As we come to the end of John’s first letter, we must remember his purpose in writing was to dispel false teachers who had begun to deceive the first century church.
John makes 22 statements of truth that he wants the readers to grasp throughout the letter, and in these final verses he makes five more claims of truth.
1: We can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).
If there was one verse that sums up the entire letter, this is it.
John tells his readers that you do not have to doubt your salvation.
The whole book revolves around belief, obedience and the love of God. Our feelings can deceive us, but faith in the truth of God’s word is what will sustain us. (See John 10:28–29).
2: We can know that God answers prayer (1 John 5:14-15).
We often turn to prayer when we have exhausted every available option and solution. But prayer should be the very first thing we should do when faced with life’s challenges.
R. A. Torrey said, “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is and all that God has is at the disposal of prayer. But we must use the key. Prayer can do anything that God can do and since God can do anything, prayer is omnipotent.”
John says, we come to God because we have confidence. Confidence ultimately stems from relationship.
Sadly, too many Christians are practical atheists. Let me explain, I often hear statements to the effect, “I know God can do anything”, and then they say, “but the reality is…”
It doesn’t matter what you say after that, that is the talk of a practical atheist. God is the ultimate reality and as we grow in our relationship with Him, we trust Him with our prayers.
Verse 14 continues, “…that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”. This is not an excuse for not persisting in prayer, rather we persist in prayer until we discern God’s will, and then we pray His will.
George Mueller said, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of God’s willingness.”
So how can we know God’s will? Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers and intercedes with us and for us. We can discern God’s will by reading God’s word and listening to the Spirit. Frequently we don’t know because we don’t wait on the Lord, we rush in and out of His presence before we let Him speak.
We need to know our position before God as we pray (see Ephesians 2:6 and Hebrews 4:16). As God’s children, do we come before the throne and approach Him as our perfect and loving Heavenly Father?
Prayer is the spiritual thermometer of our lives. It is an indicator of our relationship and trust of our Heavenly Father. It has been said that prayer to the Christian is like breathing for our physical bodies.
(For a detailed explanation of verse 16 and 17 please watch the sermon video)
3: We can know victory over sin (1 John 5:18).
There are three incredible statements in this verse, explaining how we can have victory over sin.
- As we know from 1 John 3, a Christian does not habitually sin. Unconfessed and ongoing sin is not a part of the life of a believer. If you sin habitually and don’t have a problem with it, are you born again?
- We have the promise of the protection from sin by Jesus the son of God. Jesus paid for our salvation, now in heaven, he maintains our salvation (see Jude 24).
- The final phrase of the verse, “and the evil one does not touch him.” Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the followers of Jesus, to grab us and do us harm, but because we are covered by the blood of Jesus, he cannot touch us.
4: We know we belong to God (1 John 5:19).
As followers of Jesus, we are not of this world. The world is under the power of Satan, and he for a time has the world tied in slavery. Satan is the one who deceives and blinds unbelievers. The war for the souls of mankind is very real. We must be alert and pray with a wartime mentality. Remember we have the amazing promise of 1 John 4:4.
5: We can know what is true (1 John 5:20).
John ends his letter the way he began, that Jesus is the Son of God. He uses the word, “true” three times. Jesus is really God and in him we have eternal life.
As Christians we live in reality, not the reality of the news media, education systems, science, or what people think to be true. Ultimate reality is found in the supernatural God who holds every atom in place.
A miracle is God breaking into the natural world and changing reality (see Matthew 6:10).
Then John adds a final sentence, almost a postscript, in verse 21 it can easily get glossed over, but it is crucial. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols”.
An idol is anything that you love, pursue, or enjoy more than God. We can easily make idols of things in our daily lives. It could be money, sport, relationships, education, or desire for recognition, the list is endless of things we can value more than God.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “The thing we serve is the thing we worship! Whatever controls our lives and “calls the signals” is our god.”
Idolatry is a subtle way that Satan uses to control us, and we find ourselves living for the unreal instead of the real.
What lie are you believing today? If God is speaking to you today about any of these truths that you have not believed, repent and allow the Holy Spirit to impress these truths into your heart.