Deeply Rooted: Assurance - Message 3 - Part 2

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Tune in to listen to Pastor Mike give his messages on Assurance in Tennessee at the Deeply Rooted Conference.  

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The Priority of Preaching - Part 3

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Welcome to No Compromise Radio Ministry. My name's Mike Abendroth, and we're playing today part of a message
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I preached down in Tennessee. Don't go back to Rockville. Athens GA?
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No. Kingsport, Tennessee, Deeply Rooted Conference 2023, the
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Doctrine of Assurance, quite a few other folks there. One of my old students, Joshua Banks, was there, met some new friends,
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Sean Morris and Jeremiah, not Jeremy, Reiner, and others.
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Anyway, Joshua Banks said that I could play these on No Compromise Radio, so here we go. And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed his truth to triumph through us.
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The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure.
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What's the next line in Luther's Mighty Fortress is Our God? One little word shall fell him.
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Okay, what's the word? What's Luther talking about? What's that one little word?
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Jesus? I guess that's the answer to every good question, right? Well, Luther tells us in his commentary on Galatians, this is but a little word.
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The mouth speaks, but the affections of the heart speak this way. Although I be oppressed with anguish and terror on every side, and seem to be forsaken and utterly cast away from my presence, yet I am thy child and thou art my father for Christ's sake.
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I'm beloved because of the beloved. Wherefore, this little word, father, affectionately conceived in the heart, passes all the eloquence of Cicero.
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Luther goes on, to doubt the good will of God is an inborn suspicion with all of us.
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Besides the devil, our adversary goes around roaring, saying God's angry with you, he's going to destroy you forever.
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The law scolds us, sin screams at us, death thunders at us. The devil roars at us. In the midst of the clamor, the spirit of God cries in our hearts,
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Abba, Father. And this little cry of the spirit transcends the hullabaloo of the law, sin, death, and the devil, and finds a hearing with God.
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God is your father. And when you realize that and you remember that, that's the spirit of God who dwells within you,
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Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit, testifying, in fact, God is your father because of the grace of God.
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Luther said, God must be much friendlier to me and speak to me in a friendlier fashion than my
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Katie to little Martin, his wife to his son. Neither Katie nor I could intentionally gouge out the eye or tear off the head of our child, nor could
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God. God must have patience with us. He's given evidence of it, and therefore, he sent his son into our flesh in order that we may look to him for the best.
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In the monastery before Luther was saved, angry God, angry Jesus, and afterwards,
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God is my father because of Jesus, the son. So that's the ministry of the spirit of God dwelling within us.
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Now, there's also an inward evidence of the fruit of the spirit. And if I ask you where the fruit of the spirit's found in the
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Bible, you might say, what chapter of the Bible? Galatians 5. So let's turn there.
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There is corroborating evidence, the inward evidence of these graces into which the promises are made to re -quote the
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Westminster Confession of faith. And it works like this with a little syllogism, with some parallel thoughts.
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Real believers demonstrate the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is present in me.
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I must be a believer. So that's how this works, but it's after the objective looking, and now we go to subjective.
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Galatians 5, Paul is writing the fruit of the spirit is love in verse 22, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self -control, against such things there is no law.
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When you look at your life and you say, I see some of those there, I see a flicker of those there,
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I see those sometimes there, that's a very good thing. Not to say
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I have love and joy, therefore I warrant salvation, I earn salvation, but how do
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I respond in gratitude to the saving work of the Lord? There are many paradigms in theology.
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One is revelation response, and you can see worship services set up that way. We have revelation from God, and we respond with singing, or giving, or preaching, or listening to the sermons.
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In life, in general revelation, you see a baby born, you see the sky, you see a pretty scene on the lake, and you respond with, oh, that's wonderful, that's pretty, that's amazing
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Lord. And there's another great paradigm, and you know this, and it's guilt in Adam, grace in Christ Jesus, and how do we respond?
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Gratitude, guilt, grace, gratitude, that's another paradigm theologically. And so we say to ourselves,
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I see in my life the Spirit of God working joy, working love, working peace, in spite of these things.
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And you say, well, I want that fruit of the Spirit more in my life. Good, that's actually a sign of being a
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Christian. I'd like that more. I don't see enough. Lord, I'm convicted when there's not enough love, and joy, and peace.
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I read the Bible, and James chapter 1 says, count it all joy, my brethren. And I look at my life, and I say, sometimes
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I do, but I wish I could do that more. I'd like to ask you a question, dear congregation, who gave you the desire to have more fruit in your life?
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Satan? CNN? Okay, Newsmax?
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Where I live, I can't just say CNN, I have to say CNN and Newsmax, or CNN and Breitbart or something, because otherwise, we'll have trouble.
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William Perkins was a great Anglican, and he has a list of things that you can kind of say, well, would
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I like these things in my life to be a little bit more? He said, sincerity of religion. And then
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I think to myself, I would like that more, and I ask myself the question, who gave me that desire? Humble confession of sin, would
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I like to confess my sin more often and quickly -er? More quickly? Sometimes I listen to myself, and I'm thinking,
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I left Nebraska a long time ago, but Nebraska never left me, like a hayseed from Galilee in Nebraska.
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I don't confess as much as I want to, but I do want to do that. Who gave you that desire?
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Well, Perkins said you should delight in God and His grace. Sometimes I do,
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I wish I would do that more often, but who gave you that desire? Fleeing the world's lusts is a sign of love for God, Perkins said.
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Do you do that? Do you want to do that? Have you seen that in the past? And by the way, we have to be very, very careful.
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There is a commandment in Scripture, one of the 10 commandments, and it's not to bear false witness. And some
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Christians are so hard on themselves that I think they bear false witness against the
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Spirit of God's work in their life. It's not do you do all these things or else, it's
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I see some of those things, and my desire is there, the struggle is good, and I see what the
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Lord is working in my life. But in spite of all that, I can have joy. In spite of the diagnosis from the doctor, in spite of the death of a loved one, in spite of that miscarriage,
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I can still have joy. I wish I had it for longer, but I have that desire. Compassion to other people,
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Perkins said, is a sign of the Spirit's work in your life. Who put that there?
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Who put that desire there? Take your Bibles and turn to 2 Peter chapter 1, please, and I want to show you both objective assurance and subjective here in the same passage.
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2 Peter chapter 1. I think
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I've quoted from King James in ESV, so here's NAS. 2
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Peter 1 .1. Let's look at the objective side first, what God in Christ has done. By the way, if I ever say
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Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, always talking about Jesus, do somehow I demean the work of the
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Father, the Holy Spirit? Of course not, because every time I say one, Jesus, you should think of the three, the
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Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Every time I say God, singular, you should think of Father, Son, and Spirit.
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So whenever I say Jesus, don't forget the Father has sent Him. And whenever I say Jesus, of course, the
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Father and the Son have the Spirit of God proceed from Him, from them. So Christ -centered preaching is triune -centered preaching, actually.
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Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of God, of our
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God and Savior, Jesus Christ. They've received this faith, it's a gift.
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Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
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To what degree? Verse 4. By these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, all the objective work of God, in order that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
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The theme of verses 1, 2, 3, and 4, do you see it, Christian? Safe, secure, what
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God did, grace. Jesus can't lose a Christian. Now you see what we call the subjective side of assurance.
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Verse 5. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, we're far from antinomians, there's a diligence here.
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For this very reason also, incorporating back verses 1 through 4, in your faith supply moral excellence, in your moral excellence knowledge, and in your knowledge self -control, and in your self -control perseverance, and in your perseverance godliness, and in your godliness brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness love.
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For if these qualities are yours and increasing, they render you neither useless nor fruitful in the true knowledge of our
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Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short -sighted, having forgotten his purification from his sins.
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Do we work out our salvation with fear and trembling? Verse 10. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about his calling and choosing you.
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For as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.
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Verse 11. For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
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Please, dear Christian, don't read chapter 1, verses 5 and following without verses 1 through 4.
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Both we have objective assurance and subjective. Working hard, sweat, toil, labor.
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In the time I have left, let me give you some rapid -fire thoughts to clarify, challenge, and to reiterate.
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Number one. It's grace that motivates obedience. It's grace that motivates obedience.
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Spurgeon. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin. But when I found
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God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I ever could rebel against one who loved me so and sought my good.
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What one man called the greatest book on sanctification ever written, Walter Marshall writes, you cannot love
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God if you are under the constant secret suspicion he's really your enemy.
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Number two. Assurance levels usually fluctuate. I said that earlier, but I want to remind you again.
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If you have occasional doubts, you ought not to be surprised. That's why
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Rutherford said we make much of assurance. It's important. David lost assurance. Peter lost assurance.
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But it was gained back. Number three. Deal with a sin in your life.
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Deal with a sin in your life. If you have high levels of sin in your life, it will be hard for you to have high levels of assurance.
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High levels of sin equal low levels of assurance. That's why we don't want to be lazy in the spiritual realm.
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What you've heard me say last night times two is I can just do whatever
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I want and I don't have to try to obey God, you would be wrong. I want you to obey God out of gratitude.
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I want you to obey God not because you get saved or keep your salvation that way, but we don't want to be lazy.
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Thomas Brooks said a lazy Christian shall always want four things. Comfort, contentment, confidence, and assurance.
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That's why we just read in 2 Peter chapter one, give diligence. Don't be slothful. Don't be lazy.
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Apply yourself. Study. Learn. Grow. Number four.
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Am I at number four? Number four. Study church history about assurance. Study church history about assurance.
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The reformers had four ways to help with assurance. Number one,
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God's word. Number two, the sacraments, Lord's Supper and baptism.
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Number three, prayer. And number four might surprise you, affliction.
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God's word, sacraments, prayer, and affliction. And so when you say, Pastor, I'm struggling with assurance.
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I'm trying to be reminded about who Jesus is, but I just kind of do home church.
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I just do TV church, especially after COVID. You need to be involved in a local church and submit to the leadership and hear
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Christ Center preaching every single week, and these lone ranger Christians just have a hard time with many things, and I doubt anyone here is in that situation.
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Sometimes I meet people, and they're like, well, especially the dads, the leadership at the church that we attend, they're not perfect, and therefore we're going to do our own home church, and we're going to just do our own thing.
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It's basically, unless you're in China or something, it's a prideful thing, and you men need to just submit and sit under the word of God, sacraments, prayer, and affliction.
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Sometimes I say to myself, Lord, I thought I've had already enough affliction to try to learn, but I'm probably so hardheaded, you just have to keep giving me one thing after another after another, so I have my attention focused properly.
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But what affliction does, it just cancels all the other stuff out. What's on TV tonight?
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Is Tennessee playing today? All that stuff goes, and you're thinking, I'm hurting, and the Lord is teaching me and keeping me humble.
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And so if you're sitting under God's word, which you must be, if you're here at the conference, I commend that to you, and keep doing that.
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Number five, watch out for assurance -stealing verses. Now, there's not really any assurance -stealing verses, but some people make some verses, steal your assurance.
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Turn your Bibles to Romans 2 .13. Let's look up a couple verses that people use regularly. People that you like probably use these verses to steal assurance.
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The number one stealer of assurance in the hands of people that should probably know better is
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Romans 2 .13. This could have been Romans and assurance conference, right?
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Romans 4, Romans 8, Romans 5. Now we're in Romans 2 .13.
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Remember what's happening here in Romans 2. Paul is trying to say, you need righteousness, a perfect righteousness, an entire righteousness, an exact righteousness, a perpetual righteousness.
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You need to be righteous. And those poor people in chapter 1, the
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Gentiles, they're awful. They don't have any righteousness. They're unrighteous.
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Now he's talking to people that aren't necessarily unrighteous. They're self -righteous.
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And they too need to know that they need to have righteousness, a perfect righteousness. And so he says in chapter 2, verse 6, to the moralist, he will render to each one,
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Romans 2 .6, according to his works, to those who by patience and well -doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
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By the way, if you perfectly obey God, why would he take you and say you deserve hell?
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This is only theoretical now because of Adam, our federal head's sin. But short of that, theoretically, if you could perfectly obey
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God, you're in. But for those, verse 8, who are self -seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
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Just takes one sin and there's wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the
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Jew first and also the Greek. But glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good. Jew first, also
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Greek. God shows no impartiality. For all who sin without the law will also perish without the law.
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And all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. Here comes a stealing assurance verse in the hands of some people.
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For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified.
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Now what Paul is saying is, if you'd like to get to heaven by being good, just be a perfect doer of the law.
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How are you doing? It's meant to show you your sins so that you're ready to see the
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Savior in chapter 3. Justification by faith alone. If you want to get to heaven by being good, how are you doing?
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I think it was maybe Whitefield or someone who said, if you want to get to heaven by being good, it's equivalent to climbing a ladder made out of sand to heaven.
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It's just impossible. He's trying, Paul is, to get this person's mouth shut.
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That's what Romans 3 .19 says. The law has come to make people's mouths shut. You know what?
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I'm a sinner. I deserve hell. Is there any mercy for me? I heard God is merciful. But it's to shut the mouths of people.
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But here's what folks do with this verse instead. They look at verse 13 and say, but it's the doers of the law shall be justified.
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Yes, you're initially justified by faith alone. There's no condemnation. Upon salvation, declared righteous.
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But there's a final justification at the very end. And if you do enough works, you'll be justified at the end.
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Romans has 16 chapters. And the Holy Living Sanctification chapters, it's not chapter 2.
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It's chapter 6 and what? 7. This has nothing to do with do
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I have enough works in my life and transform my life to make sure I can survive that final day when
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I meet God. John Calvin said, if you think this verse means you need to have enough works to get to heaven on that final day of justification, children should laugh at you.
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The context tells us that. Many, many people, you probably read, take
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Romans 2 .13 and make it say something that it's not meant to say. Let's look at another assurance stealing section.
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And that is Revelation chapter 20, the great white throne judgment. What a passage.
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But sometimes in the hands of teachers that probably should know better, it becomes scary for the
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Christian. Judgment day Christian, are you afraid? Jesus returns, are you afraid?
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White horse, sword, tattooed on his thigh.
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King of kings, Lord of lords. Chapter 20, verse 11 of Revelation.
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Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence, earth and sky fled away and no place was found for them.
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I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And the books were opened.
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Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the book according to what they had, listen, done.
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The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
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Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
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And if anyone's name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
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Christian, are you afraid? Are you scared? What's happening there?
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Do you see it as you read the passage? The unbelievers are judged on what they had what?
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Done. They get judged based on what they've done. And have they perfectly obeyed the law of God?
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Never sinned. Their deeds are all judged. I have a question for you.
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Are you Christian judged based on what you have done on that day, that great day?
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Luther said, I have two days in my calendar, today and that day. Will you be judged for what you've done or not done on that day?
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What do you think? Did you know twice it said of the unbeliever, they're judged based on what they've done?
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And what does it say about the Christian? Look carefully, verse 15. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
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Well, let's think about the opposite. If your name is found in the book of life, what happens to you? It doesn't say the deeds of the
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Christian. It says the names of the Christian, because guess what? All your deeds have been paid for by the blood of the lamb.
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And so if your name's in the book, your deeds are never judged, because why would Jesus have to pay for your sins?
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And then you have to pay for your sins. That's double jeopardy. So the unbeliever's based on, the judgment's based on deeds, and the believer's judgment is already taken care of.
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It was called Calvary when Jesus on the cross said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And it's like an eternity of hell's wrath combined into three hours, condensed into three hours, poured out on Jesus when it was dark from noon to three.
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And once he suffered that and died and was raised, you are never judged eternally into hell for your deeds, because your name's written in the book of life.
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Isn't that good? That's why as a Christian, you should never be afraid of judgment day.
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Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you flawless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
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Heidelberg Catechism, what comfort is it to you that Christ shall come to judge the living and the dead?
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What in the world? What comfort is it to me that Jesus is going to come back to judge? Well, if you're a
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Christian, it's a great comfort. Why? Answer, that in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head,
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I look for the very same one who before offered himself for me to the judgment of God and removed all curse from me to come as judge from heaven who will cast all his and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, but shall take me with his chosen ones to himself into heavenly joy and glory.
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Your sins will not be revealed on that day. They've been covered. The coming of Christ is not terrifying for the believer.
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Isaiah 43, God said, I will remember their sins no more. Micah 7 that I quoted last night, who's a
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God like you that pardons iniquity, passes the transgression of the remnant. He delights in mercy.
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He will turn again. He will have compassion on us. We'll cast all our sins in the depths of the sea.
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Hebrews chapter eight, I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
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I think for years I was hooked too much on Twitter and I had my phone and every time I'd open up my phone and the bottom right little icon on my smartphone was
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Twitter. That's what I just look at right away before text, before mail, before anything,
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Twitter. I thought I just have to stop this. I'm 63 years old. What am I doing? So I replaced it with the creeds and confessions app.
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I could have replaced it with the Bible app, but that's on there too. And now I swipe it open and there's creeds and confessions.
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And if you want some real encouragement for your soul, you can read some creeds and confessions and why don't you as an assignment tonight read the
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Belgic Confession. The man who wrote it was on the run. He's young and he's gonna die for his faith.
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And he has a section called the Last Judgment that could bring me to tears if I read the whole thing.
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But I'll just read this part. Talking about Judgment Day. Therefore, with good reason, the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people.
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But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous intellect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished.
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They will then receive the fruits of their labor and the trouble of which they've suffered. Their innocence will be openly recognized by all and they will see the terrible vengeance that God brings on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.
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The faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. This is you, dear Christian. The Son of God will confess their names before God his
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Father and the holy elect angels. All tears will be wiped from their eyes and their cause, at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers, will be acknowledged as the cause of the
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Son of God. Listen, and as a gracious reward, I'll turn it into personal pronouns.
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And as a gracious reward, the Lord will make you, Christian, possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine.
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So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our
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Lord. Isn't that good? That's so good, so important.
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Adoniram Judson came back from overseas missions.
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By the way, when you think of Salem, Massachusetts, what do you think of? The witches? I knew you pagans would answer that way.
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Of course it's not witches. That's where Adoniram Judson, the first man from this continent, set off as a missionary.
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Salem, Massachusetts. I avoid Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween usually. And he comes back to preach and they want to know stories that missionaries tell.
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I have a friend that's a missionary and I don't ask him to preach this way, but privately when we're sitting down just having lunch,
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I'll say, tell me an interesting missionary story and he'll tell me about the AK -47 put to his head as he's trying to sneak out of a hospital in some country.
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Or I'll say, what's the weirdest thing you ever ate? And he said, well, one time I went to this restaurant and it wasn't even a restaurant.
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It's like somebody's house and you just sit down. There's no doors, there's no windows or anything else and just a bunch of dogs running around, cats and stuff.
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This one dog came up to me and I kind of just pet the dog and next thing you know, that's how you order on the menu.
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I picked this dog to have for lunch. They take it back and kill the dog. That's your lunch.
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I'm like, whoa. By the way, when is lunch? But when
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Judson comes back, he says, I don't have any stories for you except the greatest story to be told and it's the Lord Jesus Christ.
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And if you don't want to hear about him, I have nothing else to offer. It is the same Judson that said to Madison University students, brethren, when
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I say to you, look to Jesus. Look to him on the cross. So great is his love that if he had a thousand lives he would lay them all down for your redemption.
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Look to him on the throne. His blessed countenance fills all heaven with delight and felicity. Look to him in affliction.
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He will help you. Look to him in death. He will sustain you. Look to him in judgment. He will save you.
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Father in heaven, we bless your holy name out of love sending the Lord Jesus to us.
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Thank you for the spirit of God who sealed us to the day of redemption. In his name we pray, amen.