Summary: No Christian can be effective without the assurance of their salvation. This sermon is the introduction to a series, but can stand alone as a sermon on the assurance of salvation.
INTRODUCTION: We begin a new series … on the assurance of salvation.
We will take a look at the vital signs of a Christian from the perspective of the book of I John.
Let me ask you two questions:
o ARE you a Christian?
o How do you KNOW you are a Christian?
No one can be a vital, victorious, effective Christian if you do not have the assurance of your salvation.
It’s like being MARRIED … but don’t KNOW it … How effective can you be as a husband or wife?
It’s like having a CHILD … but don’t KNOW it … How effective a parent can you be?
In this study, you will see how to evaluate … EITHER:
o You’re NOT a Christian, and KNOW it.
o You’re NOT a Christian, and DON’T KNOW it. (much more dangerous than the former)
o You ARE a Christian, but DON’T KNOW it.
o You ARE a Christian, and KNOW it.
Sometimes, a false sense of assurance is given to those who repeat the “Sinner’s Prayer”.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Say the prayer … you are saved … don’t doubt … God’s Word says you are.”
THEN … they will read Romans 10:9-10 to give them the assurance of their salvation … WHETHER THEY ARE SAVED OR NOT!
The DANGER of this is that they may NOT truly be saved … but NOW they have the false assurance that they are.
They may be like the seed that fell on the stony places – Mt. 13:5-6, 20-21
THEN … when anyone tries to talk with them about salvation, they turn them away, by saying that they have already done that …
WHEN … in fact they have never been saved … and they have a false assurance of something that never took place.
Salvation is MORE than saying a prayer.
Salvation is a SPIRITUAL experience … not a MECHANICAL experience.
When you are saved, you receive a new nature … the Holy Spirit takes up residence in you … you are a new creation … you become a child of God … you are a changed person.
If that has never happened to you, then you aren’t saved.
There are certain EVIDENCES of a Christian … that you have been truly “born again”.
You can be ABSOLUTELY SURE, and know with certainty that you will go to Heaven when you die.
It’s not because:
o Somebody told you that you were saved.
o You repeated a prayer.
o You’ve been baptized or joined a church.
o You come from a Christian home.
o You’ve been saved all your life.
o You’re a good, moral person.
God’s Word in I John gives us a CHECK-LIST of vital signs to check to see if we do indeed have ETERNAL LIFE.
Are you a BELIEVER … or a MAKE-BELIEVER?
Are you a CONTENDER … or a PRETENDER?
How do you “get somebody saved”?
I’ve had people wanting me to go talk to a friend or relative and “save them”.
o I can’t CONVINCE somebody that they need to trust Christ as their Savior.
o I can’t PERSUADE them to call on Jesus to save them.
o I can’t WIN somebody to Jesus.
o I can’t TALK somebody into being saved.
o I can’t create an INTEREST or DESIRE in their heart for God.
o I can’t CONVICT someone of their sins.
How does someone come to Christ and become “born again”?
Jesus said, in John 6:44 – “No man can come to Me, except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him.”
Jesus also said, in John 12:32 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”
All you & I can do, is give them God’s message of salvation … THEN … turn it over to God to draw them to Himself - Romans 10:14, 17
The WORD is the ROPE that the Holy Spirit uses to DRAW people to Himself.
Psalm 3:8 says: “Salvation belongs to the LORD.”
I can’t “save” anybody … that’s God’s job.
Once God saves you, you ought to be able to KNOW that you’re saved.
NOW … Turn with me to 1 John 5:13.
John wrote this letter for 2 express purposes:
o To help those who are already saved to have the ASSURANCE of their salvation.
o To help those who are religious but lost, to see their unsaved condition so they might come to Christ for salvation.