Thursday, July 04, 2024

2024.07.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 5:14–15

Read 1 John 5:14–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What do we have (1 John 5:14)? In Whom? What does this confidence enable us to do? To ask according to what? What does He do? Who can know this (1 John 5:15)? About what requests? What can we know (in addition to that He hears us)? 

How can we pray confidently? 1 John 5:14–15 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that assurance of faith makes us sure that God hears us and answers us.

Confidence in Him. Those who know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13) have confidence not in themselves, but in Him (1 John 5:14). Their confidence is that God has done this. Assurance is not a confidence in ourselves, the doctrine upon which we have concluded, the obedience we have achieved, or the love we have cultivated. Assurance is confidence in God Himself and His grace by which He has worked in our lives.

Confidence that He hears. And if God has brought us into faith in His Son by His Spirit, then surely He hears us when we pray! This is one of the great practical applications of assurance: it gives us confidence in prayer. Not just that God hears prayer, but that He hears me, specifically, as I am praying. That His Spirit is the One Who is carrying me to pray. That I am received in His Son as I pray. That He is listening to me in Fatherly affection and care. This is something even greater than getting what we ask for: being heard by the living God, having fellowship with the living God.

Confidence to ask great things. The qualification “according to His will” governs 1 John 5:15 as well as 1 John 5:14. But there is a repeated idea that gets the emphasis: “ask anything” (verse 14) and its counterpart “whatever we ask” (1 John 5:15). God has willed great and glorious things. Asking according to His will, and knowing that God Himself has regard for one’s person and one’s prayers, means asking for great and glorious things.

Confidence that He answers. Finally, assurance gives us confidence not only that we are heard, but that God is answering. He was always going to do His will, of course. But assurance of faith brings us into the glorious confidence that when He does those things that we have asked, it is in actual response to our petitions. He has given us His Son so that we might have the privilege of actually obtaining things from Him through prayer!

How confident do you feel while praying? How much of that confidence is on God’s interaction with you, listening to you, as you pray? What sort of great/glorious things do you pray for? What have you obtained from God in prayer?

Sample prayer:  Lord, please grant unto us assurance of faith, and please grant that we would make good application of it in prayer. For, we confess that we have often disbelieved that You were listening, or were even unaffected by the idea that You listen. Forgive us for not asking according to Your will, and for restricting ourselves to small requests, when You have given us such a large invitation. Forgive us for the unbelieving suspicions that prayer does not actually obtain anything. For these sins, forgive us, and from these sins cleanse us, so that we might pray with assurance-sustained confidence by Your Spirit, through Your Son, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP5 “Listen to My Words, O LORD” or TPH518 “Come, My Soul, with Every Care”

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