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Assurance of Salvation (Vol 01) - The Importance of Assurance

Sunday English Service - 22 SEP 19


In 1858... Let's go back there one minute, 1858, that’s more than 150 years back. True story. 1858, September 13th, there was a ship by the name of Austria which caught fire and sank in the Atlantic Ocean. It had 542 passengers, and only about 90 passengers survived. Everyone else died. One of the survivors later told the story of what happened in the last few minutes as that ship sank. He said how he and his five friends, they were all Christians, believers, the last few minutes it became clear that the ship is not going to hold up anymore. It's on fire and getting worse and worse, and it's going to sink and became clearer and clearer. And so, it became clear that now they need to jump into the ocean. As they were getting ready to jump, they decided they're going to jump together. They were all friends and they happened to be believers. They said, “Okay, let's jump together. Let's do that together.” And they held hands, and they came to the edge of the ship. And just before jumping, they said this to one another, it seems, “In just a few minutes we'll meet each other in heaven.” They realized that it’s hard to survive in that kind of situation that they faced that day. So, they said, “In just a few minutes, we'll meet each other in heaven.”

I want you to picture that. I want you to really hear me out. It's not just some story. It's happened. It’s told by the survivor. Now, imagine that. Ship is on fire, about to go down. The ocean is raging, they are about to jump to what looks like their death. All kinds of thoughts could have gone to their mind and all kinds of words could have come out of their mouth. And instead, what did they say? “In just a few minutes, we'll meet each other in heaven.” And they jumped with that confidence. One of them survived and that's the person who told the story. Now, you may be wondering why I'm telling you the story today. You are not in a sinking ship. You’re very comfortably sitting and listening to me. But wouldn't it be nice if we have the same kind of confidence that they had at the time of their death? Wouldn't it be nice if we had it right now? Wouldn't it be nice if we lived all our lives with that kind of confidence?

What kind of confidence? The confidence that I'm saved, and I know it, and I have no doubts about it. God has saved me. He has forgiven all of my sins; He has wiped out my bad record. And He will keep me safe all the way till the end. I don't need to fear anything. Even if I happen to die the next second, I will be with Him in heaven and live with Him forever and ever in glory, with peace and joy and all the happiness I've ever dreamed of and more. That’s the confidence. Wouldn't it be nice to have that confidence? That's what you call as the assurance of salvation. The assurance of salvation. To know that you know that you know that you are saved and you are saved forever. They had that assurance. They jumped with that assurance.

I'm saying, wouldn’t it be nice to live with that assurance? I'm going to talk to you about the assurance of salvation. I think all of us want that assurance. All of us really desire that assurance. We're going to be talking about this: the assurance of salvation. We're going to be talking about things like how do we get this assurance? Why do doubts come? Where do they come from? And how do you deal with those doubts in the right way, in the biblical way, so that you get the right assurance that the Bible gives? And how do you grow in that assurance? What do we do about our sins and our weaknesses and our shortcomings, and our this and that? And there are so many reasons why people don't have that kind of assurance. We're going to be talking about all that today. I'm going to mainly try to show you the importance of this assurance, why you really need to pay attention to this.

Let me start talking about that. Why should you listen to this? Why is this an important teaching for you to listen to? This is the most important thing in life to be sure about. Why should you listen to this? This is the most important thing in life to be sure about. That word assurance itself has the word sure in it. It's about being sure. Being sure means what? Having no doubts. Having no doubts about your salvation, having no doubts about your eternal destiny, having no doubts about whether you're saved or not, having no doubts about whether God will bring back your old sin or not. Having no doubts. Sure. This is the most important thing in life to be sure about.

But truth is, we are seeking surety about a lot of other things. Surety about this, surety about that. Simple things also we want surety. Your friend says, “I'll come home.” But that's not enough for us. We ask, “Will you come home for sure? Is it confirmed?” The previous day we send a message, “Is it confirmed?” We want that extra confirmation. You go on a train ride, you don't go on any ticket, you want to confirmed ticket for a simple train ride, from here to Coimbatore. Want a confirmed ticket. I'm talking about the train ride of life. Do you have a confirmed ticket? Some people have the confirmed ticket to heaven. They don't know it's confirmed. They don't know whether it's on waitlist or not, “We'll know.”

Do you have a confirmed ticket to heaven? Is my first question. And do you know that you have a confirmed ticket to heaven? Are you sure about it? It's the most important thing in life to be sure about. We plan for all kinds of important things. We plan for our future. People plan for their retirement. Young people plan to be settled well in life, to get a good job. [inaudible 00:07:13] they start planning, they study hard for the 12th standard exams, they get good marks so that they can get into a good college. They do well there so they can get a good job so they can get married, settled. We plan for the future. But no matter what you plan, how many years are you going to live? Let's face the facts. What's your goal? I don't know. 100, 120? Have you thought about it? Well, I'm asking you to think about it.

The thing is, out in the world you won’t think about things like this. This is why you come to church. Monday to Friday, you're not thinking about jumping off the ship. Monday to Friday, you're at your work desk, you're thinking about your work. But I'm asking you now, think about your eternity, my friend. No matter how many years in this life you live, it's after all maybe 100, 120 no matter how high your goal is. Let's say a person wants to say 200. Okay, fine, 200. I'm talking about forever and ever. Your destiny, your eternal future. I'm not talking about your future for the next 50 years, 100 years. I'm talking about eternal future. Do you know where you're going to be? Do you know how you're going to be? Are you going to be well or not? Are you sure about it? This is the most important thing in life to answer, you see.

If you're going in a train, like I said, a simple train ride, we know where we are going. Suppose there is a doubt about it, we immediately clarify the doubt. Imagine you're going to Coimbatore in the train. One hour after the journey begins, you hear a voice outside which says, “This train is not going to Coimbatore.” Then suddenly on the other side, you hear another voice. “Wah-wah, it may not go there.” What will you do? You won’t just sit inside your compartment; you will immediately go out and clear that doubt. You won’t just keep that quiet. You'll want to know for sure. “Is it going there or not?” You won’t just say, “Well, after all they’ve given me AC compartment, nice seats, nice food, everything looks pretty good. They’ve even given a TV screen. Everything is good. Whether it goes to Coimbatore or not, it's okay.” No, no matter what you have, you will get sure about where it is going. Where is your life ultimately headed to? I'm asking the ultimate question. It’s the most important thing you need to be sure about. And that's why you need to listen to this.

But you may think, “Well, is this just about going to heaven?” The answer is no. It's not just about going to heaven when you die. This is a bigger topic than that. I introduce it like that because of the urgency of that matter. That's a very important thing. Your eternal destination is most important. But assurance of salvation is much bigger than that. Let me show you how it relates to your life now. Some people are thinking, “Brother, I don't want to hear about going to heaven. I know I'm going to heaven but tell me something that will help me now.” Fine. Okay, I'll tell you something. I'll show you how it's related to now. If a person has doubts about this, if a person has doubts about their eternal destiny, their salvation, it means they also have doubts about other things. Listen to me carefully.

If a person has doubts about eternal salvation, it means they have doubts about other things also, whether they realize it or not, they have doubts. If they have doubt about this, they have doubts about other things. And many times, it is these doubts that keep them from moving forward in life. You may be going through some situations right now and maybe you're sensing that you're not moving forward. What's keeping me from moving forward? What's keeping me from receiving that thing that I want to receive from God? Where is the block? Why the lack of improvement? It is never God. We never blame God. If there's anybody to be blamed, it's us or others, or the world, sin, fallen world whatever but not God.

One of the things that hinder us from progressing in life is doubt. You see, we take doubt very lightly, but doubt is a very dangerous thing. It can stop us from receiving what God wants to give us. Look at James chapter 1 verse 6 to 8. I want you to see this, the importance of dealing with doubt. I'm talking about assurance but I could use another more familiar word.

James chapter 1 verse 6 to 8. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. Everybody say, faith, no doubting. Pure faith is actually having no doubts. I'm talking faith that is purest form. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence or the surety of things not seen. The very nature of faith in its purest form is assurance, is being sure, being confident, evidence, surety. So, James is saying, faith with no doubt. Oftentimes what is happening is faith is there, doubt is also there. Faith is there, we're believing God, but little doubt is also there. “Let the doubt be there. It's okay. Let's just cover it up and let's just leave it like that, as long as it doesn't cost too much trouble.”

But faith with the doubt is very dangerous. Look at this verse. Let him ask him faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he's a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. That's a pretty severe comment on doubt. James is saying, “You want to ask God something, go ahead and ask, but ask with faith, with no doubting. If you have doubt, that doubt can keep you from receiving what God wants to give you.” So, don't take that lightly, my friend. And what I am talking about is the mother of all doubts. Am I even saved? Will I even go to heaven? This doubt is not an ordinary doubt. It's not just about me and my eternal future and my well-being alone, there is a bigger issue here. It is a doubt about God Himself. Who’s the one who said come and believe in Me, and follow Me, and I will save you and I will take you to heaven? Who's the one? God said it. I didn't say it. Man didn't say it. You didn’t tell yourself. The Bible is the one that said Jesus saves. And Jesus is the one who said, “I will be with you always to the end of the age.” God is the one who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He is the author and the finisher of my faith.

And so, this doubt about my eternal security or eternal destiny, whether I'm going to heaven, whether I'm saved, these kinds of doubts, these are very problematic doubts. Why? It's not just doubting my future, it is doubting the very goodness of God, the very promises of God, the very things that God said He will do. He said He will save me. He said He'll save me all the way till the end. But if there's a doubt what is happening? I'm actually doubting God. It's a very dangerous doubt.

Now, let me show you how that doubt relates to other doubts. For example, if a person doubts like this thinking, “In the end, maybe God will abandon me and send me to hell.” If a person has that kind of doubt, how can they be sure that God won't abandon them now? If they are not sure that God won't abandon them when it comes to the most important time, the most crucial time, their eternity, how can they be sure that God will not abandon them now in their situation, in their problem? If a person has a doubt about whether God will keep His promises about eternity, that's the most important thing. And God has promised so many things about eternity here, if a person has a doubt, even a small doubt, “Will God actually end up keeping those promises then?” How can they be sure that God will keep His other promises about your life now? If there is a doubt whether God is for me when it comes to my eternity, if there is a doubt... God is for us. You believe that? That's a simple statement, very powerful statement. God is for you, and God is for us. But when there is a doubt about whether God is truly for me, in the most important matter in life, which is my eternity, then surely there is a doubt about whether God is for me now.

See, the thing is, when there is a doubt about this, there are doubts about other things. If the person thinks, maybe God doesn't really care for me in the matter of my eternity, then how can they be sure that God cares for them in the less important matters of this life, their family, their work, and whatever? What I'm trying to say is, if a person has this doubt, it means they have other doubts, whether they realize it or not. This one doubt is connected to all kinds of doubts about God, about life, about your future, about your present, everything. With all these doubts how can we truly believe victoriously? How can we move forward and progress in life? It is these doubts many times that are stopping us.

So, if you have other doubts, that means there may be some small doubt about this also. Listen, both are connected. If this is there, might mean this is also a little bit there, whether you realize it or not. The thing is, sometimes we don't realize what's there. That's the truth, isn't it? I don't know what your situation is today. Look at yourself, examine yourself. The Bible tells us to examine ourselves. Are you sure? Are you sure about your eternal destiny? Do you have the kind of confidence those people had when they jumped? Yeah, that kind of confidence. Now, you may say, “Well, I was fine when I walked in today. We sang some nice songs. But then you giving this example, people jumping from the ship and telling all this, no, I didn't have a doubt. Now, I have a doubt now. Thanks to you.” I didn't give you the doubt. Don't understand it wrongly. I may have exposed the doubt. I may have brought it to light. I didn't give it to you.

We go to the doctor and we just expect very little from the doctor, honestly. We just want this pain to go away, this disturbance to go. That's all we worry about. So, we’re just going there, and say, “Doctor just solve my problem.” Doctor, is there and he's touching us here and doing all this. He says, “Lie down like this, lie down like that.” Then he says, “Take one test.” We go take the test and come. What happens? The test says something sometimes, unfortunately. We don't say, “Doctor, I came fine. You gave me this.” No. The tests merely revealed what is already there, but was not revealed. Nobody knew it was there. You didn't know, others didn't know. But the test revealed. It's like that you see. Many times, because we don't even think about eternity, the doubt is not even there in our mind. Or we don't know that it's there in our mind. It's like it hides away in the crevices of our mind. But now today, I'm forcing you to think about it. I'm forcing you to think about things that you normally don't think on weekdays, perhaps. In the business of life, where’s the time to think about this.

But today, as you're thinking about it, you may have realized this doubt is a little bit there. The moment you realize it's there, you got to do something. Now, we have stirred up the doubt that is there. I'm sorry, if that happened, but I'm not really sorry, it happened. I'll tell you why. We're going to deal with it. We are bringing that doubt to light, we are exposing what is already there so that we can deal with it biblically so that we can get rid of the doubt and our heart can be filled with assurance and confidence that God will keep me safe until eternity. And He is on my side forever. That's where we're going. But for that you got to expose the doubt first.

Recent things happened just a few weeks back. We were sleeping and about 3:30am suddenly, my wife woke me up and said, “Something is running in the room.” I said, “What?” I didn't know anything is running. I was sleeping peacefully. She said, “Something is running in the room.” I said, “What is running?” It’s 3:30 in the night. The doors are closed, everything is fine. I didn't believe it. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I don't like to be disturbed when I'm sleeping. I wanted to go but she said, “No, something is there.” So, we turned on the light and we tried to look here and there. She said she heard some noises. And so, we moved this and that and we could hear some noises. All kinds of sound. And then suddenly after some time, one little mouse ran like this. Just very little, that’s all it would have been. Very small you won't believe. How many of you know the rats and mice they come out at night? They come out when it is dark. When it's daytime they go and hide so you don't even know they are there. But they come out at night. But once we turned on the light and started moving this and that, it had to run helter-skelter.

And we saw the mouse. I saw it with my eyes. And after I saw it, I could not sleep. I couldn't just say, “Well, forget it. It’s just a small mouse. Let me go back to sleep.” I couldn't. I started thinking, “How do we deal with this?” I don't have any experience in catching mice or anything. And I'm also little scared. Its speed terrifies me. So, small, but it's so fast. So, I thought, “What can I do? It’s 3:30 in the night.” So, I went down to our watchman. I told him. I probably woke him up. We sleep. And he said, “Oh, don't worry. We have one guy in our street. Whenever somebody has a problem like this, we call him.” So, we went to him at around four 4o'clock in the morning and woke him up. Not kidding, this happened. We brought him. He came halfhearted. He was irritated that we got him out of his sleep. He came and then he tried for about half an hour to catch that mouse. He could not. Then he said, “pannamudilanga” He said, “I'm not able today and I'm going back.” He was just irritated from the time he came.

He went away conveniently, it's not his room, it’s not his house. He can just leave. I couldn't go back to sleep. The guy went away. What do we do? Could not sleep for the rest of the night until we had to call somebody else. And finally, after great effort catch, we caught that little mouse. That night sleep was spoilt. Some of you may be thinking, “What you've said now has spoilt my peace. I came peaceful, suddenly you’ve made me think about jumping on the ship and all these things. Whether I’ll go to heaven or not, and all these things.” My friend, if I have spoiled your peace also, it's okay. I’ve not done it to spoil your peace. I've done it to expose what is already there. But the reason we are doing that is so that we can now deal with it. I don't know how to catch mice, but I know from the word of God, we're going to show you how to deal with doubts about your salvation. That's what we're going to do.

So, like I said, this is the mother of all doubts. The benefit of paying attention to this and getting rid of this is, if you get rid of this doubt, automatically you will get rid of many other doubts. It's like Goliath right. You don't have to kill every Philistine soldier to defeat the Philistines. You just have to kill Goliath. If you defeat him, the victory is yours. This is like one of those things in the Christian life. When you kill this doubt about your salvation, this is such an important and huge matter that when you get sure about this, you get sure about a lot of things without even realizing it. So, it really pays and it's really going to benefit you to pay attention to this.

Now, who needs this teaching? Who needs this? Let me say a few words about who needs this teaching. First of all, the people who doubt need the teaching. I used to think not many people doubt but I was wrong. Actually, the truth is, most Christians at some point or other have doubts about their salvation. They're ready to believe Jesus rose again from the dead. What they're not ready to believe is, am I truly saved? But nobody talks about it much usually. And especially people won’t reveal that they have doubts. By the way, we have our intermediate students here. Usually they are in the children’s church, but today they have agreed to join us and listen to the sermon. I welcome them. They're very young. When I was like that kind of age, I started having many doubts about my salvation. From a young age, I remember believing in Jesus. I have specific memories of like eight years old when I put my faith in Christ and things like that. I didn't have doubts immediately. But as I got to like 13, 14, and that kind of age, teenage age, I got doubts. Why did I get doubts? Very simple. I fell into sin. I fell into the temptation of sin. And what happens when you sin? The doubt comes.

And the doubt says what? “You've done this. You've lost your salvation. Jesus came into your heart, but you've done something so terrible that He had now leave your heart. You got salvation, but you lost it. Or the doubt will come like this, “How did you do this? If you are done such a terrible thing, then you must have never been saved? You would have never actually gotten saved.”  It will say, “Did you really get saved?” You'll hear voices in your head saying, “Did you really get saved? Do you think a really saved person will do this? How will he do this? Think about it, you are not saved.” So, immediately, I began to think about my past and did I really get saved? Did I properly say, “Jesus come into my heart?” Did I fully repent? Did I say with all my heart, “Jesus come in”? I got doubts. I couldn't remember I was eight. Thinking, how much did I really understand when I was eight years old? So, I got doubts. So, what did I do? I knelt down by the bedside and said, “Jesus, I'm sorry. I didn't fully repent that time. I didn't say with all my heart that time. Now, I'm fully repenting from my sin. I'm saying with all my heart. I beg you please come into my heart and please, save me.” I've said that prayer many times.

I thought I was the only one afraid to reveal it to other people. Why? Afraid of what they will think about me. If you're not even sure about that, what are you sure about? What is your business. Afraid people will disrespect you or something like that. Until later when I realized many people have those kinds of doubts. I was reading about a preacher. He is there alive preaching today. He’s one of the very famous preachers in America. I don't want to say his name. But he is the leader of a denomination under which there are thousands of churches. One of the major denominations in the US, and he is the president of that. And he talks about his own experience. He says, from age four, he remembers believing in Jesus. That's the first time he remembers. And he says, between age four and age 18, he would have asked Jesus into his heart around 5,000 times. Now, try to beat that record. I thought I was bad. I’m much better than that. 5,000 times. Altar call after altar call. You want to receive Jesus? He’ll come again and receive Jesus. Why? Afraid that the first time he didn't receive Him properly. So, again and again do it?

And he got baptized four times because they had told him, “First baptism doesn't count.” So, second baptism. Second baptism, he got a doubt whether it counts. So, he took the third baptism. like this fourth. The people started laughing at him. He says, the only reason he stopped getting baptized is people started mocking him. He said, Jesus has come into my heart so many times, got baptized so many times, he still did not get assurance. The way you get assurance is what? The truth will set you free. That is why we're teaching about this. When you know the truth that will give you the assurance and the confidence, my friend. There are many people who have doubts, particularly young believers, immature believers. It can be an old person, but they don't know much. And they're not following Jesus for a long time, things like that. I want to speak to those people. And if there is even one person, I would preach to them, even though all of you are here, I would preach to them. Because God cares about that one.

He said heaven rejoices over the one who repents rather than the 99 who need no repentance. I'm sorry, but that's what Jesus said. And I'm sure heaven has the same attitude towards one person who's plagued with doubt rather than 99 people who say, “I don't have any doubt. This teaching is not for me.” So, maybe you feel like you don't have doubts. But I know, there are people with doubts, and they don't want to see it out. But I know you have doubts, and I want to preach to you so that we can deal with your doubt in the biblical way so that your heart is filled with confidence that Jesus is your Savior, and that you are saved forever. And He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will always be on your side. And He will always help you. Even though there's only one person, I’d preach this.

But let me say to the people who might think, “I don't have doubts. So, is this teaching not for me?” No, it is for you also. Particularly, let me say, that if a person says... There are a few Christians, I think it's possible that they have never had doubts about this matter. They've never doubted their salvation. And they're rock solid. It's possible. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's very few. That is the truth. People have done studies and all that. It's very few. Okay, but it's possible. Most people have doubts. But maybe there is one group saying, not many, but there are some people who say, “I never had doubts. I don't have any doubt. I don't think there's any big deal. What is the big deal about this? I'd be very concerned about people like that. People who say, “I've never had doubts, I will never have doubts, And I don't care about this.”

I'll tell you why I'm concerned. Because there is such a thing called false assurance. What is that? That is being sure but being in severe danger. You’ve seen some students will write the exam and you ask them, “How did you do?” They’ll say, “I did very well.” So sure. Going on playing, having fun, enjoying, and then the result comes – fail. Boom. I said, “How did you do? And you said, ‘Very well.’” They’ll say, “I thought I did well.” False assurance. They thought, sure they were safe, but they are not. On the other hand, you have people writing the exam and saying, “I don't know whether I’ll pass.” They're all just shivering until the result comes. And the result is good. There is a thing called false assurance.

And you can see that a lot in the world. Mostly not in a church setting like this, but out in the world. If you go and ask people, “Are you sure you'll go to heaven?” Sometimes we ask with great expectation. We hope they'll say something like, “Oh, brother, I'm glad you asked. I'm just having so many doubts, and I'm afraid about that. And maybe you can help me.” And boy, won't we love that? We’ll just feed them Jesus right there. Say, “Oh, you want to go to heaven. You’re not believing?” But the problem is they don't reply like that. You say, “Are you sure you will go to heaven?” What do they say? “Yes.” Lot of people out in the world say what? “Yes, I am sure I'll go to heaven.” And people are shocked.

Christians are shocked. They’re thinking, “My goodness, you're more sure than me and I believe in Jesus. Looks like you got more confidence than me.” You ask them why? It's not enough if you have confidence, “Why do you have confidence?” Ask the people out in the world, why they are sure. You know what they'll say? They'll say, “I'm a good person. I'm not like that terrible fellow there. See, I do a lot of good deeds. I help the poor. I go to work. I do my duty and I take care of my family. And God is looking at all this. And he's giving me credit for all this.” One mayor of New York City, he said, “If there is a heaven, and if there is a God, I will enter into it without an interview. Nobody's going to stop me at the gate and ask me anything. Because I’ve earned so much credit. I've done so much good for the people.” That's the attitude of people out in the world. They have a confidence that they are safe, they'll go to heaven and all that, but it's a false confidence. It’s a confidence based on their good works, my friend.

So, for people who say, “I don't have any doubts, I'm totally fine.” I just hope you don't have the false confidence. But I don't think in this setting it applies much. In this setting, there may be true believers and you already have good confidence. Now, let me ask you, what is your confidence based on? Sometimes believers themselves will reply like that. What will they say? “Brother, I read my Bible. I pray, I go to church, I give the offering. I do all this. Surely, I must go to heaven.” You see where their confidence is? They may be true believers. It's not a total false confidence. They’re true believers, they're going to heaven, but they are getting their confidence from something wrong, their own good works. What should be the answer for a true believer who has true confidence? They should say what? My confidence is Christ alone. He died for me, He shed His blood for me. His blood washes away my sin. All my sins are forgiven. God has made me righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But the gospel is Jesus died for everyone so that you can believe in Him and receive salvation through Him alone. My confidence is in Him alone. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

There are believers standing on their own good works. And soon that will sink. Maybe there are others. But here, I want to recognize different kinds of audiences. And they may say, “I'm a true believer. I have true confidence, like what you're saying, in Christ.” Very good, excellent. This teaching will help you also. You know why? Because it will help you grow in that confidence. It will help you grow. Everybody say, grow. The whole point of teaching this series is that we may all grow in true assurance, and true confidence. I am confident that we will all grow through this series. As this is being taught week after week, I'm confident, I can say this, that all of us will grow in true assurance if we would only pay attention and receive it.

How can I be so confident? It’s not pride. I'll tell you why I'm so confident. Because God Himself was wants you to grow. God wants to give you that confidence. God wants you to have this assurance about your salvation. Everybody say, God wants it. It's not that I want it. I'm teaching it, you want it. No, no, no. More than all this, God wants it. I want to talk about that now. God wants to give you confidence, my friend. Confidence is very important. Let me say that you may think you may need very different things today but what you need today more than anything else is confidence. I'm just trying to use different words from the usual words. What is the usual word? Faith. It’s the same thing. I'm not talking about something different. I'm talking about faith without doubts. But I'm purposely using different words to make you think. Assurance, surety, confidence.

What you need today is not a deliverance. You may be in all kinds of situations. But let me tell you, what you need today is the confidence that God is with you, and God will deliver you. God always operates like this. He first gives the confidence and then only the victory. He first helps you have the faith and then only helps you get the victory. We’re thinking, “Just give me the victory.” But He says, “No, this is the way I operate.” What you need more than anything else today is confidence. And let me tell you, God wants to give you confidence. And specifically, He wants to give you this confidence about your salvation. And when you receive that confidence, your confidence in everything else about God will go up. You'll be able to receive more from Him.

God wants to give you this confidence. Why? Why am I saying that again and again? Such a simple thing but I'm saying it again and again. God wants to give you this confidence because there are people who think God doesn't. There are actually people when it comes to this matter about assurance of salvation, they think, “God really doesn't want to give us this confidence. He wants to keep us in a state of doubt.” They think it is better to be in a state of doubt. So, they would look at this kind of teaching and say, “This is wrong. If you're trying to teach this series so that people will have confidence, oh, you're taking a wrong step.” They think it's better to be in doubt about your eternal destiny, be in fear about your eternal destiny. Why? They think if we become too confident, if we get confidence, what that will do is, it will result in us slacking off, it will result in us sinning or not obeying God. Because we're too confident, we'll stop obeying God. Because we're too confident, we’ll become proud. Because we're too confident, we’ll stop obeying His word, His commandments. Because we're too confident, “Anyway, I'm going to heaven. Anyway, I'm saved. Nothing can change it.” We’ll start disobeying Him. That's the way they think.

There are entire denominations and entire people preaching to give doubt and fear to people. They’re always saying, “Will you go today? If Jesus comes today, will you go?” No, I think a little bit of scaring is good for the people who have false assurance. For them, you should. I don't mind the little scaring. But for the people who are true believers and they have a lot of doubts, you should not simply scare them, you see. But there is an entire school of thought which says, the more you scare them, the better because the better they reform, the more they’ll leave their sin, and the more they live a holy and obedient life. That is wrong. It’s a wrong way, my friend.

They literally think God would rather have us doubting and fearing our eternal destiny, so that we can get close to Him and obey Him more. But that is entirely wrong. Let me give you some reasons why I think that is wrong. One reason is, simply obeying God out of fear is not true obedience. If somebody is obeying God, just because they fear what is going to happen, “If I don't obey God, He'll do this, He'll do that, He’ll send me to hell.” If that is the only motive for obeying God, that is not even true obedience. That is a very low kind of obedience. This is how we deal with our small children. We say, “If you do this, I'll give you this punishment.” That works to a certain degree, certain extent. But as the child grows up, you don't want them to just obey out of fear. You want them to obey out of understanding. You want them to obey out of trust. You want them to obey out of love. You want them to trust you. And when you tell them something to do, you want them to think, “Okay, this is my father. He knows what's best for me. If he says, do this, that means it must be good for me. That's why he's telling me to do this. So, I'm going to obey him because I trust him.” Or obey out of love. I love my father; therefore, I’m going to do what he says.

That's the better motive to obey God. Not fear but trust. I trust God. God knows what's best for me more than I know, more than this entire world knows. Everybody's saying, “Do this, enjoy this, have this, enter into this sin.” But God is saying, “Don't do that.” What do I do? I have a choice, who am I going to trust? Am I going to trust the 1,000 people in the world saying this? Or am I going to trust God saying, “Don't do this”? I'm going to trust God and say, “He knows what's best for me.” If He says, “Don't do this.” He must for good reason. And therefore, I'm going to trust Him and obey Him. See, that is a good motive, my friend. Or loving God. Because I love God, I want to do what He says - His commandments.

God doesn't look at the action alone. He looks at the motive, the heart. Why do you do the action? Why do you obey? That's important to God. And so, true obedience is not out of fear. Another thing, if you only obey out of fear, if a Christian only obeys out of fear, they will not obey much, they will not grow much in holiness. That is the fact of the matter. The people who are always threatening and saying, “poduviya pomatiya” “Will you go? Will you not go?” Always raining down fire and brimstone, that kind of preaching. You will see, they never stop doing that. Yes or no? They do it this week, problem is not solved they do it next week. Problem is not solved, they do it again and again and again. If the problem is solved, they would have stopped. It's not solved. Why? Because that kind of threatening actually doesn't result in much obedience.

If you play music and all, maybe you play keyboard or something, and you have a music teacher and you go to him, and he's trying to get you to improve it. But let's say for example, one year the person doesn't improve, for example. One year, no improvement. The music teacher gets frustrated. He says, “One year you're not improving, making the same mistakes. Now, let me try a new method, I got a bright idea. When you play next time, I'm going to stand with a scale in my hand, with a ruler. And one wrong note, I'm going to give you one whack on your hand. Another wrong note, another whack.” Imagine if your music teacher says that to you. If he said that to me, I'll run away. I'll say no. Why? Because the more I look at that ruler, the more the mistake will happen. The more I think about that, the more I will make a mistake.

Fear actually doesn't help us to grow in obedience. This has been proven. For example, Saddam Hussein, who ruled Iraq as a ruthless dictator, his son used to manage the national football team in Iraq. It's a true story. True event. And the Iraq football team was not playing well, obviously. And he thought, “Okay, how can we get them to play better?” So, he said, “If you don't play good, after the game, we're going to thrash you.” This is not some kids. This is the Iraq national football team players, grown adult men. After the game, they were thrashed, they were tortured, they were beaten, all kinds of things were done to them. You can read it. It’s online and all that. Why did they do all that? They thought, “Maybe if we give them these punishments next game, they'll go and play better.” Did they play better? You know they didn't play better because you've never heard of the Iraq football team. All the teams you’ve heard are what? Brazil and France and Germany and Argentina. See, who's forcing them to play? Who’s saying, “We’ll thrash you if you don't play well?” Nobody. There is a pure love for the game with those other countries, in the other places. The motive is different. They want to go and just excel. They get so much satisfaction simply playing the game and excelling in that. You see, that is the way to grow.

Let me give you another reason. I'm giving you reasons why it is wrong to think that God likes to keep us in doubt and fear about our eternal destiny. Another reason. When people think like that, that God wants to keep them in doubt and fear, it is actually a dishonor to God and His name. It is a dishonor to God and His character itself. People don't realize this. They think by threatening people, they can get them to obey God, but actually in the process, without even realizing, they are dishonoring God and His character. Who is God, my friend? Today we sang. You're a good, good Father. He's good. Is He good? He's also our Father. He’s our good Father. Everybody say, good Father. He's a good Father. You have two fathers. Did you know that? One earthly father and one heavenly Father. I don't know how good your earthly father is. But I know your heavenly Father is super good. We use the good word good so lightly. Now, I have to say super good.

Jesus said it another way. He said, “There is no one good but God.” In Jesus’ eyes, “No one can even come close to how good He is.” That's your heavenly Father. So, He's a good father. Now, let me ask you, does any good father promote doubt when it comes to his children? I'm a father, I have children. When I'm going out of town for ministry or something, will I say, “When I'll go, I'll come back or maybe I won't. Who knows whether I'm really your father or you’re really my children? Who knows? Nobody knows anything for sure. Let's see, if you behave good maybe I'll go and come back.” You think I'll talk like that? You think any father will speak those words? No earthly father, even a bad father won’t speak like that. Sometimes they may not show love and affection and care and all that, but they will never speak those kinds of words. They will never promote doubt about relationship.

But one school of thought in Christian circles is saying what? God likes to keep us in doubt about our status, whether we are saved or not; whether I'm a child of God or not. No chance. God does not like it. I say to you on the authority of the word of God, God does not like to keep us in doubt. When I said, authority of the word of God, I never read any verses. So, let me show you some verses. Go to 1 John chapter 5. God does not want to promote doubts about His relationship to us. He wants to give us confidence. 1 John chapter 5 and verse 12 and 13. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Do you have the Son? That's Jesus. If you have the Son, you have life. If you don't have the Son, you don't have life. It's as simple as that. It's talking about real life, eternal life, spiritual life, the life that never ends. Whoever has the Son has this real spiritual, eternal life. And whoever does not have the Son, they may have 1,000 other things but if they don't have Jesus, they don't have life.

And then look at verse 13. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. So, let me ask you, who is he writing to? Is he writing to believers or unbelievers? He’s writing to believers. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. That means they believe in Jesus. And John knows that, and he's writing to believers, and he's saying, “I'm writing these things to you believers.” Why? So, that you may know that you have eternal life. So that you may know. Everybody say, know. He’s saying, I'm writing it so that you will know. That word know is very deceptive in the Bible. Looks like an ordinary word but it's a very deep word. It's the same word that is used when it says, Adam knew his wife and she conceived. ‘Know’ is not just like how we say, “I know him, he knows me.” No, no, no. ‘Know’ conveys often deep knowledge, intimate knowledge, accurate knowledge and sure knowledge.

That's the kind of knowledge that John is talking about. He’s saying, “I'm writing these things to you believers. Why? So that you may know deeply, so that you may know for sure, so that you may know intimately, that you have eternal life.” I want to read it again and listen to what he's saying. He's saying, verse 12, “Whoever has Jesus has life. If you don't have Jesus, you don't have life.” He knows these people have Jesus. Yes. He's writing to believers. The next verse, he says, “I'm writing these things to you who believe. That means you have life. Why am I writing? So that you may know that you have life.” He’s saying, “You have life guys, but I'm writing so that you may know you have life.” It's not enough to have life you got to know that you have life. It’s not enough that you're saved, you got to know that you are saved. It’s not enough that you're going to heaven, you got to know for sure that you are going to heaven. It's not enough that you know, you have to know for sure. Know for sure.

Look at verse 13 again. I write these things to you. Look at verse 13. I write these things. What things? He's referring to the entire book. We are in the fifth chapter. After this, there is no more chapter, the book is ending. John is saying, “I have written this entire book. Why? So that you may have surety, confidence, assurance. So that you may know that you have eternal life.” If you go study 1 John, the entire subject is you know what? How do you get assurance? That’s the subject. How can you be sure that you have eternal life? The entire book of 1 John is about that. I encourage you to read it at home. John gives various tests. He says, “If you have this, you have life. If you have that you have life.” We'll talk about that later. What I'm trying to say to you think about this, an entire book in the New Testament is devoted to this subject. So, let me ask you, is it important to God or not? It is. I don't know if it's important to you. I want to say to you, this is important to God. So important that He devoted an entire book in the New Testament for it. And He made sure it's there in our Bible so that we will not miss it. There are other verses, but I don't have time to read.

Let me point out one other evidence. How can I say that God wants you to have this assurance? Because you take the Bible characters who are an inspiration to us and examples for us to follow, like New Testament, Paul. Paul is an inspiration for us. We need to follow Paul. He is a good person to follow. Let me ask you, did Paul live constantly plagued with doubts? No. Did Paul say, “Well, who knows guys? I don't know whether I’ll make it or not. I've tried my best. Let's see. Time will tell.” No. Paul writes, he has surety, confidence. Look at for example, Romans 8. Look at Paul's confidence. People who say this kind of thing, they're not sure whether it's good or not, whether they should desire it or not, Paul had it. Paul desired and Paul got it. Romans 8 verse 38. For I am persuaded. He's not saying, “I think.” I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What words. He’s saying, “Nothing can separate me from God’s love, nothing.” Look at his list. Literally, he’s including everything to show it is nothing. Death cannot separate me. That's what those people believed and they jumped. Their life may end here but that cannot separate them from God's love. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. Not even death because You are with me. Death cannot separate. Paul says, “Life cannot separate.” Look at what else he says. Angels. Angels are powerful but they cannot separate you from God's love. Principalities, powers, things present. You may say, “But you don't know what I'm going through, brother.” Well, they cannot separate you from God's love. Things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing. He wants to make sure nobody will say, “What about this?” No other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Look at Philippians chapter 1 verse 6. Here, Paul is talking to the Philippians. He's writing to ordinary believers. Let me remind you ordinary believers. He's not talking about some super spiritual saints or something. What does he say? Philippians 1:6. I am confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. He’s talking to all the Philippians. The ‘you’ is plural. He’s saying, “All you people, I'm confident about what? About you. That the God who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” He's not saying, “I don't know whether you guys will make it. Half of you don't look like you’ll make it.” No. “I'm confident that the God who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”

What about Peter? 1 Peter 1:5. You would think Peter, with his denying Jesus for three times, may be having doubts. After all, if anyone deserves to have doubts, it is Peter maybe. But look at Peter. 1 Peter 1:5. Not only is he sure about himself, he's talking to the people and he says, “You are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” He's talking about the end and salvation. And he’s saying, “What is going to protect you all the way till that, you are kept by the power of God.” Everybody say, power of God. My friend, Paul believed it, Peter believed it. They experienced this kind of confidence. God wants you to have this kind of confidence. Everybody say, God wants it.

Let me say just a few words on how we get this confidence because I'm pretty much done but I don't want to leave today just like that. It's an introductory sermon on this topic. Next week onwards we're going to be talking in more detail how God gives us this confidence, how to practically actually get this confidence. But today, I want to give you something simple: how to get this confidence. Something very simple. If you want to increase in this assurance of salvation and grow in this, you want this, you have doubts you want this, let me tell you something simple to do, stop looking at yourself. Your sin, your weakness, your background, your past, your this, your that, I know it's all there, whatever. Stop. You looked at it already, haven't you? That's why you got doubts. You've meditated on it. You've cried over it, you’ve repented over it, but you're still having doubts. Some of the people they’re still having doubts.

Christians know when they sin what they should do. They should go to God and say, “I'm sorry, God. Forgive me. Please forgive me of my sin.” We know that when we sin, we have to go to God and confess. Yes? But many Christians they confess, they still have no peace, still have doubts. Why? They’re continuously just meditating on their own sin. “But God I did this but that. How am I...?” Stop looking at yourself. You've looked at it enough. Turn your eyes upward and look at God. Look at the cross. Look at Jesus. You're not going to get more confidence looking at yourself. Look at Jesus. Everybody say, look at Jesus. Suppose a person sins, suppose you sin, let me say, look to the cross, my friend.

A person came to me recently and he said, “I have a doubt whether all my sins are forgiven.” He said, “Doubt is just not giving me any peace. I don't have any peace. Pray for me. Pray for me that the doubts will stop.” I told him, “If I prayed for you, it won’t stop. I'll tell you something simple to do. Just look at Jesus.” And right there. I felt like just talking to him. Right there, I started telling him, “Just picture this, man. The devil is telling you in your mind, ‘Oh, this sin will never be forgiven. Oh, you remember that sin. Oh, boy. That sin is just your worst, man. That will never get forgiveness. How many sins you did? How dare you ask. Is this the 500th time?’ You hear these voices in your head. Is this the 500th time. What guts you have going to God for forgiveness. He's never going to accept you. Run away from Him. Whose voice is that, my friend? I can tell you 100%, that's the devil's voice. God will never say, ‘Run away from God.’ God will never say, ‘Don't read your Bible, don't pray, go sit in the room and sulk and lose all confidence.’ No, that's the devil, my friend. If it's God's voice, it will bring you back to Him.”

“The devil wants you to keep looking at your sin. I'm not saying go and sin. I'm saying, don't keep looking at your sin. Take your eyes off that. You looked at it enough and got enough doubts. Put your eyes on Jesus, put your eyes on the cross.” I told him right there, “Imagine Jesus. Just imagine Him hanging. The one who committed no sin, not even one sin. The Bible says, He did not even know any sin here. Not even one sin He committed. He doesn't deserve even one punishment. And yet they gave Him lashes after lashes. They flogged Him mercilessly, ripped the flesh from His back. The blood was flowing.” I said, “Imagine that. Imagine how much He suffered. Imagine the blood that He shed, every last drop He shed for you,” I said, “For you. And the devil is saying, ‘Oh, but there’s sin.’” I said, “You reply to the devil. You should not just keep quiet.” First of all, people think if they hear a voice it's from God. Christians are so Christian that they hear any voice comes from God. No, my friend, if you hear a voice it will be God, it will be the devil, or it will be your brilliant self.

This kind of voice that takes you far away from God, that's trying to push you away from God and say, “You have no hope. God will never accept you.” It's never from God. It's from the devil. Speak back to it and you say, “Devil, yes. I sinned.” Don't tell the devil, “I never sinned.” That's a bad strategy. He knows you sinned. Tell him, “Yeah, devil I sinned. In fact, I sinned worse than you're telling me. Even you don't know the true depths of my sin. Only God knows. I sinned worse. And I did more also, devil. Yes. But look at the cross, devil. Come here. I'm looking, you also look with me. Let's both look at the cross and see my sin upon my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And all that suffering He suffered for me, all that blood He shed for me, my sin, every sin has been laid on Him and taken care of and wiped out and washed and cleansed and a record is wiped out. God has cast my sins into the depths of the sea and removed it as far as the east is from the west.” I didn't preach like this to him, it was soft.

You won’t believe, before I even prayed or did anything, his whole face changed. It's like immediately, he saw that the devil was trying to feed these doubts. If you look at Jesus, my friend, the doubts will go away. Assurance will come. You may say, “Well, what about a person who's not a believer? You’re telling them stop thinking about your sin, look at Jesus?” Yes, even for them, I say look at Jesus. You can never go wrong by looking at Jesus. Even if a person has false assurance, I say to them also look at Jesus. Because the more you look at Jesus, the more you look at His cross, the person will get saved. The unsaved will get saved. If a saved person is looking at Jesus, they'll get more sure they are saved. If an unsaved person is looking at Jesus, they will get saved. If a person stuck with bad habits of sin and not able to get out and sick and tired of it, what do I say to them? I say the same thing. Look at Jesus.

The solution in the Christian life is actually quite simple. Look at Jesus. We get doubts the more we look at our self, others. One doubt comes because we compare ourselves with others. “Oh, he's doing better than me. I should be like that. Maybe I'm not saved.” No, no, stop looking at others, stop looking at your background. Certain people they have maybe a terrible family background where they did not receive love and affection the way they ought to. And it's hard for them to believe that God loves them, and God will never leave them. Don't look at your background. Don't look at this. Don't look at that. Don't look at yourself. Don't look at your friends. Don't look at anything. Look at Jesus. Look at the cross. Look how much He loves you. You can see it all there. The more and more you see it, the more and more you will get true assurance. Everybody say, look at Jesus.

2nd Corinthians 3:18 and then we'll finish. This is just a simple version of what to do. The longer version is coming up, not today. Today, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Look at Jesus. 2nd Corinthians 3 verse 18. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. How are we transformed from glory to glory? Paul says, “Look in the mirror.” What mirror? The mirror means don't think of look at yourself. He says, “This is a different mirror. This mirror shows the glory of the Lord.” He says, “Behold, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord.” He’s saying, “Look at the glory of the Lord.” The same thing, what I've been saying. He's saying, “Look at how amazing God is. Look at His way of salvation, His glory, His greatness, His goodness, His mercy, His kindness. You keep looking at that, you will be transformed from glory to glory. But you got to look at glory.”

Now, you're looking at me. But you're not looking as though I'm glorious. Because I'm not. But what if God came and stood here? Your look itself would change. Why? You'd become like that little kid who watches the Superman movies or cartoons. How do they watch? They look like they're seeing something glorious. You’ve seen them? They watch like this. It's amazing to them. You got to see God until He amazes you. Not enough to just see Him, see God until He amazes you. See the cross until it amazes you. Keep seeing. Don't take your eyes off. Devil will again and again make you take your eyes off. But again, and again, you put it back and say, “Come on, come on, devil. Sit with me. Let's watch the cross.” He’ll run away. He won’t sit with you. Keep seeing until you're amazed by God. That little kid gets more and more amazed by Superman, soon he starts acting like Superman. You’ve seen that? Without even realizing, he's running like this, trying to jump off some ledge.

People were stuck and saying, “I'm not able to grow, I'm not able to improve. I'm not able to break out of these habits.” I say don't look at your habits. Don't look at how many years you've had it. Don't look at the stronghold. Don't look at what is hindering you, what is stopping you. Don't look at yourself, others or whatever is around you, your circumstances. Look at the glory of the Lord. Be amazed by it. Without realizing you will be transformed from glory to glory into His image. That's what that verse says. Into His image. Into the same image. You'll become more and more like Jesus. You can never go wrong looking at Jesus. You will get more assurance; you will become more like Jesus. What do you have to lose? Let’s all stand up. That's the simple answer to the question. How do you get assurance? Look at Jesus.

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