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Love as a Sign of Life - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24


Well, I think we can all say in light of the events of the last several weeks, we are more sad than ever to see the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign. I was reminded this week of a story that happened back a number of years ago. After Queen Elizabeth's death, Richard Griffin, one of her former bodyguards, related the story of events that happened while the Queen was enjoying a picnic, actually, near her Royal Scottish castle at Balmoral. She was doing what you and I do, enjoying the beauty of God's creation, enjoying a little good food as she did that. And in the midst of that, two hikers, as it turns out from the United States, approached her, and one of them asked where she was from. She said she lived in London but had often visited that area for the past eighty years. One of the hikers, this is a true story now. One of the hikers then asked if she had ever met the Queen. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth had a great sense of humor and in jest, she said, “No, she hadn't met her,” but she pointed to her bodyguard, and said, “But he meets with her often.” So, the American immediately asked Griffin, the bodyguard, about the Queen and about her personality. And he played along and said that the Queen was cantankerous at times, but had a great sense of humor.

After this conversation, the tourist handed his camera to the Queen and asked her to take a picture of him with her bodyguard. The bodyguard eventually, in this process, managed also to snap a picture of these tourists with the queen. Later, Queen Elizabeth told this bodyguard, and he related it after her death, that she would love to have been there when these tourists showed the pictures to their friends in the U.S., and somebody recognized her and discovered that, in fact, it was the Queen. Put yourself, for a moment, in the place of those hikers not knowing who the Queen was. Imagine how relaxed and effortless that conversation was. And then imagine, for a moment, that you had known who it was, or you had discovered, in the moment, that rather than answering in jest, she had said, “I am the Queen.” Imagine how much less relaxed those hikers in their conversation would have become if they'd known who they really were talking to.

As I thought about that, I was reminded of the fact that when you and I pray, we are not talking to some human monarch, we are talking to the King of the universe. But at the same time, the Apostle John wants us to know and understand the passage we come to this morning, that even though he is the King of everything, we can still come before Him with confidence.

We're studying the second movement in 1 John with its three tests of eternal life. We find ourselves in chapter 3, verses 11 to 24, studying the second test of eternal life. And the message of this section is that true Christians are no longer filled with hate but are marked by genuine love for one another. This is one of the three tests, “Do you love God and love His people?” Now in these verses, John presents several crucial conclusions about how love or its absence confirms the true condition of a professing Christian’s heart. If you want to know whether or not you're a Christian, if you really are serious about knowing, “Do I belong to Christ? Am I His? Then here's one of the ways you can know; look at your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now, as we've watched this passage unfold, we've so far seen several conclusions that he draws about love and its relationship to our profession. First of all, in verse 11, we've learned that love for other believers is “Required by the Lord's Command.” At its most basic level, our Lord again and again said, “Love one another; love one another.” Secondly, we discovered that it's “Absent from the Unbeliever’s Heart,” verses 12 and 13, evidenced by the example of Cain. At the very beginning, Cain, an unbeliever, hated his brother Abel, a believer. And in the same way, love for believers because they are believers is completely absent from the heart of those who don't know the Lord. Thirdly, we learned that loving other believers is “Crucial for a Believer’s Self-examination,” in verses 14 to 18. This is one of the tests, one of three tests to know whether or not you have eternal life.

Last week, we began considering John's fourth and final conclusion about how love or its absence confirms the true condition of the professing Christian’s heart. We learned that love for other believers is “Essential to the Believer’s Assurance.” That's the message of verses 19 through 24, let's read it again. Back in our text, 1 John, chapter 3, let me read verses 19 to 24.

We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Now, last week, we noted the first two verses of the section, verses 19 and 20, that “Loving Others Produces Assurance of Salvation.” How does that work? Well, the first part of verse 19, we discovered that, “Love Provides Objective Proof of Salvation,” we will know by this, that is by our loving other believers, that we are of the truth, that we’re true Christians. And then we discovered that “Love Also Provides a Practical Tool for Assurance,” the second half of verse 19 and verse 20.

In other words, we can look at our love for other Christians, and we can gain from that assurance. How does that work? Well, the end of verse 19 says, we use it to “…assure our hearts;” we use the knowledge of our genuine love for other Christians, that ‘practical boots on the ground’ care for one another that we've discovered in this passage; when we see that, we can assure our heart. When do we do that? The beginning of verse 20, whenever “…our heart condemns us.” And why do we do this? Why does love provide a practical tool for assurance? It's because God knows more than our hearts; He knows all things, and this is the standard that He Himself has established. Now, that's where we ended last time.

Today, John advances his argument. Not only is it true that loving others produces assurance of salvation, that's the message of verses 19 and 20; but secondly, today we discover in verses 21 and 22, that that “Assurance then Produces Confidence in Prayer,” that assurance produces confidence in prayer. With verse 21, John transitions from the common experience that believers have of a condemning heart to the confidence that comes when our hearts are at rest.

Now, he begins then, by describing “The Believer’s Assurance,” and he does so negatively at the beginning of verse 21. Look at what he says, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us.” “Beloved,” of course, is his common expression; I think he means both that he loves those to whom he writes, but I think he's also reminding them that God loves them as well, and us. And he says, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us.” Now, don't misunderstand that. You might read that and wrongly conclude that some Christians’ hearts condemned them, that's verse 21, and other Christian’s hearts don't condemn them, that's verse 22. That is not what John is saying! What he means is that every Christian experiences a heart from time to time that condemns him or her because of our sinfulness. Notice the words “our” and “us.” This is a common Christian experience. But whenever our hearts do condemn us, we are to use the tests in 1 John to legitimately assure our hearts. In fact, it's our duty. The end of verse 19 is an implied command, “…we…will assure our hearts before Him,” we'll use these tests of eternal life to assure our hearts.

Our Lord essentially expects and commands us to use the test of love for other Christians, along with the other two tests in 1 John, a test of believing in the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel, and obeying Jesus and His commands. Put those three together, and when we look at those tests, and we look at our lives, if we pass those tests, not perfectly, but consistently, characteristically, then we can assure or speak peace to our hearts when they condemn us. This isn't a pretend kind of assurance. We're going to talk, Lord willing next Sunday, I'll talk about some of the wrong ways Christians try to assure their hearts that they're really believers. This isn't a wrong way; this isn't a humanly fabricated way. This is what God the Holy Spirit has given us to talk to our hearts and assure our hearts when they condemn us, these three great tests of eternal life.

So, our Lord commands us to use these tests to speak peace to our hearts; and when we do that, then our hearts stop condemning us, and that's what he's talking about at the beginning of verse 21, when “…our hearts…condemn us,” we use the test, we speak peace to our hearts, we assure our hearts with God's own assurance, and then our hearts stop condemning us.

Now, not having your heart condemn you is wonderful enough, but when we assure our hearts and for at least a time, they no longer condemn us, this isn't a once for all thing. This isn't something you do once in your life and it's done. This is something that every time, in a very real sense or often when you sin, your heart condemns you. You confess that sin, but you're still left with an unsettledness. What do you do? You come back to the tests that our Lord Himself gave us. Are you believing in the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel? Are you obeying Jesus Christ and His Word? And are you loving God and His people? And when those things are true, you can assure your heart! And when you do that, there are two amazing results.

First of all, “You have confidence toward God,” you have confidence toward God, verse 21 then, “…if our hearts do not condemn us,” if we assure our hearts with these tests, if we calm our hearts because we understand that we're really His, then we have confidence before God. Literally, the Greek text says, “We are having confidence,” it is a continual reality. And again, I don't mean that it's never broken again, but for the time, it is continual.

Now the Greek word for ‘confidence’ here, is used in two ways. It's a very interesting word. It can refer ‘to speech that conceals nothing, outspokenness, frankness, openness, plainness.’ Secondly, it can also speak of ‘a state of boldness or confidence, fearlessness,’ especially in the presence of persons of high rank. It's this second sense that John means here because we have this confidence before God, literally “toward God,” or “with God,” the Greek text says. It pictures confidence to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him as our Father that allows us to speak openly, respectfully yes, we never lose sight of, you know, our God is in the heavens, but we remind ourselves as well that He is “our Father which is in heaven.” It's that balance of awe and intimacy. We can speak openly with God as our Father.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I, as you probably have been saddened and frankly appalled by the ungracious, blunt, and even disrespectful way that Prince Harry speaks about and to King Charles, his father, as it was leaked from his book over this last week. However, as Charles’ son, he has the right never to speak disrespectfully, that's forbidden from all children by the Scripture, but to speak openly, to speak openly to him and with him. Compare that with how you and I would speak to King Charles if we met him. He's the king. If we were British subjects and we were under the king, we would speak to him in one way, but it wouldn't be as his son.

When we have assurance that we have been saved, when we have assurance that we are the sons and daughters of God, that He is our Father and that He loves us, we have both the right and confidence to speak freely in God's presence. We don't have the right to speak disrespectfully to Him; we don't have the right to attack God, to impugn or question His motives or His character. We don't have the right to demand things of God. He is “our Father who is in heaven.” But we do have both the right and the privilege to speak openly, with boldness, with confidence, because we know we're His children, and He loves us. And God wants us, as His children, to have that confidence.

I mean, think about how often this is stated in Scripture. Back in chapter 2, verse 28, He wants us to have confidence at Jesus’ Second Coming. In chapter 4, verse 17, He wants us to have confidence at the judgment, we’ll look at that text, it's such a wonderful text. And here in chapter 3, verse 22, He wants us to have confidence in prayer, right now! It’s like Ephesians 3:12, in Jesus Christ our Lord, “…we have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Him (Jesus.) Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Again, you see that balance, with confidence, receive grace, but after all it is a throne. It's that balance of awe and intimacy that's our right response to God, our Creator and Redeemer.

I like the way Lloyd-Jones puts it. He says, “Assured of my sonship, I know that God delights in me!” Just stop and think about that for a moment, “Assured of my sonship, I know that God delights in me, I know He is ready, willing, and waiting to grant me everything that is for my good.” So, when our hearts don't condemn us because we have assured them using John's tests, we have confidence before God in prayer, you can come with openness, with boldness, not with disrespect, not demanding, but with confidence, not shrinking away in fear and terror because He's your Father. Yes, He's the King of the universe, and He is your Father.

But there's a second amazing result here in our text., and it’s “Answers to Prayer,” answers to prayer. Confidence before God, yes, but answers to prayer. Verse 22, says, “and (Here's another result.) whatever we ask we receive from Him.” D. Edmond Hiebert says, “As God's children who are conscious of our acceptance before our Heavenly Father, it is our privilege freely to ask of Him.” And notice “whatever;” that leaves the content of our prayers entirely unrestricted. Again, literally the text says, “Whatever we are asking, we are receiving from Him.” That is the Christian’s habitual experience. God responds to the prayers of His children; this is our confidence. I love Psalm 65:2 where God essentially is called, “…You who hear prayer.” That's a name for God, “You who hear prayer.” He is the God who hears!

Turn with me to Psalm 34; this is one of my favorite passages on this front. Psalm 34, and look at verse 15:

The eyes of the LORD (Yahweh) are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth. (But notice verse 17.)
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears…

If you are righteous with the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, and if the Holy Spirit, by regeneration and sanctification, has begun to produce real righteousness in you, proving that you're truly His, then when you cry, the LORD hears. Remind yourself of that, because you know, there are times when we just don't feel that way, right? We don't feel like God is hearing. Well, remind yourself of His promise, “When the righteous cry, the Lord hears,” He hears! Verse 17 goes on to say, “…And delivers them out of all their troubles.” Verse 18, “The LORD (Yahweh), is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God graciously treats us as His dearly loved children, and day after day, He hears our prayers, giving us what we need. I'm thinking of myself, even the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of specific prayer requests I have made of God, and God has graciously responded to them in answer. And if you're a Christian, you have seen God respond in answer to your requests.

However, there are some conditions for this answered prayer. Jackman puts it this way in his commentary:

But these great promises about prayer do not give us a sort of a carte blanche to get everything we want from God. This would make God indulgent, but hardly loving. No father gives his child everything the child wants.

Why? Because we love them, and we understand that some of what they ask is not helpful; It's harmful. So answered prayer then depends on our meeting, and this is verse 22, “The Indispensable Conditions,” the indispensable conditions.

Now, before we look at verse 22, let me step away from our text and just remind you that throughout the Scripture, God places a number of conditions on answering our prayers. I'm not going to spend any time here, let me just give you the list, and you can meditate and think on this. First of all, if God's going to answer your prayer, you “Have to have faith in God; that is faith in His faithfulness to keep His promises in His Word, and in His power to do what He hasn't promised if He chooses.” In other words, faith is both taking God at His Word, and it's believing that if He chooses, He can do what He hasn't promised in His Word and asking Him to do it while not demanding it of Him. Matthew 21:22, “…all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” In Mark 11, verse 22, Jesus said to them:

“Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast in the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, (By the way, that's a figure of speech. It doesn't mean you can really move mountains; even Jesus, when He was on the earth didn't do that. He's saying, “You believe and even what seems impossible can be done.”), …it will be granted to him. Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”

You have to believe in God and His faithfulness and His power.

Secondly, you have to “Be forgiven of your own sins and have a spirit of forgiveness toward others.” Mark 11:25, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” And men, God says to us through the Apostle Peter in his letter, that if we aren't treating our wives with honor and respect, if we aren't listening to them, God's not listening to us. So, we have to be forgiven, have a spirit of forgiveness, be responding as we ought.

Number three, “Ask.” Matthew 7, verses 7 and 8, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

By the way, those three different verbs have slight nuances of difference. ‘Ask,’ implies belief in a personal God who hears and answers our request. ‘Seek,’ I think means that there are times when we just come to God seeking His help, and we don't even know what to ask. And ‘knock’ reminds us that like the neighbor in Jesus’ parable, you remember, whose guests come in at night, and he has nothing to give them, and he goes and knocks on his neighbor's door and asking for food, and his neighbor’s already in bed. ‘Knock,’ reminds us that like that neighbor, when we have a need, and we knock in prayer on God's door, He'll open the door and meet our need. James 4:2, “…You do not have because you do not ask.”

Number four, “Keep asking with patience.” It's interesting in Matthew 7, the Greek text literally says, “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.” In Luke 18, you remember there's the widow with the unjust judge and she keeps coming and keeps asking and eventually he gives her what she wants. And the point of Jesus’ parable is this, God is not like that unjust judge; He delights to help His people. But at times for His own purposes and for our good, we have to persist in asking.

Number five, “Don't ask with the wrong motives to consume it on your pleasure.” James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Number six, “Believe in Jesus and ask it in His name.” John 14:13 and 14:

Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do...If you ask…anything in My name, I will do it.

John 16:23, “…Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” What does that mean to ask in His name? William Hendriksen writes, “To ask in Jesus’ name is to ask in a harmony with all that Jesus has revealed concerning Himself and resting on His merits.”

Number seven, “Delight yourself in God and seek His glory.” Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Number eight, “Ask according to God's revealed will in His Word.” Turn over to 1 John, look at 1 John 5, verse 14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will (That is His revealed will, what's in the Scripture.), He hears us.” You know what? I practice this all the time; this morning I was praying as I was at home in my office, and I get up early on Sunday mornings, and I walk through my notes, and I'm praying that the Lord would use His Word in my heart and yours, and when I ask Him to use the gifts He's given me and to use His Word for the spiritual growth of His people, I ask that knowing that's His will, and I know he'll do it. And you can ask whatever you ask that's revealed in Scripture as clearly is His will and know that you will receive it.

And number nine, “Ask in submission to God's wisdom and sovereign will.” We learn this from Jesus’ Prayer in Gethsemane, Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” That's how we come. We come, if it's not clearly revealed in the Word of God, if it's something we're asking Him that's not promised us in Scripture, we come with a humble, submissive spirit that says, “Here's what I would like you to do God, but I submit my will to yours; You do what you think is best.” Those are the biblical conditions for answered prayer.

Now, if I had to summarize those conditions, I would say let's look at 1 John, chapter 3, and that brings us back to our text where John really summarizes those conditions into a very convenient form. If we are believers, it starts there, I'll talk about that in a moment, God is under no obligation to hear the prayers of unbelievers; but if we are believers, there are only two conditions in our text here that must be met for God to answer our prayers. It's a great summary of that survey I just gave you.

First of all, “Obeying What He Commands,” obeying what He commands. Look at verse 22, “…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because (Here's the reason.) we keep His commandments.” Now “keeping” or “keep” is in the present tense, keep. This isn't our perfect pattern; doesn't mean you keep them perfectly, but it is your consistent pattern, you are keeping God's commands. In other words, you make conscious decisions and efforts to obey God's explicit commands in the Scripture. Is that what you want to do, is that what you've decided to do, is that what you make an effort to do, to obey God's commands in the Scripture? That's what He's saying here. And God answers our prayers, “…because we keep His commandments.” It's the condition. Now don't misunderstand the relationship. It's so easy to get off track here. Obedience doesn't earn God's answer, okay? It's a condition, not the ground or merit. John Stott puts it this way, “Obedience is the indispensable condition, not the meritorious cause of answered prayer.”

Let me give you a couple of examples. First of all, let me just say that I'm not in any way endorsing this, but as an example, the condition of winning the lottery is having the right ticket. But that right ticket doesn't earn you the money, if you have the right ticket. It's merely the condition. Let me use maybe a better illustration. The condition for receiving an inheritance from a distant relative is being related physically; but being related physically to that person doesn't earn that inheritance. It's merely the condition. In the same way, obedience is the condition God has established for answered prayer, but our obedience doesn't earn those answers. It's the condition. Why? Why does God make obedience a condition of answered prayer? Because it shows we're truly His children, first of all. Look back at chapter 2, verse 3, “By this, we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” So, keeping His commandments shows that we're truly Christians.

You see, God is under no obligation to hear the prayers of unbelievers. If you're here this morning, and you have not repented of your sins and believed in Jesus Christ, maybe you think you're praying, and maybe you think God's listening, but He doesn't, He's not. Here's what He says, Proverbs 28:9, “He who turns away his ear from listening to the (God's) law, Even his prayer is an abomination (to God).” Your prayers aren't a good thing. Your prayers stink in the nostrils of God because you want things from Him without obeying Him, without doing what He's commanded, without coming to Him His way through His Son. 1 Peter 3:12:


If you're here this morning, I plead with you to go back to 2 Corinthians 5; I read in our scripture reading earlier and remind yourself that God is pleading with you to be reconciled to Him. But before you turn in repentance and plead for that reconciliation, He is not listening to you. So, I plead with you this morning to cry out for forgiveness to your Creator, be reconciled to God, through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.

As believers, obeying God's commands is a condition of His hearing and answering our prayers because He knows it's for our spiritual good. Listen to Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” John 15:7, Jesus says, if you abide (Continue to believe.) in Me, and My words abide in you (That is, you obey My words.), ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” So, obeying His commands is a condition of answers to prayer.

A second condition of answered prayer in our text is, “Doing What Pleases Him.” Look at verse 22, “…and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” Now, this is not just a restatement of the first part of that verse but adds a further point. How does this add? Doing what pleases Him implies you're doing it with the right motive. You see, you can obey God's commands for all the wrong reasons; just reread the Gospels and note the Pharisees. They did what they did, I mean, they sought to obey God, but their motive was entirely selfish and self-centered. Jesus said in Matthew 23:5, “…they do all their deeds to be noticed by men.” The point is that obedience has to come from a heart that desires, above everything else, to please Him because it loves him.

Secondly, this idea of doing what pleases Him not only speaks to motive, but it also goes beyond the specific scriptural commands that are His commands to obey, and it covers all of those other decisions that are not commanded chapter and verse. Notice verse 22, we “…do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” Again, D. Edmond Hiebert. I think is on point when he writes this, “The believer often faces situations in his own life which may not be covered by a specific commandment, but his love prompts him to act in ways he knows would be pleasing to the Lord.”

So, you obey His commands and even when there isn't a command, your next question is, “What would please Him? What would please Him?” That’s how our Lord lived? In John 8, verse 29, Jesus said, “…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” And it's how we are to live. Ephesians 5:10, we are supposed to be learning “what is pleasing to the Lord.” 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 9, “…we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent (whether we're here in the body or whether we're in Heaven), to be pleasing to Him.” Colossians 1:9 and 10:

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will (That is in His Word.) in all spiritual…understanding, (and) that you (may) walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.

But how can we do what's pleasing to Him? Even That's grace! I love the way it's put in Hebrews, chapter 13, verses 20 and 21. Listen to this:

Now the God of peace…equip you in every good thing to do His will, (Listen to this. He works.) in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.

That's how it happens. The only reason I have a desire to do what pleases Him, and the only reason that I do, at times do what pleases Him, is because He's at work in my heart to accomplish that. God works in and through His Word and Spirit in us. He works that which is pleasing in His sight.

Now, how does this relate to prayer and answered prayer? Think about this. If you want to please the Lord above all things because you love Him, how will you pray about everything? If you really long above everything else to please God, and to do the things that please Him, you will pray, “God, here's what I'm asking you to do, but beyond my request, please do what would most please you.” No wonder God answers that prayer. God always answers that prayer. When you pray like that, you'll pray like our Lord did in the Garden, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Above all, Jesus wanted the Father's will to be done, and that's how He prayed. And God answered Jesus’ prayer for our everlasting good. It's, in fact, God's answer to Jesus’ Prayer that the Father would do what pleased Him that we celebrate in the Lord's table. Take a moment and prepare your heart as the men come to serve us.

Our Father, thank You that we can come before You because we know we’re Your children because we believe in Your Son, because we obey Your Son and His Word, and because we love You and love Your people. Father, thank You that when we pass those tests, not perfectly, but as the tone and direction of our lives, we can assure our hearts before You. We can preach those truths to ourselves and take comfort that we really are Yours. And thank you, oh, God, that as a result of that, we have confidence before You to speak openly, to lay out our requests before You. And, Father, thank You that You hear and answer those prayer requests because we keep Your commandments; and above everything else, even in what we ask, we want to please You because we love You.

And now, Father, as we come to take of the Lord's Table, I pray that You would cleanse our hearts. Lord, for all of us who have repented and believed in Your Son, thank You that You've given us this way to remember Him. But, Lord, we want You to forgive us. Lord, You have forgiven us as our judge; the gavel has permanently once-and-for-all come down at the moment of our salvation, and You've declared us forgiven in that sense, and we’ll never need to go through that again. But Father, as Your children now, those sins we bring to You, not to seek justification again, but to seek cleansing from You, our Father, against whom we've sinned. Father, I pray that You would cleanse us, forgive us, and allow us to take of the Lord's Table in a way that honors His sacrifice. Lord, give us a new and fresh commitment and resolve to keep His commandments, to keep Your commandments, and to do what's pleasing in Your sight. So, Father, we offer this as an act of worship from clean hearts because You have forgiven us. Exalt Your Son in this beautiful picture of what He has done for us. We pray it in His name, Amen.


Love as a Sign of Life - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

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Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27

It Matters What You Believe - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27

It Matters What You Believe - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27

The Christian's DNA - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3

The Christian's DNA - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3

The Christian's DNA - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3

The Christian's DNA - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3

The Christian's DNA - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3

Oil & Water

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:4-6

Researching Your Spiritual Ancestry - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:7-10

Researching Your Spiritual Ancestry - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:7-10

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Love As a Sign of Life - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6

This Is Love - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21

This Is Love - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21

This Is Love - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21

This Is Love - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21

This Is Love - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21

The Nature of Saving Faith

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-15

Real Christians & Deep Fakes - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21

Real Christians & Deep Fakes - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21

Real Christians & Deep Fakes - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21