1 John – God Is Greater Than Our Heart

From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance



John is exposing a problem that is common to all mankind: our hearts can mislead us. In the context of John’s hearers, they had witnessed some hurtful words and actions from those who had left the body. In experiencing this, they had to make a choice, either to follow what their hearts were saying or to turn to a better alternative for assurance. John would NOT have us think that the opposite of self-condemnation is self-confidence. Rather, for the true Christian, the alternative to self-condemnation is sovereign-confidence.

Assurance does not come from SELF but from the God who is greater than our heart.

Convince Your Heart That God Is Greater (1 John 3:19-20)

The need to be convinced: And hereby we know that we are of the truth — our tendency towards wondering about our identity is understood.

The way to be convinced: and shall assure our hearts before him — living out the love we profess is a means to convincing our hearts before God. Belief coupled with love leads to assurance.

The problem with being convinced: if our heart condemn us — there are two primary interpretations as to why this condemnation may be real but the writer does not tell us: a stingy heart that condemns generous giving or a self-condemning heart that feels unworthy.

The prescription for being convinced: God is greater than our heart confirms that our hearts are at a disadvantage before God. We cannot trust our hearts, positively or negatively.

knoweth all things speaks to the attribute of God’s omniscience as well as our accountability before Him. He knows our hearts and not just our actions. He knows if we are loving in deed and truth or not.

Approach the God Who Is Greater (1 John 3:21-23)

[in confident prayer]

Beloved, if our heart condemn us not shows us the hope that we do not have to live under self-condemnation.

then have we confidence toward God is a statement about having boldness to enter before God.

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. This verse confirms that our prayer life will be confident when we are not self-condemning which results from convincing our hearts that God is greater. What does God use to convince us that He is greater? Our Christian living.

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. Notice how this has now been made one commandment. Belief in Jesus and love for brethren are in inextricably connected.

Convincing our hearts requires belief and obedience.

Experience the Affirmation of the God Who Is Greater (1 John 3:24)

[by His indwelling Spirit]

And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him is a statement of union or relationship. This is a mutual connection.

And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us is a statement of God’s gracious provision and of experience. Being a Christian is not some cold, business transaction of belief and works; as we believe on the name of Jesus and actually love one another, we are assured of our relationship by the indwelling Holy Spirit. While we have looked at assurance that is rooted in truth, we must also know that there is experience to be enjoyed, but it also must be rooted in truth.

How do I convince my heart that God is greater? How do I approach the God who is greater? How do I experience the God who is greater? The answer to all three of these questions can be found in the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. This promise of the Holy Ghost, the very Spirit of Christ, indwells his believers, and as we live obedient lives, we are helped in our prayers and affirmed in our experience by the Holy Ghost.

So, you have a choice to make today. Will you follow your heart, or will you convince your heart that God is greater? Will you have confidence in prayer through your spiritual obedience, or will you be okay with not approaching the God who is greater? Will you experience the Holy Spirit’s inner affirmation of your relationship, or will you try and find affirmation in things of this life?

Read the full transcript of the sermon here.


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