[1 John 3: 18-22]
“ Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.  We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him  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;  and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
This is the 33rd session of the Lectures on 1 John.
In the last session, I talked about love to provide charitable work for the brothers in need with 1 John 3:17.
It says, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” I explained he who helps his brothers within the boundary of truth, is the one who has the love of God.
The following verse 18 is in the same context with the previous verses. It tells us to show our love in actual deeds.
It says, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
Even good words like those of angels are worthless if they do not contain love in them.
Comforting brethren in need with very good words is useless for him. There must be actual deeds of helping him.
Words that do not contain truthful heart, and words of consolation or blessings that are said for the sake of formality, are useless.
How would a mother comfort a crying baby?
No mother would try to make the baby stop crying only with words such as, “Oh, baby, don’t cry, I know you are hungry and tired. Somebody will nurse you soon. God loves you and definitely He will make you full soon.”
She would cradle him and nurse him.
It is the same with loving our brethren.
Those who have true love will not just have words but also the deeds that follow.
Of course, the deeds of love here do not only refer to financial help.
When we help them, it is more important to spread the love of God so that their souls might prosper and their faith might grow up to receive blessings of their own.
But when somebody is in need, we cannot neglect financial help or physical service to help him in that situation.
Also, Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” As written, we have to suffer together with, take care of, and visit those who are suffering. All these acts are deeds of love.
I meet with so many members every week.
It is not easy just to shake hands with them for many hours, but you come to me with so many kinds of stories.
You ask me to pray for your problem of salvation of your family, strife in family, bankruptcy of your company, and losing your job, and so many other problems.
Beginning with minor ailments, many sick people with incurable diseases come to receive my prayer at the threshold of death.
Some people have committed grave sins before God and cannot receive the spirit of repentance, so in suffering they ask me to intercede for them.
When you come to me with those many problems, I cannot just hear and forget about it.
Because you come with the faith that your problem will be solved just by shaking my hands, I touch your hands with the attitude of praying for you.
I pray for you with all my best at each moment, and I try my best to actually help the needy.
After I pray for you earnestly and help you with all my best, I cannot be at comfort saying I have done all I can.
I have to harbor your problems in my heart until your problems are actually resolved.
I pray that you will receive a solution or an answer of God as if it were my own problem.
Because I have tried to help the needy with a truthful heart, I had to ask for God’s power.
I prayed to God so earnestly to enable me to manifest greater power because I cannot help you all with just my own strength.
Through these works of God’s power to bring down the answer of God, you were able to realize the love of the Father and the Lord and you came to love God.
Brothers and sisters, the following verse 19 says, “We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him.”
The evidence that proves we are of the truth is that we love in truth and in deeds.
Then, we can also be sure that we are of the truth, and thus we can be confident before God.
We can pray confidently, and so we can gain the strength in our life as a Christian to become more of a perfect child of God.
The more truly we practice truthful love, the more we can make our heart truthful.
For example, if we help others in accordance with the word of God, our hearts will be filled with the Holy Spirit and joy.
Seeing the ones who received help become happy, and further if they appreciate us, we will be even more joyful.
We would resolve once again to find those who are in need around us and help others more. In this way we would actually help them more too.
As we keep on doing this, our love will become deeper and deeper.
We will have the generosity to look around us, and we will receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit more clearly.
After all, the more we practice love, the firmer we are making our hearts with the truth.
The following verse 1 John 3:20 says, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”(KJV)
This verse is about those believers who abide by the word of God.
If people live in sins and without any relationship with the truth, they always have something they’ve done to bring accusation and condemnation against them, so John didn’t have to say, “if our heart condemns us,” for them.
Of course, if they are stained by sin to an extreme extent, they might not have any pangs of conscience. But this verse is not addressing those people.
Those children of God who try to live by His word and in the truth might sometimes find something in them to condemn themselves.
When they reflect upon themselves with the word of God, they can realize their shortcomings and they have their consciences pricked.
In the view of the almighty God, how many shortcomings would they have?
God the Creator is such a great being.
He knows all the hearts, thoughts, and deeds of all people as if He were looking into the palm of His own hand.
Psalm 139:1-4 says, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.”
As written, we cannot hide anything in the sight of God.
God knows even the heart of untruth that we cannot realize ourselves.
For this reason, He sometimes allows for trials to take place to let us cast off such untruths.
It was the case with Job, the main figure of the book of Job.
Job was a righteous man living by the word of God, but he could not realize the evil that was placed deep in his heart.
So, God allowed for the accusations of Satan to take place against him so that he could realize the deep evil and cast it off.
God knows the deepest part of our heart that we ourselves do not know, and before God we cannot hide any form of untruth that we are aware of.
For example, suppose two believers are diligently attending all kinds of worship services, prayers, and other church meetings, so people think they are faithful.
But even though they appear to be doing the same thing, each of them has a different heart.
One might still have lingering attachment towards the world while the other is only marching towards Heaven looking up to the Lord alone.
They themselves know their own heart even though others cannot see it.
Also, suppose two company employees are working hard. One may be working hard only for the glory of God while the other is working hard to fulfill his greed for fame and money.
The two people pursued peace with somebody who accuses them without a proper cause. One of them might have had peace with that person without having any hard feelings while the other had resentment although he didn’t reveal it outwardly.
Others may not see your heart, but you can discern your heart yourself.
Moreover, God is watching everything so clearly.
Whenever you find something imperfect in you, I hope you will keep it in mind and change it quickly.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be blameless even before God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now let’s get to 1 John 3:21-22. I’ve put an emphasis on these verses many times.
They are the verses that clearly tell us the secret to receiving answers and blessings.
It says, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;  and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Since it says, ‘beloved’ you can expect a word of blessing to follow.
If your heart does not condemn you and if you have confidence before God, you can be called, ‘beloved.’
Even those who are trying to live in the truth are not really perfect before God.
But if they keep on trying and finally become sanctified, they will have nothing to condemn themselves of.
Of course, even after going into spirit, you still need to go into whole spirit, and even after going into whole spirit, you have to keep marching into the spiritual realm.
But only if you go into spirit, then you do not practice any lawlessness or unrighteousness, but only the things that please God, so you will always be filled with the Spirit and be confident before God.
Such a person can ask God anything if he needs anything, and he receives whatever he asks.
Let me give you an allegory.
If a father is very rich, he has the ability to buy the things that his children need.
If his son is upright and obedient to the father and favored by his father, he can ask his father for anything whenever he needs it.
But a son who is always making troubles for his father cannot be confident as to whether or not his father will give him what he wants.
As for the father, he can easily answer a son who is obedient all the time.
He can not only love this son but also trust him, so he can give him more than what he wants.
But he cannot easily answer a son who is disobedient and who is a trouble-maker.
For example, if the son is asking for some allowance, the father is worried that he might spend it for bad purposes, so he will ask questions in detail.
Even if the son gives reasonable answers about why he needs the money and what he is going to spend it for, the father cannot really trust his son.
It is the same in spirit.
God created heavens and the earth and all things in them with His word, and He governs the life, death and history of all mankind.
This Creator God, the almighty God is our Father who is full of love.
If He wants to answer us, there would be nothing impossible for us.
But not everybody who calls him “Father” can all receive the same answers.
If you befriend the world and live in sins, it is not easy for you to ask God when you have a desire of your heart.
When you are in a desperate situation, you might pray as if you were clutching at straws, but eventually you rely on the world because you have no confidence in receiving the answer.
And when the outcome is not good, some foolish believers blame God for not listening to their prayers.