Robert Jeffress - Eternally Secure - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress. And welcome again to Pathway to Victory. And by the way, happy birthday to my wonderful wife, Amy. Perhaps you are shocked to hear a high profile Christian leader publicly renounced his faith. Or maybe a stalwart believer in your local church was exposed for leading a double life of sin. Both scenarios are deeply troubling and they both cause us to wonder is it possible to lose your salvation once you've been saved? Well today, we're going to answer that question by looking at the single greatest verse in the Bible that provides assurance of salvation. My message is titled Eternally Secure, on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Our assurance of salvation is based on the written Word of God. It is the best evidence that every promise of God is true and can be trusted. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Alan Colmes was asking me a question. He's a great friend. He's not a believer yet, but he's a great friend. And he asked me the question. He said, "How do you know all this stuff is true you keep talking about? How do you know Jesus is really the Son of God? How do you know these things"? And I said, "Well, Alan, it's the Bible. My faith is built upon the Bible". And then he asked a very great question, he said, "Well how do you know the Bible's true"? Good question. How do you know the Bible's true? I said, "Alan you don't have to check in your brains at the door. You don't have to commit intellectual suicide to believe the Bible.
There are literary scientific, historical, archeological reasons to believe that this book is truly what it claims to be. The written and errant Word of God. And that's where our faith rest on. Not on changing experiences, but the unchanging written Word of God". These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. And that leads to the third word, the word believe. These things I have written to you who believe. The way to know whether you're really saved or not is whether you have believed. Now, what does it mean to believe? Over and over again you hear the word believe in the Bible acts 16:31. Remember the Philippian jailer asked, what must I do to be saved? Paul said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved". Or in John 11:25, "Jesus said, 'I'm the resurrection and the life he who, what? Believes in me shall have eternal life and live even if he dies". John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall have everlasting life".
Believe is the way we channel God's faith and grace into our life. But what does it mean to believe? Listen, believe is not intellectual ascent to a certain set of facts about Jesus. It's not agreeing that Jesus is the Son of God that he died for the sins of the world, that he was raised again on the third day. We get this idea of, if you believe intellectually, all the right things about Jesus, you can be saved. It's not believing the right things about Jesus. The word believe means to trust in, to cling to, to put your whole faith and trust in. The best illustration I know of what the word believe means is found in John 3, when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus. Remember Nicodemus wanted to know how he could know that he had eternal life. And Jesus talked about the importance of being born again by believing in the Son of God. And Nicodemus didn't understand that.
So, Jesus used an illustration that Nicodemus, as a Jew was familiar with. He said in John 3:14-16 "For as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of God be lifted up: that whoever believes in him might he have eternal life". Nicodemus recognized the story immediately. It came from numbers 21. Remember how the children of Israel because they were being disobedient to God, were bitten by the fiery serpents that God sent. And those fiery serpents, the bite, the venom was killing the children of Israel. And so, they went to Moses and they said, "Moses have mercy on us. Intercede with God, save us". And so, Moses went to God and God said, "All right, this is the way of salvation. You make a bronze serpent, put it on the end of a pole, hold the pole and the serpent up in the air and tell the people this, if they will look at the serpent they will be healed". Look and live was the message of healing. And all those Israelites had to do was to acknowledge that they were ill and dying. And by faith look at God's provision that had been lifted up and immediately they would experience healing.
Now, that's the illustration that Jesus used of what it means to believe. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes, whoever in an instant recognizes his need for salvation and trust in Jesus to provide that salvation. Whoever believes in him shall have eternal life. Do you know what the next verse is? Verse 16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life". These things I have written to you, who believe in the name of the Son of God. And that leads to the fourth phrase in this verse, the Son of God. How are we saved forever? It's not just by faith in general. It's not belief in general that somehow, some way everything is gonna turn out okay. Faith always requires an object. And that's why John specifies the object of belief. Those who believe in the name of the Son of God. Our faith is in Jesus Christ. And the fact is, our faith is only as reliable as the object of our faith, as true in our salvation. Our salvation doesn't depend how much or how little faith we have. It depends upon the object of our faith. We have to believe in an object. That object is a person, the name of the Son of God.
And by the way, will you notice the emphasis on the word the name of the Son of God. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. I was talking to a seminary student. He had just graduated. He was a muslim. And he had converted to Christianity. And he felt like his mission in life was to go back to the followers of Islam and to tell them the truth of the Gospel. And then he made this comment to me. He said, "You know pastor, one of the greatest hindrances to witnessing to Muslims is our unwillingness to refer to God as Allah. If we would simply use the term Allah and our witnessing to Muslims, we could win many of them to Christ". And I said, "Sir, you are mistaken. God and Allah are not the same. Names mean something". God is not whoever we think he is. God has a name and God's son has a name. And his name is Jesus Christ.
There are people who say, "Oh, they're gonna be all these people in heaven. We never expected to be there. People we never believed or would be there because they've not particularly believed in the name of Jesus. They believed in God, they just called him by some other name". Our Savior has a name, his name is Jesus Christ. He is the God man who came and died and rose again that we should have eternal life. And there is no salvation apart from belief in the name of Jesus Christ. Now let me show you something, I found this week. I was actually working on another series of messages for next year but I'm gonna give you an advanced preview. Look at this in acts 4:8-12. Remember it's the story of Peter and the apostles who were healing people in the name of Jesus Christ and the Jewish authorities were furious and they arrested them and said, "You've got to quit speaking that name of Jesus. That name of Jesus is very offensive to us. You can heal if you want to, just don't use the name of Jesus".
How many people today do you hear say, "Oh, you can pray. Just don't pray in Jesus name. That is very, very offensive". Notice what happened verse 8, "Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said to them, 'rulers and elders of the people, if we we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you, and to all people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by this name this man stands here before you in good health'. He the name is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, but which has become the very cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else: for there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved except the name of Jesus". Do you hear that over and over and over again, it is through the name of Jesus Christ.
Now, listen to me. There is no indication in scripture. There is no allowance in scripture that there will be anyone in heaven who has not trusted in the name of Jesus Christ. If there's another way to heaven, if there is another pathway to heaven, if it doesn't matter what God or what you calling by to get into heaven there's no need for us to have an evangelism program. There's no need for us to have a mission program. We might as well just shut the doors today. God has a name. It is through the name, Jesus Christ that we have confident access to God through the father. Don't be a wimp. Don't wimp out. Don't be politically correct. You tell people the name by which they can come to God through, it is the name of Jesus Christ. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. And that leads to the last phrase. These things I have written to you that no you have what? Eternal life. Isn't it interesting. He doesn't say that you may know you are saved. He said these things I've written to you, that you you may know you have eternal life.
The first in the verse right before that 1 John 5:12 he says, "He who has the son has the", what? Life. He who does not have the life does not have the son. So in other words, the way to know if you're eternally secure, if you're safe, do you have eternal life or not? Or you say, "Well, I don't know that until I die and find out where I wake up. Am I in heaven or hell then I'll know whether I have eternal life". No, no, no, no, that's too late. That's too late. Eternal life does not refer to a quantity of life. That's what most people think. They think, oh having eternal life means you're gonna live forever. No, the fact is everybody's gonna live forever. Doesn't matter what you believe, doesn't matter whether you're a Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Hindu, Mormon, atheist, everybody's gonna live forever. Bible says we're eternal beings. It's the location of our eternity, that's makes the difference. Some will spend eternity in heaven with God. Some will spend eternal life... Eternity in hell with Satan but everybody's going to live forever.
Eternal life does not refer to a quantity of life. It refers to a quality of life. It's the quality of life that Jesus was talking about in John 10:10 when he said, "The thief, Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly". When Jesus and John talk about eternal life, they're talking about this abundant life. A life that is filled with joy, contentment. A life that is marked by obedience to God. A life filled with a desire to know God better. A life that demonstrates self control. A life that is marked by love, not hatred toward other people. Now a life that forgives rather than engages in bitterness. That's the eternal life he's talking about. And John is saying the best way to know whether you're eternally secure or not is to ask yourself, do I have that life? It's not something you get when you die. It's something you're supposed to be having right now.
Again, 1 John 5:12, he who has the son has this life. This kind of experience. He who doesn't, doesn't have a life. Now you may be thinking, "Well, pastor you're contradicting yourself. You just said a few moments ago, our salvation doesn't depend upon experience". I'm talking about feeling when I talk about experience there. Now John saying here, the proof of your salvation is not your feeling. It's tangible fruit in your life. That's a great way to know whether or not you're saved. Is there tangible fruit, like love, and joy, and peace, and obedience, and desire to know God. Is that fruit being produced in your life, that's evidence that you have the life giving Spirit of God inside of you? If there is no fruit, there's no spirit. You don't have the Son of God residing in you. That's why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5 you wanna know whether you're saved or not? "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you indeed fail the test"?
Jesus said you can perform a self exam to see if you're really Christian, a Christian. Test yourself right now to see if you're in the faith. What does he mean test yourself? He's not talking about, give yourself a theological test. Don't get out a piece of paper or a blue book and say, "Okay, can I list 10 reasons for the virgin birth of Christ? Or can I distinguish between the term pre-millennial, post-millennial, amillinnial. He's not talking about a theological exam. He's talking about test your obedience to God. How do I know that's what he's talking about"? That's the whole purpose of 2 Corinthians. Paul was concerned that these Corinthian Christians were living in such a way that didn't match up to their profession of faith. And that's why he said in 2 Corinthians 12:24. "I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you not to be what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish: that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, anger, tempers, dispute, slanders, gossip, arrogance and disturbances".
That's why Paul said, you better test yourself to see if you're in a faith. Paul was just echoing what James said in James 2:14 and 17. "What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but he has no works? Can that kind of faith save him"? Absolutely not. He says in verse 17, "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself". The Bible is clear. Faith without any fruit, is a dead non-existent faith. The way to know whether you're truly eternally secure is do you have evidence of that eternal life right now in your life? Test yourself to see if you're in the faith. Some years ago, northwest airlines had a special promotion. They called it a mystery fare. You could pay $59 and receive a ticket to a mystery destination. You won't find out where you were going, until the day you got to the airport. Kinda an interesting concept, isn't it?
Thousands of people took advantage of the mystery fare, and most of them were happy with their destination. Everybody except one customer, who was wanting to go to New Orleans but ended up with a fare to Minneapolis in the winter time. And a reporter said he was going through the airport, waving his ticket saying, "I've got one ticket to the mall of America that I'll trade for anywhere". You know mystery fare are fun for a weekend vacation. But there is one day in your life, you don't wanna be holding a mystery fare ticket. And that's the day of your death. To close your eyes for the last time here on earth without an absolute assurance of your eternal destination, that's a risk no sane person would wanna take. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life. Do you know? Are you absolutely sure?