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1 John 5:1-13



Intro:  We live in a world that is filled with doubt.  Very few people seem to have any real certainty about anything.  These doubts arise concerning the economy.  How high will gas prices and milk prices go?  These doubts arise concerning the war on terror.  How long will it last?  How large will it grow?  How many lives will be spent in pursuit of a victory?  These doubts arise concerning the future.  What kind of life will I have in the future?  How long will I love?  Will I get some dread disease?  These doubts arise in just about every area of our lives.

      Of course, the worse place for doubt to arise is in the realm of the spiritual.  We seem to be able to handle other forms of doubt better than we handle those doubts that are spiritual in nature.  But, doubt does arise there too, doesn’t it? 

      Now, there is not much you can do about the future.  You are wasting your time worrying about, because you simply cannot know it or change it, Pro. 27:1. There is no use worrying about the war, because you have no control over it.  Just know that it is part of God’s plan for the end times and leave it in His hands!  There is no use in you worrying about the economy and how you will make it week to week.  After all, God promised to meet your needs, Phil. 4:19.  Your provision is His worry and there’s no use in you both being worried about it!

      But, when it comes to the spiritual realm, you do not have to be plagued by doubts and worries.  The Bible teaches us that we can know for sure that we are saved and secure in God’s salvation.  In fact, in this little book, some 40 times, we are told that salvation is one thing that we can know about for sure. 

      Sadly, we are living in a day when many do not know for sure!  They are constantly in spiritual turmoil because they do not know.  There may be some of those people in our presence today.  You are filled with confusion and doubt regarding your salvation.  You vacillate day by day between being sure and not knowing.  You are tired of riding that spiritual yo-yo and you want to know for sure.   If so, then let me take the verses we have read and show you how you can know for sure that you have been saved.  Let’s look into what John has to say about this vital matter as we think on the thought: How Can I Know For Sure?  These verses speak about three areas of life that give us what we need to know for sure that we have been saved.




A.  v. 1  There Is A Personal Relationship – John begins our journey to assurance with a foundational statement.  He tells us that “belief” in the identity of Jesus Christ is essential to being saved.  This is the Bedrock of salvation!  This is where you faith stands or falls!  Everything begins and ends with whether or not your faith is in Jesus and in Him alone for your soul’s salvation.  Listen to what the Bible says: Acts 16:31; John 6:47; John 14:6; John 8:24.  With that in mind, the first question to ask yourself is this: “Has there been a moment in my life when I reached out by faith and embraced Jesus as my only hope of salvation?”  Or, ask in another way, “What am I trusting to save my soul?”

            The bottom line is this: you must be born again, John 3:3, 7. And, the new birth comes about through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 10:9.


      (Ill. How many of you were born physically?  Let me see your hands.  How do you know for sure?  You know you were born physically because you are alive.  You have a body; you can think and move; you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell; therefore, you know you are alive!  If someone came up to you and said, “When were you born?”  You wouldn’t say, “Well, I think I was born.  Oh, I hope I was born.  Maybe I was born, but I’m not really sure.”  No, you know you were born and you know when it happened.  You probably have a birth certificate that proves you were born.  You probably have some baby pictures that were taken when you were small.  You were probably very young when it happened, but you have the evidence that it happened!

            So it is in the spiritual realm as well.  John tells us that we can know that we have been born again!  Just as there is always evidence of a physical birth, so too there is also evidence of a spiritual birth!  The first and primary evidence is that of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.)


B.  v. 2-5  There Is A Profound Rearrangement – If a personal faith relationship with Jesus is the Bedrock of salvation, then what John gives to us next are the Birthmarks of salvation.  How often have you heard someone say about a baby, “He looks just like his father.”, or “She sure has her mother’s eyes!”?  Well, just as human babies exhibit the characteristics of their parents, those who are born again children of God will have certain birthmarks which distinguish them.


      (Note: Thank God this is true!  You see, in a physical birth, you get a birth certificate to prove you were born.  But, in a spiritual birth, you get no such tangible evidence.  Wouldn’t it be a blessing if you did?  If you did, however, it would cease to be about faith in Jesus, and it would be about that piece of paper.  You see, there are times when you and I will not feel saved.  For me, it is early in the morning!  However, I am not saved by the way I feel.  I am saved by grace through faith!  So, even when I do not feel saved, there are some proofs in our lives that we can see that demonstrate our salvation, even when we can’t feel it.  These things are the birthmarks of the believer!)

1.  v. 1b-2a  We Will Love The Saints – In other words, you will love what God loves!  He loves His people and you will love His people too.  There will be a supernatural love placed within you that fills you with love, compassion and concern for your brothers and sisters in Christ!  Note these verses: 1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 3:14-22; 1 John 4:20-21.  This love among the brethren is the believer’s calling card, John 13:35.

2.  v. 2b-3  We Will Live Out The Scriptures – We demonstrate our salvation when we walk in humble obedience to the commandments of God.  We do what He says for us to do.  We love Him, so we do not sin against Him.  We love our brethren, so we do not sin against the brethren.  Obedience to the Word of God is proof positive of spiritual birth, 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 4:6; John 14:15.  A heart that desires to obey the word and will of God is a converted heart!  (Note: None will follow His word or will perfectly, Ill. Rom. 7:18-25.  However, there will be a desire to live for God that did not exist before salvation!)

3.  v. 5-4  We Will Leave The Sinful – As a believer grows in the Lord, his or her life will be marked by a steady move away from the world and its allurements.  The new believer is a “new creation”, 2 Cor. 5:17.  As such, there are new desires, new goals, new wants, etc.  Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gives us the power to walk in victory over this world and all of its evil! John is telling us that the believer will love the saints, live out the Scriptures and leave this sinful world behind, 1 John 3:4-10.

(Note: The best way you can know you are saved is by the fact that you are different than you were before!  No one can meet Jesus and remain the same!  A life that bears the Birthmarks of salvation is a life that stands on the firm Bedrock of saving grace.)


A.  v. 6-8  The Spirit Witnesses About The Savior – These verses tell us about the Holy Spirit’s witness concerning Jesus Christ.  The Spirit tells us that Jesus came by “water and blood.”  What does this mean?  Well, John here is combating a heresy that was rampant in that day called the Serinthian heresy.  This heresy stated that Jesus was merely a man and that at His baptism, the divine Christ came upon the human Jesus and empowered Him for service, then the divine Christ left the human Jesus before the cross and a mere man died on Calvary.

            John wants us to know that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the coming of Jesus.  He did come by water.  When Jesus was baptized in Matt. 3:16-17, the Spirit of God descended upon Him and God the Father testified to His identity.  No, the divine Christ did not come upon the human Jesus in that stream.  Jesus was the Christ before He arrived there that day.  He was God in human flesh when He was born in Bethlehem!  This is important because when He went to the cross, Jesus was still the Christ.  When He died on that cross and shed His blood, He was paying your sin debt in full!  That was no mere man that died there that Day.  That was God in the flesh dying for your sins and mine on that cross!


      (Ill. Like the hymn writer said:

“My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought.

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord O my soul!”

      I can sin it is well this evening because Jesus literally took my place on the cross of Calvary.  This is the witness of the Spirit to every child of God!)


(Note: Now, don’t miss this!  When Jesus shed His blood, He was paying the judicial requirement for my sins.  His blood makes me clean before God.  When He died on that cross both blood and water poured from His side, John 19:33-34.  The blood satisfied the judicial requirements of God for sin for ever.  If you are trusting Jesus as your Savior today, you have been cleansed by this blood.  The water, however, enables me to walk in victory over sin. 

      Look back to the Old Testament for just a moment.  In Leviticus 14:1-32, we have the requirements for the cleansing of the leper.  Part of that ritual involved the shedding of blood and application of some of that blood upon the leper.  That blood cleansed him before God. Another part of that ritual required that the leper wash himself.  The blood allowed him to stand before God, the water allowed him to walk among men.

      All I am trying to say tonight is that there is power in the cross to save you and to change you.  There is power in the blood and water that was shed to give you victory over this world. 

      The Spirit’s witness about the Savior is that His death mattered!  It made the way for you to be saved and it is worthy of your confidence.  If your faith is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone for the cleansing of your sins, then you are His and you are saved!)


e was still the Christ,He was still t









B.  v. 9-10  The Spirit Witnesses Within The Saint – These verse tell us that the believer has the witness of the Holy Spirit within himself that he really is saved.  The moment you were saved, the Spirit of God came to dwell in your life, 1 Cor. 12:13.  His presence in a life is the proof of salvation, Rom. 8:9.  If the Spirit of God is there a person is saved, if the Spirit is absent, then that person is lost!  So then, every saved person has within him or her the Spirit of God and the indwelling Spirit witnesses concerning your faith in Jesus.  How?

            Glad you asked!  Verse 9 tells us that we accept the witness, or testimony, of men all the time.  Isn’t that true? You take the word of your doctor, don’t you?  You have no idea whether he is right or wrong, but you trust him.  You take the word of you pharmacist as well.  How do you know he is telling the truth regarding your prescription?  When you take that pill, or swallow that liquid, you could be about to wind things up down here.  But, we believe those men and there are dozens of others we believe as well.  Well, God says, “If you can believe men, then you should believe the witness of the Spirit, for it is greater!”

            You see the Holy Spirit witnesses to three great realities.  He witnesses to Facts, Faith and Feelings.  Notice three verses of Scripture that teach this truth.

      1.  Heb. 10:15 – The Spirit reveals the facts of the Gospel to our hearts.  No one can be saved until they are first confronted with the facts of the Gospel.  For, it is the facts that bring conviction of our sins and point us to Jesus for salvation.  The Spirit takes the facts of the Gospel and makes them real to a sinner’s heart!

      2.  Romans 8:16 – This deals with the matter of faith.  When we receive the facts of the Gospel, the Spirit of God witnesses to our hearts that we the children of God.  He validates our faith in the facts by assuring us of our salvation.

      3.  1 John 5:10 – This passage deals with the matter of feelings.  Now, people want to get the cart before the horse.  They want the feeling, whether or not they have the facts and the faith!  Everybody is worried about not “feeling saved.”  You are not saved by how you feel, but you are saved by faith in the facts of the Gospel!  Your feelings will change, but the facts will never be altered!  If you faith is resting on the facts of the Gospel, then you can have assurance whether you feel saved or not!  Thank God for good feelings, but they are really just window dressing!


            (Note: While you have better not base your hope of heaven on how you feel, John is saying that every now and then, the Spirit of God will witness within you that you are God’s child!  How?  He will create and hunger for the things of God.  He will make you want to pray.  Every now and then He might just cause a tear to slip out of your eye.  He may make you hand slip up in praise to the Lord.  He may cause you to get up on your feet and shout.  He may prompt you to do any number of things, just to let you know He is there and that you are His! There may be times when you hear a certain song, and the Spirit of God wraps Himself around your heart and says, “You are mine!”  It may be when you are praying or reading the Scriptures that He will come close to you and hug you and say, “You are mine!”  If you are saved, you know what I am talking about!  That never happened before I was saved!  Do you have that witness of the Spirit within you?)



(Ill. These verses tell us that we have God’s word concerning this matter of salvation!  We have the infallible, inerrant, inspired record!)

A.  v. 11a  A Word About The Provision Of Eternal Life – We are told that salvation is the gift of God.  Friend, you don’t just “get saved!”  God saves you because “Salvation is of the Lord,” Jonah 2:9.  It is His to give and He gives to whom He pleases.  When He gives you salvation, He also gives you life everlasting! This is the record!  What a blessing!

B.  v. 11b-12  A Word About The Procurement Of Eternal Life – How does one go about getting this eternal life?  These verses tell us very clearly that “this life is in His Son.”  If you have the Lord Jesus, you have everlasting life; if you do not have the Lord Jesus then you do not have everlasting life! So, the question is, do you have Jesus?


      (Ill. How do you know if you have Him?  Well, how many of you are married?  Please raise your hands!  Now, how do you know you are married?  Do you always feel married?  You can’t go by your feelings, but you know you are married because somewhere there is a document that says you are married.  In some dusty volume on a shelf in some courthouse, there is a record that you were married on such and such a day.  That is the proof!  Not how you feel, but what the record says!

            That is how you can know that you have the Son of God and His salvation!  Listen, feelings change!  But, the death of Jesus, the witness of the Spirit of God within and the written record of the Word of God never change!  I cannot trust how I feel, but I trust what this book says!  If I have done all this book requires, then I am saved, whether I feel like it or not!  All that we know about salvation, we know because of what the Bible, the record, has told us.  Thank God, we can trust the record, even when we can trust nothing else.  It is settled, Psa. 119:89; it is eternal, Matt. 24:35; and it is worthy of your faith, 2 Tm. 3:16.

            I know I was born because the record says so.  I know I am married because the record says so.  I know that I am saved because the record says so, regardless of how I feel!)


Conc:  Bear Bryant who used to be the head coach over at the University of Alabama, was coaching a game and it came down to the very end.  He said there was just about a minute left to play, they were down on the other team's 5-yard line, just a few seconds left on the clock, time to run two or three plays, and his quarterback got hurt.  So he called his second-string quarterback up who was the slowest guy on the team and he said, "Now, son, I want you to go in there but all I want you to do is take the ball and I want you to just hand it off to the running back.  I just want you to run the ball, run the clock out and whatever you do don't throw a pass."

     So he said, "Yes, sir, coach."  And the quarterback went in there and the first play he handed the ball and the seconds were ticking away.  The second play, he handed the ball off and the seconds were ticking away.  And on the last play of the game the quarterback got the ball and in the end zone he saw this big old tight end standing there all alone in the corner by himself.  He said, "This is my time for glory right here."  So he drew back and threw that ball.  Well, what he didn't know was that over in the other end of the end zone was their All-American safety who had seen exactly what was getting ready to transpire.  He was the fastest boy on the field.  So when the quarterback threw that ball, that All-American safety came running over there and he just snatched it right out of that tight end's hand, took off running down the field for all he was worth, and that little old slow quarterback was running after him.

     They ran and they ran the full length of the field and finally they got down to the 1-yard line and that quarterback caught him, tackled him, the game was over, and Alabama won the game by five points. (Roll Tide!)  So Bear Bryant went out to the middle of the field to meet the other coach and the other coach said, "Bear, I don't understand it.  Our scouting reports told us that your second-string quarterback was the slowest boy on the field and we know that our All-American safety is the fastest boy on the field.  I don't know how your slow boy caught our fast boy on the 1-yard line and saved that game.  Do you?"  And Bear Bryant said, "Well, coach, it's like this.  Your boy was running for 6 points, my boy was running for his life."

      Some of you are still running for your lives today when you could be resting in what you have in Jesus!  Listen, you can have assurance of your salvation.  You can know that you are saved.  If you can look at the evidence and trust the Word of God, the Witness of the Spirit and the new Walk of life God has given you, then you can have rest in this area as well.  Isn’t it time to put it to rest forever?  Why not get before the Lord right now and ask Him to help you get hold of these truths once and for all!

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