ASSURANCES

CHRIST’S ACCUSATIONS

We will not understand or rest in the assurance of GOD’s salvation if first we do not examine our motives and actions.  Actually, we must examine the motives for our actions.

For all of us who have labeled ourselves “Christians,” naturally set about fitting ourselves into that role. We default to making an effort to be “good Christians.”

We are concerned about that because of the natural pride in us.  Thus we make every effort to prove to others and ourselves that we are preforming the activities of a Christian.

Unfortunately little is discussed from our pulpits about “…unspiritual preoccupation with outward forms and ceremonies, while neglecting utterly the great moral verities of true religion” James Coffman (Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament, “Commentary on Luke 11:42”).

As I read the gospels I am stopped by CHRIST’s forcible language that condemn His listeners.  Why does He provoke?  The answer comes quickly to mind.

We easily slide into our natural mode described above.  Therefore, we must hear language that condemns.  We must have an accusing finger pointed at us telling us we are not on the Christian path we thought we were on.   To move toward Christianity and the peace of knowing we have the assurance from GOD that we are His we must, before anything else, recognize our sin. And that is the sin of being actors—acting like we are Christians but are not.

CHRIST’s convicting words: “…you…outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt 23:28 ESV).  “A man may appear clean without, who is unclean within; but outward purity will not avail in the sight of God, where inward holiness is wanting” Adam Clarke (The Adam Clarke Commentary, “Commentary on Matthew 23:25”).

We must check ourselves: do we make the decision of what good works we do—do we decide on them because we believe we have the ability to accomplish them successfully?  This is sin; we are operating with our born-with natural abilities.

“…the things done…may be good and godly…but if they are not undertaken in a spirit of complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, then the flesh is the source of all…Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh.  Whatever one decides according to his pleasure in lieu of seeking the will of God emanates from the flesh….” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

If these words convict you, repent and ask GOD to change your heart.  Only a renewed heart can override the flesh, for flesh “never has the sense of utter dependency” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

ASSURANCES

GUILTY NO MORE

My FATEHR, one evidence of assurance is knowing I no longer have the guilt of sin.  “In Christ my guilt is removed….I cannot undo my past; I cannot make atonement for my misdeeds and for everything I have done against God.  I must be delivered from the guilt of my sin, and Christ—and Christ alone—can so deliver me” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 25th).

“…the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world”(1 John 4:14 ESV).

“If one desires to know whether he is regenerated or not, he simply need ask himself one question: Have I come to the cross as a helpless sinner and received the Lord Jesus as Savior” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p77)?

ASSURANCES

CLEAR CONSCIENCE?

…FATHER, do I have “a sense of sins forgiven…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 29th)? This is the only way to experience peace and rest.  Help me, LORD, to embrace my heart in honesty.

“Are you aware that there is an evil principle within you?  Not simply that you do certain things you should not do and feel annoyed with yourself because of it.  No; rather, I mean that you are aware that you have an evil nature, that there is a principle of sin and wrong in your heart, that there is a fountain emitting unworthy, ugly, and foul things, and in a sense you hate yourself.  Our Lord said that the man who loves himself is in a very dangerous condition” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 18th).

“If a sinner, upon being convicted our his sin and hearing the gospel of God’s grace, is willing to accept the gospel and by faith take it, he will see how the precious blood of the Lord Jesus answers all the accusations of his conscience….The blood of the Lord has atoned for all the sins of a believer; hence there is no more condemnation in the conscience….Our salvation is confirmed by the fact that the precious blood has quieted this voice of condemnation” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p108).

ASSURANCES

EVIDENCES OF GODLINESS – PART ONE

“…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…” (2 Pet 1:3 NASB).

FATHER, this power of Yours becomes experiential in me the moment You change my stony heart (Ezek 36:26). Below are thoughts that come to me with a new heart. I desire to check myself to see if I have experienced these thoughts.

“…a feeling and a sense that God is for us and that God loves us….I have lost the sense that God is against me, and I begin to have a feeling and sense that God is for me, that God is kind to me, that He is concerned about me, and that He truly loves me” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 28th).

“When the spiritual life is in ascendancy the believer is most glad; when the flesh gains the upper hand he cannot but grieve. Experience of this kind confirms that such ones have been regenerated” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p81)

“Are you aware of a ferment in your own nature, something pushing you on, urging you forward, making you desire holiness, making you desire to be able to pray in a more worthy manner, longing to know Christ better? Are you aware of something disturbing you; has something been put into you that will not let you remain in that existence of death? We are not Christians unless we know something of that disturbance and turmoil and working within—eternal life abiding in us, going on, moving us and leading us on to other and greater things” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p94).

CONFESSION

ASSURANCES OF SALVATION

“If a sinner, upon being convicted of his sin and hearing the gospel of God’s grace, is willing to accept the gospel and by faith take it, he will see how the precious blood of the Lord Jesus answers all the accusations of his conscience. Doubtless there is sin, but the blood of the Lord Jesus has been shed. What ground is left for accusation since sin’s penalty has been fully paid? The blood of the Lord has atoned for all the sins of a believer; hence   there is no more condemnation in the conscience….Our salvation is confirmed by the fact that the precious blood has quieted this voice of condemnation” Watchman Nee (ref#101, p108).

“When the spiritual life is in ascendancy the believer is most glad; when the flesh gains the upper hand he cannot but grieve. Experience of this kind confirms that such ones have been regenerated” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p81).

FATHER, clue me by this entry that it is my responsibility to seek evidences that prove Your disposition is working in me. Dance with me so I have no trouble displaying Your disposition through my actions.

CONFESSION

REFORMING MY FLESH OR KEEPING IT DEAD

…FATHER, I know that my natural disposition must be crucified with CHRIST (that is, my flesh must die). The word, “flesh” means my human nature which is “under the control of animal appetites” and is sensuous (ref#150, NT:4559). “Flesh” is defined as my earthly nature apart from divine influence (ref#150, NT:4561).

Flesh is the part of me I must inactivate—kill by neglect. But I am anchored so in it I naturally choose to reform it instead of kill it.

It is intuitive to me to want flesh tamed. Therefore I strive to educate my flesh—teach it to be righteous. I happily give myself over to rules and methods (ref#33, p92). Intensive church activity is a way of attempting to reform flesh. It is frightening to realize that my own flesh can produce acts that appear Christian (Matt 7:22-23) yet they are without the help or consent of You, FATHER (ref#63, p706).

While teaching my flesh to be righteous I concentrate on one sin or a file-folder of sins. I fall into using my flawed self to try to become more like CHRIST. By doing this, I am in the business of trying to conquer and refine my old-nature flesh. I try to get flesh and SPIRIT to cooperate!

But, I cannot, and You, FATHER, will not reform my flesh—even the priceless blood of JESUS can’t cleanse the flesh. The HOLY SPIRIT does nothing to improve flesh; in fact, He will not even dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. The SPIRIT will abide in me for only one reason and that is for warring against my flesh (ref#33, p94).

O LORD, continually bring me to understand the difference between operating by my flesh and working with the SPIRIT—the difference between reforming my flesh and killing it by neglect. It is only by faith and dependence on the SPIRIT that I can put to death the deeds of my flesh (Rom 8:13).

SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN Pursuers

[We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

THE BOASTINGS OF THE FALLEN NATURE

…FATHER, ____ has heard of You by attending church; (he/she) has read (his/her) Bible, maybe even committed verses to memory, nonetheless Your Word does not produce fruit in (him/her) (Mark 4:19). Even Your truth residing in (his/her) mind is unable to affect (him/her).

It seems ____ is in the business, FATHER, of becoming holy and more holy in (his/her) own strength. Seems (he/she) is working with such intenseness that (he/she) passes over the good news about CHRIST. I think that (his/her) work is so gratifying that (he/she) imagines (he/she) is doing well and getting better and better. But…

 “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth” (Prov 30:12 ESV). “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov 30:20 ESV).

“The majority of people have their morality well within their own grasp, they do not sense the need of the Gospel” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 17th). FATHER, it seems ____ is pursuing You because (he/she) admires righteousness therefore (he/she) is trying hard to act righteously (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may not know that (his/her) natural flesh can perform good as well as produce sin (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may be confusing (his/her) natural fleshly work with Your HOLY SPIRIT’s work. And, the case is that (he/she) is then unable to be a Christian because it is impossible to receive anything unless it is given to (him/her) from heaven (James 1:17).

It is quite natural to fall into the pattern of searching the Scriptures for commands to keep (John 5:39). By keeping only the commands of (his/her) choosing (he/she) does not need a Savior; (he/she) is saving (himself/herself). FATHER, lead ____ to the understanding that whatever “does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the HOLY SPIRIT, is unquestionably of the flesh”  Watchman Nee (ref #33, p 114).

It seems that ____ is set in (his/her) own ways of righteousness, but I know, FATHER, that You can and will work in due season to call Your sons and daughters according to Your purpose (ref#13, Vol 1, p31 [Mark 2:14]). Please, FATHER, I want You to call ____.

SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN Pursuers

[We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

CHRIST’S MIMICS

FATHER, I pray for ____ who is sincere about (his/her) Christian faith. (He/She) is a pew-sitter eager to be a disciple of CHRIST but (he/she) falls short of (his/her) goal. (He/She) is all human-learning and human-doing. (He/She) is only a mimic of a true disciple.   A good mimic, however,—so good (he/she) never thinks (he/she) may be displeasing to You.

“There are many today who are sincere, but they are not real; they are not hypocrites, but perfectly honest and earnest and desirous of fulfilling what Jesus wants of them, but they really cannot do it because they have not received the Holy Spirit who will make them real” Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p85).

LORD, send Your SPIRIT so ____ may realize that (his/her) self-centeredness is sinning against You even in the matter of serving and pleasing You. Self-confident strengths oppose Your SPIRIT.

“Whatever does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the Holy Spirit, is unquestionably of the flesh…Whenever a heart of utter trust is lacking, there is the labor of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p114).

“The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is not sincerity, not deciding for Christ, not a determination to serve Him, but complete and entire recognition that we cannot begin to do it” Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p86).

FATHER, awaken ____ to see (his/her) pathetic flesh so CHRIST can pour His disposition in (him/her). CHRIST must realize His will through (him/her) (ref#83, p86). By faith I know, FATHER, You will give ____ the ability not only to want to do His will but also the ability to do it (Phil 2:12-13).

CONFESSION

TWO NATURES

…FATHER, Your SPIRIT is teaching me to understand myself. This makes me responsible for how I conduct my life. So, let me warn myself about the battle that starts in my mind.

Since the SPIRIT resides in me, I admire righteousness. This admiration comes from the new nature You have given me. But my old unrighteous nature still has the ability to influence my mind—thus the battle.

My mind is in the habit of accepting input from my “flesh”—which is sense and reason without the HOLY SPIRIT. Thus my old nature gladly takes up the challenge to become righteous. This “flesh,” with its carnal thoughts and purposes, cannot please or satisfy You or ever be acceptable to You because it is obsessed with self (Rom 8:6-8). My mind is not renewed so as to change my conduct if I just try hard to act righteous (ref#33, p110).

Therefore, let me warn myself about my “flesh:” “…flesh not only can produce sin but can also perform good” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p110). I can read and preach the Bible, hear and believe the Scriptures in the strength of my flesh and not depend at all on the HOLY SPIRIT Who guides my new nature (ref#33, p113). I can serve You over-zealously like the Pharisees all with my natural strength.

“That which is born of flesh…is flesh, and can never be ‘unfleshed.’ Whether it be the flesh in the pulpit…the flesh in prayers…the flesh in reading the Bible, the flesh in singing hymns, or the flesh in doing good—none of these…can avail…” Watchman Nee (ref#33, p119).

My flesh will try to establish another righteousness outside of CHRIST. Flesh left to itself will lead me down Israel’s path—pursuing righteousness based on works (my doings) and not faith (Rom 9:32).

Because I attempt to follow You in faith, I know that You have gifted me with a new nature that is opposite my unrighteous, fleshly nature. I do not want to walk in the natural, easy ways of my flesh, but desire to follow You in the newness of life that You give. Keep me aware of these two natures within me and provide strength so my actions are in keeping with my new nature.

I make a decisive dedication of my members and faculties to be devoted and well-pleasing to You. Therefore, I determine, with Your SPIRIT’s help, to put to death by neglect my natural thinking.