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.