“HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE SAVED” 1 John 5:11-13
INTRO – How many of you have served in the military? Been to boot camp or been through basic training? US Army website defines “basic training” this way: “Basic Combat Training (BCT) is a training course that transforms civilians into Soldiers. Over the course of ten weeks, recruits will learn basic tactical and survival skills along with how to shoot, rappel, and march. They will also learn the basics of Army life and military customs, including the Seven Core Army Values.” (http://www.goarmy.com/soldier-life/becoming-a-soldier/basic-combat-training.html)
Did you see the 2 main things that will be accomplished over the course of the 10 week? “Tactical” skills & “Survival” skills. Tactical skills have more to do with strategies, tactics, & plans for attacking the enemy, taking the fight to the enemy. Survival skills have more to do w/ learning to stay alive when under attack, or when the enemy is closing in. Tactical skills are more offensive; survival skills are more defensive.
For the next 8 weeks, we are going to do some basic training for Christians. We are going to learn some spiritual tactical skills & some spiritual survival skills. Today we are going to start w/ “How to Know You’re Saved.”
Have you ever found yourself wondering if you are truly saved? Do you find yourself asking, “Are my sins truly forgiven? Am I really a child of God? When I die, will God really welcome me into His presence? Do I truly have eternal life?” Adrian Rogers, longtime pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, told this story: “I once visited a dying woman in the hospital. She had no assurance of where she stood with God. I gently asked her if she would like to know how she could be certain that she was going to heaven. I then told her that Christ had died for her sins and paid her debt and that if by faith she would receive the Lord Jesus as her personal Savior; she could be forgiven, saved, and on her way to heaven with a divine certainty. She immediately prayed, asking Christ to come into her heart, forgive her, and save her. A peace came over her face that had not been there before. But as I turned to rejoice with her family, a son-in-law said to me, ‘No one can really know if he’s saved. The best you can do is hope you’re saved.’” (http://www.lwf.org/site/News2?abbr=for_&id=10195)
There are a lot of people who live w/ an ongoing uncertainty about their eternal security. They wake up each morning & have to ask God to save them all over again b/c they did something the day before that caused them to lose their salvation. I’ve had friends who have held to the belief that you can lose your salvation, but they’ve not been able to articulate exactly how you lose your salvation. I’ve asked them how many times a person has to sin before they lose their salvation. Or if they have a list of the sins that a person can do & not lose their salvation, & the sins that will cause them to lose their salvation. Even had a person once tell me that, even if it’s true that a person cannot lose their salvation, they weren’t going to tell their kids that b/c they want their kids to act right & be afraid that, if they don’t act right, they will lose their salvation.
TRUTH: TODAY you can know FOR SURE that you are saved!
Some things that cause people to doubt their salvation:
- Early childhood conversions
- Sin in our lives
- Misunderstanding difference between relationship & fellowship
- Direct Satanic attack b/c he knows that when we are worried about our salvation, we can’t or won’t witness & serve God the way we should.
- Judging ourselves by what we see in others – “I’m not doing enough.” “I’m not doing the right things.” “I’m not doing what they’re doing.”
- “I don’t feel saved.” – Tract – train – “Fact – Faith – Feelings.” “The train will run with or without the caboose. However, it would be futile to attempt to pull the train by the caboose.”
- OR You may not truly be saved.
3 IMPORTANT WORDS RELATED TO ETERNAL SECURITY:
“eternal” – v.11, 13 – Just listen & meditate on these other verses:
- John 3:14-16 – Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
- John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
- John 4:14 – whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
- John 5:24 – “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
- John 6:47 – Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
- John 10:28-29 – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
- 6:23 – “The wages of sin…”
- 1 Tim. 1:16 – But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
How long does “eternal life” last? Can you have eternal life for a year? A month? A week? A day? If eternal life lasts for anything less than eternity, then it is no longer eternal life! If words mean anything, then eternal life must be eternal. It must be everlasting. It must last forever. By its very definition, eternal life cannot be lost! If it can be lost, then Jesus was a liar.
“believe” – v. 13 – The word for “believe” here doesn’t mean just an intellectual assent. It’s NOT saying, “Yes, I believe that’s probably the case.” At that level, all of us “believe” many things. James 2:19 tells us that even the devil and his fallen angels “believe and tremble.” But to believe in the Biblical sense goes far deeper. It means to “entrust.” If you entrust your child into someone’s care, you have full confidence that they will take care of your child, protect your child, & provide for your child. You have committed your child into their care.
When the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), “believe” means to have trust in, to commit to, or cleave to. It means you trust fully in and commit your life to this truth. It means you trust fully in & commit your life to Jesus Christ. You can “believe” that Amtrak will take you to New Orleans. But until you get on that train and entrust yourself to it, to take you to the Big Easy, you haven’t “believed,” in the Biblical sense.
And when you believe in THAT way, your life changes. Just as getting on that train will change your ultimate destination, so believing in Jesus in the biblical way will change your ultimate destination.
“know” – v. 13 – There are 2 Greek words for the English word “know.” One is ginosko – refers to knowledge that is obtained in what we learn or acquire. We “know” – ginosko – that 2+2=4. We’ve learned that. Certainly, there are some things, some facts & knowledge that we should learn & acquire as we study the Bible & interact w/ others. But this isn’t the kind of “knowing” that we have when we are truly saved.
Other word is oida. That’s the word in v. 13. Refers to an inward consciousness in the mind. It’s that inner understanding that brings confidence & assurance that we are truly saved. It’s not something we can conjure up on our own. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit who is in us. It’s what Paul wrote about in Rom. 8:16 – “The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children…”
Ginosko knowledge is knowledge that WE obtain. Oida knowledge is a work of the Holy Spirit in us, & only comes to those who are truly saved. When you are truly saved, you KNOW it b/c the Holy Spirit makes sure you know it.
CONCLUSION – So, what’s your status RIGHT NOW? Know for sure or doubting? If you’re doubting your salvation today, why are you doubting? What’s causing those doubts? Sin in your life? Misunderstanding between relationship & fellowship? Judging yourself by what you see in others? Your feelings? OR, you are doubting b/c your are truly not saved & need to be saved & be sure today? You can walk out of here today sure of your salvation! Let’s make sure NOW!