Knowing It and Showing It

Title: Knowing It and Showing It

Bible Book: 1 John 3 : 19-22

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Salvation, Assurance of; Eternal Security



There is an old chorus we used to sing in Vacation Bible School, and sometimes at revival time. Maybe you remember the words, “If you are saved and you know it, say ‘Amen!” As we have seen, the Gospel According to John was written so that we might know Jesus as Savior and Lord - not Savior or Lord, but Savior/Lord. He does not offer to be anyone’s Savior without being the Lord of his life. The Holy Spirit inspired John to write the Fourth Gospel, including the stated purpose that it was “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

The First Epistle of John was written that we might know that we know Him. “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John :3). Our Lord wants us to be saved - He wants us to know His Son. He wants us to be sure - and He gives us many down to earth tests by which we may know that we know Him. Furthermore, He wants us to show it - if you are saved and you know it, do more than say, “Amen!”


“We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him.”

A. Doubt Is a Serious Matter.

1. Doubt cannot coexist with faith (Matt. 21:21).

“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).

2. Doubt hinders prayer (Matt. 21:21).

3. Doubt prevents you from bearing fruit.

4. No one has an immunity to doubt.

A young lady paused as she walked by me one Sunday morning just long enough to say, “I need to talk with you sometime, but not now. I have a class to teach. But I have been having some doubts about my salvation this week.” I assured her that I would talk with her, but she said that it might have to be the next week I asked her to spend a lot of time in First John. The next Sunday morning, as she walked through the sanctuary she was radiating joy. She said, “It’s all right. I’m fine. The Lord has given me assurance.” This was not some nominal believer. One of the most remarkable testimonies I had ever heard involved this young lady.

When a neighbor had moved to Nederland, Texas several years earlier, people warned her that she was “moving in next door to Bill and Joyce Hansen, the biggest bunch of Baptists in Nederland.” The very dedicated Catholic lady, Kay, was very leery of her new neighbors, from the first day when the Joyce came over to see if she needed any help with the unpacking. Kay watched her neighbors for several years, trying to find proof that they were not for real. There was something disturbing about these people but she couldn’t figure out what it was.

Kay told me that she was never able to find proof that Bill and Joyce were hypocrites. She was always on guard, expecting them to try to convert her at any moment. It never happened. Instead, they were model neighbors. Not only that, they lived a life that made her constantly question hers. One day, she realized that their daughter, Billie, now a teenager, had begun to date. Kay made a decision to watch Billie rather than her parents. Young people face a lot of temptations, so she would just watch Billie for any sign of impropriety.

Kay said that after she had watched this teenaged girl for a couple of years she became more and more disturbed. One day, she said, “I walked into my kitchen and fell on my knees and prayed, ‘Lord, those people have something I don’t have and I need it. Right now I am asking you to give me whatever it is they have.” Kay had become a Christian because of the living testimony of a teen aged girl. Billie was that Sunday School teacher who, for a very brief time experienced just a little doubt.” When she turned to the Word of God and prayerfully sought assurance she found it. And so will you.

B. This Epistle Tells Us How We May Know That We Know Jesus Christ.

1. You know you are saved if you walk in the light, 1 John 1:6.

2. Obedience to God's Word is a proof that you are saved, John 2:3.

3. Christians have a genuine love for other believers, 1 John 3:14.

4. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit assures us that we know God, 1 John 4:13.

5. “Whoever, confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God” (1 John 4:5).

C. Our Text Offers Further Proof of Salvation to Believers.

1. We must not try to convince a lost person he/she is saved.

And by the same token, we must be very careful not to try to convince a saved person that he or she is lost. I was still very young in the ministry when I heard some pastors express concern about an evangelist who had preached in revival services in a church they knew. He had managed to convince most of the members present that they were lost and a large percentage of the members were baptized again. Those were the days when the state Baptist paper published the number of decisions made in revivals. The evangelist who reported the highest numbers became very popular. Now, I am not criticizing that. What I am criticizing is the practice of creating doubt. It may go something like this:

“If you want to be sure you are going to Heaven we can settle that right now. If you are saved you remember the preacher who was preaching and what he was preaching. You will remember the Scripture and you will remember the invitation. Do you remember that? If you don’t you have never been saved.

“Why don’t you settle that right now? All you have to do is repent and be baptized right now while it is fresh on your mind, while the Holy Spirit is working in your heart. If you would like for me to pray for you to know what to do, just bow your head and close your eyes. Now raise your hand. Let me pray for you. Now, let’s all stand, with heads bowed and eyes closed. Now all of you who raised your hand a while ago, you look right at me. I want all of you to simply step out to the aisle. Now, you come on down.”

2. Every believer needs assurance of salvation.

Lost church members certainly need to be confronted with it, and they can be led to face this fact without creating doubt in the hearts of believers. God wants you to know, not doubt. He wants you to be sure you are a born again believer. He wants you to grow in His grace and knowledge. No on grows when they are constantly starting over at ground zero. A doubting Christian is not a growing Christian. A doubting believer is not bearing the fruit of the spirit.

Assurance of your salvation enhances and encourages faith, and faith assures the believer of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Doubt and faith cannot live in peaceful co-existence. Doubt is the enemy of faith, but faith destroys doubt. I would never try to offer assurance to one who has never been born again, but if you have been born again God wants you to know you belong to Him. There may be times when you have some doubts, but He has the answer to those doubts.

3. A child needs to be reassured of relationships everyday.

4. God offers us constant proof that we have a relationship with Him.

D. Now, Look at the Proof God Offers Us in Verse 19.

1. “By this” refers to the statement made in verse 18:

“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

2. The love God requires is more than lip service.

3. To love in deed implies action and service.

4. To love in truth denotes sound doctrine.

5. God commands a love that is practical and realistic.

There is no merit in being stupid! If you give a drunk money he may well spend it on alcohol. The same apples to drugs. If you give money to a professional “church bum” who travels across the country trying to con money out of well meaning pastors and church members, you only encourage him in what he is doing. We must be careful not to turn away someone who really needs our help, but we should not be foolish.

I found it interesting that most of the people who called or came to see me early in my ministry when I served a church on a major highway said they were in the plight they were in because they could not find work. Yet, when I suggested that I might call Sheriff Perry and ask him if he knew of any farmers in the area who needed hands, they had a way of disappearing. Listen, if you think I was being insensitive, I was only a few years removed from picking cotton by hand to make a car note. I spent many long - and I might add, miserable days - chopping cotton and digging drainage ditches with a shovel before I was turned loose with a tractor.

Again, showing love in word and deed does not mean we have to be blind or ignorant. Bill operated a large Mississippi delta farm. One of his new tractor drivers came to him one day and asked to borrow one hundred dollars so that he could take his tiny baby to a doctor in Jackson, Mississippi. Bill told him he would get the money for him and give him the time off to take the baby to the doctor. However, on the way back from the bank, Bill stopped by a small post office to pick up his mail, and while there visited briefly with other farmers. Finally, he said, I need to run down to the field to give “George” some money so he can take his baby to a doctor in Jackson.

His neighbor, asked, “Bill, have you ever seen that baby?” Bill looked at him, wondering why he would ask such a question. Then he said, “Well, no, I haven’t seen the baby. He just told me about it.”

“Why don’t you ask him to show you the baby?”

As Bill drove to the field, George saw and stopped the tractor and jumped down and ran across the field to meet him. When he stopped by the driver’s side of the truck, Bill told him he had the money, but that we was worried about the baby. He asked if he was planning to drive the baby to the doctor or if the baby needed to go by ambulance. He added that he was really concerned about the long trip to Jackson if the baby was very ill. George assured him the baby could ride in an automobile, but Bill continued to express concern.

Finally, Bill said, “George, why don’t you take me to see the baby. We may need to send him by ambulance and if we do you are going to need more money. What else could George do but get into the truck? Bill asked for directions and George directed him down one gravel road after another. George seemed indecisive. He seemed to be making up directions as they drove. After driving down several country roads, George pointed to a house in a curve and told Bill that was where he lived. Bill pulled into the yard and George told him to follow him. George opened a door - rather hesitantly, Bill later reflected. There was no one in the living room, so George walked across the room and pointed at a tiny baby sleeping in a baby bed.

George said, “That’s him.”

Suddenly, a woman came into the room and there was no hiding her surprise. “George, what are you doing here?” she demanded. To which, he responded, “Sarah, this is Mr. Bill, the man I work for. He wanted to see OUR baby.”

Sarah blustered, “George Smith, you know that is not your baby! What are you doing here? You get out of my house!”

When Bill told his friend what had happened the neighbor said, “I thought so. He worked for me ladt year and tried the same thing on me. Only, I let him have the money.”


“In whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”

A. Your Heart May Condemn You.

1. Your heart may condemn you following some adversity.

2. You r heart may condemn you when your faith is put to the test.

3. Your heart may condemn you during a national crisis, like war.

4. Your heart may condemn you when you see a saint stumble.

5. Your heart may condemn you when you grieve the Holy Spirit.

6. Your heart may condemn you when you quench the Holy Spirit.

7. Your heart may condemn you when you are tempted.

B. God Is Greater Than Your Heart.

1. Your salvation does not depend upon what you feel.

Feelings are subject to change, sometimes without explanation or understanding. You simply “get up on the wrong side of the bed” that morning. You leave a worship service feeling like your whole life is awash in the glory of the Lord and then one of the deacons cuts you off as you try to leave the parking lot. The euphoria is gone, and now you feel guilty. “If I were a Christian, would I let little things like that bother me?”

You are cruising along with hardly a care in the world when suddenly your world caves in on you. Your son is getting a divorce. Your daughter-in-law is moving your grandchildren to San Francisco. Your wife has just been diagnosed with cancer and the doctor tells you that you must have a stress test. You have just learned that your position at work has been eliminated and your insurance will be canceled. You may lose your car, your house, even your life. What, you wonder, have I ever done to deserve that. The Bible tells me to pray fervently and the more fervently I pray the worse things get. What if? What if I really was not saved when I was nine years old? After all, does not the Bible tell me that I can ask anything I want to and God will provide it? I ask and nothing happens. What if I am not a Christian after all? Right now I don’t feel like praising God. How could I feel like praising Him when I cannot even get His attention?!!

2. For assurance of your salvation look to the Lord.

“I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:28)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

3. The fact that your heart condemns you does not mean that God does.

C. Your Salvation Depends Upon What God Knows, not What You Feel.

“Therefore being justified (completed action in the past from which we receive continuing benefits) by faith, we have peace (presently) with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access (continually) by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans5:1-2, KJV).

Assurance of salvation depends upon the sure and certain Word of God, not upon the fickle feelings of one still struggling with an old sinful nature, battling Satan, and wrestling with temptations every day. I thank God my salvation does not depend upon my feelings. There is something much better, and that is the promise of God.

D. God Assures Us So That We May Have Confidence Before Him.

1. God gives us the faith we must have to believer for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).

2. He gives us the faith we must have for obedience to Him.

3. He gives us the faith we must have for prayer.

4. He gives us the faith we must have to overcome doubt.

E. The Attributes of God Provide Proof of Salvation.

1. He is omnipotent: “He is greater than our heart.”

2. He is omniscient: “He knows all things.”

3. He is accessible: “we have confidence before Him.”


If I want my sons to know that I love them, is it not reasonable to assume that our heavenly Father wants us to know we belong to Him? Is it not reasonable to assume that He would offer us assurance of a personal relationship with Him? From day one, I told my sons I loved them, even before they understood what I was saying I was telling them I loved them. When they reached the point that they could understand what I was saying, I wanted them to know that I had been telling them that I loved them. I had loved them when all they could think of was themselves! During those first three years when their world revolved around themselves I loved them. As they matured and sought to make some contribution that relationship, I continually reassured them that I loved them. I am sure there were times when they wondered how I could love them and discipline them at the same time, but they know now that I have always loved them.

Would God do any less for us? He love His children and He is constantly reassuring them of His love. But we must not stop here. God also loves lost people. He gave His only begotten Son to die on a cruel cross, not for good people, not for righteous people, but for people who living in rebellion against Him (Rom. 5:8).

You may have at some time in your life lived in relationship in which you were never really sure where you stood. Homes are breaking up at an unprecedented rate in America. One factor is that someone does not know whether or not he or she is loved. Children are getting mixed signals today from parents who are breaking up and when one parent leaves the home, the child may not fully comprehend the fact that his father could leave his mother and still love the child. Reassurance is important.


I would like to invite you to place your trust today in One Who will never leave you or forsake you. He will forgive you today and He will love you unconditionally. He will permit you to have fellowship with Him every day of your life, and that is just the beginning. He will love you forever. Why would anyone hesitate to commit himself the a God like that? Will you not simply trust him and confess Him publicly right now?

Posted in


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top