Eternal Life? - 1 John 5:6-21

Sermon Study Notes

From last week

  • The final question from last week was ‘What is one thing you are going to do differently this week as a result of this study?” How did that go for you this week?

Getting started

  • What was this week's sermon about?
  • What did it make you think or feel?
  • Has God prompted anything in you as a result of the sermon?
  • Was there anything you disagreed with?

Look at the text

Read 1 John 5: 6 – 21

  • Why does John write about testimony? (Verse 13)
  • When does eternal life start?
  • How do you understand eternal life after the death of your physical body?

If people are unsure how to answer this question you could prompt them with these further questions: Do you think eternal life will be good? Will it be boring? What will you do? Will you see people you know? The bible gives some clues in Revelation 22, and Mark also imagined it this way: “It’s life in new creation. Imagine the most beautiful, exquisite parts of your life. Now remove from it everything that taints its beauty, everything that makes it not as lovely as it could be. Then multiply that beauty by a thousand times and you have only just begun to imagine what eternity with God is like.”

  • According to the text, what confidence can we have, now we know we have eternal life? (Verse 14)
  • How to the words ‘according to his will’ influence the way you pray?
  • What do you think of Mark’s description of different styles of prayer.

The Petulant Child Pray-er (Give me what I want, and if you don’t, I will have a tantrum, and it means you don’t love me)
The Passive/Fatalist Pray-er (There is no point praying because God will do what he wants anyway)
The Personal Pray-er (I pour my heart out, I can tell my father anything, I am comfortable with a level of mystery. I don’t know why He doesn’t answer the way I thought but I will just keep going)

  • Verse 16 says that we should pray for our brothers and sisters who commit sin that does not lead to death. What do you think this text is really saying about the interaction between our prayer, believer’s sin and life given by God?

The text is not saying that if you pray for someone their sin will be forgiven. We all need to ask for forgiveness ourselves. Our prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters is that God will change their hearts and cause them to repent and stop sinning.

  • What is a sin that leads to death?

Jesus speaks about this in Mark 3:22-30 where the teachers of the law are wilfully denying and resisting the work of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:26 is also helpful. Avoid the Catholic concepts of mortal and venial sins.

  • Verse 18 says that ‘anyone born of God does not continue to sin’. How does that play out in our lives?
  • The final verse of this letter is ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.’ What is an idol, and what are our modern-day equivalents?
  • How do you know if something in your life is an idol?
  • How can you stop it from being one?

Moving forward

  • What is one thing you are going to do differently this week as a result of this study?