My scripture today comes from Romans 8:14-17
I want to ask you a most profound question as we begin…. What are you sure of?
1. How do you know you are the child of your parents? This one is hard for me….my parents were both dark haired, dark skinned, with deep brown eyes….just like my brother. I was a strawberry blonde with blue-grey eyes……
a. How old you are? Well my birth certificate says I was born on April 15th, 1954….but birth certificates have been known to be wrong….or even altered.
b. How tall you are? Dr. Peterson’s office measured me in April and I was a whopping 5 feet 5 inches.
c. How much you weigh?...well they did that too…and we will just say….enough.
2. In each case I had a definable witnesses that assure me of the answer to these questions.
DT 19:15 says: One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Mt. 18:16 says: But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
So….What about salvation?
1. Is there any way of outwardly knowing you are saved?
The New Testament answers with a resounding YES!
After John Wesley had been preaching for some time, someone said to him, "Are you sure, Mr. Wesley, of your salvation?" "Well," he answered, "Jesus Christ died for the whole world." "Yes, we all believe that; but are you sure that you are saved?" Wesley replied that he was sure that provision had been made for his salvation.
"But are you sure, Wesley, that you are saved?" It went like an arrow to his heart, and he had no rest or power until that question was settled. Many men and many women go on month after month, and year after year, without power, because they do not know their standing in Christ; they are not sure of their own footing for eternity. Latimer wrote Ridley once that when he was settled and steadfast about his own salvation he was as bold as a lion, but if that hope became eclipsed he was fearful and afraid and was disqualified for service. Many are disqualified for service because they are continually doubting their own salvation.)
Well today you can definitely know that you are saved.
Our scripture shows us two witnesses that assure us we are saved.
The inward evidence of acceptance with God revealed by the Holy Spirit to our understanding and confirmed by our own conscience resulting in a confident knowledge that we are indeed children of God.
We have The Direct Witness of the Holy Spirit – Let me tell you this is the highest form of witness. There is no greater witness than God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Gal. 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Just as God is truth, there is no falsehood in the Spirit.
1John 5:6 tells us: This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. It precedes any other witness, including our own spirit. We must live a holy life for our spirit to witness we are saved. To live a holy life, we must have the Holy spirit to produce holiness in our life.
AND…. It is evidenced by His influence in our lives. We have a renewed heart. Titus 3:4 says But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
And there is a Production of "fruit" evidenced: GAL 5:22 tells us: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Our second witness is the Indirect Witness of Our Own Spirit. It confirms the witness of the Holy Spirit. Someone asked Melvin Trotter, who was a hopeless alcoholic before his conversion, "How do you know you are a Christian?" Trotter replied, "I was there when it happened!"). It is not subjective, or based on feelings. Religions of the world are often based on feelings. You know…you have to do certain things to feel you are doing what is required.) That is not what it is like to be a Christian. Our faith….Must be based on the objective standard of the Word of God. There is an Immediate knowledge that our lives are changed.
II Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
We will also have a Testimony of a clear conscience. I Cor. 7:10 says that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged. Heb. 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Another powerful tool is the Conviction of sin that we experience. As Christians we want to express the fruit of the Spirit….and show the outward fruit of doing good to all men. James. 2: 17-18: In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, " You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
1John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
So, let me ask you…..right now…..are you sure, today, that you are saved? I am a people watcher and one of my favorite things to do in an airport, is to observe the difference between passengers who hold confirmed tickets and those who are on standby. The ones with confirmed tickets read newspapers, chat with their friends or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket counter, pace and pace. The difference is caused by the confidence factor. If you knew that in fifteen minutes you would stand in judgment before the Holy God and learn your eternal destiny, what would your reaction be? Would you pace? Would you say to yourself, "I don’t know what God’s going to say--will it be ’Welcome home, child,’ or will it be ’Depart from me; I never knew you’?