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Once A Christian, Always A Christian?
What Does The Word Of God Say?
A big question in the hearts of many Christians today is; Is a Christian eternally secure, (Never able to be lost, and suffer the eternal flames of the Lake of fire, once one has been born again.) Even if they continue living in known sins after they've been saved? What does the Bible say? The word of God must be, and is the final authority on this, and every matter! I am not preaching this message today to promote, or encourage backsliding, or Falling from grace; but rather to warn as Jesus, Paul, Peter, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews, that it is possible! And that many are in Danger of being lost Forever, because they have been Lied to, and made to believe they can never be lost once they've believed on Jesus.
Departing From God
Lets look first at Heb. 3:12: Take heed, Brethren, Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in Departing from the living God. Notice the warning. Take Heed! Now notice who the warning is to. The brethren! Now look at what the saints of God are warned to take heed of; lest there be in any of them an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God! Let me say, it's impossible for me to depart from Pittsburgh, Pa. if I haven't been there first! All the applications given in the Hebrew and Greek for the words Departing From are: to retreat:-departing away, remove, turn away, turn aside, withdraw, draw (fall) away, to withdraw one's self. So in order for one to Depart From The Living God, one must first be living and walking with him in fellowship!
1Tim. 4:1 reads, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, (and He don't lie!) that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, (but these spirits do!) And Doctrines Of Devils. Some (not all) shall depart from the faith! How is this possible? They didn't see the importance of going to a Bible preaching church, where they believe, preach, and live the word of God. They didn't hide the Word in their hearts, by reading it, studying it, and meditating on it, so seducing spirits came with religious lies that sounded good, that didn't demand and require holy living, coming out from the world, and separating one's self to God. They gave heed to their lies, and departed from the faith.
The Case Of Demas
2Tim. 4:10: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. Paul specifically makes mention to Timothy about Demas forsaking him, also giving the reason for Demas forsaking him.
First let me say in response to those that may question if Demas were a brother in the Lord or not: For I have had some tell me that there is no proof that Demas was even saved. Please note that every time Paul makes mention of Demas in his letters to the churches, Demas is numbered among the brethren (Col.4:14; Phm. 24). And friend, there is no doubt in my mind that those Bro. Paul chosen to work with him in the ministry were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost! For was it not Bro. Paul that wrote in 1Thess. 5:12 (And we beseech you brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;)
That which caused Demas to forsake the work of the Lord is the very thing that is causing many today to forsake the way of life: The love of the world! And it's clear from 1John 2:15 that you can't continue in God's love if you love this old, God hating, sin loving world! (Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.) Look at this: James 4:4; Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Fallen From Grace
Lets read 1Cor.10:12: (Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.) Who is Paul talking to? The world? The man or woman without God? NO! Vs.1 tells us, Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant... Notice the warning again: Take heed lest he fall! I must go to Rom.11:20-22: (Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: Vs.21: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Vs. 22: Behold therefore, the goodness and severity of God: On them which fell, severity; But toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Again, the exhortation of warning is given in Rom.11:21, Take heed! I would like to point out here, that as God's people, we are to behold (Not just cast a glance at). That word behold means to gaze upon, to steadfastly look at something. Not just the goodness of the Lord, but the severity of our God also!
It is very clear from ver.22 that the goodness of the Lord, only continues with those that continue with God. And that the severity of God is upon those that fall away, for the last part of that verse tells us that His goodness is toward us, If (yes the big if) Thou continue in his goodness. Otherwise, Thou also shalt be cut off! If thou continue. I'll be dealing more with this later in the message.
Gal.5:4 says, Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; Ye are fallen from grace. Lets take a look at what else Paul wrote to the Galatian churches concerning this matter. Gal.1:6: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him... Before I can remove something from your house; It must first be in the house! Also, Gal.3:3 says, Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
2Thess.2:3 says, (Let no man deceive you by any means: For that day shall not come, except there come A falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.)
Also, in 2Peter3:17 he wrote, (Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.)
Ye therefore, Beloved: He sure is not referring to those that have never been saved! He's talking to the Saints! Again, the warning rings out from the lips of Peter, by the Holy Ghost, Beware! Beware of what? Why, to hear some preach, and to listen to some teach, once your saved your always saved no matter how much sin you live in. They say, we ought to try to do right, but even if you continue in sin once you've been saved, and if your living in sin when Jesus comes again, not to worry, you can never be lost, You'll only come up short a few rewards in Heaven! You better Beware! Lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. Case in point: There's no way I can fall from a tree, while I'm standing on the ground! I must first be in the tree, before I can fall from it!
Let us go now to the last book of the bible, the book of Revelation. Rev.2:4&5: (Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Vs. 5 says, Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.) Keep in mind; Jesus is speaking to His people. They had left their first love! Jesus tells of a certain man which had two sons in Luke 15. The younger son, like the church there in Rev.2 took the goods which belonged to him, and left the Fathers House. He left the fellowship of his father, and family; to "live it up in the world." He, as God's people in the Wilderness, became discontented with those things associated with their Heavenly Father.
Moses, we're tired of this angel food! We want flesh! This seems to be the cry of many of God's people today. Preacher, don't preach to us that we have to Keep the Flesh crucified: We want Flesh! Don't reprove us and try to make us feel like we ought to be at Prayer Meeting or Revival, or Mid-week service, or Sunday evening service, or Sunday School: Just be sure to remind us when the next church picnic is. And whatever you do, Don't you dare forget to let us know when the Church's next anniversary dinner is going to be!
Saints of God, when we begin to cast our eyes in the direction of the world, and become discontented with the good things of God we are in danger of being destroyed, even as many of them were in the wilderness.
This young man wasted all his substance with riotous living. Then when he had nothing left, there arose a mighty famine in that land where he was living now. And the Bible says; He began to be in want! Friend of mine, This is exactly the state the world will leave you in! I want you to know that only Jesus can satisfy your soul! In Ps.23:1 King David declared, The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want! Things got so desperate for this young Jewish man, that he took a job feeding swine, and would have filled his belly with husks that the swine did eat, for no man gave unto him. But Praise be to God, He came to himself! Friends it's sad, But some never come to themselves! In vs.17 he said, I perish with hunger! If he had not come to himself when he did, and returned to the fathers house, he would have died there in that strange land.
Hear it! Yes, he was still the father's son, but he had to return to the father's house, to enjoy life again! For the father himself said in vs.32b, For this thy brother was dead, (he did not have eternal life while he was away from God) and is alive again. It was only when he returned to the fathers houseand repented of his sin, that he received eternal life again!
If Ye Continue!
1Tim.4:12-16, (Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; Give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; Continue in them: For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.)
Once again the Exhortation of warning rings forth from the lips of Bro. Paul: "Take heed unto thyself!" As we noted earlier in this message, this Exhortation of warning was (and still is) directed to Christians. This time it's given to a young minister of the gospel named Timothy. How many know, that, Preachers need to take heed also?
There are three points I want to make here. Point 1. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine." Friends we must heed God's word! Many sitting in church houses all over the world are in grave danger of eternal damnation because they will not take heed to the teachings of God's Holy Word. They say; "Our church don't believe that." or "My preacher doesn't preach that." Why not? If the Bible preaches it, then your preacher ought to preach it! And if they won't preach it like the Bible teaches it, then you need to find a church where they do preach, teach, and take heed to God's word.
Where you spend eternity rests on this! It doesn't matter if great great great grandpa and grandma were members of that church. It doesn't matter if dad and mom are still members. Some would say: "It's a family tradition. Generation after generation of our family have been members of this church". Hear it! Your Eternal soul is far more valuable then that old dead damnable tradition. It doesn't mean anything just because some preacher don't believe it, or some church group refuses to believe it. What really matters is what God has to say about it! If God's word says it, then to inherit God's kingdom, we must take heed to it!
Point 2. "Continue in them." Take a look at that; "continue in them," Why would Paul ,that great apostle of the Lord, even waste time telling Timothy to, Continue in something he could never depart from? Think about it.
Let me share with you point 3 before I go any further. This way you will see these 3 points clearly set forth, not only in this passage of scripture, but also in the others we will be reading. "For in the mouth of two, or three witnesses let every word be established."
Point 3. "If ye continue, you shall both save thyself, and them that hear you." Let's take a look in our Bibles at Col. 1:22&23: In the body of his [Jesus'] flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Again, in these verses of scripture we are made to see that our eternal salvation is only secure If we continue in the faith, and If we are not moved away from the hope of the gospel!
I'm sure that almost every one reading this for whatever reason, has moved from one house to another. Anyone that comes looking for you at the old address won't find you there, and if they asked your old neighbors if you still live there, they would answer; No they've moved away. You Can't Move Away From A House You've Never Lived In! Let me say, that there are some who at one time lived in the kingdom of God's dear Son, Jesus, but they have moved away; their address has changed, the kingdom of Satan is where they reside now.
James1:25 (But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.) Some would have you believe that once your saved (born again), nothing you do can take away from your salvation, or take you away from salvation, and that nothing you do can add to your salvation. Let us look at a scripture that they use to support this. Eph.2:8&9 (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.) But let's not leave out ver.10 (For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.) We are saved by grace. For if we got what we rightfully deserved; in the eternal flames of hell we would have lifted up our eyes! But it is through faith, and "faith without works is dead!" (James 2:17&20). It would do well for our readers to read that second chapter of James. You may say, "But it says, it's not of ourselves". This is true. The only thing you had to do with the way God would bring about our redemption, through His son Jesus Christ, is that you were a poor lost sinner, doomed to spend your eternity in the eternal torments of the Lake of fire! But thanks be to our God, through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, redemption for you and me has been paid in full!
But you must believe, you must repent, you must confess, and then after you're born again; you must continue! Friends you have everything to do with your eternal salvation! Phil.2:12 (Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.)
Heb.10:38 reads, (Now the just shall live by faith: But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.) Lets also take a look at vs.39: (But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; But of them that believe to the saving of the soul.) Here in these two verses of scripture, Paul exhorts the saints not to be among them that draw back: and there are those that do draw back unto perdition, but to be among those that stand fast in faith, believing to the saving of their souls!
Also in James 1:14-15 we see that it is possible to be drawn away, and wind up spiritually dead. (But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.) If a Christian continues in sin, and fails to sincerely repent, and forsake it, they will reap the same wages every other sinner reaps: death! Eternal separation from God! Vs.16 says (Do not err, my beloved brethren.)
Heb. 3:6 says, "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." It's not hard to see in this verse, that only those that hold fast firm unto the end, will be making up that spiritual house unto the Lord. Hear it! "If we hold fast, firm unto the end"!
Heb. 4:14; Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Jesus has already ascended to the right hand of the Father, in heaven: and if our plans are to be there with Him, we must hold fast! Rev. 2:25 says, "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." Rev.3:3&11 says, "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Heb.9:28b declares, "And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation!" Note that He said in Rev.3:3 if you do not watch, He would come upon you as a thief: He didn't say He was coming after you, He said He would come upon you, if you don't hold fast, repent, and watch! ver.11 says, "Behold , I come quickly: Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." What crown would be taken if we don't hold fast that which we have? Our crown of life! And friend of mine, if it's taken, we are lost forever!
Moreover, 1Tim.1:19&20 says, "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." The powers of darkness are at work, trying to pull you away, and trying to pull away from you those things that you need to win the eternal victory over the devil, the world, and the flesh. And unless you hold fast, you will be pulled away from them, and they'll be pulled away from you. Heb.2;1 says; (Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.)
Enduring To The End
Take a look at this: Mat.10:22 "and ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved." Here again we see that eternal salvation will only be enjoyed by those that endure to the end of their race! Dear friend of mine, only those that cross the finish line, living lives of victory over sin will win the prize!
In the second and third chapters of Revelation some very interesting scriptures are found. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev. 2:11). He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it ( Rev. 2:17). Are you getting happy yet? Hallelujah! And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 2:26-29). He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev.3:5,6). Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my god, and he shall go no more out: And I will write upon him the name of my god, and the name of the city of my god, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my god: And I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 3:12, 13). To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 3:21, 22). And then again, in Rev. 21:7 it says, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; And I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Now all these things that you have just read are promised to the OVERCOMER.
And the simple truth of the matter is: You will either overcome, or be overcome! Yes, you will either be among the Overcomers, or among the overcome!
Becoming A Castaway
In 1Cor. 9:27, Paul declares, (But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.) Here we have it. Paul this great apostle of the Lord, who's writings make up most of the new testament, lets us know, in no uncertain terms, that if he didn't keep his body under the rule of God, and bring it into subjection, he could become a castaway.
Now the word castaway means to become worthless, rejected, something or someone that is thrown away because it is of no more use to anyone. Have we become so entangled in and with the world, and with sin that we are no longer able to be used by God? Has what we want become of greater importance to us than what God wants? Are we more concerned about pleasing ourselves, than we are about pleasing God? Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway!
There are other references that we could refer to in dealing with this subject, but I feel that we have covered enough to show those that have been unsure about this matter, the truth concerning it. I want to say once again, as we did in the start of this message, that I am not encouraging backsliding, or saying that you must backslide. I am persuaded that You don't have to backslide! Listen to the great assurance given in to those that have determined to Hold fast to the end in Jude 24: (Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.) Also, we find written in 2 Peter 1:10 this assurance: (Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: For if you do these things, ye shall never fall.) If you want to be kept, God will keep you! Backsliding is not something that you must do; it is something you must keep from doing!
God through his son Jesus Christ has given us the power to overcome the world and to win the eternal victory: Even our eternal salvation! In the words of that old song, I know the Lord has made a way for me, I know the Lord has made a way for me, if I live a holy life, shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord has made a way for you and me!
Other Messages: Altar Of God - Sword - Covenant - Don't Drown - Complete Message List
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