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The Blessing of Full Assurance


Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/07/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                The Blessing of Full Assurance                         May 13th, 1888                               by                         C. H. SPURGEON                                

      "These things have I written unto you that believe       on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know       that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe       on the name of the Son of God."-1 John 5:13.

    John wrote to believers-"These things have I written     unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God."     It is worthy of note that all the epistles are so     written. They are not letters to everybody, they are     letters to those who are called to be saints. It ought     to strike some of you with awe when you open the Bible     and think how large a part of it is not directed at     you. You may read it, and God's Holy Spirit may     graciously bless it to you, but it is not directed to     you. You are reading another man's letter: thank God     that you are permitted to read it, but long to be     numbered with those to whom it is directed. Thank God     much more if any part of it should be used of the Holy     Ghost for your salvation. The fact that the Holy Spirit     speaks to the churches and to believers in Christ     should make you bow the knee and cry to God to put you     among the children, that this Book may become your Book     from beginning to end, that you may read its precious     promises as made to you. This solemn thought may not     have struck some of you: let it impress you now.

    We do not wonder that certain men do not receive the     epistles, for they were not written to them. Why should     they cavil at words which are addressed to men of     another sort from themselves? Yet we do not marvel, for     we knew it would be so. Here is a will, and you begin     to read it; but you do not find it interesting: it is     full of words and terms which you do not take the     trouble to understand, because they have no relation to     yourself; but should you, in reading that will, come     upon a clause in which an estate is left to you, I     warrant you that the nature of the whole document will     seem changed to you. You will be anxious now to     understand the terms, and to make sure of the clauses,     and you will even wish to remember every word of the     clause which refers to yourself. O dear friends, may     you read the Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ as a     testament of love to yourselves, and then you will     prize it beyond all the writings of the sages.

    This leads me to make the second remark, that as these     things are written to believers, believers ought     especially to make themselves acquainted with them, and     to search into their meaning and intent. John says,     "These things have I written to you that believe on the     name of the Son of God." Do not, I beseech you, neglect     to read what the Holy Ghost has taken care to write to     you. It is not merely John that writes. John is     inspired of the Lord, and these things are written to     you by the Spirit of God. Give earnest heed to every     single word of what God has sent as his own epistle to     your hearts. Value the Scriptures. Luther said that "he     would not be in paradise, if he might , without the     Word of the Lord; but with the Word he could live in     hell itself." He said at another time that "he would     not take all the world for one leaf of the Bible." The     Scriptures are everything to the Christian-his meat and     his drink. The saint can say, "O how I love thy law!"     If we cannot say so, something is wrong with us. If we     have lost our relish for Holy Scripture, we are out of     condition, and need to pray for spiritual health.

    This much is the porch of my sermon, let us now enter     more fully into our subject, noticing, first, that John     wrote with a special purpose; and then going on to     assert, secondly, that this purpose we ought to follow     up.

    I. First, JOHN WROTE WITH A SPECIAL PURPOSE. Men do not     write well unless they have some end in writing. To sit     down with paper and ink before you, and so much space     to fill up, will ensure very poor writing. John knew     what he was at. His intent and aim were clear to his     own mind, and he tells us what they were.

    According to the text the beloved apostle had one clear     purpose which branched out into three.

    To begin with, John wrote that we might enjoy the full     assurance of our salvation. "These things have I     written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of     God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life."

    Many who believe on the name of Jesus are not sure that     they have eternal life; they only hope so. Occasionally     they have assurance, but the joy is not abiding. They     are like a minister I have heard of, who said he felt     assured of his salvation, "except when the wind was in     the east." It is a wretched thing to be so subject to     circumstances as many are. What is true when the wind     is in the soft south or the reviving west is equally     true when the wind is neither good for man nor beast.     John would not have our assurance vary with the weather-     glass, nor turn with the vane. He says, "These things     have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have     eternal life." He would have us certain that we are     partakers of the new life, and so know it as to reap     the golden fruit of such knowledge, and be filled with     joy and peace through believing.

    I speak affectionately to the weaker ones, who cannot     yet say that they know they have believed. I speak not     to your condemnation, but to your consolation. Full     assurance is not essential to salvation, but it is     essential to satisfaction. May you get-may you get it     at once; at any rate may you never be satisfied to live     without it. You may have full assurance. You may have     it without personal revelations: it is wrought in us by     the Word of God. These things are written that you may     have it; and we may be sure that the means used by the     Spirit are equal to the effect which he desires. Under     the guidance of the Spirit of God, John so wrote as to     attain his end in writing. What, then, has he written     with the design of making us know that we have eternal     life? Go through the whole Epistle, and you will see     that it all presses in that direction; but we shall not     at this present have time to do more than glance     through this chapter.

    He begins thus: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the     Christ is born of God." Do you believe that Jesus is     the anointed of God? Is he so to you? Is he anointed as     your prophet, priest, and king? Have you realized his     anointing so as to put your trust in him? Do you     receive Jesus as appointed of God to be the Mediator,     the Propitiation for sin, the Saviour of men? If so,     you are born of God. "How may I know this?" Brethern,     our evidence is the witness of God himself as here     recorded. We need no other witness. Suppose an angel     were to tell you that you are born of God, would that     be a more sure testimony than the infallible Scripture?     If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you are born     of God. John has thus positively declared the truth,     that you may know that you have eternal life. Can     anything be more clear than this?

    The loving spirit of John leads him to say, "Every one     that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is     begotten of him." Do you love God? Do you love his Only-     begotten Son? You can answer those two questions     surely. I knew a dear Christian woman who would     sometimes say, "I know that I love Jesus; but my fear     is that he does not love me." Her doubt used to make me     smile, for it never could have occurred to me. If I     love him, I know it is because he first loved me. Love     to God in us is always the work of God's love towards     us. Jesus loved us, and gave himself for us, and     therefore we love him in return. Love to Jesus is an     effect which proves the existence of its cause. Do you     love Jesus? Do you feel a delight in him? Is his name     as music to your ear, and honey to your mouth? Do you     love to hear him extolled? Ah, dear friends! I know     that to many of you a sermon full of his dear name is     as a royal banquent; and if there is no Christ in a     discourse, it is empty, and vain, and void to you. Is     it not so? If you do indeed love him that begat and him     that is begotten of him, then this is one of the things     that is written "that ye may know that ye have eternal     life."

    John goes on to give another evidence: "By this we know     that we love the children of God, when we love God, and     keep his commandments." Do you love God? and do you     love his children? Listen to another word from the same     apostle: "We know that we have passed from death unto     life, because we love the brethren." That may appear to     be a very small evidence; but I can assure you it has     often been a great comfort to my soul. I know I love     the brethern: I can say unto my Lord,

                "Is there a lamb among thy flock                     I would disdain to feed?"

    I would gladly cheer and comfort the least of his     people. Well, then, if I love the brethern, I love the     Elder Brother. If I love the babes, I love the Father;     and I know that I have passed from death unto life.     Brethren, take this evidence home in all its force. It     is conclusive: John has said, "We know that we have     passed from death unto life, because we love the     brethren"; and he would not have spoken so positively     if it had not been even so. Brethren, never be content     with sentimental comforts; set your feet firmly upon     the rock of fact and truth. True Christian assurance is     not a matter of guesswork, but of mathematical     precision. It is capable of logical proof, and is no     rhapsody or poetical fiction. We are told by the Holy     Ghost that, if we love the brethren, we have passed     from death to life. You can tell whether you love the     brethren, as such, for their Master's sake, and for the     truth's sake that is in them; and if you can truly say     that you thus love them, then you may know that you     have eternal life.

    Our apostle gives us this further evidence: "This is     the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his     commandments are not grievous." Obedience is the grand     test of love. If you are living after your own will,     and pay no homage to God, you are none of his. If you     never think of the Lord Jesus as your Master, and never     recognize the claims of God, and never wish to be     obedient to his will, you are not in possession of     eternal life. If you desire to be obedient, and prove     that desire by your actions, then you have the divine     life within you. Judge yourselves. Is the tenor of your     life obedience or disobedience? By the fruit you can     test the root and the sap.

    But note, that this obedience must be cheerful and     willing. No doubt some for a while obey the commands of     God unwillingly. They do not like them, though they bow     to them. They fret and grizzle because of the     restraints of piety; and this proves that they are     hypocrites. What you wish to do you practically are     doing in the sight of God. If there could be such a     thing as holiness forced upon a man, it would be     unholiness. O my hearer, it may be that you cannot fall     into a certain line of sin; but if you could, you     would: your desires show what you really are. I have     heard of Christian people, so called, going to sinful     amusements, just, as they say, to enjoy a little     pleasure. Ah well, we see where you are! Where your     pleasure is, your heart is. If you enjoy the pleasures     of the world, you are of the world, and with the world     you will be condemned. If God's commands are grievous     to you, then you are a rebel at heart. Loyal subjects     delight in the royal law. "His commandments are not     grievous." I said to one who came to join the church     the other day, "I suppose you are not perfect"? and the     reply was, "No, sir, I wish I might be." I said, "And     suppose you were"? "Oh, then," she said, "that would be     heaven to me." So it would be to me. We delight in the     law of God after the inward man. Oh, that we could     perfectly obey in thought, and word, and deed! This is     our view of heaven. Thus we sing of it:

                  "There shall we see his face,                       And never, never sin;               There from the rivers of his grace                   Drink endless pleasures in."

    We would scarce ask to be rid of sorrow, if we might be     rid of sin. We would bear any burden cheerfully if we     could live without spot we shall also be without grief.     His commandments are not grievous, but they are ways of     pleasantness and peace to us. Do you feel that you love     the ways of God, that you desire holiness, and follow     after it joyfully? Then, dear friends, you have eternal     life, and these are the sure evidences of it.     Obedience, holiness, delight in God never came into a     human heart except from a heavenly hand. Wherever they     are found they prove that the Lord has implanted     eternal life, for they are much too precious to be     buried away in a dead soul.

    John then proceeds to mention three witnesses. Now,     dear hearers, do you know anything about these three     witnesses? "There are three that bear witness in earth,     the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these     three agree in one." Do you know "the Spirit" ? Has the     Spirit of God quickened you, changed you, illuminated     you, sanctified you? Does the Spirit of God dwell in     you? Do you feel his sacred impulses? Is he the essence     of the new life within you? Do you know him as clothing     you with his light and power? If so, you are alive unto     God. Next, do you know "the water," the purifying power     of the death of Christ? Does the crucified Lord crucify     your sins? Is the water applied to you to remove the     power of sin? Do you now long to perfect holiness in     the fear of God? This proves that you have eternal     life. Do you also know "the blood"? This is a wretched     age, in which men think little of the precious blood.     My heart has well-nigh been broken, and my very flesh     has been enfeebled, as I have thought upon the horrible     things which have been spoken of late about the     precious blood by men called Christian ministers. "O my     soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their     assembly, mine honour, be not thou united." Beloved     friends, do you know the power of the blood to take     away sin, the power of the blood to speak peace to the     conscience, the power of the blood to give access to     the throne of grace? Do you know the quickening,     restoring, cheering power of the precious blood of     Christ which is set forth in the Lord's Supper by the     fruit of the vine? Then in the mouth of these three     witnesses shall the fact of your having eternal life be     fully established. If the Spirit of God be in you, he     is the earnest of your eternal inheritance. If the     water has washed you, then you are the Lord's. Jesus     said to Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part     in me." But ye are washed, and therefore the Lord's. If     the precious blood has cleansed you from the guilt of     sin, you know that it has also purchased you from     death, and it is to you the guarantee of eternal life.     I pray that you may from this moment enjoy the combined     light of these three lamps of God-"the spirit, and the     water, and the blood," and so have full assurance of     faith.

    One thing more I would notice. Read the ninth verse:     the apostle puts our faith and assurance on the ground     that we receive "the witness of God." If I believe that     I am saved because of this, that, and the other, I may     be mistaken: the only sure ground is "the witness of     God." The inmost heart of Christian faith is that we     take God as his word; and we must accept that word, not     because of the probabilities of its statements, nor     because of the confirmatory evidence of science and     philosophy, but simply and alone because the Lord has     spoken it. Many professing Christians fall sadly short     of this point. They dare to judge the Word instead of     bowing before it. They do not sit at the Master's feet,     but become doctors themselves. I thank God that I     believe everything that God has spoken, whether I am     able to see its reason or not. To me the fact that the     mouth of God hath spoken it stands in the place of all     argument, either for or against. If Jehovah says so, so     it is. Do you accept the witness of God? If not, you     have made him a liar, and the truth is not in you; but     if you have received "the witnesses of God," then this     is his witness, that "He hath given to us eternal life,     and this life is in his Son." I say again, if your     faith stands in the wisdom of men, and is based upon     the cleverness of a preacher, it will fail you; but if     it stands on the sure Word of the Lord it will stand     for ever, and this may be to you a special token that     you have eternal life. I have said enough upon this     subject; oh that God may bless it to you! May we be     enabled, from what John has written, to gather beyond     doubt that we have the life of God within our souls.

    Furthermore, John wrote that we might know our     spiritual life to be eternal. Please notice this, for     there are some of God's children who have not yet     learned this cheering lesson. The life of God in the     soul is not transient, but abiding; not temporary but     eternal. Some think that the life of God in the     believer's soul may die out; but how, then, could it be     eternal? If it die it is not eternal life. If it be     eternal life it cannot die. I know that modern     deceivers deny that eternal means eternal, but you and     I have not learned their way of pumping the meanings     out of the words which the Holy Spirit uses. We believe     that "eternal" means endless, and that if I have     eternal life, I shall live eternally, Brethren, the     Lord would have us know that we have eternal life.

    Learn, then, the doctrine of the eternality of life     given in the new birth. It must be eternal life,     because it is "the life of God." We are born again of     the Spirit of God by a living and incorruptible seed,     which liveth and abideth for ever. We are said to be     "made partakers of the divine nature." Surely, this     means, among other things, that we receive an undying     life; for immortality is of the essence of the Life of     God. His name is "I am that I am." He hath life in     himself, and the Son hath life in himself, and of this     life we are the receivers. This was his purpose     concerning his Son, that he might give eternal life to     as many as the Father had given him. If it be the life     of God which is in a believer-and certainly it is, for     he hath begotten us again-then that life must be     eternal. As children of God, we partake of his life,     and as heirs of God, we inherit his eternity. "This is     life eternal, that they might know thee the only true     God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

    Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ calls the life of his     people eternal life. How often do I quote this text! It     seems to lie on the tip of my tongue: "I give unto my     sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish,     neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." And     again, "He that believeth in him hath everlasting     life." It is not temporary life, not life which at a     certain period must grow old and die, but everlasting     life. "It shall be in him a well of water springing up     into everlasting life." This is the life of Christ     within the soul. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid     with Christ in God." "I live; yet not I, but Christ     liveth in me." "When Christ, who is our life, shall     appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."     If our life is Christ's life, we shall not die until     Christ dies. If our life is hidden in him, it will     never be discovered and destroyed until Christ himself     is destroyed. Let us rest in this.

    Mark again how our Lord has put it: "Because I live, ye     shall live also." As long, then, as Jesus lives, his     people must live, for the argument will always be the     same, "Because I live, ye shall live also." We are so     one with Christ that while the head lives the members     cannot die. We are so one Christ that the challenge is     given, "Who shall separate us from the love of God,     which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?" A list is added of     things which may be supposed to separate, but we are     told that they cannot do so, for "in all these things     we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."     Is it not clear, then, that we are quickened with a     life so heavenly and divine that we can never die? John     tells us in this very chapter, "We know that whosoever     is born of God sinneth not." He does not go back to his     old sin, he does not again come under the dominion of     sin; but, "he that is begotten of God keepeth himself,     and that wicked one toucheth him not."

    Beloved, I entreat you to keep a hard and firm grip of     this blessed doctrine of the perseverance of the     saints. How earnestly do I long "that ye may know that     ye have eternal life"! Away with your doctrine of being     alive in Christ to-day and dead tomorrow. Poor,     miserable doctrine that! Hold fast to eternal salvation     through the eternal covenant carried out by eternal     love unto eternal life; for the Spirit of God has     written these things unto you that believe on the name     of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have     eternal life.

    Once more, according to the Authorized text, though not     according to the Revised Version, John desired the     increase and confirmation of their faith. He says,     "That ye might believe on the name of the Son of God."     John wrote to those who believed, that they might     believe in a more emphatic sense. As our Saviour has     come not only that we may have life, but that we may     have it more abundantly, so does John write, that     having faith we may have more of it. Come beloved,     listen for a moment to this! You have the milk of     faith, but God wills that you should have this cream of     assurance! He would increase your faith. May you     believe more extensively. Perhaps you do not believe     all the truth, because you have not yet perceived it.     There were members of the Corinthian church who had not     believed in the resurrection of the dead, and there     were Galatians who were very cloudy upon justification     by faith. Many a Christian man is narrow in the range     of his faith from ignorance of the Lord's mind. Like     certain tribes of Israel, they have conquered a scanty     territory as yet, though all the land is theirs from     Dan to Beersheba. John would have us push out our     fences, and increase the enclosure of our faith. Let us     believe all that God has revealed, for every truth is     precious and practically useful. Perhaps your doctrinal     belief has been poor and thin. Oh that the Lord would     turn the water into wine! Many of you live upon milk,     and yet your years qualify you to feed on meat. Why     keep the babes' diet? You that believe are exhorted to     "go in and out, and find pasture"; range throughout the     whole revelation of God.

    It will be well for you if your faith also increases     intensively. Oh that you may more fully believe what     you do believe! We need deeper insight and firmer     conviction. We do not half believe, as yet, any of us.     Many of you only skim the pools of truth. Blessed is     the wing which brushes the surface of the river of     life; but infinitely more blessed is it to plunge into     the depths of it. This is John's desire for you, that     you would believe with all you heart, and soul, and     strength.

    He would have you believe more constantly, so that you     may say, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed:     I will sing and give praise." It is not always so with     us. We are at times chicken-hearted. We play the man     today, and the mouse tomorrow. Lord have mercy upon us:     we are an inconsistent people, fickle as the wind. The     Lord would have us abide always in him with strong and     mighty confidence, being rooted and built up in him.

    He would have us trust courageously. Some can believe     in a small way about small things. Oh for a boundless     trust in the infinite God! We need more of a     venturesome faith: the faith to do and dare. Often we     see the way of power, but have not the faith which     would be equal to it. See Peter walking on the sea! I     do not advise any of you to try it, neither did our     Lord advise Peter to do so: we do well enough if we     walk uprightly on land. But when Peter had once taken a     few steps on the sea, he ought to have known that his     Lord could help him all the rest of the way; but alas!     His faith failed, and he began to sink. He could have     walked all the way to Jesus if he had believed right     on. So is it with us: our faith is good enough for a     spurt, but it lacks staying power. Oh, may God give us     to believe, so that we may not only trip over a wave or     two, but walk on the water to the end! If the Lord bids     you, you may go through fire and not be burned, through     the floods and not be drowned. Such a fearless,     careless, conquering faith may the Lord work in us!

    We need also to have our faith increased in the sense     of its becoming more practical. Some people have a fine     new faith, as pretty as the bright poker in the     parlour, and as useless. We want an everyday faith, not     to look at, but to use. Brothers and sisters, we need     faith for the kitchen and the pantry, as well as for     the drawing-room and the conservatory. We need workshop     faith, as well as prayer-meeting faith. We need faith     as to the common things of life, and the trying things     of death. We could do with less paint if we had more     power. We need less varnish and more verity. God give     to you that you may believe on the name of the Son of     God with a sound, common-sense faith, which will be     found wearable, and washable, and workable throughout     life.

    We need to believe more joyfully. Oh what a blessed     thing it is when you reach the rest and joy of faith!     If we would truly believe the promise of God, and rest     in the Lord's certain fulfillment of it, we might be as     happy as the angels. I notice how very early in the     morning how the birds begin to sing: before the sun is     up or even the first grey tints of morning light are     visible, the little songsters are awake and singing.     Too often we refuse to sing until the sun is more than     up, and noon is near. Shame on us! Will we never trust     our God? Will we never praise him for favours to come?     Oh for a faith that can sing through the night and     through the winter! Faith that can live on a promise is     the faith of God's elect. You will never enjoy heaven     below until you believe without wavering. The Lord give     you such faith.

    II. Thus I have gone through my first head, and taken     nearly all the time. I must now come to push of pike,     as the old soldiers used to say. We must drive our     teaching home. THE PURPOSE WHICH JOHN HAD IN HIS MIND     WE OUGHT TO FOLLOW UP. If he wished us to know that we     have eternal life, brothers and sisters, let us try to     know it. The Word of God was written for this purpose;     let us use it for its proper end. The whole of these     Scriptures were written that "we might believe that     Jesus is the Christ, and that believing we might have     life through his name." This Book is written to you who     believe, that you may know that you believe. Will you     suffer your Bibles to be a failure to you? Will you     live in perpetual questioning and doubt? If so, the     Book has missed its mark for you. The Bible is sent     that you may have full assurance of of your possession     of eternal life; do not, therefore, dream that it will     be presumptuous on your part to aspire to it. Our     conscience tells us that we ought to seek full     assurance of salvation. It cannot be right for us to be     children of God, and not to know our own Father. How     can we kneel down and say, "Our Father which art in     heaven," when we do not know whether he is our Father     or not? Will not a life of doubt tend to be a life of     falsehood? May we not be using language which is not     true to our consciousness? Can you sing joyful hymns     which you fear are not true to you? Will you join in     worship when your heart does not know that God is your     God? Until the spirit of adoption enables you to cry,     "Abba, Father," where is your love to God? Can you     rest? Dare you rest, while it is a question whether you     are saved or not? Can you go home to your dinner to-day     and enjoy your meal, while there is a question about     your soul's eternal life? Oh, be not so foolhardy as to     run risks on that matter! I pray you, make sure work     for eternity. If you leave anything in uncertainty, let     it concern your body or your estate, but not your soul.     Conscience bids you seek to know that you have eternal     life, for without this knowledge many duties will be     impossible of performance. Many Scriptures which I     cannot quote this morning stir you up to this duty. Are     you not bidden to make your calling and election sure?     Are you not a thousand times over exhorted to rejoice     in the Lord, and to give thanks continually? But how     can you rejoice, if the dark suspicion haunts you, that     perhaps, after all, you have not the life of God? You     must get this question settled, or you cannot rest in     the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Come, brothers     and sisters, I beseech you, as you would follow     Scripture, and obey the Lord's precepts, get the     assurance without which you cannot obey them.

    Listen, as I close, to this mass of reasons why each     believer should seek to know that he has eternal life.     Here they are. Assurance of your salvation will bring     you "the peace of God, which passeth all     understanding." If you know that you are saved, you can     sit down in poverty, or in sickness, or under slander,     and feel perfectly content. Full assurance is the Koh-i-     noor amongst the jewels wherewith the heavenly     Bridegroom adorns his spouse. Assurance is a mountain     of spices, a land that floweth with milk and honey. To     be the assured possessor of eternal life is to find a     paradise beneath the stars, where the mountains and the     hills break forth before you into singing.

    Full assurance will sometimes overflow in cataracts of     delight. Peace flows like a river, and here and there     it leaps in cascades of ecstatic joy. There are seasons     when the plant of peace is in flower, and then it sheds     a perfume as of myrrh and cassia. Oh, the blessedness     of the man who knows that he has eternal life!     Sometimes in our room alone, when we have been enjoying     this assurance, we have laughed outright, for we could     not help it. If anybody had wondered why a man was     laughing by himself alone, we could have explained that     it was nothing ridiculous which had touched us, but our     mouth was filled with laughter because the Lord had     done great things for us, whereof we were glad. That     religion which sets no sweatmeats on the table is a     niggardly housekeeper. I do not wonder that some people     give up their starveling religion: it is hardly worth     the keeping. The child of God who knows that he has     eternal life goes to school, be he has many a holiday;     and he anticipates that day of home-going when he shall     see the face of his Beloved for ever.

    Brethren, full assurance will give us the full result     of the gospel. The gospel ought to make us holy; and so     it will when we are in full possession of it. The     gospel ought to make us separate from the world, the     gospel ought to make us lead a heavenly life here     below; and so it will if we drink deep draughts of it;     but it we take only a sip of it now and again, we give     it no chance of working out its design in us. Do not     paddle about the margin of the water of life, but first     wade in up to your knees, and then hasten to plunge     into the waters to swim in. Beware of contentment with     shallow grace. Prove what the grace of God can do for     you by giving yourself up to its power.

    Full assurance gives a man a grateful zeal for the God     he loves. These are the people that will go to the     Congo for Jesus, for they know they are his. These are     the people that will lay down their all for Christ, for     Christ is theirs. These are the people that will bear     scorn and shame and misrepresentation for the truth's     sake, for they know that they have eternal life. These     are they that will keep on preaching and teaching,     spending and working, for theirs is the kingdom of     heaven, and they know it. Men will do little for what     they doubt, and much for what they believe. If you have     lost your title deeds, and you do not know whether your     house is your own or not, you are not going to spend     much in repairs and enlargements. When you know that     heaven is yours, you are anxious to get ready for it.     Full assurance finds fuel for zeal to feed upon.

    This also creates and sustains patience. When we know     that we have eternal life, we do not fret about the     trials of this passing life. I could point to the     brethren here this morning, and I could mention sisters     at home, who amaze me by their endurance of pain and     weakness. This I know concerning them, that they never     have a doubt about their interest in Christ; and for     this cause they are able to surrender themselves into     those dear hands which were pierced for them. They know     that they are the Lord's, and so they say, "Let him do     what seemeth him good." A blind child was in his     father's arms, and a stranger came into the room, and     took him right away from his father. Yet he did not cry     or complain. His father said to him, "Johnny, are you     afraid? You do not know the person who has got hold of     you." "No, father," he said, "I do not know who he is,     but you do." When pain gives us an awkward nip, and we     do not know whether we shall live or die, when we are     called to undergo a dangerous operation, and pass into     unconciousness, then we can say, "I do not know where I     am, but my Father knows, and I leave all with him."     Assurance makes us strong to suffer.

    This, dear friends, will give you constant firmness in     your confession of divine truth. You who do not know     whether you are saved or not, I hope the Lord will keep     you from denying the faith; but those who have a firm     grip of it, these are the men who will never forsake     it. A caviller in an omnibus said to a Christian man     one day, "Why, you have nothing after all to rest upon.     I can prove to you that your Scriptures are not     authentic." The humble Christian man replied, "Sir, I     am not a learned man, and I cannot answer you     questions; but I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and     I have experienced such a change in character, and I     feel such a joy and peace through believing, that I     wish you knew my Saviour, too." The answer he received     was a very unexpected one: the unbeliever said, "You     have got me there; I cannot answer that." Just so: we     have got them there. If we know what has been wrought     in us by grace, they cannot overcome us. The full-     assurance man baffles the very devil. Satan is cunning     enough, but those who know and are persuaded, are birds     which he cannot take in the snares of hell. When you     know that your Lord is able to keep that which you have     committed to him until that day, then you are firm as a     rock. God make you so.

    Dear brethren, this is the kind of thing that will     enable you to bear a telling testimony for your Lord.     It is of no use to stand up and preach things that may     or may not be true. I am charged with being a dreadful     dogmatist, and I am not anxious to excuse myself. When     a man is not quite sure of a thing, he grows very     liberal: anybody can be a liberal with money which he     cannot claim to be his own. The broad-school man says,     "I am not sure, and I do not suppose that you are sure,     for indeed nothing is sure." Does this sandy foundation     suit you? I prefer rock. The things which I have spoken     to you from my youth up have been such as I have tried     and proved, and to me they wear an absolute certainty,     confirmed by my personal experience. I have tried these     things: they have saved me, and I cannot doubt them. I     am a lost man if the gospel I have preached to you be     not true; and I am content to bide the issue of the day     of Judgement. I do not preach doubtingly, for I do not     live doubtingly. I know what I have told you to be     true; why should I speak as if I were not sure? If you     want to make your own testimony tell in such a day as     this, you must have something to say that you are sure     about; and until you are sure about it I would advise     you to hold you tongue. We do not require any more     questionings; the market is overstocked. We need no     more doubt, honest or dishonest; the air is dark with     these horrible blacks.

    Brethren, if you know that you have eternal life, you     are prepared to live, and equally prepared to die. How     frequently do I stand at the bedside of our dying     members! I am every now and then saying to myself, "I     shall certainly meet with some faint-hearted one.     Surely I shall come across some child of God who is     dying in the dark." But I have not met with any such.     Brethren, a child of God may die in the dark. One said     to old Mr. Dodd, the quaint old Puritan-"How sad that     our brother should have passed away in the darkness! Do     you doubt his safety?" "No," said old Mr. Dodd, "no     more than I doubt the safety of him who said, when he     was dying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken     me?"" Full assurance, as we have said before, is not of     the essence of salvation. Still, I beg of you to note     this, that all along through these many years, in each     case, when I have gone to visit any of our brethren and     our sisters at death, I have always found them     departing in sure and certain hope of seeing the face     of their Lord in glory. I have often marvelled that     this should be without exception, and I glory in it.     Often have they said to me, "We have fed on such good     food that we may well be strong in the Lord." God grant     that you may have this assurance, all of you! May     sinners begin to believe in Jesus, and saints believe     more firmly, for Christ's sake! Amen.

Provided by:

Tony Capoccia Bible Bulletin Board internet: www.biblebb.com Box 318 Columbus, NJ 08022 ....online since 1986



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