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Sun, Oct 02, 2005

10 - Knowing You Are Saved

by Robert Dean
Series:Basics 1: Foundation for Life (2005)
Duration:59 mins 19 secs

Foundation for Life Lesson 10    October 2, 2005

 

 

Know You Are Saved

 

This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  He who  believes in Him is not condemned but he who believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby which we must be saved. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing is able

 to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.

 

Before we begin our study this evening we always need to make sure that we are prepared to focus on the Word of God. That we are in right relationship with God, not only in terms of  salvation, but in terms of our ongoing fellowship, our walk by means of God the Holy Spirit. Whenever a believer sins he doesn't threaten salvation, as we'll see from our study this evening, but it does break our fellowship with God.  Our rapport is fractured because of sin. We are out of fellowship and the ongoing sanctifying ministry of God the Holy Spirit, which is called the filling of the Spirit.  The ongoing walk by means of the Spirit is breached. The recovery is simply by admitting or acknowledging to God our sins, 1 John 1:9.  We always begin our study with a few moments of silent prayer to give you the opportunity to make sure you are in fellowship. And then I'll open in prayer.  Let us pray:

 

 Father, again we thank You that we have the privilege to have Your word before us, that this is the completed Canon of Scripture and that You have given us sufficient revelation of Yourself that addresses every issue in life.  And Father, we thank You that You have also given us Your Holy Spirit who indwells us.  Under His filling ministry He takes Your word and uses it to mature us, to strengthen us and to create in us the character of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now Father, as we continue our study of these foundational truths of Christianity, we pray that You will help us to understand these things.  Help us see how they apply to our life and to our thinking that we may think in a way that glorifies You.  That we may think biblically about our life and that we may continue to advance in our sp growth. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen

 

We have been involved in a series for the last nine or ten weeks in which we've been looking at the foundation for Christian truth, the foundation for life.  Tonight I want to wrap this introductory series up. The focus has really been foundational doctrines, foundational teaching. 

 

Next Sunday we're going to move to a new series from Foundation for Life to the Foundation for Living.  Shifting gears from the basic foundation, to that which is the foundation for Christian life. Now as we review what we have done in the last few weeks we've been focusing on salvation. We started off talking about the Bible and how the Bible presents Gods unified viewpoint on every area of life. We saw that the Bible presents a view of life that is built upon an absolute principal, that God has revealed Himself to us in His Word.  He has revealed that there is one, and only one, way to have a relationship with Him, and this has been true throughout history.  From the Garden of Eden up to the present, there has always been one and only one way to have a relationship with God.  God is the Creator. God defines the basis for which man can have a relationship with Him, how man can maintain fellowship with Him. We have gone through the basics related to God, His essence, the trinity.  We have gone through the basics of salvation the last couple of session.

 

I remember when I was initially saved, I don't remember a whole lot about it, but I remember the event.  I was six years old, and most of us don't have a whole lot of memories, but that's a significant event.  I remember when my parents sat me down one afternoon after church and explained the gospel to me.  I was quite excited about it, I thought that was really neat how salvation was a free gift, that Jesus Christ did every thing for us and all we had to do was believe in Him and we would have eternal life.  I remember them telling me that, and I remember running down the street to tell my best friend thinking that this is the greatest thing ever.  Now as time went by, and many of you can relate to that story, whether it happened when you were 6 or 8 or 18 or 28, there usually comes a time later on as you begin to understand the gospel when sometimes you wonder if you were really saved.  How can I be sure?  Now some of us, and I remember this many times and I don't know, this is probably true for many of you, though you may not want to admit it, you would hear a really good gospel presentation and you'd say 'Lord, I just want to make sure, let me remind You, I believe this.  I just want to make sure that this is going to take because we really don't want to make any mistakes here.'  And so there are periods when we sort of reaffirm in our own thinking that we do believe the gospel. Because there are times, I think, in the course of every Christian's life when you just want to make sure.  Sometimes you have doubts. Sometimes you are not really sure, you want to go back and reinvestigate the foundation of Christian thought and Christian doctrine.  Sometimes you go through a period of several years when you may not care a whole lot about your spiritual life.  Perhaps you go through a time when it has no priority whatsoever and you know you are away from the Lord.  You know you get involved in sin and carnality.  Sometimes people get into some pretty rank carnality and they pretty much shock themselves at how depraved they can be.  They wonder 'Have I gone a too far, in terms of the grace of God, have I lost my salvation?'  Then there are always folks who have grown up in church situations, or maybe they watched some television preacher or heard some evangelist who was threatening them - that they could lose their salvation, that you can commit such and such a sin, and if you have lived in such a way for a length of time -  you were never saved, or you have lost your salvation.  People often ask the question 'How do I know I am saved?  Can I have a sure and certain knowledge that I am saved?  Can I say with a hundred percent confidence that no matter what I do, no matter what happens in the rest of my life, I know with certainty that when I die will go to heaven?'  And the Scripture says that you can know with certainty that you can go to heaven.  There is no doubt about it, there is no reason to doubt, there is no question to doubt.  We have to understand this in the light of what the Scripture says.  So we're going to go back to the Bible.  I want to look at various passages that we have in the Scripture so that we can understand the certainty of our salvation.

 

 As part of Gods revelation He has clearly explained to us the nature of who man is, that we are created in the image and likeness of God, that man was originally created perfect, with perfect righteousness.  But when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden,  sin entered into the human race.  This sin is a quantitative thing that caused spiritual death to spread throughout the human race. 

 

We looked in the last few weeks at the sin barrier, the different components of the sin barrier. And I want to review this because when we talk about this question of knowing that we are saved - how can we have assurance of salvation - is this doc of eternal security really true?  Eternal security is the view that once you are saved you are always saved and you can't do anything to lose it.  There are always folks who want to come along and they are threatened by grace.  That somehow you just might take grace for granted.  And guess what?  You probably will.  And there is nothing wrong with that in some sort of absolute sense.  Everybody will.  I'm not saying that licentiousness or taking advantage of the grace of God is a right thing to do, but it is a normal thing to do in almost everybody's experience, because that is the nature of real grace.

And we looked at sin itself and we found that the sin problem between God and man is composed of different elements.  Now the first three elements have to do with nature of sin itself, which is the violation of Gods character, and that was resolved by unlimited atonement.  The second element was the penalty of sin which was spiritual death, and that penalty was paid for by Christ on the cross.  That was resolved by redemption.  And then the third element had to do with Gods own character, because God is perfectly righteous and that is the absolute standard of His character, therefore He cannot have a relationship with anyone unless they have that same level of righteousness.  His character, His righteous standard must be satisfied.  His justice must be satisfied, and that was taken care of  by what the Bible refers to as propitiation.  These are solid Biblical words that you'll find in good translations of the Bible. Unlimited atonement, unlimited redemption, unlimited propitiation - those doctrines are provided for every human being at the cross.  But that doesn't save anybody.  Because that is the objective work of Christ on the cross.  But there is the subjective application.  In other words, that's what Christ paid for on the cross, that took care of the basic problem, but it has to be applied to each of us individually before there is real salvation.  Now as we look at this issue of salvation, part of what I'm going to show you this evening is that when you really understand the problem you will understand that there is absolutely nothing man can do to solve it on his own.  Man is dead.  The Scripture says we are born dead in our trespasses and sins.  There is a constitutional defect in our nature that has been passed down from generation to generation.  When we truly understand the depths of depravity  and the nature of our sinful problem, we'll recognize that there is absolutely nothing that man can do to solve it on his own.  And if there is nothing you can do to solve it, then there is nothing you can do to lose it.  See, if there is nothing you can do to be saved, then salvation is not dependent on anything you do before or after.  And if there is nothing you can do to be saved, there is nothing you can do to lose that salvation.  What I consistently find is that people who think that somehow they can lose their salvation are people who do not take sin, nor the problem of sin, in its complexity, seriously enough.  They don't understand grace, and they don't understand the complexity and the profound depth of what happens at salvation.  So we are answering the question, 'How can we know that we are saved?'  We are going to focus on these three doctrines.  Regeneration:  what happens at regeneration that solves spiritual death, is radical. .Being saved is not just moving from a position of, ' Oh, I'm not going to heaven' to 'Oh, now I am going to heaven.'  Salvation is a radical transformation of who we are. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore  if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;  old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

There is a radical transformation that takes place for each of us at the instant of salvation. 

Part of it is regeneration, part of it involves imputation and justification, and part of it involves the baptism of the Holy Spirit which puts us in Christ.  This is such a radical transformation that it is irreversible.  If you really understand what these things are, you know that you cannot get saved and then lose it.  These are irreversible realities.

 

 Let's begin by looking at some scripture.  Some of these are familiar to you.  I frequently quote them at the beginning of class because they are profound promises that every body should have memorized.  One reason I recite them frequently is because through repetition perhaps you'll memorize them.  You see I'm a skeptic, I don't think you're going to do a whole lot in terms of going home and sitting down and putting yourself in a program of  self disciplined  Scripture memorization.  So if I say it over and over and over and over again, then perhaps before long you will memorize it just because you hear it so much.

 

 In 1 John 5:13  John gives us one of his purpose statements for the epistle.  He says "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God"  (he is addressing them as believers)  "that you may know that you have eternal life."  He is affirming the fact that you can know with certainty that you have eternal life, it is not guess work, it is not something you are just going to assume.  It is not something  that you can be 50 percent sure about or 70 percent sure about but "that you may know that you have eternal life" and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.  So, in John's first epistle he writes that you can know that you have eternal life.

 

  Before we get much further, let me explain my strategy tonight.  We are going to go through a lot of John's writings because John is particularly concerned with expressing what a person needs to do in order to be saved.  We see that in John 20:30 and 31 he says "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples."  Now the sign that has just occurred in John 20 is the sign of the resurrection and he is talking to Thomas.  Thomas has said 'well, I'm not going to believe He rose from the dead until I can put my hand in his side and I can feel the nail prints in His hands',  so Jesus appears to him and he immediately says "my Lord and my God" , and then John says "and truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book."  In verse 30 he is talking about signs.  He did many other signs. "But these" he says in verse 31, the 'these' refers to what?  "But these signs", that is,  the seven signs of the Gospel of John plus the sign of resurrection, "these are written for a purpose, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."  So the very way he structures the 31st verse is to tell us 'there is a reason that I have written this, so that you can believe that Jesus is the Messiah, He is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies and promises related to the salvation of the Jews and salvation of mankind, and that by "believing, you may have life." '  That is the condition, it is simply belief.  It is not faith plus works, it is not believing and then living a good life afterwards, believing and avoiding certain sins afterwards, believing and engaging in ritual.  It is simply that act of believing, of trusting in Jesus Christ.  The Greek word for faith is the verb pisteuo and it means simply to believe something, to trust something, and that is all that is involved in salvation. It is simply trusting.  And that is what John hits, again and again and again, as we go through his Gospel.

 

Let's look at some of those statements that John makes.  He says in verse 18 of John, Chapter 3, "He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  He starts this verse off saying, "He who believes."  That is a pretty good translation of a Greek present active participle.  The thing about the present active participle is that some people, on seeing that present tense marker, want to translate that as if it's an ongoing action.  You'll find some folks,  every now and then, who want to say  'See, it's the person who continues to believe in Him, it's not just a one shot decision.' That is a real indication that the person doesn't understand anything about Greek grammar and certainly doesn't understand anything about English grammar either.  The phrase "he who believes" accurately translates a Greek present participle that has an article with it.  And whenever you have an article with a participle it can function either as an adjective or it can function as a noun.  And in Johns writing he consistently uses these kinds of participles as nouns.  It doesn't have a verbal idea at all.  This week I am going out to California and I go out every year,  the first week of October to teach at a conference called the WHW conference.  For those of you who do not know what that refers to, it is the initials of the three men who founded this conference.  It was founded in the early 90's to provide a week long training conference  for pastors and laymen in studying the Word of God, giving them a vision for doing more in depth study in the Word.  I got involved about 8 years ago and my role is to teach these pastors rudimentary elements of grammar and exegesis.  One thing I always emphasize is- participles. We have to understand the role of a participle, and if it has an article it functions like an adjective.  If it does not have an article, it functions like a verb.  It's adverbial.  So you have these two options.  Whenever you have that article it just functions like a noun.  In other words, you could translate this "the believer" and you would be completely accurate.  "The believer in Him"  "The one who believes in Him", it's just talking about that act of belief.  "The one who believes in Him is not condemned", again, you have a present, passive verb there, he has not received condemnation because he doesn't believe.  It is very clear in the text that the only issue for condemnation or salvation is this issue of belief.  The one who believes is not condemned, the one who does not believe is already condemned.  We are born condemned because of Adams original sin.  Not because of your sin, but because of Adams original sin.  You sin because you are born a sinner, with a sin nature, under condemnation. There is nothing you can do that is going to have any value for God, that is going to impress God.  The only thing that impresses God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  If you trust in Christ, there is salvation.  It is  simply a matter of  what you are trusting in.  "He who believes in Him (that is Jesus Christ) is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  The one who believes is not condemned.  This is reinforced in Romans 8:1.  Paul says "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."  If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, the scripture says that at that instant you are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection  (Romans 6:3).  That is what is also referred to as the baptism by means of the Holy Spirit.  So if you are in Christ, there is no condemnation.  No matter what you do, no matter what sin you commit, there is no condemnation. Because condemnation has been paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature."  From top to bottom, inside and out you are a new creature in Christ,  "old things have passed away, behold all things are new."  A radical transformation has taken place, and this is seen in our next verse, John 5:24.  "Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life."  Again we have a present participle and it does not mean perpetual action.  There are numerous examples in the new testament where present participles refer to just a singular incident of doing something.  For example, drinking water in John 14:13.  The birth of Christ is referred to with a present participle in John 6:33, and John 6:41, 42, that whole section.  Present participles often refer to just a singular action in a moment in time. So what John is saying here is the one who believes in Him has a certainty, it is his possession.  The Greek verb echo indicates holding on to something.  "He has everlasting life and shall not (that's the promise) come into judgment (he's not condemned) but has passed from death to life" (a completed action).  This is the foundation for life we are studying in this series.  The only prerequisite to avoid condemnation is trust in Christ.  Furthermore, Jesus says in John 6:37 "All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me (that is, anyone who believes (John 3:16 'whosoever will')  I will by no means cast out."  If you come to Him, no matter what you do after that, He will not cast you out.  Salvation is a permanent reality.  We know from other passages in Scripture that the instant you believe in Christ you become a part of Gods family, you are adopted into the royal family of God.  You are not going to be kicked out, you are not going to be disadopted, you are going to remain in the family.  John 6:39 and 40, Jesus goes on to say, "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing. "

It is Gods unbreakable will that of those who He gives to Jesus, anyone who believes in Christ as Savior, that Jesus will lose nothing.  Gods sovereign will guarantees us and keeps us, "so that none will be lost and all will be raised up for the last day."  And Jesus goes on to expand this in case you did not get it the first time, "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, (verse 40), that  everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life."  The phrase 'sees the Son' is an idiom for understanding who He is and what He did on the cross.  "everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life.  And I will raise him up at the last day."  It does not say everyone who believes in Him and maintains a moral lifestyle.  It does not say everyone who believes in Him and continues to believe in Him.  It does not say everyone who believes in Him and constantly maintains his Christian life.  It is once saved, always saved.  Once you trust in Christ you cannot do anything to lose that salvation.  You did not do anything to get it; you cannot do anything to lose it.  Trust me, when you listen to some person on television, or some bible teacher say there is something you can do to lose your salvation, there are works hiding in their gospel.  You may not see it right away, but there are always works lurking somewhere.  If you can do something to lose your salvation, then by implication, there is something you are trying to do to get that salvation, and you don't have a grace gospel.  John 10:27-29 is another tremendous promise that Jesus keeps us.  He is the one who is holding on to us.  We are not the ones holding on to our salvation, He is the one who keeps us saved.  Jesus said in verse 27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life,  (It is an unconditional gift, it is based on grace.  Grace means a free gift) and they shall never perish;  and no one is able to snatch them out of  My hand."  There is nothing any human being, including yourself, can do to get out of the grasp of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And He goes on to say that it is not merely He that is holding on to us with His grasp, but He says in verse 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me,  is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."  We have Jesus holding on to us and the Father is holding on to us.  And neither one of those grips can be broken. There is a double grip and it is unbreakable.  We cannot do anything to lose our salvation.

 

  Furthermore, we have passages such as Romans 8:35, 36 and 37.  This entire section of Romans is a reiteration of the certainty of our salvation.  This is the promise of God.  Gods promise is unbreakable.  It is not conditional.  It is based on the One who is infallible, the One who is immutable.  Romans 8:35 reads, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"  In other words, is there anything in creation, anything anyone can do that can separate you from the love of Christ once you have been saved?  Can tribulation, adversity, hardship, difficulty, distress, persecution do that?  Can famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword separate you from Christ's love?  In other words, He goes through a list of various types of hardship and difficulty and adversity, and His conclusion is:  nothing.  He says "As it is written, 'For Your sake we are killed all day long;  we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered."  That is, the believer is to expect a certain amount of adversity in life.  Yet in verse 37 " But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  We have victory over any difficulty in life.  And then in verses 38 and 39, Paul concludes, "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, (that is whether you live or whether you die, that cannot affect your eternal disposition) nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, (these are 3 different terms that refer to angelic beings and demonic hierarchies, there is nothing any angel can do, nothing any demon can do to affect your eternal salvation) nor things present, nor things to come, (that is anything that can happen today, and there is nothing that can happen in the future) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, (no matter what you think of, within any parameter, there is nothing that man can come up with) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  The love that God has was "demonstrated to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".  He died for each of us when we were the most obnoxious we could possibly be.  We were fallen sinners.  We were completely hostile to God and at enmity with Him, the Scripture says, and our righteousnesses were as filthy rags.  So if there was nothing pleasing about us and He loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us, then He is going to give us a salvation that is not dependent on anything that we do.  In other words, you cannot come along and  create something more obnoxious than you already were when you were saved.  God's purposes in salvation cannot be overridden.

 

  One of my favorite promises is at the end of the short book of Jude. Jude verse 24 says "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling."  He is the one who keeps us, not ourselves, it is not dependent on who we are, it is not dependent on our character, it's not dependent on avoiding any sin.  It is God in His grace who keeps us.  And He is the one who " presents you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy."

 

Those are just some of the wonderful promises God has given to us related to our eternal security.  But lets think a little more profoundly about this.  Lets think about what happens at salvation, about some of the doctrinal things that take place.  We've looked at salvation, we've put the chart of the barrier up, and I began this evening talking about the fact that at salvation there are certain things that happen to us when we put our faith alone in Christ alone. 

There is the imputation of righteousness.  There is the declaration that after we receive the righteousness of Christ we are declared just.  There is regeneration that takes place, and then  there is our identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. We are placed in Christ with the baptism by means of the Holy Spirit.  That is our new position in Christ.  When we think about what happens, the transaction that takes place on Gods part for us in each of those activities, we begin to realize that to even think that we could do something to reverse our salvation completely denies the reality of those events.  For example, if you think that you can do something to cause God to take away your salvation, you have a diluted concept of imputation.  Romans 8:33-34 says, "Who will bring a charge against Gods elect?"  In other words, who can bring a charge against you?  "God is the one who justifies;" not you.  What is  the basis for justification?  Paul goes on to say in verse 34, "who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."  What this verse is pointing out is that it is not your righteousness at all that is the basis of salvation.  It never was.  So since it is not your righteousness that is the basis for salvation, it does not matter what sin you commit after salvation, you are still saved.  At the instant of salvation, you were given Christ's righteousness.  That is the basis for justification, not what you have done.  If you commit any sin afterward, it does not affect that righteousness,  that is the basis of justification  It is not yours to begin with. Imputation teaches that Christ's righteousness is the basis for our salvation.  The doctrine of justification, by faith alone, says that you are justified because you possess the perfect righteousness of Christ.  When we look at the doctrine of regeneration, we realize that everything about us is overhauled.  God creates a new human spirit and imputes it to us.  To say that you can lose your salvation is to say that God is now going to take away that human spirit, and you will become spiritually dead again.  This is an irreversible process.  Once you are made alive, you cannot lose it.  What happens at salvation is so total, so overwhelming, so radical,  that if you truly understand the nature of imputation, justification and regeneration, you know they cannot be reversed  Beyond that, there is our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  Once that identification takes place, salvation is complete.  Once that identification takes place, the sins are all paid for, every single sin we will ever commit.  And that takes us to our next doctrinal argument.  The first is the profundity of our salvation.  The second is the essence of God.  Think about the omniscience of God.  He knows all the known, all the knowable.  God knows everything past, present and future.  He knows every single sin you and I will ever commit.  He is going to be able to impute all of those sins to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He does not leave one out, He does not forget one.  He puts all of them on the Lord Jesus Christ, so that Jesus Christ was able to pay for every single sin that we commit.  Because of God's omniscience, He is not going to leave out a sin, and because of God's omnipotence, His power, He is able to impute all of those sins to the Lord Jesus Christ. God's omnipotence means that His power is greater than our power.  His power is greater than our sin, so He is able to impute every sin in human history to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is able, then, to keep us saved, no matter what we do, because it never was dependent upon us.  So we have promises such as Heb 7:25 "Hence also, He is able (this is His omniscience) to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."  This is Jesus Christ who keeps us, and who constantly intercedes for us, even when we sin.  1 Peter 1:4, 5:  we are "able to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God"  we aren't protected by our power, our positive volition, our obedience, we are "protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed  in the last time." 

 

Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:12 "For this reason also I suffer these things, but I am not ashamed;  for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."  Paul says, I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him.  It's not up to us, it is the Lord who does it.  And then in John 17: 11-16, we see the high priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This prayer was prayed historically before the Lord ascended to heaven, before the crucifixion, in fact.  But it is consistent with His ongoing prayer on our behalf.  In verse 11 of John 17 He says "And I am no more in the world;  and yet, they themselves are in the world;  (that is, the disciples and all believers)  and I come to Thee, Holy Father, keep then in Thy name,"  now,  Jesus  is praying to the Father continuously  that the Father will keep us, and the Father answers the Son's prayers.  So the Son prays that we will be kept.  John 17:12  "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me;  and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition"  that's Judas Iscariot, he is called the son of perdition, perdition is the Greek word ------, it is the same word used in John 3:16 for those who perish.  He is the son of perdition and he was never saved.  John 17:13 "But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves." 14:  "I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of this world, even as I am not of the world."

15: "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one."

God the Father keeps us continually because of the prayer of the Son.

We have looked at the salvation package, the character of God and the prayer of the Son.

The character of God means He keeps His promises, He is faithful.  2 Tim 2:11-13 says "It is a trustworthy statement:"  Then we have a statement in poetry.  Paul says, " For if we died with him (and we have, it's a first class condition, if you trusted Christ as Savior you are identified with Him), we shall live with Him;

12:  If we endure (that is in suffering for blessing), we shall also reign with Him;

  If we deny Him (this is where eternal security comes in, if we deny Him, reject Jesus Christ,  He will deny us, and that's a loss of rewards.  And then the last statement, the one we want to focus on.  "If we are faithless (disbelieving and faithless) He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself." 

He will never desert us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  And finally, we know from two key passages that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:13 says "In Whom, when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed , you were sealed  by means of the Holy Spirit."  The sealing of the Holy Spirit is probably something that is most like what we Texans know of as branding cattle.  It is putting the sign of ownership on us.  That is what the concept of sealing refers to.  Back in the rustler days in the old west, you would get rustlers out on the range and they would have what they called a running iron. They would take a cinch ring off of their saddle and heat it in the fire and then counterfeit a brand on a cow.  They would take brand that was already there and impose another brand over it, so there were times when it did not look as if that cow belonged to the original owners.  It has got a different brand on it.  And that is true for believers sometimes.  We are sealed by the Spirit, but sometimes we continue in carnality, and it is not clear from your life that you are a believer.  So when you die you go to heaven.  In the old west they would have to kill that cow, skin it out, reverse the hide and then see what had happened. Another brand had been imposed over the original brand.  So it was not until death that you could identify who the real owner was.  And that iss true for  some carnal Christians.  Their life doesn't reflect the fact that they are sealed by the Spirit,  but when they die the real owner will become apparent.  That seal will  become obvious.  Ephesians 4:30  "Stop grieving the Holy spirit of God  (we can sin and grieve the Holy Spirit, that is a figure of speech, indicating how we are violating the righteous standard of God.) by Whom you were  sealed for the day of redemption."  That sealing takes place until the day of redemption, it cannot be lost. 

Our salvation is not something that is brought about by our works, by our efforts, by our wonderful personalities.  It is brought about by the work of God.  We are saved through faith, not because of faith.  When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, then, at that instant, God the Father saves us. He imputes the righteousness of Christ to us, He declares us justified, He regenerates us and He identifies us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  This entire package is so great, so profound, that it can never be reversed. It doesn't mean you should take advantage of it and just go do whatever you want to,  because we are saved for a purpose. That purpose is to mature in our Christian life, to be prepared to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in the future millennial kingdom.  For we have a certainty that no matter how we fail, no matter what we do, no matter what sin we commit, we can never lose our salvation.  It is secure for eternity.

With our heads bowed and our eyes closed: Father, we do thank you that we have a sure and certain knowledge of our salvation. That we can know today, right now, that we have eternal life.  Father we pray that if there is anyone here this evening that is unsure of their salvation, or uncertain of their eternal destiny, they will take this opportunity  to make that sure and certain.  All you need to do is believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.  It is not a matter of works.  It is not a matter of morality.  It is not a matter of ritual, or religious experience.  It is simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  And this is a salvation that can never be taken from you.  A salvation that is not dependent on who you are or what you do. 

It is dependent on the almighty power of an omnipotent God who provided us salvation, and payment for your sins, that took care of every single sin. 

 

Father,  we pray that You would challenge us with the truths that we have studied this evening.  We  pray this in Christ's name.  Amen