Confident Prayers: I John 5:13-15

Confident Prayers: I John 5:13-15
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday May 22, 2022

Draft, Not Transcript

In John’s epistle today, we’ll see that the confidence found in our standing before God in Christ is the bedrock of the believer’s confident prayers. 
It is important to note that John writes about this confidence expressly to believers found in Christ, redeemed to God, who have Jesus as savior and Lord.
We’ll see John continue in his themes of confidence in Christ and in his theme following how that confidence plays out in the life of a believer.  As we read our text, a key to our proper understanding is knowing that God is timeless, perfect, Holy Loving, and awesome – and that we are not. 
He is Holy.  We are fallen.
He is love.  We love darkness over light.
He is timeless and eternal. We are time-bound.
The end game of life is not the amassment of things, nor simply gaining blessings from God, but rather teeters on the question of union with and submission to Him. We’ll see that the confidence found in our standing before God in Christ is the bedrock of confident prayers. 

1 John 5:13–15 (ESV) 
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Perhaps you’d rightly ask, where John says “these things” he looking to the preceding or following, things?  Great question.
Here is the key, from start to finish before this AND after this, John’s message is clear – a testimony of life in Christ, bears the fruit of, …you guessed it, life in Christ. 
Here are a few interesting points, John shifts to speaking directly to the reader.  In verse 13, he says, “I write these things to you” this is the first time he speaks in the first person singular since 2:26.  Also, this week I encourage you to read from here through the rest of the chapter, and you’ll find John carrying themes from this, our first (v13) through verse 21. 

1 John 2:26 (ESV)
26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.

1 John 5:13-21 (ESV)
That You May Know
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know 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, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

John’s aim is generally our assurance in the power of God to save in Christ.  Look at
John 20:31 (ESV)
31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
He is working to the same end in 1 John –
1 John 1:4 (ESV)
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
1 John 2:1 (ESV)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
And so, verse 13 is written to a specific group of people.  He limits his scope.  “to you who believe in the name of the son of God.” That is people who ALREADY believe.  1 John 5:13-15 is not an evangelistic text.  Its aim is not to excite the ungodly to salvation so that prayers will be heard.  Instead, the text is to those who have Christ as Lord and are unified to God in Him.  We’ve established that John’s audience has a heretical influence who had initially come from within their own number:
1 John 2:19 (ESV)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.  But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
And so, John writes these things to those who believe and are found in Christ so that they may KNOW they have eternal life.  It is because you CAN know that you have eternal life that you also then SHOULD know.  If the knowledge of your eternal life is attainable, it is then logical that you should attain that knowledge and a positive outcome.  It falls in line with the kind of logic Jesus used in
Matthew 7:11 (ESV)
11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
John will continue in V14.
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
John gives an encouraging outflow of knowing that being assured of your position in Christ before God provides confidence and specific confidence. 
We’ve heard a similar statement from John on being confident in prayer (two other times, confidence is with our standing in judgment – 1 John 2:28 and 1 John 4:17)

1 John 2:28 (ESV)
Children of God
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

1 John 4:17 (ESV)
17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
1 John 3:21–22 (ESV)
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22 and whatever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
Similarly, here – the confidence we have in verse 14 stems from our assurance and lets us be sure that our prayers are heard.  Scripturally we know that our prayers are subjected to the believer’s position before a sovereign trustworthy God, as Jesus demonstrates:
Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Trusting God to hear our prayers opens us up to praying – knowing the boundaries of God in prayer is encouraging.  Consider
Romans 8:26 (ESV)
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Jeremiah 29:11–13 (ESV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Does that mean that God’s plans for you are welfare and not evil, to give us a future and hope and that we can pray and he’ll hear us, and if we seek him, we’ll find Him if we seek with all our heart?
If you’re Jeremiah, it does.
Jeremiah was called as a young man (Jeremiah 1:6), and his ministry was through difficult/awful times.  His family turned on him (Jeremiah 1:8).  He was whipped, put in prison (Jeremiah 20:1-3), and jumped by a mob (Jeremiah 26:1-9), threatened by the order of the king directly to be locked up.  Jeremiah 36:26, arrested and beaten – accused and jailed (Jeremiah 37:1-15), and alone.  Jeremiah was not to marry (Jeremiah 16:2).  Now back to Jeremiah 29:11-13
Jeremiah 1:6-8 (ESV)
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,and whatever I command you, you shall speak.8 Do not be afraid of them,for I am with you to deliver you,declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 20:1-3 (ESV)
Jeremiah Persecuted by Pashhur
1 Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things.
2 Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord.
3 The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord does not call your name Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.

Jeremiah 26:1-9 (ESV)
Jeremiah Threatened with Death
1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord:
2 “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word.
3 It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.
4 You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you,
5 and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened,
6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.’”
7 The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.
8 And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die!
9 Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

Jeremiah 36:26 (ESV)
26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son and Seraiah the son of Azriel and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the Lord hid them.

Jeremiah 37:1-15 (ESV)
Jeremiah Warns Zedekiah
1 Zedekiah the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim.
2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.
3 King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray for us to the Lord our God.”
4 Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison.
5 The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet:
7 “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land.
8 And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. They shall capture it and burn it with fire.
9 Thus says the Lord, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away.
10 For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’”

Jeremiah Imprisoned

11 Now when the Chaldean army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army,
12 Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people.
13 When he was at the Benjamin Gate, a sentry there named Irijah the son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are deserting to the Chaldeans.”
14 And Jeremiah said, “It is a lie; I am not deserting to the Chaldeans.” But Irijah would not listen to him, and seized Jeremiah and brought him to the officials.
15 And the officials were enraged at Jeremiah, and they beat him and imprisoned him in the house of Jonathan the secretary, for it had been made a prison.

Jeremiah 16:2 (ESV)
2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.

Jeremiah 29:11–13
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
We see Jeremiah crying out in 15:10:
Jeremiah 15:10 (ESV)
10 Woe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land!  I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.
Jeremiah 15:18 (ESV)
18    Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
       Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?
Jeremiah was explicitly encouraged by God amid a rough time.  God encourages him that what felt like a life of purposeless suffering wasn’t purposeless.  And we see an enduring this principle; God is not detached from time-bound lives. 
We know that:
Psalm 115:3 (ESV)
  3    Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
1 Chronicles 29:11–12 (ESV)
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.  Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 
12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.  In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
And so also we have the council of
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
So, like Jeremiah, we can know that God’s will in and through our lives is being accomplished.  As John has encouraged us, as we have a testimony in Christ and abide/see the fruit, we’re continuously assured of our position before God, our life eternal, and trust that he hears our prayers. 
Knowing our prayers are heard encourages us to seek more diligently His Will.
1 John 5:15 (ESV)
15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
We know the will of God and ask inline for that and see that He’ll grant us His will.  And more than that, we know that he hears all our prayers – and so in times of trial as we pray, and like Paul with the thorn in the flesh, where that circumstance doesn’t change, we know that it was not aligned with God’s good and perfect Will. 
As revealed and demonstrated by the scripture, understanding God for who He is medicinal. 
·      We know and see God’s good and perfect Will across the council of the Bible. 
·      We see His Plan on lives like Jeremiah and like Paul. 
·      We see His faithfulness in Abraham and Joseph. 
·      We see and understand the book of Hosea. 
·      We see the truth of this life and everything that feels so important in it in Ecclesiastes and come to know that it is all vanity. 
We see the complete constant Word on life:
Job 14:1 (ESV)
“Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.
Psalm 39:5 (ESV)
  5    Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
       Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!  Selah
Psalm 144:4 (ESV)
  4    Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.
Proverbs 27:1 (ESV)
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Isaiah 38:12 (ESV)
12    My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd’s tent;
       like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
he cuts me off from the loom;
       from day to night you bring me to an end;
1 Peter 1:24 (ESV)
24 for
       “All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
       The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
James 4:14 (ESV)
14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Why did we read all of that for perspective? 
God is timeless, perfect, holy, loving, and awesome. 
We are Godless, fleeting, wicked, and self-centered.
If I bring my prayer to God, I can rest knowing He will grant that which is according to His will, and where he doesn’t give my prayer – rest knowing I’ve been heard and my timeless, perfect, holy, loving, and awesome God withheld my desire – I trust Him in that.

The scriptures help us step outside our time-constrained position and consider our timeless, perfect, Holy Loving, and awesome God.
He is Holy. We are fallen.
He is love. We are not.
He is timeless and eternal, we have an expiration date on this earth, and the end game of life is not the things of this life but the question of union and submission to God.

The confidence found in our standing before God in Christ is the bedrock of confident prayers.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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