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The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-15

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Well, I invite you to turn with me to 1 John, chapter 5, as we come to the end of this letter in the next few weeks. It's been a wonderful journey over the last several years to walk through 1 John together, and we find ourselves in 1 John, chapter 5. Specifically, we are studying verses 1 through 15. The theme of this paragraph, as we've noted, is “The one who believes God's testimony about the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel as it has unfolded in this letter, and even in these verses, the one who believes in that Jesus and that gospel has eternal life.”

Now, as we've noted, John here explains for us “Four Key Elements of Saving Faith.” So far, we have seen “The Cause of Saving Faith,” that is the new birth; we've seen “The Results of Saving Faith;” we've seen “The Object of Saving Faith,” that is, again, the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel; and we're looking at the fourth key element of saving faith, and that is “The Assurance of Saving Faith,” that's the message of verses 13 to 15. Let's read it again together, 1 John 5, verses 13 to 15.

These things I have written 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 which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in and whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

Now, last time as we looked at this “Assurance of Saving Faith,” we started by examining verse 13, and in verse 13, we discovered “The Reality of Assurance,” that is God wants us to have assurance. Christ prompted John to write this letter so that those who believe in the name of the Son of God may know that they have eternal life. God isn't looking to hide the reality of your salvation from you; He wants you to have assurance. And the way to have that assurance is not some method you create, but to take the three tests in this letter. The three tests: “Do you believe in the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel?” “Do you love God and love His people?” And “Do you obey His Word–do you obey Christ and obey His Word?” Those are the three tests of eternal life; take those tests, and if you pass those tests, then John says, you can “know that you have eternal life,” that's the reality of assurance.

Now today, we come to verses 14 and 15, and we see “A Result of Assurance,” a result of assurance. John here chooses one key result that comes from having an assurance that we have eternal life, there are others, but he chooses one of them. As a result of the assurance we have of eternal life, we have “Confidence before God in Prayer.” And of course, this is the right place to start because prayer is absolutely crucial for every believer.

The English Puritan, Thomas Watson, said that “Prayer is the soul’s breathing.” In other words, what breathing is to your body, prayer is to your soul–you simply cannot continue to live without it. Nothing is more foundational than this; we can't survive without it. In his Institutes, John Calvin says, “Prayer is the chief exercise of faith by which we daily receive God's benefits.” There is nothing more foundational or essential to your Christian life than prayer. You need the Word of God and prayer; those are the two great nutrients for your spiritual life and soul. And without either, you will wither away.

Now, what we're learning here, in the text we want to study together this morning, is that with assurance of salvation, we also gain a new confidence in prayer. When it comes to this new confidence that we can have in prayer, John wants to explain this to us, he wants to fill it out. If you are sure that you have eternal life, then you have an equal confidence that you can pray, and God will hear.

Now, specifically with this new confidence in prayer, John identifies, for us in these two verses, three specific convictions or three confidences, we could say, but three specific convictions about this relationship we have with prayer that has changed as a result of being sure that we're saved.

First of all, he wants us to understand that we have “Confidence that God is our Father.” Look at verse 14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him.” Now, I need to begin by pointing out that as wonderful as our New American Standard translation is, on occasion we can disagree with it. If you have the English Standard Version, or you have the Legacy Standard Version, you'll notice that verse 14 actually begins with a conjunction. It begins with “and” and the word “and” does appear in the Greek text. And that conjunction is important because it shows us that verse 13 and verses 14 and 15 are logically connected. The confidence in prayer in verses 14 and 15, flows from the assurance that we have eternal life in verse 13. Look at it, verse 13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence.” You see how this confidence in prayer grows out of assurance.

Now, just follow John's logic with me; here's how he's reasoning. Once we have taken the tests of 1 John, we know that we have eternal life. And once we know that we have eternal life, then we know that God is our Father, and we are His children. That's the essence of eternal life, John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, (know Him as Father), and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

So, if we know we have eternal life, we know that God is our Father, and we're His children, and here's the second point of his logic, if God is our Father, then we can be confident that He loves us, and this is amazing, just as He loves His only begotten Son! We would never say that if Jesus hadn't said that, but that's exactly what He says in John 17:23, in the High Priestly Prayer to the Father. He's praying, and he says, “(Father,)…You…loved them, even as You have loved Me.” Let that sink into your soul for a minute, Christian. The Father loves you just as He loves His eternal Son! That's what John says in 1 John, chapter 3, verse 1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”

The next stage of his logic is this, if we know that God is our Father, and we know that He loves us as He loves His own Son, then we can have confidence and boldness before the Father in prayer. We can come to the Father as Jesus comes to the Father. Just like a human child cries out to his father, the believer cries out to his heavenly Father. It's part of what it means to be adopted. Paul writes in Galatians 4:6, “Because you are sons, (He says, because your sons and daughters.) God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, (And the Spirit within us cries out what?) ‘Abba! Father!’” So, we have this confidence.

The Greek word for ‘confidence’ in verse 14, literally means ‘all speech.’ It consists of two Greek words that are put together in a compound word, ‘all speech.’ And that word is used in two ways. It's used at times for ‘outspokenness’ or ‘frankness.’ In other words, speech that conceals nothing. But the other way this word is used is as it is here, ‘a state of boldness or confidence, especially in the presence of persons of high rank.’ So, it's like the confidence you would feel if you went in before the king and the king had invited you, and said, “I want you to speak freely.” It's that kind of confidence. It’s this sense that John means here. Here's how it works, if you have passed the tests of eternal life in John, then God is your Father, He loves you, and you can come to Him with confidence; you can freely express your thoughts and your desires before God. Yes, you come respectfully, but you can come without any reservation, without any fear.

I love what John adds in verse 14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him.” ‘Him,’ by the way, is likely referring to the Father, because in the New Testament, prayer is usually offered to the Father through the Son, although of course, we can offer our prayers to any member of the Trinity. John Owen, in his classic book, Communion with the Trinity, makes that point and argues it biblically. But here, he’s undoubtedly talking about the Father, “This is the confidence which we have before the Father.” And the word ‘before’ is an unusual Greek preposition. It has the idea of ‘being near’ or ‘facing someone in active fellowship.’ In fact, it's the same expression that is used in John 1:1, when it says, “The Word was with God,” same expression. This expression pictures us in an intimate face to face relationship with God as our Father, in which we can speak openly. It's as if we're face to face with God in prayer. You see, when we have the assurance that we have been saved, that we are sons and daughters of God, that we are the ones He loves, then we have the right and the confidence to speak freely in God's presence because He is our Father. And God wants you, Christian, to have this confidence.

In fact, John the Apostle uses this very word ‘confidence,’ several other times in his letter. Back in chapter 2, verse 28, he says, “I want you to have confidence at Christ’s coming.” (Paraphrase.) In chapter 4, verse 17, he says, “I want you to have confidence at the judgment.” (Paraphrase.) In chapter 3, verses 21 and 22, as well as here in chapter 5, verse 14, he says, “I also want you to have confidence now in prayer.” (Paraphrase.) There are other New Testament passages that underscore this confidence. Ephesians 3:11-12, “…In Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of (God's) grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Christian, you have God's ear because you have His heart. He's always ready to listen to you. He's always welcoming you to His throne room. He is your Father, and He loves you with an everlasting love. He cares about every detail of your life. In fact, as you sit here this morning, He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head. For some of you that's easier than others, but regardless, He knows.

I've shared this before but let me just challenge you with this again. I want you to think for a moment of the best human father you have ever known. Maybe it was your own father, or maybe not. But I want you to think about the best human father you have ever known. If you could take that person, and you could remove all of the sin from his heart, and then you could multiply that Father's love for his children here by infinity, then you would begin to grasp God's heart for you. Lloyd-Jones writes:

This is the boldness we have with respect to Him. Let us therefore never be uncertain. Get that settled before you offer a single petition. Start by thanking Him that you are His child, that He has adopted you and that you are in Christ, and therefore He delights to see you come and to hear you offering up your prayers and your petitions. We are a favorite of the king if we have eternal life.

So, the first confidence that we have in prayer because of the assurance of our salvation is “Confidence that God is our Father.”

Secondly, we have “Confidence that God hears our prayers,” we have confidence that God hears our prayers. Look at verse 14 again, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, (Here's what we're confident of.), that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Now we're going to come back and look at the condition, “according to His will,” in just a moment. But for now, I want you to focus on “if we ask anything…He hears us.” Now, don't misunderstand, John doesn't mean that God is actually unaware of some of the prayers that are offered to Him. You know, God is, and I say this respectfully, “God is busy or distracted, and somehow, in all the prayers being offered at any one moment, He misses some.” That's not what he's saying. I mean, God knows every word spoken on this planet. Think about that for a moment. God knows every word spoken on this planet. Jesus says in Matthew 12:36, “…every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.”

So, God knows every word ever spoken, and He certainly knows every word ever spoken in prayer. And He knows our thoughts before we think them. Psalm 139:2, “…You understand my thought from afar,” that is, before I think it, you understand what my thoughts are going to be. That means that God not only knows the prayer spoken, but He knows the prayers in our hearts.

There are a couple of biblical examples. In Genesis 24, verses 42 to 45, Abraham’s servant Eliezer prayed in his heart. In 1 Samuel 1:13, Hannah prayed in her heart, and in both cases, God heard their unspoken prayers. So, God knows the contents of every prayer that's ever been prayed, whether it's been spoken out loud, or whether it's been offered from the heart. That said, listen carefully, God is not obligated to hear and answer the normal prayers of an unbeliever. If you're here this morning, and you've never repented of your sins and believed in Christ, you may feel spiritual; you may pray every day and talk to God, but Scripture is very clear that He is under no obligation to hear and answer your prayer. In fact, Proverbs, chapter 28, verse 9 says, “He who turns away his ear from listening to the (God's) law, even his prayer is an abomination” to God. God hates it because it's really an act of rebellion. 1 Peter, chapter 3, verse 12, “…THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” So, God is under no obligation to hear the prayers of any unbeliever.

However, God has promised to hear the repentant prayer of an unbeliever. This is throughout the Scripture, but my favorite example is the story Jesus tells in Luke 18. That story of the Pharisee and the tax collector who go to the temple to pray at the time of sacrifice. And Jesus describes it this way, Luke 18:13, “…the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his (chest) saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” I wish I had time to really expand that, but he's there at the time of the sacrifice, and what he literally prays is, “God, be propitiated to me the sinner. In other words, let that lamb that's dying right inside this gate, who's dying as an innocent substitute for sin, let that sacrifice stand in my place.” And of course, that was picturing the great sacrifice of Christ that would come. So, he's basically saying, “God forgive me because of the work of the Great Lamb, Your Son.” And Jesus says, “I tell you this man went to his house justified!” God hears the prayer of a repentant unbeliever.

If you're here this morning, and you've never repented of your sins; you've never believed in Christ, there's only one prayer God wants to hear from you. And that's when you lay down your rebellion, and you acknowledge your sin, you repent of that sin, and put your faith in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son as your only hope of being right with God.

But here's where this is all building. God always hears the prayers of believers. He always listens with love to the prayers of His children. This is taught so many places in Scripture, but turn to one of my favorite; turn to Psalm 34, verse 15. And you'll recognize these words, words like them appear everywhere, but Psalm 34:15:

The eyes of the LORD (Yahweh) are toward the righteous

And His ears are open to their cry.

The face of the LORD (Yahweh) is against evildoers,

To cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous cry, and the LORD (Yahweh) hears

And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD (Yahweh) is near to the brokenhearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Like that tax collector, we just were talking about. Listen, if God is your Father, if you have passed the tests of 1 John, you know that you have eternal life, you have that on the authority of God's Word. And that means you know that God is your Father; and if God is your Father, then you have “Confidence that He hears you.” He graciously treats us as His dearly loved children. And day after day, He answers our prayers, giving us what we need. So, we have “Confidence that God is our Father;” secondly, we have “Confidence that God hears our prayers.”

But there's a third confidence that we have in prayer because of this new assurance of our salvation, and that is, thirdly, we have “Confidence that God always grants certain requests,” confidence that God always grants certain requests. You say, “Wow! What are those requests?” Well, let's start by looking at the “Divine Condition for Answered Prayer,” the divine condition for answered prayer.

Now, before we look at verse 14 where we'll see the condition that's here, let me back up for a moment, and I've done this before, but let me remind you that throughout the Scripture, God places several conditions on answering our prayers. There are a number of them but let me just give you the “Four Key Conditions” for answered prayer in |Scripture. Number one, you “Have to have faith in God.” Hebrews 11 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He's a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Jesus put it this way in Mark 11, verse 22:

Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted 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 to you.”

Now that passage is horribly abused in the larger Christian culture. If you want to know what it means in its context, you can go listen to when I taught through Mark and sort of see it unfold there. But the larger point it's making is that God demands, when we approach Him in prayer, we do so in faith, we do so in faith.

Secondly, another key condition is you have to “Ask with the right motives.” James 4, verse 3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Listen, if your prayers are consumed with selfishness, that's all you can think about before God, that's all you ask, then don't expect God to answer your prayers. God's not going to fuel your idols.

Thirdly, you must “Believe in Jesus and ask in His name.” John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 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.” You say, “What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name?” It doesn't mean you just tag that little phrase right before “Amen” at the end of your prayer. Nothing wrong with doing that, but the point of praying in Jesus’ name or asking in His name is that you are asking through Him, you are asking, relying solely on His merits. You are saying, “He is my Lord, my Savior, I'm following Him, and I'm asking solely because He deserves to be heard, not because I deserve to be heard.”

And number four, if you're a Christian, and you want your prayers answered, you need to be “Obeying God's Commands.” Psalm 66:18, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” 1 John 3:22, “…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments.”

Husbands, let me just throw this in. I tell men all the time, you need to read 1 Peter where it says this, “You need to dwell with your wives in an understanding way…so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (Paraphrase.) Let me give you the really short, concise commentary on that passage, “If you're not listening to your wife, God's not listening to you.” So, sin hampers answered prayer. So those are the conditions for answered prayer that are found elsewhere in Scripture, the key ones.

But that brings us back to our text, and in verse 14 of 1 John 5, there's another key condition that's found. Look again at verse 14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything (Here it is.) according to His will...” What does John mean? Well, to pray according to God's will could mean, first of all, number one, it could mean this, it could mean we need to “Pray in submission to God's sovereign will.” It's the lesson we learned from our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane, you remember where he's praying in Luke 22:42, and He says, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Maybe what John is saying in verse 14, is we need to pray like that, we need to say, “Lord, Your will, not mine.” Because what we learn from our Lord's example is that we should never insist that God do something for us that He has not explicitly promised to do for us in His Word.

Instead, we can ask, there's nothing wrong with asking God for anything. And when we pray for those things that are not explicitly promised us in the Scripture, we should always ask for them in submission to God's sovereign will like Christ, “Lord, if You will, do this for me, if You will.” Practically, it means for example, that you can ask God to heal you from an illness or a disease, you can ask God to provide you with a spouse, to grant you success in your career, to give you a new job, you can ask God about anything. You say, “Well, how do I know what I should ask God about?” I love 1 Peter 5, “Casting all your anxiety (care) upon Him, because (for) He cares for you.” If it's a concern to you, it's a concern to Him, and you can bring that to Him. So, you can ask God about all of those things; and when you pray about those things that are not promised you in Scripture, you need to really believe, and this is the key, you need to really believe that God is able to do whatever you ask of Him–that's faith.

But it's not faith to believe that God will do what He hasn't promised to do. There's a constituent of people who call themselves Christians, particularly in the Charismatic Movement, who say, “Don't ever say, ‘If it's God's will, because that isn't faith.’” So, you almost demand that of God, “God do this.” That's presumption! We must follow our Lord's example, and if it's not in the Scripture, we say, “If it's your will.” We can't demand things of Him or be confident that He's going to answer requests that He hasn't promised in His Word. For those requests, ask, ask, ask. We need to believe that He can do those things, and that He will do them if He chooses to do them because He knows they are for our good and for His glory. Jackman writes:

Answers to prayer do not depend on a right diagnosis or analysis of the problem by us as we pray, but on a child-like submission to the Father, knowing that He will give what is best according to His sovereign will. If He were to answer our prayers on any other basis, which of us would ever dare to pray again? We don't have that sort of wisdom.

I mean, think about it. If God gave you everything you asked for, you should be terrified to ever ask Him for anything again, because you would ruin your life, you would destroy your life. So, it is biblically true, this first point, that we should pray in submission to God's sovereign will. If it's not in the Scripture, you should say like our Lord, “Lord, this is what I'm asking You to do, but not My will, Yours be done.”

However, that's not John's primary point in our text. Here, he means something different; to pray, “according to God's will,” in our text means this, to “Pray according to God's revealed will,” to pray according to God's revealed will. How do I know that? Because as we'll see in verse 15, when we pray these things, we can know before we get them that we're going to get them. This is different. When we ask God for anything that Scripture explicitly says is His will for us, we can ask in confidence that He will give us what we ask. You see, when our prayers are grounded in the clear statements of Scripture, they're on a sure foundation; only then can we be certain that God will grant our requests because it's in the Scripture alone that God has revealed His clear will for us.

You say, “What does this look like, Tom?” Well, let me just give a couple of examples. If you pray the prayers in Paul's letter to the Ephesians that were intended for all the believers in Ephesus, if you go to the end of chapter 1, you go to the end of chapter 3, and you pray like he does in the end of chapter 3, “Lord, open my understanding of your love for me in Christ.” If you pray that, you are praying according to God's will because we know that's what God wants for every Christian, and God will answer that prayer. It's clear, it's already His will.

Another example is praying in keeping with God's revealed will is praying the six petitions of the Lord's Prayer. If you pray the Lord's Prayer, you're praying according to God's revealed will. And He will answer those prayers, “Hallowed be Your name,” God's going to answer that prayer. If you pray, “God, may Your kingdom come,” guess what? He's going to answer that prayer. If you pray, “Let Your will be done on earth as is in heaven;” He's going to answer that prayer. “Give us this day our daily bread, give us what You've determined we need for today,” He's going to answer that prayer. If you pray, “God, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” He's going to forgive you. Why? He's promised, 1 John 1:9, that's His will. If you pray for holiness, the last petition in the Lord's Prayer, He's going to answer that prayer.

So, Christian, when you pray, pray that God will keep His clear biblical promises to you. Pray that He'll increase your knowledge of His love for you; pray that He'll enable you to keep His commandments; pray that He'll enable you to see a diminishing pattern of sin in your life and an increasing pattern of obedience; that He'll enable you to love your spouse as He commanded; that He'll keep you pure; that He'll not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able; that He'll give you the wisdom you need for life's trials; that He'll break the power of sin in your life so that you're no longer enslaved to it; that He'll cause the fruit of the Spirit to increase in your life. You pray those things and God will hear, and He will answer–you can be confident. John Stott writes:

Prayer is not a convenient device for imposing our will upon God or for bending His will to ours, but the prescribed way of subordinating our will to His. It is by prayer that we seek God's will, embrace it, and align ourselves with it. Every true prayer is a variation on the theme, “Your will be done.”

I also liked the way Jackman puts it. He says, “Prayer is not an attempt to get God to see things my way and to extract from Him what I have decided I need or want. Prayer is submitting my will to His.”

So, brothers and sisters, we can have “Confidence that God always grants certain requests,” always! What are those requests? “The Divine Condition” is that such requests be “According to His revealed will in Scripture.” And when that condition is met, John goes on to explain “The Believer’s Confidence of Answered Prayer,” the believer’s confidence of answered prayer.

Now, this confidence comes in two parts. First of all, confidence that “He will hear us with favor.” Verse 14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Now, the Greek verb for ‘hear’ often means solely what the English word means, and that is ‘that the spoken words from another mouth, the sound waves strike the human ear, and then those vibrations are translated to concepts in the mind,’ you hear. But John is the only New Testament author who uses this verb ‘hear’ like the Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament sometimes, and that is, it's not just to hear like, “Okay, I heard you;” but ‘hear,’ in a different sense, ‘to hear favorably.’ God doesn't just listen; He listens favorably.

You know, we've all heard someone say, “I heard you.” What does that mean? It means, “The words you just spoke hit my ear, they were translated into my mind, I know the words you said, but I'm going to disregard them.” That's not what it means when it says, “God hears us;” it means He hears us favorably. It’s like John's 9:31, the blind man says, “We know that God does not hear sinners; (That is, not that He doesn't hear their voice, but He doesn't hear them favorably.) but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.” John says that the believer who has assurance of his salvation has this confidence before the Father, “If we ask anything according to His (revealed) will, (in Scripture) we know that He will hear us favorably.” (Paraphrase.)

Verse 15 adds a second part of this confidence, “He will grant our requests,” He will grant our requests. (Paraphrase.) Verse 15 says, “And if we (That is all true believers.) know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” Again, John uses the verb for ‘know’ here, which speaks a full assurance, and he uses the present tense verbs to imply that this isn't sometimes, this is the continual experience of all Christians. Not only do we enjoy full assurance that God will hear us favorably, but also that he will give us whatever we ask. Why? Because we're asking according to His revealed will in Scripture. So, Christian, pray things that you know are God's will; pray that you would love God more; pray that you would love His people more; pray that you would obey His Word more; pray that you would understand His love more; and He will answer those prayers because it's His will.

But I want you to notice John's specific wording in verse 15, I love this. He says, “…if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” Literally, it says, “We are having the requests which we have asked from Him.” The moment we pray, we have as our immediate possession whatever requests we have asked from God. I don't know about you, but that's a huge relief to me because it means God doesn't have an inbox. You know, like on your email on your computer, that collection point for all the stuff, and there probably are important things buried somewhere in all the junk that you needed to respond to, and you don't see them for two or three weeks later. God's not like that; He doesn't have an inbox. The moment He hears a prayer that's according to His will, He answers, and you have the request that you asked.

Now, the answer may not come to you for days or weeks or months or in some cases, even years, but God will grant your request the moment you pray; that's what He's saying. You say, “Tom, is there an example? What does that look like in Scripture?” I love the illustration in Daniel, chapter 10. You remember Daniel is confused about what's going to happen to God's people in the prophecy he got in chapter 9, and he's trying to work all that out, and he prays for understanding. And an angel comes to him, and I love what the angel says to him in Daniel 10, verses 12 and 13. This angel says, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before God, (From the first day) your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words, but it took me 21 days.” (Paraphrase.) He goes on to explain the circumstances. In other words, he's saying, “Listen, Daniel, the moment you prayed, God heard, and God's set in place the answer to that request. It just, in God's providence, took me twenty-one days to get here for you to know about it.” For some of us, it might take twenty-one days, or twenty-one weeks, or twenty-one years, but the moment we pray according to God's revealed will in Scripture, He hears, and He answers–you have the requests which you have asked from Him!

So how do you respond to that? What do you do with this? I can't put it better than Lloyd-Jones does, I love this. He says:

Go through your Bible and make a list of the promises of God to you; then take them to God, use them in His presence, plead them, and you can be quite certain that you have your petition, you already possess it. And in His own time and way, God will give you a full realization of it, and a full enjoyment of it.

Imagine this, Christian, because you have eternal life, and because you now, having taken the tests in 1 John, know that you have eternal life; because of the assurance of eternal life; you have this new incredible confidence before God in prayer. When you pray, according to His revealed will in Scripture, you already have what you requested the very moment you pray. “The righteous cry, and the Lord hears.”

Let's pray together. Father, thank You, for Your amazing grace to us. Thank You for Your everlasting love shown to us in Christ. Thank You that You've adopted us as Your sons and daughters, and that if it's a concern to us, it's a care to You. Father, thank You that You want us to cast all things that are a care to us on You because You care for us. Lord, may we be diligent to do so.

Lord, there are things that we want to ask that You've not promised us; help us to come asking those things, believing that You're able, but praying as our Lord prayed, “Not our will, but Yours be done.”

But, Father, there are so many amazing promises and statements You have made to us in Scripture that are clearly Your will. Thank You, that we have the confidence now to come into Your presence, and to ask those things, knowing that we have those things from You. Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us to be diligent in coming into Your throne room where You have invited us, where You are eager to receive us.

I also pray, Father, for those who are here this morning, with whom You are not their Father. You're under no obligation to hear their prayers, but You will hear the repentant prayer like the tax collector. Lord, may that be the cry of their hearts even today? We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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53.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
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54.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-15
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55.

Real Christians & Deepfakes - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21

More from this Series

1 John

1.

An Introduction to 1 John

Tom Pennington 1 John
2.

The Apostles' Proclamation - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:1-4
3.

The Apostles' Proclamation - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:1-4
4.

The Apostles' Proclamation - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:1-4
5.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
6.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
7.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
8.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
9.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
10.

The Believer's New Relationship to Sin - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 1:5-2:6
11.

The Priority of Love

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:7-8
12.

Loving One Another - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:9-11
13.

Loving One Another - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:9-11
14.

A Child of the Father

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:12-14
15.

Do Not Love the World

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:15-17
16.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
17.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
18.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
19.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
20.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
21.

It Matters What You Believe - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:18-27
22.

The Christian's DNA - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3
23.

The Christian's DNA - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3
24.

The Christian's DNA - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3
25.

The Christian's DNA - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3
26.

The Christian's DNA - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:28-3:3
27.

Oil & Water

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:4-6
28.

Researching Your Spiritual Ancestry - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:7-10
29.

Researching Your Spiritual Ancestry - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:7-10
30.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
31.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
32.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
33.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
34.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
35.

Love as a Sign of Life - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
36.

Love As a Sign of Life - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 3:11-24
37.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
38.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
39.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
40.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
41.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
42.

Recognizing False Teachers - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:1-6
43.

This Is Love - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21
44.

This Is Love - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21
45.

This Is Love - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21
46.

This Is Love - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21
47.

This Is Love - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 4:7-21
48.

The Nature of Saving Faith

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
49.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
50.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
51.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 4

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
52.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 5

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
53.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 6

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-13
54.

The Nature of Saving Faith - Part 7

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:1-15
55.

Real Christians & Deepfakes - Part 1

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21
56.

Real Christians & Deep Fakes - Part 2

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21
57.

Real Christians & Deep Fakes - Part 3

Tom Pennington 1 John 5:16-21
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