Is it possible to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved? That’s a question I often hear from people who have professed that they trust in Jesus Christ but just aren’t sure if their faith is adequate. The good news is that God wants us to have unquestionable assurance of our salvation (1 John 5:13). And there are three words that will help us determine whether our faith is genuine.
Knowledge. First, we must know that we are sinners and our sins have alienated us from God. Since we are helpless to remedy this situation, He is our only hope for salvation. Second, we need to know that Jesus is deity and He came as the God-man to die in our place and thereby pay the penalty for our sins. His resurrection proves that His sacrifice was sufficient for our salvation.
Conviction. According to John 16:8, one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convict us of sin so we can see our need for a Savior. But that alone is not enough. God’s Spirit also convinces us the message of salvation in Christ is true and we must respond.
Trust. Being fully persuaded of our sin and the sufficiency of Christ’s provision for our forgiveness and salvation, we believe and place trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
The entire Trinity is involved in our salvation. The Son provided the perfect sacrifice for sin, the Father draws us to Christ, and the Spirit convicts and convinces us to believe in Jesus and receive Him as our Savior. We are saved because of God’s amazing grace and limitless love.
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 40-42
Read: John 14:1–12
Bible in a Year: Proverbs 6–7; 2 Corinthians 2
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”—John 14:8
Author and pastor Erwin Lutzer recounts a story about television show host Art Linkletter and a little boy who was drawing a picture of God. Amused, Linkletter said, “You can’t do that because nobody knows what God looks like.”
“They will when I get through!” the boy declared.
We may wonder, What is God like? Is He good? Is He kind? Does He care? The simple answer to those questions is Jesus’s response to Philip’s request: “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9).
If you ever get hungry to see God, look at Jesus. “The Son is the image of the invisible God,” said Paul (Col. 1:15). Read through the four gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Think deeply about what Jesus did and said. “Draw” your own mental picture of God as you read. You’ll know much more of what He’s like when you’re through.
A friend of mine once told me that the only God he could believe in is the one he saw in Jesus. If you look closely, I think you’ll agree. As you read about Him your heart will leap, for though you may not know it, Jesus is the God you’ve been looking for all your life. —David H. Roper
We’re so prone, Lord, to want You to be something You are not. Help us to see You more clearly on the pages of Scripture. Help us reflect Your Son in our lives.
The clearer we see God, the clearer we see ourselves. Erwin Lutzer
“Stop struggling,” the lifeguard yelled at the drowning victim. “I can’t help you if you try to save yourself. Relax!” The young boy finally relaxed, and in a minute the lifeguard had him ashore and to safety. There are some situations where struggling and trying to fix things ourselves only gets us in deeper trouble. God knows that, so he says, “Give me your troubles and your struggles.” That means that when we tell Jesus about our problems, we can relax and let him carry them. We don’t have to worry about them anymore. Most struggles we have in life will pass after a while, so there’s no point worrying about them. We might just as well give them to Jesus.
It might take a while to see God doing anything about what we’ve given to him. He takes time to answer our prayers in just the right way. And even when we can’t see God doing anything, he is. So if you feel like you are drowning in trouble and questions and sadness, call for the lifeguard—Jesus—to see how he comes to your rescue.
Dear Lord, Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in problems and sorrows. Come rescue me, and I will let you carry me and my troubles to a safe place. Amen.
O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear.
— Psalm 34:9
I remember a morning when I sat down to pray and instead began to worry about whatever my current situation was and to consider what I was going to do about it.
Suddenly I heard that still, small voice inside my spirit say, Joyce, are you going to worship your problem or Me? See, God was more than willing to handle my problem if I was willing to forget it and spend time worshipping Him.
When we worship the Lord, we release the emotional or mental burden that weighs us down. It is swallowed up in the awesomeness of God. When we keep our eyes on Him and worship, we will always see His plan for our lives work out all things for our good.
The Bible says there is no lack for those who truly worship the Lord with godly fear. Do you want to be sure all your needs will be met? Then remember to worship, not worry.
Regardless of the difficulties you face, just keep praising God and giving Him glory. Faith will rise in your heart, and you will overcome.
“Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own, through what Christ would do for us; He decided then to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault – we who stand before Him covered with His love” (Ephesians 1:4).
On every continent and in scores of countries, I have asked thousands of people, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, communists and atheists: “Who is the greatest person who ever lived? Who has done more good for mankind than anyone else?”
Among knowledgeable people, the answer is always the same, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Born nearly 2,000 years ago, His coming had been foretold for centuries by the great prophets of Israel. The Old Testament, written by many individuals over a period of 1,500 years, contains more than 300 references concerning the promised Messiah. All of these prophecies have been fulfilled in the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. They could not have referred to anyone else.
That in itself is conclusive evidence of God’s personal and supernatural intervention in history. Jesus’ coming into this world was no accident, and we who trust Him are covered by His love.
What a beautiful picture – covered with His love!
“All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as has that one solitary life,” declared an anonymous observer in reflecting upon the life of Jesus Christ.
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:5-14
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Throughout this day I will picture myself embraced by the arms of the Almighty, His love covering and comforting me. I will share His love and faithfulness with others.
In an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest sit-down meal served, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority in Washington, D.C., prepared a banquet for 16,206 guests. Two thousand employees served three tons of beef, 1.5 tons of mashed potatoes, and 40,000 pounds of bagged ice.
Today’s passage details an amazing meal when Jesus used small means to feed many people. Following intensive days of teaching and healing, He retreated for a private moment, but again He was followed by a “great crowd” (v. 5). People had heard about the wonders and teachings of this extraordinary man. They were searching for Jesus.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus asked Philip how they would feed them. Philip’s response was practical. Feeding a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children) would be no simple task. It would require “more than half a year’s wages” (v. 7). Andrew volunteered supplies—two small fish and five loaves of barley bread. What seemed like scarcity became abundance in the hands of Jesus. We are not told how this multiplication happened, only that everyone was fed, with plenty to spare. The miracle astounded everyone. “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (v. 14).
Jesus withdrew from the crowd, but again He defied the limitations of nature when He walked on the water (v. 19). He was far more than an extraordinary person—the disciples were witnessing God Himself.
The theme of this month’s study was taken from verse 24: the crowd headed to Capernaum “in search of Jesus.” Plenty of people were searching for Jesus. Would they discover the Jesus they thought they wanted, or would they recognize Him as the Son of God?
APPLY THE WORD
When facing obstacles, are you like Philip, seeing only the practical limitations? Or are you like Andrew, trusting that God can transform meager resources into abundant blessing? Do you trust your abilities or God’s plans? Ask God to amaze you with His ability not only to meet your needs but also to surpass your expectations.
I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4
Focus is the fuel to productivity and frees you to stay on task. Focus facilitates God’s will and has the ability to bring intensity to a situation, problem, or opportunity. There is a sense of urgency that pushes out distraction and brings clarity back to the matter at hand. Focused individuals understand that some things naturally drift out of focus, so they intentionally refocus.
“Mission drift” ensues when the leader becomes distracted and unfocused as well-meaning activities can distract the team or the individual from the original purpose.
The opposite of focusing on a task is to ignore or disregard it. We lose focus when we lose interest or assess a lower value to a person or opportunity. We lose focus when something else more attractive draws us away, and like a moth to a flame, we can get burned if we are not careful. We are forever fighting to stay focused because of bad distractions and good attractions. But we don’t have to remain unfocused or get focused on the wrong things. When we stay laser-focused on the Lord, important things become priority and our minds become centered on Christ.
We focus all the time. We may not focus on our most important options, but we focus. We focus on sports. We focus on having fun. We focus on finances. We focus on fitness. We focus on frustrations. Indeed, your mind and your heart tend to follow your focus. Your life aligns around where you focus, so by God’s grace stay focused on Him and His will for your life. Focused faith goes a long way toward experiencing God’s very best. Focused intensity on the Almighty’s agenda leverages His plan for your life. Focus brings freedom to do His will without reservation; so stay focused on the one thing He has called you to do and you will be amazed at the results. Become an expert in your field.
Above all else, become an intensely focused person of faith and character. Your character determines your credibility with people. Your influence grows as your character grows; so stay focused on becoming more like Jesus. Laugh more and complain less. Relax more and worry less. Pray more and talk less. Give more and control less. One idea is to focus on your family. Focus more intently on your family than you do your work or your hobbies. Put a puzzle together, take scuba diving lessons, plan a family reunion, organize a trip, or take care of a pet.