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Assured Because of Our Love for Others, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
October 4, 2022 9:00 am

Assured Because of Our Love for Others, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 4, 2022 9:00 am

As we conclude our powerful series called Assured, we’re discovering how we can know with absolute certainty whether or not we’re saved. God doesn’t want you living in fear and doubt!

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Today on Summit Life, J.D. Greer says there are only two responses to the gospel. When you believe the gospel, you have simultaneously these two things. You lose fear and you grow in love. If you got one without the other, you're not really saved. But if you got them both, you're saved. Because someone who understands the gospel, two things always happen. They lose their fear and they begin to grow in love because they are tasting of how much God has actually loved them. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author and theologian J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. Today we've come to the conclusion of our teaching series called Assured, discovering how we can know with absolute certainty whether or not we're part of God's family. The underlying truth of this whole teaching series is that He doesn't want you living in fear and doubt. You can know that you're saved and you can live with the power of the gospel as your fuel.

If you'd like to catch up on the previous messages in this study, you can find them at jdgreer.com. Now let's get started with the final message titled Assured Because of Our Love for Others. I want you to read Psalm 103.

Psalm 103, for as high as the heavens are above the earth, that's how great is God's steadfast, never-changing love for those who know Him. How do you measure that? How do you measure the height of the heavens above the earth? That would take an awfully long tape measure.

If you were traveling at the speed of light, 186,282.2 miles per hour, it would take you 100,000 years to get to the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, to get to the edge of our universe, to get to the edge of the universe, they say, if you were traveling at the speed of light, would take 15.5 billion years. That is the analogy that God chose to measure His love for you. Does that not blow your mind? Paul said that the love of God surpasses our knowledge. And if we could just get a glimpse of the height, the breadth, the length, and the depth of God's love for us, height, height as high as the heavens are above the earth, but the length. When Paul says length, I think of the fact that Jesus chose you before the foundation of the world, it says, which means that before there was ever even a creation, before you had ever fallen, Jesus had set His love on you and chosen you and purposed to die for you. In Revelation, they say, behold, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, which means that before God created the world, the Father had already purposed to crucify Jesus to save you.

It's a love that will extend for all of eternity. Never, no, never will I turn my back on you, says God. The breadth of God's love, I don't know exactly what Paul means by that, but what I always think about is the extent of control that he exercises in our universe to work his plans toward the ends that he has them. All things, Paul says in Ephesians 1, all things are working for the purposes that God has ordained. Good and loving purposes in your life, the breadth of God's love, the depth of God's love. How far God had to reach down to actually save me. My faults, my dysfunctions, my sins, they were not a surprise to God. God did not like, oh, I didn't know that you were like that. He saw all that when He purposed to save me while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.

And I was thinking about that this week. Imagine that when you were single, you had to wear a little warning label around your neck that just listed out all of your faults, like almost like a warning on a carton of cigarettes. You just say, just display it for everybody, warning, moody, ferocious morning breath, snores, lazy, anger problems, occasionally lies. And you just had to wear that so anybody that got close to you would have to take a look at what they were, you'd never get a date, right? Because dating is by definition conditional love. I am dating you to see if you were worthy of my love. Nobody goes into a dating relationship unconditionally. You know, like, hey, I don't care what is revealed by you in the next or first date here, I'm with you for the rest of your life and for eternity.

Nobody does that. If he does, it's kind of creepy. Dating is by definition conditional love because you're seeing if this person is worthy of your love. I've only experienced in my lifetime one love, earthly love that was different than that. It's when I looked at my child. The first child, I did not look into her face and say, now, is this one, is she worthy of my love? No, no, I loved her because she was mine. At no point in her childhood or with any of my children will I ever sit them down and say, you know, Karis, this is just not working out.

It's not you, it's me, it really is, but I've just got some different things that are going on in my life right now. No, no, actually her faults, if anything, make me love her more. I have compassion on her and I want to help her in her weaknesses. I have set my love upon her and the depth of my love for her is different than the love that I have for anybody, for any of my children.

That's how I feel about them. That's how God's love is for us. Tender, compassionate, unconditional, like a father with a child who knows the faults, who chooses to love it anyway except a few billion light years times more intense than any love you've ever had for your kid. How could you possibly encounter a love of that magnitude and not become loving yourself? Paul said that the first fruit of the Spirit is what?

Love. The sign that you have encountered the Spirit of God who has given you insight into the heart of God is that you become a loving person because it is inconceivable that you could experience that kind of love and not become loving yourself. Richard Baxter, the Puritan, is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God? To be the son, the spouse, the beloved, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this and think about it often. You will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting and will extend to everlasting of the love which brought the Son of God's love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory. That love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, beaten, spat upon, crucified, pierced, love which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died for you, that love will eternally embrace you. It is inconceivable that you could encounter the power of that love and grace and not be filled with love yourself. That's what the point John is making is. I've told you, it's like imagine that when it came time for the message here, the Summit Church on the weekend after the video is done, I'm not on stage.

There's nobody on stage. And for five or six minutes, everybody's kind of looking around like, what's going on? It's awkward. Is he going to show up? And then suddenly, just when you think that I'm not showing up in the side door of our auditorium, I bust in, I am out of breath, I got sweat all over my face, mud, my hair's all messed up, my shirt's untucked, which is pretty common, but I just look like a mess. And I walk up here and I'm like, guys, I'm so sorry I'm late. You would not believe what happened to me on the way over here.

I was out there on TW Alexander. I was driving here and I had a flat tire. And so I stopped to change the tire and I'm taking off the lug nuts and one of the lug nuts rolls out in the road. So I turn around and go get it and I pick it up and I hear a honk of a horn and I look up and wouldn't you know it, there's a tractor trailer. I'm going 75 miles an hour, just run me over, just ran me over. And I guess he didn't know what he hit because he backed up, ran me over again. I got ran over twice by a tractor trailer and man, that hurt.

But you know, I kind of dusted myself off a little bit and tried to clean, you know, and so that's why I'm late. I'm sorry. What's your response to that? You a liar.

That's right. You're a liar. If you got hit by a tractor trailer going 75 miles an hour, you'd look different. You'd walk different. You'd talk different.

Everything about you'd be different, right? John says there's no way for you to get hit with even a taste of the force of God's love and not become a loving person yourself. It's just inconceivable. The other story I use a lot with this is the story Jesus told, one of my favorite parables, where Jesus talks about the man, remember this, the man who's been forgiven of 10,000 talents by another man. Now talent was a unit of money. It was about $75 in first century Israel. 10,000 was the highest number you could count to in Greek. So when you said 10,000 of something, it was like saying an infinity of something. So this guy owes this other guy an infinity of money. Think national debt, okay? So this guy owes this other guy the national debt. And so the day comes for the debt to be paid. And in those days, if you couldn't pay off a debt, then you would become a slave to the person that you owe the money to so that you would work for them for the rest of your life. And if by the end of your life, you hadn't paid off the debt, then your kids would become the slaves of their kids.

And that's how one family line would get enslaved to another family line. So this guy owes this guy an infinity of money, $16.2 trillion. And this other guy is ready to collect it. And on the day that it's going to be due, they're both staying in court when the guy who owes the money breaks down and he gets down on his face and he just starts to weep. And he says, please, sir, don't put me in prison. Don't take me from my kids.

Don't put my kids in prison. Give me one more week and I will pay off the $16.2 trillion, which is a ridiculous statement because he could never pay it off. Everybody's watching this scene in the courtroom in Jesus' story.

And you can almost feel the awkwardness that would have swept over that courtroom, could you not? Because people who are in a position to loan other people $16.2 trillion don't get there by being a pushover. They don't get there by having a soft spot, right? People who loan other people money, what do we call them? Not loan puppies or loan bunnies, loan sharks.

Because if you don't pay back your money in a timely way, they send some guy named Bruno to your door with a stick to break your kneecaps. So everybody's like, oh, this is so pathetic. When the most unexpected thing happens in Jesus' story, this man, he feels an emotion that Jesus calls splodma, which is another one of my favorite Greek words, splodma. It means a gut level compassion. We don't know why, maybe this guy reminded me of his son, who knows, but he looked at this man, he says, stand up. He says, you do not have another week to pay me back because as of this moment, your $16.2 trillion debt is wiped away. When the man can't believe it, for the first time in as long as he can remember, he doesn't owe somebody else money and he feels as light as air. Imagine what that would have been like to have been forgiven an infinity of money, to escape slavery with you and your kids.

Want real, lasting change, don't we? To help you down that road, we'd love to send you an eight-session Bible study, including DVD video teaching and study guides. Find a group of friends and study God's Word together. It comes with our thanks for your generous gift to the ministry today.

Reserve it right now by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgrier.com. Thanks for being with us today. Now let's get back to the final moments of our teaching series. Here's Pastor JD. So the man walks out of the courtroom feeling as light as air as he's walking out of the courtroom. Another man is crossing the street that he knows who owes him $12 because of some money that got borrowed three weeks ago.

And the guy who, you know, just got forgiven the $16.2 trillion says, hey man, where's my money? Because I'm sorry, it's been a rough week. I don't have it. Give me the next week. I'll pay you your $12. No, says the guy.

You will not have until next week. I'm taking you to debtor's prison right now till you work it off to pay me back. And the guy says, hey man, chill out. It's $12.

I will pay you next week. And the guy says, too late for that. And he grabs him, Jesus says, by the throat and drags him and throws him in prison. Now, can you imagine when Jesus is at this point in the story that everybody starts rolling their eyes saying, come on, man, be serious.

Nobody that had just been forgiven $16.2 trillion would hold somebody else accountable for 12. And Jesus says, exactly. Therefore, if you are not the kind of person who naturally is generous, if you're the kind of person who naturally does not forgive others, that's probably a pretty good sign that you have never encountered the love of God and have no concept of what he's forgiven you of. What I'm simply trying to say to you is maybe the fact of how ing gracious some of you are in your marriage might be a better proof that you don't actually know God than anything else we would look at in your life. Because people who encounter the love and grace of God to a one, by definition, always become the kind of people who are loving and gracious toward others. So test number one, we know that we know God because we love one another.

So let's just do some diagnosis here. How much do you love people? How much do you sacrifice for people? John said this one chapter before, if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how could God's love possibly abide in that person?

How could you seize him with a knee that you can meet and just close your heart to it? There's no way that you could have encountered the love and the grace of God that rescued you when you have that kind of need and not become the kind of person who naturally gives away your things to other people when they have a need. Where would you be if Jesus had chosen to leverage his resources for you the way that you are leveraging yours for the salvation of the world? What's your giving like?

What's your giving like? The whole trajectory of your life, is it to love and serve people or is the whole trajectory of your life to promote yourself? Listen, I know not everybody's supposed to be a pastor and a missionary and I'm not saying that in the slightest, but I am saying there are some of you that need to do a fundamental rethinking of your life because you chose the career you're in and you are pursuing the goals that you're pursuing and it is all about you building a small kingdom for yourself and it is hard for me to get my mind around how you would possibly know a Jesus who because he gave himself for you and became poor, you could live.

How could you not turn around and say how can the gifts and the talents and the opportunities I have, how can they not be used to serve the world that is as lost as I was before Jesus saved me? How quickly do you forgive? How quickly do you forgive?

Do you place more value on nursing your wounds or in seeing someone reconciled and come back to good and restored to God? Or how about a real basic question? Are you interested in other people? Are you the kind of person like, hey, if we're not talking about me, I'm not really interested in talking. I've talked about me enough. Why don't you talk about me for a while? Are you the kind of person that serves other people? Do you pay attention to them?

Let's just get all up in it now. Who's the last person you told about Jesus? I mean, we give a lot of really bad excuses for our lack of sharing Christ with other people, don't we? Well, I just don't know how. Let me tell you why I don't buy.

I don't buy that for two reasons. Number one, how hard is it? I mean, if you're on the top of a 10-story building that's on fire and a fireman breaks in at the last second, drags you 10 stories down to safety, puts you on the sidewalk and goes back in for somebody else, you don't even know his name, but somebody walks from behind the street and says, what just happened? And you're like, that building was on fire and that dude saved me.

How hard is it? You were dead in sin. You were deserving of going to hell and Jesus died in your place and now I love him. Boom. That's it. That's just not hard to share. Or here's my other thing I say back to, I don't know how. Why don't you learn how? You're like, well, it's just hard.

You figured out the remote on your TV, which took the brain of a rocket scientist. You can figure out how to tell somebody about the love of God, which defines and has saved your life. I think the real reason we don't tell people about Jesus has more to do with the fact that we're more concerned about our convenience than we are their conversion. And it all goes back to a lack of love, because if you love people, you'd figure it out. I always think of the words of Charles Spurgeon when they asked him, can people who've never heard about Jesus, can they be saved?

And Spurgeon said, well, that's a good question. He said, but I got a more pressing question for our church. And that is, can those of us who have heard about Jesus believe in him and are doing nothing to take him to the people that have never heard, could we possibly be saved? Because how could we say we know Jesus and not have hearts that just go? The sign that we're filled with God is that we love, like God loves, and that reveals itself in how we give and how we self-sacrifice and how we forgive others like Jesus did for us. Now, I think that probably that might send some of you into despair.

What's the measure? How do I know that I love enough? The answer to those questions is no, you don't love enough, which is why the basis of your salvation is not in how much you love. The basis of your salvation is in what Christ accomplished for you. He loved enough, and then he died for your lovelessness and your place. But as you see that, and as you believe it, you should see God's love beginning in you.

Do you see love growing in you? Which leads me to one more thing I want to point out before I close. There's one other thing that having our eyes open to the love of God does for us, and I am so glad that John just tucked it in here. Because at first I couldn't figure out why he did.

It just seemed like he just changed directions. But it's very important that he took these two verses that I skipped, verses 17 and 18. Look at this, 1 John 4. By this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment.

That's what we're talking about. I want to know that I'm safe. How do I have confidence for the day of judgment? There is no fear in love. Perfect love cast out fear. For fear has to do with what, church? Punishment. Whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Number two, test number two. We know that we know God because God's love has driven out our fear. You see that phrase, fear has to do with punishment? When you are afraid of death, when you're afraid you're not saved, it's because you fear punishment.

You fear rejection. And that proves, listen, that you have not yet understood or believed or grasped the gospel, which is that all sin and all judgment and all condemnation have been removed forever in Christ. When you grasp the finished work of the gospel, fear vanishes because you are embraced by perfect love. Perfect love that is not simply a feeling. Perfect love that perfectly satisfied the claims of God's wrath against you and perfectly saved you so that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. Your right to heaven is no longer based on how loving you are.

It's based on Jesus' finished work. And that drives out fear. Most Christians that I talk to are still scared to die. And I ask them questions like this. If you die, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven? And the answer I get back is always, or not always, it's a lot of times this.

Like, wow, yeah. I think I'm getting better now that I go to your church. I'm bringing my Bible every week, and I know some of the God songs, and my radio dial is set to 106.7, and I'm just listening to K-Love, and I buy Girl Scout cookies, and I never did that before. So I think I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go to heaven. And at that point, my heart breaks because I know I'm like, they still don't get it. They still don't get it because they think that entry into heaven is something you earn, whereas entry into heaven is something Jesus earned in your place and gave to you as a gift. And when you embrace that, there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing can separate me from His love.

Listen, some of you will hear this the wrong way, but I'm going to say it anyway. I am as sure of heaven right now. I am as sure if you pulled out a gun and shot me by the time my body hit the floor, my spirit would be in heaven with Jesus.

I am so sure of that. I am as sure of heaven as Jesus Himself is. Jesus became my salvation.

He took my place. My salvation is as secure as He is. I could no more be thrown out of heaven than Jesus could lose His position at the right hand of the Father. Therefore, there is no fear left in my relationship with God because my salvation is not based on how much I love.

It's based on His finished work. So when you believe the Gospel, you have simultaneously these two things. You lose fear and you grow in love. If you got one without the other, you're not really saved.

But if you got them both, you're saved. Because someone who understands the Gospel, two things always happen. They lose their fear because they know and trust the finished work of Christ. And they begin to grow in love because they are tasting of how much God has actually loved them. The two things that John identifies that prove you've been genuinely born again is that you have fearlessness about God because you know the Gospel and love is growing in your heart because you have tasted of the love of God in the Gospel. Are these things true of you?

If they are not, what do you do? You believe the Gospel. Because the Gospel is the conduit of God's power of salvation in your life. Whatever is wrong, whenever you're afraid, you do one thing.

Believe the Gospel. Remember I compared it in the first week to a chair? And I told you that you can only be in one of two positions in relation to the chair? You're standing beside the chair or you're having sat down in the chair? You can only be in one of two relationships with Jesus Christ.

Right now you are in one of two relationships with Him. You are standing beside Him as your own authority or you have sat down in submission to Him and you have sat down in your trust in the finished work of salvation He did on your behalf. To believe the Gospel is that you've simply sat down. I've told you not to obsess about when you made the decision to sit down because when you made the decision is not as important as the posture that you're in right now in relation to Jesus. All you that I'm looking at right now are sitting. How do you know that you made the decision to sit down when you came in?

Remember? Is it because you remember making the decision? No, you know that you made the decision to sit down by the fact that you are seated in that posture right now.

That's how you know. How do you know you made the decision to trust Christ? Is it because you remember praying the prayer? No, it's because right now you're surrendered to Christ's Lordship and you're trusted in Him as Savior.

There's only two categories of people in this room. Those who are standing as their authority and standing in the hopes they can earn heaven and those who have sat down in Jesus' righteousness and in submission, which are you? I'm going to answer the question of whether or not you're saved in one question. What is your present posture in relationship to Jesus Christ? So what posture are you taking towards Jesus today? Are you leaning on Him, trusting Him to lead and give strength, or are you still trying to do life on your own?

An important distinction that we've learned today on Summit Life with Pastor Mark I'm going to answer the question of whether or not you're saved in one question. What is your present posture in relationship to Jesus Christ? So what posture are you taking towards Jesus today?

Are you leaning on Him, trusting Him to lead and give strength, or are you still trying to do life on your own? An important distinction that we've learned today on Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. Now, Pastor JD, today is also the final day for our listeners to reserve a copy of your gospel Bible study. Can you tell us what we can expect from this video-based study? Well, it's an eight-session video-based Bible study.

It's something we repeat so often here at Summit Life. I think some of our listeners will really enjoy what I think might be the most transformative and powerful concept in the Christian life, which is that growth in Christ is not growth beyond the gospel. It's growth deeper into the gospel.

One of the ways we always say it here is the fire to do in the Christian life comes from being soaked in the fuel of what has been done. We'd love to give you this whole kit, eight sessions, five study guides to go along with it, a copy of the book Gospel. We've got a limited number of these gospel kits though, so if you want to go right now, today, right now, go to jdgreer.com and you can reserve your copy. More than anything else, you've been placed here on mission to exemplify the love and grace you've been given. That's a big part of what's found in the gospel Bible study, and you can get it today with your gift to the ministry. Don't forget today is the last day to reserve your copy, so let's focus our vision and refine our mission as we live out the gospel every day in every way. Visit jdgreer.com today to support Summit Life with your generous donation, or if you'd rather call, our phone number is 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. I'm Molly Bidevich inviting you to listen again tomorrow when Pastor JD starts a brand new teaching series titled Unknown God. That's coming up Wednesday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-27 03:54:08 / 2022-12-27 04:05:22 / 11

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