Foundations of Assurance
Many Christians base their assurance of salvation on false premises. This Scriptural guide reveals the certain hope that is provided in Christ himself.
HANDOUT SERMON NOTES
Someone might well say “There’s no way anyone can know if there is life after death or if there is a heaven or hell, and there’s certainly no way to know whether you are going to one of those places or the other.”
In to the quagmire of human opinion steps a man called Jesus Christ who makes audacious claims – claims that if not true make him less than a good teacher, but either a liar who has deceived billions of people, a lunatic (madman)… or else, He is exactly who He claimed to be.
Text: John 14:1-6
Assurance is built in much the same way as a house, brick by brick, laying one truth upon another.
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD – Romans 1 – God does not believe in atheists! God has made the evidence of His existence known to man – all know it but many suppress it.
GOD’S REVELATION – THE BIBLE – It is not a scientific text book as such but when Scripture makes claims that can be attested by science, it stands the test of time in a remarkable (supernatural) way. It is centuries and millennia ahead of its time.
Earth – a circle (Isa 40:22), hung on nothing (Job 26:7) – the moon a reflector of light (does not shine (Job 25:5) – the fact that air has weight (Job 28:24, 25) - time zones (a moment in time that will be night time for some and daytime for others – Luke 17:31-37) – the number of stars “cannot be numbered) Jer 33:20-22) – the water cycle (Ecc 1:6, 7) – Life is in the blood (Lev 17:11) – strict hygiene and sanitation laws (found in Leviticus 13:45-59)) that kept Israel from the spread of disease millennia before germs were discovered (its only in the last 100 years that the regular washing of hands became standard practice in hospitals) – atoms and molecules (things unseen) (Heb 11:3) – ocean currents (Isaiah 43:16; Psalm 8:8) – archaeology - fulfilled prophecy… (Christ, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, His cross and resurrection (Psalm 22; Isa 53), etc. etc.)
JESUS CHRIST – HIS PERSON AND HIS WORK - He existed in history - In a communist Russian dictionary, Jesus is described as "a mythical figure who never existed." Of course, no serious historian could hold to that position today. The evidence is overwhelming as to the fact that Jesus existed, not just from the Gospels and other Christian literature around the first century, but also from non-Christian sources.
Well respected historians of the day, including Tacitus (a Roman) speak of him, as well as the noted Jewish historian Josephus. He writes
"Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him, both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians so named after him, are not extinct at this day." Josephus: Antiquities XVIII 63f
Of course, a whole book is needed to cover all the evidence regarding the existence of Jesus. In fact, Josh McDowelI has already written one, called "He walked among us." Suffice it to say that there is overwhelming evidence to say that Jesus was a real historical person.
THE CLAIMS OF CHRIST: C. S. Lewis:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (Mere Christianity, The MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41.)
CHRISTIANITY IS CHRIST - His sinless life and atoning death (His finished work): TOTAL SUBSTITUTION
GOD’S GOSPEL: THE MESSAGE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE – Romans 3:28; 4:4,5
THE FIVE SOLAS ANSWER THE CRY OF THE HUMAN HEART.. A divine word and divine message of a Divine Savior who actually saves!
THE CHARACTER OF THE DISCIPLES – Eye witness testimony. In history it is true to say that many have died for what they believed to be true BUT RARE is the man who will die for what he KNEW to be a lie.
2 Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
FROM THE OBJECTIVE TO THE SUBJECTIVE - Just as the sun is hot whether you believe that or not, just as water freezes at 0 degrees C and boils at 100 degrees C… All of the above can be described as objective truths (true, outside of us, corresponding to reality - whether someone believes it or not)
THE WITNESS AND TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (in our hearts): SUBJECTIVE
This is where it becomes difficult for us… we cannot point to something outside of us here like a Bible or an empty tomb… we must look within for assurance.
Rom 8: 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…
Christ’s sheep will hear His voice – a stranger they will not follow (John 10)
But here’s what I have found - assurance within is gained by looking without – looking away from ourselves to Christ.
Heb 12:1-3 – Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Add another reality to the mix… Jesus is alive and well!
THE PRESENT DAY MINISTRY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – Advocate, High Priest and Intercessor - Heb 13:5 AMP “…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not,[I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]”
- John 17:9: Heb 7:25 – he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Assurance is cumulative – built on truth upon another…. A unique God - A unique book (the Bible alone is the word of God) - A unique Savior (the Lord Jesus Christ) - A unique Message (The Gospel of Christ - Total Substitution)
Job 19: 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
While in heaven He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart