THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-26-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED"
Isn't it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord's Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God's sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer.
As always, it is our privilege on this program to praise God together in song! So let me encourage you to join in with the congregation at this time as we lift our voices up in the first song of the morning. The name of the hymn, "Redeemed!"
(SONG # 1)
One of the great privileges we have through Jesus Christ is our ability to repent of those things which are contrary to His Will. We all know that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His own blood so that we might be cleansed! Completely forgiven of those things which we have done and do, if we are willing to have a penitent attitude and ask our God for forgiveness.
However, what I want to explore for just a moment this morning is our part in repentance. I think we all know that God has done His part through the great sacrifice of His Son, but what about our part. Well, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke of a "godly sorrow," which produces repentance! Did you catch that? When we are moved to sorrow with the knowledge that we have broken God's Will it should cause us to desire to repent and get ourselves right with our God!
Another important verse in our understanding of this spiritual concept in found in Acts 26:20. There they were told that, "...they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance." Here we learn that repentance is not just an idea or a concept to consider or think about, but it is actually a work. We must do the works of repentance, which means we acknowledge the wrong, ask forgiveness, and determine to never do it again.
I think this is exactly what David was thinking about in Psalm 51:9-11 when he requested that God, "Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence." I love this request of David, "Create in me a clean heart, Oh God!"
Isn't that what each and everyone of us want in this life? To be found as pure, holy, and truly acceptable before our Lord. As those who are willing to turn and flee from sin and focus on His glorious and saving truth. Do you have the penitent attitude that God requires of His followers? Or possibly, you need to repent for the first time today and obey the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Will you give us the world and it's lust for Jesus?
Our study of the morning will again focus on the question, "From Heaven Or Men" As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider the teaching of, "Once Saved Always Saved." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Our God, He Is Alive."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
"Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall."
We're glad you've continued with us this morning as we now look into God's Word in relationship to our topic that we've been studying for the past many weeks, the idea of whether something that we do or follow is really from heaven or rather from man.
Our verse of the morning that we read now from 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 12 reminds us of a consideration of today that often many in our day believe to be the case that maybe the Bible in and of itself and it's Word might question. Can people today who are saved, who have done what God has said, actually end up being lost? There are those today who actually teach and profess according to man's doctrine that it is impossible for one who has once been saved and is saved and a child of God to fall away from the things of God.
I would like you to notice here in the text that we just read, 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 1 is addressed to the holy brethren. In fact, if you'll notice on down to verse 14, they are referred to as, "the beloved of God." And then in the midst of all this something that is said to these Christians is "to be careful because you might well fall." You might fall away from what? Well it seems that the Bible continually throughout the New Testament talks about the possibility of falling. Now the question that I might ask is if there is no possibility of a Christian falling from God's grace, why then do the writers of the New Testament say that there is a possibility? Why do they warn that we might fall if it's impossible to fall? That would seem to be a contradiction. In fact, it might almost be something that God's taunting us with if there's no way actually we can fall anyway.
I want you to notice with me many other passages this morning that clearly and beyond a shadow of a doubt show us that not only is it possible, but there are those who did fall, those who once were faithful in the things of God and followers of God who left and chose to go another direction away from God. It seems there clearly in 2 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 10 that Paul mentions "a man named Demas who had left God and left the fellowship for the love of the world." It seems that Paul understood that Demas had been in God, but then chose to turn away from Him.
We also noticed in 1 Timothy chapter 1, I might suggest verses 18-20 where there it is mentioned that Hymanaius and Alexander are those who again had been in the faith, followers and obedient of God, yet now Paul says, "they had left the faith."
Not only Paul, but others in scripture such as Peter. Peter talks about there in Acts chapter 8 a man named Simon the Sorcerer. In fact, in verse 22 after Simon sins, mind you again that he was a Christian, and then it says that, "he sinned." Peter told him in verse 22, "Repent of your sins. If you want God to continue to love you and to have you as a child. Pray to God forgive you of your sin." You see, what was the outcome then that Peter was suggesting? If you don't pray that God forgive you, guess what. You will not be forgiven. And how can a child of God be a sinner involved in sin and unforgiven without the desire to be forgiven of his or her God. Well here again we find an example.
What about in 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 4? Even in this text, Peter goes further to say that, "there were angels that fell away from God." Angels are beings that were created specifically for God, for His purpose, for His special services and if they can fall away, why would it be so strange that man who is once obedient as well can fall away?
And then also we might mention Matthew chapter 26 and verse 14 where we are introduced to a man known as Judas, a faithful disciple of God, who chooses to sell out Christ for a mere handful of money.
So again, we find those who clearly in scripture were followers of God and found to be obedient, not just by anyone, but by Christ and the apostles, but yet they chose to leave the fold of God.
I want you to notice with me further some verses that I believe clearly again show us that there is a caution, not only a caution, but a great possibility that one who is in God might choose because of the love of sin in this world to leave God. In Galatians chapter 5 beginning in verse 4 I want you to notice what Paul says to the church, the faithful brethren of Galatia. It says there beginning in verse 4, he says, "you have become estranged from Christ. You who attempt to be justified by the law and you have fallen from grace for we through the spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or an uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love." Here we see that Paul speaking to the church at Galatia says clearly to them that there were those who had become estranged from Christ. Notice that he was talking to Jews, but he was talking to Jews who unless they had become followers of Christ would not have responded to the things of Christ. He says that they had become estranged from Christ not the Father. They had followed Christ but yet then chosen to be estranged and in fact he goes on to say, "and thus had fallen from grace." Where do we find the grace of God? Only as followers of God. These individuals had become so estranged. To be estranged they had to have once been in a good relationship with God. They now had been considered as those who had fallen. In order to fall, what must also be true? If you're going to fall off of a turnip truck, you've got to first be on the turnip truck. Don't you? You have to first here have been one who had grace to have fallen from grace. The evidence is clear then, my friends, my brethren, that certainly the Bible clearly tells us that there are those who were faithful, who because of their own desires and lusts turned away from God.
In Hebrews chapter 6, I love this text because it again so clearly talks about those who are brethren. In fact, we can look at every chapter such as chapter 3 and it says, "Holy brethren." That's how they're addressed. "Christians. Brethren," he says. Well chapter 6 and verse 4 says, "For it is impossible..." Notice the descriptive terms here. "...for those who are once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted of the good Word to come and the powers of the age to come." Five things there. These individuals were enlightened. They had tasted of the heavenly gift. They had tasted of the Spirit of God. They had not only tasted of those things, but of the good work and the powers of the age to come, that which is the miraculous abilities. He says it is impossible. Why? "Impossible," because the next verse goes on to say, "if they fall away to renew them again to repentance." You see those here who clearly were brethren, those who were known as already partakers, not to partake, or they might partake, or they might become followers, but those who were, those who had tasted (past tense), those who it says here, "had not only tasted, but had become partakers (past sense) of the great things of God." If they fall away... Paul, why are you taunting us? Whoever the writer here, why are you taunting us if it's impossible to fall? The reality is brethren, friends, it is not impossible and brethren, that's why we must stay ever on guard. That's why we must always be ready and that's why we must always be true followers of God and know that we are right with Him because we must examine ourselves to see and to make sure that we are always right and faithful before our God.
I, as well, love the stories that are found in Luke chapter 15, the most precious of stories that often is the favorite of many is the prodigal son. The very story there is about God Himself as the Father having a relationship with His children, the elder son and the younger son. And the younger son comes to Him and he says, "Father, I want my inheritance. I'm going to go and I'm going to choose sin over an existence with you." Well he does so. One who was in the family of the Father, faithful and proper with the Father, now chose to go and do that which was contrary. Well we know the story goes on and it tells us that finally the father rejoiced in the fact that the son was coming home. You see the son had been right. He had left, and then came back again.
Isn't that the story of the lost sheep as well? The sheep has to be in the fold to be under the shepherd to be lost and there we read there about a lost sheep, one who was in the fold that somehow went astray, left the fold and was found and then the rejoicing by the shepherd.
And what about the lost coin? The coin first was in the protected place, was lost, could not be found, but when it was found, what rejoicing.
Oh these stories once again that Jesus told remind us of the clear fact that there is not only a possibility, but often it is the case that many will know God and obey Him and then choose to turn away.
I'm as well reminded of the great story in the parable of the soils and how there were four soils and how there was only one really good soil that took the Word of God and then produced and really found itself to be that which God wanted. But I want you to notice the other soils because some of the other soils also responded and began even to put out roots and do what God had asked, but then they were eventually choked out. They weren't choked immediately. They weren't kept away from God. They had responded. They had believed. They had obeyed and then they allowed the world to again choke them to death.
There are so many verses, brethren, as we have seen that show us not only of the possibility, but also the probability that there were many who did and many who will fall away from the grace of God. But I want you to notice as to why men depart. I think two verses that might really help us with this is first of all found in Timothy. In 1 Timothy chapter 4 as Paul here writes to this young evangelist, he begins to say this and warn Timothy to tell the brethren. He says, "Now the spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisies, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth." Notice what Paul is suggesting here. An apostasy. For one to be apostate, they have to first be one who is considered to be of the apostles or the apostle's doctrine. Well here it clearly says that in latter times, some would depart from the faith. If the faith is here and you're going to depart from it, it must mean first and foremost that you have at one time been in the faith. So again, we see the same suggestion. But why did they do it? Because it says, "they desired. They themselves had their consciences seared and they wanted to serve self and do what was right and fitting for their own desires."
In 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 20, we again see the similar. It says, "Therefore, if after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning." This verse clearly shows us one who has escaped the world, escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge and obedience of the truth in Jesus Christ. And then it says what? It says, "If they again become entangled." They weren't entangled at one point because they had obeyed and followed and it says here that "they were those who had escaped the pollution," but they had returned to the pollution. If they return, it says, "the end is worse than the beginning."
And then if you'll notice in verse 21, "for it would have been better if they had never known the way than having known it to turn away from that which is right according to the precepts of God."
Brethren, the reality is one can, as an obedient child of God, turn away by their choice, not God's. Notice all of these verses show that it was the choice of the individual, their conscience, their problem, their lust, their desires, not God's. God's always the Father with open arms and He wants them all, all of us, each and every one of us, anyone who will respond to follow and obey. But yet it is man, man that chooses to turn away. So it's not God's fault. It's man's fault, but that does not remove the fact that man still has the possibility to fall away if he chooses, that is man, to do contrary to the Will of God.
I want to end with a verse in 2 Corinthians 13 and verse 5 where there we are encouraged to examine yourselves as to whether you be in the faith. I want you to notice why we must examine ourselves to see if we're faithful. He goes on to say, "Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you are disqualified?" We know how sports work. If you're in a game and you're disqualified, you first have to be in it and you have to be playing to get disqualified. It says here, "Examine yourself to see whether you're in the faith to make sure you do not get disqualified."
The encouragement that we have today, brethren and friends, is to make sure that we live every day in word and deed in such a way that we will not only be doing what God wants, but we will never be disqualified. We'll never be found unacceptable, but God will always love us and give us the inheritance of the promises that are found in His precious Word.
(SONG # 3 - "When All Of God's Singers Get Home!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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How wonderful it is to know the truth, that we must obey in order to remain proper in His sight! Are you among the saved who are presented as acceptable because of their faithfulness to His Precious Will?