Temple Baptist Church - 9-25-2011
A. The Book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish believers who were now away from the nation of Israel and scattered among the gentile nations. Though written to the Jewish believer, these verses are applicable to you and I also.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
B. As I get into the sermon for this morning, I want each of us to realize that every word, every verse, every book, every doctrine found in the bible is applicable to us. It is ours by either interpretation or application.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
C. Hebrews was a book that helped move the Jewish believers from “sight to faith.” Though the Old Testament saint was saved by faith just as we are (Acts 15:6-11), they had always had the temple and the priesthood to look upon and the transition for them was a difficult one: from being able to see the visible workings of the sacrificial law to believing in the invisible workings of salvation and the Spirit of God.
D. What is faith?
1. Our faith is believing God - Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Faith is a “substance” that is believed, not seen! It is believing God when you cannot see His workings or “track” His goings.)
2. Our faith is pleasing to God - Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
E. I do not want to spend a lot time on the Jewish believers because they are not the recipients of this message. Verses 1-6 deal with two things: “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ” and going on to “perfection.” Simply stated: get saved and get it settled! The word “principles” means the beginning, the first estate, or principality. Salvation begins when we place our faith in the finished work of Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
F. I want to look at the proper progression:
1. Salvation - We all understand or should understand that salvation is an act of God where by the penitent believer is placed into Christ via the new birth. We hear the gospel story, realize that we are helplessly lost, turn to Christ in faith and are born again. It is as simple as this: “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!” Do not make salvation harder than that. I hear the term often “easy believeism” and understand what they are saying but want to clarify that salvation is both easy and simple!
2. Security – Immediately, at the moment of salvation, we have eternal security. What shall separate us from the Love of God? Nothing!! The love of God for His children never diminishes nor does His mercy cease. Salvation is an act of the Lord and security belongs to Him also. John 10:27-28 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
3. Surity – Herein lies the problem that Hebrews is dealing with. These Jewish believers, accustomed to offering the same sacrifices over and over again (Hebrews 10:10-11 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:), were attempting to get saved every time they fail God. God, in these verses is not teaching falling from grace and getting saved again. He is teaching eternal life and accountability for sin.
G. The Holy Spirit is saying, “Get saved, get it settled, and go on to spiritual maturity.” Therefore, the possibility of not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ and going on unto perfection is SURETY! Some of the best Christians that I know have had problems in the area of surety. They can take you to a time and place where they ask the Lord to save them, have all of the evidences of salvation in their lives and yet have doubts. When you are lost, Satan tries his best to convince you that you are saved but, when you get saved, he does his best to convince you that you are lost!
H. Doubting one’s salvation is a common problem among believers. That may sound like an oxymoron (doubting and believers) but it happens to some of the best “Christians” that I know. There are a couple of examples that I want to look at for a few minutes concerning spiritual doubt:
1. John the Baptist: the greatest prophet born of woman, because of his dire circumstances, doubted his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 7:19-22 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. (John’s circumstances caused him to doubt though he personally had introduced Israel’s Messiah and baptized Him. John was the forerunner of our Lord: the voice of one crying in the wilderness. He cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Circumstances can alter your faith to some degree if you let it.)
2. The disciple Thomas: what a legacy to be nicknamed “Doubting Thomas!” Disappointment and unfaithfulness caused Thomas to doubt the One with whom he spent 3 ½ years. Thomas had observed and heard the Son of God as He taught God’s Word, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes, and stilled the storm. I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ came and restored this man of God!
John 20:26-28 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (The Lord dispelled all doubt and fear in Thomas because He loved him. What a blessed assurance Thomas had as he said, “My Lord and my God!”)
3. Throughout our Lord’s earthly ministry, He rebuked His disciples time and time again for their lack of faith as they walked in His presence and watched the miracles that He performed.
I. Doubting one’s salvation is a common occurrence. I am not saying that it is a right occurrence but that many people have, to some degree, doubts. It is not something to be ashamed of nor is it something that needs to be hidden. I do believe that it something that needs to be biblically dealt with and victory gotten as some point. The greatest prophet who ever lived doubted Jesus Christ later in his life after preaching for years. Thomas doubted Jesus Christ after all that he had observed while walking with Him.
J. As a pastor, I want everyone in this church to make sure that you are saved! I would hate to have someone go to hell off of the pews of this church. Make sure that you have been saved. As a pastor, I want every believer to have blessed assurance of their salvation. I never want one to doubt or become confused. God is not the author of confusion but of peace. God will never confuse you. Feeling saved today and then lost tomorrow is not a work of the Holy Spirit, nor is it the work of the pastor!
K. In our text, the Bible says that we are to get salvation settled and go on to perfection. How?
1. Realize what salvation is and is not.
2. Remember who, when, and where you came to Christ.
3. Resolve to take the Lord Jesus Christ at His word
L. A good “rule of thumb” when doubting is to remember:
1. The Holy Spirit Convicts – conviction is the work of Holy spirit that convinces the sinner that he is a sinner and Christ is the only way of salvation. It draws sinners to Christ! (It always draws!)
2. The Devil Condemns – condemnation is the work of the devil that damns the saint. It drives the saint from Christ! (It always drives!)
A Lack Of Assurance
1. Lack of assurance can be caused by dire circumstances in the life of the believer. “Would God allow something like this to happen to one of His children?” is a question often asked. We, as God’s children, are not exempt from dire circumstances. It brings about questions such as: does God really love me (He loves us with an everlasting love); does God really care about me (casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you); where is God in my life when I need Him (I will never leave thee nor forsake thee)?
2. Lack of assurance can be caused by willful sin in the life of the believer. “Would a child of God do some of the things that I have done?” would be another question asked. God’s children are not to live in willful sin but they are not perfected yet and there are numerous biblical examples of such sinfulness. When we sin, we walk at a “guilty distance from God” and it brings conviction (not condemnation).
John 3:17-18 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (God never condemns His children.)
3. Lack of assurance can be caused by a lack of biblical teaching on the subject of salvation and eternal life. Many believers, after their salvation by grace through faith, are taught that they must now live a life acceptable to God in order to remain saved. Because of the sinfulness of our bodies, this is impossible and, therefore, places doubt in the minds of the saved as they do see sin in their lives.
4. Lack of assurance can be caused by making multiple professions of faith. In periods of doubt, the new profession is made and then the believer becomes confused concerning if and when they got saved.
5. Lack of assurance can be caused by ignorant preaching. I have heard many pastors and evangelists who preach in such a way as to make a believer doubt. I hear good men of God tell their people, “If you doubt your salvation, you are not saved!” Neither we nor our faith is perfect! Then, you get pastors, deacons, their wives, Sunday School teachers, and good godly saints to make multiple professions of faith. They ask questions such as: did I believe right; did I repent right; etc.
1. Assurance Comes Through His Word. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins, was buried, and rose again for my justification. He said that He would save me if I ask and I asked. Either I am saved or His Word is a lie. Just take God at His Word. God said and that settles it, if you believe it or not! I do not have to see Him raise the dead, heal the sick, cleanse the leper, feed the multitudes, or touch His nail pierced hands!
2. Assurance Comes Through His Presence. The believer has an inner witness of the Holy Ghost. Christ in you, the hope of Glory. I have that “small still voice” of conviction every time I fail God. His presence is always with me.
3. Assurance Comes Through A Supernatural Understanding. I have no problem believing the doctrines of the faith as they are taught in the Bible. The Bible is an open book to the child of God. The simplicity which is in Christ Jesus.
4. Assurance Comes Through A Changed Life. Even children experience a change though not as drastic as an adult. A saved person desires to live for Christ and hates it when he or she commits sin. Salvation creates a desire for the things of God.
5. Assurance Comes Through Resting In Christ.
Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
1 Thessalonians 1:5a For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
Hebrews 10:22a Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,