Blessed Assurance from 1 John
There are many things I am looking forward to in September. Tech will be back in session and most of us will be back in our normal routines, cooler temperatures are on the horizon, and college football will begin in earnest! In the life of Emmanuel we have some exciting things on the horizon as well. This newsletter is full of announcements for upcoming events and kick-offs. I am particularly excited to begin a new series in 1 John this Sunday, September 3rd. One of the reasons I love the writings of the Apostle John is that he does not hide the ball. John states clearly, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” John lays out clear criteria for self-examination. He expounds on the evidence that should be seen in genuine believers: obedience to Christ’s commands, love for the brethren, and the indwelling presence of the Spirit.
It is my prayer that we will all experience the blessed assurance of our position in Christ. Our faith is in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, died as an offering for sin, was buried, rose from the dead victorious, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He will receive those who call to Him in faith. Those who believe in Him for the forgiveness of sin will receive the Holy Spirit. He is the deposit (guarantee) of our future resurrection. I believe the Holy Spirit does bear witness to our Salvation, yet the weaknesses of our flesh and the accusations of the enemy can cause us to doubt whether we are truly in Christ. John helps us in his epistle. We are reminded in his letter that many who profess Christ have false assurance. Their lives manifest no evidence of the Spirit’s presence, either through obedience to Christ or love for those who belong to Christ. Those of us who are truly in Christ are reminded of the blessed assurance we can experience in the Spirit. We do not evaluate the manifestations of the Spirit based solely on our feelings, but we test our feelings using the truth of the Word of God.
I’ll be heading south later this month to preach a series of meetings at Lee’s Creek Baptist Church in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The church is pastored by Patrick Magee, a young man I was able to mentor for a time while I was in Franklinton. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for the trip and for the church. I know this to be a good church with a good pastor. Please pray the Lord will lead and use me during this week. Pray for Lee’s Creek. Pray this series of meetings would be a time of encouragement for the church to persevere and take steps forward in holiness and ministry.