How To Be Sure of Salvation

Bible Book: John  10 : 27-29
Subject: Assurance of Salvation

John 10:27-29

A convert gave her first testimony. Thrillingly and triumphantly she said, "The Lord saved me through and through for keeps!" Don't you like that?

I. The Witness Of The Lord

It was reported that when the Titanic sank on its maiden trip to America, the scene outside the office of the White Star Lines in Liverpool, England was heartbreaking. A big crowd of the families and friends of the passengers had gathered to hear of their fate. Two boards were erected. Above one was printed the words, "Known to be Saved". Above the other one were the words, "Known to be Lost". There were only two classes - the lost and the saved. Just as those boards revealed only two classes so does the Bible - the saved and the lost, the sheep and the goats. In which class are you?

A. My Sheep Hear

Our Lord said in John 10:27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." First He says, "My sheep hear My voice." In John 5:24 He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life." There are three interesting verbs in this verse: "heareth", "believeth" and "sent". The Lord Jesus stated the historical fact that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world; and He tells us how to be saved - by hearing and believing.

By hearing He means understanding. Yesterday some migrant workers came to plant some azaleas. They spoke Spanish, and one told a joke in their native tongue. Everyone laughed, I did too. I heard it, but I didn't understand it.

By hearing Jesus means heeding. A group of eighty-two children visited our Gardens. One got close to the streams. The leader called him. He heard him, but he didn't heed him. In just a little bit he fell into the water. If you're to hear the word of the Lord you must do something about it. And that something is to believe on Him or receive Him. Last night a long distance caller confessed, "I just saw your telecast. I know I am a sinner. And I know that Christ died for me in my place. I know He is the Savior of the world. But how do I make Him my Savior?" "By receiving Him," I answered; and I quoted John 1:12 from the New King James Version: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even hose who believe in His name." Sobbing she prayed, "Lord Jesus, I open the door of my heart. Please come in. I receive Thee as my Savior." "What are you now?" I asked. "A child of God," she answered. "How do you know?" I asked. "The Bible says so in John 1:12," she replied. That's hearing His word. Have you really heard His word and have you really received Him as your Savior?

B. I Know Them

Second our Lord says, "I know them." How terribly tragic it is not to be known by the Lord; to be a professor and not a possessor, to have churchianity and not Christianity, to be a worker for Christ and not to have Christ in you, the worker. Our Lord brings this out in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father, who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out demons? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And the will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." Our Lord didn't say, "I used to know you," or "I once knew you, but you've sinned and I don't know you now." He said,  "I never knew you. If He knows you now, He'll never say to you, "I never knew you; depart from Me." Aren't you glad He knows you!

C. They Follow Me

Third, our Lord says, "they follow Me." They don't follow Him to be saved. They follow Him because they are saved. They do it habitually and happily. There was a teacher who loved the Lord. He had a delightful habit. When passing with another through a door or passageway, he'd say, "You go first, I'll follow." He became famous for these words and that way of living. One day, when he was dying, his lips were seen to move. A loved one bent low to catch his words, and he was heard to say, "You go first, I'll follow." To Whom was he speaking? The Lord. If you follow Him here, you'll follow Him into heaven.

II. The Work Of The Lord

The Lord Jesus said in John 10:28, "I give unto them eternal life." Do you have eternal life? "I hope so," you say; or "I think so;" or " I expect to have it when I come down to die." You'll never find a "hope so" or "think so" or "I expect to" answer in the Bible. Think on John 5:24 again, "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life." Who's speaking? The Lord Jesus. And He didn't say that "maybe" you'll have everlasting life, but that you have it now!

This "life" divine and eternal, isn't something you pray for or pay for, or something you work for or worship for, or something you toil for or trade for. It's a gift. It's not earned as a salary, or merited as a prize, or won as a crown. It's the free gift of God.

These are two sides to a gift, giving and receiving. Both are essential to complete the gift. Nothing is more humiliating to the giver than to have the gift slighted or spurned. But it can only be offered. God loves you and He has offered you eternal life through His Son. Have you receive His Son? You have? Then the gift of eternal life is yours right now!

Eternal life begins the very moment you receive the Lord Jesus, and it never ends. It's called "eternal life", not conditional life. It's not restricted, nor does it come with reservations. It's not temporary life, temporary because of some transgression; nor short-lived because of some sin; nor brief because of some backsliding. It's eternal, and that which is eternal never ends.

"But," you may protest, "isn't that a dangerous doctrine? Doesn't it make a difference what you do?" It's not a dangerous doctrine, and it does make a difference what you do. If you don't behave the gospel, it's a sure sign you don't believe the gospel. "But," you may say, "look at the backsliders." Yes and some of them were never "front-sliders". A Christian isn't sinless, but he does sin less. And when he sins the Lord will reprove until he repents and then he's restored.

Look at Cain and Jonah in the Old Testament. Both went out from the presence of the Lord. When Cain went out, the Lord left him alone. When Jonah went out, the Lord didn't leave him alone. Why? Cain wasn't a child of God, but Jonah was.

Look at Judas and Peter in the New Testament. Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus, and Peter denied Him. Judas expressed remorse, but Peter experienced repentance. Judas put a rope to his neck, but Peter put a handkerchief to his eyes. Judas wasn't a child of God. Peter was.

Salvation isn't the work of man, but of god. And the life He gives when He saves a soul is eternal. It wouldn't be eternal, it couldn't be eternal if it could be lost. Not only is the life eternal, but the one whom the Lord saves shall never perish. Aren't you grateful and glad!

III. The Word Of The Lord

It's written in John 10:28-29, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand."

What a gift - "eternal life". What a guarantee - "shall never perish". What a grip - "My hand" and "My Father's hand." Says the Lord Jesus.

"But," you may say, "the Bible does say 'no man' is able to pluck a Christian out of the hand of Christ. But Satan can." Never! If this were true, it would make Satan stronger than the Savior; and that is not the case! The Bible distinctly declares that Satan is a defeated foe.

It's interesting to note that the word "man" isn't in the original text. The passage should read, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand." The word "any" means more than mere man. It includes the devil and his demons, angels and any being of any kind. They can tempt and tease, but they can't seize.

"Oh," you may say, "I know a man who professed conversion and joined the church. He worshipped and he worked. He taught and he tithed. He sang and he served. But he has gone back on the gospel and God. He's living a life of sin and shame. Doesn't that contradict the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer?" No, it doesn't. It's written in 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." It's impossible to talk and walk like a Christian and yet not to be a Christian. Many defaulters have been called backsliders when, in reality, they never had been Christians at all. Peter speaks of them in 2 Peter 2:22, "But it is  happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire." They weren't sheep. But they were thought to have been sheep. A following of the Savior proves their new birth, but a wallowing in sin proves that they were never born again.

A little fellow rebelled against his father and decided to run away from home. He packed his little bag, stole out of the house, and walked around the block. Presently a policeman asked, "What's the trouble, son?" "I'm runnin' away from home." Answered the little boy. "But," said the policeman, "you haven't even crossed the street." "I know," he replied, "I'm not allowed to cross the street." The boy respected his parents, even though he rebelled against them. In like manner, some of God's children may take their own way for a while, but because they're His children they're held by a power beyond themselves. They can't completely and cheerfully depart from Him.

IV. The Will Of The Lord

It may be that you're saying, "I see now that the devil, his demons, and his disciples can't get any of God's children. But if one sins, the Lord will cast him out." No, a thousand times, no. He said in John 6:37, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." He didn't cast out Peter when he denied Him, or Mark when he disappointed Him, and He won't cast you out. You'll be convicted, and you'll be cleansed when you confess your sins; but you won't be cast out.

The apostle Paul brings this out in a comforting way. He wrote in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." When was your beginning day? When you receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior. The start in the guarantee of the finish. The Bible clearly and definitely promises, "He...will perform it." You may be very difficult, but in spite of it, you may be "confident" the Lord never leaves anything unfinished.

The commencement is the guarantee of the continuation until the completion.

Our Lord made a startling statement in John 6:39 that bears this out. He said, "This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise up again the last day." What is the Father's will? That He should "lose nothing" or "no one". For you to doubt the security of the saved, you're saying in effect to the Lord, "You're going to lose some of us." But our Lord replies kindly, "I shall lose none."

"Oh," but you say, "isn't this doctrine dangerous? Won't it hinder? No, but it will help. Years ago the world's longest bridge was completed at San Francisco. It cost $77,000,000.00. During the early construction of the bridge, no safety devices were used, and twenty-three men fell to their death in  the waters. The men were frightened and the work began to fail. So they decided to install a safety net, even though the cost came to $100,000.00. It not only saved the lives of many men who fell into  it, but according to The Reader's Digest, the work went "fifteen to twenty-five percent faster with men relieved from the fear of falling." To be assured that we're safe and secure sets us wonderfully free to serve our Lord with speed and success.


In closing, let's think on one more Bible verse. It's found in Ecclesiastes 3:14. Get it and never forget it. It states, "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever." Salvation - that's something that God does, isn't it! Then it's forever! How wonderful!

A little boy was lying desperately ill in the hospital. His mother was sitting by his bed, holding his hand. She had been up all night and was very tired. At last she was overcome by sleep, and her hand slipped from his. Quietly the boy was heard to pray, "O Lord, mom has let go of my hand. Jesus, please take hold, won't You?" Why don't you do as the boy did? Look up to Him just now and say, "Jesus, take hold of my hand, won't You?" He will, and He'll never let go.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;

That soul tho' all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake.