Sermon #50[1]                                                      Hebrews Notes


     Title:            Where Is Your Evidence?

     Text:            Hebrews 11:1

     Readings:     Larry Criss and Matthew 14:14-33

     Subject:       Faith In Christ, The Evidence Of Grace

     Date:            Tuesday Evening – April 10, 2001

     Tape #         W-35a



     I am going to approach this message a little different than usual. Rather than reading my text now, I want to wait and give you the text at the end of the message. Let me begin my message by telling you four things. Here are four things we know.

1.     We know that God has chosen a people in eternal election, whose names were written in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the world began (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Phil. 4:3; Luke 10:20; Rev. 13:8).


{Luke 10:20}  "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."


{Ephesians 1:3-6}  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: {4} According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: {5} Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, {6} To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."


{Philippians 4:3}  "And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life."


{2 Thessalonians 2:13-14}  "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: {14} Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."


{Revelation 13:8}  "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."


These men and women are the objects of God’s eternal love, sovereign grace, and immutable purpose. And they must be saved. It is not possible for an elect sinner to perish.


2.     We know that the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed that elect multitude from the curse of the law by his death upon the cross as their Substitute (2 Cor. 5:18-21; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12, 26).


{2 Corinthians 5:18-21}  "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {20} Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


{Galatians 3:13}  "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"


{Hebrews 9:12}  "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."


{Hebrews 9:26}  "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."


     The blood of Christ was not shed in vain. Every sinner for whom Christ died shall be saved. If even one of those for whom Christ shed his blood to make atonement by the satisfaction of justice were to perish under the wrath of God and be forever lost, the Son of God would be a frustrated failure. And that cannot be! That sin which was transferred from God’s elect to Christ, the Substitute, the sin for which he suffered and died under the wrath of God, can never be transferred back to those for whom Christ died.


“Payment God cannot twice demand,

First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,

And then again at mine!”


3.     We also know that God the Holy Spirit effectually regenerates, calls, and saves the elect (Ps. 65:4; 110:3; John 3:8; 6:63; Eph. 2:1-8).


{Psalms 65:4}  "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple."


{Psalms 110:3}  "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth."


{John 3:8}  "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."


{John 6:63}  "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."


{Ephesians 2:1-8}  "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: {2} Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: {3} Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. {4} But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, {5} Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) {6} And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: {7} That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. {8} For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."


     All those whose names were written in heaven in eternal election, all those who were redeemed by the blood of Christ shall be effectually called by God the Holy Spirit in time. They shall be born again and saved by the almighty power of his irresistible grace. When the Spirit of God calls, when he draws sinners to Christ, he effectually brings them to Christ. Salvation is not by the will of man, but by the will of God. Salvation is not by the power of man, but by the power of God. Salvation is not by the work of man, but by the work of God. Salvation is not by the choice of man, but by the choice of God. So then it is not of him that willeth, not of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy(Rom. 9:16). Salvation is of the Lord!” (John 2:9).


4.     And we know this too: Every sinner in the world who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ has everlasting life (John 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 10:9-13; 1 John 5:1).


{John 3:16}  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."


{John 3:18}  "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."


{John 3:36}  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."


{Romans 10:9-13}  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. {10} For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. {11} For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. {12} For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. {13} For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."


{1 John 5:1}  "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."


     All who have faith in Christ have salvation. All who look to Christ live. Every sinner in the world who believes on Christ was chosen by God in eternal election, and redeemed by Christ at Calvary, and has been called to Christ by the Holy Spirit’s irresistible grace.


Everyone who reads the Bible with any measure of spiritual discernment and understanding knows these things. These are simple, elementary truths of the gospel, plainly revealed in the Holy Scriptures. All who were chosen by God in election were redeemed by Christ at Calvary and shall be called by the Holy Spirit in time. And all who are called by the spirit of God shall come to Christ and live forever.


Now, I think I can safely say that everybody here has some interest in these things. Some have only a vague, fluctuating interest. And some have a deep, abiding interest. But we all have some interest in these things. We all entertain some hope that we are among the number of those sinners whom God loved with an everlasting love, whom Christ redeemed by his precious blood, whom the Spirit regenerates by almighty grace, and whom God will bring into heaven at last. That is your hope, isn’t it? It is mine. You hope that you are one of the elect. You hope that you are redeemed. You hope that you are saved, a child of God, an heir to eternal life. If you did not entertain some hope that these things are so, or might be so, I doubt you would be here.


Now, let me ask you another question. And this is the title of my message – Where is your evidence? Let’s put ourselves on trial. We claim title to a saving interest in Christ. But what evidence do we have that our title is good? For some of you, nothing in all the world is of more vital concern to you than this. Your soul is vexed continually with this matter –


“Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought.

Do I love the Lord, or no,

Am I His, or am I not?”


Let’s examine the evidence and find out. If we can rightfully lay claim to that eternal salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with full assurance and confidence, we must be able to verify that it is ours by the evidence God has given in his Word. We must be able to point to the Word of God and given reason from Holy Scripture for the hope that lies within us.


{1 Peter 3:15}  "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."


If we can verify our hope by the Word of God, we ought never be troubled by the questions raised in Newton’s song.


Proposition: The assurance of a saving interest in Christ must be built upon evidence that is acceptable, both in the court of heaven and in the court of my own conscience.


We claim to be Christians. We hope that we are the children of God. We hope that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Where is your evidence? Where is mine?


Not in experiences


I.       I know this – No experience of grace, feeling of spirituality, or work performed by me, past or present, is evidence that I am a child of God.


I know that all who are born of God experience regeneration, conversion, and faith. I know that every true believer feels remorse for sin, conviction, inner conflict, love, joy, and peace. And I know that everyone born of God maintains good works in the tenor of his life. But you may experience, feel, and do all these things, and not be born again.


·        Experience is no basis of assurance! – Judas!

·        Feeling is not basis of assurance! –


“Feelings come and feelings go;

And feelings are deceiving.

I trust the living Word of God.

Naught else is worth believing!”

                                                Martin Luther


·        Good works is no basis of assurance! – Annanias -- Saul of Tarsus!


Answer me this question. – What evidence do you have that you are a child of God? When your conscience disturbs you, how do you silence it? When doubts arise, how do you settle them? When you examine yourself, if you are honest enough to do so, by what do you prove to yourself that you are in the faith? Does your heart go back to an experience, or remember a feeling, or hold forth a work you have performed, and say, “There, I know that I am saved, because I could never have experienced, felt, or done those things if I were not one of God’s children”?


If your assurance of a saving interest in Christ is built upon such a foundation of sand, I must tell you this – Either you are a very proud, self-righteous hypocrite, deceiving your own heart with a refuge of lies (Isa. 26:15), or you have no real peace of heart, assurance of faith, and confidence before God at all! In your inmost soul, you cannot say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). The evidence you offer to silence your conscience will not hold up in the court of conscience. Experiences of grace, feelings of spirituality, and good works are no evidence that I am born of God. These things can never give assurance to an honest man, because…


·        Any grace I experience may be a counterfeit work of Satan.

·        Any feelings I have may be no more than natural emotions.

·        Every work perform is marred by sin.


Not in graces


II.    I know this too – Those graces and works which convince other men and women that I am a child of God, can never convince my own heart and conscience. Even the fruit of the Spirit is no sure evidence that I am one of God’s elect.


     There are many things by which others are convinced that we belong to God, many things which cause both the world and the church to call us the disciples of Christ (Matt. 5:13-16). But that man or woman who makes the flattering opinions of others the evidence of their salvation is a fool.


{Matthew 5:13-16}  "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. {14} Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. {15} Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. {16} Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."


     But what about gracious influences of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, does not the fruit of the Spirit prove that a person is truly born of God? Without question, all who are born of God have the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit bears fruit in them (Gal. 5:22-23).


{Galatians 5:22-23}  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, {23} Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."


·        Fruit toward God – “Love, joy, peace.”

·        Fruit toward man – “Longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.”

·        Fruit within – “Faith (faithfulness), meekness, temperance.”


But these things, when held up as the evidence of life to my own conscience, can never give me assurance, if I am honest with myself.


     My love, joy, and peace toward God are, at best, fluctuating, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, sometimes fervent, and sometimes languid. My longsuffering is impatient. My gentleness is awfully hard, and my goodness is terribly selfish. My faithfulness is unpredictable. My meekness is full of pride. And my temperance lacks discipline. My conscience will accept none of these things as evidence that I belong to God, because conscience, like the law itself, demands perfection.


     If you look to the fruit of the Spirit in you as the evidenced of your election, redemption, and regeneration, I must tell you this about yourself – Either you are a proud, self-righteous, hypocrite deceiving your own heart, or you have no real assurance, confidence of heart, and peace of conscience before God. You may sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” And you may protest vehemently against the possibility that you are not yet saved, a child of God, and an heir of eternal salvation. But in your inmost soul, in the quiet, still, lonely watches of the night, your conscience torments you and says, “You have no evidence of life. You are lost. You are dead in sin. You are a hypocrite!”


Not in brotherly love


III. And I know that – Even my love for you, my brethren, is no sure evidence of a saving interest in Christ.


     I know that all of God’s people love one another. If a man does not love his brethren, he does not love God. I do not deny that at all. Our Lord said, By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another(John 13:35). But the issue is not what other men know. The issue is what I know. I want personal, full assurance that I have legitimate title to eternal life. I want evidence that will satisfy my own conscience and heart, answering to the Word of God, that I am one of God’s elect, one who’s sins have been put away by the Lord Jesus Christ, one who is born of God.


     I do love you. I can even say, with honesty that I do love the Lord Jesus Christ. But my love for you, and my love for Christ, is not sufficient evidence to convince my heart and conscience of my saving interest in Christ.


     But what about 1 John 3:14? - “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”


     Doesn’t John here tell us that our love for the brethren is a basis for assurance? I do not think so. John is telling us that we know one another to be the children of God by our love for one another. This is the way we judge between men in this world. The children of God love one another and do righteousness. The children of the devil are malicious and wicked. But love toward the brethren can never be a basis of personal assurance, for two reasons:


·        I cannot know with certainty who my brethren are.

·        My love for my brethren does not measure up to the requirements of Holy Scripture, and cannot honestly be called love at all (1 Cor. 13:4-8).


{1 Corinthians 13:4-8}  "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, {5} Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; {6} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; {7} Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. {8} Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."


(Read for “charity” – Christ! That is the only way I can find any comfort, peace, or hope in this chapter).


If you make your love toward your brethren the basis of your assurance and the evidence of your salvation, I must tell you this – Either you are a proud, self-righteous hypocrite, deceiving your own heart, or you have no assuring evidence of a saving interest in Christ.


Note: The lack of these things is evidence that a man is not saved. But their presence is not evidence that he is saved.


     Do you see what I am telling you? Evidences drawn from personal experience, spiritual feelings, gracious attitudes, and good works, when fairly and honestly examined, are no evidence of a saving interest in Christ. And if these things are not evidences of salvation it is certain that legal deeds are not!


     Now, I ask you again – Where is your evidence? Is it all destroyed? Have I torn down your refuge? Are you now naked, defenseless, without hope, and exposed to the wrath of God? If you have been hiding in a false refuge, I hope that it is now destroyed. But I want every child of God, every true believer, to know and enjoy the full assurance of a saving interest in Christ. I want you who are God’s to have an assurance based upon evidence that arises from the Word of God and satisfies the enlightened conscience. Where can such evidence be found? Turn to my text, and I will show you – Hebrews 11:1 -- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”


Faith alone


IV.The only evidence I have of my saving interest in Christ is faith in Christ.


     All other evidence, all other confidence, all other assurance, I altogether repudiate.


     When Satan accuses me, when my own heart condemns me, when my sin torments me, when I examine myself and I do so constantly, I find comfort, peace, and assurance only by faith in Christ. I have no evidence of a clear title to heaven but by faith. And faith is evidence enough. God says that it is enough. And my conscience says it is enough.


     Let me show you three things about this faith, and I will send you home to meditate upon the message and seek this faith, which is the evidence of life.


A.   Faith in Christ is the gift of God the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; Col. 2:12).


{Ephesians 2:8}  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"


{Philippians 1:29}  "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"


{Colossians 2:12}  "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."


     Faith is not natural to man. No man can believe on Christ unless God gives him faith. You are responsible to believe, but you cannot. Unless God the Holy Spirit gives you faith, you will go to hell clinging to your own works of righteousness. So seek it from him – “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”


Illustration:     Peter, “Lord, bid me come unto thee”

                        (Matt. 14:27-33).


B.    Faith in Christ is born in the hearts of God’s elect only by the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 10:17).


{Romans 10:13-17}  "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. {14} How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? {15} And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! {16} But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? {17} So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


Faith without knowledge is impossible. And faith based upon false knowledge is false faith. True faith is faith based upon and born of the knowledge of the gospel. Quit trying to convince yourself that you were saved before you learned the gospel. You were not. No one can or will trust Christ until…

·        He sees his need of a Substitute.

·        He sees how that God can be just and yet justify the ungodly through the merits of Christ.

·        He sees that salvation is by grace alone.


C.   Faith in Christ is the sure, certain, infallible evidence, proof, and assurance of eternal salvation. -- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).


     Faith is not the cause of grace, salvation, and an interest in Christ. But faith is the evidence of these things. Read the text again…


1.     “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.”


That word “substance” means “the essence, the assurance, or the certainty” of things hoped for. Faith possesses beforehand what God has promised to give – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath (in possession) everlasting life” (John 6:47).


·        Preservation in grace!

·        Resurrection!

·        Eternal glory!


2.     “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.”


     You know what the word “evidence” means. Faith is the verification of things not seen. By faith in Christ I read my name in the Book of Life. Faith did not write it there. God wrote it there before the world began. But faith in Christ verifies that my name is there. Faith is the verification of things not seen.


a)     Faith verifies of things past, of that which was done in eternity.


Illustration: The Retired Soldier


b)    Faith verifies things done in time, but now unseen.

·        Creation

·        Righteousness

·        Redemption

·        Justification.


c)     Faith verifies present things unseen.


·        My regeneration.

·        God’s providence.

·        Christ’s intercession.


d)    Faith verifies future things now unseen.


Application: I am calling for one thing from you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 5:1, 5-13).


{1 John 5:1}  "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."


{1 John 5:5-13}  "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? {6} This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. {7} For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. {8} And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. {9} If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. {10} He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. {11} And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. {12} He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. {13} These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."



























[1] Misc. Sermon # 840 – Preached at Danville (03/19/ 89 AM and 03/26/95 AM) – Jacksonville, NC 06/25/95