Saturday, December 5, 2015

Do You Know?

Most people don't like to take tests.  It makes them nervous. Some occupations require passing a test before you can be licensed to work, such as Nursing, Law, Civil Service jobs and many others.  This can create a lot of anxiety in people.  Waiting to find out if you passed is very stressful.

When I was in high school I had a teacher who told us that if we had an A in the class we wouldn’t have to take the final exam.  I didn’t like to take finals, so I worked hard at making an A.  The Monday of finals week the teacher posted the grades.  I looked and I had an A-.  I was relieved; I wouldn’t have to take the final exam.  Then the teacher told me that I would have to take the final exam because only those who had an A were exempt and I had an A-.  I argued that an A- was still an A but it didn’t do me any good.  I had to take the final exam.

Many Christians go through life like they are in school, always wondering how they are doing in their grades, and are they making a passing grade.  They spend their lives in anxiety about the outcome.
They have the belief that they cannot know if they are saved or lost! Many don't have that assurance of salvation.

The Bible has a lot to say on this topic. You can have assurance that you are saved.

How many people here are married? How many of you don't know if you're married or not? How do you know that you are married?  You can know if your married or not. Well can you know if you are saved? Surely you can know. How many know that you are going to be married 10 years from now for sure? Now that’s a different question isn’t it?

We can know if we are saved today, but only God knows the future. But let us not be bashful about knowing in our heart whether or not we are in a saved condition right now. We need to know that. Philippians 4:7 tells us that, "God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus".

The devil doesn't want you to know if we are saved or not!  He is your accuser.  Revelation 12:10 tells us , “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Satan wants you to believe that God has made impossible demands on you and that you cannot measure up to what God want’s from you.  Too often Christians not only believe his lies but spread them to others.

Works oriented Christians know they don’t measure up.  They know that the wages of sin is death.  They have a hard time believing that eternal life is actually a gift of God. Jesus wants you to know in your heart that you are saved. In John 6:47 Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life”.

He who believes on Jesus has everlasting life. If you believe, you have it. Is there a doubt there? There is no doubt. Do you believe that verse? Many Christians do not believe that verse, or John 3:16 where Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

That's clear, isn't it? It's very simple. So, how do you know if you're saved or not? If you believe in Jesus, if you trust in Jesus, if you have faith in Jesus, you have eternal life. It's that simple.

Let’s look at John 20:31, "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." How do you get that life? By believing. Isn't that beautiful? By believing you have life.

If you believe, you have it. You are saved, if you believe.

You can read by blog post on the four steps to salvation here.

Confess, Ask, Believe, Receive

Confess, ask, believe, receive:  These are four steps to the assurance that you have been saved.

1. CONFESS - The Bible tells us in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

If I flip the light switch, the light will shine.  If I turn the key, the car will start. If I confess my sins, God will forgive my sins.  It all depends on me. I have to confess.

Remember that God has promised to forgive.  Isaiah 43:25 tells us that, " I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins".  And Micah 7:19 says, "You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea".

Don't try to do God's work for Him. This is where our doubt of our salvation comes in, because we're basing our salvation on our works. We need to base our salvation on Jesus Christ and His works, His righteousness. That's where we get assurance from. To confess means to admit your sins in sorrow, and let Jesus give you the victory.

2. ASK  -  In Luke 11:9, we are taught that we should ask and God will answer. It's up to us to do the asking. Eternal life is a gift.  The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Can you earn a gift? At Christmas time, can you earn your gifts? At birthday times, can you earn a gift? You can't do it. And salvation is a gift. It's not a wage. We cannot earn it or any part of it. We cannot save ourselves.

If you ask Jesus to save you, he will save you because He has promised to be your Savior. If we receive Christ and His salvation, we are saved, and we're saved right now. I John 5:12 say,s "He who has the Son has life"! It's that simple. If you have Jesus you have eternal life.

3. BELIEVE - John 6:40 says, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Believe! You need to believe. Not like a person believes in skydiving. I believe in skydiving, but I avoid it.

Blondin, who is considered to be one of the greatest tightrope-walkers of all time, became famous for crossing Niagra Falls on a tightrope. In 1860 a Royal party from Britain that included the Prince of Wales saw Blondin cross the tightrope on stilts, and again blindfolded. After that he stopped halfway across and cooked and ate an omelet. Next he wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other, and returned with a sack of potatoes in it.  Then Blondin approached the Royal party. He asked the Prince of Wales, "Do you believe I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?"  "Yes, I do", said the Prince.  "Hop in, then", replied Blondin.  Well, the Prince declined Blondin's challenge. He might have believed Blondin could do it, but he wasn't about to trust him with his life.

You need to believe in salvation with all your heart. We have to trust Jesus. If you can have that relationship with Jesus, you have eternal life.  Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved".

So, we confess our sins to Him, we ask Him for salvation, and we believe that He does save us. And then...

4. RECEIVE -  You must receive it. At Christmas you're never going to enjoy what's inside that package unless you receive it and open it, are you? It won't happen. Salvation must be received. You can't believe that it is yours and not take it or use it. You must receive it.

Here is an illustration to answer the question, how do I know I am saved?  What is the difference between a hog and a sheep? If they both happen to come up to a mud puddle and fall in the mud puddle, one difference is the hog enjoys it. He's down in it making the most of it. He's in hog heaven, a mud hole.

What happens to the sheep when he falls in the mud hole? Does he like it? No! He wants to get out of there.  And when he gets out, is he happy with the mud that's on his wool? No! He says, "Please wash me. Make me white again." Do you see the difference between a hog and a sheep? They both end up in the mud puddle occasionally by accident, but the sheep hates it. He can't stand it. That's how you know the difference between a hog and a sheep.

If you sin, and you think, "that was kind of enjoyable. I'd like to do that again." You may be a hog. But, if you get in that mudhole, if you sin, and you hate it, and when you get out of it you say to God, "please forgive me. Please cleanse me." That's a mark of a true Christian.

Do you know that you're saved? Every morning Jesus renews His love with you, He's there. He's real. Believe and trust in Jesus and you're going to be with Him in heaven.  Remember: Confess, Ask, Believe and Receive.  Jesus wants you to have the peace that comes from knowing that he has saved you.