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Being Sure About Salvation - Part 3


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This is part three of a presentation on how to tell who is a Christian and who is not (the evidences of saving faith)

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Being Sure About Salvation - Part 3

  1. 1. Being Sure About Salvation
  2. 2. Is there a way to tell who is a true Christian and who is not?
  3. 3. The Evidences of Being Lost Maturing/Growth Process Love things of world / sin Fleshly Positive / Reject God / Affections Negative things of GodHuman Birth WorksExperience / Reject Spiritual Old Nature Truth Fruit Darkened Mind Mind centered Personal life on self/flesh God & Sinful Motion Self & Holy Things Sinful Things Away From Toward
  4. 4. The Evidences of Salvation Maturing/Growth Process Love God/Things of God Holy Hate sin / world Positive / / enemies of Affections Negative GodNew Birth / WorksNew Nature Accept Spiritual Truth Fruit Renewed Mind Mind of the Personal life Sprit in Holy living Self & Sinful Holy Motion God & Things Holy Things Away From Toward
  5. 5. The Example of Charles FinneyCharles Finney was a lawyer (never trained in theology) who was converted in 1821 and became apopular evangelist. He believed that salvation was based on humanchoice and that people could make a decision for God without anydivine assistance (i.e. humanity was not depraved or a slave to sin). Hisentire approach was to work on the will of the person such that they would choose God on their own. The invitational system today wasinaugurated in America by Finney’s approach.
  6. 6. Worry Over the Fruit of Finney‟s Labors In a letter dated Dec. 25, 1834, James Boyle (one of Finney’s associates in ministry) asked these questions: "Let us look over the fields where you and others and myself have labored as revival ministers and what is now their moral state? What was their state within three months after we left them? I have visited and revisited many of these fields and groaned in spirit to see the sad frigid carnal contentious state into which the churches had fallen and fallen very soon after we first departed from among them.”
  7. 7. Worry Over the Fruit of Finney‟s Labors In fact, many who evaluated the ministry ofFinney were convinced that sinners emotionallybut not spiritually awakened became hardened and skeptical. The sinner, for example, who made an objective commitment to Christ insome emotional experience but soon found out that contrary to the revivalists or the evangelists` promise, nothing changed, hisheart was the same. And the wave of emotional release that he experienced made no change. That discovery that didnt solve anything in his life made the sinner more hardened in his sin, more skeptical of the gospel, more skeptical of other peoples Christian profession, believingthat he who had been deceived was a member of a group of others who had been and were being likewise deceived.
  8. 8. “The things they know in theirminds may make impressions in their hearts indeed we do see that the demons have very strong feelings about God; so strong, in fact, that they"shudder." But they are not holy feelings because they have nothing to do with the work of the Holy Spirit. If this is true of the experience of demons, it is also true of the experience of men.” - Jonathan Edwards
  9. 9. Mark of a True Believer “By this we know that wehave come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 John 2:3)
  10. 10. Being Saved Doesn‟t Mean You Won‟t Sin “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the onedoing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that Iam! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through JesusChrist our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:14–25) KEY POINT: We aren’t as holy as we ought to be, but we pursue it…
  11. 11. “The only validation you will everhave of your salvation is a life ofobedience, it is the only possible proof that you really recognizethe Lordship of Jesus Christ. Im going to say that again because thats the heart of the message. Obedience is the only validation of your salvation. It is the onlypossible proof that you recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Because if theres no obedience then youre confessing Jesus is Lord is just so much verbal exercise.” - John MacArthur
  12. 12. Mark of Salvation: Led by the Spirit“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellowheirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. ” (Romans 8:14–17)
  13. 13. “This [the previous slide’s verses on Romans] is the witness or evidence whichthe apostle speaks of that we are children, that we have the spirit of children, or spirit of adoption. And what is that but the spirit of love? There are two kinds of spirits the apostle speaks of, the spirit of a slave of bondage, that is fear; and the spirit of a child, or spirit of adoption, and that is love . . . whichnaturally disposes us to go to God as children to a father, and behave towards God as children, And this is the evidence or witness which the Spirit of God gives us that we are his children.” -Jonathan Edwards A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections
  14. 14. The parable of the sower
  15. 15. The Parable of the Sower “That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, someseeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and becausethey had no root, they withered away. “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some ahundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. “He who has ears, let him hear.” ” (Matthew 13:1–9)
  16. 16. Explanation of the Parable “Hear then the parable of the sower. “Whenanyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes andsnatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown besidethe road. “The one on whom seed was sown onthe rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecutionarises because of the word, immediately he falls away. “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and itbecomes unfruitful. “And the one on whom seedwas sown on the good soil, this is the man whohears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:18–23)
  17. 17. The Unresponsive• Fields were bordered by very hard paths.• Visibly, externally hard; hard hearts like the Pharisees.• Outside factor: the enemy (birds in Scripture often represent evil). “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4)
  18. 18. The Superficial• Shallow soil atop a layer of bedrock.• Looks good on the top; invisibly, internally hard.• Has a root in himself; not rooted to God• Shows a false sign of life faster than the good soil.• Another example of hardness in the heart; also a superficial commitment. Feelings were changed, but not the soul• Outside factor: affliction and persecution „because of the Word‟. The cost of discipleship becomes too high
  19. 19. “Many were like the stonyground, or thorny ground; and but few, comparatively, likethe good ground. Of the whole heap that was gathered, great part was chaff; that the wind afterwards drove away; and the heap of wheat that was left, was comparatively small; as appears abundantly, by thehistory of the New Testament” -Jonathan EdwardsA Treatise Concerning Religious Affections
  20. 20. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted ofthe heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, sincethey again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. ” (Hebrews 6:4–8)
  21. 21. Mark of a False Believer “They went out from us, but they were not really of us;for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. ” (1 John 2:19)
  22. 22. The Worldly• Competitive ground that contained weeds after plowing had been done.• Represents a heart that is not 100% God‟s. Note the thorns sprung up after the seed was sown; they weren‟t evident beforehand• “Worry” is a „preoccupation‟ with the things of the world• No real repentance has been performed. Produces no fruit.• Outside factor: the world and its desires• “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ” (1 Timothy 6:10)• “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15–16)
  23. 23. What do you Crave? The thing to keep in mind is that when you become a Christian – God gives you a new nature, and this new nature will (1) exhibit a desire for a new diet and (2) a new lifestyle.
  24. 24. What do you Crave? “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  25. 25. Mark of a False Believer“It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”” (2 Peter 2:20-22)
  26. 26. “I will believe in theRedeemer when theChristians look a little more redeemed.”- Frederick Nietzsche
  27. 27. “Wherever a profession of conversion is not accompanied by holiness of life it must be understood that theindividual concern is not a Christian.” - Jonathan Edwards
  28. 28. Mark of a False Believer“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they denyHim, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” (Titus 1:16)
  29. 29. The Receptive• Made from same basic stuff, but has been rightly prepared 100% by God.• Only soil that bears a crop/fruit, which is the sign of true saving faith• Average crop yield in Palestine was 8:1. The yields Jesus spoke about were amazing to his listeners• “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
  30. 30. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear andsprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; Sowill My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10–11)
  31. 31. Fruit Demonstrates Repentance “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bear fruit in keeping withrepentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, „Wehave Abraham for our father‟; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. “The axe is already laidat the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:7–10)
  32. 32. Other Observations• The sowing is done with the Word of God (either preaching or reading): “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23)• The words of men have no life; the Word of God does• The act of sowing represents the external call of God.• A full three-fourth‟s (3/4) of the seed sown did not bear fruit. This dovetails with what Christ said in Matthew 7 about there being “few” that enter eternity with God. “However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” ” (Romans 10:16)• Nineteen times in Matthew 13 we find the word “hear.” It is important that we hear God‟s Word, because “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus said, “Who hath ears to hear” (Matt. 13:9), “Take heed what you hear!” (Mark 4:24), and “Take heed how you hear!” (Luke 8:18)
  33. 33. “When a person grasps in his mind, or better yet, when he feels his ownheart held captive by the attractiveness of the Divine, this is an unmistakable sign of Gods working.” - Jonathan Edwards
  34. 34. The parable of the tares and the wheat
  35. 35. Tares Among the Wheat “Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “Theslaves of the landowner came and said to him, „Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?‟ “And he said to them, „An enemy has done this!‟ The slaves said to him, „Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?‟ “But he said, „No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. „Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”” (Matthew 13:24–30)
  36. 36. Explanation of the Parable “Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age;and the reapers are angels. “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. ” (Matthew 13:36–43)
  37. 37. Other Observations• The tares (darnel – a fake/bad wheat; the grains are black) looked like wheat until it reached the stage where the heads showed the obvious difference.• Sowing tares was a common practice of people to ruin a competitors field; the Romans had a law against it• The seed here is not the Word of God as in the other parable but true believers.• “weeping and gnashing of teeth” – weeping does refer to grief, but gnashing of teeth refers to anger and hatred• The emphasis is not so much what happens to the good seed, but what happens to the bad seed• It was because of the wheat that the tares were not immediately pulled up; we wonder sometimes why God allows evil people to remain – there is a plan behind it all
  38. 38. “There is a great deal of secretwickedness in the hearts of men, which is long hid under the cloak of a plausible profession, but breaks out at last. As the good seed, so the tares, lie a great whileunder the clods, and at first springing up,it is hard to distinguish them; but when a trying time comes, when fruit is to be brought forth, when good is to be done that has difficulty and hazard attending it, then you will return and discern between the sincere and the hypocrite:then you may say, This is wheat, and that is tares.” - Matthew Henry
  39. 39. Being Sure About Salvation