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Assurance of Salvation (Vol 06) - Our Transformed Life

Sunday English Service - 27 OCT 19


For the last few weeks, we've been looking at this teaching called the ‘Assurance of Salvation’. And whether you have assurance or you don't have assurance, it is useful for you. If you don't have assurance that you are saved, it's very useful, directly useful. If you do have assurance, it's still useful because it is reminding you to place your assurance on the right things, and not on the wrong things. If your assurance comes from the wrong things, that's a very dangerous assurance to have. And quite apart from this topic, assurance of salvation, this teaching will be useful to you in many ways, in ways that you cannot even think of or imagine because if you grow, no matter how sure you are about your salvation... Are you sure that you are saved? Are you sure that you will go to heaven? Are you sure that you are a child of God? Are you sure about it? Like no matter how sure you are about it, you can still grow in that assurance. We can all grow in that assurance.

And when you grow in this particular area, that is in the assurance of your salvation, invariably and without even realizing it, you will grow in general in your confidence in God. In general, you will believe in God more, you will trust in God more, you will have more confidence in God and without even realizing it, that will happen because that is the power and relevance of this teaching. If you get more sure about this, without realizing it, you will get more sure about everything that relates to God. That's why I said, this is like if you get rid of doubts about salvation, it's like getting rid of Goliath. If you kill that one giant, it's like killing a lot of people, it's like defeating a lot of enemies. That's the importance of this teaching.

So, we've been talking about sources of assurance. If you want to grow in assurance, where do you go? What are the sources? Number one, the gospel. Number two is, the promises.  So, I'd like everyone to say, what is the first source? Gospel. So, if you want to grow in your assurance, if you don't have it, you want it or if you have it, and you want to grow in it, where do you go? You go back to the gospel of Jesus Christ. You go back to the basis, start with the basic gospel again. You go back to the gospel and you will get assurance, you will grow in your assurance. You go to the promises. Everybody say, promises. That's what we saw last week. We've been going through these sources one by one, many weeks now we've been teaching this. And so last week, we saw the promises. How God's promises about salvation, give us assurance about salvation.  

So, today we go to the third source. I don't know if you remember I introduced three sources in the second week when I was preaching on this. The third source is what? Do you remember? It is our transformed life. Our first source of assurance is the gospel. The second is the promises of God. Third is our own transformed life. This is also a biblically taught and emphasized source. This is also something that must be considered in the matter of assurance of salvation. What do we mean by our own transformed life? Well, what we mean is, the Bible connects our assurance with our own life and the transformation in our life. The teaching is something like this. After we get saved and because we get saved, our life is changed and transformed in many ways. And when you look at those changes and transformation, that itself, to a certain extent in some way, gives us assurance of salvation. When you see the changes and the transformation in your own life, that is like a small confirmation.

Salvation is not just about getting saved from some trouble from hell or from sin, that is all part of it. But it's more than that. Salvation ends up changing and transforming you. If a person is truly saved, God transforms them, changes them very drastically. There is a lot of change and transformation that happens in the truly saved. When you get saved, on the outside, it looks like nothing changes. But the Bible says, when you get saved you get a new heart and you get a new spirit and you become a new creation. Have you seen those kinds of verses? If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new. On the outside, it's all the same but inside, it's all brand new. Old things are gone. Suddenly, because of salvation, you have new desires, you have new power, you have new longings, new things satisfy you. Old things don't satisfy you anymore. New things satisfy you. You are a new creation.

Now, if you are all brand new on the inside, I believe God's word is seriously saying that.  It's not just exaggerating. God doesn't exaggerate, my friend. We only exaggerate when we talk. But when the Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he's a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” It’s no exaggeration. Inside, if everything is brand new, and it is brand new for a true believer, there must be some change on the outside also. Whatever change is inside, at least a small degree must be visible on the outside in our behavior, in our actions, in our talk, in the way we live our lives. So, let me ask you, do you believe in Christ? Are you saved? Has your faith in Christ changed you and transformed you? Do you live differently because of your faith in Christ? If you do have changes and transformations that you can see, those are good confirmations that you are truly saved.

You remember, in the beginning I gave that example of driving a car and you have the accelerator and you have the speedometer? The accelerator is the one that increases the speed. And the speedometer is the one that confirms the speed. It shows you what speed you're going that’s all. It's a confirmation. It doesn't increase the speed. It simply confirms. In the matter of assurance of salvation, what is the accelerator? The gospel and the promises. When you pay attention to that and you put your weight on that, when you rely on that, your assurance increases. But there is also the speedometer, and that is your own life, the transformations in your own life. When you look at that, that gives a quick confirmation. Speedometer is very useful because you can look at it in one second, you can know whether you're going fast or slow. Your own life is like that. When you look at it, sometimes you can tell quickly, is there a confirmation that I am saved? And so, today what we're going to do is we're going to look at the speedometer. We're going to look at our own life. So long we've been pressing the accelerator but we should not ignore the speedometer. Let's look at it.

Some people say, “No, we can ignore it.” In the matter of assurance, some people say, “Don't look at your life because if you look at your life, you'll land in trouble. The Bible doesn't teach like that.” Don't keep looking at your life but you do need to check and examine your life also and understand in the right way. So, let me show you a couple of verses where the Bible teaches very clearly that we need to examine our own life. 2nd Corinthians 13 verse 5. Bible teaches very clearly that we can't ignore assessing our own life. We should not do this first. That's why I did not bring this first itself. That's why I emphasize so much on the gospel and the promises of God. And now only I'm coming to this. But we cannot ignore this either. We have to approach it in the right order, right priority, but cannot ignore the 2nd Corinthians 13:5. Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Paul is writing to believers and what is he saying? Examine yourselves. “Give yourself an exam,” he says. To see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. You test yourself. “Look at your own life,” he’s saying. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Jesus is in you, or is He? He's raising the question. He's saying, “Examine yourself to see whether Jesus is really in you.” 2nd Peter 1:10. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm. Look at that word. Confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. Stumble. What is he saying? Be careful to do what? Be diligent to confirm. Everybody say, confirm. Confirm what? Confirm your calling and election. What does he mean by calling and election? In the Bible when you see the word calling, it could mean different things. There are different kinds of callings. One is, each person is called for a particular service to God. I believe I'm called to the ministry. So, in that way, this is connected with my work. My calling is for the ministry and so, I'm doing this. You may be called to something else. God has a call, a purpose, for each person. He calls them to that purpose. That’s related to your work and so on. You've heard my father teach on work and calling. So, that is one kind of calling we find in the Bible. But that's not the only kind. There are other kinds of calling also.

There is a calling to salvation. The Bible teaches about a calling to salvation. God calls us. Before we called out to Him, God called out to us and we responded to His call and we said, “Lord save me.” And this verse has to do more with that kind of calling: the calling to salvation. In the Bible, there is also this calling where it says oftentimes, you’ll read in the New Testament, we are called to be saints. Have you seen that? That is saying, you're saved but now realize that you're called to be saints serving God. So, there's different shades of meaning for calling. This verse when Peter talks about calling, he's talking more to do with salvation, and the calling to live your life as God wants you to live it. Not just what work you should do. But since you see the word election, it is related to many things there. But we cannot ignore salvation and the way you're meant to live your life, and so on.  

So, he's saying, confirm your calling and election. If you practice these qualities, you will never fall. You can see it. It is connected to our practice. It is connected to the way we live our life. There are more verses but this is enough. The Bible teaches very clearly that we do need to examine ourselves. God wants us to do this, because a true believer will find at least some change or transformation in his or her life. A true believer will find at least some degree of change or transformation in their life. Therefore, it's important to confirm and see whether we are true believers. So, how do we examine ourselves? What kind of transformation should we expect? What kind of changes should we see in a true believer? What kind of criteria should we consider?

Now, there are many criteria actually in the Bible. There’re many things we can say but we've no time to say all of it. One of the best places in the Bible to find this kind of teaching of how to examine yourself is the book of 1 John. I've said a lot about 1 John already but 1 John is very useful for this matter, because in a very concise, and clear and practical way, John gives certain tests that we can take, certain criteria that we can use to examine our own lives. I already told you. What is the purpose of the book of 1 John? Why was it written? One of the main purposes is to give assurance of salvation to the believers. Remember? 1 John 5:12 and 13. We read it long five weeks back. The purpose of that book is to give assurance to believer. How does John do that? He does it by giving certain tests and he says, “You take this test, examine your own life and see whether it matches this. If it does, then take it as a confirmation that you are a true believer.” So, I'm going to show you a couple of tests in 1 John. Just a couple of tests that show what kind of transformation we should see in a believer.

So, as I'm going to show you this, you test yourself without realizing you just walked into an exam today. It’s a good exam. It’s an exam God wants you to take, don't fear.  I will show you later on no matter what marks you get on this exam, there's always hope. Okay? But we have walked into an exam and I pray that God will help you to take it honestly. Consider your own life honestly, in light of these tests. Let's look at the first test. What kind of change transformation should we see in a believer? A true believer experiences a huge change or transformation with respect to his connection to sin. His connection to sin changes; his relationship to sin changes. What do we mean by that?

Look at 1 John chapter 3 verse 4. Our connection with sin undergoes a drastic change. Before we were in love with sin. Now, we have a hate relationship. At least partly hate relationship.  But at least there is some hate or there is more hate. Let's find some more clarity on this. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. Let me just make sure here. I just read 1 John 3:4. Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. In Jesus, there is no sin, he says. Verse 6. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Look at that verse again, verse 6. Whoever abides in Christ does not sin, whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

That's a very strong statement, isn't it? He’s saying, “Whoever says they've seen Christ or known Christ they are...” What he means is, whoever says they're a believer, they do not sin.  Now, what does he mean? Does he mean they never sin, they're perfect? Obviously not. This is the same John in the same book, just a couple of chapters before, what did he say? He said, “No, believer can claim to be perfect.” Remember that? 1 John 1:8 and 10. I spoke on it two weeks ago. Same book, just in the beginning of the book, what did he say? “No believer can claim to be perfect. In fact, if they claim to be perfect, and if they say they don't have any sin, they have deceived themselves.” He says 1 John 1:8. And he says, “More than that, they are not just lying, they are calling God a liar if they claim to be perfect.” That's in 1 John 1:10.

So, same John, in the same book, in the beginning, said, “No believer can claim to be perfect.” Now, a couple of chapters later, what is he saying? “Whoever abides in Him does not sin, whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” Look at verse 9 also. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His Seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. What does he mean? He does not mean perfection. What he means is made clear in other English translations. Now, let me read to you from the ESV. What I read so far is from the NKJV. Now, what I'm going to read to you is from the ESV. Look at this, verse 6. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Verse 9 from the ESV. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 

So, you can see the translations have made it clearer. It's not just talking about sinning one time or something, no, it’s keeping on sinning, keeps on sinning or making a practice of sinning. We can say it like this, a true believer doesn't keep on sinning. A true believer does not make a practice of sinning. A true believer does not continually sin. A true believer is not in the habit of sinning. In general, if you look at a true believer’s life, it will not mainly be characterized by sin, it will be mainly be characterized by righteousness. It will not mainly be a life of sin; it will mainly be a life of righteousness. A true believer will sin less and less. Let's put it like this, no Christian is sinless. But true Christians sin less and less and less. No Christian is sin less, but all true Christians will sin less and less.

So, the important question we face is what about our life? Consider your own life and ask this question, am I sinning less and less? Is there some improvement increase in that? Now, as soon as I ask that question, people with doubts about salvation they are more prone to just think about their sin alone. So, let me give further questions to examine yourself, your relationship to sin. Let me ask you this, how do you react when you sin? Just based on your reaction, we can tell whether you’re a true believer or not. Do you grieve over sin? Do you sorrow over sin? Do you feel a deep conviction after you sin?

A. W. Pink, the great theologian and minister, said this, “It is not the absence of sin but the grieving over it, which distinguishes the child of God from empty professors.” ‘Empty professors’ means, they just profess their faith. They don't possess their faith. They say they believe but they don't really believe. “How do you find out?” He says, the true believer, he may sin but he will grieve over it. It’s not that a true believer never sins, but whenever a true believer sins, he grieves over it, he sorrows over it. There is a deep guilt and conviction and remorse. So, that's one thing. How do you react?

Let me ask you another question. Why do you sorrow over sin? Why do you grieve over sin? Even in the world, sometimes they will grieve over sin. Have you seen this? Worldly people also sometimes after they sin, they will grieve. You know why they'll grieve mostly? Because their sin was found out, came out in the open. Everybody found out. So, the sin brought them shame, humiliation, some kind of loss because of their sin, some kind of disadvantage. Because they sinned, they lost something, they got humiliated, they got a bad name whatever and they sorrow because of the negative consequences that sin brought them. A true believer also will sorrow for that and we are also like the normal people, we’re also humans only. But true a believer sorrows for a deeper reason. You know what that is? More than sorrowing just for the negative consequences for the loss and the shame and the humiliation, the true believer sorrows because he feels like he has done something terrible against God. Do you have that feeling when you sin? Not just feeling sorrow because the sin has brought you some loss or humiliation, but feeling sorrowful because you have sinned against the God who loves you so much. You feel like your sin is a personal offense against the God who loves you so much. That only a true believer will feel.

David, you remember how he sinned? Murder, adultery. If anybody was teaching assurance, they would not have given him assurance. They would’ve thrown him out and said that, “You committed the top two sins. You get out. You have no hope. That's it.” But you can see the proof that David is a true believer in the way he repents of his sin. He feels a deep conviction, sorrow, remorse and for the right reason, the deepest reason, he feels. Look at the sin of David but look at his repentance in Psalm 51. There he pours out his heart in repentance. And in verse 4, he says this, “Against You, and You only, have I sinned, oh God.” Actually, he sinned against that woman. Actually, he sinned against her husband. Actually, he sinned against all his soldiers. He made a fool out of them, sending them all to battle like that, putting that guy there and having him killed. Actually, he sinned against his whole nation. A king behaving like this. But he puts all that aside and he says, “The worst thing about my sin oh God, is that I have sinned against You more than anybody else.” He uses sin as a personal offense to God. Do you think of your sin like that? If you do, my friend, then that is a good sign that you are a true believer. Why are we sorry that we sinned?

So, one of the things is, our connection and relationship to sin has changed. We sin less and less, or at least we grieve much over sin for the right and the deepest reason. These are minimums: grieving and grieving for the right reason. But John also puts the test in a positive way. Now, he's firstly saying, a true believer does not keep on sinning. But he also says, a true believer will do righteousness. It's not just negative obedience, it is positive obedience. Doing righteousness. Look at 1 John 2:3, that's the other side of this test. By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. How do we know that we know Him? How do we know that we are believers? If we keep His commandments. Here, he’s talking about actually obeying His commandments. Verse 4. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. He’s saying, “If somebody says ‘I know God. I'm a believer,’ but they don't keep any commandments, then that person is a liar. The truth is not in him.”

John very carefully teaches. Just a few verses before this only, is chapter one. This is chapter 2 beginning. Before this, few verses only, is chapter 1. How does chapter 1 end? Remember he said, a believer cannot claim to be perfect, even believers sin. That's why we need to confess our sins and receive continual forgiveness and cleansing. He said that. Just a few four verses before. Now, what is he saying? Believer cannot be perfect, true, but same thing believer cannot be without keeping commandments at all. Can you see that? Believer can’t be perfect, but at the same time, nobody can claim to be a believer and keep no commandment. If they keep no commandment and claim to be a believer, he says, they are a liar. “It’s a very simple matter,” he says.

So, on the one hand, perfection is not expected. On the other hand, if there is no obedience, then that puts a serious question as to whether that person is a true believer. Verse 5. Whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. He’s saying, “If somebody says I'm in Christ, they got to walk at least something like Christ, at least a little bit like Christ.” So, keeping of God's commandments.

Now, there are so many commandments in the Bible. John knows that people will say, “Now, which commandment do you want us to keep?” So, what he does is something amazing. He reduces all the commandments down to one commandment. Just keep reading. Next verse. This is amazing. John as a very amazing act to be practical, clear and come right to the point and he knows where to hit the nail on the head, so to speak. He just told us that we have to keep commandments then only we are true believers. Now, what commandment is the question. Look at this, 1 John 2:7. Beloved, I am writing to you no new commandment. He’s saying, “I'm not talking about some new commandment,” but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. 

Now, what is this old commandment that we had? Look at verse 9. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. You see where he has come now? He's come from you have to keep commandments down to one commandment. What commandment? Love commandment. Whoever hates his brother and says he's in the light, no, he's not in the light. He’s in the light means what? He claims to be a true believer. Only believers are in the light. Others are in darkness. But if someone is saying, “I'm in the light, I'm a believer,” but they hate their brother, John is saying, “No, they're not in the light. They are in darkness.” ‘Keep the commandments’ means keep this one commandment, the love commandment. Why has he narrowed down to one commandment?

You remember when a guy came to Jesus and asked Him, “What are the most important commandments? What is the one thing we should do?” Jesus summarized the entire Old Testament commandments, just like that, very easily. You know what He said? “This is what you should do. This is what the law says. I'll give it to you summary. Love God and love your neighbor.” He summarized all the commandments of the Old Testament in terms of love. He said, “Love God and love your neighbor.” That's what John is doing here. He's following Jesus’ method of looking at all the commandments through this one criterion: love. Love God and love neighbor.

Now, he knows that if we say, “Do you love God?” That is also another important test. Do you love God? A believer is one who not only believes in God, but who ends up falling in love with God. When we first believed in Jesus, we came to Him because we got some benefit, forgiveness of sins, something like that. But then Jesus is so good and so amazing we end up falling in love. It's like an arranged marriage. In arranged marriage, sometimes they get married because there is a suitable arrangement. We see some benefit; mutual benefits are seen and because of that they enter into marriage. But even in arranged marriage, they can fall in love, after the marriage they fall in love. It's like that. That is the story of every true believer. When we come to Jesus, first, we come for the benefit. “Jesus forgive my sin, Jesus save me. Jesus, I don't want to go to hell. Give me something.” But then Jesus ends up making us fall in love with Him because He is so amazing. So, a true believer actually ends up loving Jesus. One of the true signs of a true believer is that does he love Jesus or does he only believe? Does he only believe means, does he only go to Jesus for help, or does he actually love Jesus?

Now, this is a very abstract thing. John knows, if you say, do you love Jesus? It's so general, it's so abstract. How do you gauge whether you love Jesus? So, he gets right to the point. Forget about that. Forget about, ‘Do you love Jesus?’ Do you love your brother? Let's become very practical. John says, “Forget about the fact whether you love God or not. There is one easy test to see whether you love God. Do you love your brother? If you love your brother, that means you love God. If you don't love your brother, it means you don’t love God.” Look at 1 John 4:20. That's why I say, John is a very useful book, very simple in many ways and practical and down to earth. Look at this. “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he's a liar.” Very strong. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he's a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. He’s saying, “If a person can’t love their brother whom they can see right before them, how can they love God they cannot see.” If you truly love God, then you will love other children of God.” Who’s brother? What does John mean by brother? Other believers. Other believers, you should see them as your brother and sister. In Christ, they're your brothers and sisters.

There are no more divisions in the church. Once you become a child of God, God is your Father and you are His child and the other believers are also God’s children. We can’t be asking questions like, “What is your caste and what is your thing and this and nonsense.” All those things don't apply within the church. Once you come into the church and believe in Christ, Christ makes you one, part of one family of God. All are brothers and sisters. If you're in the same family, and if you've got siblings, those of you with siblings will know. If you have a brother or a sister, there will be some kind of love. Sometimes they'll be fighting or whatever but they'll be some kind of love. If there is no kind of love, absolutely zero, that raises the question whether you both are in the same family, whether you both have the same father. If we have at least some love for other believers, that is a small confirmation that we both belong to the same family. If we don't have any love absolutely towards other believers, that raises a question, do we both belong to the same family? Do we both have the same Father?

Look at this, 1 John 4:7, he emphasizes love. Entire New Testament emphasizes love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. “Whoever loves has been born of God,” he says, “whoever loves has been born again. And they can say they know God,” he says. Verse 8. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. “If somebody does not love their brethren,” he’s saying, “they don't know God.” Why? Because God is love. You can't have any kind of connection with God and not love your brothers. Because why? God is so full of love. In fact, we can say it like this, God is love. If you have any kind of connection with God, at least some of His love will rub off on you and you will show it to others. If you realize at least even little bit how much God loves you, you will end up loving others. If there is no love toward other believers, that raises a question whether you have experienced God's love. So, this test is a sure test.

Practically, what does love for brethren look like? What does this look like, practically? It starts like I said, there is some kind of attachment we have with our family members. Some attachment. So, let me put it like this, there should be some longing to be with other believers. Do you long to gather together with other believers, go to church, be with them, sing with them, pray with them, spend time with them? Do you long the gathering of believers like that? Do you desire that? That's a good sign that you are a true believer. If a person says, “I'm a believer, I'm a Christian,” but they have no desire to go to church and be with other believers, have fellowship with other believers of any kind, that raises serious doubt.

Let me ask you this, does your heart pain when you see other believers struggling? Test time is not a very fun time. I'm sorry, but it's necessary. Does your heart pain when you see other believers struggling? If you see your fellow brothers and sisters struggling, in pain, in suffering and you know it, and you have some kind of pain because of that, that's a good sign that a person is a true believer. If a person claims to be a believer, Christian, but they don't care at all about the welfare of other believers, they don't care at all, I'm not talking about perfection, we're talking about something must be there. If the person doesn't care at all about the welfare of other believers, then it means they don't see them as part of their family. That raises a doubt whether they are in the family. Do you find yourself wanting to help other believers in need? Do you actually show your love in action?

John gets right down to the practical, nitty gritty. Look at 1 John 3:17 and 18. He is not going to let us go very easily. He says, if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, 18, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. He’s saying, “Not enough to love in word or talk, but in action.” Everybody say, action, deed. Some kind of action. That's only true love. That's only loving in truth. Not enough to say, “I love you.” You got to show the love in some kind of action. Don't just believe the people who say, “I love you.” What are they doing? What is their action? Have they shown the love in any concrete manner? If they have not shown it in any manner, then there is no true love there. For God so loved the world that He gave. He did the highest possible action, gave His only Son. Are you doing something, anything for other believers?

John says, right there he gives an example. Look at that, verse 17. If anyone has the world's goods, that means money, and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Very practically he’s coming. Touching it where it hurts. He says, “If anyone has money, sees their brother,” means fellow believer, “in need. They can do something, they can help him out, but they completely close their heart away, how does God's love abide in him?” So, a question is, are we doing anything, something for other believers? Are we praying? You know, if you can't do anything, the least we can do is pray. Are you praying for other believers, their needs, their problems? That's why in Saturday evenings also when we pray here, we pray a lot for other believers more than praying about ourselves. That's the true Christian life. Thinking, concern for others, praying for them, helping them.

Jesus changes a person so they become like this. Are you helping? Are you seeking to help believers in any way like this? My friend, only just two tests today. But enough. Our connection with sin, has it changed? Are we doing righteousness? Meaning, just boil it down to one commandment. Are we loving our brothers and sisters? You examine your own self and may God help you. May God help you. May the Holy Spirit help you. Because this requires God's help to examine yourself. You can’t do it on your own. Let God help you to examine yourself in the right way. Because a lot of people when they examine themselves, because they examine themselves, they get doubt. Because they read 1 John, they get doubt.

1 John was actually written not to give doubt but to give assurance. I said it already. I'll show it to you quickly. 1 John chapter 1. You're right there. I'll show you the beginning and the end of 1 John. It's very clear John is writing not to raise doubt but to give assurance. 1 John 1:4. And these things we write to you so that your joy may be full. At the beginning, he’s saying, “Why am I writing these things? We write to you so that your joy,” everybody say, joy, “may be full.” Everybody say, full. He’s saying, “You have joy, but it's little joy. I want you to have more joy.” So, he's writing so they'll have more joy. But then what is he talking about? Have you confessed your sin? Are you keeping commandments? Are you loving? All that he talks but then look how he ends. Look at this. 1 John 5:13. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. Everybody say, that I may know. That's the purpose. ‘That you may know’ means, know for sure. Know that you have eternal life. “That's why I've written these things,” he says.

You have to understand the book of John, along with his purpose... his purpose is not to raise doubt, his purpose is to actually give assurance. What is happening, if you look at the background of 1 John, the people he's writing to originally, they are having doubts because some fellows have come, infiltrated the church and claim to be perfectionists. That's why he’s writing, “No believer can claim to be perfectionist.” They've claimed to be perfectionists, but they are sinning, not loving their brothers and so on. And they have kind of made them feel intimidated and said, “You are not like us.” So, John is writing to correct the issue there. That's the background of 1 John. He’s saying, “Don't believe these fellows. No believer is perfect. But believers at the same time obey God and His commandments and they love.” Realize who's a true believer? “You only are true believer, man,” he is saying, “not them.” Something like that. “You are the true believer. They are going in the wrong path.”

I don't have much more time to go into that. But John has written to give assurance but people take this book that is written to give assurance and they get doubt. Why? Let me tell you this, one of the reasons is, people don't examine themselves in the right way. That is why I say, you need the help of God to examine yourself. You need the Holy Spirit’s help. Oftentimes, we are imperfect and we examine ourselves imperfectly. Let me talk about the certain wrong ways in which we assess ourselves. Wrong ways of testing yourself. Let me talk about that. This will help you out, I think.

Wrong method number one, when you test yourself, don't compare yourself to others. If you compare yourself to others, you will get unnecessary doubts. My son woke up one morning, this happened some time back. He's just sitting on the bed quietly and the first thing he says to me is, “Why am I not growing tall like you?” I was stunned. I saw him sitting quietly. Maybe he was thinking about that. He’s just a small child. What's running through his mind? See that. “Why am I not growing tall like you?” He’s saying, “You're telling me to drink milk and do this and that, I'm drinking, I'm not growing tall. You're so tall.” I said, “How old am I? How old are you?” I tried to explain the difference in age. That concept he’s not comprehended. Now only, he’s starting to understand that. “Why? Why?”

Sounds so childish to us and yet believers, we end up doing the same thing. We compare ourselves to others. When we look at others, we get the doubt about ourselves. “Why am I not like that? Maybe there's something wrong with me.” You won't believe, people with doubts about salvation, sometimes they get their doubts from other people's testimonies. Because the one giving the testimony, only a certain kind of person is given the mic for testimony usually. Which kind of person? The one who says usually, “I was living this worst kind of life, in every possible bad habit.” And they'll name the bad habits and everybody goes, “Whoa!” I don't want to name it there. “I was in every possible bad habit. And then I met Jesus and Jesus changed me overnight. And today I'm totally a brand-new man, and praise God.” Amen. And they sit down, that’s it. End.

Now, I know why that kind of person is given the mic because we want to showcase the power of God's salvation. The power to change drastically, transform utterly, completely. That's where that kind of person is given the mic to reflect the glory of God's salvation. The problem is, because only that kind of person testifies and people hear only that kind of testimony and they don't hear teaching about it, in there some people invariably start thinking, “Why doesn't my life look like that? Why don't I see that kind of drastic, obvious change?” Everybody's testimony does not have to be the same. Every Christian, every true believer, has to experience true change, real change and real transformation, but it doesn't have to look exactly the same. You have your testimony and they have their testimonies.  Praise God for testimonies like that. Praise God for God showing His power to people like that.

I used to wonder when I was younger, reading biographies of great testimonies like that. I think. And the guy has so much assurance, you can see it and I don't have much assurance. I'm reading and I'm thinking, maybe if I was like that guy before salvation, maybe if I lived that worst kind of life, that might have been better. I used to think like that. When you live the worst kind of life and Jesus changes you, the change is very obvious outward, obvious for all to see, easy for all to see. That's why they're giving the testimony. For other people, the change is there, but it's not as obvious. Because why? They did all their sins in secret. They also sinned, only they did it secretly. Nobody saw them. If you let them testify, by the time people understand their testimony, it will all be gone. That's why we give the testimony to the very simple outwardly, obvious transformation.

But there are different kinds of transformations. For some people, there is a drastic, overnight transformation. For some people, there is a slow transformation. It depends on where God found you, first when you came to Him for salvation. So many factors are there. Don't compare yourself with others, my friend. Look at you, examine yourself, not you with somebody else. God has a path for you. God wants to make you a testimony in your own way. That's wrong method number one.

Wrong method number two, to examine yourself. Some people when we say, examine yourself, they will examine their past. And they will think about their time before salvation, sometimes the terrible things they did or whatever, and they will get doubts because of that. I told you already, God doesn't bring your past back to your mind. God has forgiven your past sins, God has forgotten them, the Bible says. He's chosen to forget them. He'll never bring it up to accuse you, bring doubts into you, my friend. If you are reminded of your past sins, you're getting doubts and being accused because of that, I can say authoritatively on the basis of God's word, it is the devil. Don't look at your past. Don't look at the time before salvation. Some people even after salvation, they may take some time to grow. Don't look at that period and say, “Why like that? Maybe I'm not saved.”  Look at your present. If they put you in a running race, they give you a track to run. You got to run that race; you can’t look at the other guy. Neither should you be looking behind. You should be looking forward. The apostle Paul says, “Forgetting what lies behind.” Remember that verse? Philippians 3:13. “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to the things which are in front of me.” If Paul thought about his past, all he would have had is doubt and accusation. Think about Paul's past. He is the one responsible for the first martyr's death, Stephen. If he thought about his past, he’s finished. He says, “No, I don't think about it. I make sure I look ahead.” Don't look at your past, look at your present and look at where you are going.

Wrong method number three is, when you examine yourself, you examine only one particular area of your life and in that area, you are weak or something and therefore you doubt your salvation. People come to tests like these in 1 John. 1 John says, a true believer does not keep on sinning. They look at that verse and then they look at their life but they won't look at their whole life many times. What they'll do is, they’ll look at the one area where they keep on sinning. There may be some particular weakness in them, they're falling into that temptation again and again so they look at only that particular area of weakness and they say, “In this area, I keep falling into sin.” They look at that, they look at John. “True believer does not keep on sinning.” They look at their sin, “I'm keeping on sinning.” True believer does not keep on sinning. “I must not be a true believer.”

Is that a proper assessment? That's like you have an apple tree and you select the worst fruit on the tree, take a zoom in close up photo of that and show that photo to somebody else and say, “Now, tell me how is the tree? You think the tree is healthy?” What will that person say? If that has any sense, this is what they’ll say, “How can I judge the health of the tree by looking at one fruit? Show me a zoom out, wide angle lens photo of the whole tree with all the fruits and then will make a judgment on whether the tree is good.” What I'm saying is, believers, they zoom in to their one area or two areas of weakness, and they just look at that, and they assess themselves based on that. That's not the way to go about it, my friend. Look at your whole life. Zoom out, look at all the areas of your life, you've looked at the weakest area. Now, let me ask you, are there any areas where you have experienced great change and transformation? Are there any areas like that in your life? Think about your life as a whole. You are maybe falling into sin in one particular area, but are you progressing much in another area? Pick that also into account.

Look at this and look at that. Look at the whole life. Jesus Himself said, “You shall know them by their fruits.” Remember? You shall know the tree by the fruit. A good tree will bear good fruit, a bad tree will bear bad fruit. But He's talking about the whole tree. Look at your whole life. How does all the fruit in your life look? If you find that there's a lot of areas where there's good fruit, there's good improvement, progress, transformation, but there are one or two areas that are terrible, you don't have to doubt your salvation itself because of those one or two areas.

Now, let me also say this because some people say, “Oh, see. He’s saying you can go on sinning in that.” I never said that. I said you don't have to doubt your salvation because you are falling into sin in that particular area repeatedly. But you do need to deal with that area. You deal with that area. I'm not saying, that's okay. Let it be like that. Let the rotten fruit be on one part of the tree, it's okay as long as most of the tree is fine. I'm not saying that. I'm saying, because most of the tree is fine, that person is probably truly saved. They don't have to doubt their salvation. What they need to do is deal with that one area. Focus and deal with that. How do you deal with that? Not by focusing on that. How do you deal with that? Gospel, promises. Everybody say, gospel, promises,

Even if you fall asleep in my message, in this series, if I ask you any question, you can just blindly blurt out, “Gospel,” and you will probably be right. Promises. Such is the importance of the gospel and promises. You have any problem? Especially in this series, and in general, it applies to the Christian life. Where do you go? The gospel and promises. Problem in one particular area? You're not seeing improvement, progress in holiness, transformation, change? My friend, go back to the gospel, go back to the cross. The cross not only has the power to forgive and cleanse, the cross has the power to change you, transform you. I don't care how long that bad habit has been there.

Different people have different bad habits and bad weaknesses. For some people, it's anger. For some people, it's lust. There're different kinds of sins. People usually only think about some sin. Let me give you something else that usually people don't think of as a sin, gossip. Some people's weakness is to gossip. Get excited whenever something bad is happening to someone else. They ask, “Is there something wrong there?” Isn't it? It doesn't align with love. If a person gets only excited if something bad is happening to others, that doesn't align with love. There are other kinds of sin. Even laziness is a sin. If that is their main weaknesses? What I'm saying is, there are different areas of weakness and it's different for different people. You want to grow in that particular area, you go back to the gospel. The cross has the answer for our every weakness. Go to the promises of God and for your every need and weakness, there is a promise which will strengthen you and cause you to grow in that area. There is a promise. There are thousands of promises, my friend, and it will match your every need, your weakness. You will grow because God will strengthen you. His grace will be sufficient for you. Usually what has happened is we have ignored some little thing in the gospel or promises and that's where we are not growing in that particular area. So, grow in that area. Very good. Deal with that and all that but don't doubt your salvation because you're only falling in that one area or something like that.

Another wrong method to assess yourself. Now, this is where you are the only person examining yourself. That is wrong. If you are the only person examining yourself that is wrong. That's like you correct your own exam answer papers. You all write exams. Do they allow you to grade your own answer papers? No. If they allowed that, just imagine what will happen? Two things can happen actually, if people grade it honestly. I’m talking about honestly. If you just give it to people, they'll probably just give themselves very good grades, passing grades, perfect grades. But even if you grade it honestly, two things are liable to happen. One is, the person will give themselves too much credit, too much marks. They will over score, give a greater score than they really deserve. Another thing that will happen is, they will grade themselves lower than they actually deserve. You know that? People will grade themselves lower. Especially what kind of people? People with kind of low self-confidence. People who already go into the exam thinking, “I don't know this subject, I am not good at this or this. I never understand this. This never comes for me. If you give them and say, “You grade your own paper,” and they do it honestly, they’ll give themselves lesser marks than they actually deserve. That is why somebody else more authoritative looks at the exam.

Why I am saying this is, oftentimes in the matter of assurance of salvation, our doubts are because only we are looking at ourselves and we are assessing ourselves and without the help of the Holy Spirit. This is why the help of the Holy Spirit is so important. He is like that greater, highest authority. But let me also say this, this is why God has kept other people around us so that we should not depend only on our own assessment of ourselves. Have you noticed, throughout your life, God keeps you along with somebody else? God makes sure you are not alone. Have you seen that? When you were born, your parents were there. When you grew up, He connected you with your spouse. Said, “Here, go.” And then, throughout your life in various circles, you have people around you so that you are not just considering and assessing yourself. There are others also. You need people around.

Even in the spiritual life, God has given us the church. Why church? One of the reasons is, there must be Christian community, there must be other believers around you who can assess you, who can warn you when needed and who can reassure you when needed. We need people like that around us. If we only have people who, and in Tamil as they say, jalra  

adikarunga matum irunthaa means, if you only have people who are like sidekicks, they're always praising you, very dangerous. You need people around you who have the authority and the boldness to look at you and say, “My friend, you're not doing this right.” And they warn you. You need people like that around you. When you need warning, you need it to come. God has kept us with others so that we will receive warning when needed, but He's also kept us with others so that we will be assured when needed. Sometimes, many people, they go to pastors and say, “I feel like I'm not at all a Christian,” but you hear them talk and the pastor will be sure, just like in one minute that they are a true believer. Their assessment of themselves has been wrong. This is why church is needed, brothers and sisters in Christ are needed, believers are needed. This is why we have to be in that kind of community and not just depend on our own assessment alone, and above all depend on the Holy Spirit's assessment. Let him guide you. Let Him lead you, my friend.

Wrong ways to assess yourself. In fact, I was reading about this assurance and one Bible scholar and teacher, very expert guy on this matter, he says, one of the categories of people who have low levels of assurance is homemakers, mothers who stay at home take care of the children. What happens is, they're left alone with their children. The father goes off, mother is there taking care of the children, for example. And the children have a way of testing your patience. You thought work is hard, try dealing with children sometimes.” And so, he says, many mothers feel, because they are only in the home, nobody else around them, only the child is with them, they are constantly assessing themselves. They're saying, “I'm not a good enough mother. I'm not a patient enough mother. I don't have enough love.” They're just assessing themselves and their assessment of themselves is negative. It’s because they're doing it just relying on their own assessment.

I’m just giving that as an example. One of the reasons there is, somebody needs to reassure that mother. I hope the father or the husband or some other person will do that. Sometimes the husband says, “Yes, you are not a good enough mother.” That makes the situation even worse. Let us not rely just on our own assessment of ourselves. May God help us, as the words of Psalm 139 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” I hope throughout this seminar you have assessed yourself because now it's time for the test results. Now, we’re going to release the results now.

Well, only you know the result, and only God knows the result. But I'm going to talk about different kinds of results. When you examine yourself, let's say you have examined yourself truly, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not just relying on your own judgment and so on, you have examined yourself. What are the kinds of test results we will see? Let's begin with the best result. The best possible result you can get from examining yourself in this way is this, look at your life and you can see transformation everywhere, change everywhere. When you look at your life you see so much transformation, you get full assurance. Yes, you are a believer, God has changed you and God has transformed you. I hope some of you are able to see that. Just yesterday or sometime back, one young boy, college student met me, and he said, “Just some time back I was in sinful habits and all that.” And he said in Tamil, eppadi athallam pochu enakae theriyala poiduchu ana. He said, “I don't know how it all went, but it's gone now. Now only, I'm thinking about it's gone, and I'm looking at the same fellows I sinned with and saying, ‘Why are you doing this, man?’ And that fellow is looking at me and saying, ‘You are the same guy who did it with us just sometime back.’” Just a college student. He's saying, “I know for sure God is working in me.” That’s how he's talking. If we had let him preach, he would have done a good job. I’ve seen the confidence in him. He has full assurance that God has changed him, transformed him. He’s a new kind of creation. And he said one more thing. That's why I'm using him as an example. He didn't stop with that. He said, “I have started caring about others now. I'm only in college but I'm praying for others.” And he's saying, “Some of my older relatives when they’re in need, they are telling me and saying, ‘Please pray for me.’ They’re telling me to pray for them. They can see change in me. When I'm praying, I'm thinking about other students and how to help them and my family members.” That's only love.

I'm talking about a college student, my friend. Jesus can change anybody anywhere. If you see your life and you see the change and transformation, and it's clear to you that you are a believer, and only Jesus could have done this, rejoice in that assurance, it's yours today, by the grace of God. Rejoice, rejoice. There's a time for rejoicing and you rejoice. If you see that in your life, if you see transformations, so much transformation that you're amazed by it, my friend, rejoice. But let me also give you a couple of cautions. Don't get proud. When you do well in life sometimes pride as a way of sneaking in through the back door. Pride won't come in knocking on the front door and say, “Here I am, Pride. Open up.” He’ll come in through the back door. None of us are going to open our mouth and say, “See how well I'm doing. Wow, I'm the greatest.” Nobody's going to say that especially not believers, because we will say what? It's the grace of God. To God be the glory. Praise the Lord.

So, our mouth is right. Problem is, in the thoughts, sometimes without realizing, we may entertain thoughts of pride. That's what I mean by pride comes in through the back door. Deuteronomy 8:17 and 18 says, “Don't say in your heart.” God knows we won't say in your mouth. So, He says, “Don't even say in your heart, ‘It is my strength of hand or it is my wisdom that has brought me this great wealth.’ Remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth.” He’s saying, “Don't even say in your heart. Forget about saying in your mouth, don't even say in your heart that it's your accomplishment. Don't even entertain the thought in your heart.” So, let me tell you, my friend, be careful so that pride doesn't get in because if pride gets in, then you will fall. That's how it goes. Pride and then there's a fall. So, speedometer is reading “Good, be happy. But don't get proud. Be thankful.” Instead, be thankful. Everybody say, be thankful.

Be thankful, that's the way to get rid of pride. God has changed us. God has transformed us. It’s the grace of God. If not for God, where would I be if not for the grace of God. Be thankful, my friend. Don't just say thanks, be thankful. Another warning for those who have done well in the test. Don't let this become your only or even your main source of assurance. Remember, this is not the first source of assurance. What is the first source of assurance? Gospel, promises. This is just the speedometer. Okay, you’ve looked at the speedometer, it shows a good reading. Now, go back to pressing the accelerator. Don't let this be your only source of assurance. If you do, it will fail you, my friend.

Now, let me talk about that's the best test result. You guys are excellent and be happy and rejoice. Now, let me talk about the opposite end, the worst-case scenario. A person tests themselves, examines themselves. Worst case scenario, what happens? They see the speedometer, they see their life, it reads zero. It reads no change, no transformation. Now, let me give you a couple of cautions here. One thing, it could be because you are not seeing the change. Maybe change is actually there but you are not seeing it. You can’t see it; you can't realize it. Sometimes things are there but like I said, our own assessment of ourselves could be wrong. So, maybe change is there but you're not seeing it. So, in that case, ask God to help you, Holy Spirit to lead you, ask somebody else you trust, whatever. God will lead you.

Let me give you another caution. Maybe it is reading zero because you've just been saved. You just trusted in Jesus, you just got saved and it will take some time to speed up. Transformation change sometimes doesn't happen drastically. But sometimes there is a process. So, give some time. If you are just now saved, and just now believed in Jesus, just now got salvation, give some time and wait and see and best examine yourself after some time. But until that, keep pressing the accelerator. Go back to the gospel, believe in Jesus for only He has the power to change and transform you. So, those are a couple of cautions. A person may say, “Listen, no, no, I'm not that kind of person. I've been saved a long time ago. And I'm assessing correctly only, there is no change, there is zero.” Now, what if a person says that? Now, if a person says that, and if they're clear that God is helping them see there is no change and transformation, let me say this. There is the actual possibility that that person, even though they may have thought they are a Christian, they were never truly a Christian. They are not a true believer. That's the worst possible result, that the person is not a true believer. They're not truly saved.

Let me describe a particular kind of scenario. A person could be thinking they're a Christian because they were born in a Christian home, they're from a Christian background, 10th generation Christian, they're involved in the church activities, they're on the committee, they're on this and that and baptism, there on the church register. All those things don't make a person a Christian, my friend. I'd like to speak to those. If a person is saying, I've seen my life and I assess and there's nothing there. If you realize that today, really and God is leading you to realize that, accept it. It takes humility to accept it. I said, you accept it. Accept it. That may be hard to swallow but accept it. It's a big deal for you to realize the truth. It's so difficult for people, namesake Christians, to realize that they are not truly Christian. If there is even one person like that, I'd like to speak to them. Accept it with humility. Because if you accept it, that is the beginning of hope. Even if you are not truly a Christian believer today, if you realize it now, the next step is you call out to Jesus and you believe in him right now. And you receive His salvation, true salvation right now.

Do it right now. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. What that kind of person needs is not assurance. They need true salvation. Like I said, maybe they're in the Christian background, Christian home, Christian name, Christian this, Christian that way but they have not personally put their faith in the Lord Jesus. Maybe they have not personally said, “Jesus, I need You. You bore my sin on the cross. Without You, I am finished. Help me. Save me. Forgive my sin, cleanse me, transform me. Be my Lord.” If you haven't done that, my friend, do it right now. Do it right now. Jesus will save you right now.

What's bigger, salvation or assurance? Salvation. Assurance doesn't even come close. Salvation is bigger. If there's a person like that today, God wants you to get saved. He wants you to receive true salvation, my friend. And Jesus will change you, transform you. Go back and examine yourselves after some time and you will see that Jesus will change you. In this test, no matter what you get, it is never so bad that you are hopeless. Sometimes you go to the doctor and they tell you to take a test. Sometimes it’s very dangerous. These test results they come and they say, “That's all. Finished. This is too much, too advanced, advanced stage. We cannot help you,” they say. No matter how badly you perform in this test, no matter how advanced, no matter how much it is pointing towards zero, there is always hope, because there is Jesus. There is Jesus.

The gospel of God is the power of God unto salvation. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. It doesn't matter who they are, how much they've been deceived in the past but today you can look to Jesus and be saved. No matter how bad the situation is, look to Him. Solution is the same. The Gospel and the promises. Go to the cross. Look at that. Believe in Jesus. Receive forgiveness of sins, receive transformation. Look at the promises. Keep looking at it until your life changes, my friend. So, that's the worst-case scenario and even they have hope. The difficulty is for them to realize.

Now, let me talk about more often what is the test result. We have the best result and then we have the worst result. But more often, people are in the middle. And what is that? You see enough change, transformation, that confirms that you are a true believer, but you don't see enough to make you want to rejoice.  You'd like to see more change. You can see clearly there is enough change to indicate that you are a believer, but you'd like to see more. What is the solution? Remember the answer? Gospel and the promises. Just go back. That's the solution. Press the accelerator. You want to see more change, more transformation, go back to the gospel. There's something in the gospel that you left out. Maybe you didn't understand. Maybe you didn't believe. Maybe you understood, you believed and maybe you forgot. Now, go back to it and see how it addresses your problem. Go to the cross and see how it solves your problem. Listen to teachings related to that. Go to the promises of God, take the promises that match your problem. Believe in it, confess it, meditate it, until you see the change and the transformation.

Whether the speed is zero, or whether the speed is 20, you keep pressing the accelerator only. Go back to the gospel and the promises of God and God will prove Himself in your life. God will show His power to transform and change you. God knows how to lead you. You don't know what it will be like in the future. God knows where He's taking you and how to change you and how to transform you. Just trust in Him, trust in His promises. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

So, now we've looked at the speedometer today, we’ve looked at our own life. Now, that's enough. Now, look back to Jesus. Don't keep looking at your life. Don't keep on it. Like I said, remember? That's like, you keep on checking your weight every day on the weighing scales. You think the weight will go down? No, my friend, and your confidence also will go down surely. Weight won’t go down, but the confidence will go down. Don’t check the weighing scales every day. Focus on what to do to lose the weight. Check it after a long time. It's like that. Don't keep taking this test again and again. Today, we’ve made you take the exam. Now, put it away and look to Jesus, my friend. Examine Him. His glory, His beauty, His Majesty, His all sufficiency. When you see Him, you don't get discouraged. Because even though there is nobody perfect like Him, and He's more perfect than anyone can even dream. You see mercy, grace, compassion in Him. And He will draw you to Himself.

Hebrews chapter 12:2, and I'll close with this. It talks about how to run the race. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He's saying, run the race looking at who? Jesus. Like I said, we’re in a race. They've given you you're on track. God has given you your own track. You got to run in your track. Don’t look at the other person so much. Don't look behind, it’s your past. And don't look like this and run either, at your present, too much. Now and then examine yourself. Most of the time, you got to be looking at the finish line. Jesus is there, and He's cheering you on. And His grace is sufficient. Look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith.

How do you look at Jesus? Gospel, promises. If you want it in one word, the word. Gospel is in the word; the promises are in the word. Through this, you look at Jesus. Keep looking, until He pulls you forward. Just the sight of His glory will make you run the race better and faster. Amen?

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