What Must I Do to Stay Lost?
Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem. Large crowds of people have been following Jesus everywhere he goes. They bring to him the sick and the afflicted so that he might touch them and heal them. He does so gladly and dozens if not hundreds of people are made whole and well. At one point in the journey, Jesus sits down by the side of the road to rest. As he sits there, mothers begin bringing their babies and young children to him that he might lay his hands on them and bless them.
Suddenly, a young man who has been part of the throng following Jesus, bursts through the crowd and kneels at the feet of Jesus. "Good master," he says, "What good thing should I do that I may have eternal life?"
Jesus tells him to "keep the commandment?" This young man was perceptive and immediately asks, "Which one?" You see, other standards of righteousness were being promoted by the Pharisees, who had added to the Laws of Moses far beyond God's intention. The young man was in affect asking Jesus if he had to keep all the traditions of the Pharisees. Jesus points him to the decalogue that is the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. The young man's response is that he has strictly kept all of the Ten Commandments of God. But he is still anxious that his good works will be inadequate for inheriting eternal life and so he asks, "What am I lacking?" He does not like what he hears. Jesus tells him, "Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me," (Matthew 19:21, NIV)
What is the rich, young ruler's response to this invitation? “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:22, NKJV)
Here was an individual who was truly seeking eternal life. In essence he is asking Jesus, "What must I do to go to heaven?" It was a good question then, and it's still a good question. Jesus told him and he didn't like the answer. In this young man's case, wealth and material possessions had too tight a grip upon his soul, and stood in the way of his eternal life.
Many things can become road-blocks to following Jesus: Ambition, self-indulgence, immoral pleasure, greed – the list could go on and on. He could have been saved, yet he chose to remain outside of the Kingdom of God. He chose to stay lost. As far as we know, this young man never repented, never returned to Jesus, never laid aside the stumbling block that was between him and eternal life.
This morning, I want to play something of the Devil's advocate. I want to tell you how you too, can stay lost. For those of you here this morning who have never trusted in Jesus, I want to share with you some excellent ways of how to stay lost.
I. IN ORDER TO STAY LOST YOU MUST REMAIN UNREPENTANT
1. never, ever tell God you're sorry for anything
2. never, ever ask God to forgive you of your sins
A. TO REMAIN UNREPENTANT, IGNORE GOD'S PREACHERS
1. what do preachers know anyway?
a. after all, we all know that preachers are in the ministry for easy money or
because they can't do anything else
2. when the preacher preaches on sin and hell ignore what he says – it's all hyperbole
a. use the time to catch up on your sleep
3. when the preacher visits, pretend you're too busy to listen to what he has to say
a. never, never turn off the television when he talks to you about your eternal soul
4. when the preacher invites you to ask Jesus into your heart, tell him that "today is
not right," and that "you'll do it at a more convenient time"
B. TO REMAIN UNREPENTANT, IGNORE GOD'S WORD
1. do not, I repeat, do not read the Bible
a. the Bible is so out of date, anyway
b. it's full of stories about a bunch of dead guys who lived a long time ago and
probably doesn't have much relevance to your life anyway
2. and if you do read the Bible, be sure to ignore what it says – specially about sin, and
judgment, and righteousness
3. when you read about heaven, assume you're going since you're such a good person
4. when you read about hell, assume it's a myth and that God loves anyone way too
much to let them go to such an awful place
C. TO REMAIN UNREPENTANT, HARDEN YOUR HEART AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. one of these days, if you haven't already, you're going to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit
on the strings of your heart
a. when you do, ignore it, shut it out, go on your way
b. it's probably only indigestion anyway!
1) be like Pharaoh in the Old Testament
(a) whenever God speaks to you, close your ears and get mad
2) or belike the thief on the cross next to Jesus
(a) remember, there was another thief besides the one who asked Jesus for
(b) the other thief spit and cursed and refused to accept Jesus
2. when the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, reason it away
a. tell yourself, "I'm just as good as that Baptist deacon who lives next door to me. In
fact, I’m better ‘cause I don’t drink Budweiser."
b. the Bible says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV
1) "the wages of sin is death," but hey, that's all right, everybody has got to die of
3. want to stay lost?
a. then just hang on to those sins and refuse to repent
ILLUS. Do you know how they catch monkeys in Africa? They drill holes in coconuts
just large enough for a monkey to put his hand in, but when he closes his fist, the hole is too small to pull his paw out. They fill the coconuts with tasty food and wait for the monkey to come and take it. The monkey puts his hand in the hole. The trappers come out. The monkey seeks to flee, but he cannot. His hand is full of food which he is too greedy to turn loose of. He is trapped! But he has his handful of food!
b. sin is a trap, but sin is so much fun – so tasty!
4. to stay lost, just sins, sin, sin and never repent
II. IN ORDER TO STAY LOST, YOU MUST KEEP YOURSELF ABSORBED IN DAILY
"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought
a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' "Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'” (Luke 14:18-20, NIV)
1. one of the most convenient ways to stay lost is to simply keep your mind on the
business of this world instead of on heavenly things
A. STAY ABSORBED IN YOUR BUSINESS DEALING
1. it's though to make a living in this world
a. it requires lots of energy, hard work and overtime
b. when Sunday comes, by golly, you deserve a day off in order to sleep in 2. two of these men in the passage I just read to you were so involved in the business world that they didn't have time for church
a. and you know what happens if you get involved in church
1) before long someone will ask you to teach a class or serve on a committee
2) and if you get saved and join the church you know that sooner or later that
preacher is going to preach a sermon on tithing and make you feel really guilty
3. let your attitude be that of the prosperous land owner of Luke’s Gospel
“And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."' (Luke 12:16-19, NIV)
a. with that kind of an attitude, you won't have spiritual rest, but who needs spiritual
rest if you have financial security?
B. STAY ABSORBED IN YOU HOME
1. we all know how important the home is
a. for a lot of homes, Sunday is ‘family day’
1) it’s the only day you get to go to the lake, or Six Flags, or the Zoo
2) if Sunday School and Church have to be sacrificed, well, that’s just the way it
2. building a home and raising the kids is monumental work in today's society
a. you don't need church or God putting any more demands on your life then you've
b. besides, when the kids are old enough, they can decide about God on their own
without you stuffing it down their throats each Sunday
III. IN ORDER TO STAY LOST CONTINUE TO PROCRASTINATE
“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:3-4, NIV)
1. within 30 years of our Lord's resurrection, some men were already jeering, ". . . where
is the promise of his coming?"
A. THERE IS ALWAYS PLENTY OF TIME TO GET SAVED
1. be like a man named Felix in the Book of Acts
“As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come,
Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." (Acts 24:25, NIV)
a. Felix put off accepting Christ to a more "convenient time"
b. for a lot of folks, the "convenient time" for accepting Christ always seems to be
ILLUS. The Procrastinators Club of America was formed in 1956 by Les Waas of
Philadelphia. Their first meeting was postponed for two days. The club has a motto: “We’re behind you all the way!” You can buy a T-shirt from their on-line website that says, “Maybe Later.” on the front. Every year in November, the Procrastinators Club has its annual convention. But for the last nine years in a row they have postponed their annual meeting until "next year." The president has said that he'll get out a newsletter explaining why it he had the time.
2. continue to procrastinate until you can fully understand all the mysteries of the Bible
a. after all, you don't want to commit your life to something you can't fully understand
b. but that’s OK, because maybe later you can commit your life to Christ when you
have a more full and mature understanding of the Bible
IV. IN ORDER TO STAY LOST, LET YOUR HEART REMAIN COLD AND INDIFFERENT TO
“For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'” (Acts 28:27, NIV)
A. LET YOUR HEART REMAIN COLD AND CALLOUSED BECAUSE OF THE
HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH
1. you know, there are an awful lot of people in the church who don't really measure up
2. keep your eyes on them and your heart will become cold and calloused
B. LET YOUR HEART REMAIN COLD AND CALLOUSED BECAUSE OF THE
SUFFERING YOU'VE EXPERIENCED
1. what kind of God is it who will not give you every whim of your heart
2. what kind of God is it who would let you suffer even the slightest discomfort
3. if your life is not one blessing after another, then it must be God's fault
a. let your heart grow cold and calloused
C. LET YOUR HEART REMAIN COLD AND CALLOUSED BECAUSE YOU'RE TOO
PROUD TO ADMIT YOU NEED A SAVIOR
1. you’re a good person
a. what kind of God would not allow you into His heaven on your own merit?
If you want to stay lost then these are the ways to accomplish that goal. But be aware that there is a consequence to staying lost. “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” (Hebrews 2:3, NIV) If you choose to stay lost, the consequence is judgment and hell.
But perhaps, just perhaps you're here this morning and you do not want to stay lost. You want Jesus as your Savior and Heaven as your eternal home. Then there are some things you need to do:
1) You need to admit that you're a sinner and that your sin justly condemns you to an
2) You need to turn you back on the world and the things that have so absorbed your time
and turn to God. The Bible calls it ‘repentance’.
3) You need to stop being indifferent to Jesus and come to Christ today. You need to pray
and ask God to do a work of regeneration in your life, so that you might repent, have faith to believe that Jesus is the Savior of your Soul and your only way to Eternal Life.