Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
Three Steps in the Christian Walk: Faith, Confidence, and Assurance
© May 21, 2017, by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn #193: Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me; Choruses
Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Responsive Reading #636: The Holy Spirit Promised (John 14 and John 16)
Message by Steve Mickelson:
‘Three Steps in the Christian Walk: Faith, Confidence and Assurance’
Let us pray…
Welcome to our Sunday morning Praise and Worship Service here in the heart of Toronto at BLCF.
Our lesson today is entitled: ‘Three Steps in the Christian Walk: Faith, Confidence, and Assurance’, where we will look at the three steps of Spiritual transformation Christians experience, as they undertake to walk with the Lord.
The first step is the decision to accept that Jesus died for the sake of humanity, in order to remove the judgment we all face for our sins.
Simply put: everybody has sinned and face the penalty of paying for those sins with their lives, as we read in today’s first Scripture passage, Galatians 3:22 (ESV):
22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Jesus allowed himself to be judged for our sins and to pay the penalty for them with his life. However, being the Son of God, Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, establishing a New Covenant with God. And as believers in Christ’s Resurrection, we are elevated to become Ministers of the New Covenant, as we see in our next Scripture, 2 Corinthians 3:1-4 (ESV):
Ministers of the New Covenant
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[b]
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Footnotes: a. 2 Corinthians 3:2 Some manuscripts your b. 2 Corinthians 3:3 Greek fleshly hearts
Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that: not only are we are forgiven for our sins, we now, by our faith, become living testaments for the Lord. That same faith described in Hebrews 11:1 (ESV):
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
And this assurance or confidence by faith in the Resurrection of the Lord brings to us His blessing, John 20:29 (ESV):
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Along with the Lord’s blessing for faith, we have the promise of our own resurrection and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who was granted to all believers after Jesus ascended up to heaven.
The reason why Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit is explained in John 16:4-15 (ESV):
The Work of the Holy Spirit
4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
It is this assurance in the promise in Christ, which is God’s New Covenant that we are to share as our testament of the Good News or Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.
To recapitulate the ‘three steps in the Christian walk’ are:
- Faith – that God loves you so much, that he sent Jesus, his only Son to die for your judgment and reconcile you to Him. A relationship that Adam and Eve had lost through sin has been restored once and for all through Jesus.
- Confidence – that Jesus was raised by the Holy Spirit from the dead and walked for a time on the earth both as a proof of his identity as part of the Triune, God’s Holy Trinity, and show the promise of God’s New Covenant to those who have faith in Him.
- Assurance – in the promise from Jesus, that on that appointed day, our Lord will return to raise his flock of believers to his eternal kingdom and to judge those who have denied and rejected him, by word or deed.
In conclusion, your walk throughout eternity begins with the Lord three important steps; or to coin a phrase based on philosopher Lao Tzu’s well-known proverb, ‘the journey of a thousand miles towards eternity begins with but three steps.’
And the Bible is clear what direction and in whose footsteps defines our journey to eternity, 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV):
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #317: Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine
Benediction – (Romans 15:13): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.