string(7) "m-66998" Burnt Hickory Baptist Church


← back to list

Apr 21, 2024

Saving Faith Warnings

Saving Faith Warnings

Passage: 1 John 1:5-7

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Blessed Assurance

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: heaven, church, prayer, faith, jesus, sin, god, praise, ministry, sermon, cross, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, joy, salvation, sermons, holy spirit, peace, fellowship, jesus christ, the bible, christianity, saved, fellowship with god, bible study, blessed, read the bible, faith in jesus, study the bible, what is truth, assurance of faith, bible teaching, blessed assurance, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, experience jesus, is jesus real, repetitive sin

Today, in our sermon series about having assurance in your faith, we explore the warning signs that your faith may not be genuine. A warning sign for someone might be continually and habitually sinning or if they try to believe but not repent. Another sign is that someone remains casual or openly embraces sin. One way that you can be assured that you know God is to live in an attitude of surrendering all to Him. Closeness to God does not make you feel more holy; it makes you feel dirtier, and you can be assured you know God if you have a deep awareness of your sin and allow Jesus to cover it. Do you deny, rationalize, or hide sin? What’s keeping you from confessing your sin and repenting from it? Do you believe and understand the gospel? Do you have eternal confidence in resting in Jesus's finished work? Take time today to reach out. We’d love to answer any questions you’ve got and pray with you. You can have blessed assurance of faith in Jesus by taking the next step – visit

Well. Good morning. Church. I hope that you have been as absolutely blessed as I've been today. Been able just to shine a light on this incredible, incredible ministry that God has blessed us with here at Burnt Hickory, our special needs ministry. I have got two incredibly important people in that ministry with me today. I've got Josie Rudd and Tina with me today, and I am going to let them do some talking today. Because here's what I realize. The longer we're in this thing called church, the more we know about the things that we're involved with. But we really don't have a clue about just some other incredible ministries that God is directing us to here at Burnt Hickory. So let me do this. Let me just ask you guys to introduce yourselves real quick and just tell us what it is that you're kind of called here to Burnt Hickory to do. Let’s start with you, Josie. All right. 


Well, my name is Jose. I am the director of childhood ministries here at Burnt Hickory. Under that umbrella, though, is also our special needs ministry. So, I provide oversight and direction for that as well. 


My name is Tina Taylor, and I am the special needs coordinator here at Burnt Hickory. 


So, Josie, tell us a little bit about special needs here. Is this a new initiative for us here at Burn Hickory, or has it kind of been here for a while, and we're just kind of shining a light on it now a little bit differently? Yeah. 


No, it is definitely not new to Burnt Hickory. The ministry has been around for 20-plus years. I remember when I first came to Burnt Hickory. I was so excited to learn that they had a special needs ministry at the time. It was called Noah, and Noah was an acronym that stood for Nurturing Children, Offering Support to Parents, Assuring the Future, and Honoring the Lord. And so, this ministry has been a part of Burnt Hickory’s heart for a long time. 


Right. So where are we now? Obviously, we've got Tina with us now, Which is a new addition. She hasn't been here for 20 years. Just in case you're wondering. How did we end up with Tina? Tell us a little bit of that God story. Okay. 


Yeah, well, it definitely is a God's story. So, about two years ago, some of the families that we serve their children are medically vulnerable or at risk. So, during Covid, the ministry waned a little bit. We lost the volunteer base. We lost some people who served in it. And so, as families started to come back in wanting to plug in and really make this their church, we found ourselves really needing some expertise and some guidance. So I went to Pastor Matt and Marty, and we started praying that we could bring on a full-time special needs coordinator. So, around that time, Tina and her husband had moved into the area. They have worked with the disability community for 30-plus years. And so they had been attending Burnt Hickory for about ten months and asked for a meeting to sit down and just talk about ways that they could plug in. And little did we know what God was doing. But that's how God works, right? When we sat down and started talking, it became evident that Tina was supposed to come on and be with us, and we were able to offer her the position. 


And we're just so incredibly grateful to have her here. So, Tina, when was it? Did you just know that that special needs ministry was just who you are and what you're calling? 


So, as Josie said, you know, I've worked alongside families and special needs for pretty much most of my adult life. In that, I've served in many, many different roles, but not necessarily what I would call full-time ministry, although ministry was happening out there in those places. And when I came to the conclusion, there's a particular story in the scriptures that resonates with me and has resonated with me. And that's the story of Jesus when he heals the man who was born blind. And as they come in contact with him, they approach Jesus, and they say, why is this man blind? Was it a sin that he committed, or did his parents commit it? And Jesus basically says this is happening because of you. This is an opportunity for a man who was born blind to show you that you who can physically see are spiritually blind. So out there in that world of disability, I was being ministered on a regular basis by these individuals who often showed me how blind I was spiritually, how often I didn't hear from the Lord, and all of the areas where they had some sort of physical disability brought this spotlight in my own life of areas that I needed to draw close to God. So that made me aware of the fact that they could minister in great and mighty ways, and God was using them. And here I am now to hopefully plug them in. You've met some of them today, and they're out there, and they are ministering to you, and that's what it's all about. 


So, Tina, what man? What's in your mind? What's in your vision for what could happen and continually happen here at Burnt Hickory in the special needs world? Right. 


So Josie knows she hears it on a regular basis. I have big dreams big hopes. God has big plans for this group of people. And so I, looking at first Samuel 9 one through 13, that's the story of David. David has become king. And he asks, is there anybody out there from the family of Saul that I could bring to the King's table and invite them here and honor them? And they bring this young man, and this young man has lame feet, and he comes to the king's table, and he says, what is it that you would have with a dog like me? Here was a young man who had defined his whole life by his disability and didn't define himself in the way that he truly was. He was an heir to the king. He deserved a seat at the king's table. So my dream and my vision is that there is always a seat at the King's table for anyone and that they would define themselves first and foremost as children of God, made in his image with great purpose. 


So, what are some of the things that are happening right now? Man, a lot of people know that maybe you're involved with women's ministry or homeless ministry or a life group for adults. What are some of the things that are happening in the special needs ministry right now, as well as just watching God move? 


Oh, well, God is moving in so many ways. So, when Tina and I first sat down and decided that, you know, how we wanted to really come around and gerd this ministry, in our heart was what it says in First Corinthians 12. You know, the eye cannot say to the hand, I do not need you. The head cannot say to the foot, I do not need you. And so, people were created in God's image for his purpose and on purpose. And they are a part of the body of Christ. So it was with that in mind that we wanted to plug them into the things that Brant Hickory already has happening. So rather than exclusively program for the special needs community, what we want to do is open up things like adult ministry, student ministry, childhood ministry, and the things that are going on there for anyone to be able to attend. So it's making adaptations and modifications. And so we've done that over the ministry in several ways. We've done it in student ministry with D-NOW weekend, inviting a group of students to participate in that in the way that serves them best. We did that with our Easter egg hunts with Men's Night, and so we're just finding ways to allow the body of Christ to serve and worship and be together. 


Now, Tina. On top of that, we hear there's some new space that has been moved into. Can you tell us a little bit about it? 


Sure. We've been on a little bit of a journey. A construction journey, not just outside but inside the building. And so, we are proud of the space that we have. It's a space that's basically been designed with in mind anybody who might have even a profound disability and need the level of care that that room can offer. We basically have opened ourselves up so that we can say yes as many times as possible to as many families as we can serve in that space really has been an opportunity to do that. Already, even now, we are hearing from people. 


So give us a little bit of the scale. Tina, how many families would you say that we're already able to serve regularly? 


So, when I was asked to come up with that number, it was hard to quantify it because I serve on a graduated scale. So, I have some families that reach out to me and are simply asking for prayer support. One thing you'll learn about the disability community is they're fiercely independent. And I've been doing this work on their own and for a long time. And so they don't always ask for support. So that group very rarely reaches out to me, but occasionally, I'll get them. I also have some individuals who just need support around physical impairments. They might need access to different parts of the building or an adult changing area for somebody who might need that. They are infrequent but more frequent than the others. And then I have about 25 to 30 families that we just serve consistently, regularly every week. They are here, and they are part of this family and have been part of it for quite some time. 


So. But Josie, that's just a drop in the bucket, right? You guys have done some research and looking at the mission field of, of reaching some of these families. What does that look like? Just in this community? 


Yeah. Well, when Tina came on board about a year ago, I wanted to be able to offer our church leadership some insight into what's happening out there in our community. And so, like I said, Tina and her husband had been involved with special needs for families for a long time. So, her husband was able to put together some statistics from a 2020 disability survey for me. And he pulled out Cobb and Paulding counties exclusively. And as I was looking at those numbers, it was around 62,000 people who had been diagnosed or had some type of special need. And so the impact that that has is on just the families that are involved with those individuals and the responsibility that they carry. And what that translates to is that our church has an enormous responsibility and a gigantic mission field right here in our backyard. 


So, Tina, give us. What would be 1 or 2 of the biggest wins that you've seen most recently? 


So, the most recent is today. I cannot share enough with you how big of a win this is. I sit over here like a proud mom. Every one of those young folks that was up here on this stage, I've had the opportunity to get to know and serve alongside, and I've been blessed by them every week. The fact that you're getting a chance to see them now and be blessed by them is just huge. These are families that, for the most part, feel invisible. They're being seen for the first time amongst the body of Christ, and it is a huge win. 


Amen. So what if and I'm really praying this is going to happen. What if somebody out there is going, man, maybe the Lord is appointing me to share in this capacity what can they do and how can they get Ahold of you? 


So I would tell you first to start praying and lean into that. Don't ignore it, and don't push it aside. A lot of people, when they hear about special needs ministry, will have reservations because they just feel like they're unqualified. Well, I can speak to the fact that God qualifies the called. So if you feel the call on your heart, then he will prepare what it is that you need to know in order to serve. I have this great guy who serves right now. His name is Kyle. Kyle is an ex-military police guy. He's not what you think of as your typical special needs coordinator or individual who’s serving, but he is on fire. He has caught the very thing that I caught. He can't get enough. He wants to be here for everything that's related to that. And he just has a huge heart. If you run into Kyle, he can tell you every reason why you should become part of this ministry. I use this tag term instead of calling them special needs individuals. I say that they're especially needed because they have taught me over and over areas in my life that I didn't realize I needed to be part of that world, and God has shown up through that. So I would tell you, listen to the tug in your heart because yes, we need you, but you need us. 


Amen. You can reach out to Tina on email or right after this service, if you'll just exit out these back doors. The special needs space is in that very back corner, back there for adults. And she'll be back there with some friends and would love to see you. Would you guys do me a favor and thank these guys for all that they do and all the ministry that's happening? Amazing, amazing. Amazing. 


Suppose you’ve got a copy of Scripture this morning. We're going to continue our series, which we're just calling Blessed Assurance in the book of First John. The book of First John is where we're going to launch back into. And let me remind you from last week, we said that first, John is written by the apostle John 55 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. He has died, he is risen, and now the church has gone 55 years past that. John writes this little letter as an encouragement and as a warning to the churches to assure them of their faith. To assure them of their faith and really to answer the most important question that anyone could ever ask. And that is the question of whether I know that I have a relationship with King Jesus. You know, the reality is, is that we can answer every other question in life, right, but yet at the end of our lives, we pull up short with this question: Where is Jesus? And do I know Jesus? All of the other things will be absolutely nothing. So John took the time to write this letter just to give them this note of assurance. And give them the idea that they know that Jesus is their Lord. Now, I want to remind you that John, in this letter, is speaking to Christians. He's talking to our so-called Christians. He's talking to churches. He's not about to say, here are some ways that I'm going to give you to identify the pagans. No, he is speaking to people like you and people like me, people who are part of the Christian community. And what John is going to do today, quite simply, is John is going to give us three warnings today, according to Scripture, that your faith may not be real. Your faith may not be real. 


John would follow that with this tagline, even if you think it is. Here's what the Bible is very clear on as you read it, and as you become even more aware of it, you will begin to see that you can be very religious yet have done nothing with Jesus in your life. And John is about to combat those two poles by giving us this scripture from the first chapter. John, this morning. So, let me pick up where we left off this morning. It's going to all make sense to you. It's going to be as clear as it is in Scripture. I'm just going to give you John's little question here. Here we go. First John five. Here's what he says. He says this is the message that we have heard from him and that we declare to you. It sounds a little bit like the beginning of last week if you're here. Right. Here's what he says. He says God is light, and in him, there is no darkness at all. Literally, John says, there's not even a hint. There's not even a little bit of darkness in who God is. Keep going, verse six. He says if we claim to have fellowship with him, yet we walk in the darkness, we lie, and we do not live out the truth. But here's verse seven: don't, don't, don't skip this verse. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin. 


Now, I want you to write this down because what John did was he just gave us the first warning. He just gave us this first fatherly warning or this clear warning that your faith may not be real. And here's what he says. Number one, he just says that your faith may not be real if you continually and habitually sin. The word habitual just means that it is a common occurrence. It is a theme. It is a regular activity in your life and something that you pursue after. Now, before you think John is absolutely being harsh here, he's not. Why? Because he's speaking to people who can still respond to the warning. All right. This would be an incredibly harsh warning if this was preached at your funeral, right? It would be an incredibly harsh warning if it was preached at a time when you couldn't respond. But John is saying to these religious, quote-unquote people, listen, if your life is all about sin, and if your life is always pointed to sin and continually and habitually revolves around sin, the reality is, your faith may not be real. Now, let me get the elephant out of the room and just say this. What John is not saying here is that there's no way that you're a Christian if you ever sin. That's not what he's saying. John is not saying that if there is a sin that happens in your life, it automatically disqualifies you and knocks you out of the race to be a Christian. Right? That's not what he's saying. 


There's nowhere in Scripture that's saying that. John is also not saying that you're not a Christian if something just pops up and you kind of get caught up in it. What John is saying is that if you willfully and defiantly continually chase after sin in your life, that is an eternal problem. That's a salvation problem. Why? Because it really shows that God has not transformed your life, and you're choosing to chase the old nature and not the new nature. Remember, while John tells us he describes God, remember the imagery in verse five that we just read. Let me read it to you again. Here's what John says. John says this in verse five. He says that God is light, and in him, there is no darkness at all. The darkness that he's talking about here is moral darkness, and unfaithfulness or impurity in this darkness John is saying is usually John saying. He's saying, listen, you cannot love God in the light, so keep chasing, walking, and pursuing the darkness. Let me say it the opposite way. Just maybe it'll help you. What John is saying is that if you have really been saved, you now have a new heart that loves the light. It doesn't mean that you don't make a mistake. It doesn't mean that you don't sin. It doesn't mean you don't fall every now and then. But what he's saying is, if you have a new heart in Jesus, your heart is more drawn to the light than it is to the dark. Why? Because true salvation changes you. It gives you a new focus. It gives you a new direction, a new directive, and a new affection. Salvation is true salvation; it opens your eyes to who God is. True salvation reorients your life to God and God's command. 


True salvation makes the things that used to seem outlandish to you now become part of God's loving plan for your life. In fact, I remembered this verse this week, Psalm 19:7. King David, after he was saved, had a radical transformation. And he shows us this thinking. Here's how King David describes it in verse 19, Or Psalm 19, verse seven. He says the law of the Lord is perfectly refreshing to the soul. Man. Is God's laws refreshing to you? The statutes of the Lord, he said, are trustworthy, making the wise simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. Verse ten: they are more precious than gold, much pure gold. They are sweeter than honey. Honey from the honeycomb. Listen, church, that's what salvation does to you. It changes your outlook on God. It changes your outlook on God's laws. God's desires for you, God's commands for you. And it points you in a new direction that, yes, you might sin. But sin is not the constant thing that you are chasing. Now let me ask you, does that describe your relationship with God's commands? Is your relationship with God's commands? I’m going to run wherever I want to and just think that flippantly, God's grace is going to cover me. Or is it the fact that man, I know that God's Word, God's law, and God's message are all that I need, but even though I know that, I still fall sometimes? But when I fall, I get up, and I repent, and I turn back to him. Do you point your life in the direction of God's light, or are you still drawn to the darkness? 


You know, in 28 years, I've taught, and I've walked with people in this world. And here's what I know about church people. Church people chase the darkness as much as other people chase the darkness in so many ways. Remember, John is writing this to a bunch of church people, right? And he's saying to these church people. Listen, if your life is consistently consumed with sin, you might have a salvation problem. Let me give you some ways that church people try their best to stay in the dark. Number one, they try to believe and not repent. Church people believe and do not repent. You say, Matt, what does that mean? That means you could describe that by just saying that they try to grab Jesus as their Savior. Why? Because they know that they want a Savior, but they never give him their heart as Lord. They never turn over the kingship of their life. They never turn over control of their life. They will say, Jesus, I need you, save me, save me, move in me. But when it comes to my life, take your hands off of that. I'm going to make my decisions. And I'm going to do my own thing. Or they say, Jesus save me, but I'm not turning for my self-rule. Listen closely. You can not know Jesus without repenting. What repenting literally means is a change of direction in your life that turns away from yourself and sin and turns toward the Holy God. You cannot put belief without repentance. In fact, Jesus said it like this. And Mark 1:15, he said, the time has come. 


He said the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news. Peter said it like this. The first time he preached the gospel, Peter replied. Acts two, verse 38. Peter replied, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You see, there's a belief, and there's a repentance. Paul says over and over and over again that you cannot be saved by the light and hate the light. You just can't do it. Or you cannot be saved without turning away from the darkness and turning toward the light. Church people stay in the dark like that. Do you want me to tell you the second way that church people say a lot in the dark? It’s that they just remain casual or even openly embrace sin. They just remain casual about it. They're just flippant about it. They're like, yeah, I know it. I know that's what God says, but I'm just going to kind of do what I want to do. I know that God's Word, I know that God's command says this, but Matt, I'm not hurting anybody. You say, Matt, what would you talk about? Well, how about the couple that's not married and is just living together right now? It’s like, man, I know God's Word says we shouldn't be doing that. But this isn't hurting anybody. Or how about the high school or college couple that are getting drunk and having sex on the weekends and going, hey, it's not hurting anybody, even though we're not married? Or how about the employer stealing from their employee or from their job over and over and over again? Man, they're making enough money. What does it matter? Or the ultimate one? How about the guy or the girl that just happens to say, Man, I know the Bible says that about that lifestyle over there, but I'm just going to go do what I want to over here. 


You see, the reality is that if we have a flippant approach to sin, that means that we do not know what Jesus has done for us, and we don't know what he's doing for us. Look, we cannot say that we know Jesus as Lord and Savior and not forsake what he has forbidden. Does that make sense? We cannot say that we know Jesus and continually chase the things that Jesus died to deliver us from. We just can't. John's clear first John two verse four. Watch what he says. He says who? Whoever says, I know him but does not do what he commands. He's a liar, and the truth is not in him. Look, if you really know Jesus, he's not your life coach. He's not your buddy. He's not just some spiritual advisor. If you know Jesus, he is the Lord of your life. He's either the Lord of all, has the old saying, go, or he's not Lord at all. This is why Jesus said in Luke 6 verse 46 he says, why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? The idea is not that I need to agree with Jesus before I submit to him. That's not lordship. Lordship is God. I know that I am a sinner. And I know that I'm going to fail. But here's all of me. I'm giving it all to you. Here I am. And don't get me wrong, because that man I know if I was sitting right here. I know what I'd be thinking. Here's what I'd be thinking. Matt, are you telling me that if I'm not perfect, I'm not a I'm not a Christian? That's not what I'm saying. But I am saying this: If Jesus is your Lord when you do fall, it's often Amen.


It's often there's a deep resolution in your heart that says, God, I'm sorry, and I'm moving back to you. That's what I'm saying. Look, if that's not there. The man, John, is giving you a warning. Here's a third way that I see. Just church people stay in the darkness. That's why they pray some. If you're listening to this online, I'll give some air quotes in the air. So, if you're not watching, they pray some quote salvation prayer without life-change. And boy, I've seen this one in years of student ministry. Amen. Did you know, according to Barna, in about a ten-year-old survey, Barna research firm would say that 50% of Americans would say they've prayed some kind of salvation prayer? 50% of them do not have a life change, have no regular church attendance, and have no regular characteristics that give them a worldview different from the world. They think they're because they prayed some kind of prayer, that that's all that they needed to do to follow Jesus. Listen, God doesn't save you because you prayed a prayer. God saves you when you come to him, submit your life to him, repent from your sin, confess that you can't do it, and invite him to be the Lord of your life. That's why He saves you. 


He saves you when you repent and believe. So the question is not, did you pray a prayer? The question is, how do I stand before Jesus right now? So, what is the first warning that he gives? Do you continually and habitually sin? Now, look, I know that's heavy, so let me give you the hope side of that statement. All right? I didn't want to be like the jerk all day. Right. Here's the hope side of that statement. All right, here's the assurance. You can be assured that you know God if you live with an attitude of surrendering all to the God who gave his all. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? I want to I want to balance that out. Because here's the thing, man. God is clear about what salvation is, and he's so clear to say, listen, when you surrender, you got me, and I got you. And I'm not saying that any of this is perfection, but I am saying that when you fall, you get up, and you resume the posture of submission to him. That leads me to number two. Number two's quicker, I promise. All right. Number two, let me read the verses, and then I'll give you the warning. All right. First John. Keep going. Verse eight. 


Here's what he says. John says if we claim to be without sin, which is probably none of us, right? If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Now, skip down to verse ten. Don't worry; we're going to come back to verse nine for you type-A people. Alright, here it is. He says this: if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us. Now, this is the opposite of number one. Write this down. Here's the second clear warning: your faith may not be real. Your faith may not be real. Number two, if you claim you have no sin. Your faith is not real if you claim you have no sin. Why? In other words, here's what John is saying. John is saying that if you do not have an awareness of the sinfulness of your heart, it is a sure sign that you have never met Jesus. You say, Matt, that's pretty harsh. No, it's not harsh. That's hope-giving. Here's why. Did you know the first evidence of God's light, love, and grace that bears down on your heart is that you need to see and recognize that you're a sinner? Did you know that's the first evidence that God is calling you and that God is showing you who he is? It is when God begins to send conviction and sin awareness into our lives. That I am not perfect, that I cannot ever live up to the standards of God, and that I deserve, because of the sinfulness of who I am, the wrath of who God is. 


You see, it's like God begins to shine a light into our dark souls and illuminate the fact that we need him. Most of you know this about me. I love to hunt. I'll hunt anything, all right? I just love to do it. I love the chase. I love being outside. But more often than not, what I love about hunting the most is not just being by myself. Which is awesome, right? It is this. I love to sit in the woods when it is absolutely pitch black by myself, with not a noise around me, nothing happening, and then all of a sudden, the sun begins to come up, and it begins to illuminate God's creation around me. I just love it. I love watching the s-u-n sun begin to illuminate what has been right in front of me forever. Can I tell you that? Exactly what does God do with the sin in our lives before we give our lives to Jesus? The s-o-n Jesus begins to illuminate our lives and begins to show us that we deserve the wrath of God, but we can turn to Jesus and give him our heart. And listen. This is not just say this is not just a kind of you coming to faith problem. This is even a Christian problem. Man, I've met Christians so many times they say things like this. You know what? I used to struggle with sin. I'm like, well, I don't know what Bible you're reading, brother, but we all struggle with sin, right? I used to struggle with sin, but then I matured out of it in my life,e and I'm like, really? What are you reading, and who are you? And hey, you're preaching next week, right? That's all I need to say to them, right? 


But listen, that's not what happens in any of our lives. You see, really, what happens in our lives is one of the signs of growing in Christ, which is that you become even more aware, an acute awareness of the sin that is in you. I mean, I can tell you, the more that I mature in Christ, the more God exposes the things that are in my heart that don't honor him. In fact, write this principle down. I thought about it this week. Closeness to God does not make you feel more holy. It makes you feel dirtier. I don't even know if that's the right grammar. But that's all I got, right? It just makes you feel dirtier. Why? Because the closer you get to a holy God, the more you realize that I'm not him and I need him. The closer you get to God, the more you realize that, the more you commit yourself to a holy God, and the more you know that you need God pressing into you. Remember the prophet Isaiah, remember the prophet Isaiah? Man, Isaiah was a major prophet. He wasn't just a minor prophet; he was so major. He got a book named after him, right? A whole book of Isaiah. You didn't. I didn't. He did. Right. Remember what happened to him when he came into the presence of God? Did he stand before God and go, Man, I am holy now? 


Man, I am everything now. I am puffed up and prideful now. No, no, no, no. That brother, when he got into the presence of God, all he could do was fall on his face and tell God this. Isaiah 6 five: woe is me, I cry. For I am ruined. For I'm a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips. And my eyes have seen the glory, and the King the Lord Almighty. So, when Isaiah got close to God, do you see what stood out in his mind? It was his need to be saved by a holy God. Man, rest assured, the encounters with God always show you your sin. But praise be to God. It doesn't stop there. It is always followed up with the reality that we can lean even more so into the person of Jesus to forgive us of those sins. In fact, let me give you the assurance that's attached to the statement. Here it is that you can be assured that you know God if you have a deep awareness of your sins and allow Jesus to cover them. Do you see how it works? If we run from it and we say we don't have it, we're looking at Jesus going; your sacrifice was a moot point. But when we realize, man, I know that I'm a sinner and I need a Savior, I need a Savior to give me hope. It's different. You know, sin is one of those things that we don't talk about a whole lot. 


We don't like to talk about it. It doesn't grow churches. Right. And some of you might not come back next week. Right? I mean, I get that right. But do you know there are only four things that you can do with your sin? I gave them to your notes. Number one. People really just didn't either deny it. Number one, they just kind of kind of deny that it's even there. Man. We're pretty good at this one, right? Number two, they rationalize it. They'll go, well, my sin is not as bad as their sin, or my sin is not as bad as the people around me. Or I didn't hurt anybody. Or the ultimate rationalization of our sin. Have you ever heard anybody say this? Well, Matt, have you ever considered I did that because I was with the wrong crowd? I mean, really, I was just with the wrong crowd. Have you ever heard anybody say that? Let me just say this, and I'll move on. Do you know why you are with the wrong crowd? It’s because that's where your heart is drawn to. And that doesn't make you with the wrong crowd. You are the wrong crowd, right? That's what the Bible says. So, they rationalize it. 


Number three, they hide it. They hide it. They put it somewhere. They hide it. They hope nobody ever finds out about it. That's what we do with our sins. But there's only one thing that has a positive effect on our sin. And that's number four. That's the Isaiah approach. They repent, and they confess it. And listen, this is the only thing that brings freedom from our sin. This is the first step of salvation. When we realize that I'm truly a sinner in need of a Savior. I confess my sin to Jesus. I ask him to cover my sin and to give me his righteousness. But listen to this. Listen to what John says about confession. Listen to the freedom it brings. First, John 1:9. I told you we would come back to it. Here's what he says. He says if we confess our sins. He is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins, and he will purify us from all unrighteousness. Listen, as heavy as you feel like this message is, this message has more hope in it than probably any other message I've ever preached because it says we all have a way. We have a way to have our sins covered. We have a way to have the righteousness of God. We have a way to have the assurance of God. We have a way to know that we know that we know that we know that Jesus is ours. And the way is not continually chasing after sin. 


The way is not just trying to hide our sin or pretend like we don't have it. The way is Jesus. And what does he say? He says, come into the light. He says God is good, and God already knows, and God knows you, and God wants you. That's good news. So the first clear warning that your faith may not be real is if you continually, habitually sin. The second one is if you say or claim you have no sin. But here's the third one. Number three, your faith may never be real if you have no assurance before God because of your sin. Now, this one's a little bit trickier because a lot of us deal with assurance problems. So, by no means saying if you've ever doubted your faith, you're not a Christian. That's not what I'm saying. Okay? But what I am saying is this: when you truly understand who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. When you truly grab onto Jesus, and he grabs onto you, when you truly realize that Jesus has offered you forgiveness and salvation and hope and his glory, there is nothing that can touch that assurance when you truly grab hold of it. In fact, watch what John says. Here's what he said. First, John chapter two, verse one. He says, my dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. Right? We get that, John. We were sinners. We do it right. But if anybody does sin. Here's the hope. Man, I want to leave you with this. We have an advocate with the father. Don't miss that. Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the world. I want to leave you with two words this morning that we don't use in sentences. They're not part of our normal conversation. And I want to show you these two words that John says in Scripture: advocate and atoning. But I want to do them in the reverse order. 


I want to talk to you first about this huge word of atonement. Here's what Jesus promises all of us: he is the payment. He is the atonement. Your version may say he is the perpetuation of your sins. I promise you, you didn't use that in a conversation yesterday, right? And it literally describes that Jesus, listen to this closely now. Lean in for me. That Jesus is the means of forgiveness for you. That he is the means. He is the remedy to satisfy the debt that makes you, now when you know him, that makes you now favorable before a holy God. Here's what atonement means. It means that Jesus has offered to absorb on himself the penalty that I deserve, the penalty that you deserve. He's offered to absorb the sin that I have to satisfy the claim or the charge that is against me. Really? You can say that Jesus has atoned me, that he has gone against me. He has suffered in my place. So, where does my assurance come from? It doesn't come from me being good. It doesn't come from me being right. It doesn't come from me being righteous. It comes from knowing that on the cross, Jesus took every drop of wrath upon himself. It was poured on him. He paid it all. He atoned for it. He atoned for it in the past and the present. That's what atonement means. Perpetuation means. 


The second word is just the word beautiful word advocate. Advocate. It just means that in Jesus, not only has he atoned for your sins. He is now your advocate. Now, what does that mean? Advocate is an amazing word. It's a legal term that literally means that. Now catch this church, that Jesus stands before the judge on your behalf, on your behalf. And what does Jesus do? And what is Jesus doing right now? Jesus is pleading your case. Do you see the assurance in this? The assurance is that Jesus is now standing before the Father pleading your case. That's what Jesus is doing in the present tense. Actually, Jesus right now is arguing about his work, his perpetuation, and his substitutionary death. Do you know that Jesus is not arguing with the Father, looking at the Father, God going, hey, God, you know that mad guy? Man, he's a great guy, so just give him one more chance. Just give him one more chance. He'll come around. I promise. He'll just give him one more chance. No. 


Jesus is not standing before God saying, man, that guy Matt, he will do it. Do you know what Jesus is saying before the Father right now? He's saying, God the Father, you cannot hold that sin against him because I've covered it. I've covered it; I've redeemed him. I've atoned for him. My death paid for it all. Church, that's the assurance. The assurance is not that I'm good. The assurance is that Jesus is standing before the father right now, and you cannot hold him accountable. You can only hold me accountable, God, and you already did. You see, church, and this is why this is not bad news. It's good news. It's good news because we have a savior that gives us confidence. Says I'm yours. Listen, here's the assurance. Believing and understanding the gospel gives us eternal confidence that we can rest in the finished work of Jesus. Listen, being a Christian is it's not a person earning a title. A Christian is a person who lives out of being set free. That's the confidence of that when I surrender all and all to Him I owe, he gives me life. So here's the question. What do we do with this? What do we do with this? A couple of walkaways. Number one. Man, I just want you to ask yourself this morning. Have I come to a point in my life where I know that I know that I know? Not that I'm perfect. But I know that I've surrendered my life to King Jesus. 


Listen, if you haven't, here's the hope today for you. It's not too late. It's not too late for you. Why is it not too late? Because you're still breathing, and your heart's still beating. And you're still here in the morning. And there's still some receptivity in your heart to hear the things that God. Listen, do you need to turn your life over to Jesus today for real? I've been in church for some my whole life. That doesn't matter. Matt, I've even taught Sunday School. It doesn't matter. Matt, I led the youth in my church. It doesn't matter. I'm just asking you about this. Do you know that you know that Jesus has come into your life, set you free, and given you his life? If not, today's the day. Well, how do I do that? Matt? And you just ask him, Lord Jesus, come into my life. Save me, forgive me, and be my Savior and my Lord. Is that you today? Right in your seat. And that's you and the Lord. 


Secondly, if you are Christian today, I'm just going to ask you today, number two. Man, how much do you really and truly pause and thank Jesus for his sacrifice? In this next worship moment, man, I'm just going to ask you to do that. Number three today. What is it that's keeping you from walking in the light? Let's pray together. 


Lord Jesus, today. God, I know that it seems like John is being so rough here, but he's not. God, this is a fatherly rebuke to a child, us, who needs to hear the salvation message of Jesus. God, I'm just praying today for that in the next couple of minutes, people would reach out and say, hey Matt, I need Jesus today for real. I need to make sure. God, whether they do that online on the Next Steps app or that they walk in these next couple of choruses up to myself or one of these counselors today and just say, hey, today I need to turn my life over to Jesus. I've been chasing sin. I've read. I've totally run against God's plan for my life for ages and ages and ages, and I just need to make sure today that my life is in him. Lord, move in these next couple of minutes, Jesus, and show us how much you love us. And it's in your name we pray.


Amen. Amen. 


Let's stand and sing.

Follow Along with the Message

Saving Faith Warnings

April 21, 2024

1 John 1:5–7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Clear Warnings Your Faith May Not Be Real

1. If you continually and habitually .

1 John 1:5
…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
Psalm 19:7–10
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

Ways Church People Stay in the Dark

1. They try to believe and not .

Mark 1:15
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

2. They remain casual or openly sin.

1 John 2:4
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
Luke 6:46
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

3. They pray a “salvation ” with no life change.

ASSURANCE: You can be assured you know God if you live in an attitude of “I all” to God who gave His all.

1 John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:10
If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

2. If you claim you have sin.

PRINCIPLE: Closeness to God does not make you feel more holy; it makes you feel .

Isaiah 6:5
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

ASSURANCE: You can be assured you know God if you have a awareness of your sin and allow Jesus to cover it.

4 Things People Do with Sin

1. They it.

2. They it.

3. They it.

4. They repent and it.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

3. If you have no before God because of your sin.

1 John 2:1–2
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

ASSURANCE: Believing and understanding the gives an eternal confidence that we can rest in the finished work of Jesus.

Additional Notes


Email (To Send Copy of Notes)