Introduction: John tells us in 1 John 5:19 that “we know that we are
children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the
evil one.” What kind of confidence can we have in such a setting:
that we will continually be beaten up? That life will kick us
around? Everyone wants to have something they can trust. Everyone
wants someone or something that they can depend upon in difficult
times. Is this desire destined to remain unfilled? Let’s plunge into
our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Confidence in Eternal Life

    1. Read 1 John 5:13. Of what can we be confident? (That if
      you believe in Jesus you have eternal life.)

      1. Read James 2:19. Are James and John in disagreement?

      2. What have we learned about John’s two paths so far
        that might help us with this apparent dispute? (In
        our lessons so far we have learned we are on one of
        two paths, either the path of light or the path of
        darkness. The path of life leads to eternal life.)

      3. How can being on a path (meaning we are on the move)
        be reconciled with the certainty of salvation? (The
        only logical conclusion is that being ON the path of
        light means salvation. At the same time it is not
        just a matter of words, it is traveling on the path.
        Making progress on the path, however, is a post-salvation matter.)

    2. When I was a young man I believed that salvation was sort
      of a moment by moment thing. It was important to die at
      the right time(i.e., when you were behaving). I think I
      got this idea from my church and church school. Does your
      church teach what John says in 1 John 5:13? If not, why

      1. Is this the same as “once saved, always saved?”
        (Read 1 John 3:6. I think this closes the door to
        the idea that we make a decision once in our life
        and then live like we never made that decision. If
        you truly “know” Jesus, then you have a
        determination to live like it.)

      2. How would your attitude about life change if you
        knew that you had eternal life, and that no day to
        day ups and downs in the battle against sin would
        change that? (You would have confidence!)

  2. Confidence in Prayer

    1. Read 1 John 5:14-15. Will God hear all of our prayers?
      (It seems there is a condition.)

      1. If you have children, do you give them everything
        they ask? Do you give serious consideration to
        everything they ask?

      2. What does it mean to ask for something “according to
        His will?” (God is like mature parents, He is not
        promising to give us just anything we ask. He
        promises that He will “hear” (give serious
        consideration to) our requests that are within His

      3. Is this a satisfactory outcome? Are you satisfied
        just to know that God hears your requests that
        accord with His will?

      4. Do your children ever claim they did not hear what
        you asked them to do? Does your spouse ever make
        that same claim?

        1. What is so important about knowing that your
          request was heard? (You know it is being

      5. What does 1 John 5:15 add to this? Are we promised
        more than a hearing?(John tells us that not only
        will we be heard, but that God will give us what is
        within His will.)

        1. Have you ever asked something that was
          obviously within God’s will and He did not
          grant it? How do you explain that? (My only
          answer is that I’m not God. I trust His
          judgment about His own will over mine.)

    2. Read 1 John 5:16-17. Should you pray that God will
      forgive the sins of your loved ones? (Whatever this may
      mean, it at least means that something happens when we
      pray for those close to us who are sinning.)

      1. Are all kinds of sins referred to here? (No. John
        makes a distinction. I’m not sure what is that
        distinction (commentators differ), but it means at
        least some kinds of sins of others are vulnerable to
        our prayers.)

      2. Although my sins are enough to keep my prayer life
        occupied, in the past I have prayed that God would
        forgive the sins of my children. I made those
        prayers based on my hope of what these verses mean.

  3. Confident in Spiritual Warfare

    1. Read 1 John 5:18-19. When I think of being “safe,” I
      think of not being run over by a truck. How does not
      sinning keep us “safe?”

      1. Recall the introduction where we considered verse 19
        which says the whole world is under the control of
        Satan? What relationship is there between not
        sinning and not being harmed by the world? (Anyone
        who has engaged in serious sin understands that it
        brings harm to you.)

      2. If you normally discuss this lesson as part of a
        Bible study group, imagine that everyone in the
        group knew about every one of your sins. Would you
        be embarrassed? Would this harm your reputation?

      3. I will not go into details, but I know a fellow who
        was bright, highly educated, had a sunny
        personality, was handsome, and was a Christian
        teacher. Something happened between him and some
        teen-age girls that resulted in him being sentenced
        to serve 16 years in prison. He is currently in
        solitary confinement. Has harm occurred because of

        1. What do you think Satan would like to do to
          you? Embarrass you? Imprison you?

          1. How do we protect ourselves from that? (If
            you are born of God, don’t continue to
            sin. Sinning makes you vulnerable to
            Satan’s attacks.)

    2. Read 1 John 5:20-21. What do you think you would decide
      if you were told “You can sin and spend 16 years in
      prison or you can refrain from sinning and be free?”

      1. Do you think this is how most people look at sin?

      2. What does 1 John 5:20 suggest about how those on the
        path of light look at sin? (Jesus gives us
        “understanding” of the big picture of sin and
        destruction. Jesus shows us that God loves us and
        wants to give us life. Jesus’ experience shows us
        that the author of sin wants to torture us and kill
        us. Sin is not just a temporary pleasure, it is the
        road to torture and death. Jesus clarifies these

    3. Read John 5:21. Create a mental picture of this. Is John
      walking away and he turns around for a second and says
      “By the way, also steer clear of idols?” Is this just a
      stray thought? Or, is this connected to the rest of
      John’s letter?

      1. What is an idol? (Something you depend upon instead
        of God.)

        1. If this is true, how is steering clear of idols
          connected with keeping safe? How is it
          connected with having confidence? (John has
          just said the whole world is under the control
          of Satan. If we are depending on our idols to
          keep us safe (an idol would include self-dependence) then we are in great danger. An
          idol is nothing. Only trust in Jesus gives us
          security in this hostile world.)

    4. Friend, the world is a dangerous place. You can exchange
      an attitude of fear for one of confidence. Confidence in
      your salvation, confidence in God listening to you, and
      confidence in the day-to-day battles against sin and
      suffering. Would you like an attitude change? God offers
      it to those who believe in Jesus.

  4. Next week: Important Themes in 1 John.