A. In this last chapter, we are given assurances of faith for a world of doubt

1. It is a necessary word for those who must live their lives and defend their faith in a hostile world

2. The basis of assurance is faith and faith is both something to believe and something to live

B. Man"s History is one of Doubt and Unbelief

I. John's world was one of Doubt, saturated with superstition, cruelties and inequalities

2. It was a world opposed to the Gospel of Christ

a. in all its cities, the disciples met opposition, ridicule, criticism, persecution and sometimes even death

b. every branch of human thought - religion, politics and philosophy - all were hostile to the faith of Christ

3. It is still to this day a world of doubt

a. science, education, philosophy, religion all combine to oppose the faith of Jesus Christ

b. the present world has respect for the generalities of Christianity but regarding the essentials there is still skepticism and doubt

C. For such a world, there is an assurance of faith

1. Seven times in this epistle, John uses the words "we know". John Knew and we can too

2. We need not be religiously vague - we can be spiritually certain

3. We need not qualify our faith by saying "I suppose" but God gives to trusting faith the certainty of I KNOW

D. The assurance of faith takes ~ forms

II. It gives the Assurance of Eternal Life (5:13)

A. This assurance is neither mystical or emotional, it is rational

1. It is visible and invisible - it is within and without

2. Within is the Holy Spirit who bores witness with our spirit that we are children of God

3. Without are the evidences of love, righteousness and all the attitudes of a changed life

B. This knowing faith is the result of a saving faith

1. It is first an experience and then a conviction

2. We come to this conviction because of several things

C. Because of a Settled Sin Question (I John 1:7-10)

1. If one wants to know whether a bill is paid he does not need to search his conscience for a comfortable feeling. What he needs to do is to find the receipted bill which is stamped "Paid in full."

a. the sin bill has been paid in full and if we have fulfilled the condition of the confession of sins God has forgiven and cleansed us

from those sins. (Col 2:13-14)

b. it is receipted by the fact that God is faithful and just. It is a settled and finished fact for John writes, "I write you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake? (2:12).

2. Because we keep His Commandments (I John 2:4-5)

a. this is a ground of assurance because it is advanced as an evidence of our new life (2:5)

3. Because we love our brothers (I John 3:14)

a. love is a proof of life

b. this love is directed toward the family of God because often many in that family are not to our liking.

4. Because of the Word of God (I John 5:1)

a. God promises to save those who commit them selves to His Son (5:11-13)

b. God commits Himself and His resources to those who commit themselves to Him

III. The Assurance of the Power of Prayer (I John 5:14-15)

A. Three things are said about Prayer

B. Prayer Demonstrates a Conviction

1. It is a result of our confidence in Him and His ability to answer us

2. The word "confidence" means "boldness" or more literally "free speech"

a. it enables us to express ourselves in God's presence without misgiving or fear

b. it is complete assurance in the divine presence

c. we may not understand it but it does not lessen our confidence which is "in Him"

C. Thomas Edison wrote in 1921:

1.We do not know the millionth part of one percent about anything. We do not know what water is. We do not know what light is.

a. we do not know what gravitation is. We do not know what enables us to keep our feet when we stand up. We do not know what electricity is

b. We do not know what heat is. We do not know anything about magnetism. We have a lot of hypotheses about these things, but that is all

C. But we do not let our ignorance about these things deprive us of their use.

2. We may not know what prayer is or how it works but we do know it is the divinely appointed means of contact with God

D. Prayer has a condition - If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.

1. First of all, notice that we are to ask

a. we are not to suppose that God knows all and will take care of everything

b. He requires us to ask. We must ask before He will answer

2. One step further, He has not promised to answer merely because we have asked

a. we must ask, "according to His will"

b. it is according to His will when it is according to His Word

c. these are the two conditions we must meet if we are to receive our requests from God

E. Prayer Brings a Conclusion (5:15)

1. Prayer ends by bringing us the things desired and asked for

2. As a matter of faith, we have them the moment we ask

3. As a matter of fact, the answer may be long in coming. But when it comes, it is all the sweeter.

F. This is the assurance with which we are left to live life at it's best

1. It is the means of maintaining life at its best