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Refined by fire

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Assurance of salvation is the confidence that true believers possess eternal life and will one day live in heaven in the presence of God

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When You Question Salvation

When Joy Fades

A few years ago when I truly started to follow Jesus. I had this desire to learn more about God and who Jesus really was. I got so excited about what Jesus had done, and I was so full of Joy that I could not. COULD NOT wait until I could hear another sermon about Jesus. I was obsessing over the fact that I had to know more about who Jesus is. I was reading the Bible every chance I got, I would even take a “Bathroom break” just so I can take another look at the Bible. I had a countless number of bibles over my life and never once took it for the value it was.
needless to say around a month or so after I committed my life to Jesus I started a sermon series from John MacAruther on one of the Gospels. I noticed right away that the teaching kept saying the Jewish people. Jesus came for the Jewish people. Israel is the chosen people of God. the remnant that will be saved. I ended up stopping that sermon about halfway through and started to dig into the bible myself. I started going through Matthew and man did I ever get red in the face.
In his final moments not wanting to accept the reality of the end of life my grandfather tried to lite a cigarette the thing that killed him. I then heard my mother talk of the terror filled eyes as he took his final breath.
From this moment at 13 year old boy was introduced to real fact of death, I was already devestated by the passing of my grandfather, but now I was terrified of death itself. I recall the creeping fear of death and what will happen after we die.
I started to doubt my own salvation. I read . A story of a women who was not Jewish begged Jesus for help but He ignored her and made the comment “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The thought of hell also rang clear in my mind, being from a half Christian family my mother would remind me of the dangers of not accepting Christ.
It took me years to recover from that pain, but still I could not help shake the fear of death and eternal damnation.
I can assure you that I questioned eternity a few days after the accident.
even before my rededication to follow Christ
My heart sunk, I was a fool to think that my salvation was real.
Yet the whole time I could not help shake the fear of death.

How about you?

Have you ever questioned your decision to follow Christ?
Have you ever doubted the Bible to the point that you might have had the same thoughts as I did?
Have you ever lost your joy because you doubted the Bible or questioned it?
Maybe you have been rejected for sharing the gospel with a loved one or friend, now you wonder why you ever started to believe in the first place. why is it so hard.
Maybe you are going through a hard time in your life, like a job loss and you wonder how God could allow this to happen.
OR maybe you are dealing with a health issue or a death of a loved one and you start to fear death and if your salvation is real.
Do you have anxiety over your salvation?
maybe you are continuing to live in sin, or have a sinful life style. You still watch them dirty films, smoke, drink, gamble, or love to pick fights, because you live like this still you are “Living in Sin” and are in danger of losing your salvation.
you might think that if you don’t get a church membership in order that you are at risk of losing your salvation?
I don’t trust the Bible like I use too, I read some spots that make me questions this whole faith based on works in the book of James but Paul says the that its by faith not works. I am afraid that maybe my salvation is in danger because I don’t have faith in the Bible.
When I got saved, I could FEEL God. but now I cant, I have not been able to feel God in a long time, I think maybe I lost my salvation.
Do you fear death? a show of hands, how many can honestly say today you fear death?
Do you fear death? a show of hands, how many can honestly say today you fear death?
Do you have anxiety over your salvation?
Do you have anxiety over your salvation?
Transition: Assurance of Salvation is a heavy topic so lets see what the Bible has to say about The Assurance of Salvation.

1 Peter 1:3-12

If you have your Bibles with you today, please turn to
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and carefully investigated. They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified in advance to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.
Transition - “Assurance of salvation is the confidence that true believers possess eternal life and will one day live in heaven in the presence of God”
(Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Assurance of Salvation: Safe, Sealed, and Secure (p. 1). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.)

Confidence that true believers have eternal life

can be broken down further into three categories. Confidence comes from knowing that faith in Christ has saved you, however, some of you may need to face difficult trials in order to refine your faith, and some of you may need real facts to refine your faith. Today’s passage deals with a topic that comes up very quickly when a new believer commits their life to Christ. It can also come up in a long time follower of Christ.
The enemy has a set of tactics he likes to use, if he cant through you off at the start he can try to make you think that you either dont have enough facts on the topic, or he can make you think that you are not “feeling” right about salvation.
God gives you a tool to ensure that you are firmly grounded in the truth of the matter.
Transition - it all starts as it always should, with the Gospel!
knowing that faith in Jesus Christ has saved you!

Confidence comes from knowing that faith in Christ has saved you.

knowing that faith in Jesus Christ has saved you!

Two weeks ago, I asked you 4 questions:
Are you Spiritually Bankrupt, Heart Broken, a prisoner of this world, or spiritually blind?
are you still looking for the meaning to why you get up every-morning? are you still hurting from all the garbage that life throws at you, like a broken marriage, death in the family, fear of death itself, fear of not being able to pay the bills or get enough food? are you still a prisoner of that addiction? are you still not able to pick up the Bible for more than 3 minutes but can sit in front of the computer or tv for hours?
Then I say again Brothers and Sisters.. KNOW that you NEED Christ Jesus.
Text - Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this.
When you put your faith, your trust, in Jesus and you confess with your mouth that He is your Lord and Saviour, you are born again into a living hope.
You rejoice in this
You gain an inheritance. what is this inheritance? (have someone say it)
(Imperishable, Undefiled, and unfading)
Not only that but you are being guarded by God’s power!
THE DEVIL AINT GOT NOTHING ON YOU!!
Imperishable, Undefiled, and unfading. Kept by the power of God!
Oh Death! where is your sting!
for some people that is all is required, they are sure that God has saved them. They Know that they are saved. They will not let the enemy tell them otherwise. They enter a balance of Scripture and prayer and nothing can shake the faith regardless of trial.
Transition - But no all of us will experience that
you might wonder is that it? I have to get that spiritual HIGH again… That leads to the danger of feelings only kind of faith but God allows
Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Assurance of Salvation: Safe, Sealed, and Secure (p. 1). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

Some of you will face trials in order to refine your faith

Growing up I knew about a Godly man. He was the kind of guy that you could trust. Being a very successful business man he was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He had it all, a very expensive team roping horses, a warehouse business downtown with 6 employees, and a lot of money in the stock market. He also had a few kids who did not take after his character they liked to hit up the bar a lot.
But the thing about this guy is that no matter how much his kids had gone out drinking he would be at church every Sunday praying for them.
Well one day while he was out at the coffee shop he got a call from one of his farm hands, the barn was struck by lightning and the whole place had gone up in flames. The other farm hands tried to save the animals but were trapped in the barn and died in the fire along with all his prized horses. No sooner did he get that call the manager of the warehouse came running in to the coffee shop saying that the propane tanks at the back of the warehouse exploded during a maintenance check leveling most of the building. But it gets even more bazaar, seconds after that he gets another call telling him that his investment just tanked and is now only worth a few hundred dollars. Just as he was about to head out of the coffee shop his buddy pointed to the TV. There was a shooting at the nightclub in the next town over. He noticed that the nightclub was the same one that his kids always go to. He got a hold of his wife only to find out the dreaded news that his kids were murdered at the night club. The cops had just left their place with the terrible news.
Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
The writer of Hebrews says it best: “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Some times we as Christians might need to face trials as it says in 1 Peter
if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
trials are not designed to punish us, Trials are used the same way one refines gold.
take this ring for example, I would put on a gold ring if it was just a hunk of rock with a hole drilled in it. I expect that the hunk of rock is refined in fire, purified, molded and polished before I ware it. God does the same thing to us. Some of us have to be refined and have impurities removed before true praise, glory, and honor is given to Christ.
Transition - As mentioned before not everyone is going to face trials the same way some times we need to see the bigger picture to refine our faith.

Some of you need facts to refine your faith

some times, when we are faced with the trials of life we cant help but only think of the pain and not the end goal. We are literally hours away from the new year and with it comes new resolutions.
(Hold up a mirror)
This year I plan on losing some weight. But every time I look into the mirror I see my larger than normal body and it makes me wonder why I am suffering the loss of candy.
Then I remember that well diabetes runs in my family so I run that risk. I see my son and know that I cant keep up with him all the time so that is a good reason. I want to be able to see this Church grow longer than the next 30 years. But some times the end goals cant justify the means of suffering, our culture has broken our ability to long term forecast because of instant graduated.
The I want it now attitude. I want the suffering to end know… When I am faced with a trial I want the pain to end now, not later. we lose sight of the finish line.
some times we need to look at the truth of history to endure the suffering.
(hold up the picture of you)
this was me, this tells me that I can do it. I did it once before and I can do it again.
Biblical Text - Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and carefully investigated. They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified in advance to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
When you face a trial be it someone makes fun of you at school or work, or some one you love dies you may ask why, you might lose sight of the faith because of the current sufferings. you might say, yeah well Paul and Peter got to see Jesus in person so it was easy for them to say that we need to suffer.
“our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light afflictionis producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
If you think that the sufferings are hard now, think about this for a moment. 500 years before Jesus walked the earth. Daniel saw Jesus 500 years before he walked the earth. Daniel knew at this time that some day Jesus would come to earth and bring salvation.
Even greater than this, Isaiah the prophet was given a vision of the coming Christ 700 years before Jesus walked the earth.
Lets just
we got time for one more I think. 1400 years before Jesus walks the earth the book of Genesis that details the coming of Christ that will overcome sin and death is written. For 1400 years people held the hope that Jesus would come some day.
If they were alive today and saw the Bible that we have today that show the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, they would be overwhelmed with joy seeing the fruit of their suffering.
we got time for one more I think. 1400 years before Jesus walks the earth the book of Gensis that details the coming of Christ that will overcome sin and death is written. For 1400 years people held the hope that Jesus would come some day.
So there is hope in the suffering you are going through.

Marching Orders

in closing, I would like to equip you with some truths that you can take with you right now, and with you today, tonight, tomorrow, next week, and until you are called home or Christ returns.
You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who prophesied about the grace that would come to you, searched and carefully investigated.
These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
You may suffer grief, it might come in the form of rejection from friends, family, or strangers. It might come in the form of a job loss, unexpected bill in the mail, a call from the doctors office, an unexpected death in the family.
Most of the time it will come unexpectedly, some times we can see it coming.
Here is the part that is important: Pray always, get back into the Word of God. Make God your first priority in every way. When that trial comes your way it will refine your faith in Jesus Christ and make your faith pure. Don’t stop getting on your knees in prayer. Pick up your bible.
The truth is is just a page away.
The truth is is just a page away.
That the trial will refine your faith in Jesus Christ and make it pure. If you ever lose sight of the end hit your keens in prayer and pick up your bible. The truth is is just a page away. Hope is just a passage away. Joy unspeakable is just a prayer away.
Hope is just a passage away.
Joy unspeakable is just a prayer away.
I stand before you today, in full confidence and authority that
lets pray.
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