I. "IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US."
A. As a Christian we should not live in condemnation.
1. Jesus said that He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
a. The woman taken in the act of adultery.
b. The woman at the well.
c. The prostitute that washed His feet with her tears.
2. If a person has come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, those sins are forgiven, and there is no condemnation.
a. This is a difficult truth for many people to grasp.
b. Before receiving forgiveness there was such great conviction, as David said, "My sin was ever before me."
B. The guilt of sin is a horrible pressure that can literally drive a person insane.
1. We develop a subconscious desire for punishment that leads us to aberrant and neurotic behavioral patterns designed to bring punishment.
2. This has been one of the greatest problems that the psychologists have had to deal with.
3. The greatest weakness of secular psychology is that it traces the problem back only to the guilt and tries to eradicate the feelings of guilt.
4. The heart of the problem is the sin that created the feelings of guilt.
a. Thus the secular psychologist never deals with the true issue.
b. He only deals with the symptoms, never the cause.
c. He seeks to help you to cope with the problem, but he cannot cure the problem.
5. A method often used is to try to convince you that the things that make you feel guilty are not really wrong. That it is very normal behavior.
6. This brings up one of the greatest problems that we face in our post modern society today.
a. Our children and grandchildren have been exposed to a disastrous experiment by the sociologists and psychologists who have gained control of the public educational system. They have taught the children that there is no real right or wrong. That everything is relative to a person's feelings or view of the issue. It is called moral relativism.
b. They teach that there are no moral absolutes, it is all a matter of how you view a thing, they teach there is no God who created man, but that man has evolved above the animal kingdom by a long series of accidental circumstances. There is not a God before which every man will have to stand one day for true righteous judgment.
c. As the result we now have children committing horrible crimes of murder and mayhem, and when apprehended show absolutely no signs of remorse or guilt. This baffles the police who have to deal with these delinquents. But this was the goal of the sociologists to create a society in which there were no feeling of guilt that might create aberrant behavior, that would manifest itself in a subconscious desire for punishment.
d. Little Johnnie is no longer a bad boy because he shot and killed his little friend in a fit of rage, then hacked his body with a machete and boiled and ate his heart. The real problem is that guns are available, what we need are gun control laws. Next we will need rock control laws and club control laws and knife control laws, so that little Johnnie will not be tempted to express himself in what is not bad, but anti-social behavior.
C. It is not bad to feel guilty. God is the One who gave us a conscience.
1. This was intended by God to drive us to Him that we might receive the forgiveness and cleansing of our sin.
2. Once we have confessed our sins to God and received His forgiveness, then to feel condemned is wrong.
3. This feeling of condemnation is a devise of Satan to rob us of the joy and peace that comes from knowing that we are forgiven.
4. Paul begins Romans 8
, the declaration, "There is therefore now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Further along in the chapter he asks, "Who is He that condemneth?" And he answers his question by saying not Jesus. Far from condemning us, He died for us and is presently making intercession for us before the Father.
a. That still leaves the question unanswered, "Who is he that condemneth?"
b. The answer is Satan. He is said to be the accuser of the brethren.
c. We often condemn ourselves, we cannot find it in ourselves, to forgive ourselves for what we have done.
D. This is where our text comes in. "If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts."
1. You may be listening to Satan's lies, and still feeling condemned for your sin.
2. But if you have confessed it to Jesus, He is faithful and just, and has forgiven you and cleansed you from all unrighteousness, and He is greater than your heart.
E. Just what is meant by, "He knoweth our hearts?"
1. Many times we find ourselves in the condition that Paul described of himself in Romans 7
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
2. Note the problem between his desires and his actions.
a. He was not able to do the things he wanted to do.
b. He was hating the things he was doing.
c. The will was there, but the ability to perform was lacking.
d. He delighted in the law of God after the inward man.
e. As Jesus said to Peter, "The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak."
3. God knows all things, He knows when it is your heart to do good. He knows my name, He knows my every thought, He sees the tear that falls, and He hears me when I call.
II. BELOVED IF OUR HEART CONDEMN US NOT, THEN WE HAVE CONFIDENCE TOWARD GOD.
A. John is seeking to bring them to that place of confidence toward God. This is why he tells us that if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts.
1. It is amazing how that Satan so often uses our failings and our weaknesses to keep us from seeking God.
a. When we pray, he so often brings our sins before us.
b. What right do you have to come to God now that you are in trouble? Where were you when things were going well?
c. What makes you think that God will listen to your prayers? Look how you have failed Him.
d. We do not come to God on the basis of our deserving, we come on the basis of His love and grace.
2. Confidence before God, that is, confidence when we pray.
a. This is very important.
b. The writer to the Hebrews tells us,
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
1. The word translated boldly is the same Greek word par-rhay-see'-ah that is translated confidence in our text.
2. Let us come with confidence to the throne of grace.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
And [having] an high priest over the house of God;
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
a. Again in Hebrews we read, He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that deligently seek Him.
b. Paul speaks to the Ephesians of our boldness and access with confidence to God through Jesus.
c. In chapter 5 John will speak of the confidence that we have in our prayers to God that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if He hears us then we have the petitions that we have desired of Him.
3. There is also that confidence when we will one day stand before Him.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
a. That confidence comes through our abiding in Him, and our dwelling in love.