I have been praying for this lady that she makes a full recovery something that John himself will encourage us to do in the next verses. This lady had lost her confidence in the church she loved and also the Pastor she served. How? It was from those within who had an agenda of complaint. That’s the same problem for John and we now see why he is writing.
So what does he say about our confidence?
- You have confidence in your eternal life. No one can take eternity from you. Don’t let anyone cast doubts on this for you.
- You have confidence in your relationship with God. You are in good standing with God no matter what any ‘antichrists’ say.
- You have confidence to talk with Jesus. He listens meaning he understands and heeds.
So make sure you fellowship with people who keep all 3 points in tact for you. There’s nothing quite like fighting to lead to losing the confidence in one of these areas. Remember it is very risk to campaign against imperfection when you are also imperfect. Don’t damage and don’t be damaged. Keep your confidence.