Summary: I message to encourage those who are struggling with assurance of salvation.
Five Fruits of Faith
Introduction: I don’t think that there is anything more important than salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. God has placed an awareness of eternity in all of us and deep inside we know that this life is not all there is. That being said is it possible to know that you know God? That you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and that you are right with God and on your way to heaven?
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The verbs in this verse are in the present perfect tense signifying continuing action so a good translation of this passage would read something like this: “old things are passing away and all things are becoming new.”
The real evidence of faith is demonstrated by the changes that are occuring in our lives when we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. What then is the evidence of these change?
I. Faith will Change Our Affections
One of the most important things that Paul said about his experience with Christ is that the things he once loved he now hated and the things he once hated he now loved.
THE BLOOD OF LAMBS
I just finished a very moving book called, "The Blood of Lambs" by Kamal Saleem (Howard Books, 2009). He describes his life as a terrorist and how he hated Israel and America. He also couldn't stand Christians--that is, until God brought some Christian men into his life after he had a serious car accident. He saw how the Christian God answered prayer and so he cried out in desperation: "Allah, I want to hear that you love me. If you are real, speak to me." He writes: "I poured all my hope and faith into my prayer. But there was only silence. Stillness...A deep sadness engulfed me. My whole life had been a vain masquerade...Empty and void." In despair he thought about using one of his many weapons to kill himself but then decided to call on the true God with these words: "If you are real, I want to know you!"
As often happens when Muslims come to Christ, Kamal had a vision and heard these words, "I am the Alpha and the Omega. I have known you since before the foundation of the world." Kamal answered, "My Lord, I will live and die for you!" And then he heard something that forever changed him: "Do not die for me. I died for you that you may live." He writes: "At that moment I knew I met the Christian God. I knew I had met my Creator. There was no turning back" (pages 280-281).
(From a sermon by Brian Bill, Give More, 12/13/2009)
II. Faith will Change Our Attitudes
Another change is we go from pride to humility, from selfishness to selflessness. We stop seeking to live for self and starting seeking to live for God and for others.
Love, more properly “agape” love, the love of God is the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever.
Someone wrote: “The impossibly difficult instructions found in the sermon on the mount have often troubled me.
When I think about loving enemies, turning the other cheek, giving to the poor, storing up treasures in heaven, etc... I often feel like there's NO WAY I can be successful in the correctives Jesus presents.
With that said, I think Oswald Chambers speaks to the dilemma incredibly well in his devotional, "My Utmost for His Highest", and here is what he says:
"The Sermon on the Mount is not an ideal, it is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own. Jesus Christ is the only One Who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount."
We set more and more of our hopes, thoughts, dreams and aspirations on
III. Faith will Change Our Appetites
Our appetite for worldly things is replaced by an appetite for spiritual things. Paul said that the “natural man received not the things of the Spirit but the man or woman who is in Christ will “receive the things of the Spirit.”
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.