Assurance of Salvation

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Last Sunday morning we celebrated the wonderful news of our salvation:
We are no longer condemned
We are no longer captive
We are no longer cursed
We are con longer controlled by the flesh
Paul continues the celebration of our salvation by showing how the believer can be assured of salvation. I have had people tell me no one can be sure of their salvation. The Bible says different.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)
It’s one thing to read that in a book. It’s another thing to experience it in your heart. I’m going to help you experience assurance in your heart today. There are two things that break my heart as a pastor:
1) Those who are certain they are saved but appear to be deceived. There are many like this.
2) Those who are saved but struggle with assurance. There are many like this as well.
It is my prayer that through this message everyone who is genuinely saved will have full assurance of their salvation.
1. Those who are saved deal with their sin properly (12-13).
“So then” points back to all we have seen in chapter 8.
No longer condemned
No longer controlled by the flesh
Our mind is set on the Spirit
The Spirit of God lives in us
“brothers” Don’t miss this. Paul calls the Gentiles brothers. Before he was saved, he would never do that.
They called them dogs
They called them the uncircumcised
When God saved Paul, He changed his heart. His hatred of Gentiles was a sin he put to death. God made him the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Listen to me friend: You can be a Christian or you can be a racist, but you can’t be both!
This is one of the great proofs of salvation. God change a person’s heart toward those they once hated.
“We are debtors , not to the flesh” You have no obligation to sin any longer. Sin is no longer your master.
Paul already said we are no longer in the flesh but are now in the Spirit (8-9).
Remember, when we use Paul’s vocabulary we have to use Paul’s dictionary too.
He defines “in the flesh “as lost and “in the Spirit” as saved.
Look at verse 13.
“if you live according to the flesh you will die” This is a person who doesn’t deal with their sin. They don’t care how they live. Paul warns them. He says, “you will die!”
If you’re lost, please take this seriously! Please understand the price you pay for a life of sin.
“if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live”
This is how you know you’re saved. The Spirit is moving you to put your sin to death.
A few thoughts here:
1) Every sin can be put to death.
That’s not what our world wants you to hear.
There is a lot of money to made off sin.
Politicians cater to certain sins to get votes.
A. No matter how you were raised, every sin can be put to death.
You don’t have to be a bad dad because your father dropped the ball.
You don’t have to hate the church because your parents hated the church.
You don’t have to have a bad temper because your home was filled with rage and anger.
B. No matter how you were born, every sin can be put to death.
I do believe people are sometimes born with propensities for certain sins. I won’t touch alcohol because of what I’ve seen in my family.
No matter what the sin is, Jesus is greater.
How do you put sin to death?
You resist it. Illust. Through the years we have had animals come into our yard. Jennifer is soft hearted. Some little dog or cat comes. The first thing she wants to do is feed it. I warn her but she doesn’t listen. You feed an animal, you are god to that animal. You now have a pet.
If you feed sin, it’s not going away. It’s only going to grow.
Illust. Why I would not listen to any secular music for many years. Hank always made me think of riding the dirt roads and partying. I removed it all from my house.
Even though you are saved, sin will always try and be the dominant force in your life. That’s why it must always be put to death. We are playing a long game of whack a mole until Jesus comes back or we go to Him.
Sin is like weeds. It will grow in the most beautiful of gardens. It must be removed. I’m not talking about using a weed eater. That’s some of our problems. Just chopping the weed off at the ground level. We need a grubbing hoe, not a weed eater. We need to kill the sin, not give it a haircut.
This is how we know we are saved. We deal with our sin because the Holy Spirit of God is active in our lives.
2. We are led by the Spirit personally (14).
“all” this means every saved person is led by the Spirit.
The Law of God led us to Christ. When we were saved, He handed over the reins to the Spirit.
A. It is God who is leading us. It is as if God has us by the hand leading us through this world. Note the Spirit is the active One here. He takes the initiative.
B. God is always leading us. He doesn’t take a day off. He doesn’t quit on us.
Not only when we are at church. This ensures we are not hypocrites. Even when we are all alone God is leading us.
C. God is leading us away from sin and into sanctification. That’s the context.
It’s sad that often we are more focused on God leading us to:
Someone to marry
A job
An opportunity
Let me help you: Follow God on the road of sanctification and you will be led to all the other things He wants you to have in your life:
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
If you are saved the Spirit of God is present in your life and He is leading you. His presence is your Guide. Primarily He will lead you through the teaching of Scripture.
Be careful with this. Don’t be weird.
1) Don’t be the guy who goes up to a girl he barely knows and says, “God led you to be my wife.”
2) Don’t be the guy who shows up at church with a Dolly Parton T shirt and a guitar and tells the preacher he’s there to sing at church.
Don’t be the weird Christian. If God is leading you to do something that includes someone else, they’ll know. If He is not leading them then He’s likely not leading you.
This is personal folks. It is a blessing to know the Spirit of God is leading you. This is a subjective thing. It is experienced individually. But those who are saved know He is there.
3. We are adopted by the Spirit permanently (15).
We have not received “the spirit of slavery”
He contrasts slaves and children in this verse.
When we were lost, we were slaves to sin.
Now that we are saved, we are children of God.
Slaves lived in fear. Especially in Rome. They could be sold, beaten, or even killed at any time.
When we were lost, we lived in fear.
Hebrews 2:14-15
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Because we are children of God:
We are no longer slaves to sin.
We are no longer in fear of death.
We have received “the Spirit of adoption”
That means we understand spiritually that God is our Father.
“Abba” is Aramaic. It is an informal way to speak to a father. It’s like saying “daddy” or “Papa”. Those who speak informally to one another are those who are closest.
This is how we feel about God in our heart.
We cry out to God. There is no hesitation in speaking with Him.
We were not always God’s children. God has one natural Son. The rest of His children are adopted.
While we have not always been God’s children, we will always be God’s children.
God is not going to send us back to the orphanage.
God is not going to put us back up on the auction block.
God isn’t going to trade us in for a better model.
We are adopted forever. How do you know? The Spirit of God confirms this.
Illust. My children know me well. They know there are things I would not do. Your kids know the same thing about you.
As God’s children we know our Father. We know He is going to keep us forever.
4. We are confirmed by the Spirit powerfully (16-17).
“The Spirit Himself” This is God who bears witness to our salvation.
Every adoption must be authenticated. God Himself authenticates our adoption into the family of God.
If I tell you you’re a Christian that isn’t a big deal. I could tell you anything.
If God tells you you’re saved, now that means something!
“with our Spirit” God gives us spiritual understanding to know that we are saved.
It isn’t just us saying “Abba Father”. It is God in reply calling us His children.
This is a powerful confirmation.
“and if children then heirs”
Notice in Scripture two ways we come into the family of God:
1) We are born into it. We are born again. This emphasizes the change of nature.
2) We are adopted into it. What is the symbolism there?
Paul’s point is because we are adopted, we are now heirs. God didn’t just raise us. He made us His own. He gave us His name.
“fellows heirs with Christ” We get the same benefits as the natural Son.
We don’t think of newborn children as being heirs. We think of adult children as heirs. As soon as God saves you, you become an heir of God.
You inherit a new nature
You inherit the righteousness of God.
You inherit a new name
Much of what God has for you He gives you the moment you are saved. He does this so you can:
Rest in confidence
Live for His glory
You don’t have to wait until you reach a certain age to live for God. You have everything you need right now!
“provided we suffer with Him”
Christ’s inheritance includes suffering. If we want to belike Jesus, we must suffer. You can’t truly be an heir of Christ without suffering.
If you are saved God is going to glorify you. But He is preparing you right now for that day. Much of His preparation involves suffering.
Suffering humbles us.
Suffering sanctifies us (We see our sin).
Suffering makes us long for heaven.
There is a sense in which our suffering is acclimating us for heaven.
Illust. Like a fish before you put him in a tank. You put the bag in the tank for a while.
This is a powerful work of the Spirit. A person suffers as a Christian and their response is “Thank God I’m saved!”
Think of Paul:
We stoned you because you are a Christian, what do you have to say? “Thank God I’m saved!”
We put you in prison….- What do you have to say? “Thank God I’m saved”
We are marching you to the chopping block because you are a Christian….. What do you have to say? “Thank God I’m saved!”
That’s the power of God.
A person whose life is filled with suffering reaches the end and still gives God glory. Only the power of the Spirit can do that!
There are Christian who cannot walk and they still say “Praise God!”
There are Christians who can’t see and they say “Praise God!”
Aren’t you glad you are a child of God today? As I prepared this sermon my mind went to a hymn. If I could sing, “I’d sing:
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
The Family of God.
From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God I belong!
I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
The Family of God
Do you have assurance of salvation today?
Do you deal with your sin properly?
Are you led by the Spirit personally?
Are you adopted by God permanently?
Are you confirmed by the Spirit powerfully?
If not, come to Christ. Be saved.