Summary: A sermon on assurance of salvation.
At a certain Christian school, the teacher taught her class to recite the Apostle’s Creed, clause by clause, with each pupil having his own clause to recite. They would begin class each day with the
recitation of the Apostle’s creed in this manner. In this unique way, she took role each day. One morning, they began, as usual, with the first boy, who said, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”
The second boy continued, “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord.”
A sudden silence interrupted the roll call. As the teacher looked up to see the reason for the delayed response of the third boy, one of his classmates said, “Teacher, the boy who believes in the Holy Spirit isn’t here today.”
That is a good description of the twelve men that we are told about in Acts 19:1-7.
1. A spiritual conversation - vs. 1-2
These men referred to themselves as “disciples.” They had taken a title, however, which wasn’t rightly theirs. How do we know this? Because they had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” - Romans 8:9 (NIV)
When does one receive the Holy Spirit? Upon their acceptance of Christ as their personal Savior. True salvation involves a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior that results in the assurance of the Holy Spirit.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession - to the praise of his glory.” - Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Notice the two-fold work the Holy Spirit performs when one hears and believes the Good News that results in a double assurance of salvation.
A. The Holy Spirit places us “in Christ.”
“you also were included in Christ” “you were marked in him with a seal”
"In Christ" is one of Paul’s favorite terms to use to describe our union with Christ and our identification with Him as believers. When we trusted Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthinas 12:13), which refers, not only to our being part of the universal church (the body of Christ) but also to our identification with our Savior victory won through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Our victory in Christ is based on His victory over sin, death, and Satan.
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:4-6 (NIV)
Because of our Savior’s death for our sins, we are now dead to sin, because of our Savior’s victory over death (through HIs resurrection), we have victory over death (the result of sin), and because of our Savior’s victory over Satan (through His ascension), we have victory over Satan, as, from the standpoint of eternity, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places.
If I were to place my sermon notes in my Bible, where are my sermon notes? They are wherever my Bible is. If I place my Bible on the pulpit, my notes are there. If i place my Bible on a table, my notes are there. Whatever is true of my bible is true of my sermon notes because my notes are in my Bible.
Now, through the work of the Holy Spirit, I have been placed "in Christ." In Him, I am seated in heavenly places! Talk about eternal security! How do I know I will be in heaven one day? As far as God is concerned, i am already there! I am simply waiting for the day when my personal experience catches up with what god says in my eternal reality "in Christ!"
B. The Holy Spirit takes His place in us.
“The promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”
1) The Spirit assures us of our salvation by His presence -
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” - Romans 8:16 (NIV)
2) The Spirit assures us of our salvation through God’s word -
“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” - Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
“My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion.” - 1 John 5:13 (The Message)