"From Death To Life"

“Foundations Series”
Well Good Morning, today we are continuing in our Foundations Series. There is nothing worse that walking down a stairway in the dark and missing a step or thinking there is a step there and falling down and hurting ourself. We so desperately need a firm foundation. And the same is true spiritually speaking. In a world that does not know right from wrong and what is true, we need to know as Christians that God and His Word are true and sure firm foundations that never change as we journey through this life.
Today, I want to take time to talk to you about the importance of our salvation in Christ. I also want to address the lack of assurance of salvation that so many Christians deal with. In fact, the title of our message today is, “From Death To Life.” John Edie, the nineteenth-century Scottish preacher once said, “Men without Christ are death walking. The beauties of holiness do not attract man in his moral insensibility, nor do the miseries of Hell deter him.” In other words, you can talk about heaven to him, and he is not interested. You can talk to him about hell and he is not afraid. You see this kind of man does not need renewal, this kind of man does not need to be fixed. repaired, or restored. This man needs resurrection. He needs life, because this man is dead. I feel that there are many dead people walking around today and some even in churches, who are not aware of the fact that they are dead.
So, let me begin today by explaining what I mean by dead. Last week as we talked about the work of Christ we began with the bad news first and then got to the good news of what Jesus has done for us. So, again we need to start with the bad news first, before we get to the good news of salvation. Turn with me to Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
This text here helps us to see that we are dead because of our sin nature. Someone who is dead can do nothing. We as dead sinners do not have the capacity to save ourselves, that is why we so desperately need a Savior. We also learned last week from Romans chapter 3 verses 10-12 that there is none righteous no not one. There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. We are spiritually dead. We are born with a sin nature. We are all sinners under divine judgement and sadly we all deserve God’s wrath and an eternity in hell. You may be here today and say well I think I am a really good person. I don’t feel like I am a sinner and deserved of Hell. There are many folks today who think that their sinful life and behavior are not sin. How do we know that we are all sinners? Someday we will all die. We see this clearly in both the Old and New Testament.
Ezekiel 18:20 ESV
20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These verses today lead us to another question that you may be wondering. Is there anything that can be done about my condition? The short answer to this is YES!!! Yes God delivers us from death, hell and sin. When we come to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we know for certain what Jesus has done for us. We know that Jesus died on the cross and 3 days later rose bodily from the grave to conquer the devil, and sin and death for us. Jesus also took on the wrath of God the Father, because as Jesus was on the cross He bore our sin and in fact died in our place. His death on the cross satisfied God and we see God’s grace poured out to mankind. Grace is, “God’s free and sovereign act of love and mercy in granting salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus apart from anything men are or can do, and of His sustaining that salvation to glorification.”
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Church, these are dear and wonderful truths that we must know and understand. You come to know Christ and are a Christian because you believe this. But how does this all start??? As we begin to understand that we are dead in trespasses and sin, we are led to begin to see what Christ has done for us.
John 16:8 ESV
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
This is speaking of God (The Holy Spirit) and what He does in light of our sin. The Conversion of believers really begins as God calls us and draws us to an understanding of how terrible our sin is and what we all deserve, but also what Christ has done for us. God reaches out and draws men and women to Himself and He does this through the preaching and teaching and even reading of His Word. As we begin to see this and understand this we are convicted of the sin in our lives as John 16 tells us through the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel Message begins with conviction and recognition of what God’s Word tells us about our spiritual condition. We see how awful our sin is and how much it hurts God when we sin against Him. True conversion involves conviction and brokenness over our sin as we stand before a Holy and Righteous God. This all should cause us to repent and turn from our sin and follow Christ. True repentance involves a change of mind, regret of sin, and a turning from our sin to follow and obey God. Not perfectly but with progression. We turn to Christ and confess that He is Lord of our lives. We see a great example of this in Luke chapter 18.
Luke 18:13 ESV
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
This man (this tax collector) knew that he was a sinner and he knew how desperately he needed God, so he cried out in repentance and brokenness for God’s mercy. Repentance means that we do not stay in sinful patterns. When we understand God’s grace in our lives when we mess up we run to God and ask Him to forgive us and help us not to go back to that particular sin. We run from our sin and turn to Christ. In Numbers 21:5-9 the children of Israel sinned against God, and so God sent deadly snakes that bit them and caused death. The people realized their sin and asked to be delivered. God instructed Moses to make a fiery bronze serpent on a pole, and when someone was bit, they could look on it and be saved. In a way that illustrates conversion; instead of a snake on a pole, we have been given the Son of God on a cross and when we turn to Christ in faith or trust in Him, we will be saved. How do we know that???
Romans 10:13 ESV
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Human Responsibility = Faith or trust in what Christ has done for you is a requirement for salvation. You must confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. Faith means trusting or clinging and embracing Jesus Christ, who is the object of our faith.
2nd Part: Now, I want to address a big question that I feel that many Christians struggle with. The Question is this. How can I be certain that I have truly believed in Christ? This is a question of assurance of our salvation. Here are just a few things that I feel many Christians definitely know.
-Christians don’t doubt that they are sinful.
-They don’t doubt that God loves them and cares about them.
-They don’t even doubt God’s power to save or in His resurrection.
So, what is the Great Thief Here? What can steal a believers assurance of salvation. There are several key things here that I want you to see. So, let me address them.
First, there may be a lack of impact or results in your life as you take a look within, and as you are serving the Lord. You don’t see much fruit or results in your life and you become discouraged.
The second thief is Inconsistency. There is a high of coming to church and worshiping the Lord and the excitement of all this and then only to wake up on Monday morning and find yourself struggling with something difficult which brings you down, and you wonder if you are truly saved? This leads to a third area.
Third, the Habitual Indwelling Sin. You may say if I am a believer why can’t I get victory over this certain sin??? Why am I still struggling here?
There are of course other things as well. The neglect of worship on Sunday Mornings. You may only come to church on occasion. There may be a negligence of fellowship with other believers or the negligence of prayer or sharing your faith.
One last thing, Bad teaching. There are some churches or pastors who teach that you can lose your salvation.
Romans 8:38–39 ESV
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 10:27–29 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
These are all things that can steal your assurance.
So, how can I be sure Christ has truly saved me??? This is the question that I want to address now. Turn with me to Galatians chapter 4.
As we come to Galatians chapter 4 we see here the doctrine of Adoption. What Paul does here is to help us see a believers life before adoption, and that once we become Christians Christ has adopted us into His family.
Galatians 4:1–7 ESV
1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
So, we once were part of the Devil’s family. John chapter 8 helps us to see this when Christ is talking to the religious leaders and tells them plainly in verse 44 of chapter 8 that they are of their father the Devil. In other words, we were dead in sin, or slaves to sin. We were part of the Devil’s family and now as Christians we have been adopted into God’s family.
Ephesians 1:5 ESV
5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
So, how does knowing all of this help me to be certain that I am truly saved or adopted??? Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 1 and we are going to see the importance of the Holy Spirit and then we will go back to Galatians chapter 4 to see the confirmation of knowing for certain that we are truly saved.
Ephesians 1:13 ESV
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
So, our assurance is that as believers the Lord has given us His Spirit. In other words, when you were saved you were sealed with a promise or a pledge and that is the Holy Spirit. As a true Son or daughter of Christ you now posses the Holy Spirit.
So, how do we know that we have the Holy Spirit??? Here are just a few verses you need to know.
1 John 3:24 ESV
24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
Romans 8:11 ESV
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:14 ESV
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
-The Holy Spirit as He lives within us teaches us.
-The Holy Spirit Instructs us.
-The Holy Spirit guides us and leads us in right ways.
-The Holy Spirit also comforts us and helps calm the crazy storms that come into our lives. (John chapter 14)
-We are filled with the Holy Spirt. What this means is that He helps us to sing and worship God.
-The Holy Spirit convicts us of wrong things or sinful things. And so we come to verse 6 of Galatians chapter 4. Look at this with me.
Galatians 4:6 ESV
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
The Holy Sprit that dwells inside of us as believers cries out “Abba Father.” The Holy Spirit cries out for us. You know that you are saved when you are at a place of difficulty, suffering or fear or loss or needy and you cry out to God for help. Daddy, Father I need you. You can look at your life and see times where you have run to God and called out for His strength, His Help, His wisdom and guidance.
The fact that you may be even today asking the question am I truly a Christian today tells me that your desire is everything.
-Do you desire to know God? Yes.
-Do you desire to love God? Yes.
-Do you desire to follow and obey God? You may say well I still have angry thoughts, or say bad words, or lustful thoughts. What this help us to see is that yes we are still sinners and we cannot do this on our own merit or works. That salvation is truly a gift from God. Even Paul understood this. He understood that even though he was a Christian he was still a sinner.
Romans 7:24–25 ESV
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Only by the grace of God can we be delivered from the deadness of our sin. So, where do you find your greatest source of joy and fulfillment in this life? Is it Christ? Seek the Lord today and ask Him to give you an assurance of your faith. If you are here today and you have not trusted in Christ call upon Him even now where you are sitting.
-Tell him you are a sinner.
-Confess your sin to him. Ask him to forgive you.
-Believe that He died and rose again.
-Fully submit your heart and life to him and begin to live for Christ.
(Pray and Lead into Communion)
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