Blessed Assurance – Jesus Is Mine


At the time John wrote the Gospel of John, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and Revelation, all of the other New Testament books had been written for many years. There is little doubt that he had read each of them. He wrote from the great sea port city of Ephesus where he was an elder. In John and 1st John he summed up the gospel story. It was akin to a skilled prosecutor making his closing argument before the case goes to jury. He skillfully presents the evidence and leaves no room for reasonable doubt.

After seeing what he had seen, and heard what he had heard, and read what he had read, the Apostle John pointed only to evidences as a basis for Christianity. Both in the Gospel and in 1st John he laid out crystal clear evidences. There was no uncertainty. The validity of the Christian faith was not left to doubt.

He begins the Gospel by saying:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5) 

And then:

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:9-14)

Now , the beginning of 1st John:

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4) 

Jesus himself is eternal life! Those who get him, get life, those who reject him, reject life and remain in spiritual death.

How can we know we have Eternal Life (Jesus)? As John begins his close of the Gospel that bears his name he says in chapter 20:

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30,31) 

Now look how he ends 1st John:

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:13; 20) 

John didn’t write so the reader would have hope, or that he would think “I have a good chance”. No, it as clear as language can possible be “..that you may know“. God wants you to put your head on your pillow at night, not wondering or hoping you are safe, He wants you to KNOW!

Here are some encouraging promises from 1st John. These are evidences that you have eternal life.

1. Those who are born of God keep his commandments.

1 John 2:3-4: “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

1 John 3:24: “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.”

2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked.

1 John 2:5-6: “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

3. Those who are born of God don’t hate others but love them.

1 John 2:9: “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.”

1 John 3:14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

1 John 4:7-8: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:20: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”

4. Those who are born of God don’t love the world.

1 John 2:15: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

5. Those who are born of God confess the Son and have him.

1 John 2:23: “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”

1 John 4:15: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

1 John 5:12: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

6. Those who are born of God practice righteousness.

1 John 2:29: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

7. Those who are born of God don’t make a practice of sinning.

1 John 3:6: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”

1 John 3:9-10: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

1 John 5:18: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.”

8. Those who are born of God possess the Spirit of God.

1 John 3:24: “By this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

1 John 4:13: “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

9. Those who are born of God listen to the apostolic teaching.

1 John 4:6: “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

10. Those who are born of God believe that Jesus is the Christ.

1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” (What Peter preached..)

11. Those who are born of God overcome the world.

1 John 5:4: “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

None of these things make you a Christian, but each of them are the characteristics of a Christian. We are “made for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). We are not made Christians by our good works. (Titus 3:5)

There are two places where people get off track here. After reading these passages some people will conclude “If I am a true Christian I will not sin any more“. Nothing can be further from the truth. Not one of us will ever obey what God has said perfectly. Our obedience will always be flawed obedience. This is precisely why Jesus had to die “for us“. In the same way Jesus was counted as a sinner when He was crucified (2 Corinthians 5:21), God counts you and me righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

John tackles the sin question head on and in no uncertain terms. Don’t ever think you will get to the place on this earth that you never sin again.

If we say we have no sin [present tense], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins [present tense], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

It’s not “if” I will sin, it’s a matter of “when” I will sin. When I do, there is a remedy. Here it is:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

When we know we have missed the mark, done something not becoming one born from above, we see it God’s way. We agree with Him about it despise it, turn from it and rejoice in the forgiveness we have in Christ. There is no need to agonize with God about it, just turn from it and do the next right thing. In the passage above the word “confess” has deeper meaning than just saying. It also means seeing. It means to agree with God about it and see it as He sees it. If you do you’ll hate it!

The other misconception some have after reading parts of 1st John is “If I do these things well that will make me a Christian.” NO!  Read the following passage with care.

Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life (Past tense), and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life (Present tense); whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1 John 5:10a-12)

I hope those who read this will find blessed assurance swell up in their hearts. God loves you and didn’t send Jesus to condemn you but to save you. But, it’s not about you, it’s about Him and His glory. I’ll give you one last truth that should give you peace and confidence.

Of all the great people on the pages of the Bible, can you think of one more likely than Jesus to get his prayers answered? I can’t. Child of God, do you know Jesus prayed for you? Did you know he prayed that you would one day be with Him? He did and you will.

Near the end of what is called Jesus’ “high priestly prayer” he talks to the Father saying these words with all of us who are trusting in Him in mind.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
(John 17:20-24)

Here it is in the very words of Jesus himself. He asked that you and I and every believer since his ascension be with Him, where He is (vs 21). Oh what will it be like to see Him in his glory? He prayed that I would, and I will.

Blessed Assurance – Jesus is Mine!

Royce Ogle
Monroe, LA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Salvation of a Sinner is the Work of God


New Life

If we believe what we profess because it is what the Bible teaches we must conclude that the salvation of sinners is by God alone.

The Bible describes the state of a man without God in several ways. One of those is that a man without God is Dead.

Spiritually Dead

(Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1,5) Just as surely as a man’s body is dead without his spirit (James 2:26), a man’s spirit is dead without the infusion of the life of Jesus by the means of the Holy Spirit of God.

Although this death is spiritual, it is no less true than physical death. A dead man’s greatest need is not religion, not reform, not new dedication, not church membership, no, his greatest need is life!

A dead man is powerless to do anything, and furthest from the realm of possibility is that a dead man can give himself life. Only God can give life! Here is the great overlooked and under appreciated fact of the gospel, God makes dead sinners live!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Spiritual life is beyond the scope of probability for a dead man, only a merciful and loving God can make us alive together with Christ! There is no spiritual life outside of Christ and every person who is not alive in Him is spiritually dead. He is dead to everything about God and unless God acts in mercy and love this dead sinner will only know God’s anger and fury against sin.

Just as certain as God called Lazarus to life from death he too calls spiritually dead sinners to a resurrected life in Jesus! Only God can do that.

…to be continued…

Royce


What Is “Eternal Life”?


“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

We know from this passage and numerous others that God gives life to those who put their trust in Jesus and again and again it is called eternal. I think a fair question to ask and try to find an answer to is, What is eternal life? What is the life offered? And, what are the implications of the use of eternal to describe it?

Eternal life is God’s life, the life of Christ.

Eternal life is not something Christ gives that is apart from himself. He said it clearly in John 11 when speaking to Lazarus’ sister Martha.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)

Paul’s convincing statement is that Christ is your (our) life!

“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

And in 1st John 5 one of the clearest statements saying eternal life is in his Son (Christ).

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

Eternal life comes from only one source and can be received only one way. When you have Christ you possess eternal life. There is no eternal life apart from Him. He is the Author of life.

Because it is eternal, the life Jesus gives has no beginning and no end.

The most simple definition of the word “eternal” is that it is timeless. It is not confined to the limits of time. Just as God is eternal, has no beginning and no ending, so is the life given to those who come to him through Christ.

In our experience, from our limited perspective as mere humans, there is a point in time when we appropriated for ourselves this life that is unlimited by time, or space. We are told that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in our mortal bodies in the person of the Holy Spirit who resides in us. (Romans 8:11)

God promises those who have eternal life are safe forever.

Over and over in scripture promises are given to those who have the Life that they are completely safe. One of the most beautiful is in Jesus high priestly prayer in John 17.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:20-24)

This tender request is that you and I and other believes will experience the oneness the Father shares with the Son, and the Son the Father, and that we will experience it in the place where he is. I am continually amazed as God keeps assuring, convincing, and encouraging his children. Did you catch this phrase? “”I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me!

Can you imagine who much God loved his only Son? How great is that love for His own, from the unmatched lover of all lovers? If you can somehow start to fathom how much God the Father loves Jesus, that is just how much He loves you. Yes, with all your warts and bumps, with all of your failures, bad habits, and shortcomings, God loves you perfectly for Christ’s sake.

Eternal life comes with a guarantee from God.

Jesus often said of those who were his that they should “never die”, have “everlasting life”, and that he “would raise them up at the last day”. God continues these promises through the inspired pen of the Apostle Paul.

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” ( 2 Corinthians 1:20-22)

“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-15)

Can you think of any reason we should not believe that God’s word on a thing is sure and certain? If God promises He will do it. He cannot lie. What a blessed hope, what a well-spring of joy, to know that the only true God has promised that we who are his will possess the inheritance promised!

Eternal life is a present possession and at the same time a thing hoped for.

Those who are Christ’s “have” eternal life now, present tense. The verses above attest to that fact. But now, in our mere human flesh we can only apprehend and appreciate eternal life in a limited way. We are still constrained by time and space and the limitations of any person who still battles with sinful passions as we live the Life.

The Bible describes the situation in this way. It is the picture of a 1st century person looking into a dark, clouded, imperfect mirror. You see an image but it isn’t perfectly clear. But one day, when the return of Christ is announced, well will see him face to face and behold his glory and share in it. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

The full measure of eternal life includes the salvation of the human body. Death will finally be done. Mortality will be instantly changed to immortality. The living will in a split second be changed and the dead in Christ raised to live forever and ever in bodies perfectly suited for outer space and earth’s atmosphere. God’s word promises that our bodies will be like Jesus’ glorified body! It is then that the gift of eternal life will be fully realized and for eternity we will share in praise and joy and peace and walk in the light of Jesus Christ.

To be continued…

Agape’

Royce



Jesus is not dead!


What is the big deal about Easter?

That he (Jesus) was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Corinthians 15:4-8)

The big deal is, Jesus is alive! He is in heaven. And, He is coming back. Yep, the same Jesus his followers had seen and touched, shared meals with, and heard make promises went up into the clouds as they watched. And, this promise was given by two messengers from God.

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The truth that again and again got the Apostles in hot water with the church crowd was that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Paul said it this way.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead,how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

Make no mistake, everything depends on the factual account of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead!

If Jesus was not raised from the dead there is no hope for any of us.

What appeal does dying and staying dead in a grave have to you? It has none to me either. If Jesus was not raised, we will not be raised, and after all, the goal is to live eternally.

If Jesus was not raised from the dead there is no Christianity!

Paul says it like this, If Christ has not been raised from the dead his “preaching is vain and your faith is vain“. And, “Your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

The cross and its significance is very important but if Jesus’ death was the end of the story He would be no different than any other man who died for his faith.

HE IS ALIVE! CELEBRATE!

This Sunday Christians around the world will celebrate and remember an empty tomb and a risen Saviour. It is His life everlasting that we celebrate. His life is our life if we are in Him.

WILL YOU LIVE FOREVER? EVEN AFTER YOU DIE AND ARE BURIED, WILL YOU LIVE AGAIN?

There are many, many promises that you can, or that you will. One I really like is this one.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.’ (Romans 8:11)

Easter is the believer’s celebration of everlasting life. It is the acknowledgement that death has been defeated, that sin will finally be eradicated, and once again Peace will rule in an eternal kingdom.

He Himself is our blessed hope, and our blessed certainty! Happy Easter to you.

Agape’

Royce