For many years if you’d have ask me if I was saved I’d have said yes. Largely because of shame and because I couldn’t admit that I didn’t even understand that concept. Most people who knew me assumed I was saved for no other reason than because I went to church. That was it. That was all it took. Not because there was any evidence of it in my personal walk with Christ. Which I didn’t have.
So yesterday, as I was blessed to sit in church and hear a convicting message of the gospel; and by convicting I don’t mean I felt like a dirt dog, because I’ve been in those sermons too. But by convicted I knew there were areas in my life that needed more commitment. And one of those areas was my Monday morning video “Not Another Manic Monday.” I had lost sight of what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to draw people closer in their walk with Christ.
So today’s topic is one that I believe every child of God has an occasional if not consistent struggle with. The assurance that you’re saved, and three possible reasons that I think will help in winning that battle.
People Don’t Read Beyond the Norm
So what’s the norm? Unfortunately, I think people rarely, if ever read the word. I think that because that’s who I was in my previous church life.
Hebrews 10:22 ~ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
A preacher friend of mine (and I’ve used this illustration so many times) said that the Word of God was like a spiritual “warsh” cloth. I know it’s wash cloth, but that’s how he said, and I love that memory.
It’s a phrase that has stuck in my head because I know it to be true. And it’s one of the primary reasons people lose their assurance of salvation. Because they don’t understand the importance of reading the word of God.
Prior to salvation, my idea of reading the word of God was, #1~ it was the preacher’s job. # 2 ~ it was there if I felt troubled. But the problem with the second notion, is at that time I wasn’t saved. So it was like reading the owner’s manual of a product I didn’t have. It made no sense what so ever.
But once I became saved, and the Spirit of God came into my heart that changed and I was blessed with an immediate desire to soak in the word of God in every form. Spoken, written and recorded. I know I’m not the norm and many people may not have the time that I spend in His word. But the writer of Hebrew spoke a great truth when he said
… having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
That evil conscience (that causes us to doubt our salvation) is covered by the blood. But without the reading of the word to remind us of that, we lose the feeling of being clean.
There is one thing I can tell you with bold assurance because I’ve lived it and I’ve failed at it; without the reading of the word of God, you will forever battle the assurance of salvation.
When the writer of Hebrews wrote 10:22, and when my preacher friend was inspired to say “warsh cloth” it was because both of those men had a relationship with the Lord beyond the norm.
People Don’t Live Beyond the Norm
1 Thessalonians 1:5 ~ For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
God has blessed me with some amazing Spirit filled saints in my life. People who live out the faith. They’re not perfect, but they’re living in the perfection of Christ.
By Spirit filled I don’t mean that they have more of God in them than the average saved person. When we get saved we all get all of God.
Ephesians 3:19 says And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
When I think of the fullness of God I think of it like shaking a soda pop. When you do the carbonated bubbles explode to the surface. Well that’s what it’s like when you’re filled with the Spirit. It’s not that you have any more of God that anyone else. But rather the Spirit in you begins to bubble up with excitement because of the work God is doing in your life. And when it bubbles up and out, it’s evident to not only you, but the people around you.
At those times, nobody can tell you you’re not saved. Because you’re living it. And while we can’t live on the mountain all the time, if we’re serving God enough, those experiences will leave very little room for doubt in your eternal state. Not for you. Or for the people around you.
I was successful in my early walk with Christ because the people around me bubbled with excitement. And I wanted it too.
People Don’t Attend Church Beyond the Norm
Colossians 2:2 ~ That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Growing up I thought that faith was a Sunday morning thing. Sunday night and Wednesday Night Bible Study was for the blue hairs and old men. And most churches are still like that today, if they even have a Sunday night or Wednesday night service.
Right after I got saved our church began a Wednesday Night Study called “Journey to the Heavenlies.” It was a study on the book of Revelation. A pretty heavy topic for a new believer. And while I certainly didn’t understand all of it, I understood enough, because of an excellent teacher. I was fascinated about the prospect of Heaven and no longer feared the end times.
That understanding helped inspire me to read and live beyond the norm. And it gave me the desire to come back again and again to learn more. I was so thankful for the truth of God’s word being taught to me that I wanted to live and do more for my Lord.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians he hadn’t been with them for a while. But they were holding on to each other and it multiplied their assurance.
That’s what attending a church does and why it’s crucial to your assurance.
When I got saved I was attending every revival around me. I couldn’t get enough church, be it mine or someone else’s. I just wanted to be with God’s people. I still do.
I know that in being with God’s people, I’ll not only be encouraged, I’ll be accountable. We need people in our lives that will keep us from slipping in our faith which causes doubt.
Last night the preacher told the story of some old time saints in a remote village. They didn’t have a closet to get into for prayer, but realizing the importance of spending time alone with God they would carve out a path in the woods. Each would have their own.
But if someone’s path started having grass grow on it, it would be evidence that they weren’t spending time alone with God. And one of their friends, in a nice tone would say, “Friend, your path has grass on it.”
They were letting them know that they were concerned that their friend wasn’t spending enough time with God.
So that’s my question for you. Friend, does your path have grass on it? I hope not. And I don’t stand in judgement. Because my path any day could start growing grass because I’m just flesh and blood.
That’s why I go to church, read the word and live beyond the norm. Because I’m not normal.
That should get a big amen!