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Apostasy a continual danger to the saint!

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·      Three Marks of the true Church and those marks are; the preaching of the Word of God, the right administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper and church discipline.

·      Out of the first mark, comes the second and the third.

·      I would like to emphasize that over these next few weeks as we began to wrap up this series on the church.  So;

·      Return with me to the book of Hebrews and let’s continue in the 10th chapter starting today with verse 26.

Hebrews 10:26-31
26
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ESV

·      As an introduction. There are some Scripture passages that many would like the preacher to just leave alone.  In other words many would say; “Don’t go there Preacher!”  This passage that I just read fits into that category.

·      It is okay to read and stay at; Hebrews 10:23-25 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  But to on within the same chapter is troubling.

·      Sometimes that is what the Word is meant to do, in order for you to grow on this earthly journey, the Word of God may trouble you, listen


Hebrews 4:12
12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ESV

·      I will say this about this passage, this is not about a trichotomy consisting of body, soul, and spirit, but it is about the power of God’s living Word to enter the deepest recesses of your being, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, your attitude, your disposition, the things that make you tick.

·      The statement of Hebrews 10:23-25, that I preached from last week is not a suggestion nor is it optional nor is it something for your to take likely, but it is indeed the Word of God and His command to us and for us to obey.

·      It is God’s Word to us, to you and to me for our education and our edification

·      And my brothers and sisters know this, you need this Word of God for your survival and the perseverance of your very souls

·      This Word demands your attendance and it demands your attention, your close attention, listen some more

Hebrews 2:1
1
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. ESV

·      The thing about drifting is that sometime you are not aware that you are moving until you lookup and check the surroundings.

·      So with this straight forward introduction, I have your attendance if your are here this first Sunday in June, but I pray that I also have your attention because you can be here in body, your behavior, but not here in heart, your attitude.

·      My subject is ‘Apostasy’ a continual danger to the saint!

·      Let me first give some additional words that should make it clearer what I mean by this word apostasy

o       Apostasy means rebellion or abandonment of faith

o       It means a forsaking, a falling away, a withdrawal, a defection, a departure from the faith, to backslide

o       Listen

 

Jeremiah 2:19 19 Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, declares the Lord God of hosts. ESV

 

Hebrews 3:12-15
12
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” ESV

·      Again notice the exhortation that is commanded here; exhort one another every day.  The command is illustrated again ‘love one another as I have loved you’.  And Jesus said I will never leave you not forsake you.  Do you love one another that way?  Then where is the daily exhortation?

·      The very passage that I started this series with speaks of this apostasy also

Acts 20:28-30
28
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. ESV

·      The next verse continue with these words; ‘therefore, be alert’

·      Now notice, be alert to, our text today, it comes after the statement ‘and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near’.  Again it says;


·      For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

·      First point, the saint needs to realize that the danger of apostasy is real and it’s horrible!

·      Say what you will but in this fellowship the Word of God is preached in this pulpit, the Word of God is taught in our classrooms and the Word of God is even sung by our choir members in the sanctuary

·      Therefore my brothers and sisters, you are receiving knowledge of the truth in the ministries of New Hope

·      The question is what are you doing with it, how are you utilizing it, how is it manifesting itself within you?

·      The Word in general, and this passage in particular, demands your attendance and not just at a certain time of worship on Sundays but your attendance on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sunday mornings. 

·      In fact this Word should be motivating you to the point where you are looking for opportunities to get more of it instead of creating excuses for getting less of it.

·      Because in reality, some who have their names on the church roll are not in attendance, have not been in attendance, nor do plan to be in attendance.

·      They have indeed neglected to meet together and verse 25 says they are the one that are in the habit of doing this.

·      Now that, my brothers and sisters, is very dangerous, James says it this way; “so whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

·      Sin that must be confessed and repented of!

·      Hebrews says; and you continue in it; we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth.  You may say;

·      I know that I should…

·      But!

·      I am aware of what the Word says…

·      But!

·      There’s Growth Group on Friday, prayer meeting on Wednesday, fellowship meetings on Saturday and I could be there…

·      But!

·      I work in the evenings, I don’t drive at night, and I know there is time during the day…

·      But!

·      If you, go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth that’s apostasy, that’s rebellion, forsaking, withdrawing, and putting yourself in a backslidden state!

·      And again you bring up another contra; but pastor, I thought, once saved, always saved; THAT’S NOT WHAT THE WORD SAY!

·      Allow me to jump forward to what the author of Hebrews said in verses 38 and 39, it’s there in your Bibles

Hebrews 10:38-39
38
but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. ESV

·      Notice, if he shrinks back, God promises my soul has no pleasure in him and the author says but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed (underline that – are destroyed) but of those who have faith and preserve (underline that) their souls

·      Amen!

·      Back to our passage;

·      It says you deliberately, intentionally, sin and you have the knowledge of what the truth is

·      Moreover this deliberate sin is continual (you go on sinning), persists in open rebellion against God and His Word

·      Again, I can’t say it enough, that’s the horror of apostasy!

·      The ignorant cannot commit this sin.  It cannot be committed inadvertently.  It is a sin only “church people” can commit.

·      The Word says; “there no longer remain a sacrifice for sins, because there have been rejection of the one and only valid sacrifice and that is Christ


·      This horror goes from bad to worse, there is a second wave, because there is no sacrifice then judgment follows; “but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”

·      Just like a kid playing out on highway 70, it’s dangerous and deadly whether the child knows it or not; the point here is that those who have rejected Christ inherit a fearful expectation of judgment, whether or not they are aware of it.

·      I pray that this is not you my brother and my sister

·      For if it is, don’t let another second go by, repent and confess to God this sin and ask Him to wash it totally out of your heart

·      Begin this day to live the song you may have sung; I will trust in the Lord until I die!

·      The second point is that the saint needs to understand that there is punishment for apostasy

·      And this punishment is much worse than the punishment in the Old Testament

·      What was the punishment in the Old Testament?

·      Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.  Listen

Deuteronomy 17:2-7 2 “If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. ESV

·      Why is the punishment much worse than the Old Testament?

·      To answer this, you must understand what apostasy is. 

·      Yes it is everything that verse 26 says it is “go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth.”  That’s from the human side but verse 29 gives the divine side;

·      Three travesties

·      One, spurned the Son of God, trample the Son of God under foot, that is to treat Jesus Christ with distain, an attack on His person.

·      Two, it is an attack on the work of Christ; has profane the blood of the covenant

·      And three, it is an attack on the person and work of the Holy Spirit; outrage the Spirit of grace.

Matthew 12:31-32
31
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ESV

·      The punishment is worse then what is mentioned in the Old Testament, listen;

 

Matthew 13:49-50
49
So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ESV

Matthew 25:41
41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ESV

Matthew 25:46
46
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ESV


Mark 9:43
43
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. ESV

Mark 9:47-48
47
And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ ESV

·      Know this that the punishment is eternal, the Lord will judge his people and

·      It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

·      Because He has the keys of eternal life and eternal damnation.

·      To all of this you may say; So what?

·      So, Look at your own surroundings, how much have you drifted?

·      Think of the last time you attended Sunday School, Growth Group, men fellowship or women fellowship

·      Why did you stop?

·      What effect has it had on your life, and on your own family?

·      Do you want to change really change?

·      As I said earlier, Today is a good day for repenting because of the Lord’s Supper, for we do this in remembrance of Him of Jesus Christ our Lord.

·      Make this Lord’s Supper your ‘get back right with God day’

·      Pick one of the ministry day and schedule it so that you will attend

·      Come with another member and ask them to remind you

·      Take part in the upcoming Church picnic and volunteer to help at the summer bible school

·      Those of you who have sons and daughters at the working age, you need to have a talk with them about getting back to church on Sundays.  Most bosses will allow some Sundays off if it is asked for.

·      Because my brother and sister parent the longer they stay away the easier it is for them to stay away and the easier it is for them to get into something else. 

·      But make sure that you are a good role model for them.  In other words don’t tell them to come to church and you decide to stay home yourself.

·      Husbands and wives, talk about making a plan to get here for Sunday School, you may need to do something similar to what you do during the work week

·      And my brothers and sisters when you come, I know that the Lord will bless you in a special way, share that, witness that, praise God about that and continue in that

·      You do not have to continue in sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth.

·      Brothers and Sisters of New Hope; “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” In Jesus’ name Amen!

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