SAVED AND SURE
1 John 5:13
INTRO: One of the reasons many people do not serve the Lord is because they are not quite sure about their relationship to God. They don’t want to commit themselves to serving a God when they don’t know exactly where they stand with Him. Many Christians have no joy in their lives for the same reason.
Many people sit in the pews week after week. They hear the gospel preached. They believe what they hear, and apply some things to their lives. And yet, if you were to ask them: "Are you certain? Are you sure? Are you confident that if you were to die right now you would go to heaven?" many of them would say: "Well, I think so, I hope so, I’m not sure, I used to feel I would, or Oh yes, I am certain." If you were to ask them on what basis they place their certainty, some would give you all kinds of different answers. Those who show some doubt would place the basis of their hope on their performance or lifestyle, not on the only foundation of salvation.
I. IT IS GOD’S WILL FOR EVERYONE TO BE SAVED.
The Scriptures affirm this. If I were not sure that I was saved, I could not be free to serve Him, and enjoy life.
1. Luke 19:10 From Genesis to Revelation you don’t find man reaching up to or seeking God. You find God reaching down to man.
2. John 6:40 The will of the Father.
3. 2 Peter 3:9 God doesn’t want any to perish.
4. Romans 10:13; John 12:32 Salvation is for all.
Some will say, but I believe in predestination. I do too (Romans 8:29). What God has predestined is: having been saved, that we be shaped in the likeness of his Son spiritually. God isn’t sending anyone to hell. God has done everything that He can do to redeem mankind. What more could He do other than making us robots without a free will?
Someone says, but what about these folks who have never heard the gospel? There is within every culture a principle or practice whereby there is a perfect demonstration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is why Paul said in Romans 1:20 "They are without excuse." If it is God’s will that everybody be saved, it is God’s responsibility to get the Gospel to them.
II. IT IS GOD’S WILL THAT WE BE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul talks about the relationship between grace and works. You can think of the word works as being performance, or behavior. Grace is God’s unmerited love. It is not how good we are, or what we do. If it is grace, it cannot be purchased. If it is grace, it isn’t the result of performance.
Some say that in eternity past, God looked down and saw how you were going to respond, and He chose you on that basis. That would mean that God chose you on the basis of your performance, and that isn’t grace.
ILLUS: Suppose I gave you an automobile valued at $50,000. I say to you, "I’ll give it to you if you just give me $1." You say, "I thought you were going to give it to me." That’s not a gift. It might be cheap, but it’s not a gift. It is the result of your payment.
If I am saved by the grace of God plus anything else, it is no longer grace. It cancels out grace. Grace is an unconditional free gift motivated by nothing within me. There is nothing within us that can motivate God to save us. The motivation is from within God alone. If it were the other way around, it would not be grace.
I’m going to give you a list of Scriptures, and I want you to look for two things in them.
1. Look for what is there that is absolutely essential to salvation.
2. Look for something that is glaringly absent from the Scriptures.
1. John 3:16 2. John 5:24 3. John 6:35
4. John 7:37-39 5. John 8:34 6. Acts 8:27ff
7. Acts 16:30ff 8. Romans 5:1
9. Galatians 9:16 10. Ephesians 2:8-9
What is found in every single one of these verses? FAITH. What is lacking? WORKS or PERFORMANCE.
Look at John 1:11-12. Salvation is the result of BELIEVING SOMEONE, not DOING SOMETHING! The natural reaction is that this is too simple. You mean that I just have to believe in Jesus? I don’t mean a mental acceptance. Believe is a word of action. When I place my faith in Christ, there is a result. There is a change in my life.
Here is where most people lose their assurance of salvation. If you aren’t sure, you’ll be a poor servant. If you aren’t sure, you will be in bondage to sin. You will have to carry around doubt, fear, anxiety, and frustration.
If salvation is faith plus performance, when you were saved how did you know how you were going to perform? If you didn’t know how you were going to perform, you can’t be sure you were saved the day you were saved.
If salvation is based on faith plus performance, the how much performance? what kind of performance? how long? how good? If I should ask you would you like to be a little better...How much better...How much better do you think God want’s you to be? So we work on it for six months. And you come back. I ask you do you think God is pleased with you now? If you were to do this for 100 years you would want to be a little better.
We put people in bondage because we say if you don’t do certain things you aren’t saved. We use Matthew 7:20 as proof. You have to decide which fruit. How much fruit. What kind of fruit? Fruit bearing is going to tell you the condition of my heart AT THE MOMENT! My fruit may be great now but a disaster in three months.
What do you do to stay saved? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! You can’t stop believing. If you have been saved by God’s grace you can’t stop believing.
If you were saved by performance, who’s the judge of your performance? If someone else is the judge, then by some standards you are saved, and by other standards you are lost. If you are the judge, then you still don’t know where you are, because you are up one day and down the next. Paul didn’t live like a saint all his life (Romans 7:15-25). Do you think Paul was saved or lost?
III. IT IS GOD’S WILL THAT YOU BE SURE OF YOUR SALVATION.
Look at the passage in John 3 where Nicodemus comes to Jesus. Verse 3 when a child is born he is born. Well or sick he is born. Once he is born, he is born. He may die the next second, or live 100 years, but born he is. Turn to 2 Peter 1:3-4. When you were born again God gave you a divine nature. You possess a divine nature. When you came into this world, you were given a human nature. You are a human being. Do you think anyone could convince you to start walking on all fours?
Who can take away your divine nature? NO ONE!! For you to go to hell you would have to take God with you, because of your divine nature. You may not act divine. Your performance may be an embarrassment to everybody around you and a disgrace to God, but you still have a divine nature (Ephesians 1:13; John 15:1-8; Ephesians 2:4-6; Colossians 3:1-4). You cannot go by your emotions. Go by the truth of the Word of God.
Can be saved and then be lost? Let’s say that you are performing well today, and God calls you home. You know you would go to heaven because you are performing well. But tomorrow, you just blow it. Your mouth is unclean. Your temper gets the best of you. Suppose you die tomorrow. You would go to hell because you did not perform well that day. Which day is God going to call you home? God, seeing your life, sees what you do each day. Would God do that to you? If you believe that God would do that to you, then you don’t have one bit of assurance of your salvation.
If that is the way you believe, then just forget God. Stop serving Him. You can’t believe in falling from Grace and believe in the God of the Bible.