Summary: A sermon to help with assurance of salvation.
"The Blessings of Believing"
1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Introduction: Leave up to the Apostle John to give the greatest treatise on faith and belief found anywhere in Scripture. Of all the disciples of our Lord John seems to have known Jesus best, had the greatest understanding of His mission, manner and message, and is about to communicate it in a way that we can understand and relate to. There are four things that I want to emphasis for your consideration this morning. First, there is:
I. The Confirmation of Belief -- the promise
Notice that John writes about a "...record..." What does this mean? The record is that God has given us "...eternal life and that this life is in His son..." Let's look back at chapter 1, verse 1 and see what John says at this "...life..."
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We have the testimony of John that Jesus is "...life..." The Lord himself tells us that He is "...the Way, the Truth, and the Life..." Life here is associated with eternal life and he goes on to say that "...he that hath the Son hath life..." What we have is the record of a revelation, that God grants eternal life to those who have "...the Son..." What I am about to say might be the greatest single source of blessing that you or I will ever experience. Are you ready?
ILL -- Dr. Adrian Rogers said: "You don't get eternal life when you die; you get eternal life when you believe!"
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
ILL - Next time you're in an airport notice the difference between passengers who have confirmed tickets and those on standby (Hybels, Too Busy Not to Pray 113). Those who have confirmed tickets are relaxed, they're confident and expectant. Those on standby hang around the ticket counter, they pace and smoke, pace and smoke, pace and smoke...all because of uncertainty. God offers us freedom from the burden of uncertainty, so we can know for sure where we stand with God.
The second thing is:
II. The Constitution of Belief -- the practice
I think it is also fair to ask the question, "What constitutes belief?" Believing is more than an abstract thing or an item for discussion in a theology class. Believing is an action that can be defined and described. Three things are involved when we believe. First, there must be something to believe. In the Christian context it is the Word of God.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Second there must be the action or operation of believing which basically can be distilled to mean "trusting" It is more than the intellectual assent to a group of facts; it involves acting upon those facts to the degree that it changes or modifies our behavior. What we truly believe will result in action. Let me illustrate what I mean:
ILL - Charles Blondin's greatest fame came in June of 1859 when he attempted to become the first person to cross a tightrope stretched over a quarter of a mile across the mighty Niagara Falls.