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 #5: “Birthmarks of a Believer (D)”
Text: I John 5:13
OPENING JOKE: “Lamb’s Book of Life” On the way home from Vacation Bible School, Melissa asked her mother if they could stop by the library. The question seemed peculiar so Nora Newport asked her daughter why she was suddenly so interested in visiting the library. The little girl explained, “This morning my teacher told me that the only way we get to heaven is if our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I just want to make sure my name is in there!”
INTRODUCTION: Illustration: “Stop to think, or stop thinking” Ann Landers has been offering daily advice for decades. Whether it’s a marital struggle, a physical problem, or a question about human irritants, Ms. Landers readily dispenses answers. Surprisingly, a recent question left her somewhat speechless when she was asked, “Do you believe in a heaven and a hell?” Landers only replied, “It’s a subject I haven’t given much thought.”
Ann Landers’s answer speaks for many people; they haven’t given eternal life much thought. When considering the reality of eternal life and one’s need for salvation, we generally fall into one of two camps:
Those who stop to think; or those who stop thinking
Today we have reached our final week on the subject of being assured of our salvation.
NOTE: This entire series has been devoted to get you all ‘thinking’ about your eternal destiny.
My honest prayer is that throughout this study you have reflected inwardly and looked at your life and truly been honest with yourself.
And that you have seriously asked yourself the questions:
“Have I been born again?”
“Does my life show evidence of a new birth?”
“Am I a ‘true believer’ or a ‘make believer’?”
NOTE: These are not just ‘ho-hum’ questions that we can just keep putting off…these are serious questions that your eternity will be based on.
Throughout this series I have listed 9 things the Bible says WILL accompany the life of a believer.
***Today I will finish with the last 2, and then I want us to quickly review what we have learned and give ourselves a spiritual inventory.
I. Discernment of Spiritual Error
a. I John 4:1-6 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
b. I have been preaching that our list contains many ways to ‘test’ our faith
i. This is the only time John actually uses the word “test”
ii. He says to test what we are taught to see if it really lines up with what the Bible teaches
iii. NOTE: This is called ‘spiritual discernment’
c. John emphatically said the main thing that we should concern ourselves with is what is taught about the person of Jesus Christ
i. He says that Jesus is Lord, who came in human flesh, to take away our sins
ii. He was speaking specifically to the Gnostics who taught that Jesus was only spirit, but appeared as flesh
d. Every false religion in the world VIOLATES this test
i. Illustration: “Jesus is an angel/alien/emanation” Suppose someone said, “I believe in Jesus, but I believe He is an angel. Or, “I believe He is a spiritual emanation from God”. Or, “I believe He was an alien”!
ii. Our test of faith is being able to discern between what is right about the person of Christ and what is not
e. NOTE: All of the major sects and false religions lack a commitment to one or both of John’s requirement for orthodoxy which is:
i. (1) Confession of Jesus as the divine Lord
ii. (2) Commitment to Scripture as the Divine Word
1. Example: Scientology, Mormonism, Jehovah Witness and the like all have similar patterns…they attack the person of Christ…and they change and/or add a substitute to God’s Word
2. i.e. ‘Book of Mormon’, ‘Pearl of Great Price’, ‘Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures’