Summary: Series inspired by “What every Christian Ought to Know” by Adrian Rogers and “Saved without a Doubt” by John Macarthur
SERMON SERIES: “Blessed Assurance”
SERMON #2: “Birthmarks of a Believer (A)”
SERMON TEXT: I John 5:13
(Series inspired by “What every Christian Ought to Know” by Adrian Rogers and “Saved without a Doubt” by John Macarthur)
OPENING JOKE: “God-Zilla” On the way home from church, a pastor’s young boy asked his father, “How do you spell ‘God?’” The pastor was thrilled that his son was showing signs of spiritual interest. He spelled out G-O-D and anxiously waited for his son’s next theological question. The little boy then asked, “How do you spell ‘Zilla?’”
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to week #2 of our series on how to have assurance of salvation.
Last week we discussed the ‘Birthday of the Believer’ and how for anyone to be able to even see the kingdom of God, it is required that they be ‘born again’
We saw how this birth is not achieved by our works, but by faith in Christ who, by His blood, cleanses us from all sin
This week we are going to continue our 5 part lesson by looking at the ‘Birthmarks of a Believer’
o Remember, this course is designed from God’s Word to help us be assured of our salvation
o And taking a true heart evaluation from the test of Scripture can encourage us all to look within and ask, “Do I bear the believer’s birthmarks?”
I have already affirmed, and will always affirm that good works do not play a role in our salvation
o Like I said last week, we are going to Heaven by the steamship of God’s grace, not the rowboat of human accomplishment.
o But it would be ignorant of me to not also say that Scripture indicates a lifestyle that WILL accompany a believer…
o And if it does not, it indicates a spiritual problem in the life of that person which is most probably a lack of a truly heartfelt conversion
Listen to Jesus’ words on this subject from John 15:
John 15:1-6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Jesus, as He often does, uses agriculture as His example for the true believer in this parable of a vine and branches.
He specifically identified Himself as the "true vine" and the Father as the “husbandman”, which means "vinedresser" or “caretaker of the vine”.
o The vine has two types of branches:
1) Branches that bear fruit (vv. 2, 8)
2) Branches that do not (vv. 2, 6).
o The branches that bear fruit are genuine believers, as Jesus declares that they “abide in Me” (v.4)
o The branches that do not bear fruit may profess to believe, but their lack of fruit indicates genuine salvation has never taken place and they have no life from the vine. Jesus declared they “abide not in Me” (v.6)
The point is this: The fruit shows the branch’s connection to the vine…
o The fruit doesn’t make the branch alive – the connection to the vine does that
o The fruit is simply the natural bi-product of a branch that is receiving the life sustaining nourishment of the vine
o If a branch is not bearing fruit, though it may have a superficial connection to the vine, the vine’s life sustaining nourishment is not flowing to the branch
o It appears to have a outward connection – but the lack of fruit shows that the inward connection is severed
And this is the same in the Christian life…
o Our works don’t save us, but they do show that we are receiving the life sustaining nourishment of the True Vine, who is Jesus Christ
o Good works are the natural bi-product of a life connected to Christ
o And a life that is not producing fruit may be because of a superficial connection to Jesus – One that boasts a decision of the mind, but not a change of heart
o Illustration: “Crusades often change minds, not hearts” We see this often at these big evangelistic crusades. I am a huge fan of Billy Graham, as well as others that preach God’s Word to thousands and then offer them a chance to come to Christ. [I have even imagined myself that God may one day call me to a ministry of evangelism… (Though unlikely because I love to teach)] But the problem we see in many surveys is that in a matter of weeks after the crusade is over, people that have claimed conversion go right back into the world and begin all over again to dismiss a relationship with Jesus.