How Do I Know I Have Eternal Life?

Series: Studies in First John

6Studies In First John

Believe and Love

(Popular Title:  How do I know I have eternal life?)

1 Jn. 3:13-24




1.  How do I know I have eternal life?  How do I know I have God’s Spirit?  How do I know I am a child of God?

2.  These are questions that often arise in our hearts.  John would remove our doubts.  He recognizes that not everyone is a child of God.  He acknowledges that some are children of the devil.  And yet, he reassures his readers.  There is no need for doubts.

3.  But how can I know?  We are going to let John answer that question for us.  But first there are some realizations that we need to make.




I.  The world hates us.  Do not be surprised (13-15).


    A.  Persecution is expected.

         1.  This was taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:11-14).

              a.  There are blessings associated with being in the kingdom.

              b.  But the reality is persecution is inevitable.

         2.  Jesus taught this in the parable of the vine growers (Mk. 12:1ff).

              a.  Historically God had sent many messengers, but they were rejected.

              b.  Even the Master’s beloved son was disrespected and killed.

         3.  Endurance is called for (Heb. 12:1-3).

   B.  The world is like Cain who slew His brother (3:11-12).

         1.  His deeds were evil and Abel’s righteous.  Nevertheless, Abel was dead.

         2.  This is the result of hatred.

         3.  Jesus did not restrict murder to the act of physical homicide.  Anything that 

              diminishes, takes life away, or withholds life, falls under the same 

              condemnation (Matt. 5:21-26).  It is not just the negative of taking life, but 

              anything that does not actively give life is murderous.  Cf. Matt. 5:27ff.

    C.  But we are not like the world.  We have passed out of death and into life.

         1.  Ironically, those who have passed out of death and into life give their lives for 

              others (v. 16).

         2.  No murderer has eternal life abiding in him, but the who has life gives life to 



II.  He laid down His life for us (16-22).


    A.  He loved us and gave Himself for us.  Cf. Jn. 15:12-17.

    B.  We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (v. 16).

    C.  Whoever has life gives life; the one who does not have life destroys life.

    D.  What does this look like?  The one who has goods gives to those in need.  Those 

          who close their hearts do not have the love of God in them (v. 17).

    E.  Laying down one’s life is not only about martyrdom.  It is about using your life for 

         the benefit of others.  How are you using your life to benefit others?  Are you only 

         using your life to benefit yourself?  Are you taking life from others?  Cf. Rom. 



III.  This is His commandment, that we believe and love one another (23-24).


     A.  We assure our hearts by loving in deed and truth.

     B.  Look at your deeds.  Are they acts that show love and give life?  Are they actions 

          reflective of keeping His commandments?  Are they actions that are pleasing in 

          His sight?  

          1.  The deeds do not produce the right relationship with God.  BUT a 

              right relationship to God results in deeds consistent with God’s will (Matt. 


           2.  You shall know them by their fruits (Matt. 2:15-23).  Cf. Eph. 2:10.

    C.  Believe and love.  

         1.  “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in Him.”

         2.  This is evidence of His Spirit in us (Ezek. 11:19-20; 36:25-27; 37:14).  Cf. Eph. 


    D.  The evidence of us having passed from death to life is giving life to others.

          1.  I fear that we are so focused on securing our own life that we miss what love 

               is.  We miss what life is.

          2.  We reveal our own insecurity by grasping for the life that we already have.

    E.  Our deeds demonstrate the life and the love of God in us (cf. James 2:1-13).

          1.  Life and love go together (Gal. 5:13-15).

          2.  Life, love, and the Spirit are evident in our actions (Gal. 5:16ff).




1.  How do I know I have eternal life?  How do I know I have His Spirit?  How do I know I am a child of God?  Three things:  The deeds!  The deeds!  The deeds!

2.  It is the deeds that reflect the relationship.  The deeds that reveal the life of God.  The deeds reveal the love of God.  The deeds are testimony to the Spirit of God within us.

3.  Are you a child of God?  Do you have the life of God?  Do you love like He loved?  Do you have His Spirit?

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