Summary: Those who perseverance in their relationship with the Lord are promised eternity with Him.
“THE PROMISE OF PERSEVERANCE”
August 17, 2008
Pastor John L. Harper
Warden Assembly of God
• This passage is not a condemnation to Christians, but a warning of the consequences of turning away from Christ.
• This passage needs to be read in context, and understood in the time it was written.
• The recipients of this letter were enduring persecution and thought if they would turn back to Judaism, the persecution would end.
• This portion of Scripture is to warn them about turning away from the only one that can keep them from everlasting destruction.
• We should read this letter and heed the warning of looking for salvation in any other way. The consequences of this decision are horrendous.
I. THE DANGER OF FALLING AWAY (vs. 4-8)
In "First Things First," A. Roger Merrill tells of a business consultant who decided to landscape his grounds. He hired a woman with a doctorate in horticulture who was extremely knowledgeable. Because the business consultant was very busy and traveled a lot, he kept emphasizing to her the need to create his garden in a way that would require little or no maintenance on his part. He insisted on automatic sprinklers and other labor-saving devices. Finally she stopped and said, "There’s one thing you need to deal with before we go any further. If there’s no gardener, there’s no garden!" There are no labor-saving devices for growing a garden of spiritual virtue. Becoming a person of spiritual fruitfulness requires time, attention, and care. - Bill Norman Ontario, Canada
A. It is impossible (to be brought back to repentance)
Illustration: Man drowning refuses help from lifeguard
1. Those who have been enlightened
2. Those who have tasted the heavenly gift
3. Those who have been partakers of the Holy Spirit
4. Those who have tasted the goodness of the Word
5. Those who have tasted the power of the age to come
B. Because of the denial of Christ
1. They crucify Christ again (expound on this)
a. If you could do it again
b. Their offense is so horrible
2. They subject Him to public disgrace
C. Because they don’t prepare the soil of the heart
(Mat 13:23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
1. Rain is useless if it does not soften the soil
(Psa 65:9) Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.
(Psa 65:10) Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
(Psa 65:11) Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.
2. The Blessing of God is on the one that
a. Cultivates the soil
(Hos 10:12) Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
b. Receives and drinks in the rain
D. Beware uncultivated soil profits no one
1. Land that produces weeds is cursed
2. Land that produces weeds will be burned
Application: What is the condition of your heart? What are you doing to prepare the soil of your heart for God’s harvest?
II. THE DILIGENCE OF PERSEVERANCE (vs. 9-12)
A. We believe better things for you
1. That accompany salvation
2. God will not forget your good work
a. the love you have shown Him
b. as you have helped his people
B. We want you to be diligent
1. Diligent about your salvation
2. Diligent until the end
a. so that your hope will be certain
b. so that you do not become lazy
C. Imitate those who have received the promise
1. They received the promise through faith
2. They received the promise through patience
Application: Are you diligently pursuing salvation until the end? What could you do today to be intentional about your walk with God? Could you begin getting up early for prayer and Bible reading? Could you turn off the TV and spend that time with the Lord?
III. THE DECLARATION OF THE PROMISE (vs. 13-20)
A. God made a promise to Abraham
1. Promise of a son
2. Promise was certain
a. It was from God
b. He swore by Himself
B. God kept His promise (Gen. 15:4-5)
(Gen 15:4) And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.