It is your life that proves if you're saved or whether you're not.
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Loved ones, you remember last Sunday we shared a very solemn verse and that's the verse that I would like to share again today, because I believe that someone needs to hear it today. It's in Jeremiah and it's 8:20, and you know the way it runs. "The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved", in the King James Version, you remember puts another word in there, "The harvest is past, the summer has ended and we are not yet saved".
You remember, I asked you if that is true of you. Is it true for you that the summer is past, the harvest is ended and you are not yet saved? What brother Katz referred to is the increasing refusal of our day to put up with real Gospel, that's what he is saying. We will not put up with it. We will not endure it any longer. You remember that there's a piece in Timothy that we looked at together last Sunday that describes the present age in which we live and loved ones, I think you should look at it so that you know that it isn't scripture there, it's in Second Timothy 4:3 and Paul is talking about these days in which we are living.
Second Timothy 4:3, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching that having itching years, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings", loved ones, we will not put up with it. We don't like being told negative things in our day. We don't like it. We don't like some guy standing up here and saying we're sinners. You remember what I mentioned last Sunday, there is one dear man in this nation that says, "People won't pay to be told they're sinners. They won't pay for stuff that is not healthy minded, positive and up building".
Loved ones, that's the situation and that's why this thrashing and the screaming and this blasting and shaking is going on in our nation. I said to him before service, "Well, you know there's no question the whole Jesus movement and the whole charismatic thing, it was not a revival", and of course the dear man responded, "Of course, it wasn't". It was purely us but we were all in some way involved in listening to things that tickled our ears and we do not like things that are negative and we don't like things that tell us where we stand before God and it's in that context loved ones, that I quote to you, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we're not yet saved".
It's harder and harder to get the men like him or me, it is. It is just harder to get hold of us. There aren't too many of us now that are prepared to have the ground taken out from under us and so it's very-very tempting. If you are a preacher in these days, to preach, what draws the crowds and not to preach, what is truth. That's why I say to you, the harvest is passed. That is, the time when everybody was weeping, everybody was bringing in sheaves. There was a glorious feeling that Christianity was taking the heart of the American people by storm. That harvest is passed, that summer is ended.
Then, you remember I shared with you, some of you have been here for 15 or 16 years or have been here at least 10 years and you have listened to truth, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, and in a very real way, it may be that this summer is ended. It just doesn't go on forever, loved ones. I plead with you to see that it doesn't. It just doesn't go on forever. We are a privileged people. The Father has made His word very plain to us and we have had it put very plainly in ordinary simple language and in a very real way, those to be much is given, much will be required and it's important that you and I are not found in that position. The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not yet saved.
You may say, "Not yet saved? Of course, I am saved. I have been coming to this church for years and before that, I was going to another good church. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe what you say is true. I believe, I am with you in all the things you are preaching. I think we were made to live like God and that Jesus can enable us to live like God. I believe all these things. I believe that Jesus has died for us. I believe these things. Of course I am saved because I believe these things and these affect me".
Loved ones, that doesn't prove that you are saved. That doesn't prove that you're saved. Even if you believe all those things, yes, even if those things cause you strong emotional feelings and I'll just point you loved ones to the verse, in this dear word that makes it clear to us what a lie that is. It's James 2:19 and James here is talking about deception and the spurious Gospel that will go out in these days.
James 2:19, "You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder", see, I think you and I have a feeling that believing the right thing and even feeling strongly about the right thing is a proof that we're saved. But do you see that even the demons believe and shudder? The demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the demon believe that He has died to enable us to be like God. The demons believe that we are meant to be like God. But even the demons believe and shudder because they don't do what is necessary to do to be saved.
John Wesley said, "Faith is not just a speculate of rational thing, a cold lifeless ascent, a trend of ideas in the head but a disposition of the heart", and it's very tempting, you know especially on a campus site to be so preoccupied with believing the right things that you think, "Well, it's believing it, that's what makes me saved. I understand that I not only believe it, I understand it. I not only understand it, I feel it at times in my heart", but faith is not just a speculate of rational thing, it isn't a mental ascent to these things.
Some of us think, "Well, it's a mental ascent, plus trying hard", no it isn't. That's moral rearmament. Mental ascent to the fact that Jesus is God's Son and then trying hard and doing your best, it isn't so. What then is a proof that you're saved? There's only one thing, your life, your life. That shows whether you're saved or whether you're not. It is your life and please stay with me in this because this could save some of you from hell if you'll go with it. This will save you from deception and from hell.
Your life proves that you're saved. Why? Because that's what Jesus came to do. He didn't come to get you to believe the right things. He didn't come to get you to try harder. I'll show you loved ones. It's Matthew 1, it's the very words that the angel spoke to Joseph about what he should call the Son that God was going miraculously to give Him.
Matthew 1:21, "She will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins". Jesus will save His people from their sins, that's what you're saved from. You're not saved from wrong beliefs, you're not saved from not going to church, you're not saved from not trying hard enough, you're saved from your sins, that's it.
That's what you're saved from. You're saved from your sins. You can know that the harvest, though it's ended and though the summer is past, you can know you're saved, if you're saved from your sins, that's it. Not saved in your sins but saved from your sins. Now, art knows better than I do. The Jewish people knew about being saved in their sins. They knew about that. They knew about being saved in their sins. That was what the old covenant about and I'd like to show you. It's in Psalm 103:3 and this is a Jewish Psalm loved ones. This was long before Jesus was born and in physical form on the earth.
Psalm 103:3, "Who forgives all your iniquity?" The Jewish men and women knew that. They knew God will forgive us our iniquity. They were saved in their sins. They knew that God was holding back punishment from them despite their sins, He was holding back that punishment and He was forgiving them their iniquity. Even though they themselves were not free from their iniquities. You'll see that just a little further on in the Psalm if you look over the page at verse 10.
Psalm 103:10, "He does not deal with us according to our sins nor reward us according to our iniquities". See, they knew that. They knew actually the sins in their lives deserved punishment, but God is not dealing with us according to our sins. He is not dealing with as according to our iniquities. He is treating us better than we deserve and yet it was always clear in all their minds that the reason for that was simply that God was covering their sins. He was covering them. See, their sins were there and He was covering them and looking into their face. He wasn't taking them away, He was just covering them and He was dealing with them as if there was no sin there.
They lived with a certain promise that was offered to them faithfully by some prophets. They lived with a promise that was given to them because that kind of life is a death life. They lived for a new covenant that God promised that He would give them and He promised that it would be an utterly new kind of salvation. It would be absolutely different. It would be no longer this covering of sins, no longer this treating them not according to their iniquities and pretending that they hadn't done it, it wouldn't be like that, it would be different. Here it is if you look at it. It's in Ezequiel 36.
Ezequiel 36, "And as the years wore on towards the time of Jesus coming, so the prophetic voice got stronger and stronger", and in Ezequiel 36 you have the promise that they lived for.
Ezequiel 36:25, "I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be cleaned from all your uncleannesses and from all your idols, I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you and I will take out of your flesh, the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh and I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe My ordinances", that was it.
They knew that God promised that there would come a time when He would cleanse them from all their idols and He would cause them to actually walk free from sin. Walk above sin, He would save them from their sins that the Jew was not in that position, loved ones. The Jew wasn't in that position. Here's the position the Jew was in. Here he is, he talks about it to this in the New Testament in Romans 7. This was the Jewish experience. He had the law before him and he knew God forgave him and did not deal with him according to his iniquities but his actual everyday experience was this.
Romans 7:15, "I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate", now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me that is in my flesh, I can will what is right but I cannot do it for I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.
Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil eyes close at hand for I delight in the law of God in my own self but I see in my members have another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?
That was the Jewish experience. Now here's the tragedy. How many of you, I won't even ask you to raise your hand because it would be embarrassing. How many of you have thought that that's the Gospel? I mean how many of us have believed that the Gospel is that because of Jesus death, God will overlook our sins and it's up to us to do our best to obey Him and where we fail, His blood will cover up our failure and that's about as highest we'll get in this life and you know that that's the Gospel under which most of us have been brought up.
It's the old covenant; it's not the new covenant at all. It's the old covenant. In fact, God tells us that He actually, it's interesting, it's an amazing expression to use of God, He actually winked His eye during those days of the old covenant. He winked His eye. I'll show you it, it's in Acts 17:30 and Paul is preaching and he talks about those days of the old covenant. Really, he calls them the days of ignorance or the times of ignorance.
Acts 17:30, "The times of ignorance God overlooked", and the King James version says, "The times of ignorance, God winked but now He commands all men, everywhere to repent because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed and of this, He has given assurance to all men by raising Him from the dead".
In other words, the old covenant is finished with and God winked the eye at men's failure to live free from sin in those days because the provision was not yet put on the earth but now, that that provision has been made on Calvary, God commands all of us to repent to turn from our sins, not to turn in our sins, but to turn from our sins and to turn wholly to God, and loved ones, that is how you know you're saved. When you've been saved from your sins.
Now, why does Jesus death save us from our sins? Because sin is not a matter of ignorance. Sin isn't a matter of ignorance. Do you know that? It's not that you don't know enough or I don't know enough. That's not what sin is, sin is not equivalent to ignorance. In fact if you want to know what sin is, it's the very opposite actually of ignorance. You'll find it there in James 4:17 and it actually excluded ignorance.
James 4:17, "Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do, for him it is sin", see that's the very opposite of ignorance. Sin is knowing what is right to do and not doing it. I mean you have lots of things that you do wrong. You don't know about it. They're wrong before God but you don't know about them. The bible doesn't even lay that on us. The bible talks about that is unconscious sins, still sin to be covered by Jesus blood, but what the bible is laying emphasis, here is those of us who know what is right to do and fail to do it, for us it is sin.
That's why do you understand law will not save you from sin? Law actually just lays it on you more and more. Law makes the sin exceedingly simple by convincing you more and more that you're doing it. Law doesn't save from sin, you remember there is a verse in the bible that says, "If there had been a law that could be given that would save from sin and give life, God would have given it", but the law didn't do that. The law in the Old Testament simply convince men more and more and more that without God and some of them by His grace wherever they grab that that lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world, but the law convince the majority of them that they could not obey God.
You sin not because you don't know what is right and you know that. You sin not because you don't know what is right. In fact the things that you don't know about, they don't bother you. You don't have guilt about things that you don't know about, you have guilt about the things you know you shouldn't do and those things you do. You know you shouldn't lose your temper, you lose your temper, you know you shouldn't swear, you swear, you know you shouldn't be excessive in your habits and you are excessive in your habits, you know you shouldn't steal, you do steal, you know you shouldn't lie, you do lie, you know you shouldn't be sarcastic, you are sarcastic, you know you shouldn't have acoustic tongue, you have acoustic tongue, that's sin and that's what brings guilt on to your heart.
The reason that Jesus death saves us from our sins is because the problem of sin is not knowledge of ignorance; the problem of sin is your heart, that's it. That's it. The problem of sin is your heart, that's why you sin. That's what all that stuff in Romans 7 is about you know. See, if you'll look at it, you'll see it's analyzed very clearly loved ones. It's Romans 7:20.
Romans 7:20, "Now if I do what I do not want", see I am wanting to do it, I am wanting it in my head, even my will and exercising my will, my will wants to do it. I want to do it. I want to keep my temper tonight. I want to be kind to the person I am living with tonight. I want to speak out firmly for what I believe is true in the midst of this office situation. My mind knows it's right, my will wants to do it and yet, I am not able to do it. Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it but sin which dwells within me.
There comes up out of your heart, such a sewer of dirt and such a sewer of selfishness and such a sewer of egotism that you cannot stench the flow, the stuff spurts up as if a sewer pipe had broken underneath the city roads and it comes up and you can't hold it down and you try with your willing, you try with your mind and the stuff spews right out and you sin. There is within you a volcano of evil that you cannot control and that's why Ezequiel says, "God will give you a new heart".
That's what we need. We don't need more laws, we don't need more teaching, we don't need more instruction, we need our hearts changed. That's why Ezequiel said, "God will give you a new heart. He will take out of you, your heart of stone and He will give you heart of flesh, a soft heart that will want what He wants", that's you remember what Jesus said the problem was.
You know people would argue about drinking alcohol, you know and whether you should eat this meat or drink this alcohol or what you should do and you remember what He said? It's in Matthew 15:19, He answers them you know in verse 17 there over these arguments about drinking or eating meat.
Matthew 15:19, "Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth, passes into the stomach and so passes on, but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart and this defiles a man for out of the heart, come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander, these are what defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands is not defile a man". It's out of our hearts that sin comes and Jesus said that He had come to deal with the heart, that's why He talked about it like that and when Peter was preaching, he shared that what had happened to him and the other disciples was, God had given the Holy Spirit to them and He had cleansed their hearts by faith.
He had cleansed their hearts by faith. Being saved from sin means being cleansed in your heart so that at last you're able to obey the Lord's commandments, that's it. Being cleansed in your heart, it's your heart that needs to be changed. What is your heart? Well, you know, I am not talking about the pump, the blood pump, that's not when the bible talks about, heart like this, it's not talking about that.
Your heart is you know what you'd mean when you talk about the heart of an oak, the heart of an oak tree. You'd mean the very center of it, the very essence of that tree or you know you'd say to somebody else, "Well, let's get to the heart of the matter", you mean let's get to the nitty-gritty, let's get to what this thing is really about, that's what your heart is. That's what your heart is. Your heart is you. You may protest and say, "No, no, no, no it's not. I am not like that", you are. That's what your heart is.
You may say, "No, I do many nice things. I do" yes, but it's veneer, it's veneer, it's civilization veneer or it's religious veneer, your heart is what you are, that's what you are. Your heart is what you are. That's why Isaiah said, "Not I speak unclean words", but he said, "I am a man of unclean lips. My lips are me, they're unclean, they don't just speak unclean words, they are unclean. Uncleanness is built right through my lips, right through my body, right through my lungs, right through my heart", that's why Paul said, "I know there is no good thing in me", loved ones that is the truth that has to be seen by you and me.