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The Perseverance of the Savior, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2020 12:00 am

The Perseverance of the Savior, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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November 30, 2020 12:00 am

Can a Christian lose his or her salvation? Listen to learn the answer!

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Last Sunday, there were people in churches all across America who were doing nothing but going through the motions.

I think our world is filled with this. They, in the end, only want the church because of what they get from it. They came because it looked good on their community profile. They came because they were Americans.

You know, what about Jesus Christ? His name was affirmed only because it might be to their advantage. Listen, they are no different than a drunk praying a prayer to get some money. They only look more respectable. There are people, sometimes even in the church, who pursue a nominal form of Christianity. They attend church and want people to think that they're Christians, but it's only for what they can get out of it. In Revelation 14, we find a series of proclamations about believers. One of those truths is that they are actively loyal to the object of their faith, Jesus Christ. Another is that a true believer cannot lose her salvation. Stay with us to learn more.

This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen's calling this lesson, The Perseverance of the Savior. Wayne Grudem in his systematic theology provides these insightful words. He says, one of the purposes of this phrase, the perseverance of the saints, is not to make those who are trusting in Christ worry that at some time in the future you might fall away. Rather, it can be used to warn those who are thinking of walking away that if they do, this will be a strong indication that they were never saved in the first place. So it's a comfort to those who believe in Christ. God will not lose you. And it's a warning to those who walk away that they were never saved. Now be careful here. Be careful.

This is a tricky, tricky thing. And don't get out your stopwatch and say, okay, he missed three Sundays, four and he's out. You know, he rotated off the usher, not serving anymore, didn't park in cars anymore. Yeah, we didn't think he was saved anyway. They did what? They said what?

Well, they're obviously out. Listen, you didn't gain your salvation by being sinless and you don't lose it by sinning. In fact, Paul preached the doctrine of abounding grace and he knew people would get all riled up, which they certainly did. You're going to encourage people to sin with abandon if you preach God's abounding grace.

No, he won't. Grace in the life of a genuine believer does not lead the believer to want to go sin. It leads the believer to want to please God out of gratitude for his grace. The person who says, oh, I'm saved now, well, I can go back to the world, needs to listen to this angel. The truth is you sin after salvation. Have you discovered that yet? How many of you sinned this last week?

Hold your hands up. Did you have to get saved all over again? If you had to get saved all over again every time you sinned, how often would you have to be saved? This leads to the doctrine within the Roman Catholic Church of the last rites. You bring a guy right up to the edge of death right before it and you give him the last rites to absolve his sins and hopefully he won't sin between there and death. Compare scripture with scripture. Here's one John wrote in 1 John 2, one of my little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you may not sin. In other words, I'm instructing you so that you'll say no to sin. The Christian can say no to sin. But if anybody sins, speaking to believers, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. If anyone sins, remember your advocate. Jesus Christ never sins and he stands as your advocate defending you as it were before the justice of God's jury. Ladies and gentlemen, the perseverance of the saints is in the final analysis, the perseverance of the Savior.

Paul would, he would talk about how there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Jesus Christ guards us. Jesus Christ intercedes for us. He guides us. He holds us firmly in his hand. He instructs us. He empowers us. He enables us.

He disciplines us. He leads us and then he will complete us in the day we see him, Philippians 1.6. The perseverance of the saints is not to our glory. It is to the glory of Christ. So may this encourage those of you who believe in him, you will persevere to the end.

And for those of you who are even perhaps now thinking of walking away from him, it may be a sign that you never did belong and you've been deceived. There's another word beyond the word perseverance here in this text. It is the word obedience.

This is where it gets even more personal. John writes, here's the perseverance of the saints. Who are they? They're the ones who keep the commandments of God. Now there are some who would add to the end of this phrase the words without failure. If you look back at your text, you'll not find those words. Now this is a participle from the Greek word tero. It means to observe.

You may fail at the standard but you don't throw the standard away. His commandments are your desire. His word is your manual. You want to obey him and it troubles you when you do not, right? In fact, one of the differences between a true believer and a false believer is not that the true believer never sins and the false believer does. The difference is that while both of them may sin, the genuine believer is disturbed by it. He's troubled by his sinfulness. He agonizes over his failure.

He hurts that he hurt his fellowship with God his Father. And the false believer isn't troubled except for maybe troubling consequences. Yeah, that's kind of troublesome. But other than that, it's really not a problem. I like the way one person put it.

You may have heard this put this way. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you in a court of law? Any evidence? What if they tailed you this week? Watched you? Would there be evidence? What if they got into your computer or your files? What if they sat by your Bible and waited? What if they interviewed people you work with?

What if they went along on some dates you had? Then you were hauled into court. On the basis of that evidence, would they convict you for being a Christian? Anybody who really doesn't want to obey God, who doesn't care about the Word, who lives however they want to live, is in need of a warning from this angel. I agree with one author who said this, obedience and genuine faith are mutually interpreting. Obedience involves faith and faith involves obedience. Faith and obedience are not separate stages of the Christian experience. This is Paul's thought in Ephesians 2.10 when he wrote to them, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Listen, even though genuine faith is not the result of works, genuine faith what?

Works. Genuine faith works. And the genuine believer lives with a daily sense of his failure and keeping the commandments. He doesn't throw away the commandments. He doesn't throw away the list. He doesn't throw away a desire for holy living because, well, you know, every day I fail. No, he hungers and yearns to follow after God. And when he doesn't meet the standard, he daily confesses to his Savior, thank you. You are my advocate.

Now, forgive me for what I've just done to hurt you or your name. See, it's an evidence of a genuine faith. It's a desire to keep and a pursuit in keeping the commandments. I'm reading as I've shared with you.

In fact, one of the reasons I read widely is to be able to share things with you. The biography of William Carey who lamented his oft failing heart and desire for Christ. This man who we call today 200 plus years later the father of modern missions went to India. Listen as he wrote in his journal which he never assumed we'd ever be reading. In 1793 in August, he wrote, I have reason to lament over a barrenness of my soul. And I am sometimes much discouraged. For if I am so dead, how can I expect to be of any use among the lost? On January 22nd of 1794, he wrote in his journal, I wish I had more of God in my soul and felt more submission to his will.

This would set me above all things. You ever felt that frustration? On one occasion he became so sick. In fact, after finishing the second revision of his Bengali Bible, a massive accomplishment. He got sick. In fact, they thought he'd die and they assumed that that Bengali Bible was his crowning achievement. But he rallied, went on to serve many more years. But as soon as he got off his sick bed, he said to one of his missionary partners, he said, now I shall serve Christ.

I have been such a loiterer. Later, he wrote in his journal, my soul is a jungle when it ought to be a garden. I can scarcely tell whether I have the grace of God or not.

How shall I help India with so little godliness myself? He agonized before the Lord when he wrote, my crime is spiritual stupidity. I am perhaps the most inconsistent, cold creature that ever possessed the grace of Christ. I have no love, O God. If God uses me, none need despair. Can you imagine?

Imagine what a supporting pastor would think. You don't talk like this and raise money for missions. You got to be on top of it. You're there.

You're winning the world. No doubts. No trouble. No agony.

Listen to this man. When you sin, do you feel like that? When you walk out of fellowship with the Lord, do you struggle with how little of his grace is evident in your life? Don't you?

I hope you do. It becomes sweet evidence that you long for his approval and so berate yourself for your failure like Paul who said, oh, wretched man that I am. But do you have to be born again all over again?

No. In fact, the agony you feel over your inconsistency and your sin is among the evidences that you are genuinely converted. I would be troubled if you weren't troubled by your sin. There's a third word. It's the word reliance.

At least that's the word that comes to my mind as I look at the text. Another mark of a genuine believer is that they rely upon the Savior alone for their salvation. Look how he writes of these saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Now, in this immediate context, it means they refuse to put their faith in the antichrist. They're not going to switch loyalties and start obeying this man with his image displayed in the holy face. They refuse to put their faith like that billionaire I mentioned earlier in themselves.

They don't consider themselves their savior. Their faith here is committed to the object of their faith which is Christ himself. And it becomes not some vague belief like people who today talk to me, yeah, I got faith. I got faith. What? What do you have faith in?

In water? I have faith in God. Well, which one? I have faith in Jesus, the text says. There we go. That would be saving faith. And they have loyal faith in him. You know, I've met people who have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. But they believe they're on their way to heaven.

Why? Because they prayed a prayer at an evangelistic rally. Or they prayed a prayer when they were little. Or they prayed a prayer when they walked the aisle at a church. Or when they got baptized.

Or maybe in front of a television program. And this is where perhaps eternal security as it is coined communicates a watered down version of perseverance and obedience and loyalty. Now in case you're wondering, I believe in eternal security. Don't be confused.

It is impossible to be called by the father, born again from spiritual death unto life, sealed by the spirit, indwelled by God, forgiven of all my sin, past, present and future, and then be uncalled, unborn, unsealed and unforgiven. And worse yet, the thought that maybe after all of that you'd give it away. I don't think I want it like a sweater that doesn't fit you anymore. Ah, get rid of that.

No, no, no. If you want to get rid of it, whoever wants to give it away never had it. I fear the church in holding to its version of eternal security can effectively tell people that if they prayed some prayer in the past, it doesn't matter how you're living.

It doesn't matter what's transpired over the last 20 years. You've got that card. You've got that five year old statement. You've got that baptism.

You've got that membership. Don't worry about anything else. Listen, there is a difference, a vast difference in saying that people cannot lose their salvation because of sinning and saying that unrepentant sinners who do not care about Christ or his word or his church or his will don't ever need to wonder about their salvation because they prayed a prayer. There's a vast difference in those two people. This is in this text a present active loyalty to the cross work of Christ and the person who says, I used to believe in Jesus, but not anymore, but I'm going to heaven because I prayed. No, warn them. Warn them to examine the genuineness of their faith. That's why Paul told the Corinthians who are accommodating immorality in the church, who are spiritually mature, who are divisive, he said to them in 2 Corinthians 13, 5, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Is he trying to get people to doubt their salvation? No, he's wanting people to make sure their faith is genuine.

What are the evidences? What's your life like? What's your belief in? Are you following after Christ? That doesn't mean a Christian can't backslide.

I do it daily in case you're wondering. Every day is resisting sin, perhaps even failing and confession and acknowledgement of Christ, my advocate. It doesn't mean that a believer can't disobey the Lord or even walk away from the Lord for a season. The disciples did that. But listen, the individual who says they were once a Christian but are now happily, contentedly reunited with the world and the flesh and the devil never came to Christ to begin with. The church does them a grave disservice to say, well, don't worry about it.

Don't worry about it. The one who says I used to have faith in Christ but now I don't believe in him anymore never was a genuine believer. You know, I'll never forget an illustration of this in my own young life. In fact, I was a freshman in college, Bible college. I was walking down the sidewalk of the little town near the small Bible college I was attending and a man dressed in old clothes and an old overcoat, matted hair, stepped out of an alley and came up to me and said, hey, friend, can you spare some money? I said, well, I'm a student here at the Bible college, which means I don't have any money. He said, well, are you sure you can't spare some change? I said, listen, I don't have a dime in my pocket.

But I've got something that will last longer than spare change I might have had. He said, well, what's that? And I said, a relationship with Jesus Christ that's living and personal. He seemed interested. So I began to share the gospel with him on that sidewalk downtown.

He listened intently. After about 30 minutes or so, I said to him, do you understand everything I've told you? He said, I do. I said, would you like to pray to give your life to Jesus Christ and receive from him forgiveness and eternal life? And he said, I would.

I thought this is too easy. So I said, well, will you kneel with me on the sidewalk right here downtown? He said, I will.

We get down on our knees, put my arm around his shoulder and listen to him pray a glorious prayer of conversion. I mean, I got to admit to you, I was so thrilled. I couldn't believe, I couldn't wait to get back to the dorm and tell the guys we had another great awakening that was just now starting. Tears in this man's eyes. He got up, we stood, he dried the tears from his eyes, he wiped them away, and then he said, can you spare some money? I said, I don't have any, but I can take you to the Union Mission.

They'll have food for you and a place to say, and I will work with you to begin your life in Christ. And his whole face clouded over. And he said, you mean you don't have any money for me?

I said, no, I don't have any money. And he unleashed a tirade of cursing and swearing I've yet to hear again. And he walked away, and with every step, he cursed God, he cursed Jesus, and he cursed me. I have never seen such a short distance of time between the prayer and apostasy. I can tell you I have seen many more with not much distance between a prayer and an abandonment of Christ and a return to the world. They came to church for a season. They went through the motions.

I think our world is filled with this. They, in the end, only want the church because of what they get from it. It's a place to network. You know, they wanted potential clients. They came looking for personal affirmation. They came to be served. Maybe they even came looking for a spouse and found him or her and then quickly abandoned their religious affections. They came because they wanted to be viewed as respectable. They came because it looked good on their community profile. They came because they were Americans. What about Jesus Christ?

He was never the attraction. His name was affirmed only because it might be to their advantage. Listen, they are no different than a drunk praying a prayer to get some money. They only look more respectable. They only smell better.

They only drive their own car. They are just as lost and just as deceived. What Jesus Christ's name could offer them on earth is their only attraction. This is not active, loyal faith in Jesus and maybe the angel is warning you today.

He says, those who genuinely believe Christ will remain the object of their faith for salvation of the end. Can you imagine how encouraging this would be to these tribulation saints? I mean, they have no advantage to being a Christian.

None whatsoever. They are going to die because of it. These horrific days which will more than likely end with, for most of them, martyrdom. They will die in their faith. Their genuine faith will be revealed even with that great sacrifice. They will not abandon Christ and worship another God. Now for them, and frankly for all of us, what happens next is a timeless promise from heaven.

Let me quickly go through this. Just this last verse. Verse 13, I heard a voice from heaven saying, write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, so that they may rest from their labors.

Here is the first promise. It is rest. The second is reward. The first is the promise of rest.

The word is kapon. It describes hard, difficult, exhausting, tiring, toiling work. Work, not to gain entrance into heaven, but working for the glory of Christ because you are.

By the way, this word does not mean you rest from activity. It's going to be a lot of activity in the kingdom and you and I are going to be able to serve Christ for a thousand years. Can you imagine the economy on earth? You will be a co-regent with the Savior.

We will talk about that when we get to the portion of Revelation that describes the kingdom of God. I can't wait to get there. I wish I could hurry up so we could just go ahead and get there.

We are not going to rest from activity. The word can be used, and this may be helpful, to refer to irritation and trouble. You are going to be relieved of irritation. Do you have any of those? You are going to be relieved of annoyances.

Do you have a few of those? And in the context of serving God, we annoy ourselves, don't we? We are our biggest problem. The biggest problem I have on the planet is me. Some of you are thinking you were going to say my name. No, I wasn't. It's me.

I'm the biggest problem I have. My fallen flesh is gone. I'm glorified. So will you be. And we will be able to serve Christ without the irritations of ourselves. Won't that be glorious? Then we have this promise of reward. John writes, for their deeds follow after them. Listen, it's going to be a reward enough just to be in the presence of our Lord, to serve him in the kingdom, and then anticipate a new heaven and a new earth forever.

What more could we want? And yet, in the middle of all of that, we are given the promise of such amazing graciousness to us and condescension. As Hebrews says, God is not unjust so as to forget your work.

Ergah, same word used here. He isn't going to forget anything you've done for him or anything you've done for character's sake, any right thing. And having ministered and still ministering to the saints, what grace. Listen, the perseverance of the saints is really the perseverance of the Savior. The reward for the saints is really the rewarding of the Savior's work through us.

It's all him. No wonder we will give them back. I'm convinced on this day when he completes in us what he's promised and we're in his presence, we will simply weep over the truths that now engulf us. They're in his presence as we grasp the eternal significance that we have been saved from the wrath of God. What a great reminder from God's Word today. Sometimes believers wonder and maybe even worry about the genuineness of their faith. We can look and see if the things that are true of genuine believers are true of us.

And that in turn encourages us. I hope you've been encouraged by God's Word today here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Today's lesson is called The Perseverance of the Savior. Stephen's working through a series from Revelation 14 and 15 called A Preview of Things to Come. Did you know that it's possible for you to follow along in Stephen's manuscripts as you listen to each of these Bible lessons? You can also use those manuscripts to help you dive deeper into other passages of scripture. Some people use them to help study when they're teaching or leading a group or class. You can listen to each lesson or read the manuscript from each individual message on our website or app. If you go to our online store, you can download the manuscripts of entire books of the Bible. Those are free of charge and make a great companion to your Bible study. Simply go to wisdomonline.org and you'll find them there. Thanks for joining us today. Be back tomorrow at this same time for more wisdom for the heart. You
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-04 23:11:18 / 2023-12-04 23:21:06 / 10

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