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← Are you a Christian? - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 7 created 12/17/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. ...Christian assurance.
  2. And I want to because it seems like
  3. I've just been getting
    a number of questions
  4. asked about it lately.
  5. I've been receiving emails.
  6. And I guess that's what I want
    to talk about tonight.
  7. Assurance.
  8. What do we mean when we say that?
  9. Christian context - what
    do we mean by that?
  10. Assurance.
  11. (from the room)
  12. Assurance of salvation?
  13. Tim: Right.
  14. What do we mean?
  15. That we can be sure of it.
  16. That we can be sure that we're saved.
  17. Anybody say it a different way?
  18. Know with confidence
  19. that we're saved.
  20. Anybody say it another way?
  21. It's confirmed.
  22. There's confidence.
  23. There's surety.
  24. Evidence - we might say that.
  25. Evidence.
  26. Assurance has to do with the confidence;
  27. a certainty.
  28. Ok.
  29. I can tell you this.
  30. I've told you folks this before,
  31. but I remember when I was first converted.
  32. I went to a church:
  33. Calvary Bible Church
    in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  34. And in fact, when I was back up there,
  35. Ruby and I and the children,
  36. we went back and we visited
  37. in Kalamazoo, MI.
  38. We went to church back there
  39. at Calvary in August.
  40. When I was first converted
  41. and I was in that church,
  42. typically at the end of the sermon,
  43. they had a sound booth
  44. positioned right in the middle
  45. of this auditorium.
  46. It seated about 1,200 people,
  47. had a balcony,
  48. a lot of people.
  49. They would have a guy in the sound room.
  50. And right at the end,
  51. you know, he would work this thing up
  52. and he would get people where
  53. he'd try to get the emotions moving,
  54. and the guy would have the sound dial
  55. (probably more linear).
  56. He would start moving that thing up.
  57. So you would have this
    very enchanting music
  58. begin to come in.
  59. And he would say,
  60. "Just believe. Just believe."
  61. And I can remember at those times
  62. I would have my eyes wide open.
  63. I know I've told this story before.
  64. I'd have my eyes wide open
  65. and I'd be looking around
    at all those people.
  66. And of course, I was a product.
  67. I was saved in 1990.
  68. John MacArthur came out with his book:
  69. "The Gospel According to Jesus."
  70. I think it was released publicly in '88.
  71. So that book was kind of at its prime.
  72. He was writing the Gospel
  73. according to Jesus as he saw it
  74. coming out of the Gospels.
  75. God used that book to save me.
  76. That book was largely about
  77. the necessity of repentance
  78. in being converted.
  79. It was about the whole
    Lordship controversy.
  80. And of course, there were a lot of people
  81. writing against him
  82. that were denying
    the necessity of repentance.
  83. Denying that you had to bow the knee
  84. to Jesus Christ.
  85. They were saying that was adding
  86. something to salvation.
  87. So here I am,
  88. saved right in the heart
  89. of that controversy
  90. through the materials of John MacArthur.
  91. So you know where my bias was.
  92. And you can imagine what I was convinced
  93. was the truth.
  94. And I was convinced of that
  95. not just MacArthur said it
  96. but because when I went to the Bible,
  97. I saw it there.
  98. And so now when this guy is up here
  99. saying, "just believe, just
    believe, just believe,"
  100. and I'm going to the Sunday school class -
  101. the singles Sunday school class
  102. in that church,
  103. and I got this girl over here
  104. coming to me and talking to me
  105. telling me she's sleeping
    with her boyfriend.
  106. And that guy over there,
    I'm talking to him,
  107. and he says he's got a drinking problem.
  108. I'm thinking, well, what?
  109. You got saved and now once in a while
  110. you go back?
  111. The guy's getting drunk every day.
  112. I got another guy over here,
  113. he invites me to his bachelor party.
  114. And I'm thinking, wow, this is great.
  115. Now it's not going to be like
  116. the ones I knew when I was lost.
  117. We're going to go over there,
  118. probably exhort the guy
    from the Scriptures.
  119. We pull in his yard.
  120. There's a keg.
  121. And I'm thinking,
  122. something is wrong here.
  123. I joined the softball team.
  124. There's a guy on the team.
  125. His mouth is so filthy and so foul.
  126. And I said something
    to the coach.
  127. Isn't that guy supposed
    to be a Christian?
  128. "Well, he's a Christian.
  129. He just fell in with a bad crowd."
  130. And I got looking at all that
  131. and I thought something is wrong here.
  132. They asked me to write an
    article for the paper.
  133. I wrote it about the nature
  134. of biblical repentance.
  135. They shot it down
  136. and would not publish it.
  137. Well, now here's this guy in this pulpit
  138. every week saying,
  139. "Just believe, just
    believe, just believe."
  140. And I wanted to stand up and shout,
  141. (and I almost did)...
  142. If the Spirit of God had moved upon me
  143. a little bit more, I probably would have.
  144. But I wanted to shout,
  145. "No! It's repent and believe!"
  146. Well, that's basically where
    my beginnings were.
  147. And so, I have been adamant
  148. about Lordship.
  149. I mean, here I was in the tensions
  150. when I was under conviction.
  151. What does it profit a man
  152. if he gains the whole world
  153. and loses his own soul?
  154. What's Christ saying there?
  155. He's saying unless a man forsakes
  156. the whole world,
  157. he will lose his own soul.
  158. That's what that means.
  159. That's the tension I was in.
  160. I mean, I've told some of you before,
  161. I had "The Gospel According to Jesus"
  162. and I had the forty ouncer,
  163. and I'm telling you, I was trying to run.
  164. I was being drawn,
  165. but at the same time
  166. I was trying to run.
  167. "God, leave me alone!"
  168. If you'll just let me enjoy my sin
  169. like I used to,
  170. I'll get rid of this book.
  171. I'll go back.
  172. Just let me...
  173. But there's this tension,
  174. this pulling.
  175. And I knew it.
  176. It was like in one ear
  177. I could hear the devil saying to me,
  178. "You can't give up your life.
  179. You can't give up that lifestyle.
  180. You can't give up those friends.
  181. You can't give those things up.
  182. All your idols.
  183. That's who you are.
  184. That's what you're known for.
  185. That's your reputation.
  186. You don't want to live
    without that reputation."
  187. And I would think,
  188. yeah, you're right.
  189. And then I would hear that Word:
  190. What will it profit you if you gain
  191. all that reputation
  192. and all those idols
  193. and all those things
  194. and lose your own soul?
  195. And so this battle back and forth...
  196. I was birthed into the
    Kingdom through that.
  197. I knew Christ would forgive me
  198. if I came to Him.
  199. I knew there was rest there.
  200. But I knew what He was
    going to require of me.
  201. And when I finally let go,
  202. and said, "Lord, help me."
  203. He saved me in a moment.
  204. Here's what it seems like happened.
  205. You had everybody talking about
  206. the carnal Christian heresy.
  207. What's the carnal Christian heresy?
  208. Well, basically, it goes right along
  209. with this whole deal.
  210. What is it?
  211. Well, it's basically saying this:
  212. That there were guys that were
  213. actually even responding to MacArthur -
  214. you know some of the names.
  215. They're out there.
  216. Most of them came from
    Dallas Theological Seminary.
  217. They wrote books against MacArthur.
  218. Back and forth.
  219. They were saying things like this:
  220. You could actually at one
    point in time believe,
  221. and because you made that
  222. one-time decision, you could actually
  223. fall into all sorts of notorious sins.
  224. You could even actually fall
  225. eventually into atheism.
  226. And I remember MacArthur saying
  227. these guys are advocating you can become
  228. an unbelieving believer.
  229. And he's like what is that?
  230. Exactly.
  231. What is that?
  232. What in the world is that?
  233. And so what happens is
  234. trying to put away these errors;
  235. trying to put away this idea
  236. that you can be a Christian
  237. and live any way you want,
  238. which is basically a denial
  239. of regeneration.
  240. That's basically what it is.
  241. Because God says if He saves you,
  242. He's going to give you a new heart.
  243. God says if He saves you,
  244. He's going to put His Spirit within you.
  245. God says if He saves you,
  246. He's going to write that
    law on your heart.
  247. That's what it says.
  248. The Scripture says if by the Spirit
  249. you don't put to death
    the deeds of the body,
  250. you're going to die.
  251. This is a life and death thing.
  252. Jesus Christ comes along and He says
  253. it's not anybody and everybody
    that says to Me, "Lord, Lord,"
  254. that's going to inherit
    the Kingdom of Heaven.
  255. He says it's the ones
    that do the will
  256. of My Father in Heaven.
  257. Basically, if there is not such
  258. a radical transformation in your life
  259. that old things pass away,
  260. all things become new,
  261. and you're a new creation in Christ,
  262. keeping the will of the Father,
  263. if that's not true about you,
  264. you haven't been born again.
  265. I mean, that is where
    repentance flows from.
  266. Repentance flows from
    a renewed man or woman.
  267. It flows from one who is born again;
  268. radically transformed by God -
  269. by the power of God.
  270. And we have undoubtedly in our church
  271. and folks like you that gather here
  272. for the Bible study,
  273. you have embraced these things.
  274. I think most of you have.
  275. You like these things.
  276. But I'll tell you,
  277. what I think is happening -
  278. now listen to me,
  279. Satan is cunning.
  280. Oh, he is cunning.
  281. There is a text - now listen to this.
  282. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 11:3.
  283. I'm going to read the ESV.
  284. And then I'm going to
    read the New King James.
  285. 2 Corinthians 11:3.
  286. By the way, the NAS, the old King James
  287. are virtually the same; pretty close
  288. to the New King James.
  289. So you'll get the flavor there.
  290. Listen to the ESV first.
  291. "I am afraid that as the serpent
  292. (there's the devil)
  293. as the serpent deceived Eve
  294. by his cunning,
  295. your thoughts be led astray
  296. from a sincere and pure
  297. devotion to Christ."
  298. Now the New King James:
  299. "I fear lest somehow as the serpent
  300. deceived Eve by his craftiness,
  301. so your minds may be corrupted
  302. from the simplicity that is in Christ."
  303. The reason I wanted to use that one;
  304. the NAS, the New King James,
  305. the old King James,
  306. they all use that word: simplicity.
  307. Listen.
  308. There is a simplicity in Christ.
  309. What is the craftiness
  310. that Paul's worried about?
  311. The cunning of the devil?
  312. It is to move us away from Christ.
  313. And I'll tell you this,
  314. if all of a sudden,
  315. the movement in the church
  316. is to reintroduce and
    reemphasize repentance,
  317. guess what his craftiness will be?
  318. Guess where the danger is?
  319. He would gladly have us to believe
  320. you can be a Christian and live like hell.
  321. But ok, if they're not going to buy that,
  322. if they're going to move back to Lordship
  323. and there's going to be a resurgence
  324. of repentance,
  325. then let's do this:
  326. let's get them so focused on repentance;
  327. let's get them so focused on themselves
  328. bending the knee to Christ
  329. and what that looks like
  330. that they're no longer setting their eyes
  331. simply on Christ.
  332. You see, there is a simplicity
  333. in the Gospel.
  334. And there is a simplicity in what it is
  335. coming to Christ in the beginning.
  336. And there is a simplicity of where
  337. our strength as a Christian comes from
  338. in the Christian life;
  339. in Christ.
  340. And Satan will seek to divert us away
  341. in his craftiness all the time.
  342. Oh, let us go back to repentance.
  343. But if he's going to have us go back there
  344. then he would have us
    look away from Christ
  345. in the midst of our repentance.
  346. Now, you say, wait a second,
  347. I thought you were going to speak
  348. on assurance.
  349. Oh yeah.
  350. Think with me here.
  351. You know what?
  352. Satan - basically his strategies:
  353. keep the lost lost.
  354. If somebody is saved,
  355. keep them powerless.
  356. And you know what?
  357. You keep the lost lost
  358. when you keep them blind to Christ,
  359. and you keep the saved powerless
  360. when you keep their eyes off of Christ.
  361. How does that relate to assurance?
  362. Folks, let me ask you this:
  363. Have any of you ever asked a Catholic
  364. if they know they're going to heaven?
  365. I have.
  366. And you know what?
  367. Now you may prove me wrong on this,
  368. and somebody watching is going to say,
  369. "Wait a second! I'm a Catholic
  370. and I wouldn't answer that way."
  371. And you know what?
  372. That may be.
  373. You may find exceptions.
  374. But I can tell you this,
  375. I've talked to many Catholics
  376. and I've asked them this question.
  377. And I have never found one answer
  378. to the contrary.
  379. Do you know you're going to heaven?
  380. Do you know what they say?
  381. Have you ever asked one?
  382. What do they say?
  383. I hope so.
  384. I've gotten that answer
  385. from almost everyone.
  386. If not exactly that answer,
  387. something that's basically comparable
  388. to that answer.
  389. I hope so.
  390. You know where that comes from?
  391. That comes from the top.
  392. What do I mean by that?
  393. Have you ever heard of
    the Council of Trent?
  394. Basically, many of the Catholic dogmas
  395. were asserted or reasserted
  396. in that council.
  397. Let me tell you this,
  398. Council of Trent;
  399. 16th Canon, 6th Session, says this:
  400. Now listen to this very carefully:
  401. "If anyone saith that he will for certain
  402. of an absolute and infallible certainty
  403. have the great gift of perseverance
  404. unto the end,
  405. unless he have learned this
  406. by special revelation,
  407. let him be anathema."
  408. In other words,
  409. if you say that you have confidence
  410. and assurance of salvation
  411. in the end of this life,
  412. they say we pronounce our curse
  413. of damnation on you.
  414. That's what they say.
  415. Now, isn't it interesting,
  416. they give that exception,
  417. "unless he have learned this
  418. by special revelation."
  419. Why do you think they added that?
  420. I'll tell you why they added it,
  421. because it helps them explain
  422. somebody like Paul.
  423. Because if they can't explain
  424. some of the things Paul says about himself
  425. they're in real trouble.
  426. Like what does Paul say?
  427. "I am not ashamed..."
  428. 2 Timothy 1:12
  429. "...for I know Whom I have believed
  430. and I am convinced (or persuaded)
  431. that He is able to guard until that day
  432. what has been entrusted to me."
  433. Galatians 2:20
  434. "I have been crucified with Christ.
  435. It is no longer I who live,
  436. but Christ Who lives in me,
  437. and the life I now live in the flesh,
  438. I live by faith in the Son of God
  439. Who loved me and gave Himself for me."
  440. There is no doubt in that man...
  441. that man has assurance.
  442. Does he not?
  443. Ok, what is assurance?
  444. You want to define assurance?
  445. It's that right there.
  446. I know Whom I've believed.
  447. I am persuaded He is able
  448. to keep that which I've committed to Him
  449. against that day.
  450. I know it. I believe it.
  451. I'm persuaded.
  452. I know that the Christ Himself loved me
  453. and I know He gave Himself for me.
  454. Listen folks, that's assurance.
  455. That's assurance.
  456. The Catholics basically say you're cursed
  457. if you say that you can know
  458. that you're going to have eternal life
  459. in the end of this
  460. with the assurance that Paul has,
  461. unless you've had special revelation.
  462. And they would basically say
  463. yes, Paul has it,
  464. and yes, maybe certain select saints -
  465. super Christians have been given
  466. special revelation.
  467. Listen to this text.
  468. 1 John 5:13
  469. The Apostle John says
  470. after he gets done writing
  471. the first epistle.
  472. "I write these things
    to you who believe..."
  473. Not just to those who
    have special revelation.
  474. To every single person who believes.
  475. "I write these things to you who believe
  476. in the name of the Son of God
  477. that you may know
  478. that you have eternal life."
  479. Oh, my brothers and sisters,
  480. God wants us to know we have eternal life.
  481. He's not playing some game with us
  482. where He dangles a carrot before our eyes
  483. and says, I never want you to be sure
  484. that you have it.
  485. Brethren, the very Spirit He gave us
  486. is a Spirit of adoption
  487. by which we cry,
  488. "Abba, Father."
  489. The Spirit speaks to us
  490. in ways that resonate within us
  491. that we're children of God.
  492. What does John say?
  493. "Behold what manner of love
  494. the Father hath bestowed upon us
  495. that we should be called
    the children of God."
  496. Does he say, oh, He wants us to doubt?
  497. He wants us to fret?
  498. He wants us to worry?
  499. He wants us filled with anxiety?
  500. He wants us filled with uncertainty?
  501. Brethren, He doesn't want that.
  502. Why?
  503. Listen.
  504. When you lack assurance,
  505. what are you doing?
  506. (Unintelligible)
  507. But if you lack assurance...
  508. Look, if we said we lacked faith,
  509. I would say you're right on.
  510. Lacking faith - faith and assurance
  511. are not exactly the same.
  512. Because you can have saving faith
  513. and lack assurance.
  514. You all agree with that right?
  515. I mean a person can truly be converted
  516. and wrestle with whether or not
  517. he's truly saved.
  518. So they're not exactly the same.
  519. Faith is believing what God has said.
  520. It's believing His character.
  521. It's believing His promises.
  522. Assurance is that confidence
  523. that I truly belong to God.
  524. I'm truly saved.
  525. I'm truly going to receive eternal life
  526. at the end of this.
  527. And those are two different things.
  528. So if I'm lacking assurance,
  529. what am I doing?
  530. Now look, a lost person can
  531. lack assurance.
  532. And a saved person can lack assurance.
  533. So think with me here,
  534. what is it that whether you're saved
  535. or lost if you lack assurance,
  536. what are you doing?
  537. Totally separate from whether you have
  538. saving faith or not.
  539. What are you doing when
    you lack assurance?
  540. What is that?
  541. (unintelligible)
  542. But what is it you're
    thinking about yourself?
  543. (unintelligible)
  544. Well, not so much that necessarily.
  545. (from the room): Am I going to heaven?
  546. Tim: Exactly.
  547. You're in a quandary.
  548. I'm not positive I'm going to heaven.
  549. Right? Isn't that what
    lacking assurance is?
  550. I'm not positive that I'm saved.
  551. I'm not positive that I've actually had
  552. saving faith.
  553. I'm not positive if I'm
    going to go to heaven.
  554. I'm not positive if I'm
    going to go to hell.
  555. I'm not positive if I'm one
    of God's children or not.
  556. I'm not positive.
  557. I don't have confidence.
  558. That's what it is to lack assurance.
  559. And to have assurance is to say,
  560. yes, I know that I'm one of His.
  561. Paul had that assurance.
  562. I know Whom I've believed.
  563. I'm confident.
  564. I know He died for me.
  565. I know He loved me.
  566. Now listen, assurance, like I said
  567. is not faith.
  568. A person can have great assurance.
  569. These folks in Matthew
    7 seem quite certain.
  570. "Lord, Lord..." We were there.
  571. Many mighty works.
  572. Remember all those?
  573. Remember the demons we cast out?
  574. Remember us prophesying?
  575. And they were pretty confident.
  576. Look, you can have assurance
  577. and not be saved.
  578. There are a lot of people, Christ says,
  579. many in that day are going to say to Me...
  580. You see the second soil type
  581. in the parable of the soils.
  582. They receive the Word gladly.
  583. There's a time there,
  584. they're thinking they're in.
  585. They're pretty confident people.
  586. They receive these things.
  587. There's a confidence there.
  588. Trials come and they fall away.
  589. But we're speaking about assurance.
  590. And of course, I'm wanting us
  591. to give consideration to the Christian
  592. and assurance.
  593. (Incomplete thought)
  594. What are some big indicators
  595. that a person - even if they have
  596. tremendous confidence,
  597. that they're a Christian?
  598. What are some big
    indicators that they're not?
  599. They don't desire the Word of God.
  600. Fruits.
  601. They don't pray.
  602. Again, all these things. Fruits.
  603. These have to do maybe
  604. with the fruits of repentance.
  605. Maybe with the fruits of regeneration.
  606. And see, we're coming back now,
  607. to where I really wanted to go.
  608. Folks, let me tell you something.
  609. My fear that there's a danger -
  610. there's always a danger
  611. with everything,
  612. and it's missing the simplicity of Christ.
  613. The danger is forgetting Christ.
  614. Listen.
  615. Think with me here.
  616. That as we stress and we stress,
  617. and I'm hearing some of you do this,
  618. I'm hearing this happen.
  619. I'm hearing it in the church.
  620. I hear it in this Bible study.
  621. I hear you folks when you tell me
  622. what you're telling people,
  623. when you're out on the streets,
  624. and listen, I'm not saying
  625. that what you're saying is wrong
  626. about repentance and about looking
  627. for the fruits;
  628. obviously, they're there.
  629. Obviously, the great evidences
  630. of regeneration need to be true
  631. in our lives.
  632. But let me tell you this.
  633. Why is it that the Catholic
  634. doesn't have confidence?
  635. Why?
  636. I mean, yes, they said
    it in the Council of Trent,
  637. but practically, why
    do they lack confidence?
  638. (unintelligible)
  639. They're trusting their works.
  640. And what's wrong when
    you trust your works?
  641. (unintelligible)
  642. You never know if you've done enough.
  643. That's the problem.
  644. The problem with works is
  645. you never know when you've done enough.
  646. If you've ever been part of a religion
  647. that is based on works,
  648. you never know when you've done enough.
  649. And so if you're always
    looking at your works,
  650. you're always looking at yourself.
  651. And the problem with looking at yourself
  652. is your self is bad.
  653. You are bad.
  654. By nature, you are bad.
  655. By nature, you are full of imperfection.
  656. By nature, you fall short
    of the glory of God.
  657. (Incomplete thought)
  658. And you know what?
  659. Even whatever religion it is
  660. and no matter whatever code they stick up,
  661. nobody ever keeps the code
  662. of any religion.
  663. They always have a standard
  664. that even when they bring it down;
  665. even when they back off God's Word,
  666. nobody ever keeps any of the standards
  667. of any of their religions.
  668. And so whenever they look at themselves,
  669. they are always shaken.
  670. They don't know.
  671. They don't have confidence
  672. because they're always
    looking at themselves.
  673. You know why they don't have confidence?
  674. Because they can't say,
  675. Jesus Christ perfectly kept the law
  676. in my spot.
  677. And my acceptance with the living God
  678. is not based on my performance.
  679. He did it!
  680. And you see, as soon as faith
  681. turns away from self
  682. and our works,
  683. you know what happens?
  684. Folks, there's a lot of attention;
  685. a lot of emphasis being given
  686. with regards to repentance.
  687. (incomplete thought)
  688. Listen, we've got a lot of people saying;
  689. well, let me just tell you what
  690. some people are saying.
  691. Let me tell you some
    emails that I've received.
  692. Here's an email.
  693. I'm going to read two emails to you
  694. that I've just received
    in the last week or so.
  695. First guy says -
  696. and these are shortened versions
  697. of actually what I got.
  698. First guy says,
  699. "I have to confess
  700. that I am not so sure
  701. I've been genuinely converted.
  702. I'm so confused,
  703. and I honestly do not have assurance
  704. of salvation.
  705. Every day is miserable for me.
  706. I have no peace,
  707. joy,
  708. or love.
  709. Let me tell you why I'm so confused
  710. about my salvation.
  711. In the past,
  712. I've been more devoted to reading the Word
  713. and I truly loved it.
  714. I had a prayer life.
  715. I felt clean and free.
  716. And I knew I was born again.
  717. But I've compromised in many ways.
  718. If you knew who I used to be,
  719. you would say without any doubt
  720. that I had a radical change
  721. that had occurred in my life.
  722. I know I've changed,
  723. but now I'm unsure I'm truly saved.
  724. I want to be free.
  725. I want to have peace with God.
  726. I want to rejoice in what
    God has done for me
  727. through Jesus Christ.
  728. I want to shout for joy.
  729. I want to be a bold witness for Christ.
  730. I can't.
  731. Oh, I've wrestled with God in prayer.
  732. I've begged Him to help me.
  733. To set me free.
  734. To give me assurance.
  735. But I still can't say with joy I'm saved.
  736. I want to so badly.
  737. If I do say that, I feel like a hypocrite
  738. and a liar.
  739. I think I've grieved the Holy Spirit.
  740. And His manifest presence is no longer
  741. in my life."
  742. Here's the second email:
  743. "I've been a Christian for over two years
  744. but so often I still
    struggle with assurance
  745. which may mean that I'm not truly saved.
  746. I have no doubt about
    the truth of Scripture,
  747. about who God is, who Christ is,
  748. and that to be saved
  749. one must repent and put full trust in Him.
  750. (Referring to a particular
    time in his past, he says...)
  751. My entire life was changed.
  752. My mom tells me that she remembers
  753. the transformation that took place.
  754. I remember talking about how God
  755. gave me a new heart.
  756. Now over the past year,
  757. I've been blessed to be
    under good teaching,
  758. and I know all the right answers
  759. to the questions that someone would ask
  760. concerning how you can know you are saved.
  761. (But he says) I can't get assurance
  762. from those answers.
  763. I look back at my conversion
  764. and I can't remember a single moment
  765. where I placed my trust in Christ.
  766. I know that I must trust in Christ alone
  767. for the forgiveness of my sins
  768. and that I cannot trust
    even a shred in myself.
  769. I know that to be true.
  770. I see my sinfulness.
  771. I understand my weakness and inability,
  772. but I fear that because
    I didn't understand
  773. that then, that I never
    really put my trust
  774. in Christ and just don't know what to do.
  775. I don't know if I should seek God
  776. for assurance or seek Him to save me.
  777. Sometimes, I share the Gospel
  778. and I completely forget about
    my assurance problem.
  779. Other times, I'm sitting alone.
  780. Tears well up in my eyes
  781. because I'm simply not sure if
  782. I truly belong to Him.
  783. I cannot go living like this.
  784. It's so taxing.
  785. I don't know if I truly am His.
  786. I know all the tests from 1 John.
  787. When I hear an exposition of 1 John,
  788. and I ask myself, ok, does my life
  789. stand the assurance test?
  790. I simply cannot place any trust
  791. in my own reasoning
  792. to answer that question.
  793. I fear so immensely for my salvation."
  794. Folks, we've got people running around,
  795. and I'll tell you,
  796. some of them probably
    aren't true Christians,
  797. but we've got true
    Christians running around.
  798. And you know, they're there
  799. and they're just wondering.
  800. Does He love me?
  801. Does He love me not?
  802. Am I in? Am I out?
  803. Am I saved? Am I not?
  804. Back and forth they go.
  805. Brethren, I'll just tell you this.
  806. If you don't have assurance,
  807. guess what else you don't have?
  808. Both these guys hit on it.
  809. The first guy said,
  810. "every day is miserable for me.
  811. I have no peace, joy, or love."
  812. The second guy hits on it.
  813. (incomplete thought)
  814. He says, "I cannot go on living like this.
  815. It is so taxing."
  816. Both of these guys hit on
  817. no joy.
  818. No peace.
  819. So taxing.
  820. I can't go on living like this.
  821. What happens when you lack assurance?
  822. You have no what?
  823. Joy.
  824. Let me read an Old Testament passage
  825. to you from Nehemiah 8:10.
  826. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
  827. No assurance. No joy.
  828. No joy. No strength.
  829. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
  830. Brethren, let me tell you something.
  831. Confidence makes you brave.
  832. You think a person can run headlong
  833. into heavy Muslim population
  834. where they very well may lose their life
  835. and preach the Gospel boldly?
  836. If they're there and they're wondering,
  837. am I in? Am I out?
  838. Does He love me? Does He love me not?
  839. Am I the real thing
  840. or am I fake?
  841. Am I going to go to heaven?
  842. Or am I going to go to hell?
  843. Am I still in my sin?
  844. Am I not?
  845. Is my name graven upon His palm?
  846. Or is it not?
  847. You cannot be brave.
  848. You cannot charge off into the world
  849. and battle for Christ
  850. if you have no assurance.
  851. No assurance. No joy.
  852. No joy. No strength.
  853. No strength. Folks,
    you've got no boldness.
  854. You've got no confidence.
  855. You've got to have confidence
  856. if you're going to be bold as a lion
  857. for Christ.
  858. You will not be.
  859. See, folks, you cannot scare
  860. a person with assurance
  861. with death.
  862. You can't. Why?
  863. Because they're confident that at the end
  864. of this life, there is joy everlasting.
  865. There is an eternal weight of glory.
  866. You don't scare Christians
  867. with that assurance of that joy
  868. and that eternal weight of glory
  869. with death.
  870. But if you're wondering...
  871. "I don't know."
  872. I may come in here
  873. claiming to be a Christian,
  874. but if they put me to death,
  875. I may go straight to hell.
  876. I may not be any better off than them.
  877. You don't have boldness to go out
  878. on the East side.
  879. Well, what if this happens to me?
  880. Folks, you don't know
  881. if you're a child of God or not,
  882. you're trying to protect everything.
  883. (incomplete thought)
  884. Folks, what do we say to people like this?
  885. And I'll tell you what,
  886. we need to be really careful.
  887. You know what I'm hearing a lot of times?
  888. Well, that person fell into...
  889. Look, one of these guys,
  890. he's been falling into masturbation.
  891. He had such assurance in the beginning.
  892. And I'm telling you, we can take
  893. all these tests from 1 John,
  894. and look, we don't dismiss them.
  895. They're valid.
  896. Regeneration looks like something.
  897. But I'll tell you this folks,
  898. if we start keying in on repentance
  899. and on the fruits
  900. and on all these things
  901. that ought to be true
    of the Christian life,
  902. and you're not
    constantly taking people
  903. to the cross;
  904. taking people to Christ,
  905. you know what?
  906. You're going to be tearing down
  907. people's assurance.
  908. Because there isn't a
    one of you in this room,
  909. truly and genuinely converted,
  910. that isn't going to fall into sin
  911. and sometimes majorly
    in your Christian life.
  912. And if we're setting up this standard
  913. that is unreal;
  914. that is not right;
  915. that is not biblical...
  916. Listen, if you're in Christ,
  917. definitely, by the Spirit,
  918. you're going to be putting to
    death the deeds of the body.
  919. You will be practicing righteousness.
  920. But we have to be confident, folks,
  921. of texts like "therefore there is now
  922. no condemnation for those
  923. who are in Christ Jesus."
  924. We've got texts in the Scripture.
  925. "Who shall bring any charge
  926. against God's elect?
  927. It is God Who justifies."
  928. We have to be turning our eyes
  929. again and again and again
  930. back to that cross.
  931. Now look, if people
    struggle with assurance,
  932. and some do,
  933. and some do more than others,
  934. what we want to do is we want to
  935. take them to the cross.
  936. We want to take them
    to passages like this:
  937. Romans 8:34
  938. "Who is to condemn?
  939. Christ Jesus is the One Who died.
  940. More than that, Who was raised.
  941. Who is at the right hand of God.
  942. Who indeed is interceding for us."
  943. Brethren, we are not Catholics!
  944. Our performance is not what gets us
  945. into Heaven.
  946. Our acceptance before God Almighty
  947. is based on the perfect work of Christ.
  948. Brethren, He came to save sinners.
  949. And you are at best in this room
  950. a saved sinner.
  951. And you are not perfect.
  952. And practicing righteousness does not
  953. mean perfection.
  954. And it doesn't mean that you're
  955. not going to fall.
  956. And it doesn't mean that
    even some of the best
  957. Christians we read about in the Scriptures
  958. didn't have terrible falls.
  959. And the way to heal such wounds
  960. is to take the balm of Gilead
  961. to the hurting Christian.
  962. It isn't simply to beat them over the head
  963. with a standard of righteousness
  964. that is unbiblical and not real.
  965. Yes, we come to them and we say,
  966. brethren, we want to exhort you.
  967. We want to encourage you
  968. that you not sin.
  969. But if you do sin,
  970. you have an Advocate with the Father.
  971. Does that sound familiar to us?
  972. That comes at us from John.
  973. In all of John's tests,
  974. in all of 1 John,
  975. in all the marks of true Christianity,
  976. he says, brethren, I'm telling you this;
  977. I'm writing this to you
  978. that you might have assurance;
  979. that you might know.
  980. And I'm writing all this to you
  981. that you sin not.
  982. And yes, the standard is high.
  983. And yes, it's radical
  984. when you've been truly born again.
  985. And it's going to do
    something to your life.
  986. And your life is going to be affected
  987. by the cross of Jesus Christ.
  988. And if you truly have a faith in Him,
  989. it's going to turn your life upside down.
  990. And he says, brethren, I write to you
  991. that you not sin.
  992. But he knows...
  993. He says if you sin,
  994. we have an Advocate.
  995. And you see when the devil rushes in
  996. and says, "look at you."
  997. "You've got all this
    teaching on repentance.
  998. Hey, don't you hear what they're saying?
  999. If repentance isn't true in your life;
  1000. if radical bowing to the
    Lordship of Christ isn't real;
  1001. if there isn't some pattern
  1002. of righteousness in your life,
  1003. who do you think you are
  1004. saying you're a Christian?"
  1005. But you see,
  1006. if you can say,
  1007. "devil, you're right...
  1008. what you say is right.
  1009. But I can tell you this,
  1010. I'm not perfect.
  1011. But I know this,
  1012. I'm not what I once was.
  1013. I'm not perfect, and I fall,
  1014. and I struggle and I fight
  1015. and I wish I could be perfect,
  1016. but I know I have desires
    I didn't have before.
  1017. And I know I love Christ in
    a way I didn't before.
  1018. And my life has been transformed.
  1019. You're right.
  1020. I've sinned. I've fallen.
  1021. But I'll tell you this.
  1022. I didn't come to Christ in the first place
  1023. dependent on my works.
  1024. And I don't stay there now
  1025. dependent on my works.
  1026. There is no condemnation
  1027. to those who are in Christ.
  1028. Devil, all you're telling me right now
  1029. all the more assures me
  1030. that I need to trust Christ
  1031. and not look at my own life.
  1032. What you're saying to me
  1033. only drives me back under His wing."
  1034. Brethren, that's got to be so.
  1035. And I'll tell you this,
  1036. that's where our assurance comes from.
  1037. We've got to be running back
  1038. again and again and again.
  1039. And I would say this to any of you,
  1040. you get where you're struggling
  1041. at a point in life
  1042. where you're struggling with assurance.
  1043. I would ask you this:
  1044. Did you ever have assurance?
  1045. Because listen, why would I say that?
  1046. Why would I ask that?
  1047. The Spirit of God is a Spirit of adoption.
  1048. By that Spirit, we cry, "Abba, Father."
  1049. [Romans] 8:16 - He bears witness
  1050. with our spirit.
  1051. Now listen.
  1052. Do not grieve the Spirit
  1053. by which you've been sealed.
  1054. The Spirit seals us.
  1055. The Spirit seals.
  1056. When you sealed a document -
  1057. if a president puts his seal on something,
  1058. it's a sign of ownership.
  1059. The Spirit of God is given.
  1060. That is a seal.
  1061. Where the Spirit of God is
  1062. there are definite evidences.
  1063. What's one of the things
    the Spirit of God does?
  1064. Bears witness with our spirit.
  1065. Pours the love of God into our heart.
  1066. Now listen to me.
  1067. If that Spirit is resident,
  1068. that person is going to have assurance
  1069. at least at some time.
  1070. Now, it's possible to grieve the Spirit
  1071. by which you've been sealed.
  1072. And if you grieve Him,
    or as 1 Thessalonians 5,
  1073. quench, then yes, the
    witness of the Spirit
  1074. may go silent.
  1075. If you're a person who has never known
  1076. the witness of the Spirit,
  1077. you have never had assurance
  1078. of your salvation,
  1079. I don't believe you're saved.
  1080. By the testimony of the Scriptures.
  1081. I don't believe that.
  1082. But if at seasons, you have indeed had it,
  1083. well, then look,
  1084. people can have false assurance.
  1085. There's no question about it.
  1086. And that definitely needs to be examined.
  1087. But I can tell you this,
  1088. it's definitely as a true Christian
  1089. possible to have that resident
  1090. Spirit of adoption
  1091. by which we cry, "Abba, Father,"
  1092. and at seasons because we've quenched Him
  1093. or grieved Him, have Him go silent.
  1094. And so what I would ask:
  1095. have you had seasons where
    you've known assurance?
  1096. And if you tell me yes,
  1097. then I would ask you,
  1098. have you done anything in your life
  1099. to grieve the Spirit?
  1100. And typically, we know.
  1101. We've allowed something.
  1102. The Spirit has prodded us to repent
  1103. of something that we've resisted.
  1104. You've allowed some sin or worldliness
  1105. or idol into your life
  1106. that you're not repenting of.
  1107. Brethren, the Spirit bears witness.
  1108. Look, I can't tell you
  1109. about what you've experienced.
  1110. But I can tell you, I've experienced it.
  1111. I've experienced it in a way
  1112. I never experienced it when I was lost.
  1113. I mean, I never experienced it
  1114. when I was lost.
  1115. Look.
  1116. The witness of the Holy Spirit
  1117. is different than assurance
  1118. that's gotten from other things.
  1119. Like there are people who are certain
  1120. they're going to go to heaven.
  1121. Why?
  1122. Because (have you guys
    ever come across this?)
  1123. God healed me.
  1124. I'm certain everything's ok.
  1125. We were just talking about this
  1126. at the campus today at Palo Alto,
  1127. that many people have an assurance
  1128. that everything's ok. Why?
  1129. Because they got sick and God healed them.
  1130. Because they were in a car accident
  1131. where they should have been killed
  1132. and they walked away.
  1133. You guys have heard things like that?
  1134. Listen.
  1135. The kindness of God
  1136. is meant to do what?
  1137. Assure us we're Christians?
  1138. Is that what the Bible says?
  1139. Lead you to repentance.
  1140. Right. The kindness of God is meant
  1141. to lead you to Christ.
  1142. Not confirm that you're in Christ.
  1143. In fact, the fact is
  1144. that many who are in Christ,
  1145. don't avert the accident or the sickness
  1146. or the trial or the tears
  1147. or the death...
  1148. in fact, through many tribulations...
  1149. Why do other people have assurance
  1150. that's no good?
  1151. Not based on good foundations.
  1152. Where does other false
    assurance come from?
  1153. Emotions.
  1154. People feel like they're saved.
  1155. But why would people
    feel like they're saved
  1156. when they're not truly saved?
  1157. And I'll tell you this,
  1158. if they're not truly saved,
  1159. it's not the witness of the Holy Spirit.
  1160. What is it?
  1161. Where would emotions come from?
  1162. Let's go through a list of things.
  1163. Maybe false teaching, right?
  1164. People assure you that you're saved
  1165. when there's really no evidence.
  1166. How many men are out there
  1167. telling men they're saved?
  1168. How many preachers stand in pulpits
  1169. and say if you say this little prayer,
  1170. you're saved?
  1171. Basically if you did this, you're saved.
  1172. We've got men all over the place
  1173. telling people that.
  1174. How about something else?
  1175. How about people who just
  1176. get emotionally stirred up?
  1177. They weep tears.
  1178. They were greatly affected.
  1179. And because of bad teaching, again,
  1180. they don't understand what true
  1181. saving faith looks like.
  1182. They don't understand
  1183. the nature of biblical repentance,
  1184. and so they're led to believe
  1185. (incomplete thought)
  1186. Can you think that maybe the devil
  1187. would try to convince people
  1188. that they're saved when they're not saved?
  1189. How?
  1190. Let me give you an example.
  1191. We were just talking about this at Mark's.
  1192. I remember as a Catholic having a dream
  1193. on Christmas Eve about Mary.
  1194. And I felt so much assurance
  1195. and warmth from that dream.
  1196. I went and visited my Roman Catholic
  1197. great uncle.
  1198. A week before I went there
  1199. to preach the Gospel to him,
  1200. an angel appeared in his dining room
  1201. in the middle of the night;
  1202. lit up the whole house.
  1203. He said it was the most beautiful creature
  1204. he ever laid his eyes on.
  1205. I said, "Uncle Tom, Satan comes
  1206. as an angel of light."
  1207. You know when I told that story
  1208. at church one night,
  1209. Carlos turned and looked at me
  1210. and he said,
  1211. "My parents had the same thing happen."
  1212. They saw an angel in the doorway
  1213. of their bedroom
  1214. in the middle of the night.
  1215. Listen to me, folks.
  1216. The devil will seek to give men
  1217. false assurance.
  1218. Many different ways.
  1219. Through false religion.
  1220. Through various manifestations.
  1221. But true assurance -
  1222. listen to me.
  1223. The Spirit of God bears witness
  1224. with our spirit.
  1225. When God Almighty wants to speak
  1226. to the soul of a man,
  1227. do you think He's impotent in doing it?
  1228. He pours the love of God
  1229. into the heart.
  1230. How?
  1231. Well, the Scripture tells us.
  1232. God's love poured into our hearts
  1233. through the Holy Spirit Who has
  1234. been given to us,
  1235. for (fuller explanation)...
  1236. for while we were still weak,
  1237. at the right time,
  1238. Christ died for the ungodly.
  1239. Do you know what the expressions of love
  1240. are that are poured into the heart
  1241. of God's people?
  1242. They're expressions of the love of God
  1243. as shown through us.
  1244. In a time of weakness,
  1245. His Son died for us.
  1246. (Incomplete thought)
  1247. Listen.
  1248. The Spirit bears testimony
  1249. not as you gaze at yourself.
  1250. Brethren, you can gaze at yourself.
  1251. If we get a church that's gazing
  1252. on ourselves where the talk is,
  1253. am I a Christian or am I not a Christian?
  1254. Well, have you masturbated?
  1255. Well, is this true?
  1256. Well, is there that sin in your life?
  1257. Look, there's a place
    for practicing righteousness.
  1258. There's a place for these tests.
  1259. We need to examine ourselves.
  1260. Folks, there's no proper examination
  1261. except looking at the cross.
  1262. True repentance is,
  1263. see, so often,
  1264. (incomplete thought)
  1265. is missed because what repentance
  1266. is viewed at is more like,
  1267. imagine a human scale.
  1268. Imagine I've got a big human yard stick.
  1269. And we say, well, am I up here?
  1270. Am I full of pride?
  1271. Am I lifted up?
  1272. Am I high and haughty?
  1273. Versus, am I low?
  1274. Am I broken?
  1275. Am I repentant?
  1276. And you see, the whole time,
  1277. we're looking at ourselves.
  1278. Versus being done with the yard stick
  1279. and looking at Christ.
  1280. You see, folks,
  1281. repentance, so often what happens
  1282. is just in religion -
  1283. every human type of religion -
  1284. what they do is they put the yard stick up
  1285. and they say you've go to go from here
  1286. to here.
  1287. Or from here to here.
  1288. However you want to look at it.
  1289. Either from pride to humility
  1290. or from this low, debauched state
  1291. to this high moral standard.
  1292. Whichever way you want to invert it.
  1293. But what is it?
  1294. The whole time you're
    looking at the yard stick.
  1295. Where what the Bible says
  1296. is repentance - true, biblical repentance
  1297. is throwing that thing away altogether
  1298. and looking at Christ.
  1299. And see, when you
    pull the yard stick back,
  1300. and now as a Christian -
  1301. see, the Bible doesn't say,
  1302. examine yourself and now
  1303. pull the yard stick back.
  1304. And look at it again.
  1305. Well, where am I at on here?
  1306. That's not the examining of yourself.
  1307. If you ever take your eyes off of Christ,
  1308. I'll tell you this,
  1309. the Spirit of God came into the world
  1310. to exalt Christ.
  1311. Where does the Spirit of God
  1312. bear witness with our spirit
  1313. that we're children of God?
  1314. As we gaze at Christ.
  1315. Looking to Christ in faith.
  1316. The love of God is poured abroad
  1317. in our heart.
  1318. It's shed abroad when
    we're looking to Christ.
  1319. It's shed abroad when we see ourselves
  1320. as weak, as ungodly,
    and Christ dying for us.
  1321. That's where the assurance comes in.
  1322. It's not looking at our works.
  1323. (incomplete thought)
  1324. You say, well, how do I measure up then?
  1325. How do I look?
  1326. How do I do that?
  1327. If this indeed is true;
  1328. if there's got to be this radical change,
  1329. well how can I not see that?
  1330. Or how can I see that?
  1331. How can I measure myself
  1332. against that
  1333. if I'm not pulling the yard stick back?
  1334. But you go look at those things.
  1335. Go look at the biblical yard sticks.
  1336. And I'll tell you what happens.
  1337. Yes, there has to be a look
  1338. at what God has done in my life.
  1339. There's going to be that evidence
  1340. of what God has done in my life,
  1341. but what is basically at the root
  1342. of the evidence?
  1343. What is the heart of repentance?
  1344. It's a turning.
  1345. it's a turning away from what?
  1346. It's a turning away from the yard stick.
  1347. Because what happens,
  1348. if you look at the yard stick
  1349. by itself, even as a Christian,
  1350. what are you doing?
  1351. You're saying well,
  1352. am I doing this?
  1353. Have I lived righteously enough?
  1354. Have I lived perfectly enough?
  1355. Have I prayed enough?
  1356. Have I loved enough?
  1357. It says if I don't do that -
  1358. have I done this enough?
  1359. And you start looking there
  1360. and you start looking there,
  1361. and I'll tell you what,
  1362. the poor Christian is just getting
  1363. beat up by the law again.
  1364. They're getting beat up by the standard.
  1365. They're getting beat up by this thing.
  1366. And then, suddenly
    they're floundering around.
  1367. Am I in? Am I out?
  1368. Because I have sinned.
  1369. Brethren, this is why
  1370. whenever these standards of Christianity
  1371. are held out,
  1372. you look biblically,
  1373. they are just impacted,
  1374. they are surrounded,
  1375. they are encompassed
  1376. with lookings to Christ.
  1377. Looking to Christ.
  1378. The cross of Christ.
  1379. Do you see what the problem can be folks?
  1380. Is when we begin to pull
  1381. these things out of Scripture.
  1382. And you begin to pull them away.
  1383. You begin to set up
  1384. this standard before people.
  1385. Practice righteousness.
    Practice righteousness.
  1386. You fall into this thing of masturbation;
  1387. you fall into this thing over here,
  1388. it's practice righteousness;
    practice righteousness.
  1389. And we can get to where we're
  1390. hammering people and
    hammering people....
  1391. We hammer them with holiness.
  1392. Folks, we're under the New Covenant.
  1393. What is the New Covenant?
  1394. The New Covenant is God saying,
  1395. "I will forgive their sins."
  1396. Blessed is the man -
  1397. blessed is the man, folks,
  1398. whose transgressions are
    not held against him.
  1399. David went in with another man's wife
  1400. and he killed that man.
  1401. And he could come before God
  1402. and say, "Blessed is the man..."
  1403. Folks, we've got to be there all the time.
  1404. We've got to be there.
  1405. I tell you, brethren, don't sin.
  1406. But if you sin, we have an Advocate.
  1407. Do you see?
  1408. We've got to take these letters
  1409. in their entirety.
  1410. Yes, you've got Romans 8.
  1411. Yes, yes, yes.
  1412. By the Spirit, you put to death
  1413. the deeds of the flesh.
  1414. But remember how he started
  1415. that same chapter.
  1416. There is no condemnation.
  1417. Remember how he's hitting at this
  1418. when he gets to v. 33-34,
  1419. Nobody can bring an accusation
  1420. against God's elect.
  1421. There is no condemnation.
  1422. No one can condemn.
  1423. It's freeing.
  1424. Brethren, I've been hearing a lot
  1425. about repentance.
  1426. And I hear some of you guys,
  1427. and you're hammering it,
  1428. hammering it,
  1429. you're hammering it...
  1430. but folks, we've got to take people
  1431. to the cross.
  1432. What we're going to do,
  1433. if we don't keep taking
  1434. the brethren to the cross,
  1435. we're not going to outfit people
  1436. for the mission field.
  1437. What we're going to do is
  1438. we're going to have them wondering,
  1439. Am I in? Am I out?
  1440. Does He love me?
  1441. We've got to take them to the cross.
  1442. Say your acceptance is here.
  1443. We know you've fallen into sin.
  1444. We've fallen there ourselves.
  1445. We're not advocating a life
  1446. that is habitual sin.
  1447. There's got to be victory.
  1448. There's got to be righteousness,
  1449. but it is a righteousness that flows
  1450. out of a life that is constantly
  1451. resting in the cross.
  1452. When I came to Christ in the beginning,
  1453. yes, there was radical transformation
  1454. in the beginning,
  1455. but I fell into some horrible sins
  1456. in the beginning.
  1457. My wife fell into some horrible sins
  1458. in the beginning.
  1459. And I'll tell you what,
  1460. in the midst of that,
  1461. I didn't fall into despair
  1462. for this reason:
  1463. Because when Satan would rush in
  1464. and say, "look at you.
  1465. You wretch.
  1466. You think God wants
    anything to do with you?
  1467. How could you claim you're saved?"
  1468. And I could say,
  1469. "Devil, you can slander me day and night.
  1470. But I came to Christ in the beginning
  1471. because I was a wretch.
  1472. And I know, all I am right now
  1473. is a saved sinner.
  1474. And all you're proving to me
  1475. all the more is I need to run
  1476. back to Him again.
  1477. And I'm going to head back there."
  1478. Folks, we've got to be heading
  1479. back to the cross.
  1480. Because that's where our assurance
  1481. is going to come.
  1482. And it's only when we're confident:
  1483. Yes. I am not accepted by God because
  1484. of my own works,
  1485. even as a Christian.
  1486. I am not accepted because of my own works.
  1487. And my own failings as a Christian
  1488. don't sever the way I'm received
  1489. by the Lord.
  1490. And I run back there again
  1491. for healing,
  1492. for the blood,
  1493. back again,
  1494. where I know there is full forgiveness
  1495. and no condemnation.
  1496. Back to that cross.
  1497. Over and over and over.
  1498. And I set my eyes there.
  1499. And that Spirit will breathe in
  1500. such loving expressions of the Father
  1501. to me as His son -
  1502. expressions of love,
  1503. bearing witness,
  1504. and in those expressions
  1505. there will be assurance.
  1506. There will be confidence.
  1507. Where there is confidence,
  1508. there will be strength.
  1509. There will be boldness.
  1510. We will be bold as lions.
  1511. We will have a church of lion-hearts.
  1512. Brave-hearts
  1513. where there's confidence.
  1514. Oh, it comes in Christ alone.
  1515. That is my word for us tonight.
  1516. Brethren, go to the cross.
  1517. Brethren, when you see others struggling,
  1518. take them to the cross.
  1519. Don't beat them up,
  1520. but take them to the healing wounds.
  1521. Take them.
  1522. Back again and again.
  1523. And amen.
  1524. Any last comments or questions
  1525. or anything tonight?
  1526. What will help us look to Christ?
  1527. Fair question, right?
  1528. I would say this.
  1529. (incomplete thought)
  1530. Look, if my eyes need to be there,
  1531. then my eyes need to not be
  1532. on other things.
  1533. (incomplete thought)
  1534. We don't have spider eyes.
  1535. We don't have fly eyes.
  1536. We don't have compound eyes.
  1537. I mean, basically, God has designed us -
  1538. we can basically look in one direction
  1539. at a time,
  1540. and maybe that's true spiritually
  1541. to a great degree as well.
  1542. We need to set our minds on things above.
  1543. Folks, it's very difficult
    to fix your gaze
  1544. upon Jesus Christ,
  1545. when your gaze is on
  1546. a thousand other things.
  1547. And so, I realize,
  1548. there are things we need to give
  1549. our attention to in life.
  1550. Gazing on Christ means
  1551. I'm thinking on Christ.
  1552. (incomplete thought)
  1553. Have you ever read Psalm 1?
  1554. What does that godly man,
  1555. that righteous man,
  1556. that upright man of Psalm 1 -
  1557. what is his relationship
  1558. to the Word of God?
  1559. There's something he does
    with the Word of God.
  1560. He meditates on it.
  1561. Folks, you've got to meditate.
  1562. You've got to chew.
  1563. The little, flippant reading of Scripture
  1564. isn't going to get it.
  1565. You need to be in the Word
  1566. long enough, well enough,
  1567. where you're able to meditate
  1568. and chew and think.
  1569. The Spirit of God begins to work
  1570. and drive those thoughts deep.
  1571. Go deep with God.
  1572. I mean, you're not going to go deep
  1573. with God in the Word;
  1574. you're not going to go deep with Christ
  1575. in visions of the cross;
  1576. you're not going to go deep
  1577. into those realms of Christianity,
  1578. where the Spirit of God really breathes,
  1579. where you just do flippant reading
  1580. in the Scriptures.
  1581. You've got to get in there.
  1582. A lot of you guys listen to sermons.
  1583. You know what?
  1584. Sometimes we can get where
  1585. we can really like a
    certain kind of sermon.
  1586. We really like the kind of sermons
  1587. where we get all beat up.
  1588. I know in the beginning,
  1589. I like that.
  1590. I like sermons that really beat me up,
  1591. but I tell you what,
  1592. a lot of times, we need to listen
  1593. to good sermons that just take us
  1594. to the cross.
  1595. And you find a good preacher.
  1596. Go read some good Spurgeon sermons.
  1597. When you guys find a good sermon
  1598. on the cross,
  1599. begin to recommend it to one another.
  1600. I'll tell you this,
  1601. avoid legalism.
  1602. Avoid it among yourselves.
  1603. Avoid it in your own thinking.
  1604. Don't go to a church that is legalistic.
  1605. Why?
  1606. Because legalistic churches
    set up standards.
  1607. They set up rules.
  1608. They press it.
  1609. Press it. Press it.
  1610. That's no good.
  1611. That is not good to assurance.
  1612. Don't go where they're legalistic.
  1613. Don't go where there's preaching
  1614. that hammers law and responsibility
  1615. and holiness where Christ
    isn't constantly mixed in.
  1616. Where Christ isn't central in the singing;
  1617. central in the preaching.