The Basis of Our Confidence

January 25, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: 1 John 4:17–21

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 25 January 2019

Text: 1 John 4:17-19


Opening Discussion: Have you ever been in a situation where you were 150% confident that you were right, only to learn (maybe with regret) that you were in fact wrong? Share your story.

Observation - What does God’s word say?

Polls show that at least 60 percent of Americans believe in hell, but only four percent think there’s a good chance that they will go there. Of all of the important matters in life, none is more vital than the one that John mentions in our text—having confidence in the Day of Judgment. But we need to make sure that our confidence is based on biblical reasons, not on false hope. By linking love to confidence in the Day of Judgment, John shows how important it is that we learn practically to love one another. 

What are your observations?


  • 1 John 4:17-19
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
  • John 15:16

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

In the context, John is giving his final treatment of the test of love. As we’ve seen, John repeats three tests of authentic Christianity: the moral test of obedience to God’s commands; the social test of love for others; and, the doctrinal test of believing the truth about Jesus Christ. John knows that in the matter of loving others, it’s easy to be hypocrites. It’s easy to sing, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” while at the same time our homes are a battle zone. We put on our spiritual masks at church, but in our hearts we harbor bitterness toward a fellow Christian who has wronged us. So John once more hits this vital matter of practical love for one another. John is saying, love that comes from God gives us confidence in the Day of Judgment and must be expressed in love for others in obedience to God’s commandment.

“By this” (4:17) refers back to the last half of 4:16, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” By abiding in God and His love, “love is perfected with us.” The result of this perfected love is that we will have confidence in the Day of Judgment. The basis for this confidence is our conformity to the character of Jesus Christ. Then, in 4:18, John gives the negative side of things: If we fear the Day of Judgment, it is evidence that we have not loved others as God intends. His love is not perfected in us. Lest we become proud in thinking that we can love others on our own, John goes on to show (4:19) that God is the source of all love. 

Read:  1 Corinthians 13:1-13

What are your observations from these verses?

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

One of the points made in the sermon was that; God’s love through us to others gives confidence in the Day of Judgment because it shows that we are like Jesus. However, there are some who would argue that the only basis for assurance is faith in Christ, and that to look at our works is misdirected. Agree/disagree?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

The fact that love can be commanded shows that it is not primarily a feeling, but rather an action: a caring, self-sacrificing commitment that shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved. However, there are some who teach that you must learn to love yourself before you love others and God. Why is this untrue?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

Perhaps you have heard or used this argument before: “I’ve tried, but this person is impossible to love.” “If you knew how difficult this person is, you’d understand why I don’t love him/her.” ...Does loving someone (biblically) require liking or trusting him/her? Why/why not? What is the difference?


Our primary source of confidence is that we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood as the propitiation for our sins. It is only His blood, not our works that atones for sins. But, how do we know that our faith in Christ is genuine, since it is easy to be deceived? One evidence of genuine faith is when we see God’s love flowing through us to others, especially to others that we would not naturally love. The more you see God’s love surfacing in your life, the more you will “have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (2:28).




Prayer Points:

  1. Pray that our new birth in Christ would be confirmed amongst us as it creates the connection between God’s love for us and our love for each other.
  2. Pray for those who lack the power to love, that they would look to the cross of Christ and let the love of God for sinners fill them with hope. 3. Pray that NLC would practically love in deeds and not just words, by sacrificially denying ourselves for the sake of others and lay down our lives the way Christ laid down his life.

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