THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM
Program Air Date – 8-19-12
LESSON TITLE: “ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED!”
Consider this great work that is before a follower of God – Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Will we accept this challenge to be laborers?
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
It’s now time to start our praise through song. Our first hymn of the day focuses our attentions on all that God has done for us. Furthermore it teaches us about the preparations He has made that we might find our way to His saving truth! So, won’t you join in this morning as we together sing, “He Leadeth Me!”
(SONG # 1)
One of the greatest works of a child of God is to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to the lost of this world. In fact, the Bible is full of commands and examples which teach us this very doctrine.
You might remember in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Again in Mark 16:15-16, we read, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” In both of these texts Jesus clearly instructs His followers concerning their duty to carry the gospel to the whole world. He even specifies in these verses, to every nation and to every creature.
One of the greatest examples we have in the New Testament concerning our work is found in Luke chapter 8. There we read the parable of the sower! In this parable we are told that there was a sower, the seed, and different kinds of soils. As the story goes on we are told what these things stand for beginning in verse 11. There we read and can understand that the sower is the follower of God, the seed is the Word of God, and the soil are those of this world who need the word. I hope you are beginning to see the importance of our work for Jesus Christ. As Christians we are the workers that take His Word to those of this world who will hear. Then it is up to the soil, or the hearer, as to whether they will respond and follow God or not. Are you sowing the seed of the Kingdom for your God?
Finally, let me return to a statement found back in Matthew 28. As we read, there Jesus promised, “and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age!” Wow, what a promise, what a blessing! Our God has promised to help and be with us every step of the way. Praise God for this wondrous truth!
Today we will again be considering a lesson from our series which is entitled, “Teaching As Doctrine The Commandments Of Men!” Our specific topic this morning will focus on man’s belief, “Once Saved Always Saved!” So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God’s Word. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “He Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now go to God’s word and look at another lesson in relationship to our series, “Teaching as Doctrine the Commandments of Men.” Certainly this is taken from Jesus’ own words for he was basically rebuking the Jews for many of them had began to follow traditions and the teachings of men as commandments as doctrine when really they were not from the Law of Moses and they were not from God at all. So today what we would like to specifically look at is another doctrine of men today that we find very prevalent throughout the denominational world. This is often referred to as that an individual once saved is always saved, is that really what the Bible teaches? Does the Bible say that once I am a believer that I cannot fall away that it’s impossible for me to fall away? Well, you know one thing that is great about our God is that he is a consistent God and if you go throughout the Old Testament and you go throughout the Gospel account period when Jesus was alive and when you go throughout all the New Testament what you continue to see very consistently are those who were followers of God who were called the faithful, who were called righteous and yet those who did fall away from God or leave God, some returned and some did not.
So I want you to think about that with me for a few moments beginning with some of those thoughts of Jesus even before the Church was established. You might remember that this morning we began there referring to the story of the sower and how the sower went out to sow the seed, which is the word of God, and he went out to sow it there on the different soils, which basically represent the different individuals of the world who need to hear the word. One such account is found there in Luke 8, it also is given to us there in Matthew 13, but in Luke 8 I want you to notice with me something within the explanation of the different soils and those who responded to the word of God there. Notice there in verse 12 it says, “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” There we have that idea; he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Belief equals what? Belief leads us unto salvation and he says what happens here, the devil has snatched that word quickly out of their heart before they can even really believe and be saved. But then I want you to notice with me the next example that he gives there in verse 13, “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while…” what you mean this people actually believed and yet they were being referred to as rocky ground and eventually it says, “…and in time of temptation they fall away.” Do you mean to tell me that someone can come to God, follow God sincerely, and then turn away? That’s what Jesus said. It says these individuals believed for a time and we just read back up in the first example there found in verse 12 that they did not believe and thus were not save but these individuals believed and thus were saved and yet what happened? Temptation caused them to fall away.
I think there is another really significant concept there found in the book of Matthew. We see there Jesus in chapter 7 talking about those who cried out “Lord, Lord”, many were doing wonderful works in the name of God and were casting out demons and doing things claiming to follow God. Well, you see there are a lot of people today who claim to follow God, who claim to have faith, what is the decisive thing? Not whether they know there is a God, not whether they say they believe, not whether they are even doing actions to again maybe show someone they believe in God, but what is it that Jesus said is the defining thing that shows someone to be faithful to God? Well, I want you to notice with me there as he says in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.” What do you know? The Bible here is clear that faith is about doing the will of the Father not my will, not the doctrines of men, not the traditions of men. But when I follow the will of the Father and thus I proclaim, “Lord, Lord,” I am a faithful child. But just because I proclaim, “Lord, Lord,” and even maybe believe and follow God that does not make me saved and or a Christian.
Now as we continue to think about what Jesus is emphasizing here we have now two examples of those who evidently were followers of God and those who fell away. What about the great story also of the prodigal son, the one who went off in riotous living, everyone can look at the explanation to the story in saying that the father is who? God, representative of God and the sons are representative of his followers. Guess where the sons were? They were in the family, he was in the household, he was living with his father. Then it says he chose to do what? Go off and to live a riotous or a sinful life. Well, he was in with God and in the House of God and he left to go do what? To be involved in sin. Now the beautiful part of that story is he came back, he fell away and he came back but that does not mean that he had never been saved before because he fell away. It means that he had been saved and he chose to reject God for any number of reasons sin, or temptation, or the lack of roots. There are many reasons why he may have chosen to leave or forsake to return to the world but yet he still was someone who came back to God and had to restore himself. He didn’t become a new Christian; he restored himself to the Father. He didn’t have to introduce himself to the Father the Father knew him, he knew him to be his son and therefore he restored that relationship.
You see the reality is even Jesus in the Gospel periods, that is the Gospel accounts when he lived, speaks of such a thing as someone being a faithful follower of God and falling away and even about those that have to return to the fold of God who have fallen away. Now what about then after the Church was established do we find the same thing? Certainly we do and I want you now basically just to go with me to some scriptures. There are not better answers than to look at the word of God and so what we want to do is to look first of all there at Galatians 5. Notice with me what he says here concerning those, specifically again Jews, in verse 1 of chapter 5 who were losing their liberty in Christ, they wanted to get entangled in the Old Law, the Old Testament again. But notice what he specifically says in verse 4, he is talking to Christians back up to chapter 1 And look there that he is addressing the Churches of Galatia, brethren, faithful brethren. Then he says here in verse 4 of chapter 5, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Now here’s the question, what do you have to be in to fall from it? If it says that you have fallen from grace it means that one point you were, what, in grace. Now how do you get in the grace of God? Well, you and I know God offers grace to who, all men, we talked about that last week. But you and I by faith do our part to not really be able to fully justify ourselves, the only way we justify ourselves is by obedience in God and then it’s really God’s grace again that saves us isn’t it? But that does not really show any less how significant God’s part is or my part to by faith follow Him, where here he clearly says that there are those who if they return to the Old Law will fall from grace. They are in grace and to be in grace they now can fall from it.
Well clearly again the Bible teaches us here that there is a such thing, there is an opportunity that can take place in ones life where one can fall from grace. Paul says the same to the Corinthians there in 1Corinthians 10 I again would emphasize to you if you go to the first chapter in Corinthians you are going to find that he is addressing the Church, he is addressing brethren, he is addressing those that he refers to as faithful. Now as he talks to these brethren he says there in chapter 10 specifically now verse 12 this, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” What do you mean? Do you mean somebody who is standing? Who is one who stands? Well, if you read here earlier it’s the beloved brother, the one who is faithful, the one who is committed to God, the one who has shown himself worthy. And what’s he going to fall to verse 13 goes on to say that there is going to be temptation. That if we are a Christian God is going to help us and give us a way of escape in temptation but the temptations will come but if we’re not right with God guess what happens? Verse 12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
There is another aspect of the warnings that we continue to find to the Church. Why is he warning the Church to be careful not to fall if they can’t fall? Do you mean that Jesus uses deceptive ideas in order to motivate us to do things, that Jesus says things to manipulate us, and he uses things that really aren’t possible to manipulate us to be good even though we are saved anyway? You see how silly that is because the Bible here clearly indicates us the reality that one can fall. Timothy is told by Paul not only that one can fall but here has added the element that there were some who had fallen away, 1Timothy 4, and if you will notice with me there what he actually tells this young evangelist there again 1Timothy 4:1 he says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart form the faith…” You mean some will be in the faith, to be one that departs from faith you have to be in the faith. They will depart from the faith, “…giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Sounds like our topic doesn’t it? The doctrines of men, the doctrines of those who aren’t following God. These individuals verse 2 are said to speak lies and they had their conscience seared with a hot iron. We can go on to read about those who have rejected the truth in verse 3, why? Because they are serving self, they are serving their own bellies, they are serving their own desires, their own wants and they are claiming to be of God when really they are not at all. Now how do we know if they are of God, well, teaching the will of God the will of my Father, is the one who is the Faithful child of God. Not the, “Lord, Lord,” one, or not the “I did this in your name, I did that in your name.” The one who does the will of God, the one who follows the commandments of God not man.
Now what I would like you to do and certainly there are other texts we could look at that really indicate in fact one that I would really like to have looked at but I would like you to look at later is in 2Peter 2:20-21. But now what I would like to do is make mention of some who are actually referred to in the Bible as having fallen. If you might notice with me there in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul mentions there in verse 10 someone called Demas “who has forsaken me having loved this present world.” Now if you are going to forsake something you have to have been what, faithful to something. So it is possible as we clearly see here that Demas is being referred to as one who had forsaken not only possible but probable. Look also there again to 1Timothy 1, we notice there in verses 18-20, there are two individuals that are mentioned who again really are affected by that which would cause someone to be faithful or not faithful. In fact there names there in verse 20 are Hymenaeus and Alexander, “…whom I have delivered to Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme.” Now what’s blaspheming? Speaking against God or not doing the Will of God or the Law of God and so these men had been delivered to Satan. Well why would they have needed to be delivered to Satan if they were already followers of Satan? You see one is either a servant of who, God or Man or Satan. You see there is only good; you are either serving what is right or what is wrong. And so if he is going to be delivered to Satan he is not a servant of Satan until he did what, that which was contrary to God and was delivered to Satan.
I just want us to understand that as we see these things over and over again the warning is clear that those who needed to be challenged to understand if they were faithful or not, even if they needed to repent they were told to do so, why? Because it is possible, as every book in the New Testament challenges time and time again, it is possible to fall away therefore be careful, watch out in your walk of faith. That you walk in the Spirit Galatians 5; in the works of the Spirit, those good things, the fruit of the Spirit, and not to fall into the works of the flesh. You mean I can be walking in the Spirit of God and then I can get off track? Certainly I can, that doesn’t mean that I was never saved it means that I have forsaken my God or let him down and I need to do what, repent. The same way in Acts 8 Simon the sorcerer was challenged by Peter and others to repent when he wanted to buy the power even to transfer gifts. You see his heart was somewhere else. As we learn there in Romans 10:9-10, it’s the heart where these things begin, it’s the heart where with the mouth one confesses, it’s the heart where one obediently serves God and let me tell you when someone does those things that God has said. Confessed him with his mouth, repented and turned from sin, and also done what it is through baptism required God certainly adds you to the Church that is the promise. He makes you a child. So when someone rejects that and falls away that doesn’t mean they weren’t saved, it doesn’t mean there heart wasn’t right, it means they have given up on the Lord just like in the parable of the sower to return to something that is of old.
So what are we going to do with our lives? Are we going to be those that remain strong? Are we going to teach truth? Are we going to stand with God? Are we going to make sure that the world realizes that they can fall away? In order to be ready to make sure that everyday they live it’s for God that they might receive the reward of eternal life in the end.
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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The reality is, the Bible confirms that one who is a follower of God can fall away if they don’t remain faithful to their calling! Thus may we strive to live righteously every day, so that we may not fall short of the great blessings and promises of God.