But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.—1 John 5:11–12
Pastor Sam Crabtree is Bethlehem's Pastor for Small Groups, North.
Video to come
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.—2 Corinthians 4:16–18
When you get the sovereignty of God straight, everything gets straighter. Going wrong here will lead to error in all kinds of unexpected places. O how I pray that God will give us clarity and conviction and joy in our vision of God’s absolute sovereignty at Bethlehem.
1) In order to be saved and spend eternity enjoying God’s presence a person must persevere in faith to the end (1 Corinthians 15:2; Colossians 1:22,23; Luke 8:11-15; Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13; Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 3:14; Romans 11:20-22; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 2:7,10,11,17,25,26; 3:5,11,12,21).
Last Sunday we sang this prayer as a congregation: “Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace” (“Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”). I commented that this prayer implies a dependence on God to keep us from waking up as unbelievers tomorrow morning. I saw some furrowed brows of perplexity.
Last Sunday I presented a practical six-question test. It was a test for your life. A test to discover whether God abides in you, whether you are born again. A test to confirm your calling and election.
I have referred several times to a contemporary movement of evangelicalism that offers assurance of salvation to professing Christians who go on living in sin. Who am I talking about? Here is an example.
Zane Hodges, who teaches at Dallas Seminary, has written a book entitled The Gospel Under Siege (Redencion Viva, 1981).
His position is the very opposite of mine:
One of the greatest helps in feeling hopeful is to know God wants us to feel hopeful. It is small comfort to believe some people are saved but not to know if we are included. My own heart has been so gladdened recently by the assurance of my own salvation that I want you all to share this with me.
Matthew seems unusually burdened to alert us about the danger of thinking we are saved when we are not. Consider these warnings.
5:20 “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”