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Summary: Make sure of your salvation, but it doesn’t say make sure by looking back at a decision that you made. The way that you make sure of your calling and election is by practicing these qualities.

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Let me give you a couple of warnings before I get started today. We had an awesome, awesome service last service, but let me just say this. Stick with me through the whole talk. Typically, you can hear a message and doze off for a little bit. And catch five minutes here and think, ‘Ooh! That was good!’ Because that’s the way I think. It’s just ADD, just grab whatever you can, and go. But this is one of those messages where you have to track with me the whole way because it will be very easy for you to grab something in the beginning and just have your mind go nuts. And just run off with it. This is what he said. No, listen to what I say all the way through. Ok, I know. I’ll make it quick so that you can stay focused. I don’t focus well. I’m not even focused right now. So it’s just- this is going to be hard. It was a great, great service, and there are just a lot of really important truths. But here’s the reason why it may be difficult. It may sound different from what you were taught and that’s a scary thing to say. And that’s why I want you to observe the Scriptures and look at the Scriptures I’m bringing up. Evaluate for yourself if what I’m bringing up isn’t true because I know there will be some arguments with this, but I ask you to make them Biblical arguments. Show me Scripture that will contradict anything I’m saying because I’m telling you some of this is going to be new to you, new ground to you. And as I studied it I realized I’m not strong enough on some of this as I ought to be, and you need to know I take this morning very seriously. I’ve prayed a lot for this morning. I have fasted for this service, and said, ‘God, we have to get this. We have to understand this, but don’t let any words come out of my mouth that are untrue. Make this Biblical. Make this clear and help the people stick with me through this whole thing because it’s important stuff.’ So would you stand with me as we read the Word of God?

You understand why we stand? It’s just we want to do this every so often just to remind you of the reverence for God’s Word. Someone was telling me last service they sat in front of some sixteen year old girl, and she’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so tired. I don’t want to stand. It’s just like this’- but you understand why we do this? I know you’re tired. You don’t want to stand, but there’s a reverence I want us to have for the Word of God. I want to remind you that these are not just a person’s opinion. We didn’t come in a room to just get someone’s opinion on something. We just want to see it in black and white what did God say. And this is what we studied last week. Remember, we didn’t get through the whole passage, but this is the part we got through.

Second Peter Chapter 1 verses 5-8. “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleaned from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fall. For in this way, there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV]


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James Banks

commented on Sep 23, 2011

----- 0. Prologue: Chan mentions the fact that people tune in and out of sermons. Why are we preaching sermons? Well, some people like lectures. Why are sermons the king of message delivery? Not so sure. Reading can be better for some, such as me. But not for others. I think discussion is best, because everyone remembers the brilliant things they''ve said, and the discussion elicits the saying of brilliant things. ----- 1. Sermon: My thoughts: Is the point to avoid hell -- Christianity is essentially antihellism -- or is the point to love God? Is salvation the point of existence? Or is it the love of God? When you focus on how lovely God is, you prepare yourself for heaven. If heaven is your reward, and heaven is being with God, you''d better love God, or heaven will be not much of a reward! Of course, this leaves the question: do I love God? Great question. I think to love God you must see his loveliness (the positive action), remove competing loves (the negative action) through obedience and self-denial, and encourage amplifying loves (also positive), through obedience and fun-having. The pursuit of love is the point, and one of the markers of mature belief. ----- 2. On the other hand, Christianity is for the immature as well as the mature. So we need ladders to maturity. One which Chan did not mention is John 15: ?I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." This is (or should be!) a favorite of non-Protestants. It seems that the process of abiding in God is primarily the work of God, but we still have to do something (even though we''re clean!). Just do something and God will do the rest, including reminding you when to do more. ----- 3. But even so, Protestant or non-Protestant, Chan or not, it seems like *you have to perceive the Holy Spirit in your life or you''re in trouble*, as it is God who saves. However... maybe you don''t need to know how God is working in your life, rather that he is lovely anyways, and that you will desire and obey him anyways, blind as you are. ----- 4. Take the focus off yourself and place it on God, and if faith saves, you will have faith.

James Banks

commented on Sep 23, 2011

----- 0. Prologue: Chan mentions the fact that people tune in and out of sermons. Why are we preaching sermons? Well, some people like lectures. Why are sermons the king of message delivery? Not so sure. Reading can be better for some, such as me. But not for others. I think discussion is best, because everyone remembers the brilliant things they''ve said, and the discussion elicits the saying of brilliant things. ----- 1. Sermon: My thoughts: Is the point to avoid hell -- Christianity is essentially antihellism -- or is the point to love God? Is salvation the point of existence? Or is it the love of God? When you focus on how lovely God is, you prepare yourself for heaven. If heaven is your reward, and heaven is being with God, you''d better love God, or heaven will be not much of a reward! Of course, this leaves the question: do I love God? Great question. I think to love God you must see his loveliness (the positive action), remove competing loves (the negative action) through obedience and self-denial, and encourage amplifying loves (also positive), through obedience and fun-having. The pursuit of love is the point, and one of the markers of mature belief. ----- 2. On the other hand, Christianity is for the immature as well as the mature. So we need ladders to maturity. One which Chan did not mention is John 15: ?I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." This is (or should be!) a favorite of non-Protestants. It seems that the process of abiding in God is primarily the work of God, but we still have to do something (even though we''re clean!). Just do something and God will do the rest, including reminding you when to do more. ----- 3. But even so, Protestant or non-Protestant, Chan or not, it seems like *you have to perceive the Holy Spirit in your life or you''re in trouble*, as it is God who saves. However... maybe you don''t need to know how God is working in your life, rather that he is lovely anyways, and that you will desire and obey him anyways, blind as you are. ----- 4. Take the focus off yourself and place it on God, and if faith saves, you will have faith.

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