Assurance  - Message 1 - Part 2 


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


The Priority of Preaching - Part 3

Duplex brought to your radio. My name is Mike Gabendroth, No Compromise Radio Ministry. Today, part two, my first message in Kingsport, Tennessee, after I had been to the largest
Buc -ee's in the world. Justin and his son took me there. Deeply rooted conference assurance.
I don't know if it was a plenary seminar. I can't talk.
Anyway, today's part two. I hope you enjoy it. Welcome. I'm Jeremiah Reiner, and this is the
Deeply Rooted Podcast. Hey there, and welcome to the beginning of some special episodes that we've got lined up for you for the
Deeply Rooted Podcast. We were fortunate enough to host the Deeply Rooted Conference just a few weeks ago here in Kingsport, Tennessee.
And graciously, we've been able to record those sessions for you. And so what we'd like to do is publish those in shortened formats, obviously with some editing being done around the music and different aspects of the conference.
That being said, this is our first session. Brother Mike Abendroth, who was kind enough to join us all the way from Massachusetts, we actually had
Mike on a previous episode. So make sure you go back and listen to that if you'd like more information about Mike's life and his ministry.
He spoke on the importance of assurance. Brother Mike was able to give us three sessions, and this is the first one.
So we hope you enjoy what he's got to say on the doctrine of assurance. Number six, why is assurance important?
Why is assurance important? The Westminster Assembly thought it was so important that, by the way, 25 of its members wrote on faith and assurance.
That's a lot. It's like one -tenth of the men who put together the Westminster Standards wrote on faith and assurance.
Why is it important? Well, it's important, number one, because to get real assurance, you're going to have to stop nasal -gazing.
You're going to have to stop navel -gazing. It's easy to do, and looking by faith to the Lord Jesus is harder.
It's important because, as you know, the joy of assurance is wonderful. Those seasons in your life when you have assurance, you think, oh, this is the best of the best.
It was 1653 when Joseph Carlyle wrote, the greatest thing we can desire next to the glory of God is our own salvation, and the sweetest thing we can desire is the assurance of our salvation.
All saints shall enjoy a heaven when they leave this earth. Some saints enjoy a heaven while they are here on this earth.
Say a lot. Assurance is important because it frees you up to do everything that you need to do as a
Christian, from experiencing trials and temptation to ministry and to service. Show me someone that doesn't know they're saved, and I'll show you someone that's handicapped when it comes to doing good works because they're consumed with the idea, am
I even a Christian? How can I serve the Lord and worship the Lord and do things in the local church when I don't even know
I'm saved? Thomas Goodwin, the Puritan, said a
Christian who has full assurance of faith is ten times more active than people that are not assured.
And so if you don't have assurance right, you get a lot of things wrong, and you're stumbling in your ministry, kind of a spiritual hypochondriac just focusing on yourself.
Number seven, what are the different kinds of assurance? I made mention of this earlier, and so I'll say it again just for emphasis.
Objective and subjective, in that order. By the way, most of us here do it in the opposite order, but it's the right order of objective, who is
Jesus? Subjective, what is the Spirit of God doing in my life? When it comes to the
Westminster Confession of Faith, they said, here's what you look for for assurance, three things.
The divine truth of the promises of salvation, that's objective. The inward evidence of those graces under which these promises are made, subjective.
And the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are children of God. And so first we look by faith to the
Lord Jesus, that's objective, His person, His work, His love, His promises. And then we look to see the
Spirit of God's work in our life. Do we cry out, Abba, Father? And are there fruits?
By the way, just a little Spurgeon side note.
They're like, enough of this Westminster Confession, let's have a Spurgeon quote. Spurgeon said, when you chase the dove of assurance, it flies away.
Am I assured? Am I assured? I don't have assurance. I need assurance. I study assurance. I study assurance. Do I have enough fruit?
Do I have enough evidence? I almost said fruit and vegetables. Do I have enough fruit? But he said, when you look to the
Lord Jesus Christ in the scriptures by faith, the dove of assurance settles down on your shoulder.
That's why in my ministry in Massachusetts, the ministry the Lord has given to me, if someone comes to me and says, you know, by the way,
Pastor Mike, I'm really struggling with anxiety. I don't usually give them a book on how to overcome anxiety.
Pastor, I'm struggling with depression. I usually don't give them a book about depression. What do you think I give them?
Oh, we might talk about that some. That's true. But I usually ask them, when's the last time you read a book about Jesus?
When's the last time you read a book about Jesus? I was with Sinclair Ferguson years and years ago, and I first was starting to write.
And so he said, Mike, tell me about your ministry. I said, oh, I explained it. And then he said, you know, you're writing some books?
Yes. He said, what are the topics? I said, well, they're both about Jesus. And I wish I could give you the
Scott's Rogue, but he said, they'll never sell. I'm like, oh, he's Mr. Encouragement, typical
Scott. But A, he was right. They didn't sell.
He didn't mean I was a bad writer, although I think I was. But he meant people don't like to read books about Jesus because they want how to.
They want application. They want just tell me the three things to do. Just fix the problem.
By the way, for those of you that aren't pastors and you come into counseling, counseling does not fix my problem.
If you say I'm going to go to the pastor, I want my problem fixed. Translation, I want my wife to do what
I wanted to do, or vice versa. That's not real counseling. If you don't understand biblical roles and you want the
Bible taught to you and I have to think theologically, fine, fine, and fine. But a lot of counseling is simply,
I know you're going through a hard time, but let's remember who the Lord Jesus is. He's faithful. You can trust him.
He's good. And so one of the things I want to encourage you to do, dear congregation, is read books about the
Lord Jesus. Every problem is solved in a Christological fashion.
And maybe one of the ways you can start is just reading the Gospels of the Lord Jesus, the good news about Jesus and the
Gospels. When's the last time you read a gospel? If you add up Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, there are 89 chapters that show you his person, his work, his promises, how he acts.
It's wonderful to do. You think, why is there so much about the life of Jesus? Well, it's telling you this is how a real human should act, a true human, a perfect human.
This is how Adam should have acted. This is how Israel should have acted. And all of a sudden, you start having your eyes on the Lord Jesus.
You're forgetting about yourself. And that dove of assurance just settles in. Should you read books on assurance?
Absolutely. But the good books on assurance, like Joel Beeky's, like Louis Burkhoff's, I guess
I can, it's bad form to promote your own book, but since I didn't write any of the book, I just compiled it. I tried to pick authors that talked about the
Lord Jesus. Not just how to get your assurance, but how to set your mind and fix your hope completely on the grace to be given to you, the
Lord Jesus, grace incarnate. Number eight. Okay, I've been waiting for these last two.
Everything's been a lead up to these last two. I feel like I need to get in a three -point stance. By the way,
I'm from the University of Nebraska. I'm a Cornhusker. And in the old days, we won a lot, but I can't remember the last time we won a game, so it doesn't matter.
Although we still go to football games in Nebraska. You don't have conferences on weekends when Nebraska plays a home game on Saturday because nobody will show up.
Are the Vols playing tomorrow? They are? At home? Three o 'clock at home?
Oh, Missouri, all right. Number eight. What's been the history and the struggle for assurance?
It's good to study church history. What's been the history? Let's especially look at the Reformation. What's the history of the struggle of assurance, especially in the
Reformation period? Did you know the Roman Catholic Church taught and teaches that it is a sin to have assurance?
It is called the sin of presumption. The sin of presumption.
And Cardinal Bellarmine, back in the day during the Reformation, Luther's day, said it is the principal heresy of the
Protestants. The principal heresy. Did you get that? Not minor, but major heresy.
In the Catholic Encyclopedia, by the way, where I live in Massachusetts, 80 % of the people call themselves
Catholic. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines assurance, called the sin of presumption, this way, quote, it may be defined as the condition of a soul that because of a badly regulated reliance on God's mercy and power hopes for salvation without doing anything to deserve it or for pardon of his sins without repenting of them.
Now, one of the things I appreciate about Rome during the Reformation and the Counter -Reformation, they understood what the
Reformation taught. This is exactly right. What is assurance? A reliance on God's mercy, power, hopes and salvations without doing anything to deserve it.
That's exactly what it is. But they call that a sin. Now, they did say a few people get to have assurance of salvation.
Any guesses who that first person might be? Oh, good thought.
But I was thinking more of the Virgin Mary. She gets it because, well, she's Mary. Paul gets it because there's revelation.
Remember, he was caught up into the third heaven in 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Why in the world would they say you can't have any assurance?
They would say things like, if you say no matter what the future holds, I'm saved. That's a sin.
I'd say to myself, what are they doing? It's dangerous to say that. It's not desirable to say that.
Listen to what the Council of Trent says. If anyone says that he will for certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto end, unless he has learned this by special revelation, let him be damned or anathema.
If anyone says justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, let him be anathema or damned.
Why would they do that? Well, I think one answer is simple. If you get away from the sacrament of penance that's distributed through a local priest, money's going to be lost, power is going to be lost, profits are going to be lost.
They think it makes people prideful and presumptuous. But here's the main issue. If you tell people there's nothing you can do to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, when you die, you're going to go to heaven.
Absent from the body, present with the Lord. For me to live as Christ and to die as gain, then those kind of people are going to take advantage of grace and are going to become antinomian.
That was Rome's real concern. And one of the great things about the Reformation studies, for those of you that study the
Reformation, you think it's a recovery of the doctrine of justification, my faith alone. It's a recovery of the doctrine that the will is bound.
But did you know one of the great recoveries of the Reformation was recovering the doctrine of assurance?
I think one of the books we have here, edited by Brooke Parsons, it says that in that very book, Sinclair Ferguson.
In some senses, the Reformation was the great rediscovery and rediscovery of assurance.
And I want you to know, dear congregation, dear Christian, do you think God likes to give assurance? Do you think
God loves to give assurance? Or do you think He likes to hold it back? I don't know about you, but I have four children.
Haley's 30, Luke is 27, Maddie is 24, and Gracie is 22.
They're still not sure they're my children because I haven't confirmed that yet, because I want to make sure they obey enough in order that they will become my children.
Like, what a weirdo you are. You've said weirdo twice tonight. Joel Beeky, what would you think of an earthly father who kept his son and daughter in doubt for many years as to whether he was their real father?
God loves to give assurance. He's not trying to take it away. It was Rome that took away assurance to control people and to get money, period.
If you meet a evangelist, besides talking, obviously, about the
Lord Jesus, is to tell them you can know for sure. You can know that you can know that you can know that you have eternal life.
You don't have to purify yourself. You don't have to go through temporal punishment. You don't have to go to purgatory. Simply believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Lastly, number nine. Hey, we're going to make it through.
We're going to make it through. The longest sermon I ever preached in my life was 92 minutes. You say, why 92? Well, I always ask the pastor, how long should
I preach? Because I don't want to preach longer than the preaching, the regular pastor. He said, I preached 92 minutes.
So I asked him, why 92 minutes? He said, well, we have cassettes that we record. You know, we'll learn, we'll teach the young ones what cassettes are later, but they were 90 -minute cassettes, but 90 -minute cassettes were really 92 minutes because it was 46 minutes on each side.
So at 46 minutes, he flips it over and you keep going until 92, 92 done. Number nine, why do some modern evangelical teachers and preachers withhold assurance?
It's my last question for the introduction tonight. We'll get more in the Bible here, the next message, but I wanted to frame things tonight.
Why do some Protestants and evangelical pastors and teachers withhold assurance?
Well, I have many reasons. Maybe one, they don't understand law gospel. Maybe they don't understand that they're supposed to feed the sheep of God, so they don't understand ecclesiology, how the church should function.
Maybe they don't think the gospel motivates. Maybe they think just law motivates.
Maybe they're afraid that there can be some nominal Christians, but the issue
I believe, in my opinion, why don't evangelical pastors try to give more assurance regularly?
They do it for the same reason that Rome does it is because they're afraid of lawlessness. They're afraid of unholy living.
They're afraid that people are going to take advantage of grace. They're going to somehow think that if Jesus paid it all, that I can do anything
I want. I'd like you to turn your Bibles to Romans chapter five. I especially see this kind of teaching in federal vision circles, new perspective on Paul and final justification advocates.
And we'll maybe talk about those later, but it's around evangelical circles. And so I want you to go to Romans five, this great epistle, and let's work through Romans five just a little bit.
As we think about assurance and should we be afraid of lawlessness?
Does grace make people sin or does it motivate people to obey? Romans five.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we hope we will have peace with God in the future through our
Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, excuse me. I misread that. Did anybody catch that? Okay.
Let me try that again. Therefore, since we have received only the initial stage of justification.
Oh, I did it again. Sorry. Therefore, we shall have peace with God after we've been sufficiently sanctified.
It doesn't say any of those. It says, since we have been justified by faith, we have present tense peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ. And more than that, we have access. Dear Christian, I want you to know when
God declares you righteous, you can't be any more righteous. Even in heaven, you won't be more righteous in the declaration of God's court because you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to your account.
How could there be anything more righteous than Jesus, the inherent righteous one who then on earth merits righteousness for others?
Once you're justified, you are as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ. And we could talk about union and other things with Jesus as well.
Your pastor is not more justified than you are. Your favorite celebrity is not more justified than you are. You are justified.
You've been washed, sanctified, justified. Back to Spurgeon because we at least get another amen with Spurgeon.
Amen. The moment a person believes in Christ is pardoned, once he receives, his sins are no longer his.
They're cast into the depths of the sea. They're gone. That man stands a guiltless man and accepted in the beloved.
What say you? Do you mean that literally? Spurgeon, yes, I do. That is a doctrine of justification by faith alone.
You think about the language of scripture so we can try to understand how God forgives. Do you think
God is a reluctant forgiver? How does God give forgiveness? Kind of doesn't want to do it.
Think of Micah chapter 7. He casts our hurls, sins overboard.
Doesn't kind of just nicely drop them over, sets them down. It's language so you can think
God is not a reluctant stingy giver nor a reluctant stingy forgiver.
Through one man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous. Skip a few chapters to Romans chapter 8.
I call this maybe the most shocking verse in all the Bible. Could there be better assurance than Romans chapter 8 verse 1.
Romans 8 verse 1. I'm sure you've memorized it. There is now therefore no condemnation.
That's the opposite of justification, right? The antonym of justification is condemnation, courtroom language, for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But there might be condemnation later. Kind of two -step justification, final justification.
No, there's no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Past sins paid, present sins paid, future sins paid.
You can't be unforgiven. You can't be unreconciled. You can't be unredeemed. We'll hear from Josh.
Blessed are those lawless deeds that have been forgiven when he preaches tomorrow.
Man, he said in Roman Catholic doctrine assurance is a sin. In a lot of Protestant evangelicalism it's a duty.
And in the New Testament it's a fact. It's just a fact. Assurance focused on Christ and not our performance.
Don't you love the song? We even love Wesley's songs sometimes when they're biblical, right? Did I just say that?
What do I care? I throw out a grenade or two tonight, tomorrow, and I fly back home. I know
I'm going to make it because I flew here in Allegiant, but I fly home on American, so we're going to make it. No condemnation now
I dread. Jesus and all in him is mine. Alive in him my living head and clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own. Horatius Bonar said
Romans chapter eight verse one is unguarded because it's meant to shock you. What do you mean
Romans chapter seven? I don't even do what I want to do. I still sin as a
Christian, but there's no condemnation for those in Christ. That's exactly right. Because as John Bunyan said, my righteousness has been up in heaven for 1800 years.
And I have that. Okay, so in the time I have left, here's what we're going to do.
I'm going to give you a quote. You're going to tell me if it's good news or bad news, then I'll tell you who said it.
Because if I tell you who said it first, it's going to be your favorite celebrity. And then you're going to say it has to be true. And Mike Avendrell is wrong.
But I want you with your own lips to say, no, that's not true. And my point here is not to be judgmental or extreme or anything like that.
But even good men, evangelical men, godly men, some of these can teach the wrong thing when it comes to assurance.
And they are somehow going to make assurance tied to faith in Christ. And how much transformation you have in your life.
Your holy living is not your Savior. Your obedience is not your Savior. Jesus saves.
And of course, out of gratitude and thanksgiving, do we want to obey? Since God is holy, do we want to be holy?
Of course. Has nothing to do with being unholy or not unholy. We all strive as Christians to want to work.
But we're not going to put those works up with Christ works. And we're not going to put our works on the final day of judgment either, because God only accepts perfection.
God only accepts perfection. So we're not going to lower the law to somehow make it so that we're saved by faith through faith alone.
But then on that last day, there's going to be some great transformation in our lives that has been proof.
Exhibit one. Is this good news or bad news? The exclusive ground of justification of the believer in the state of justification is the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
What do you think the next word is going to be? But his obedience, which is simply the perseverance of the saints in the way of truth and righteousness is necessary to his continuing in a state of justification.
Good news or bad news? You have to say that's bad news. That's Rome and that's
Norman Shepard, who taught at Westminster Philly for years until men like Robert Godfrey stood up and said you can't teach that because you're teaching justification by faithfulness.
And out Norman Shepard goes. But he's influenced Bonson and many others and so it still is around.
Exhibit two. Since obedience to God in Christ is a condition of our continuance in the state of justification.
Did you get that? By the way, if that's true, how are you doing? Let's just cut to the chase.
How are you doing in your obedience? Well, let me ask your wife. How are you doing? How is he doing?
Since obedience to Christ to God in Christ is a condition of continuance in the state of justification of our not losing it and our perseverance therein is a condition of our appearing in that state before the
Lord at our departure hence. That's not good news. That's Richard Baxter in the
Deformed Pastor book. Excuse me, the Reformed Pastor book. Not to be reading
Richard Baxter. Why do you think he had to go make so many house calls? Because he has to make house calls and visit people.
Nothing wrong with visiting, but he has to make sure they're obeying the extra laws that he gives them. His methodology is directly tied to his theology.
Exhibit three. When you ask on how a person can be right with God, this man answers this way.
The stunning Christian answer is, soul of feet, faith alone. But be sure to hear this carefully and precisely.
He says right with God by faith alone, not attain heaven by faith alone. So you're saved by faith alone, but you do not attain heaven by faith alone.
Is that good news or bad news? It's bad news. And it's John Piper. Why does
John say that? What is going on? Piper says, quote, in justification, faith receives a finished work of Christ performed outside of us and counted as ours.
In final salvation at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it is born, and we are saved through that fruit and through that faith.
I regularly say, dear Christian, God loves you. And then people in the congregation, if they're not a
Christian, I'm not talking to them. Okay. I'm going to go for five more minutes because you talk for five minutes without a microphone and then had to redo it.
So he took five minutes of my time. I've never preached before with copies of my books up here.
Let's just get rid of those. You told me there'd be no altar calls here and you just had people coming up all the time.
Big point. When you hear preaching, I just want you to say, is that good news or bad news? And good news is talking about the
Lord Jesus grace incarnate eternal son became flesh. One of my favorite commentaries that I use all the time, but a man said this verses 12 and 13 of Romans eight cap off this proclamation of life in Christ by reminding us that God's gift of eternal life does not cancel the complimentary truth that only by progressing in holiness that will eternal life be attained.
Is that good news? That is not good news. When people say, if you still struggle with the same,
I heard a big evangelical say this the day, if you still struggle with the same sins that you committed 30 years ago, as you do now, you ought not to call yourself a
Christian. Really? Lust of the eyes, self -righteousness, pride, arrogance.
Part of being a Christian is we struggle with those things. And that was in Romans commentary page four 72 and Doug Moose Romans commentary.
I could go on and on and on. If you're a
Sunday school teacher, if you're a mom or dad, the best thing you can do is talk about the
Lord Jesus. And it is simple faith. It's a understanding who
Jesus is intellectually and a scent to that. And then a trust because it has nothing to do with our faith.
It's the object of our faith. And I don't want you to turn into a
Roman Catholic functionally by taking away assurance. And probably what will help you more than anything is if you can grapple with this fact, answer this question in your mind.
And then in your ministry or in your home, does grace lead to unholy living? Because our default is yes, it does.
If I watch you preach, I'll say you think it does. And you think law is the way to motivate.
And it's been said many times. It's not original with me. Law has no motivation. Law has no animating power.
It just tells us like the GPS go that way. How do you get to Knoxville?
Not by the GPS, but there has to be an engine. And the engine to get you there gets you there.
And the engine for all Christian obedience is not law. Did you hear me?
It's not law. It's who the Lord Jesus is. To find someone who would love me like that.
I have been married for over 34 years and I met this young lady and I was 29, she was 24.
I asked her to marry me on May 6th and we got married on June 6th, same year, 1989.
I said, what were you doing? I told my kids, don't do what I do, by the way. So my son just got married this year.
He was engaged for 45 days. So at least he's growing, progressing better than his dad.
Looking back, one of the reasons why I married her in 30 days is because she'd eventually find out how bad
I was on the inside. And maybe she'd say no, if she really knew what
I was like. So I thought I'm going to marry someone who is pretty and they keep their word because when she says
I do, she means I do. And can you imagine the God of the universe who's learned nothing, knew every single sin you'd ever commit, every one, those ones in the skeleton closet that you don't want anybody to know, and he loved you and he sent his son to die for you.
What would Jesus say if he walked in when you were committing the worst sin you've ever committed? If you think back with the worst sin you've ever committed and he walked in, what would he say?
He'd say I'm holy, that sin, sin is repulsive, but I love you and I'm going to pay for that sin so you can have reconciliation with the
Father. If that doesn't make you want to evangelize and to pray and to sing and to be motivated,
I don't know what would. Let's pray. Father in heaven, thank you for tonight.
Thank you for these dear people. I pray that everyone here who's a Christian would have wonderful assurance and those that are here tonight that aren't
Christians, I pray that you would not give them any sleep or any rest until they trust in the risen