As we gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church, we were greeted by Jerry Abercrombie who opened our service with prayers. Ashley White was celebrating a birthday. Special prayers for Karen, Dot's niece, Bobby Bryan, Janet and Skip. We recognized all the mothers in the congregation in celebration of Mother's Day and presented them with a gift.
The adult Sunday school lesson was "Denied," a study of Luke 22:54-62 and Peter's denial of Jesus. As we relate the lesson to our lives as Christians, we realize that there will be situations where our fidelity to Christ will falter and the victorious Christian life isn't the sinless life; it's the repentant life. We also learned that "believers must be careful to not distance themselves from Jesus, can expect people to identify them as followers of Jesus and are held accountable when they deny knowing Jesus."
Rick Lett and Tyrel Lett served as ushers and collected the offering, with piano music from Karen Gardner. Congregational hymns included "Precious Memories" and "In the Garden." We were blessed with special music from Jerry as he sang "God on the Mountain." Our Pastor, Brother Mark, read a Mother's Day poem written by Louine Gardner.
"Doubts" was the title of Sunday's message as Brother Mark shared a question presented to him: "If you have been saved and then have doubts, how do you know you are truly saved and it's not the devil putting thoughts in your head?" Brother Mark told us that the number one reason is because the presence of sin is still within us. "Despite a new creation in Christ, everyone still sins."
Brother Mark read James 3:2 which says, "For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body." He told us that no one reaches a state of sinless perfection while still in this world or Jesus Christ wouldn't have had to die for us.
"Believing is the attitude and response to sin. Unbelievers run to sin and believers run from sin. Sometimes we stumble and fall and sin catches us. True believers confess, repent, get up and run from sin again. No one wants to be saved more than those who are saved. The more you know Jesus Christ, the more you want to know. A Christian has the Holy Spirit living in them." Brother Mark referred to 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
As Brother Mark talked about what the Holy Spirit does in us and the purpose of the Holy Spirit, he read John 16:7-15. He told us, "The Holy Spirit can fix you of sin. I don't know I'm saved because I feel good. I know I am saved because the Bible says I am and then I begin to feel good because I am saved. When you confess Jesus Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit into you." Ephesians 4:30 says, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." As Brother Mark referred to the rest of Ephesians 4:25-32, he told us that what grieves the Holy Spirit is our anger, bitterness and wrath and then we don't feel saved and begin to doubt our salvation because we don't want to repent. This is when we experience the unfaithful and unfruitful life.
Brother Mark told us that when this happens, our cure is in 1 John 1:8-9, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Brother Mark told us that verse 10 talks about Christians, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
As Brother Mark read Matthew 7:21-23, he told us that the person he really worries about is the person counting on works for salvation. "We are saved by grace through faith. It is hard to separate works from salvation." He referred to Romans 6:1-2 about being dead to sin and alive to God and said, "We can't have a sinful lifestyle and continue to live that way. Real Christians don't do that."
In closing, Brother Mark referred back to the question, "How do you know you are saved?" and told us the answer is in Romans 10:9 which says, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Brother Mark told us that you must declare that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is my Lord and Savior. "Believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth is real salvation.
The salvation test is in 1 John 4:12-13. God doesn't give you up if you want to believe. Verses 13-16 says, "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
Brother Mark told us that if you have done these things, there is no need to doubt your salvation. "There is no need for you to live in doubt if you believe these things. Make your belief known with your confession. That's how you know about your salvation. On this Mother's Day, the greatest thing you can do for your kids is to let them hear you make that confession and give them that peace after you are gone."
Our hymn of invitation was "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," and Rick Lett gave the benediction. We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.