Sermon Discussion Guide: 3/17/24

Sermon Recap:

Text: 1 John 5:13-21

Big Idea: John wants you to know eternal life.

Summary: In this final passage in the letter, John concludes with a series of thoughts, that though appearing to be disconnected, are actually a unified summary exhortation. In the first couple three verses of the text, John articulates how believers—who have eternal life—experience abiding with God. This abiding relationship includes having God's ear as we come to Him, and confidence that He hears us and answers our prayers (see John 15:7).

John continues with his thought on prayer, but specifies a need to pray for fellow Christians who are committing sins that "don't lead to death." This intercession for one another is one of the chief expressions of love within the family of God. The life and death referred to in verses 16-17 refer to spiritual life and spiritual death. There is confidence that God will answer the prayers that we pray for our brothers and sisters. This is a difficult set of verses to reconcile with our real experience.

John concludes, in verses 18-21, with three "we know" statements. These concluding affirmations are essential beliefs for the one who inherits eternal life. While they are essential beliefs, they come with sweet promises and comforts. In a "mic drop" sort of way, John concludes with a closing line: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." In other words, hold fast to what you know to be true and don't get swept away by the false gods around you.

Questions for Discussion: 

1. Review your thoughts on the letter of 1 John as a whole. What thoughts stuck with you?

2. What themes from the letter find their way into these final concluding verses?

3. How have you grappled with verses like 14-15 and your own unanswered prayers?

4. Why do you suppose John says to pray for some people and not others?

5. Do you have someone in your life that has made a profession of faith but is stuck in sin or is wandering, and you are burdened to pray for them?

6. How have you grappled with John's desire for you to know and have confidence in your salvation and the presence of doubts in various seasons of your life?

7. What idols do you think are most prevalent in our particular context? Do you have any in your life that you are willing to share?

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