According To His Will

1 John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Opening Illustration

We live in a world where few things are sure:
There is little security and life is ever so brief.
But one thing you can count on is the constant care of the One who keeps you in the hollow of His hand.
Through every generation, believers have found themselves in the same position—in the loving hands of the Savior.
Yours is the same great privilege as Martin Luther’s.
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When Martin Luther was in the throes of the Reformation and the Pope was trying to bring him back to the Roman Catholic Church, he sent a cardinal to deal with Luther and buy him with gold.
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The cardinal wrote to the Pope,
“The fool does not love gold.”
The cardinal, when he could not convince Luther, said to him,
“What do you think the Pope cares for the opinions of a German?
The Pope’s little finger is stronger than all Germany.
Do you expect your princes to take up arms to defend you—you, a wretched worm like you?
I tell you no.
And where will you be then?”
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Luther’s reply was simple.
“Where I am now.
In the hands of Almighty God.”
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Place your confidence in God always...
As He will keep you by His power always.
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So, please turn your Bibles to 1 John.
We will be conducting our study in Chapter 5 and focusing on verses 13 through 15.
Our message this morning is called, According To His Will
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As you are finding your place in God’s Word, I want to share that we will be talking about...
Our assurance of the salvation that God gave us...
And how that assurance leads us to understanding how to properly pray to God...
And this all leads to confidence not just in our salvation...
But confidence that our prayers will be heard by God.
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Opening Prayer

Before we consider our text, please join me in prayer...
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Let’s turn to our text for today:

Reading of the Text​

1 John 5:13–15 ESV
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
So, let’s look at our first point...

1) Assurance of Salvation

Verse 13: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
I want you to please note who the audience is that John is speaking to...
He says...
“I write these things...”
Meaning the letter we have been studying since July...
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God...”
So, John is addressing genuine and true believers.
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We know what those believers look like as John has been describing them all throughout his letter...
Painting a clear picture of how a genuine believer will act in their daily life.
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John is very black and white here...
He is clear on what actions a believer consistently practices...
And what actions an unrepentant individual will practice even if they claim to be a follower of Christ.
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So, Church...
Let’s recap on what some of those major points are that John has covered as this needs to be in focus for us to better understand this passage.
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In 1 John 1:6-7 the Beloved disciple says:
1 John 1:6–7 ESV
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
So, John is clear here...
One cannot live a life of habitual sin...
One cannot live a life of carnality...
And be in fellowship with God.
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A true regenerated believer makes a practice of righteousness...
And his or her path is the narrow road...
It is the path that is in the light.
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It is clear from this text that light and darkness cannot have any fellowship together.
Although no one is sinless or perfect...
Our habitual practices reveal what is in the depths of our heart.
Our actions reveal to others if we are children of light or children of darkness.
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In 1 John 2:3-6 the Word of God says:
1 John 2:3–6 ESV
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
A “christian” who does’t know their Bible and who does not obey it...
Is no Christian at all.
As followers of Christ the Word of God is to be in our minds and in our hearts...
We are to be eager to study it deeper.
For if one lacks the love of God’s Word...
They also lack a relationship with the Lord.
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However, simply memorizing Scripture is not enough...
It is not just about knowing God’s Word...
It is about obeying God’s Word.
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It does not matter how many letters follow your name...
It does not matter if you where educated by the greatest seminary filled with the world’s greatest theologians...
It doesn’t matter if you have written sound theological books on the Bible...
It doesn’t matter that you are an expert in biblical history and can fluently speak ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
If you know all these things and refuse to obey the very commands contained in the Scriptures...
Then you are just as lost a the person who has never heard of Jesus in his life.
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Obeying God’s commands in not an option for the one who is born again.
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In 1 John 2:9-11 it says:
1 John 2:9–11 ESV
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
If God had mercy on you and turned your stone heart to flesh then it is a fact...
According to the authority of the Word of God...
You love your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
That means you love the Body of Christ...
That you love the Church!
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So, one who claims to love Christ but hates His followers is in fact no follower of Christ himself.
You can’t have it both ways...
Love for fellow believers is the sign to the whole world that Jesus Christ is your Lord!
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In 1 John 2:15-17 John says:
1 John 2:15–17 ESV
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
If you you claim to love Christ and love the world too...
Then you love the world and don’t yet know the Son of God.
For you can’t serve two masters...
You have only one spot for a master in your life.
Everyone saved or unsaved has a single master.
If Christ is your Master...
Then you will hate the world and its society and its wicked corruption.
If the world is your master...
Then you hate Christ for you reject His teachings and warnings and the reality that He is Lord and is to be treated as Lord.
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In 1 John 3:4-10 the Scriptures record:
1 John 3:4–10 ESV
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
All humans are created in the image of God...
And as such each human life is precious and deserving of respect.
We focused on that last week when we covered a portion of Psalm 139.
However, it should be understood that the Bible is clear on the matter that just because one is created in the image of God does not make them children of God.
In our world their are actually two families.
Everyone belongs to one family or the other.
For those who make a practice of lawlessness then it reveals that they are children of the Devil.
For those who make a practice of righteousness then it reveals that they are children of God.
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In 1 John 3:16-17 the apostle John says:
1 John 3:16–17 ESV
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
As the followers of Christ...
As those that experienced grace and mercy from God...
As those whom God has showered us with His love...
We can do nothing else but share that love with others.
Our love is not found only in our speech either.
John here makes the point that is we see a brother or sister in Christ in need...
And God has blessed us with the resources...
Our response should be to meet that need.
So, our charitable acts should be motivated by love that originated from God.
And it should never be for our own glory like many in our secular world do when they preform a generous act.
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In 1 John 4:13-16 the Disciple whom Jesus Loved says:
1 John 4:13–16 ESV
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
As the ones who are born from above...
We know that God’s promise is true and faithful in that we will receive the Holy Spirit.
This is necessary for all that John says are action of a true believer is only made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If one claims to have the Holy Spirit living in them...
Then they will also confess the biblical Jesus.
That is not the kind of Jesus the world often promotes...
The the One and Only true Jesus as found in the records of Scripture.
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And finally in 1 John 5:10-12 God says in His Word:
1 John 5:10–12 ESV
10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Anyone who is a true regenerated follower of the Messiah believes in the testimony of Jesus...
And understands that the only ones that will receive eternal life are those whom God has transformed.
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These passages all reveal a detailed and accurate picture of what a Christian looks like.
And it is with this basis that we look to the rest of our passage.
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The second half of verse 13 says...
“That you may know that you have eternal life.”
Please consider the note from the New American Commentary on the Epistles of John:
“John therefore assures his readers that they can and should have confidence that they possess eternal life even now (‘have,’ echete, present tense).”
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So, the whole purpose of clearly defining what a true follower of Christ looks like...
Is to provide assurance that for the true believer...
Eternal life, although a future event, is now at present in their possession.
For it is as good as done.
It is complete!
It is finished!
God has truly saved you and God will never lose His grip on you!
He will never change His mind about you!
You are His and He has given you the Holy Spirit that will protect you and guarantee that you make it to eternity!
Remember what it says in Ephesians 1:13-14 about the Holy Spirit:
Ephesians 1:13–14 ESV
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
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The assurance of salvation we have is rooted in the fact that we believers...
We who are the elect...
Have always been part of God’s perfect and unchanging plan as seen in Romans 8:29-30:
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Before God created us He knew us...
He knew His own sheep.
And He predestined us to be molded into the image of His Son...
That is why in our process of sanctification we become more Christ-like over time.
God called us with a perfect calling...
He regenerated our minds and justified us...
And He glorified us.
Not that Paul in this passage uses the past tense of the word “glorified” even though glorification is a future even that happens after Jesus judges the world.
The reason for this is to show that once God loved us and knew us...
Even before we were created...
He had a perfect plan for every one of his sheep...
And not a single sheep will be lost.
So, followers of Christ...
Be assured of your final destination!
Be assured that if your life reflects the life of a person who seeks righteousness...
Then that is a sign that God has transformed you ans that you are a new creation...
And the promise of eternal life can never be taken from you as Romans 2:7 says:
Romans 2:7 ESV
7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
For this is the will of God the Father...
That all who look to His Son will be saved...
And will rise up on the last day...
Or as John 6:40 puts it:
John 6:40 ESV
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Remember the words of our Lord and Savior...
Remember the words of Christ...
And take comfort in them as it says in John 10:27–28:
John 10:27–28 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
So, those who are hearing this message...
If your life reflects the signs that you are a child of God...
Then have confidence in your salvation...
For it is not earned by your own merits...
But is a gift from God due to the perfect and complete work of Christ on the cross.
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Likewise, be confident in the power of the believer’s prayers...
And this takes us to our next point.

2) Praying In His Will

Verse 14: And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
So, we have to interpret this verse in light of what we just learned from the previous verse...
Not only do we as believers have assurance of eternal salvation...
We also have assurance and bold confidence...
That anything we ask...
God hears us...
To “hear” means to hear favorably...
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So, that is...
If we ask according to His will.
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That part is crucial to the equation.
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Theologian John Stott says this about prayer:
“Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God, or for bending his will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to his.
It is by prayer that we seek God’s will, embrace it and align ourselves with it.
Every true prayer is a variation of the theme ‘your will be done.’”
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Beloved, lets consider what the rest of Scripture has to say about prayer.
Look with me at James 4:3 which says:
James 4:3 ESV
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
So, prayer is not us going to God and making requests based on our passions and personal desires.
Those types of prayer will not be heard.
God is not some kind of genie that grants our wishes and selfish desires.
In fact...
God does not listen to all prayers.
The only prayers God promises to respond to are the ones of those who worship Him and follow his will.
Just look at this truth found in John 9:31:
John 9:31 ESV
31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
Church, I want you to understand this...
The only way we can start to pray in God’s will is to become a new creation.
If we repent and believe and surrender to the Lord...
He promises to remake us...
And that includes changing our worldly desires...
And put new godly desires in our hearts to replace them.
And that is how a faithful follower of God prays...
With a desire that originates from God.
Look at what Psalm 37:4 says:
Psalm 37:4 ESV
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
So we must delight in the Lord...
And we must seek out His will intentionally like it says in Psalm 143:10:
Psalm 143:10 ESV
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Not only do we find this truth in the Psalms but we also see this as part of the template prayer that the Lord gave us.
In the Lord’s prayer look at what Jesus says as recorded in Matthew 6:10:
Matthew 6:10 ESV
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
All our prayers should have a “your will be done” anchored to them.
For example, if someone is sick then pray they will be healed if it be God’s will.
We with our own human minds believe healing may be the best...
But what if it is that sickness that someone has that God is using to bring them to an understanding of who He is.
Is it better to be cancer free and lost a slave to the world...
Or ravaged by cancer but holding tightly to the Lord because you truly love Him.
Either way our time on earth is limited...
Living to be 30 or living to be 100 will not compare to sending an eternity in either Heaven or Hell.
So, make your requests but always pray God’s will.
Our precious Lord and Savior modeled this for us in Matthew 26:39-42 which says:
Matthew 26:39–42 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
End your prayers with a “your will be done” and mean it with your heart!
When you pray seek the desires that are godly and righteous.
Remember what it says in Matthew 7:7–11:
Matthew 7:7–11 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
We have a loving Heavenly Father that wants to give us good things...
He even reorients our priorities so that we will seek the things that line up with His desires.
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Even with a renewed mind...
Our flesh...
Which won’t be renewed until glorification...
Can mislead us.
This is our weakness as humans cursed by the Fall and of sin.
But be reassured once again.
The Holy Spirit who lives inside every born again man and woman prays on our behalf.
Just look at this amazing truth in Romans 8:26–27 which says:
Romans 8:26–27 ESV
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
So, with this understanding of prayer...
We can be sure that our requests that are done in His will are as good as ours...
Even if the request will be fulfilled in the future...
And this takes us to our third and final point.

3) Answered Prayers

Verse 15: And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
When we pray in God’s will...
It means those requests are as good as already being given to us.
However, I can’t stress this enough...
This is a promise for true believers...
And this is a promise for those believers who are praying according to God’s will.
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Jesus Himself throughout the Gospel records told this truth to His followers.
John 15:16 says:
John 15:16 ESV
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
And we see this boldly stated in Mark 11:24:
Mark 11:24 ESV
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
So, when we are praying in God’s will, we need to be confident that we will receive it.
We must have faith!
For that faith is in the promise of God.
Matthew 21:22 says:
Matthew 21:22 ESV
22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Again, this is not faith in yourself...
And this is not faith in God giving you your selfish requests...
This is faith in God’s promise that He will hear the prayers of His followers who pray in His will.
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James in his letter rebukes those who doubt God when they pray.
As James 1:6 says:
James 1:6 ESV
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
So, when you lift up your prayers...
Remember the instructions found in John 14:13:
John 14:13 ESV
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
God will keep His promise for the sake of His own glory.
So, you can be confident...
You can be assured...
Both of your eternal salvation...
And that your prayers will be answered!

Closing Illustration

As this message comes to a close, I want to share this:
When children first start to color, they have two problems.
First, they might choose colors that are inappropriate.
Secondly, once the colors are chosen, they have a difficult time keeping the colors within the boundary lines.
As they mature and keep on coloring, they learn to keep within the guidelines and to choose the appropriate colors, resulting in a satisfying picture.
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As children of our Heavenly Father, our prayer life often resembles a child’s coloring.
At first, we don’t know what to pray for nor do our prayers stay within the guidelines of His will.
As we mature and continue praying, though, we pray for the right things and stay within His will, resulting in a satisfying prayer life.
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Beloved, keep this in mind and continue to grow in your prayer life...
Continue to seek His will and ask for the things that matter.
Ask for wisdom and discernment for He promises to give this to the one who genuinely asks.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you interpret the Scriptures.
Ask for opportunities to arise that will allow you to share the Gospel with someone.
Ask for strength and endurance as you go through trials and persecution.
Ask to better know His will that you can be more faithful in your prayers.
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To God be all the glory.
Amen.
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Please join us for one more song from the Praise Band.
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