The Cure for an Accusing Heart

November 23, 2018 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Christian Living, The Gospel Scripture: 1 John 3:18–24

Home Group Study

Sermon Date: 23 November 2018

Text: 1 John 3:18-24


Opening Discussion: Assurance of love is essential for close relationships. Have you ever experienced a time in your life, when you have not felt loved; only to be reassured by that person that they do indeed love you? In what ways, shape or form did that reassurance take place? Share your story.

Observation - What does God’s word say?

John begins chapter 3 by exclaiming (3:1), “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” God wants His children to feel His arms of love around them, even when they go through difficult trials. The enemy of our souls knows that we will not feel close to God if we doubt our standing before Him as beloved children. So he accuses us in an attempt to drive a wedge between us and God (Rev.12:10; Zech.3:1-4). Our text falls into two sections: (1) the condemning heart and the basis for assurance (3:19-20); (2) the confident heart and the blessings of assurance (3:21-24). John is saying that when our hearts condemn us, we must rest on the basis of assurance; when our hearts are confident, we will enjoy the blessings of assurance.

What are your observations?


  • Compare Romans 14:22 to 1 John 3:21. What does it mean when your heart does not condemn you?
  • Romans 8:31-39
  • John 10:28-30
  • 1 John 3:18-24

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

At the end of the movie Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, a Nazi factory owner, is surrounded by the Jewish people he saved during the Holocaust, and he has to flee because it’s the end of the war. The saved people wanted to thank him for their lives. They presented him with a ring that reads, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” He looks at all the faces of the people that are alive now because of his actions. He saved more than 1,100 people. Instead of feeling accomplished, he looks at the gold pin, his car, everything of value he has, and sees them in the currency of lives, and responds, “I could have gotten more out.” His Jewish manager, who actually wrote the list that saved lives, reassures him that he did so much. Schindler leaves, inconsolable.

Why was this man who saved so many lives so miserable? He was convicted by his selfish acts and motives instead of satisfied by his loving ones. With new eyes he looked at his good works and knew they were lacking. Schindler looks back over the course of the war and realizes he wasted so much money that could have been used to save a life. His heart condemned him. What are Christians supposed to do when confronted with the simple reality of our own failures? We bring our righteousness before him and realize it’s dirty, stained by the sin in our hearts. Jesus paid the price for sin, and a believer can stand before God, forgiven and righteous. Unfortunately, we will sin again; but the good news is we can confess it, and God will forgive us. It is gone and paid for. God is the judge, the eternal Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9), who sees the whole truth about us, and yet holds nothing against us. This freedom that we experience time after time then flows over into obedience and loving like Jesus.

Read: John 14:10-26 - What does the mutual abiding of the Holy Spirit in us and us in Jesus look like? When Jesus, who is facing his torture and death, explains abiding in the Father, what motivates him? What does he promise to leave them that goes along with the Holy Spirit?

Application - How must I change?

  •  Is there a Truth to be believed?

In Matthew 7:7–9, Jesus explains prayer. Why does he give us good things? Why isn’t it always what we ask for? Is his response based on our actions? Why or why not? (See 1 John 3:22.)

  •  Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

John tells us that if we love “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18), our hearts are reassured before God. How does knowing God’s love for you strengthen your faith?

  •  Is there a Behavior to be changed?

One of the closing challenges in the sermon was “Do you enjoy fellowship with Christ as you live to please Him? If so, know that God is greater than your heart. He wants you to be confident in His love. He wants to assure you that you are His child.” But what about a Christian who said that he/she doesn’t experience close fellowship with the Lord. How would you counsel this Christian, where would you start?


The first anchor for assurance is always faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. If your trust is in Christ, God has promised you eternal life and He has promised never to allow you to be snatched out of His hand (John 3;16; 10:28-30). A man once told D. L. Moody that he was worried because he didn’t feel saved. Moody asked, “Was Noah safe in the ark?” “Certainly he was,” the man replied. “Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark?” The point is, if you’re in Christ, it’s not your feelings that save you from God’s judgment. It’s Christ who saves! Faith in Christ puts you on the ark! Make sure you’re on board!

  • Is your heart condemning you of sin?
  • Are you self-condemning when God has forgiven you? Why?
  • Are you abiding in Christ? How do you know?
  • A child of God is deemed righteous and can have confidence before him. Do you pray with this boldness? What is preventing you?


Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for New Life Church to love one another in deed and in truth.
  2. Pray for New Life Church to experience a greater level of reassurance in their relationship with God through faith in Christ, and that God would cast away any fear or doubt.
  3. Pray for the ability to enjoy the simple life of loving God and one another.

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