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I John. How Can We Have Knowledge of Salvation?. American Church and the doctrine of assurance. Prayed a sinner’s prayer Asked Jesus into my heart Baptized. Must acknowledge sin Implies intimate relationship Should obediently follow Christ through baptism.

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i john

I John

How Can We Have Knowledge of Salvation?

american church and the doctrine of assurance
American Church and the doctrine of assurance

Prayed a sinner’s prayer

Asked Jesus into my heart


Must acknowledge sin

Implies intimate relationship

Should obediently follow Christ through baptism

john s understanding of assurance
John’s Understanding of Assurance
  • Though there is some truth in each of the popular expressions of assurance, none of them are sufficient for one to have assurance.
  • Fortunately, 1 John can help us correct some of the common misconceptions regarding assurance and give us a picture of what the Christian life may look like.
purpose of 1 john
Purpose of 1 John
  • In John’s gospel, he gives the purpose for his writing near the end of the book.

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” –John 20:30-31 (ESV)

purpose of 1 john1
Purpose of 1 John
  • John uses a similar approach in his letter, placing his purpose for writing near the end of the work, in language very similar to his gospel.

“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.” –1 John 5:13 (ESV)

  • Whereas the purpose of his gospel was so that they might believe, his letter is to those who believe so that they might know they have eternal life.
evidence of assurance in 1 john
Evidence of Assurance in 1 John

1 John 2:5-6 (ESV) [Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; 1 Thes. 2:12]

--“By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

1 John 4:13 (ESV) [Rom. 8:16]

--“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

1 John 4:15 (ESV) [Rom. 10:9-10]

--“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

1 john 5 1 5
1 John 5:1-5
  • In 1 John 5:1-5, John gives three more evidences of assurance that build upon one another and serve to draw all of the other statements of assurance together.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (ESV)

john s teaching on assurance
John’s Teaching on Assurance
  • Salvation is to those who believe that Jesus is the Christ (v. 1a).
  • We know that we love the Father and believe that Jesus is the Christ because we love God’s people (v. 1b).
  • We know that we love God’s people because we obey his commandments and they are not burdensome (v. 2-3).

*By way of summary, John then says that whoever overcomes the world has been born of God, and we know we have overcome the world by our faith (v. 4-5).

john s teaching on assurance1
John’s Teaching on Assurance
  • John’s teaching in this passage is similar to how Jesus links obedience to commandments and love for one another in John 15:8-17.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 ”This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you... 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (ESV).

  • Joyfully serving the Lord expresses an attitude that we have acknowledged Christ’s rightful place as Lord and King. When we recognize and submit to this truth, we find that his commandments are not burdensome, but a joy to obey.
  • How might we love one another?

1. Attend small groups and equipping hour.

2. Find ways to serve in the church (Souper Sunday, greeting, teaching children, etc.).

3. Pray for and with one another.

is this you
Is this you?
  • The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:5-- “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (ESV).
  • In light of John’s teaching, do you pass the test? Does your life exhibit the qualities that John talks about? Do your faith in Christ, your love for one another, and your joy in obeying Christ’s commands show that you have eternal life?
  • Yet for most of you, we can say with the author of Hebrews that “in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation” –Hebrews 6:9 (ESV)
  • For you, John’s words should be an encouragement. By the power of the Holy Spirit, John has given us assurance and knowledge that we have eternal life.
final words
Final Words
  • John concludes his letter with words appropriate to all of us who believe:

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

20And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” –1 John 5:18-21 (ESV)