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Victorious Living; Confident Prayer (1 John 5:13b-17)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 24 November 2013 00:00

On Sunday we considered the promise of prayer in Jesus’ name (1 John 5:14-15) and the practice of prayer in Jesus’ name (1 John 5:16-17).
1 John 5:14-15 ~ We can be sure He will hear and answer our prayers when they are according to His will and we can be sure they are according to His will if they are in obedience to His commandments. We can be sure that He will help us if we pray according to what we know He wants (His commands). We have those petitions, although perhaps not immediately. Sometimes God uses a process of spiritual education (discipleship) in our lives to bring about His answer to the requests we have asked.

1 John 5:16-17 ~ One area where we can be confident that God will answer our prayers positively is if we ask Him to help us love one another. Of course, we don’t need prayer for help in loving those who love us. It is the brother/sister who we think has sinned against us that we have trouble loving. We need God’s help. We need to ask for that help in prayer.

In fact, to just be able to pray for our brother who has sinned against us is an act of love in itself (Matthew 5:44 ~ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you). Unfortunately, sometimes even Christian brothers/sisters act in ways toward us that an enemy would. At that point we are likely tempted to pray an imprecatory prayer regarding this brother/sister in Christ! But that is not how God wants to respond.

When we pray for a sinning brother we can be confident that God will answer our prayer positively. In fact, God will give the one who prays for his brother “life” to pass on to his brother (“he will ask, and He will give him life – the first “he” in the text is the antecedent to the “him” because the second “He” refers to God who answers the prayer, and “life” is given to those plural, who are committing sin.). Thus, the name of Jesus becomes a “Fountain of Life” for the sinning believer who gets a longer life plus the joy when he repents and for the praying brother when he receives a positive answer for his prayer.

We get joy from answered prayer, and the sinning brother gets restored joy when he returns to fellowship (and potentially a longer life).

This promise does not extend to those brothers/sisters who are committing sins leading directly to death. All sin leads to death (Proverbs 11:19; Romans 6:23; James 5:20). But not all sins lead directly, or immediately to death. Some sins are so serious that it may be God’s will to take a brother/sister home (1 Corinthians 5:5; 11:27-30). Or an early death may be the natural consequence of serious and repeated sin (James 1:15). It does not say we cannot pray for such, but there is no guarantee of deliverance.
Unless God has brought physical death to a brother/sister, I can love him/her by praying for God’s deliverance for them from the sin that is destroying their lives.

 

 

 

 

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