Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Monday’s Podcast. Last Friday, Tom brought us to the third chapter of 1 John and today we skip onto the final verses of chapter 5 and then into John’s second and third letter. Our theme for this week is ‘Godly Purpose’ – our reading today is 1John5:13-21 with a focus on vv13-14 as we consider the topic of ‘confidence.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God.
Tricia and I have three children, all now grown up with children of their own. We love our children and their partners and our six grandchildren – we have need been so blessed! We have tried to show that love in various ways over the years but primarily by our prayers and actions to help our children know they are loved, be confident in who they are and excited about their future lives. John is saying here in today’s reading that God, as our Heavenly Father wants us to be confident about our lives and our future. Three brief truths about confidence to reflect on as we begin this week.
Confidence …. in our faith. Can you remember the day you became a Christian? The day you decided to put your faith in Jesus Christ? In that very moment you were ‘born of God’ (v.1) and received ‘eternal life’ (v.12). We can be absolutely confident of this. John tells us that this is the purpose of his letter: ‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life’ (v.13). Hallelujah!
Alpha is an introduction to the truths of the Christian faith and over 24 million people have experienced Alpha worldwide. A key moment on Alpha is when guests receive the Holy Spirit and experience the reality of a new relationship with God and an assurance of his love for them. In that moment their faith is confirmed and they receive a new confidence in life. This was my experience many years ago when I invited Jesus into my life – in that moment I knew he was real, this faith was real and his Holy Spirit would be with me always to guide me through life.
Confidence … in our future. John talks about the ‘true God’ in these verses and Christians believe that Jesus is the ‘true God’ – to deny this is to deny God himself. When John talks about ‘eternal life’ he talks not about some ethereal spiritual existence – sitting on clouds playing harps as the often popular image goes – but a new reality in the here and now. Jesus brings a heavenly future into our earthly present and offers a new Godly purpose to our lives, a purpose that makes a difference and changes society for the better one kindness, one generous act at a time.
There was conflict in John’s time between those who embraced this new radical reality brought by Jesus and those wanting to keep the old reality of religion – the same conflict exists today. Jesus said you cannot put new wine, his new reality, into the old wine skins of irrelevant religion – it just doesn’t work, unfortunately the church still tries to do this. A fresh coat of ‘religious paint’ or a ‘church planting’ rebrand doesn’t really change things – what is needed is a radical inner change. We have gone beyond church doing things ‘better’, we need to do things ‘differently’. The Hillsong music worship song ‘New Wine’ has had such an impact since its release a few years ago and we love singing it in our Sunday Gatherings here at STC! – I love the truth in the refrain which says ‘Jesus bring new wine out of me’. Why not listen to it this week?
Confidence… in our Father. We need this confidence in today’s often topsy-turvey world and particularly in the crazy days we are living through at the moment … knowing that my relationship with God will grow as I worship him, read about him in the Bible and pray to him – that’s why these Podcasts are so vital if we are to grow as disciples so pass the link on to someone! John says this in vv14-15:
‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him’
When we ask for things in prayer there are generally three answers; firstly, ‘yes’ – we can be confident as we remember to say our thank you to God! (never forget to say thank you!). Secondly, ‘no’ – we can be confident that what we have asked for is probably not good for us and we need to trust that God has something better in mind. Thirdly, ‘wait’ – this is always a challenge in a ‘I want it now’ culture’ but we can be confident that ‘wait’ builds our patience and deepens our faith in God. Waiting is good for us!
As we reflect this week on the Lord’s ‘Godly Purpose’ for our lives we know that this day we can receive Confidence … in our faith, our future and our Father.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus. For sending him to be our saviour, our rescuer. Thank you that in Jesus we find our purpose and our future. Help me to remember this as I step into this day and this wonderful week. Amen
BIBLE READING: 1 John 5:13-21 (NIV)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.
If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also 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 by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.