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This sermon – The Perseverance of the Saints – was originally preached 2013.07.14 by Sam Troyer.
Passages used: Hebrews 10:26-39, Luke 21.
The Perseverance of the Saints
In His wisdom and so that our worship of Him would be genuine, God gave us free choice.
God wants us to choose him, but He doesn’t force us to choose Him. If we do choose to surrender our lives to God, He doesn’t force us to follow him.
How can I persevere in my faith and in faithful living?
We will look at three appeals.
- The appeal to look around us and within. Take stock of our spiritual condition.
- The appeal to look back, where have I come from.
- The appeal to look ahead, where am I going?
An Appeal to Look Around and Within
The writer of Hebrews is addressing believers, those who had received the knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ and had been sanctified through the washing of the blood of Christ.
Some of these believers had then turned away. They were in an apostate state.
Defining Apostasy as it relates to Christianity
Apostasy is – the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. Apostasy is also related to defection, departure, or revolt against God. A willful falling away from rebellion against Christian truth. It is a crossing of a line. A counting of the blood of Christ as a worthless and common thing.
Why I believe Apostasy is Real
There are many warnings against apostasy in scripture. There are lots of them. Scriptures about falling away. About turning from God. Why is there so much concern if it isn’t possible to fall away, or turn away from God?
There is also a lot of empirical evidence around us that would point to apostasy. There are people who were once living pure, holy, dedicated Christian lives. Yet they have turned their backs on God and have walked away from what they once knew.
Some Key Words to Help us Visualize Apostasy
- Rebellion. A very unpleasant picture. Rebellion is an uprising or opposition to someone in authority. It is a fist in the face of God and his mercy and grace. We change in the “act of rebellion.” Can God forgive rebellion? Yes, he can and does. But rebellion drives a wedge between us and God and makes it more difficult to come back to God.
- Turning Away. Turning away is like walking down a path. There is a road that goes to the left or right. Turning away is taking that path. Turning off the road that we have been on. There are many things that try to get us to turn away from the pathway of Christ. Temptation. Deception. Persecution.
- Shipwreck. A shipwreck is what happens when a boat crashes against a hidden rock or shoal. A shipwreck makes for lots of broken pieces. Paul tells Timothy that in order to avoid shipwreck he needs to take care to walk in faith.
- Falling Away. You can walk up to the edge of a canyon, you can walk along the edge all day and not fall in. But the ground can fall out from under you and you can no longer control your “falling or not falling.” You have crossed a line and reached a place that is “too far…” there is often no desire to return. God is still available to give grace and forgiveness, but there tends to be such a hardness and bitterness that God and His love are often held at length.
An Appeal to Look Back
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; – Hebrews 10:32
It is profitable to look back occasionally. For the Christian it is good to look back to our “day of salvation.” To remember the peace and awe that we experienced when we first came to know God.
The writer of Hebrews also told his readers to look back at the conflict that they endured. They hadn’t given up! They shouldn’t now…
The writer of Hebrews also tells his readers to remember the courage that got them through public harassment and persecution. They knew that they had better and lasting possessions that would supersede any kind of earthly joy or pleasure.
Finally he asked his readers to reflect on the markers in their lives. Remember with Gratitude that God brought them through and gave them all the blessings that He had.
An Appeal to Look Forward
- Be Confident. Hebrews 10:36-39 – We can have confidence that we are on the right track and there is a future for us. All of us can have a confidence that there is a good future waiting for us. Our lives do matter, the things that we do today affect our future. We have a future, we dare not forget that. We have our tickets to board the “heaven bound airplane.”
- Be Patient. In your patience possess your souls. Stand firm. We dare not give up.
As a conclusion. This message is a call for us to do consider several points.
Look back. See where we have come from and what all God has done for us.
Look around. See where we are now.
Look forward. See where we are going.