I. Flow of thought
A. God wants us to have full assurance of our place in His family.
B. God knows everything.
C. God is bigger than our hearts.
D. Our hearts will condemn/convict us.
E. We can still have confidence and peace with God.
F. Belief in Jesus as God is essential.
G. Abiding in Christ and keeping God’s commandments helps us live a life free of doubt.
H. Living a Spirit-filled life will give us peace with God.
II. Going Deeper
A. God desires for us to have confidence before Him.
B. Is condemnation real for the believer? v. 20 - “Whenever our hearts condemn us…”
cf. Romans 8:1 - “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
C. God is bigger/greater than our hearts.
D. There are activities that produce greater emotional health or joy.
1. Go back to the basics in the Gospel: Jesus is God, Jesus is Lord.
2. Walk in obedience to God’s word. Grow in holiness.
3. Walk in the Spirit, abide in the Spirit, live a life marked by the fruit of the Spirit.
A. Evaluate your confidence level as you enter God’s presence. Can you approach the throne of grace with boldness? Why or why not?
B. Learn to distinguish between the condemning/accusing voice of Satan and the convicting/prompting voice of the Holy Spirit.
C. Shrink your emotions or bring them under the authority of Christ.
D. Grow your vision of God.
- How sure are you of your salvation? Do you have periods of doubt? Did you at one time have doubts regarding your status with God?
Which is better: a false sense of security or false doubts? How normal is it for a Christian not to be sure of their place with God?
- Have you worked out the full implications of God’s perfect knowledge (omniscience)?
How do you react to God knowing everything going on in your heart?
Does this knowledge give you comfort or does it make you more anxious?
- Does God seem bigger to you than your feelings? Does God play a larger role in your decision making than your feelings do? What do you do if you feel something that you know isn’t true?
In your daily life, do your emotions play a bigger role than God does?
- Do you find it easy to put the past behind you? Is putting the past behind you just another form of denial? Does forgiveness require complete loss of memory of the offense?
Is peace with God possible given our sinful past?
- When you hear the phrase “the gospel changes everything,” what do you think of? Does it really change everything? Is that change automatic? Would it be more accurate to say it can change everything?
Does the gospel give you joy on a regular basis?
- What does it mean to you to walk in or abide in the Spirit?
Is this primarily a mystical experience? Is this more than getting goosebumps?
Is abiding in the Spirit only for those of a more Charismatic persuasion?
In you growing up years, did you hear much about the real work of the Holy Spirit? Or was it more like that stuff doesn’t happen anymore?
- What would have to change in your life for God to be bigger than your emotions?
What happens to you when your emotions are bigger than God?
Have you ever seen this as a form of pride? Do you need to repent of this?
- Is your vision of God grand and spectacular? From what do you draw your images of God?
- How would you like to live differently in light of these truths?