Summary: Eternal security is for real and for everyone.
Title: How secure are you in Christ?
In 1628 a child was born in Bedford England to a poor family. As time went by and he became a man the English Civil War started and he found himself fighting with the Parliamentary army against the forces of the king of England. Now for him this was really a providential act because the commander of the army of Parliament was a godly man by the name of Oliver Cromwell. And because Cromwell believed that Parliament could win in their battle against the crown only if the Lord supported them he insisted that the soldiers under his command learn of Jesus Christ and conduct themselves in a godly manner. And so the whole time he was under Cromwell’s authority this young man was taught the scripture and he worshipped weekly on the Lord’s Day. Now through all of these things he became keenly aware that he needed Christ but he couldn’t seem to find Him or to have the burden of his sins removed from his heart. And his burden was great because now, thanks to all the Christian training he had been getting, he knew the law of God and he knew that he had violated it on many occasions. And so for him his sins were like carrying a great load upon his back, a load he believed would one-day drag him deeper than hell itself. Later, as the weight of his sins became too great for him to bear and he thought he would loose his mind through fear of the God he would one day stand before, that God graciously met him in a small Baptist church and he found the peace that he had spent so much of his life looking for. It was at about this time that the English Civil War ended, the monarchy was suspended, and Parliament ruled the country. Since the war was over the army of Parliament disbanded and this young man went back to the trade his father had taught him, that of a tinker. But he didn’t just mend pots and pans anymore because Jesus had made a profound impact on his life. And so while he worked as a tinker to make a living he also worked as a lay minister, preaching the gospel of freedom to any who would listen.
But that time of peace didn’t last long because in 1660 Cromwell died and the monarchy was restored. And when the monarchy was restored so was the supremacy of the Anglican Church. But unfortunately our born-again tinker wasn’t an Anglican; he was a non-conformist, which is what all non-Anglicans were called. And because those in power didn’t view him as a “real” Christian he was ordered to stop preaching the gospel. But he had a real problem. He was a simple man who truly believed that the Word of God should take priority over the word of man. And even though he had much to lose, and even though it meant that his wife and small children could suffer hardship because of it, he continued to preach the gospel in spite of the king’s edict. And as a result of his determination to obey God John Bunyan went to prison at the age of 32 and stayed there for the next 12 years! It’s pretty amazing what some people will do or be willing to suffer just because they find salvation through Jesus, isn’t it? No doubt his family and friends considered this to be the worse thing that could have happened to him, just like the Philippians thought Paul’s imprisonment was pretty awful. But like Paul John Bunyan didn’t complain about the fact that he was thrown into prison unfairly. And like Paul God used his imprisonment to extract gold from the man because while he was in there he wrote a book that is second only to the Bible in popularity – Pilgrim’s Progress.
Now I know that while many of you have read this book there is a great many more who have not. And to those of you who have not let me tell you a little something about the book. The book Pilgrim’s Progress tells the story of a man who is awakened to the fact that he is a sinner, realizes his need for Jesus, believes upon Him, and all the exciting things that happen to him as he journeys toward heaven. The main character of the book is a man by the name of Christian. As Christian walks the road to heaven he is joined by another man who goes by the name of Hopeful. As these two believers travel towards the celestial city they battle demons, false believers and they travel through such places as the valley of the shadow of death. But the day finally comes when their journey ends, and it ends at a river that is symbolic of death. Now this river stands between them and the Lord that they have followed for a good portion of their lives and in order to enter the city of God they must go through the river. And so Christian and Hopeful stepped off the banks and into the water. And as they did they found that the river had a very strange characteristic. You see the water in the river either rose or fell depending upon the faith of the person entering it. Now during their travels together Hopeful always deferred to Christian in times of difficulty because not only had Christian been a follower of Jesus longer, but Hopeful believed Christian was the more spiritual of the two.