Heb 10:38                                               Drawing Back                                             3/16/2014     

 

·        What Does It Mean to Believe? (Acts 16:30-32, Eph 1:4)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       Sterile Sermons (John 17:3, Col 2:9, John 10:30, 38, Mat 10:37, Mark 12:30, John 6:44)

 

 

 

 

 

·        Scary Verses (Eph 1:4, Mat 7:21-23, Rom 9:16, Heb 6:4-8)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Most Scary Verse (Heb 10:38, Rev 22:18-19, Rom 9:16, Mat 24:37-39, Heb 6:6, Psalm Psalm 69:25, 109:8, Acts 1:20, Ecc 7:20, Psalm 7:11, 9:17)

 

 

 

 

 

·        Our Only Hope (Ecc 7:20, 2Cor 5:17, Heb 10:38)

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 16:30, Acts 16:30 (2X). When we read the Bible we are always amazed at the gentle nature of the words that we read. For example, here in Acts 16 the Lord says (paraphrased), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let us read this here.

·        What Does It Mean to Believe? (Acts 16:30-32, Eph 1:4)

The Philippian jailer was astonished of the miracles that accompanied the imprisonment of Paul and Silas. After the earthquake which was obviously caused by God, the jailer asked in Acts 16:30,

Acts 16:30, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”

Is this not amazing! All he needed to do was “believe,” and all his sins would be forgiven; not just all his past sins, but all his future sins as well. They would be paid in full, and he would become a child of God, and God the Holy Spirit would come to live in him, and when his life has ended he would be taken into the New Heaven and the New Earth to take up a position of immense glory and honor. And all that was the reward for believing on the Lord Jesus Christ? That is incredibly generous of the Lord Jesus. Is all this true? Can we explain this?

Now, the question is, “What does it mean to believe?” If you ask anyone in the church-world today Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is always: Yes! Do you believe that He suffered and died for our sins, and for your sins? Do you believe this even after you have sinned grievously? Yes! For example, do you believe even during the time that you committed fornication, or when you committed adultery, that the Lord Jesus will forgive you anyway? Yes! But what can the god of sexual pleasure do for you that the God of heaven and earth cannot do for you? The answer is: Instant gratification. The God of heaven and earth, the God of the Bible, promises you a much greater delight in the life hereafter, but you would have to wait a few more years. Does that ring a bell with Jacob and Esau? Esau traded in his birthright for a bowl of lentil-soup. His birthright would bring him a great deal of joy later. But Esau did not want to wait. He wanted the joy of having lentil-soup right now. The promise of a great reward later had no attraction for him. Why not? Those were just words. They were of academic interest to him. He was told of the promises of God, but did it really sink in? Did he really believe those promises? The answer is: NO! He did not believe, and that is why he traded in his birthright for a bowl of lentil-soup. He traded in the promise of a great reward later for something that gave him instant gratification. He did not really believe the promise. It was just of academic interest to him. It was information that went into his mind, but it was not a promise from God that lodged in his heart. You see, when you really believe this glorious promise from God, it will be a promise that will occupy your heart, soul, and mind, and it will be a promise that will be in the forefront of your mind all the time. Those words from God trigger a song in your heart, and you will go through life singing, for you are now a child of the King of kings. You will have a joy in your heart, and you will have joy now; you do not have to wait till later, for this joy of being one of God’s favorites is a certainty that fills your life. That is what believing is! If you believe that God created Adam on the sixth day of creation, that is just information which you believe, but which is to you of academic interest. But if you believe in your heart that God created you as a son of Jesus Christ, as He has declared in Eph 1:4, and that as a result He declared you to be one of His favorites who has been predestined to have a place in the New heaven and the New Earth, that is not just of academic interest. That is a belief that dominates your entire life on this earth, and it will make you go through life singing with joy in your heart. That is what believing is! And so, let us make this practical. Let us analyze why there are some “Sterile Sermons”.

#1.       Sterile Sermons (John 17:3, Col 2:9, John 10:30, 38, Mat 10:37, Mark 12:30, John 6:44)

I have been informed that many sermons coming from “Reformed Preachers” are coming through rather sterile. Reformed Preachers are those who emphasize the doctrines of grace. They hammer you with the true doctrines of grace, and they believe that if we just hear the true doctrines it will be life changing to our souls. Is that really so? Well, the same information will enter the ears of two different kinds of people. The first category of people are those who listen out of academic interest. Yes they listen carefully. They will find it interesting what they hear. They are increasing their knowledge of what the Bible says. They will even correct the facts that they are familiar with so that all the facts are not in their head unconnected like loose sand. But has it changed their soul? NO! The main purpose of preaching the Gospel has been missed, because the main purpose is not education, but the main purpose is converting souls. The main purpose is letting people know who Jesus Christ really is, so that we are not barking up the wrong tree.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 17:3 (2X). What are the essential criteria by which we can know that we have the true Gospel? The Bible says that you must have faith. But what is the object wherein we must have faith? We do not have faith in our faith. That leads to a self-help gospel, which is a false gospel. We must have faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only Christ can save us. And where does that faith come from? That is where John 17:3 comes into the picture. We read in John 17:3,

John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” This verse says it very plainly: We must know who Jesus Christ really is, and we must know who the God is who sent the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth. We can only be saved if we know Him, so that we are not barking up the wrong tree. The God whom we worship is the one who was revealed to us in the New Testament. He is One God, who is manifested in three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, where each one of the three Persons is fully God, but all three are one God. The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God, because He is God the Son. We read in Col 2:9, and in John 10:30, and in John 10:38,

Col 2:9, For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

John 10:30, I and the Father are One.  John 10:38, But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

And so, where does that faith come from? It is a gift from God for we cannot save ourselves. We cannot conjure up a faith that has anything to do with our salvation, for that is a self-help gospel. And so, the first category of people are those who listen out of academic interest. They will not be saved, because this “information” does not enter into their heart. They may get a little more knowledge about the Bible, but nothing happens to their souls. And so, they decide to believe in or on the Lord Jesus, but this self-created faith is nothing else than “fire insurance” against Hell-fire. It leaves their souls without any love for the Lord Jesus. And what does the Lord Jesus say about this absence of love for Him? Is this love for Christ a requirement anywhere? O Yes, the Lord said in Mat 10:37,

Mat 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The expression “Not worthy of Me” means that this person will not enter into heaven, but will go to the other destination, the hot-place. Loving the Lord is an absolute requirement for entering into heaven. The Lord Jesus said in Mark 12:30,

Mark 12:30, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” All those who have become saved will have this love for the Lord Jesus as a gift from God. This love is not a requirement for salvation, but it is a definite result of salvation. As you know, there is a great difference between the two. And so, why are there sterile sermons? Perhaps the preacher could address the audience in a more personal way, but the main reason why the sermon does not produce any spiritual results rests on the attitude of the hearers. If the hearers are listening to the sermon mainly out of academic interests, then there will be no spiritual fruit produced during the sermon. Those hearers have not been chosen by God.

However the second category of people listening consists of people who sincerely love the Lord and they love His Word, the Bible, and they are eager to learn as much as they can from messages they have never heard before. We can say that the audiences during the time of the Reformation were very keen listeners because God the Holy Spirit made them keen listeners. These people are drawn by God the Father to hear the Lord Jesus speak, as we read in John 6:44,

John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

All those who are drawn by the Father are the elect of God, the chosen of God, to hear and believe unto the salvation of their souls. All those who were not chosen by God will NOT believe the Gospel, for it was not God’s intention to save them. As you know, people can only be saved if God the Holy Spirit will lead them to salvation through Christ alone. Unsaved people cannot arrive to this fundamental truth on their own. Every person who is saved has been saved by a miracle from God, for God guides them in the right path. And so, everyone who has been passed by will have to search on his own, and since the heart of the natural man is basically evil, he will always choose the wrong path and he will always arrive at a false gospel. That is why those who are not drawn by the Father always end up under condemnation because the natural man is basically evil, and thus their condemnation is well deserved.

·        Scary Verses (Eph 1:4, Mat 7:21-23, Rom 9:16, Heb 6:4-8)

And so, what we end up with are two kinds of people, those who listen with ears to hear the Gospel of salvation, and those who listen just to hear some new “information.” Those who listen with ears to hear the Gospel of salvation are those who have a hunger in their heart and soul. Even though they have already been saved, they still want to learn more about how to present the Gospel to others. But since their salvation was really a gift from God, for God the Father drew them to the Lord Jesus, we should not call them “believers” for there was nothing that they did to cause them to believe. We should call them saints, which means holy ones, or separated ones, for God the Father chose and separated them from the rest of mankind before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). The title “believers” rewards them for something they have done. But they have not done anything. On the one hand, the title “saints” means “holy ones,” which points to something they inherited because God gave it to them, for free. On the other hand, all those who listen just to hear some new “information” may be in the church, but they have not been saved. They will listen to the preacher, but every now and then they are disturbed by some scary verses, and every now and then they fall away into some other gospel. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Mat 7:21 (2X). Now we have to talk about some scary verses in the Bible. These verses are not scary to those who are among the elect, for the elect harmonize the verses to get a deeper insight into the true Gospel. But look now at Mat 7:21-23,

Mat 7:21  Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

These are very scary words. Since the Lord loves us He has warned us for these scary situations. What has been going on? Verse 22 speaks of “In that day”, which refers to the Judgment on the Last Day. The people who have listened, but have not been saved are now standing before the Judgment throne on the Last Day. What is the overall gist of this short passage? Verse 22 declares that these people have been trusting in their own good works for their salvation. But that is a terrible false gospel, for we should trust in Christ alone. And so, because they are trusting in their own works they are being condemned. But they who do the will of My Father which is in heaven are those who believe and glorify the God of heaven and earth, and they believe and glorify what God has written in Eph 1:4, and in Rom 9:16, and in hundreds of other places concerning the sovereignty of God.

And so, those who do not take God seriously concerning His sovereignty are those of whom Christ says, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” It is true that they who adhere to a free-will gospel, meaning those who have a salvation plan based on their own works, are absolutely NOT saved. They are under the influence of Satan. They are still in the camp of Satan and are believing his doctrines. Why are they there? The reason is that they are worshipping another god who is not the God of the Bible. In other words, they are barking up the wrong tree. God is not in their prayers, but another god is in their prayers. They send up their prayers to another god, who will not hear them.

Let us look at another scary passage. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 6:4 (2X). This passage has been known for a long time to be a very scary passage because it seems to speak about the destiny of “backsliders.” There are no real backsliders in the world. People would like to believe that this concept of backsliding occurs and that there is hope for backsliders, for God is very merciful; is He not? But the Bible speaks in many places about “The perseverance of the saints,” which indicates that there are absolutely no backsliders. The saints will persevere in the true faith, and thus the saints are not afraid of passages that speak of no hope for backsliders. Heb 6:4-8,

Heb 6:4, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

Heb 6:5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Heb 6:6  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Heb 6:7  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

Heb 6:8  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

We see those who once were partakers of the assembly who were praising and honoring Christ.

They who were once enlightened in understanding the Gospel, like Judas Iscariot; and have tasted the heavenly gift of a glorious future, like Judas Iscariot; and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, for example in evangelism teams to bring the Gospel to the unsaved, like Judas Iscariot; and have tasted the good word of God, like Judas Iscariot; and have tasted the powers of the world to come, like Judas Iscariot; if they shall fall away like Judas Iscariot and betray their Lord for money, then it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance. It is as if they are crucifying Christ afresh for themselves and put Him again to an open shame.

Who are those who dare to do such an evil thing? The answer is: All those who are adulterating the true Gospel for monetary gain. It is well known that the true Gospel is an offense to the natural man. This is what the Bible says. The true Gospel is a stink in the noses of the people who have not been saved, because the natural man does not like the sovereignty of God. And so, if a pastor wants to increase his congregation, he should not preach the whole counsel of God, but he should change a word here and there and make the Gospel a little more appealing to the masses of unsaved heathen. He may promise himself that he will teach them the whole Gospel later, but that is for later. Right now they are not able to hear it. The fact of the matter is that “later” will never come. And so, that pastor has betrayed his Lord for a little more money in the offering plate, a little more money in his pension fund, more money for a little better building to conduct the Sunday services. It is well known that the pastors who have switched to preach the true Gospel have lost at least 80% of their congregation. Is this what God requires of us? Yes indeed; this is what God requires of us. Whom do you take as your example? Judas Iscariot or the Lord Jesus Christ? Whom do we seek to please? Do we seek to please God or do we seek to please the people?

And so, we must make a decision. Here are some scary verses that we must deal with. The Lord is putting us to the test. Which way do we go?

#2.       The Most Scary Verse (Heb 10:38, Rev 22:18-19, Rom 9:16, Mat 24:37-39, Heb 6:6, Psalm 69:25, 109:8, Acts 1:20, Ecc 7:20, Psalm 7:11, 9:17)

Please turn a little further in this Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 10:38 (2X). And now we have arrived at the heart of this sermon. The title of this sermon is “Drawing Back”. What does this mean? It refers to people who are “drawing back”. It refers to people who were once saved, but now they are showing all the signs that they have not been saved. We read in Heb 10:38,

Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” It refers to people once seemed to be saved, but now they are showing all the signs that they have not been saved. How is that possible?

It is possible because, as I have shown, there are two kinds of people who listen to the preaching of the Gospel: Those who belong to the elect of God, and those who have not been elected unto salvation. Most pastors preach as if everyone in their congregation has been saved. When they speak of WE, they refer to everyone within hearing distance. That is a false concept of the congregation. Even in the congregation of the Lord Jesus there was one rotten apple: Judas Iscariot. How do we distinguish between those who are saved and those who are not saved? Those who are saved adhere to the true Gospel, and those who are not saved adhere to a false gospel. Those who are saved believe the Bible in its entirety, from cover to cover. Those who are not saved do not believe the Bible from cover to cover, but they have violated Rev 22:18 and 19, which tell us in no uncertain terms that they are not saved. We read in Rev 22:18,

Rev 22:18, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”

Rev 22:19, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Those who believe that God is still bringing Divine messages today in dreams, and in visions, and in angel visitations, and in tongues, and in miraculous healings, are violating Rev 22:18 and are on the way to Hell. And that applies to as much as 90% of the people in the churches. Even in very conservative churches there are people who believe in dreams, and visions, and angel visitations and in tongues, and in miraculous healings. Those who do not believe the sovereignty of God are violating Rev 22:19. They have in their mind taken out of the Bible many verses which testify that God is sovereign. But it is not our will that causes us to be saved, but it is His will that counts. And this unbelief applies to as much as 95% of the people in the churches. God says in Rom 9:16,

Ro 9:16, So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Do people believe this? NO! Most people do not believe this. And so, the majority of people in the churches do not know what the true Gospel of salvation is, and where salvation comes from. If Christ would come tonight the majority of people in the churches would be condemned for their ignorance and for the idols they have created in their heart. The Lord Jesus agrees with this statement, for He said in Mat 24:37-39 concerning the days of Noah,

Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mat 24:38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

Mat 24:39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

There are two prophecies conveyed in this passage.

First of all, it will be business as usual in the days before Christ comes. There will be no nuclear war, no great movements of armies around the world, and no great political take-overs to put the world or the church under one control and no great persecution of Christians, no great bloodletting. Secondly, in the spiritual realm, the world will be as wicked as it was before the flood of Noah’s days. God said of Noah, “Thee (singular) have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Noah was the only one whom God called righteous in his generation. And so, what can we say of all the other people who were living in the world? They were unrighteous. Their death in the flood was the last event before they were going to be resurrected on the Last Day to stand before the judgment throne of Christ, and all of them will be cast into the Lake of Fire. When the Lord Jesus said, “So shall also the coming of the Son of man be” it means that the world will again be as wicked as before the flood of Noah’s days. Idolatry will be rampant, and people will not even realize that they are worshipping other gods. But now let us look at Heb 10:38.

Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Who are those who “draw back”? They are the same ones who in Heb 6:6 are called “those who fall away.” The just shall live by faith, but if they “fall away”, or if they “draw back” we see the evidence that they have never really believed; they have never been saved, for they show the signs that they have never experienced God’s amazing grace, in converting their soul. Now, that is the real reason why God says, “my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” The reason is not that this person has sinned so grievously that God cannot forgive him any more. The real reason is that this person was NOT one of God’s elect and his presence among the saints was not pleasing to God. We should always select the interpretation which leaves the sovereignty of God intact. Nevertheless, Heb 10:38 is a most scary verse because it seems to leave people in an unforgivable state. Judas Iscariot was left in this most unforgivable state not because he betrayed Christ, but because long before he was born God wrote in the Bible,

Psalm 69:25, “Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents,”

Psalm 109:8, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

These two verses were lumped together in the New Testament in Acts 1:20. We read there in Acts 1:20,

Acts 1:20, “For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.”

And thus, Judas Iscariot did not reprobate himself, but God determined his destiny before the beginning of time. Before the foundation of the world, before God created the first speck of dust, He determined who from among mankind should be saved and who should He pass by. This is what God declared in Eph 1 and in hundreds of other passages in the Bible. People do not like these attributes of God, but that is the God whom we serve, and that is the God of the Bible. Why do people not like this kind of a God? It is because they lose control over their own salvation. God requires that we trust Him. But people do not trust God. They only trust their own works. They are willing to put their trust in their water baptism, or in their prayer for salvation, or in their good behavior, or in anything they have done. But God’s demand is that we trust Him, regardless of what we have done. In fact, what we have done is of so little value, because our actions are all tainted with sin, and there is not a single act that we can present to God that is free from sin. God says in Ecc 7:20,

Ecc 7:20, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” God says here in Ecc 7:20 that there is NONE who can offer something to God that is free from sin. So we are all in the same boat. The greatest criminal and the humblest servant of God are all in the same boat, and the boat has been named: “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” God says in Psalm 7:11,

Psalm 7:11, God is angry with the wicked every day.

God says in Psalm 9:17, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

And who are the wicked? Everyone who is not saved is called “wicked,” because they are all in the camp of Satan. This is where they were born; this is where they die if God has not saved them.

·        Our only hope (Ecc 7:20, 2Cor 5:17, Heb 10:38)

And so our only hope is in the actions of God. Our only hope is in Christ who can and has made atonement for our sins, for only Christ is able to atone for the sins of anyone who is wicked. Unlike the rest of mankind for which Ecc 7:20 applies, the Lord Jesus Christ is the only person who can do anything without sin. Since He is God the Son and fully God, He cannot sin. Therefore, we are at the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, if He is able and willing to atone for our sin. Do we realize what we are asking of Him? In order to atone for my sins the Lord Jesus has to make a payment on my behalf and that payment must be equivalent to the payment that I would have to make to fulfill the righteousness of God the Judge. If I would have to pay, my payment would be an eternity in Hell. And thus, if the Lord Jesus Christ would make the payment for me (for that is what atonement is) He would have to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is what the “Full Price” is for His atonement for my sins. I have written a small book about this matter. It will come out next month published by BookWhirl, and it is titled: “Seven Land Purchases in the Bible”, and subtitled: “The Full Price.” Today I cannot ask Christ to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for my sins because He has already done it, for which I am incredibly grateful. There was only one day in all of history that sins were forgiven, because they were paid when the Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross in AD 33. There is no other day like that. And there, on Calvary’s cross, He paid for the sins of all those whom the Father had given Him, which are all the elect. And so, since all my sins are already forgiven, there is no possibility that God would ever demand that I spend some time in Hell. I have already been there while I was and still am in Christ. When He was crucified, I was crucified with Him and in Him; when He died I died with Him and in Him; when He was raised from the death I was raised with Him and in Him. And God repeated this process for every one whom He created as an elect of God. Therefore we read in 2Cor 5:17, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Everyone needs a Savior like the Lord Jesus, for we all are full of sin; not only the heinous sins that we remember, but also all the minor sins in between that we do not remember, for man sins all the time according to Ecc 7:20. Christ is willing and able to forgive sins, but not for everyone of mankind. He has set the rules by which He operates in the Bible. One such rule is Heb 10:38,

Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Do we now realize that this is an ominous verse? It is a scary verse, because it promises certain Hell-fire for those who draw back from honoring the Almighty God and who defy the sovereignty of God. Do we really believe this? Have we listened with ears of faith?

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.