A SIGN THAT WE BELIEVE ON CHRIST, #547
JOH 6:30, "They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?"
The greater portion of the multitude who are following and/or seeking Jesus, often struggle with this same question, "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee?" There are many of Gods dear children who struggle often with, "What evidence do I have that salvation is mine?"
This word sign comes from the Greek word semeion (say-mi'-on), which means "an indication, a token or sign," in other words, wherein are my credentials of evidence that salvation is mine, that I have a portion in Christ.
There are many of Gods dear children who bemoan Christs absence, and then begin to question their credentials for their portion in Him. Do we think that this is unique to young believers? Do we think that this is unique to unbelievers?
Can you think of one who had enjoyed more blessed experiences and more assurance of his portion in Christ than John the Baptist? Stop and analyze the rich experience that John the Baptist had. Stop and analyze the evidence that John the Baptist had that Jesus was the Christ.
JOH 1:33-34 says, "And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
What did he see? He saw the Holy Spirit descending upon the Lord Jesus Christ like a dove. John the Baptist, as far as having received a sign, had received an infallible sign.
Notice what we see of John the Baptist in MAT 11:2-3, "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"
We may have many rich experiences, but when the Lord withdraws Himself, we find that those experiences are not a foundation for our salvation. This is an area where many people bring themselves into darkness, because they are resting upon their experiences and their eyes are not focused on the person of Christ.
This same John the Baptist, who had such terrifically rich experiences, when he was in prison, when his circumstances had changed and the Lord had withdrawn, was not able to rest upon those experiences and have a comfortable foundation for his salvation. Those experiences are not the basis upon which we have our assurance of salvation. Rich experiences are blessed, and I dont speak against them, Im not a stranger to them, but they are not the foundation of your salvation.
What answer did our Saviour give Johns disciples? Did He rebuke John for his unbelief? No. MAT 11:4-6 says, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see [what were these evidences?]: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
He directed their attention to the person of Christ and to His work. When you and I are looking for our evidences of salvation, our eyes must not be fixed upon our experiences, but upon the person of Christ and upon His work. That is where we have salvation. When the fiery serpents were biting them in the wilderness, what was the command? Look unto that brazen serpent, and whosoever looked, lived.
Our eyes must be turned away from even our most blessed experiences. They are not the foundation of our salvation. It is the person of Christ and His work that we must fix our eyes upon. He directed their attention to the person of Christ: "blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." Our eyes must be focused upon the foundation of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we have times that it seems as if everything fails, there is only one way that our hearts are set at ease, and that is when our eyes are fixed upon the person of Christ. It is when our eye is fixed on the blessed work of Christ, when that precious atonement of Christ becomes evidently set before our eyes by faith and the Holy Spirit seals it to our heart. That is the foundation of our salvation. He was directing the disciples of John to this fact.
Was not this great multitude following Jesus for seeing these same miracles? JOH 6:2 says, "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased." They had seen with their physical eyes. They had seen "his miracles which He did on them that were diseased," even as John saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, but those experiences are not a foundation for salvation.
From the beginning of the Book of Jeremiah we read how, "The Word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah," yet none of what he had prophesied had come to pass when he was put in prison. The prophet Jeremiah had experienced the Word of the Lord coming unto him many times, and he prophesied, but none of what he had prophesied had yet come to pass, and he was put in prison.
JER 32:3 says, "For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Wherefore dost thou prophesy, [Why do you do this?] and say, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it." Jeremiah had been prophesying this, but here Jeremiah is in prison and it hasnt happened. The king of Judah is saying, "Why are you doing this? That is why youre in prison."
Just as with John the Baptist, notwithstanding all the times Jeremiah had received Word from the Lord, when He was cast into prison he began to question his evidence. His eye was starting to look to himself. As with John the Baptist, sitting in prison, his eye had come off from his benefactor.
Here we see Jeremiah in prison and he began to question his credentials. JER 32:6-8 says, "And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD."
Sometimes the evidence the Lord gives us is that we see some of what He has promised happen. This is what Jeremiah saw: he saw that there was one thing the Lord had spoken that did happen. He recognized that it was the same voice that he had heard all these different times and thereby the Lord strengthened him. Sometimes the Lord uses that means to give us to see and give us faith to believe. We can look back and see that the Lord promised something, and it happened. He sustained me here, He fed me there, and He provided there.
What did David say in 1SA 17:37? "David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." Then we can start looking back and see that the Lord has delivered us here and Hes delivered us there, will He not yet deliver us "from the hand of the Philistine," which is a type of the old man of sin? Will He not also deliver us from the power of sin? We can look back upon these consolations.
Even though this great multitude was following Jesus because they had seen His miracles, as we saw in JOH 6:2, and even though they were seeking Him because they had eaten of the five loaves and two small fishes and were filled, yet Jesus rebuked them. Why did Jesus rebuke them? We need to be able to sort out for our own souls wherein are the evidences and wherein did the Lord Jesus rebuke them and why.
JOH 6:26 says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." Have you analyzed that rebuke and what that rebuke was for? Sometimes you and I can get caught in this same weakness. Sometimes you and I can get caught in this same problem. Why did Jesus rebuked them? They were seeking the gifts rather than the benefactor. They ate and were filled. Now they were seeking Jesus for the benefits rather than His person. They were seeking the gifts more than the Benefactor. Verse 27 says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
He is showing us that we must sort out what our affections are set upon. Many a time the Lord says that He will provide all of our necessities: "bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure," ISA 33:16. Jesus said in MAT 6:33, " ...first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
How many times in this life do we find that in a miraculous way, just when we need it, the Lord provides? The Lord provides here and the Lord provides there, but the Lord doesnt want us to set our affections on the provisions. Our affections must be set on the benefactor, not on the provisions or the gifts.
Wherein did their following of Jesus differ from that of John the Baptist? Where was the distinction? It raised a question in their minds. JOH 6:28-29 says, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
This word belief becomes the pivotal word of the gospel. This "believe on the Son of God" becomes the central element of our faith. How important it becomes then to understand what that word means so that we may have the evidence of our salvation. That we may know, that we may have that assurance in our own soul that we have a portion in Christ, that Christ is in us, and that we understand what it means to believe.
Ive heard as many recipes of what it means to believe as I have of what the word love means. Have you ever known of a word in the human vocabulary that is more distorted than the word love? The word love means "to sacrifice self for the person you love." How much lust is going for love in our day? Its not love at all: its covetousness; its abomination, yet it goes for "love."
How much "belief" deceives souls today? How important it is to believe! I heard a man on the radio say that the word believe means "the power of the mind" and that you can, by the power of your mind, make this or that happen. That has nothing to do with gospel belief: that is witchcraft. See how important it is that we understand what it is to believe.
There are millions entering eternity deceived, thinking they have salvation based upon their believing in Christ. See what the Lord Jesus said in MAT 7:22. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." They all died believing that Christ was their Saviour but they had never repented! They were still the workers of iniquity!
Is it any wonder that the multitude asked what was the indication, or the sign, or the evidence that they could rely upon to know the true work of God? It is very vitally important that we rightly understand this. JOH 6:30-31 says, "They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? [Then they go on to qualify their area of concern] Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
Now we are getting back to this very thing that the Lord Jesus had cautioned them, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth." Wherein were they in error? When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they loathed this light bread. How could they have loathed manna if they had seen the spiritual significance of it? They saw manna merely as a benefit, and they were not seeing the Benefactor.
He said, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth," you are following me because you eat and were filled; now they are likening it to the manna that came down in the desert. Their problem was that they never understood the spiritual significance of that manna. Our Saviours rebuke pointed to what their affections were fixed upon. This is the key: their affections were not fixed upon the Benefactor, but on the benefits.
JOH 6:27 says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." This word meat comes from the Greek word brosis, which means "eating (literally or figuratively) food (literally or figuratively)." Do you see what their problem was? They looked at manna literally. They never saw it figuratively. They looked at eating literally not figuratively.
When the Lord Jesus said, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth [the literal meat], but for that meat which endureth," (the figurative meat), Hes talking about feeding on that blessed person of Christ. They were looking at all of these benefits in a literal sense. We need to watch in our own lives that we are not always looking to the Lord for the literal benefits, overlooking the Benefactor.
Jesus reproof was that this multitude had their affections set upon the literal food, in other words literal benefits, rather than the spiritual benefits, the spiritual food for their souls. Therefore, they were admonished when they asked Jesus, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" JOH 6:29 says, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
He showed them that their eyes must be pointed to believing on the Son of God: "believe on him whom he hath sent." In order to fully and rightly understand, it is important that we go into the original and search it out very carefully so that you and I are not assuming what it means. When you go into the Greek, you find that you have a Greek word from which an English word is translated. More often than not, you will find a notation of a root word from which it was derived. When you search a little further, you often find that the root word also was derived from another root word. At this point you can find out how it is applied.
The word believe is like the word to in the English language that has identical sounds, yet it can be spelled three different ways: to, two, or too. In each instance it has a totally different meaning. In the Greek you also find words that you have to see how they are used in order to know which translation would apply to each instance. The word believe, originates in the root word peitho in the Greek, which means "to assent" or "to give your consent to evidence or authority." We must come to an assent in our own heart to evidence and/or authority to rely by inward certainty that we agree, we assure, we believe, we have confidence, we trust, we obey, and we yield. That word believe, when we go to the original word, is an assenting to authority, it is trusting in, obeying, and yielding to that authority. Its an amazing thing that when the gospel is preached, the word believe is not understood to mean that, yet that is the exact translation from the original word.
The next root word from which believe is derived in the Greek is pistis, which means "persuasion." In ROM 10, where it says, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," its this same word. It means "to be persuaded." So it is persuasion, it is credence or conviction of the truthfulness of God. We are convinced in our own mind that what He says is absolutely true. When He says He is the Son of God, we have a full assent and conviction in our minds; we are fully persuaded that it is true. We thereby rely upon Him for our salvation.
Ive heard many people say that to believe means that we place our confidence in Him for our salvation. That is a drastic shortcoming of the meaning of the word. That is the conclusion of it. A submission to His authority; to obey and submit and yield to His authority is the foundational meaning of the word.
We follow this principle into the Scriptures that speak of Abraham and what it meant for him to believe. See the application of this believing. JAM 2:21-23 says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, [Do you see where it begins with submission and yielding to the obedience of faith?] when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Do you see the principle? His yielding to the authority of God and his acting upon it in the form of unconditional obedience (putting his son on the altar) was whereby "the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God." He believed God. How do we know he believed God? He trusted Him, he believed the truth of it, he acted upon it, and he obeyed; he gave unconditional surrender or yielding to His authority. That is believing.
See how it was Abrahams obedience that was so pleasing unto God! GEN 22:15-18 says, "And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
"Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." Do you want evidence or an indication of your salvation? Then analyze the road youre walking on. Are you walking in submission to the will of God? Does your heart yield in unconditional surrender to the will of God or do you walk in rebellion to the will of God? This term believed God, in JAM 2:21-23 comes from the same Greek word, as the word believed in our text.
Abrahams faith was the instrument by which justification became his. We find two different places in Scripture that talk about Abrahams justification. In one place it says he was "justified by works," and in the other place it says he was justified by faith and not by works. Abrahams faith was the instrument by which justification became his. It was by believing God, which is evident by his unconditional surrender to, and conviction of the truthfulness of, Gods authority whereby he received the inward certainty and evidence of his justification. It was as Abraham had placed his son on the altar; it was by fulfilling what God had commanded him to do that the Lord said, "Now I know that thou fearest God." We need to take notice how obedience of faith was the instrument whereby the promise became his.
ROM 4:1-2 says, "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." I want to show you a distinction: in ROM 4:2 it says that Abraham was justified faith and not by works. In JAM 2:21 it says that Abraham was justified by works. The key to this distinction is in the word by. It is a preposition. The word by in one instance is a different word in the original than in the other instance. In the one instance, as we find in ROM 4, the word by means "as the basis for or on the account of." The word by in JAM 2 is also a preposition, but its a different word, and there it means "instrumentality." You look in a well and you see the water way down there. You can sit at the top of the well and die of thirst or you can use the bucket and the rope as an instrument to convey the water to you. His works were the instrument whereby justification became his. It was not that which he merited.
That is the meaning of ROM 4:2-4, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."
Do you see the distinction now? This is saying that it is not that we merit salvation by our works, but it is the instrument that the Lord Jesus uses to bring it into our possession, to give it to us. What was our Saviours answer to the question in our text, "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?" They were confused, not understanding the distinction between the "the meat which perisheth," and "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." They said, "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat," JOH 6:31. They were reasoning with Him.
Jesus had told them that they were seeking Him for the meat. Their answer illustrated what they understood with human reasoning: thats what the Israelites did. He came right back and said that they were right, that was what they did. They also were seeking the gift rather than the Benefactor. That is why they perished in the wilderness. They never understood what it was to have their eyes fixed on the person of Christ.
Jesus distinguishes between the manna in the desert and the true bread that came down from heaven. He again shows that there is a distinction between the literal bread and the typical bread or the symbol. JOH 6:32-33 says, "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world."
In other words, what we are talking about is the distinction between breads. One "bread" is literal and the other "bread" is symbolic. I find this unfathomable: when you go back into the original and you find out the full and true meaning of some of the most common words, the treasures of the gospel unfold. Go back into the original of the word bread. Who would ever have to go to the dictionary to find out what the word bread means? (Wait until I show you what it means, and youll see why.) We go back to the Greek word artos, which was translated as "bread." What it means is "bread as raised." Think about that: bread as raised. It is talking about bread that is raised with yeast. There is a distinction isnt there? This would indicate that Jesus was saying this multitude was feeding on bread with leaven, that is, bread raised with yeast.
Leaven is used as a symbol of the teaching of self-exaltation. They had never understood the work of grace upon their soul, that work of self-crucifixion, that work of following Jesus in the way of the cross. They were feeding upon literal bread. Leaven is a symbol of the teaching of self-exaltation. Jesus cautioned His disciples, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy," LUK 12:1. They were feeding upon bread that was raised. Leaven is also symbolical of the fermentation of sin.
1CO 5:6-7 says, "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened." Do you see the distinction that Jesus was pointing to? What they were feasting upon was leavened bread, in other words, they were looking for the benefits of Christ but there was no repentance. Their hearts had never been circumcised. They never understood what it meant, the crucifixion of that old monster self. "Purge therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened." That true bread that came from heaven was unleavened bread and there was the distinction.
Verses 7-8 continue, "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; [Do you see what has to be purged out? That malice, that self-centeredness, that lack of self-sacrificial love.] but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
This is what Jesus was distinguishing between: the manna that they said they received from Moses and the true bread that comes down from heaven. That is the true work of grace. If you and I are looking for an indication in our heart, if we are looking for evidence of our portion in Christ, we need to examine our heart: Has that old leaven been purged out or do we still live in malice and wickedness? That is how we tell. We dont have to go and look at this or that experience and then have a big checklist of experiences and say, "If youve experienced this and this and this, then your credentials are sure."
There is no such gospel in the Bible. The gospel of the Bible says we fix our eyes on the blessed redeeming love of Christ and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, which is Christ in His person. Our eye has to be fixed on that. Do we walk in the footsteps of Christ? Do we understand that unleavened bread of sincerity and truth? Is Christ in you, the hope of glory? That is what you look for.
Our Saviours reference to Himself as the "true bread from heaven...[which] giveth life unto the world" was distinguishing between "the leaven of malice and wickedness," and "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." This distinction comes out so beautifully in the right translation of the word "bread." There are two translations for the word "bread." One is in the Greek word that was the first word, and the other one comes through in the root word that it comes from.
The original Greek word artos, which means "bread (as raised)," comes from the root word airo (ah'ee-ro). It means "to lift up, to take away, to remove, to put away, to expiate sin." Do you see what unleavened bread symbolizes? It means the removing of all defilement. That unleavened bread is the symbol of sincerity and truth. That unleavened bread is the removing of sin. Our Saviour identifies Himself as the true bread.
What a blessed distinction between what the multitude was hungering after, and what Jesus taught us about where to place our affections. We need to set our affections on that person of Christ that we might become imitators of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is believing on the Son of God: that we become His imitators, that the power of sin is broken.
JOH 6:26-27 says, "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled [because it was something that satisfied the flesh: they came to Him for the benefits, not for the Benefactor]. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
He is saying we must labor for the meat that endures. What is that meat that endures? It is that unleavened bread. As I pointed out, this word meat also speaks of the satisfaction of two distinct types of appetites. This word meat comes from the Greek word brosis, which means "eating, (literally or figuratively) food (literally or figuratively)." Bread is also either leavened or unleavened.
As we come back to our text, the multitude asked our Saviour to show a sign, or an indication to persuade them of the evidence of His authority, in other words the meaning of the word belief. They wanted to see an indication to persuade them of His authority upon which they could rely, an inward certainty with an assured confidence, which they could trust and obey.
JOH 6:30 says, "They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?" What sign did He show them? They never even saw it. When He explained to them, "You say that it was Moses, and I say that it was not Moses that gave you that bread from heaven, but the Father is giving you the true bread from heaven," they didnt see the distinction in the sign that He gave. They never saw the distinction and this is the important issue: that you understand what it is to believe on Christ. To believe on Christ is to obey Him, to walk in His footsteps, to take up your cross and crucify that ugly monster self and to feed upon the person of Christ.
The blessed response of our Saviour, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," in verse 35, teaches us the same principle we learn in 1CO 5:7, "Purge out therefore the old leaven " He is saying that if you come unto Him, if you are hungering and thirsting and you feed upon that bread, you will never hunger and you will never thirst. That same principle, "Purge out therefore the old leaven " means we cannot feed upon the things of this life. We cannot feed upon material things (verse 7 continues) "that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
We need to feed upon that blessed sacrifice of Christ. As we become conformed to that precious image of Christ, then we begin to sacrifice everything of self. Then that self-sacrificial love becomes our evidence - that Spirit of Christ that dwells within.
1 CO 5:8 says, "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." We will never receive any more positive sign, indication, or evidence of our interest in Christ than that the Holy Spirit has sanctified our hearts affections and that we long for that "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." That is the most positive indication that you will ever receive of your interest in Christ: that Christ is dwelling in you, that you live in that Spirit of Christ, because that is so contrary to the carnal mind that we all have by nature.
Do you have the Spirit of Christ? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law," GAL 5:22-23. What do you find in your own soul? Do you find these fruits of the Spirit? Verse 24 says, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
Do you want evidence that you can look at as a foundation for your salvation, that you are Christs? Then examine your heart. Has there been that crucifying of "the flesh with the affections and lusts"? Have they been crucified? There is the indication. There is the evidence. Im not a stranger to some of the most blessed experiences. However, when the Lord withdraws Himself, and when Satans temptations are luring you, and when unbelief wants to take hold of you, we can reach as far as we want to, but we cant grab hold of those experiences. They have no foundation to them. But I have found that being able to get my eyes fixed back on the person of Christ is an infallible foundation. Where do we see Him? We see Christ formed in us. We see that Spirit of Christ in our heart. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh." Do we understand that?
When I was under one of the most trying of circumstances, I had the pastor tell me, "Youve never experienced this, and youve never experienced this, and youve never experienced this, and you cant claim you have salvation." Then the Lord delivered me so beautifully. It came out of PSA 112:1, "Praise ye the LORD, Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments." That deliverance was so complete. Old Satan was put to flight because that evidence was there - that evidence that is undeniable and unshakeable. I could answer instantly on the spot, "I dont know anything about your checklist, Pastor, but one thing I know: the Bible says I am blessed because I daresay, raising my right hand to heaven, that I fear the Lord." That I know. I would never be able to deny that. That became such undeniable evidence. That is what we have here: crucifying "the flesh with the affections and lusts."
When the affections of our flesh have been crucified, the old leaven is purged out; then we begin to feast upon that "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." That becomes our food. Now we arent feasting upon temporal things. ROM 12:9-10 says, "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another."
There is our evidence: that our affections are set on the things that Christ loves. What can you find as a stronger indication, or a more positive sign of your portion in Christ within the pages of Holy Writ, than the witness of the Spirit as to where your affections are? What is a more positive indication? Ill show you in a couple Scriptures.
GAL 5:24 says, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Where the affections and the lusts have been crucified, they are Christs. Gods most severe judgment upon those who serve and worship the creature more than the Creator is also found in their affections. One of the sorest judgments that God sends upon a human being is to allow evil affections.
ROM 1:26-28 says, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: [horrible judgments: they worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator and God gave them over up to vile affections] for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; [Look at their vile affections. Where are our affections? Do our affections center in Christ? Do our affections center in that unleavened bread?] men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."
We have to examine our hearts: where are our affections? Have they been crucified? Have our affections been crucified in a way that we no longer feast upon leavened bread? The question asked in our text, "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee?" is answered so well in COL 3:1-3, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Have we been raised unto a newness of life? Have we been raised out of the power of sin? Have we been brought into that work of the Holy Spirit, giving us new desires, giving us a new appetite, giving us a new love? If we have been raised with Christ, then "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God," setting our affections on things above. That is our evidence and the certain indication that we can have of a sure foundation.
The most powerful and the sweetest experiences, when they are put on trial, are not a foundation. Christ is that one and only foundation. That foundation is set upon Christ and Christ alone and even our best works, even our best emotions no matter what they are, are not the foundation of our salvation. We must have our heart set on the Lord Jesus Christ, on His person, and on His work. Amen.
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