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Lesson 10: Confidence *

Introduction: John tells us in 1 John 5:19 that "we know that we are children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the evil one." What kind of confidence can we have in such a setting: that we will continually be beaten up? That life will kick us around? Everyone wants to have something they can trust. Everyone wants someone or something that they can depend upon in difficult times. Is this desire destined to remain unfilled? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Confidence in Eternal Life

    1. Read 1 John 5:13. Of what can we be confident? (That if you believe in Jesus you have eternal life.)

      1. Read James 2:19. Are James and John in disagreement?

      2. What have we learned about John's two paths so far that might help us with this apparent dispute? (In our lessons so far we have learned we are on one of two paths, either the path of light or the path of darkness. The path of life leads to eternal life.)

      3. How can being on a path (meaning we are on the move) be reconciled with the certainty of salvation? (The only logical conclusion is that being ON the path of light means salvation. At the same time it is not just a matter of words, it is traveling on the path. Making progress on the path, however, is a post-salvation matter.)

    2. When I was a young man I believed that salvation was sort of a moment by moment thing. It was important to die at the right time(i.e., when you were behaving). I think I got this idea from my church and church school. Does your church teach what John says in 1 John 5:13? If not, why not?

      1. Is this the same as "once saved, always saved?" (Read 1 John 3:6. I think this closes the door to the idea that we make a decision once in our life and then live like we never made that decision. If you truly "know" Jesus, then you have a determination to live like it.)

      2. How would your attitude about life change if you knew that you had eternal life, and that no day to day ups and downs in the battle against sin would change that? (You would have confidence!)

  2. Confidence in Prayer

    1. Read 1 John 5:14-15. Will God hear all of our prayers? (It seems there is a condition.)

      1. If you have children, do you give them everything they ask? Do you give serious consideration to everything they ask?

      2. What does it mean to ask for something "according to His will?" (God is like mature parents, He is not promising to give us just anything we ask. He promises that He will "hear" (give serious consideration to) our requests that are within His will.)

      3. Is this a satisfactory outcome? Are you satisfied just to know that God hears your requests that accord with His will?

      4. Do your children ever claim they did not hear what you asked them to do? Does your spouse ever make that same claim?

        1. What is so important about knowing that your request was heard? (You know it is being considered.)

      5. What does 1 John 5:15 add to this? Are we promised more than a hearing?(John tells us that not only will we be heard, but that God will give us what is within His will.)

        1. Have you ever asked something that was obviously within God's will and He did not grant it? How do you explain that? (My only answer is that I'm not God. I trust His judgment about His own will over mine.)

    2. Read 1 John 5:16-17. Should you pray that God will forgive the sins of your loved ones? (Whatever this may mean, it at least means that something happens when we pray for those close to us who are sinning.)

      1. Are all kinds of sins referred to here? (No. John makes a distinction. I'm not sure what is that distinction (commentators differ), but it means at least some kinds of sins of others are vulnerable to our prayers.)

      2. Although my sins are enough to keep my prayer life occupied, in the past I have prayed that God would forgive the sins of my children. I made those prayers based on my hope of what these verses mean.

  3. Confident in Spiritual Warfare

    1. Read 1 John 5:18-19. When I think of being "safe," I think of not being run over by a truck. How does not sinning keep us "safe?"

      1. Recall the introduction where we considered verse 19 which says the whole world is under the control of Satan? What relationship is there between not sinning and not being harmed by the world? (Anyone who has engaged in serious sin understands that it brings harm to you.)

      2. If you normally discuss this lesson as part of a Bible study group, imagine that everyone in the group knew about every one of your sins. Would you be embarrassed? Would this harm your reputation?

      3. I will not go into details, but I know a fellow who was bright, highly educated, had a sunny personality, was handsome, and was a Christian teacher. Something happened between him and some teen-age girls that resulted in him being sentenced to serve 16 years in prison. He is currently in solitary confinement. Has harm occurred because of sin?

        1. What do you think Satan would like to do to you? Embarrass you? Imprison you?

          1. How do we protect ourselves from that? (If you are born of God, don't continue to sin. Sinning makes you vulnerable to Satan's attacks.)

    2. Read 1 John 5:20-21. What do you think you would decide if you were told "You can sin and spend 16 years in prison or you can refrain from sinning and be free?"

      1. Do you think this is how most people look at sin? (No.)

      2. What does 1 John 5:20 suggest about how those on the path of light look at sin? (Jesus gives us "understanding" of the big picture of sin and destruction. Jesus shows us that God loves us and wants to give us life. Jesus' experience shows us that the author of sin wants to torture us and kill us. Sin is not just a temporary pleasure, it is the road to torture and death. Jesus clarifies these issues.)

    3. Read John 5:21. Create a mental picture of this. Is John walking away and he turns around for a second and says "By the way, also steer clear of idols?" Is this just a stray thought? Or, is this connected to the rest of John's letter?

      1. What is an idol? (Something you depend upon instead of God.)

        1. If this is true, how is steering clear of idols connected with keeping safe? How is it connected with having confidence? (John has just said the whole world is under the control of Satan. If we are depending on our idols to keep us safe (an idol would include self-dependence) then we are in great danger. An idol is nothing. Only trust in Jesus gives us security in this hostile world.)

    4. Friend, the world is a dangerous place. You can exchange an attitude of fear for one of confidence. Confidence in your salvation, confidence in God listening to you, and confidence in the day-to-day battles against sin and suffering. Would you like an attitude change? God offers it to those who believe in Jesus.

  4. Next week: Important Themes in 1 John.
* Copr. 2009, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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