Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
The Assurance of Eternal Life
Joe R. Price
Christians should be confident of our salvation. The Christians in the New Testament were filled with an expectant joy and living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Jno. 16:20-22; Phil. 4:4; 1 Cor. 15:19; 1 Pet. 1:3). They not only desired heaven, they expected to live there throughout eternity (Phil. 3:13-14, 20-21; 1 Ths. 4:13-18; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
The early saints did not live under a cloud of gloom, constantly doubting whether they were saved. Jesus promised eternal life to His sheep who hear His voice and follow Him (Jno. 10:27-29). That promise holds true today. Our salvation is secure when we hear and follow Jesus. The assurance of salvation is a significant blessing we have in Christ.
The epistle of 1 John was written to assure Christians of our salvation. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 Jno. 5:13). Our assurance of eternal life is much more than thinking we are going to heaven. It is based on apostolic truth that was “written...that you may know.” 1 John teaches us that when our lives conform to divine truth our assurance of eternal life is real. Remember, John wrote so that “your joy may be full” (1:4). Christian, is your joy full?
We are assured of eternal life if we keep His commandments.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him (1 Jno. 2:3-5a).
Through the apostle John, the Holy Spirit teaches we have an assurance of “knowing” Christ (being in fellowship with, communing with, being in relationship with) if we obey Him. Far from minimizing the role of obedience in man’s salvation, the inspired apostle emphatically and unequivocally shows obedience is essential: if you want to be assured of your salvation you must keep the commands of Christ! John leaves no doubt by describing the disobedient person who says “I know him” as “a liar” who is void of truth (1 Jno. 2:4). It takes more than saying “Lord, Lord” to be saved by Jesus (Lk. 6:46). Importantly, 1 John 2:5 connects the love of God with the obedience of man. John says that God’s love is fully developed in one’s life as one keeps God’s word. God’s love will not save a person during and in spite of his disobedience.
The apostle of love insists that one’s confidence of salvation is realized only when he is obeying the commandments of Christ. This is another way of saying those who “hear” His voice and “follow” Him will never perish (Jno. 10:27-28).
We are assured of eternal life if we walk as He walked.
By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 Jno. 2:5a-6).
To walk as Jesus walked is to live as He lived. John had previously said Christians must “walk in the light, as he is in the light” to have fellowship with God and receive the cleansing effect of Christ’s blood (1 Jno. 1:7). Since “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,” it can be no other way (1 Jno. 1:5). We must live in harmony with the truth we profess. While we fall short at times and sin against our Lord, He assures forgiveness if we confess our sins to Him (1 Jno. 1: 8-2:1). There is no assurance of eternal life when we continue to walk in sin and will not look to Jesus and follow His example (Heb. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:21).
We are assured of eternal life if we do what is righteous.
If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him (1 Jno. 2:29).
Practicing righteousness means doing what is right in God’s sight. It is synonymous with keeping His commandments, since the commandments of God are right (Psa. 19:8-9; 119:172). The apostle Peter taught the lost that God would accept them if they would fear Him and work righteousness (Acts 10:34-35). Such people are born of God (1 Jno. 2:29; cf. Gal. 3:26-27). Is God unmerciful by not saving those who chose not to fear Him and work righteousness? No, God is assuring us that He will show mercy on those who obey Him (do what He says is right, cf. Titus 3:4-7; Rom. 9:15-16). One who lives in unrighteousness has no hope of heaven; he has no assurance of eternal life. The Christian’s salvation is secure by doing what is right before God.
We are assured of eternal life if we love the brethren.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 Jno. 3:14-15).
A Christian who does not love his fellow Christians has no assurance of eternal life. The one who does is a child of God and knows God (1 Jno. 4:7). To not love is to not know God (1 Jno. 4:8). How do we know we love one another? The answer is given: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jno. 5:2-3). Loving one another requires our obedience to God. We understand this because Jesus obeyed the Father’s will and “laid down his life for us” (1 Jno. 3:16). When God expects us to love each other the same way, “we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” and loving “in deed and truth” (1 Jno. 3:16-18). When we love each other this way, “we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him” (1 Jno. 3:19).
The Christian’s assurance of eternal life comes from Christ and is realized in our lives as we live by faith, obeying his will: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jno. 5:11-12).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Acts 6:1-4
1. Local church is a family, 1 Tim. 3:14-15.
I. CHALLENGE OF COMPATIBILITY, Acts 6:1; Eph. 2:13-22 (Isa. 11:6-9).
A. Great Challenge to be One in Christ, Rom. 12:15-16; 1
Cor. 12:25-26 (Jno. 17:20-23; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Jno. 4:10-11).
II. CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATION, Acts 6:1.
A. The Failure to Communicate, 6:1 (Matt. 18:15;
5:23-24; Jas. 1:19-20)
III. CHALLENGE OF CONVERTEDNESS, Ac 6:3.
A. Lack of Conversion Means Satan is Still in Control,
cf. Acts 5:1-5, 7-9; 3:19; 26:20 (15:9; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:26-28.)
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-12
1. Are you happy? What is happiness to you?
I. UNDERSTANDING HAPPINESS.
A. Happiness: A State of Mind, an Attitude of Heart
(Prov. 23:7); Jno. 14:1, 27; 16:22; 2 Cor. 6:10.
II. THINGS OF EARTH DO NOT GIVE LASTING HAPPINESS, Eccl. 2:3 (1:13).
A. Pleasure, Eccl. 2:1-2; Prov. 14:13 (Heb. 11:25; Lk.
12:19); Eccl. 7:2-4.
III. THINGS NEEDED TO BE HAPPY IN LIFE.
A. Fear & Obey God, Eccl. 12:13 (Acts 10:34-35).
Guns or Gospel?
Hezbollah (“Party of God”) is a Lebanese Shiite Muslim organization that uses terrorism to achieve its religious and political objectives. It purports to do the will of God on earth by advancing it cause with guns.
Roman Catholic Crusaders used the sword to impose its version of the kingdom of God on the Middle East almost 1,000 years ago. Today, militant Islamists like Hezbollah seek to impose Islam on the world by spreading terrorism and death.
The kingdom of God is not so advanced, because the kingdom of God is not of this world (Jno. 18:36-37). Neither should we think the state of Israel is favored by God today above other nations (see Rom. 2:28-29; Rom. 9:6). The “Israel of God” today is the church of Christ (Gal. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Matt. 16:18-19; Phil. 3:2-7).
Jesus taught, “the kingdom of God does not come with observation: nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17:20-21). To define God’s kingdom as an earthly realm is to woefully misunderstand the kingdom, the promises of God and His Christ (Psalm 2; Acts 13:32-39).
God’s prophet Isaiah prophesied of Christ’s exalted kingdom in Isaiah 2:1-4. Its citizens are described as beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. They no longer practice war or advance knowledge of it. Many say this refers to a future kingdom on earth because they misunderstand the nature of Christ’s kingdom: it is not “of this world” (Jno. 18:36; see Dan. 2:44). However, it speaks of Christians who compose a kingdom where the lion lies down with the lamb (Isa. 11:6-10). All nations may seek and serve God in his kingdom today; not by guns, but by the gospel (Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16-17).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA