Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7th - Assurance of Salvation

Prayer Requests:
Pastor Aaron
Orissa State in India
Taste of Kennesaw
Dave and Brooke in Mexico

Assurance of Salvation
Text: Jet Tour Through John's First Epistle

Last weekend we went to Celebrate Freedom and did a lot of evangelizing. One thing I noticed what the immodest dress of everyone there, and the joyless looks on many of the peoples’ faces. Nick and I saw a big group of high-schoolers and we could tell there was something different about them, for one thing, the girls all had on clothing that covered their bodies. Next I asked how they were getting to Heaven, and none of them said, “By being a good person.” One of them said, “On the merits of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.” There isn’t a better answer than that.

I haven’t called any of you Christians yet in this class, I don’t know any of you well enough to do that. We’ve spent about four hours together, and while I’ve very much enjoyed it and have been impressed by you all, I haven’t had the opportunity to see how you react if someone steps on your toe, or how you talk with your friends at school, or how you treat your mom and dad.

It is very dangerous for me to say that you’re a Christian if you’re not, I would hate for you to fool me into saying you’re a Christian if you’re not, because I don’t want any of you to go to Hell thinking you’re saved because I haphazardly told you you were. The worst thing you can do for your soul is pretend to be godly without being regenerated. These tests are for you, I don’t need to know the answers unless you want to go deeper into them, because you can fool me, you can fool your parents, you can even fool yourself, but you can’t fool God.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. – 1 John 5:13

First John was written so you can KNOW you’re a Christian, it uses the word gnosko, which means “know”, 32 times. God wants you to know you’re regenerated. First John has several tests to see if you’re a Christian, here are 11 of them…

1 John 1:7 “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” You enjoy being in church around other Christians.

1 John 1:8 “we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Remember we were talking about how almost every person will proclaim their own goodness. God’s definition of good is perfect, so if you claim to be a good person, you’re claiming to be blameless, or sinless, and not only do you deceive yourself, but the truth is not in you.

Check out Revelation 19:11, my favorite verse in the whole Bible. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Jesus’ very name is True, in John 14:6 he said, “I am…the truth…” If you claim to be a good person according to God’s standards, there is no way you are a Christian; tough statement, but the Bible said it, not me.

1 John 2:3-4 “by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him…” Strive to keep the commandments, don’t purposefully break them. Look at verse 1, it is written in a somewhat strange, but exceedingly beautiful, way, “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” May not sin means our goal is perfection; but we still have a sin nature, we will sin.

Paul said, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more...”(Romans 5:20) should we then sin all the more so that grace may further abound? Heaven forbid! If we are dead to sin, we will do our best to keep the commandments and stop sinning.

There is a colloquialism that says “Heathens dive into sin while Christians fall in.

If we slip into sin, we know that we have an advocate, a mediator, a great high priest pleading our cause and washing away our sins, Jesus Christ the Righteous One, who died to redeem us and defeated death three days later.

Compare 1 John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” This is a tough one, especially when there are so many interesting things in the world to love, especially above God. You watch Hannah Montana instead of reading your Bible, you work on Sunday instead of going to church, you do things the way your non-Christian friends do them instead of trying to make them Christians…there are a lot of different examples,

but ultimately James said, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” A good test is whether you would rather do ministry or go to the mall.

1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” AW Tozer said, “You knew one thing about a man carrying a cross outside of the city, you knew he wasn’t coming back.” If you’ve been crucified with Christ and resurrected in his life (Romans 5:10), then it is permanent, because it isn’t you who lives anymore, but Christ who lives in you. (Gal 2:20) If you are a Christian, you will continue being a Christian.

1 John 2:23 “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” Jesus Christ is One Person of a Triune God, he is eternal, co-existent, and co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but a distinct Person from the Father and the Spirit, fully man, and fully God. If you don’t believe this, then you don’t have God the Father either. There are lots of people who believe Jesus was created, some believe he was just a good man, others believe he was an angel, they are believing in idols named Jesus Christ, and this idol cannot save them. The infinite payment that was due for our salvation could only be paid by God himself.

Compare Isaiah 43:11 “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.” with John 4:42 “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” and 2 Peter 1:1 “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ…

1 John 3:2-3 “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” We’re growing in holiness to be conformed to the Living Christ, in hopes of being pure as he is pure, which will be completed when he returns.

1 John 3:8-9 “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” These are planned sins, purposeful sin, with no effort to stop sinning. If you’re looking forward to sin, then you’re in trouble because you haven’t been born of God.

Sin is fun, I know it’s been popular in the church to say that sin is no fun and that you won’t find happiness through sinning. I don’t know where they found that in the Bible, but the truth is that sin is fun, if it wasn’t fun, people wouldn’t do it. I guarantee you that you will fall into some sin sometime in your life that will temporarily consume your affections. The enjoyment of this sin can last a lifetime, but the consequences at the end are not worth it.

God hates it, it grieves the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ died for it. If it doesn’t hurt your conscience to sin, the very thing that crucified your Saviour, then you haven’t been born of God.

If it does hurt your conscience, then you will work to stop doing that sin, no matter how enjoyable it is. Because God is so good, he has given us many things that are good, but these can be abused. For example, water keeps us alive, but used wrongly you’ll drown, fire keeps us warm, but too much will burn you, sex is a wonderful gift between husband and wife, but abused it will lead to your damnation.

1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” Remember that word love, usually when it’s referring to God and Christians, it is not the ushy gushy love, but a love in action. Not only do we deeply care about our brothers and sisters, but we’re willing to help them in their time of need.

Compare 1 John 3:18 “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 4:6 “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Our beliefs and theology are in line with other Christian’s beliefs and theology. There should be no parts of the Bible where you say, “I’m not sure I believe in this…” You will have doubts in your life, but they should not be lingering doubts, find the answer, be content with it, and move on. If you have any doubts, like I said in a previous class, there is an answer to every supposed contradiction, and the Bible is 100% trustworthy, please don’t hesitate to ask me, Dave Snyder, Jenny, Channing, your parents, whoever you want, and we’ll be able to find you an answer.

As you read your Bible, you’ll be able to pick out true and false preachers, you’ll know they’re true because their sermons will be about Jesus from the Bible, and not about them with some Bible verses sprinkled in. Compare Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

1 John 4:15 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” Confess, out loud, telling people what Christ has done for you, what he’s done for them, what he requires, what the consequences are for rejecting him, and who he is. Don’t confess it to me, confess it to a friend a school, a stranger in the park, an unsaved aunt. Preaching Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2) to everyone who will listen should be your highest priority as a child of God.

Charles Spurgeon said, “If you do not have a passion to see lost souls saved, you are not saved yourself, be sure of that.

Those are the tests, I want to let you know why they are important…

First, if you are a Christian, having taken these tests allows you to stop worrying whether or not you’re saved or can lose your salvation.

Second, if you’re not a Christian, you have some repenting and trusting to do. Think about the sinless Jesus Christ hanging on a cross stained red by his blood which was poured out because of your sin. The Son was cut-off from the Father because your sin made him repulsive to the Holy God of the Universe. The wrath of God was demonstrated against his perfect Son, because he hates sin and will not allow it into his presence. This was accomplished so that you can be reconciled with him and made blameless in his Son. Compare 1 John 2:12, "your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake." CJ Mahaney said, "Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, leading us to faith and worship, we have to see it as something done by us, leading us to repentance. Only the man, the woman, who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross may claim his share in its grace."

Third, once you know you are saved, you can stop worrying about your salvation and start worrying about the salvation of others. If you’re still not sure if you’re saved, start evangelizing; history is replete with preachers saved under their own preaching, and the Holy Spirit will testify with your spirit if you are saved during your witnessing when he emboldens you and helps you to remember Bible verses and push forward with the conversation.

Fourth, you will know better how to act as a Christian so that you are not representing God’s name wrongly.

Questions Afterward
Is the world going to end on December 21st, 2012?

Jesus said, "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32) We have no way to know when Christ is returning, the only thing that keeps him from coming back right now is so that more people can be saved. (2 Peter 3:9)

Every generation has believed they were the last generation, so we might be, we might not be, we'll be discussing this more as we study First and Second Thessalonians over the rest of the year.

In the 1850's, William Miller predicted a date and it ended up being a bust, but out of his false prophecies, we've seen the birth of the cults of Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Branch Davidians. Watch as 2012 draws near and we'll probably see some pretty wild cults rise up.

Follow Up Video:
True and False Conversion Video

Next Week
For next week, please read the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians.