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Kids’ Message – Superheroes

24 September, 2017

Take a look at these superheroes:

  1. Super Man
  2. Super Girl
  3. Hulk Hogan
  4. Iron Man
  5. Bat Girl
  6. Spider Man
  7. Dazzling Dazza

Which one do you like best?
Which one would you like to be?
Which one would be the best to help you find God?

None. You don’t need a superhero to help you find God. You don’t need to be a superhero, and you don’t need the help of a superhero to find God. That’s because God comes to us. He makes it easy for us. God comes to us. That’s what He did in Jesus. Jesus was God as a man, who came to us to show us who God is, to teach us how to live a godly life, and to die on the cross to take away our sin and to give us new life. It was all God’s work. All we need to do is believe in Jesus with a repentant heart and follow Him. You don’t need to be a superhero to do that. Anyone can do it. Even a 5 year old can do it.

Who here is 5 years old? Congratulations. That’s how old I was when God first called me. I remember very clearly sitting on the floor in scripture class in kindergarten. A really old lady came in to teach us about the God. She was about 200 years old and she had a round scar in the middle of her forehead. We all thought was a bullet hole. (It wasn’t.) She wasn’t very beautiful. She wasn’t very entertaining. She certainly wasn’t a superhero. But that old lady did something really, really wonderful: she explained to a class of 5 year olds, in a way that they could understand, that God loved them and was calling them to live a life for him. And that day, I decided, to give my life to God and to live for Him. I was 5 years old.

That’s my testimony. I wanted to share it with you to let you know that even if you’re only 5 years old, even if you’re just a kid, God is calling you to Him. You don’t have to be a mental giant or a saint or a superhero to understand this or to respond. All you need to do is believe in Jesus with a repentant heart and follow Him.

This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! Deut 30:11-14 MSG
わたしが、きょう、あなたに命じるこの戒めは、むずかしいものではなく、また遠いものでもない。 これは天にあるのではないから、『だれがわれわれのために天に上り、それをわれわれのところへ持ってきて、われわれに聞かせ、行わせるであろうか』と言うに及ばない。 またこれは海のかなたにあるのではないから、『だれがわれわれのために海を渡って行き、それをわれわれのところへ携えてきて、われわれに聞かせ、行わせるであろうか』と言うに及ばない。 この言葉はあなたに、はなはだ近くあってあなたの口にあり、またあなたの心にあるから、あなたはこれを行うことができる。


Sermon – How Do You Know You’re Saved?

24 September, 2017

In the kids’ message this morning, I shared a little of my testimony.

I say “a little” because that was really only the very beginning.

There’s actually quite a lot more to it and I would like to share with you a little more of the testimony of what God has done in my life, with apologies to those of you who have heard it before.

God did speak to me in a simple but profound way in that kindergarten scripture class when I was 5 years old.

I remember it being a happy and comforting experience.

From that point on I went to Sunday School each week and, as the Bible likes to say about certain characters, I “grew in the Lord”.

When I was 10 years old I went on a Crusader Camp.

This was a week-long summer Christian camp where we did things like canoeing and archery, and hiding each others’ underwear.

We also learned about God.

It was at that camp that one of the leaders asked me if I was a Christian.

[Are you a Christian?]

“Yes, I am,” I said with certainty.
”うん、そうだよ” と私は確信を持って言いました。

His next question took me by surprise:

“How do you know?”

I answered in the only way I could think at the time:


He asked again, “How do you know that you’re saved?”

I told him all that I knew about God and Jesus and the cross, and said that I believed in at all.

He said that was great but asked if I had ever made a confession of my sins to God and actually asked Jesus to be the Lord and Saviour of my life.

I said that I couldn’t actually remember doing that but would be happy to because it would make certain what I was already believing.

And so I prayed with Him and gave my life to Jesus.

I remember it being a confronting yet rewarding experience for me.

When I was 17 years old, after years of Sunday School and youth group at church, more Crusader Camps, and Christian groups at school, I felt my Christian life was going swimmingly, as I continued to grow in the Lord.

Then one day, I was challenged by a classmate who had recently joined a Christian cult and became a very outspoken and persuasive critic of fundamental Christianity.

He confronted me with the question that was starting to become annoyingly familiar:

“How do you know that you’re saved?”

Without going into detail, he succeeded in proving to me, so it seemed, from the Bible that pretty much everything I had believed was a misunderstanding of the truth of God’s Word.

I can’t tell you how disconcerting this was.

I felt like my salvation had been ripped away from me.

I felt hollow and tormented.

It was the only time in my life that I really felt in danger of hell.

And it scared me to death.

I knew that God was real.

I knew that the Bible was the Word of God.

And I knew that eternal life was found in the person of Jesus Christ.

But at that point I had no assurance at all that I was a recipient of the salvation that Jesus offered.

It was my final year of high school.

I would come home from school each day, spend an hour or two doing homework and study.

I would then spend at least as much time pouring through the Bible night after night, studying the passages that challenged me, working through the promises of God in the Bible, meditating on what they said, praying over them, crying out to God and then studying His Word some more.

I learned the meaning of the verse which says,“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12 フィリピの信徒への手紙2:12, because that’s what I was doing.

The fruit of my labour at that time leads us today as we continue our study of the book of Romans.

We’re studying Romans to understand what it means to be ‘in Christ’ which is our theme for this year.

Today we continue from chapter 10.

I cannot read chapter 10 without emotion, without recalling the fear and trembling of my search for God 35 years ago, because more than any other passage, it was Romans chapter 10 which helped me to answer that question that was now becoming disturbingly familiar:

“How do you know that you’re saved?”

It was through Paul’s letter to the Romans that I finally found the assurance of salvation I was looking for, and found peace with God.

We start at verse 6 where Paul quotes Moses in what at first appears to be a rather wordy and rambling quotation:

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:
Romans 10:6-8


Here it comes!

The great answer to that wrenching question of how a person can know that they are saved.

(Before we get to it, what Paul is saying in this lead up is exactly what we were looking at in the kids’ message: that is, to receive salvation you don’t need to perform any superheroic feats like ascending into heaven or plunging into hell to look for Christ; you don’t need to be a super apostle, or a prophet of old, especially gifted, or a church leader.

The answer, Paul says, is right there in your mouth and right there in your heart:

v9:”That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

v9 Paul goes on to explain this in verse 10:
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Now, it’s important for us to understand what it means to “confess” and what it means to “confess that Jesus is Lord”.

It’s likewise important for us to understand what it means to truly “believe” and what it means to “believe in your heart”.

It’s good for us to examine these things to be sure we understand them correctly, as I did when I was 17.

But when we truly confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, we are saved.

Confessing Christ and believing in Him leads to an assurance of salvation that no-one can take away from us.

Paul confirms this a few verses on when he quotes that“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. (v13)
パウロは私たちの救いの保証を次の節で 確信しています。「主の御名を呼び求める者は、すべて救われる」v13 と書かれています。

I can’t tell you the relief and the peace that I felt when this truth came home to me.

Before His crucifixion Jesus said,

“I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is over!”
Luke 12:50


I felt, and still feel, that in a much smaller way, that that trial was a baptism that I had to undergo, which led me onto a new level of maturity in Christ.

Despite my final relief, I remember this whole experience as a horrible one, yet one which was ultimately deeply rewarding.

There was one other time some years later when another person asked me, again, that same awkward question.

It came from an African lady who was visiting our church here.

She came up to me after the service and asked me, “Andrew, how do you know you are saved?”

All I could think was ‘Why do people keep asking me this question?!’

Ah, but this time, I knew the answer.

“Because I have confessed Jesus with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead”! I said.

She was wholly unconvinced.

“But how do you know you are saved?” she asked again.

“By faith!” I assured her.

She didn’t buy it for a minute.

“How do you know?” she pushed me.

“How do you know you are saved?”

We ping-ponged backwards and forwards with these questions and answers till she finally made her point clear to me:

“In my country, we are physically persecuted for our confession of faith in Jesus, sometimes to the point of death. That’s how we know we are saved. Our faith in Jesus is tested in the fires of persecution. Now, without persecution, how can you know that you really believe and that your confession is true? Have you ever been persecuted?”

She was genuinely concerned for me in asking this.

“I’ve been humiliated a few times,” I said in a small voice.
“屈辱を受けたことは何回かありますが、、、。” 私は小さな声で言いました。

This only served to worry her.

Her concern is shared by Paul as he continues in chapter 10 of his letter to the Romans:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:14,15

しかし、信じたことのない者を、どうして呼び求めることがあろうか。聞いたことのない者を、どうして信じることがあろうか。宣べ伝える者がいなくては、どうして聞くことがあろうか。 つかわされなくては、どうして宣べ伝えることがあろうか。「ああ、麗しいかな、良きおとずれを告げる者の足は」と書いてあるとおりである。

The validity of our confession will be seen in our life choices.

The validity of our belief will be seen in our repentance from sin.

The validity of our belief will be seen in our spiritual fruits and gifts.
私たちの信仰の信頼性は私たちの霊的な 成果と賜物に見られます。

The validity of our confession will be seen in the fires of persecution.

And the validity of our belief will be seen in our willingness to share the good news of salvation that we have received.

How pure is your life?

How strong is your faith?

How beautiful are your feet?

These things don’t win salvation but they are the fruits of salvation and they are markers for us and others, confirming that our confession of faith in Christ as Lord is real.

Let me finish with this one question for you to work out with fear and trembling: How do you know you’re saved?

If you’re not absolutely sure of the answer, then come and speak with me after the service, and let’s make sure of it.