2 Timothy 1:5-7
5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
This afternoon, as we celebrate this special Sunday called Mother’s Day, I hope that we can all rejoice and be glad. Whether your mom is alive or passed on, during the few minutes of this message remember and let those past and or present memories help put a smile to your face.
So, who and what is a mother. Listen to what some children have put together…
An eight year old child named Mary wrote her mom a note for Mother’s Day, it read, ”Dear Mother, here is the box of candy I bought you for Mother’s Day. IT IS VERY GOOD CANDY. I KNOW, BECAUSE I ALREADY had 3
ILL.- Eight-year-old Carol also wrote her mom a note on Mother’s Day it read, "DEAR MOTHER, HERE ARE 2 ASPIRINS. HAVE A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY."
Or how about this one from 6 year old Johnny and his 4 year old sister Suzy. Suzy presented their mom with a Mother’s Day present; a small, spindly house plant. While it wasn’t the finest looking specimen, they had bought it with their own money and Mom was thrilled. She hugged and kissed her children and told them she loved them for thinking of her.
Johnny said, "There was some other flowers we wanted to buy for you, Mom, but we didn’t have enough money." "Yeah," said sister Suzy, "they had a real nice bunch of flowers at the shop that we were going to buy."
"But I love this plant," said the happy mother. "I know, Mom," said Johnny, "but these flowers would have been perfect for you. They were in a wreath and they had a ribbon that said ’REST IN PEACE’ on it AND YOU know you are always asking for a little peace so you can rest.
Where would we be without Mothers? Today is Mother’s Day, the day we set aside to honor and celebrate our mothers. I want to take this opportunity today to say, “Thanks You Mom” to all the mothers here.
We’re going to look at a few key passages, beginning with 2 Tim. 1:5-7. This passage doesn’t say a lot about mothers, but what it says is powerful. Paul is writing to Timothy and he mentions Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
“when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”
Before we look at this verse, we need to see what led up to this verse. We don’t know exactly how this all began, but we can take an educated guess. Lois and Eunice, being Jews, apparently had taught Timothy the Scriptures from birth.
2 Timothy 3:15
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
These 2 mothers had prepared the ground for Timothy’s conversion from infancy. This is especially significant when you realize Timothy’s father was a Gentile and an unbeliever. (If you remember our Bible Study.)
Lois and Eunice both realized the importance of raising Timothy in a godly home. It’s quite possible that Lois and Eunice came to Christ through Paul’s preaching. Apparently, they led Timothy to Christ shortly after, because his faith is mentioned in…
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
Timothy was still a new believer, but he was already making a mark for the Gospel because of his mother’s and grandmother’s commitment to nurturing him in the faith. Paul sees for himself the strong believer that Timothy has become. “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you”.
Timothy didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. Paul is PERSUADED (convinced) that Timothy’s faith is real, due to his mother’s and grandmother’s influence in his life. Timothy’s faith and ministry that influenced countless people for Christ began with 2 committed mothers.
We all have been influenced by our mothers, some in more ways than others.
Some of you who are mothers can see the influence you have had on your children.
•How many of your children have come to Christ as a result of your faithfulness to the Lord?
•How many of your children have become successful because of your influence?
•How many of your children have you to thank for their wellbeing?
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
We all need to say, “Thank You Mom”…. “Thank You Mom”, for teaching the truth to your children. Thank you for teaching your children, not just by words, but also by example. Not just by correction and rebuke, but by love and patience.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
“Thank You Mom”, for helping us know Jesus. Thanks for instilling in us, a sincere faith, for raising us as God’s own children. “Thank You Mom”, Always being there. “Thank You Mom”, for being the best cheerleader, our biggest advocate, our best friend.
She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
When the world seems to falls apart and our dreams are crushed, there’s always one person we know will always be in our corner.
“Thank You Mom”, for never giving up. Thanks for overlooking our many faults, for being infinitely patient with us, for focusing not only on the present, but seeing the potential in us.
Jesus’ mother never gave up on Him. She didn’t understand Him all the time. Even in His darkest hour, when most of His family and friends had deserted Him, she was there…
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
A godly mother is one who will never give up on her child. “Thank You Mom”, for doing your best to keep us on the right path. Thanks for guiding us and correcting us as needed, for picking us up when we stumble.
“Thank You Mom”, For setting the example of how to live, for showing us how to live, how to get our priorities straight. Thanks for being a model of grace and integrity and Christlikeness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
We can’t thank our mothers enough for what they’ve done for us, how they’ve sacrificed for us, how they have inspired us to be all that we can be.
That having been said, there are probably some here who might disagree with me.
•Maybe your mother didn’t teach you the truth, maybe she didn’t help you find Jesus.
•Maybe she wasn’t always there for you.
•Maybe she wasn’t the example of Christ she should have been.
If your mother isn’t the ideal mother to you, you can still thank her for giving you life, for helping you to become the person you are today (whether directly or indirectly).
And maybe you can still let her know that her greatest desire for you has been accomplished.
I haven’t met a mother yet who didn’t want her son or daughter to grow up and be successful, to be somebody. If you know Jesus, if you’re a member of His family, then you are somebody special, you are God’s very own child, and there’s no greater “success” in all the world.
“HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER, SO THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG IN THE LAND THE LORD YOUR GOD IS GIVING”.
•We need to honor our mothers, even if they are somewhat imperfect.
Maybe you’re a mother and you feel like a failure because you didn’t do those things as well as you should have. If you’re feeling guilty because you aren’t the perfect mother, you can relax because you’re in great company.
The truth is, there is no perfect mother (or father for that matter). We all fall short, we all make mistakes. We all have regrets.
•But you can still be the best mother you can be by continuing to teach your children the truth, by helping them find Jesus, grow into loving Him. By always being there for them no matter what, by never giving up on them, by keeping them on the right path, and by setting the example of Christ for them. Being a mother is one of the most important callings in the world.
•It’s also one of the most demanding and carries the biggest consequences.
"When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she would realize it, a more honorable as well as important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist." (Theodore Roosevelt)
Moms, your job is critical to the future of mankind. You are in many ways also a light of the world. Every step that you lead your children closer to Christ is a step in the right direction – and for that you are to be commended.
Susannah Wesley, who lived around 1700, was a great Christian mother.
•She had 19 children, yet made a habit of spending at least 1 hour a week in religious instruction with each child and praying for them an hour every day.
•Two of her sons were John and Charles Wesley.
•Together, they brought revival to England and started the Methodist Church.
•John Wesley rode over 250K miles on horseback and preached 40K sermons.
•Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns!
•Susannah Wesley had one goal – to bring her children to Jesus.
What a legacy she left behind – and what a legacy each mother here can leave behind. Moms, do you realize the potential that you have in being an example of Christ to your children?
Moms… have the potential of changing the world simply by instilling sincere faith in your children. Where would we be without mothers? “Thank You Mom.”
Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born.
So one day he asked God, “They tell me You’re sending me to earth soon. But how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"
•Among the many angels, I chose one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you.
“But here in Heaven, I just sing and smile. That’s enough for me to be happy.”
•Your angel will sing for you and smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel’s love and be happy.
“And how am I going to be able to understand people if I don’t know the language that men talk?”
•Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you to speak.
“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to You?”
•Your angel will place your hands together and teach you how to pray.
“I’ve heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?”
•Your angel will defend you even if it means risking her life.
“But I will always be sad because I won’t see You anymore.”
•Your angel will always talk to you about Me and teach you the way for you to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.
After a long, silent pause, the child asked softly. “Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”
•That’s simple. You just call her “Mommy”. (Writer Unknown)
“when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”
These two women recognized how critical their job was. They took the job of raising godly children seriously. They invested their time and energy into one young man. As a result, he became a key leader of the early church.
As a result of their example, he fanned into the flame the gift of God. As a result of their commitment, the legacy of faith passed on for generations. I’m sure that Timothy recognized their efforts. I’m sure he said on many occasions, “Thank You Mom”.
The Bottom Line: The greatest legacy a mother can pass on is a legacy of faith. For those who do, we especially say “Thank you”. Thank You Mom, for everything.
We can never come close to giving Mom what she has earned, but we do have a small token of appreciation. (Have all the moms come forward)
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Today we will look at the importance of prayer…and praying for others. I know that whenever we have our meetings, that’s is always one request that I would make to all of you… “pray for one another”. Again, we may not know what is going on in each and every one of our lives, but there is never anything wrong when we pray for each other.
Last Sunday, I was touched by the last song, the hymnal that we sang that brought about this message. The lyrics went like this….
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful. Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Scriptures are clear, and full of believers who prayed for the safety, the faith, the well-being of their brothers and sisters. If anyone was going through some trials, challenges in life, they prayed. If anyone was sick, they prayed. If there was anyone in need, they prayed. And we know that our loving God hears the prayers of His children.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
So…prayer is very important to every believer. Every Christian can minister directly to the spiritual well-being of other believers without seeing or speaking to them. We can play a role in their spiritual growth, and even secure God's blessings for them. Intercessory prayer accomplishes amazing things and it’s within our grasp. “Please Pray For Me”
Each of you in your inner person - your new person in Christ- should have a desire to pray for others. Jesus did. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and for every believer. So, with the heart of Christ in you, you should do the same. Others will need your prayers if they are going to be all Christ has for them to be.
Paul prayed for believers who were marked by love that has its origin in the Spirit. Listen as verse 8 lead into verse 9, our opening verse.
8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
The best that people can hope for in this life is to know God’s will and fulfill the purpose He has planned. We should ask God to reveal His will and empower them to fulfill it when we pray for others. We ask for them to be filled with the knowledge of His will.
The second petition in the first part of verse 10 is that after they know God’s will they would choose to live out God’s will…
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
God desires us to live a life based on what He has done for us. Paul prayed that people would know God’s will, but he also understood that knowing God’s will did not guarantee doing God’s will. Living a life worthy of the Lord grows out of knowing God’s will.
The reason he prayed that they would know God’s will is, so they would do God’s will or walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. He prayed that they would act on what they have learned. Only through action does a person fulfill the purpose God has for His children. Only as we act on God’s will can we please Him in greater ways. The ultimate goal of knowing God’s will and walking in a worthy manner, is to please the Lord.
Our lives should not be guided by expectations from our self or others. We must be guided by the Lord, who redeemed us, called us and has been transforming us, so that we are worthy of His name, a name that is above every name. Don’t be trapped into a life of trying to please others, please the Lord.
The people of Paul’s time valued the accumulation of knowledge but Paul points out knowledge in itself is useless - empty. To be worth anything it must lead to a changed life and right living.
Thirdly, Pray For Productivity In Their Lives. What kind of life pleases the Lord? A life that continually bears fruit. Verse 10 continues, “Being fruitful in every good work.” To do good works without bearing any eternal fruit is tragic. So, he prayed they would bear spiritual fruit which is eternal.
Paul wanted those he prayed for to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. God wants us to learn more about Him and then put our belief into practice by helping others. Paul prayed that the people would lead productive lives.
The life of an obedient Christian is fruitful. Our Creator designed us to be fruitful. Jesus said, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will remain” or last. From last week’s message…
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
The greatest fruit that a person’s life can bear has lasting value; usually that means actions with eternal consequences, such as salvation for unbelievers and Spirit empowered ministry to other members of the body of Christ. So, when you pray for others, pray that they would be productive, and that they would choose to bear fruit that is eternal.
Fourthly, Pray For Them To Have A Growing Relationship With God.
A Christian should not only bear eternal fruit, he should also attain spiritual growth which is the last request in verse 10. “increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Most of what we learn about God will not be revealed to us until we know His will, live out His will, and begin bearing eternal fruit. God cannot really disclose Himself to us until we become obedient children. By living a life in sin, is the opposite of knowing or living in Gods will.
Paul knew that everything hinges on the health and vitality of our relationship with our Creator. What rain and sunshine are to the nurture of plants, the knowledge of God is to the growth and maturing of spiritual life. Keep in mind, from our verse from James, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”.
So, by ignoring the will of God, and living a life of sin is doing the exact opposite of a fruitful life. By living a life in sin, your praying to God, your praying for others, will God listen?
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
In another translation, “if I have kept sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened”. So, you have a prayer request for yourself, but your living in sin, will that prayer be answered? Again, God cannot really disclose Himself to us until we become obedient children.
A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in a transformed life, a life that has been washed by His blood, a life that has been forgiven, a life that is obedient to His commands…
A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in a transformed character…
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1 Thessalonians 2:12
12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
This is what Paul means, this was his prayer for every believer, when he said “do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”. We are talk in the way that we are called. Knowing the will of God, and by being obedient. By doing so, Spiritual fruits will remain, and prayers will be answered.
Five, Pray For Power In each others life…
Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.
Paul prayed that the people would receive power. The power he was speaking of was of the Holy Spirit of God. This empowering is the only kind that is according to His glorious might. It is not given simply according to our need, but according to God’s supply, according to His glorious might. As Christians, each of us can be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
If we are to do anything of value, we must have Him as the source of our power. Just like all the electrical things we have at home, we need a source of power. When it is unplugged, its worthless, and does nothing!
We’re like that. Without the power from our Source, the Spirit of Christ, we’re not effective. We may be able to do some things on our own, but they have no eternal value. When we really understand this, we begin to see ourselves as we really are. We realize that we need and must depend on God.
That’s why it’s important to ask God to give others His power as we pray for them. Without that power, they won’t be able to make a difference for Him. But with that power, they can show strength in the face of adversity, patience during trials, and endurance to finish the race God has laid out before them. And then, in the end, we can hope that God will tell the Christian brothers and sisters we prayed for, “well done good, and faithful servant”.
Six, pray for others to have the right attitude.
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Paul was praying that they would have and maintain a positive, thankful, joyful attitude. Why pray for people’s attitude? Our attitude impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. It influences our behavior, our ability to learn, our contentment, and relationships - including our relationship with God. It affects each person’s life and Christian walk in a far greater way than you might think.
As you pray for others to share in a joyful attitude, remember that joy is different from happiness. Joy is internal and based on Christ. Happiness is external and based on circumstances. Joy is eternal and linked to our salvation, where happiness is temporary and based on fleeting emotions. Pray that your Christian brothers and sisters find joy in their lives, and that as a result, they would be salt and light to those around them.
As you spend an increasing amount of time praying for others, you will find that your attitude toward people improves. It becomes more positive and compassionate. Your prayer focus will also mature. You will find that where you once focused on receiving, your concern has shifted to being a blessing. As Jesus said…
35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
You want to be a blessing to others, pray for them, and see God answer your prayers, by seeing the prayer evident in their life. You will find that as your prayer changes others, and it also changes you.
Let’s close with an illustration.
A gathering of friends at an English estate nearly turned to tragedy when one of the children strayed into deep water. The gardener heard the cries for help, plunged in, and RESCUED THE DROWNING CHILD. That youngster's name' was Winston Churchill. His grateful parents' asked the gardener what they could do to reward him. He hesitated, then said, "I wish my son could go to college someday and become a doctor." "We’ll see to it," Churchill's parents promised.
Years later, while Sir Winston was prime minister of England, he was stricken with pneumonia. The country’s best physician was summoned. His name was Dr. Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered and developed penicillin. He was also the son of that gardener who had saved young Winston from drowning" Later Churchill remarked, "Rarely has one man owed his life twice to the same person."
Churchill's experience reminds us of our double indebtedness as Christians to God. First, His Son Jesus gave us the precious gift of salvation. Then, Jesus the Great Physician, offers to us the priceless gift of sanctification.
Paul’s prayer was for the full enrichment of lives. All believers have the same basic needs. Paul’s pattern of prayer opens the door for God to meet them. As we pray for others to share in the inheritance of the saints their life changes. They begin to receive the greater gifts of God’s grace. They will become what they never could have without your prayers for them. They will learn more about God and put their beliefs into practice by helping others. As they do they will bear fruit and their attitude will change into one of continuous joyfulness and thankfulness.
The Title of this message is, “Please Pray For Me”. The person right next to you, in front of you, or behind, may be shy or embarrassed to ask you for a prayer. But ill tell you this, they will never be mad at you for praying for them. You will be a blessing to them by your prayers, and you will be blessed by the Lord by seeing that prayer answered. Your faith will be stronger, your prayer life will be more powerful than ever. As Scripture told us “do not cease to pray”.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
Let me begin by saying that this is an important text, because we can all think of those we have known who, were once radiant witnesses for Christ…who were sidetracked and are now no longer a part of the church.
First, it is important because we can all think of someone who made a profession of faith in Christ and seemed to go on energetically for a while, but then something happened in their life. Perhaps they experienced some difficulty or tragedy. Perhaps they fell into immorality. Or perhaps they went off to pursue a career, college, a new job. Yet with a knowledge of the truth, they deliberately turn away from it. They completely turn their back on Christ and seem set on trampling on everything they once held sacred.
We have all struggled with the pain and confusion of seeing those who have come into the church suddenly turn and walk away as if their profession of faith in Christ were meaningless. What happened? Were they ever really saved? Did Christ fail in saving them?
They professed to be Christians, they were baptized, they were active in church activities. So, what happened?
Secondly, today’s text is important because it has caused untold agony to many sensitive Christians. It’s as if Satan uses scriptures such as these to create hopelessness and despair. So, what do these passages teach? Today, we are going to examine this passage in a little different manner, by asking and seeking to answer four important questions.
The First Important Question Is, Can A Christian Really Know They Are Saved Forever?
There are strong differences of opinion that swirl around about how to interpret verses four through six. In fact, this passage is one of the great theological battlefields of Scripture. The difficulty lies in determining whether the “enlightened” ones (v. 4) who “fell away” (v. 6) were believers or unbelievers?
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.
The first interpretation of this passage is that it is used to support those who believe that you can lose your salvation. The four verbal actions of verses four and five - “enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God” - do seem to express authentic Christian conversion experience. Correct!
Interestingly enough, those who teach that we can lose our salvation also teach that such a person can be “saved again.” But this passage teaches just the opposite, that in fact it is “impossible.” (v.4) So if this passage teaches that a person can lose his salvation, it also must teach that he can never be saved a second or third time. In other words if this refers to apostasy, once a saved person turns his back on Christ, he cannot be restored to salvation again. He is lost forever.
I want to make it crystal clear that I believe we have a secure salvation because Scripture is very clear on this point. There are many Scriptures that assure the believer that once one is saved he/she can never be lost again.
The Lord Jesus Christ … makes some tremendous statements about our absolute security. For example…
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
What kind of life? “eternal life”, If you can lose it, it is not eternal! Which will make our Lord Jesus a liar. But of course, we all know that Jesus does not lie. He is “the Way, The Truth, and The Life”.
“and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand”. It is not a question of anyone’s ability to hold on to Him, it is His ability to hold on to you.
How is it possible for anyone to experience all that described in verse 4 and 5 and still not be saved, we ask? Lets, let scripture give us the answer…
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
So… it is clear, that Simon, believed, followed the disciples, and was baptized! But something clear was revealed about Simon. Did he really believe in Jesus? Or did he just believe for some other reason?
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
“You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God”. Which means that, being saved, receiving the Holy Spirit, is all by God’s power. No one has any part in this matter. ITS ALL GOD!!!
“for your heart is not right in the sight of God” Anyone can carry the name Christian, a believer. But it is God who knows the heart. if you have been born again, then your heart has been changed. You will truly follow, obey God’s commands. Because your new heart, has the same heart as Christ, which is truly in love with God.
Perhaps the best example is Judas. Judas as one of the Lord’s disciples, walked and talked daily with the Lord, heard his preaching, witnessed his miracles and was one those sent out to preach the “good news.” Yet Jesus called him the “son of perdition” and a “devil”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
Judas did not lose his salvation, he never had it. In spite of all the advantages he possessed and his enormous exposure to the truth, it is plain that he resisted and ultimately rejected Christ and turned away to a sad death and eternal judgment.
We must remember there is a great difference between “falling” and “falling away.” Falling, means simply to stumble or to fall down. Falling away… isn’t just falling into some sin, it is actually departing from Jesus Himself.
For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
The righteous man…those who have been truly saved, will persevere. There is no failure in Christ’s redemption.
We need to make something very clear. Does God ever reject anyone who comes in genuine repentance? The answer of course is, No! He is always ready to save the sinner who turns to Him for grace. “God has pledged Himself to pardon all who truly repent, but Scripture and experience alike suggest that it is possible for human beings to arrive at a state of heart and life where they can no longer repent. They just really love to sin more than they love God.
Another good example of this would be the Biblical character named Esau…
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
“fornicator or profane”, in the NIV… “sexually immoral, or is godless” Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Esau genuinely repented and was rejected by God. God does not reject genuine repentance, the text plainly says “he found no place for repentance.” In other words, he could not repent. He was so hardened, that he cried out for things to go better in his life, but inside he would not submit to God’s terms. He really did not want to repent. His heart was not right with God.
Now… we get to a very important question, a self-examination if you will. IS THIS TRUE OF ME?
Is my heart right with God? Satan uses these verses to unsettle believers who are having physical, mental, or emotional difficulties. They fear that they have fallen away from Christ and that there is no hope for restoration. They worry that they have drifted beyond redemption’s point. Yet…it is possible to get just enough of the gospel to make you immune, but will not allow it to work deeply enough to save you!
You see… the big difference between the times that we stumble & fall, and falling away completely is this… When we do stumble and fall, we get right back up again, and that is by Gods power. We see the fault of our sin, our weakness, and God restores us back to fight the battle, and persevere. Completely falling away, is just like, Simon the sorcerer, Judas, Esau, and so many more. They were never really truly converted. Again, they held on to sin… sin deliberately, and was not at all in any area of their lives to repent.
Going back to our opening verse. Can anyone really crucify Christ again?
6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.
What this verse reveals is that one who has come this close to the gospel and turned away is actually worse off than someone who never heard in the first place. We see it in the world around us. Many of the harshest critics of Christianity, like Ted Turner, are those who were once professing Christians! Christians who turns into atheists. They mock Jesus, they do their best, profess their best that at one time I was Christian, but not anymore. And they give their story as to why they don’t believe…follow anymore.
When anyone has heard the gospel and then turns away, he has done exactly as those Jews who condemned Jesus to the Cross.
Another important question, Is It Possible To Truly Be A Christian And Have No Fruit? Lets see what scripture will say…
7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
An easier translation…
Hebrews 6:7-8 (NIV)
7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
Now the writer turns to the world of nature to find a counterpart to the true believer (v. 7) and to the unbeliever (v. 8). In both cases the person is likened to the land.
The true believer is like the land “which drinks in the rain,” brings forth useful vegetation, and is blessed by God. In verse eight the one who refuses to believe is like land that also is well watered but it “bears” nothing but “thorns and briers,” the fruit of sin. It receives the same rain, but never produces useful fruit. Such land is worthless. It is condemned already. Its destiny “is to be burned.”
There was an ancient practice of burning the ground to destroy the weeds and make the field useful again. Land that produced nothing, but weeds faced nothing but fire! Sometimes you will see that in the mountains, they would close one lane or redirect you because they are clearing the land. (You would see signs, controlled fire.)
The author of Hebrews does not believe one can lose his salvation, or that his readers had, but he speaks to demonstrate the folly some might have in imagining that they can turn back to the old ways without suffering loss. THEY WERE NEVER SAVED. BECAUSE GOD DOES NOT FAIL!
Failure to heed a warning can have disastrous effects. A tragic illustration of this occurred on January 16, 2005 on the ski slopes of Park City, Utah. Officials carefully monitor the mountain for danger of avalanches. Signs are erected clearly marking certain dangerous areas “out of bounds.” The signs read, “You Are Leaving The Ski Resort, YOU COULD DIE!” Yet in spite of the warning, one skier, Shane Maxiner skied out of bounds and was crushed to death by a massive avalanche.
True Christians pay attention to spiritual warnings. Don’t leave God’s clearly marked path for you, to do so is to invite disaster.
I do hope and pray that the message today is both encouraging and scary. Encouraging in a way that we can rely on Gods promise of salvation simply because He did say… “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand”. That alone should make one persevere to the very end.
“Scary” in a way that, we cannot play around with God. It comes with an eternal judgement. God will not allow anyone to shame His name, or the Name of His Son. You know, I really hate it when I hear someone say, “give Jesus a try, what do you have to loose?” “Give Jesus a try?” so, if it doesn’t work, I didn’t get what I want, ill just go back to the world! You either belong to Jesus, or you belong to satan. No middle ground.
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” 44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
The Cross is the symbol of the Christian faith. Churches and homes are decorated with it. Some people have a decal of a cross on their car. Many wear a cross as jewelry. The cross is so prominent in daily life that we rarely pay any attention to it. It may be that in all actuality we have forgotten what it truly represents. Society has so glamorized the Cross that we fail to remember the pain, the agony and the cruelty of the Cross where Jesus died.
The cross was a means of torture, humiliation and death. These days when men are executed in the USA, the common method is lethal injection. In times past they used firing squads, electric chairs and hung by the neck. None of these methods of execution come close to being as torturous as the horror of crucifixion.
There was an execution site just outside of Jerusalem called Golgotha. One day, there were 3 crosses that held 3 very different men. One man was the Son of God and the Savior of the World. On either side of the Savior hung two thieves or another translation, the criminals. As we go through these verses, Let’s examine how each of these men responded to Jesus.
For Gods justice to be final, each and everyone of us here today, should have a cross of our own. We should be right next to the two criminals. But our Heavenly Father showed mercy, instead of justice. As we have learned from our Bible Studies, the blood of animals was not enough, to make anyone clean from sin. Only by the blood of Christ can one be forgiven.
May we never forget the fact that Jesus was on that cross because of you and me…
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This afternoon, I want us to take a trip to Calvary. Let us examine the scene on that hill the day that Jesus was crucified. There was a large crowd gathered around to witness the execution of 3 men who had been sentenced to die by the Roman Government. There were three crosses standing on that hill. As we consider the events of that day you will find that each cross represented something different. I would submit to you that…
There Was A Cross Of Rejection, There Was A Cross Of Reception, & There Was A Cross of Redemption.
On Calvary's Hill, Jesus was there fulfilling God's perfect plan of redemption. Through the events that took place, one of those sinners trusted Christ as his Savior. The other mocked and ridiculed Him and rejected the opportunity to be saved. One man died and went to Heaven, the other died and went to Hell.
Each person here must decide how they will respond to Jesus. Will you believe, trust & follow Jesus, or will you continue to deny Him. I say continue, simply because believing in Jesus is not a one time event. Believing in, trusting in, & following Jesus is an everyday, every minute way of life.
Just like these men you will choose whether to accept the fact that He is your Lord & Savior or to reject Him. Being Lord & Savior means that you have come to realize that you are a sinner, and that you need a Savior. By Jesus being Lord in your life means that, He comes first in everything. Jesus is Lord & Master of your life and mine.
If Jesus is your Lord & Savior, then you have received forgiveness, and an eternal home has been prepared for you. If not, like one of the criminal, or thief on the cross, then the lake of fire is what waits for you for all eternity.
There is much that we can learn from these two men. Let's begin by examining the fact that…
On Calvary’s hill, there was a cross of rejection….
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
The scriptures identify this man as a “criminal or a thief. He was a criminal who had been sentenced to die for his crimes. But that was just the earthly judgement of his earthly deeds. Whether he knew it or not, he was under a death sentence spiritually speaking. He was dying physically but he was already dead in trespasses and sins.
Not only will he feel the pain of dying on the cross, he will also be facing an eternity in hell.
We all were in a similar situation. Before Christ we were dead spiritually speaking! That is the case for all of us... we are all guilty!
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
And again on…
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
At one point in our life, we were on the same cross as this criminal. We were also facing a death sentence, spiritually speaking. Keep in mind this criminal not only did he not believe in Jesus, but he mocked Him as well. No different than the time that we lived our lives in a religion, believing that when we die, we go to this special place where we can be cleansed from our sins.
NO…SUCH…PLACE! If you think you can be saved outside of Jesus, then prepare to meet this criminal…this thief, when you end up in hell.
This man was guilty and would soon step out into eternity and face the wrath and judgment of Almighty God. Sadly, he did not realize the fact that the Door of Heaven was right there next to Him. Instead of seeing Jesus for who He was, this man blasphemed His name. He was suffering the agony of being crucified, he was in immense pain and he knew that death was imminent. He was not sorry or repentant of his sins, he was just focused on his current situation. Like so many throughout history, he had and earthly perspective instead of an eternal one! As a result he looks at Jesus and says … “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
What he did not realize was… that is what Jesus was doing! He came to save sinners. He was there on that Cross so that we could be saved eternally. This is why the Son of God left the glories of Heaven and came to this earth. Jesus faced the agony, the pain, the torture of the cross, so that you and you and I can be saved!
In the garden Jesus said, (from last weeks message)
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
When Jesus was standing before Pontus Pilate, He said these words…
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
This criminal was placed in this story, for the world to know. He was an example of one who denies the Son of God. God's own son was there fulfilling the plan of redemption. Those who die without Jesus will die lost in their sins. They will stand before Christ one day, and will face judgement. Jesus will search the books and if your name is not recorded in the Lamb's book of Life you will be cast into an eternal lake of fire.
You see, there was another cross at Calvary that day and when you examined what happened there, you will find that there is a hope and a promise of deliverance to those who receive Jesus. Notice that…
On Calvary’s hill, there was a cross of reception. (Reception: the action or process of receiving something sent, given, or inflicted)
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
As the denying criminal blasphemed Jesus, this criminal defended Him. Basically, he was saying
"hey, wait just a minute!"…"we deserve the punishment that we are receiving, but this man has done nothing wrong". This man reached a place of humility. He came to the realization that he was guilty of his crimes. Instead of making excuses and blaming others, he took responsibility for his actions. He knew that he deserved the punishment that he was enduring. But more than that, he came to a realization about who Jesus was.
If you read the account on the crucifixion on Matthew, you will see that this criminal also denied Jesus…
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
He mocked and ridiculed Jesus along with the rest of the crowd. But it is clear that somewhere along the way, his attitude toward Jesus changed. Scripture is clear right, look… “Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.” So, how…why the changed of heart. Is it the fact that he came to realize that he was about die, and the fear of death made him believe? I cannot prove it nothing was written, but the fact of the matter is that, he did have a change of heart towards Jesus. And I think this verse had something to do with him having a change of heart towards Jesus….
Then Luke 23-34
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And, they divided His garments and cast lots.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Whatever the motivation, whatever changed his heart towards Jesus, it is clear that this man saw Jesus for who He was and he acknowledged Him as Lord! He said…
42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
That is all it took for this man to be saved! He did not have the opportunity to clean his life up. (he couldn’t if he tried) He didn’t have time to “work his way into Heaven” ( he couldn’t if he did have an opportunity) He didn’t have to offer a long and detailed “prayer of Salvation”. He simply trusted in Jesus, acknowledged Him as Lord and cried out for Him to save Him, and that is exactly what Jesus did! Jesus came to save!!!
Listen to what Jesus told him…
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
I want you to notice that this man still paid for his earthly sins. He still suffered and he died physically that very day! But from that very day that man will live eternally! How is this possible? Well, it is not because of what He did, it is because of what Jesus was doing right next to him! The same is true for you & I.
The story of this criminal…this thief was written so that we too can have hope… we too can be saved when we believe.
On Calvary's Hill there was a Cross of Rejection, a Cross of Reception and most importantly:
ON CALVARY'S HILL, THERE WAS A CROSS OF REDEMPTION…
44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
When all things were accomplished, Jesus cried “It Is Finished”. God's plan of redemption was complete! Jesus Christ was and is the atonement for human sin. Because of His shed blood we can be delivered from our sins! Jesus paid a great price so that we could be redeemed.
It is good for us to be reminded of all that Jesus endured for us. The events at Calvary paint such a beautiful picture of God's love. Before He ever made it to the Cross, Jesus had already endured more pain than a normal man could bear. He was scourged, which was enough to kill most men. It is commonly believed that the instrument used for scourging Jesus was the “cat of 9 tails” or a “flagrum”. (Show Pic) This was a short whip with metal stones and bone tied into leather thongs. As they beat Him with this instrument of torture His flesh began to tear and blood began to flow.
(SHOW PIC) “cat of 9 tails” or a “flagrum”
They stripped Him of His clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. They fabricated a “Crown of thorns” and jammed this crown onto His head. They put a reed in His hand to represent a scepter. Then they blasphemously bowed before Him and cried “Hail, King of the Jews”. They will bow again one day, but they won’t be mocking Him, they will be begging for mercy!!
After this they spat on Him and plucked His beard. Then someone grabbed the reed and hit Him on the head with it. They forced Him to carry his cross to the execution site. It is believed that the cross weighed near 150 pounds. Some experts believe that Jesus carried His cross the distance of over two football fields, in a weak and tormented state, once at Calvary, the cross was put on the ground and Jesus was nailed to the very cross that He carried.
The spikes were approximately 7 inches long and 3/8 of an inch in diameter. These spikes were driven into His wrists and through His feet. They took that cross and lifted it up and dropped it into the hole, as the cross fell down into the hole, His flesh tore.
The position of the nailed body held His rib cage in a fixed position, this would have made it extremely difficult to exhale and it would have been impossible to take a full breath. He had suffered from the scourging, the beatings and the walk with the Cross. By this point Jesus would have been extremely weak and dehydrated. He was losing significant amounts of blood. He suffered for several hours and after all these things, “It Is finished”
30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Church, let the events of cross remind you of what He did, What He did for you & me. Understand that we will never make it to heaven without Jesus Christ! We will never be forgiven without Jesus.
The two criminals…thieves on the cross, showed us a very important decision that had an eternal result. One denied Jesus, and one believed. One went to hell, and one joined Jesus in paradise. You see, I can say that we are blessed to have read this story, be reminded of the cross. Those two criminals, gave us the answer to eternity. It is not by who we are, the family that we belong to. Its not the denomination that we belong to. It is not the good works that we do that will earn us a ticket to heaven, or to be forgiven. It is by God’s grace.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Understand that you & I are sinners by birth, and the only way to be forgiven, to be saved, is by Christ alone. I hope and pray that the reminder of the cross, what Jesus went through, just so that we can be saved, is enough for us to turn away from the sins that we are holding on to.
The reminder of the cross, should be able to make us stronger in our battle against temptations and sin. Jesus paid it all. Jesus said, “it is finished”. At CALVARY”S CROSS.
Pastor Richard Santos
Audio copies of previously delivered messages are now available in CD. Requests can be made on the 'Contacts' tab.