Assurance – Session 6

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 6

  1. What does idolatrous love of the world reveal?
  2. The question is not _____ you worship, but _________ you worship.
  3. How do we overcome the world?
  4. ____________ is the gift by which we ______________. (1 John 5:4, 1 John 4:19)
  5. It’s not that our desire for sin is too __________, but that our love for God is too _____________.
  6. Only by _________________ for the world can you ___________ the world. (1 John 2:17)

Assurance – Lesson 5

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 5

  1. Explain Martin Luther’s “Damnable Doctrine of Doubt”. Do you agree or disagree with this doctrine?
  2. Read 1 John 2:15-16. What diagnosis for a relationship with God is mentioned in this verse?
  3. What is meant by “Do not love the world or the things of the world”?
  4. Describe the meaning of “lust” as it pertains to 1 John 2:16.
  5. Read 1 John 5:21. What is idolatry? When does a good thing become a bad thing?
  6. Read 1 John 5:21. What is idolatry? When does a good thing become a bad thing?
  7. Read Luke 14:33 and Luke 14:26. Describe how we are to show love for God based on these verses.
  8. Read Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38, and Acts 17:30. Does repentance follow belief?

“We don’t come to him as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.” – C.S. Lewis

Assurance – Lesson 4

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 4

  1. Explain what is meant by “Truth as fact becomes real as experience.”
    • Magnification happens first at conversion but it happens again and again for the rest of your life
  2. We were created for fellowship. List some ways God reinforces this statement.
  3. Three ways to build your relationship with God:
    1. Put yourself in the presence of His Word (Read the Bible)
      • Do a quiet time
      • Memorize scripture
      • Pray the scriptures back to God
      • Get in a small group
      • Become an expert at applying the Scriptures to deep and broken parts of life.
    2. Pray for it
    3. Keep obeying even when you don’t ‘feel’ it.
  4. Why is present posture better proof than a past memory?
  5. According to Romans 10:9-10, what is necessary to be saved?
  6. Explain James 2:17 if these requirements are all that is necessary to be saved.

Assurance – Lesson 3

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 3

  1. What does certainty in God through experience mean to you? (1 John 1-2)
  2. What is the difference between Objective and Subjective truth?
  3. Explain how Jesus’ miracles point to a higher reality.
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus feeding the 5000?
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well?
    • What lesson can be learned from Jesus healing the blind man?

  4. Read John 3:36. How many groups of people are referenced in this verse? What are they?
  5. Read 1 John 2:1-2. How does it make you feel to know Jesus is your advocate? What does it mean that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins?
  6. From the book “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart,” in chapter 3 read the section Ray Dillard wrote describing what a high priest had to do before Yom Kippur, then read Zechariah 3:4, 9.

    How does God see even the most holy who approach Him?

What is a Christian?

The Confusion of Christianity

There is a great confusion about what a Christian is. Many people profess to be Christian, but seemingly live like others who do not.

Those opposed to Christianity point to a hypocrisy in the choices Christians make and what ideals they claim to have.

What’s fact and fiction about Christians? Read on to learn for yourself what a Christian is and isn’t.

First, let’s discuss what a Christian isn’t, and that may form a better picture of what a Christian is.

What a Christian isn’t

A Christian is not a sinless person (Romans 3:23). Claiming to be a Christian does not magically stop a pattern of behaviors that someone has practiced for a lifetime. Some people drastically change their behaviors overnight. Others seem to take the rest of their lives to change. Was one truly a Christian and the other not?

Not necessarily. As those who oppose Christianity will quickly point out, even those without a relationship with Christ can change their lives.

The Correction of Sin

A Christian is not a judge of sinners. The phrase “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” is a bit of a mantra among some Christian circles. While I am not thrilled at the overuse of this trope, it does illustrate that while we are to judge sin in the lives of others, we are not to judge the eternal destination of the person committing the sin.

Most people claiming to be Christian will agree with this assessment. Clearly, the Bible has warnings against judging others (Matthew 7:1-4). There is also clear direction that judgment is reserved between believers and not those who do not claim to know Christ. While we are all sinners, those who are in Christ will not have their sin held against them, so we are called to correct other believers (Matthew 7:5).

While we are called to correct others, that correction should come in very specific ways and at very specific times (1 Timothy 5). Too often those who claim to be in Christ ignore or are ignorant about these commands from the Bible. I will address that in a future post, but know if a person claiming to know Christ is judging those who do not, they are not following the commands of the Bible.

Christians – Enemies of Fun?

Christians do not hate fun, and they are not without joy or happiness. Too often, people who proclaim Christ focus so much on the rules, they lose sight of the grace that God provided them (John 15:11). While we should not continue to live in sin, we should also not be so focused on removing sin from the world that we forget we exist to lighten the load on our neighbors (Mark 12:31).

The mark of a true Christian is they adopt Jesus’ viewpoint of the world and the people in it. We are not only called to love others, but to serve them. If Jesus can lower himself to wash the feet of his own disciples, we should humble ourselves and serve those who do not always agree with us (John 13:1-17). If we are called to pray for and love our enemies, we should be willing to stop and provide assistance to people we cannot stand to be around (Matthew 5:34).

Who Should be Called Christian?

So who should be called Christian. What can we do to earn the title of Christian?

Here’s the beautiful part. We can’t do anything. We don’t deserve it. But like the issue of salvation, we can’t do anything to earn it. We don’t deserve it. Jesus earned it when he died on the cross. He gave us this title. God made us co-heirs to His estate by adopting us into His family.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift- not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation-created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (HCSB)

Claiming Your Birthright

Being a Christian is claiming Jesus as your brother. Pure and simple, you are identifying yourself as a child of God. It means in the same way you trust a chair to hold you up when you sit in it, you trust Jesus to catch and hold you when you do fall. We all fall to sin, but it is the mark of a Christian that we do not stay down, but stand up after the sin.

The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ-seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Romans 8:16-17 (HCSB)

A Christian’s Posture Toward Sin

The difference between Christians and those who are not should be characterized by the posture toward sin. We should no longer seek to sin, but rather seek Christ and His teachings. We fall into the arms of Christ when we do sin, but walk tall knowing He is our hope for any relationship with our creator.

What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

Romans 6:1-4 (HCSB)

So, know that when you accept Christ, you claim what Jesus told the woman at the well. First, you believe that He does not condemn you for your sin, and then you agree to go and sin no more (or do not seek out sin anymore, John 8:1-11).

Assurance – Lesson 2

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

  1. Does God want us to know we are saved? How can we know for sure we are saved?
    1. A saved person placed their hopes of heaven entirely on Jesus – 1 John 5:13
      “Assurance doesn’t come by remembering a prayer you prayed in the past but by the posture you are in the present.”
    2. A saved person has a new nature – 1:John 5:18
      “It doesn’t matter what your mouth says on Sunday morning, it matters what your life says Monday through Saturday.”
  2. What is your relationship to your chair at this moment? What about your relationship with Jesus?
    1. Belief in your sin – 1 John 1:8,10
    2. Resting on Jesus – 1 John 2: 1-2
  3. Do you know Jesus? Are you keeping his commands?
    1. Someone who claims to know Jesus and does not keep his commands is a liar – 1 John 2:4
  4. Why does God punish those who sin?
    1.  Describe the difference between “faithful and just” and “merciful and kind” – 1 John 1:9
    2. Jesus didn’t just plead your case before God, he took the punishment for your sin – Galatians 3:13-14
  5. Read 1 John 5:16-17. What is meant by “a sin that leads to death”?
    1. It does not mean you cannot repent – John 6:37
  6. What action characterizes a righteous man?
    1. It’s not what you do, but what you do after what you did – Proverbs 24:16

“Conversion is not sinless perfection, but it is a new direction.”

Assurance – Lesson 1

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – Session 1

  1. J.D. told his story about struggling with assurance of salvation. Have you struggled? Do you still? Describe that.
  2. How do repentance and faith, as explained in this session, give depth to the idea of asking Jesus into your heart?
  3. How does a misuse of the sinner’s prayer grant assurance to some who shouldn’t have it and keep it from some who should?
  4. Read Romans 10:9-10. How did this session impact how you understand this passage and others like it? 
  5. Does God want us to know we are saved? How can we know for sure we are saved?
  6. Explain why Jesus put acceptance before change when he spoke to the adultress.
  7. Search your heart and mind for why you are attending this study. Write down below what you hope to get out of this study.

God’s acceptance is the power that liberates us from sin, not the reward for having liberated ourselves.

Purpose for this study: Comfort those who are troubled, and trouble those who are unjustifiably comforted

Key Verses: Matthew 7, Romans 10:9-10, 1 John 5:13-18, John 14:18, John 14:1-3, 1 John 4:19

How can I be saved?

What does being saved mean?

To understand what a Christian means when they say “being saved”, you must first know what sin is.

Sin is defined by Miriam-Webster as an offense against religious or moral law, transgression of the law of God, or a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the last two definitions.

Transgression of the law of God

So what is a transgression of the law of God? Put quite simply, it means disobedience of the commands God sent. In this sense, sin can be broken down into two categories.

There is the sin of comission and the sin of omission. Comission is doing something God has commanded we shouldn’t do. This would be something like murder or theft.

Sinning by omission, however, is not doing something that should be done. This would include failing to give to the needy or even helping a friend in need.

These are transgressions of the laws God has given to man.

Vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Huh? What does that mean? Definitions can sure get confusing, so let’s break it down.

In Genesis 3, The Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, who are thought to be Earth’s first inhabitants. God created Adam, then seeing that he needed a helper, created Eve. They lived in a place called Eden, a paradise garden with plenty to eat and nothing to worry about.

God told Adam and Eve they could eat anything in the entire garden, except the fruit of one tree. God had created them with something called “free will”, or the ability to make their own decisions about what they do with no intervention from God.

One day, a serpent asked Eve about the one tree God said not to eat from. She told the serpent that God said if they eat from that tree they would die. The serpent then told Eve that God only said that to ensure she and Adam do not become like God.

Long story short, Eve eats the fruit then tells Adam to eat it. Having disobeyed God, both of them were banned from Eden, having been cursed with a “sinful nature”, or an inclination to disobeying God.

God and sin

God cannot be in the presence of sin. It goes against his character. It’s like an asthmatic being around cigarette smoke, but worse. God loves his creation though. He does not want anyone to miss out on a relationship with Him.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

So God sent His son, Jesus, to the world to command the world to once again obey God. Knowing that man could not obey God without help, Jesus also had another mission, one that would not be revealed to the world until it was complete. Jesus was to die to pay the price of death for all sin of all time.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8 (Holman Christian Standard)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

What must I do to be saved?

Growing up, I was taught in church that all that was required to be saved was to say a short prayer and I would go to Heaven and not Hell. While the people who taught this were well-meaning, they were oversimplifying a process that requires guidance and constant attention.

The people who taught me this pulled from Romans 10:9.

if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9 (Holman Christian Standard)

Being saved is not simply saying a little prayer. It is looking to and remembering the action Jesus took in sacrificing himself for all of mankind. It involves relying on God to transform you rather than anything you can do to earn salvation.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:23-26 (Holman Christian Standard)

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart!

Some of the most prominent preachers and evangelists boil salvation down to a pre-written prayer sometimes called the Sinner’s Prayer. It was meant to simplify the process by adding acknowledgement of our sinful nature, recognizing the need for Jesus to atone for that sin, and committing your life to the mission Christ left His followers.

The problem with simplifying salvation to a prayer is that without following up and disciplining (mentoring) the person who prays it is people treat it like fire insurance. Too often, it’s treated as a “get out of hell free” card or a license to sin.

The Sinner’s Prayer isn’t bad, and some people who pray it are saved. But the prayer itself doesn’t provide salvation. It can’t save you, only your posture toward Jesus can do that.

How Do I Know I’ve Been Saved?

There are two key ingredients to being saved. The first is repentance. Repentance is more than asking for forgiveness, it is turning away from sin. To be saved you have to forsake your sin. Leave it like a toxic relationship and never look back.

It doesn’t mean you will never sin again, but you should never WANT to sin again. You shouldn’t be actively seeking out sin.

The second ingredient is faith. Many people mistake faith for belief. I believe in a chair. I believe it exists and I believe that it has held other people who put their entire weight on it.

Until I place my trust in the chair by transferring all of my weight onto it, I am not placing my faith in it. This is the difference between belief and faith. Until you can rest your full weight of your eternal destiny squarely on Jesus, you are not practicing faith.

Take Up Your Cross

Following Christ requires a daily commitment to live according to His teachings and to love other people enough to continue a lifelong mission to introduce others to God.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Matthew 16:24-26 (Holman Christian Standard)

Biography

Trey Joseph Murray

Trey Murray is a talented writer with a passion for helping other believers defend their belief in the Christian faith. He connects with his life group through personal stories while utilizing evidence and logical support to view all areas of life through a biblical worldview. Trey is a life group leader at Bar Cross Cowboy Church in Alvarado, TX.

Trey graduated high school at Burleson, TX. He then studied at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, TX before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Trey finished his college career with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Broadcast Communication from the University of Texas at Arlington.

While at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, he became active with the Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship (MBSF). This campus ministry was focused on bringing God’s word to all students on campus. There he was lead by Rob Leonard, campus minister and music minister for Pauline Baptist Church in Monticello, Arkansas.

Trey received training in Evangelism Explosion, a tool used to help minister to people and introduce them to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Field practice consisted of door to door evangelism and reaching out to church visitors. It was during this training that Trey learned many techniques for reaching the lost.

Trey has written several poems and short stories, but now focuses his writing talents on lessons for his life group. He utilizes his life experience and draws from years of experience both in and out of Faith in God. Follow Trey’s journey as he blogs regularly at treymurray.com.

In June 1999, Trey married his wife, Brandy. They have one child and live in Alvarado. Trey earned his black belt in Judo in July 2016.

Statement Of Faith

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;

I believe he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.