In past weeks we have considered a number of topics concerning Spiritual Maturity. We talked about some hindrances to maturity, indications of spiritual immaturity, and what was necessary for growth to Spiritual Maturity. Tonight I would like to continue with that thought. It is difficult to grow to any degree of maturity without a basic confidence that God cares for us and that we really do belong to Him. So tonight I want us to consider the need for full assurance of our salvation.
I. There is the. possibility of a false assurance.
A. NOTE: Mt. 7:21-23
1. It doesn't matter what a person 'professes' only that which he possesses.
2. Ro. 8:9b, "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
B. Note some situations where a person may develop a false assurance.
1. Knowing about Christ - intellectually
2. Based upon some false doctrine
3. Assuming a historic faith
4. Concentrating on self: my service, my gifts, my knowledge.
II. There is the possibility of a lack of assurance.
A. We may fail to enjoy real assurance because we assume that it is presumptuous to claim it.
B. But in doing so, we miss one of the greatest gifts God has for His children.
C. NOTE: Romans 8:15a, "...but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father."
D. Salvation and assurance are not the same thing!
1. NOTE: Faith alone justifies through Christ alone.
2. Assurance is the enjoyment of that justification.
III. The foundation of assurance.
A. What do we base our assurance upon?
1. Our justification is by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
2. If we fail to understand our justification it will often result lack of assurance.
B. NOTE: Paul's teaching of justification in the book of Romans.
1. He justifies the ungodly. (Ro. 4:5)
2. He justifies because of Christ's righteousness and sacrifice, not because of ours. (Ro. 3:21- 26)
3. He justifies those who have faith. (Ro. 3:28)
4. He justifies once, forever, and perfectly so that we have peace with God. (Ro. 5:1)
C. NOTE: Romans 8:33-39 = God's guarantee 'in writing'.
IV. What are some obstacles to full assurance?
A. An inconsistent Christian life.
1. Note the contrast in Ro. 8:1-11.
2. The natural man:
a. Lives according to the flesh.
b. Sets his mind on the things of the flesh.
c. Does not submit to God's law. v7
3. The spiritual man:
a. Lives according to the Spirit.
b. Sets his mind on spiritual things.
c. Lives in submission to God's Word.
4. When a Christian is inconsistent, he begins to live his life according to the principles of the natural man.
5. When that inconsistency continues, his true identity is obscured--first to others, then to himself.
6. Before long doubts begin to arise and he is no longer certain he is a genuine Christian or not.
B. Failure to appreciate the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
1. NOTE: Romans 8:15-17
2. He is our witness that we belong to God's family.
3. Satan attacks consciences with doubts and accusations, but by presence and power of the Holy Spirit - Satan is silenced.
C. The presence of affliction in our lives.
1. All too often we equate affliction with judgment.
2. In the midst of difficulties, often our assurance falters - 'carest thou not that we perish?' Mk. 4:34-38.
3. However, afflictions in our lives are part of God's purpose for us. cf II Cor. 4:17-18
V. Marks of full assurance.
A. NOTE: Romans 8:28-30, when we enjoy assurance of salvation, what is it that we focus our attention on?
1. That God works for our present good.
2. That He has a continuing purpose for the whole of our lives. v29
3. That He has made complete provision for our final salvation. "called, justified, glorified" v30
B. This assurance may come in different ways:
1. As we study God's Word privately.
2. As we sit under the ministry of the Word.
3. As we pray and worship.
4. Some discover it after long battles.
5. Some through sorrows, others through joys.
6. There are also some who do not know what it is to be without it.
C. Individually experienced though it is. the assurance of always evidenced by some marks of its presence.
1. It is accompanied by satisfaction with God's way of salvation.
2. It brings a new sense of security which in turn encourages our service. cf I Co. 15:10
3. It produces a holy boldness in our lives. cf Ph. 1:19-21
Do you have the confidence and boldness that comes from having full assurance? Are you doubtful concerning your salvation? Is it something that you struggle with? Why not get it settled tonight?