Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sermon 10-29-06--New Creation Assurance

New Creation Assurance
Sometime when you're in an airport, observe the difference between passengers who hold confirmed tickets and those who are on standby. The ones with confirmed tickets read newspapers, chat with their friends or sleep. The ones on standby hang around the ticket counter, pace and smoke, smoke and pace. The difference is caused by the confidence factor. How they act and live is directly related to their security of a place on the plane.
Now consider for a moment which person, the calm waiting person or the pacing nervous one would best describe someone didn’t know whether they were going to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” or “depart from me, I never knew you.” That kind of knowledge can change the way you live, change the way you think, act, even help you enjoy and recognize the abundant life of Christ.
When we are a part of the Old Creation—when we have not been made new, then we are like everyone else on the planet
Slaves to our sin nature, in fact we are Dead in our sins and separated from God
We fear death and especially fearful and uncertain of what happens after death—there is no Hope for those who have fallen asleep apart from Christ according to Thessalonians. And remember what Hope is in Scripture—not wishful thinking, but confidence and certainty about what is coming.
Do you really believe that God made us new creations so that we would continue to tremble in fear and doubt? John says one of the reasons he wrote 1 John was so that “you may know that you have eternal life”. Notice it doesn’t say—“I have written these things to you so you can have a 50/50 chance OR so you can kinda know, OR so you can flip a coin.
Once we have been made new, we cannot be made old again—sure we may act like it, we may try to wear the old nature, but we have been forever changed. Just like Noah could not go back to the world before the flood—neither can a New Creation go back to being an Old Creation. Now that we are made New Creations we can have assurance—assurance that our relationship with God is firm, is established is secure.

1. The Saving Work and Character of God
a. Paul described his trust of God like this in 2 Timothy 1:12--Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” Paul had entrusted something to God—his life, his soul, his salvation to God. It was put in a spiritual safety deposit box. He was firmly and fully convinced that what he had trusted to God’s care and management would be thoroughly and completely guarded and protected and that helped him live even in moments of struggle and persecution. It gave him boldness, it gave him confidence. Paul realized that,

b. God’s Love is Powerful

c. Romans 8:38-39—“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—

d. There is no power that can separate us once we belong to Christ. There is nothing in all creation that can break in and steal us away when we have been united to God in the love and salvation of Christ. What God has joined together, no one can separate—there is no hardship, no struggle—no conceivable future that will cancel out God’s commitment to you in Christ.

e. There is little more freeing than knowing that you are loved and that nothing will change that. Paul was convinced about God’s Character and that helped him to endure all the rejection he was receiving while in the world.

f. Satan uses this world and the hardships directed your way to create doubt in your mind about the Love of God and your place in His Kingdom. Difficulties, persecutions, Satan will use to plague your mind that—it’s your fault, God doesn’t care or isn’t interested in what’s going on in your life. If God really loved you, this wouldn’t be happening.

g. That is a lie. Many of our hardships are because of our love for Him, we become targets in a great spiritual battle. Many of our hardships are because of His love for us—because God disciplines those He loves. If He didn’t love you, according to Hebrews 12, He wouldn’t bother to discipline you, to try and reach your conscience and draw Him closer.

h. Because of our Assurance of God’s Love, the Consistency of His Character, we can endure any circumstance and continue to be faithful through the whole experience—because we KNOW we are His, we KNOW we have been made an Heir, we KNOW we are a New Creation.

i. In the same way we can trust in the Character of God, we can also trust in the fact that,

j. God Has Strong Hands--John 10:27-29—“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. "

k. Things break in my house because I drop them—be they plates, glasses. Sometimes they’re too hot, sometimes they’re slippery, sometimes, I’m just not paying attention.

l. The ability to have a firm grip on things is why some football players never make it out of High School while others go on to make millions of dollars. Just holding onto a little ball is why some baseball teams can win the World Series and others can’t.

m. This passage confirms that God does not have Butterfingers. God doesn’t fumble the ball, He doesn’t drop things, and say, “oops”. More than that, there is nothing or no one that is strong enough, is powerful enough, to break His grip—to pry you out—He will not, no never let you go.

n. It doesn’t depend on your grip on God, it depends on God’s grip on you.

o. Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God's Word and come in to the ark. Some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. "If you just hang on through the storm, you'll be saved." Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ.—I have dropped far too many things in my time to be confident in my ability to hold on to God—but I am thankful that He is holding on to me.

p. If the Character of God was not enough, we also have another guarantee.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

1. Holy Spirit is a Down Payment
a. Ephesians 1:13-14--And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

b. For those of you in Vicky’s SS class, NASB—“who is given as a pledge of our inheritance”—a pledge which is irrevocable.

c. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22--Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

d. NASB once again uses that word Pledge, or Down Payment.

How shall we live with that assurance?

Options—Once Saved—Live it Up since it Won’t Change?—Paul says no—we have died to sin and cannot live in it or with it any longer.

We are under a greater obligation to be who we are created to be—a New Creation—not bound by fear, not bound by sin.

Romans 8:12-17-- Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
You don’t have to live as a slave—where you say, I couldn’t help myself.

You don’t have to live in fear—but you can trust that living or dying—your place in eternity is secure

You can truly be free—free to live and enjoy the life, the opportunities, the beauty around you—even see the many unheralded miracles that are going on all around you.

You are free to be a greater witness to the joy, the hope, the confidence that you have in God’s love. Others are drawn to that confidence and assurance of God’s love.

You are freed to worship with greater passion because you know it’s just a warmup for what you’ll be doing for eternity.

Do you know that you have eternal life? Do you have confidence in God’s love for you? Has the Holy Spirit sealed you and guaranteed your inheritance?

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