THE POINT OF NO RETURN
I Jn. 5:16
INTRO. I am told that swinging out over the waters that go down to the Niagara Falls are several warning signs, each warning you to turn around or be swept over the falls. Finally a last sign reads, "Beyond this sign is the point of no return!"
We live in an age in which people are not afraid to push God. Many continue to try Him just to see how much they can get away with.
The Bible teaches that it is possible to push God too far. God has a line and those who cross it do not come back. My desire today is to make you aware of that line and in the process, get you to think about your standing with God.
I. CHRISTIANS WILL SIN.
A. Notice who John is talking about.
1. "If any man see HIS BROTHER sin..."
2. I Jn. 2:1 states that this letter was written to "My little children".
3. So we know that we are talking about Christians. Those who, like us, have been born again as a result of their repentance and faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
B. It is a fact that Christians will sin.
1. See 1:10
a. At the moment we are saved, our spirit is perfected - we are made the righteousness of God in Christ. But our body and mind are not. That will come at the time of the Rapture and Resurrection.
1. Until then we are to keep our bodies under subjection...
2. ...and we are to be in the ongoing process of renewing our minds through study and meditation in God’s Word.
b. So you see, that while the desire to sin has been tempered by the presence of the Holy Spirit in you; the capability to sin is still there.
2. The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. I believe that God chose this language because it is so specific. For instance...
a. There are 5 different Greek words for the conjunction "if".
b. This word is "ean". Which means that it is an objective possibility.
c. That simply means that this situation is not a figment of the imagination or something that may happen. Instead, it is a reality. We are going to see a fellow believer who is sinning.
3. The word "see" does not necessarily refer to an overt sin. That is, a sin which has consequences which are visible. It may be a sin of attitude.
a. bitterness, carelessness, pride, or indifference.
b. (ill.) - During a sermon, the preacher said, "The two most common sins in the church today are ignorance and lethargy." He then turned to a man sitting on the front pew and said, "Isn’t that right, brother?" To which the man replied, "I don’t know and I don’t care."
4. If this sin is a sin "not unto death", then we are to pray for him.
a. We are to petition our heavenly Father on behalf of this one who is sinning.
b. (I Tim. 2:1) -- "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men."
II. A SIN UNTO DEATH.
A. That is for a sin "not unto death". But John also tells us that, "There is a sin unto death". Make no mistake about it, GOD WILL KILL A CHRISTIAN. And what is more is that we are not to pray for the one who commits this sin that is worthy of death in the eyes of God.
1. David knew this (Psa. 19:12-14)
2. In Jer. 7:16 (read), God says, 3 times, "do not pray for these people." The reason is found in Jer. 8:12.
3. Samuel tried to pray for King Saul. See I Sam. 5:35 & 6:1
4. In Numbers 11, the people griped about having to eat manna all the time. They wanted real meat. So God sent them quail...lots of quail. In Num. 11:33 we read "And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And He called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
B. Now someone will be thinking, "I don’t believe that. I have been disobedient to God off and on for most of my life and nothing ever happened to me!"
1. There is an easy answer for that. You may have never been saved!
2. Hebrews 12:6-15
III. WHAT IS IT?
A. Now if we know that a Christian can commit a sin unto death then we should be careful to know WHAT IT IS and how we can avoid it.
1. See Amos 4:6-12
2. So then it is, the sin of backsliding. A Christian can get so sinful, so rebellious that God will sign his death warrant.
B. Some will say, "Yes, but that’s the Old Testament, I never heard that in the New Testament."
1. I Cor. 5:5 (give brief background)
2. To the whole church of Corinth, Paul said their sins were killing them! I Cor. 11:30
3. In I Cor. 10:6-11 Paul used the Old Testament to make his point concerning the feelings of God toward a defiant backslider.
C. Does Jesus have anything to say about all of this, and if so what?
1. Luke 13:6-9
2. John 15:1-6
D. God meant for His people to bear fruit to His honor and glory and I believe that many of God’s own children have died premature deaths because their lives were a dishonor to His holy name.
1. Moses shamed God before the whole congregation and died as a result. (hit the rock the second time)
2. The sons of Aaron defied God (Lev. 10:2) and God killed them. What is more is that God told Aaron if he wept for them that God would kill him too.
E. With respect to this point, we should return to our text - I Jn. 5:16.
1. "There is a sin unto death; I do not say that he shall pray for it."
2. This means that if God sees fit to take the physical life of one who will not repent of his backslidden condition; we are not to question it.
3. We must realize that there is divine retribution for certain persistent, unconfessed sins and when that retribution comes, we must not assume to tell God His business.
CONCLU. Now somebody is going to say, "It’s nobody’s business what I do." WRONG!! If you really are a child of God then it most certainly is His business. "You are not your own, you were bought with a price"., and again, "As ye have received Jesus Christ the Lord so walk ye in him."
You see, this is not about what the pastor thinks, or what your fellow church members think. This is about your personal dealing with God.
(Hosea 13:9) - "Oh Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself."
God knows the sins of your heart, the ones that maybe nobody else knows. It is time to vanquish your foolish pride and come to God in repentance. It is time to thank Him for His mercy and longsuffering. It is time to get right with Him.
If you continue to refuse the time may come when God says, "Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?"