Saturday, February 16, 2013

Being Certain of Your Salvation

Recent weeks - "Persevering in the Faith"

ie:  once are within the faith, are called to persevere, continue, endure - - stay in the faith.

Two Questions that arise: 
1)  How do I GET in the faith initially????
2)  Can I fall out of the faith permanently???

Today - looking at #1.  How do I get in the faith initially?
OR, How do I know I've entered the faith?

Terms:  born again, saved, converted, regenerated, become a Christian, believer, follower, disciple, etc.

STATS:  most American adults believe in afterlife - 81%
                "        "             "    believe in heaven - 76%   (about 5% believe in incarnation)
BUT about 1/2 (46%) never wonder if they'll get there.
AND most of doubters (wonderers - the rest) are those who make some claim to be with in the faith!!!   Have some grounding in the faith.

Example:  at a Pastor's Conference when asked about this by show of hands, many leaders had questions, issues of whether were actually in the faith.

On one hand, we don't have a "Christometer" to test others.   This is not to apply to others, but to self.
BUT, to test self???  CAN I BE SURE???  1 John 5:11-13 - written to Christians. 

So, Being Sure of Your Salvation

I.  The Head Test:  examine your decision - have to know something about Christ to accept Christ.
Rom. 10:9-10, 13 - have you decided?  have you committed?

3 Questions:
1)  is the Bible trustworthy?  Do we have Christ's words?
2)  Have you done this? - made a decision?
3)  Is God faithful?

On one hand, salvation is more than a verbal claim - Matt. 7:21   James 2:19
But, it's as simple as deciding, crossing over, receiving

Question?  If it's so simple, who do I struggle???  (next week's message)

Don't minimize THIS test!!

II.  The Heart Test:  examine your affections (not just feelings)
Some examples:  1 John 2:9, 3:14
Point being:  Love God = love things of God - His Word, teachings, people, church, work, Kingdom, etc.

III.  The Hands Test - examine your actions (life style)
1 John 2:3, 3:6, 3:17-19 (a)
point:  internal change should lead external evidence - "fruit"

IV.  The Health Test :  examine your growth (progress)
1 Pet. 2:2  2 Pet. 3:18
Point:  new birth leads to new life leads to growth, development, becoming.......   Living things GROW!!!

Some Observations:
#1.  There should be some evidence in all 4 categories.

Example:  could be a "good man" - hands/fruit - BUT decision?  affection?  growth?

#2.  You'll never score perfect in any one category.
Rom. 3:23 - but there should be evidence in all 4

#3.  Your heart will condemn you - because you sin from time to time.
1 John 3:19-20 - need to have conviction of sin.

BUT, remember....
#4.  The struggle is often evidence of salvation.
Example:  Paul - Rom. 7:15 (f)

#5.  Change, growth, transformation is a Process
ie:  happens slowly, incrementally.  Therefore, hard to measure/see - (especially by yourself)
(Christian tendency is to measure where we are by where we should be, instead of where we've come from.)

CHALLENGE:  consider these tests.
Examine your standing
Accept Christ if needed
Ask for help if uncertain
Stand firm if you pass the test.   Satan doesn't want you to stand firm.

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