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Summary: Apostasy is real, but avoidable. If we live as God intends and Jesus taught, our security, conditional or unconditional, is in the hands of our Savior.

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Cable television mogul Ted Turner (once owned CNN, TBS and others) criticized fundamentalist Christianity and said Jesus probably would "be sick to his stomach" over the way his ideas have been "twisted," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Turner made his remarks at a banquet in Orlando, Fla., where the American Humanist Association gave him an award for his work on behalf of the environment and world peace.

Turner said he had a strict Christian upbringing and at one time considered becoming a missionary. "I was saved seven or eight times," the newspaper quoted him as saying. Nevertheless, he claims disenchantment with Christianity after his sister died, despite his prayers. Turner said the more he strayed from his faith, "the better I felt."

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week we embarked on a journey into one of the most controversial subjects in all of Christendom—the security of the believer.

1. We defined unconditional security as a widely held doctrine that suggests that once I accept Christ as Savior there is nothing I can do to lose that salvation. I can behave any way that I want, commit any sin I see fit, and I am going to heaven anyway. “Once saved, always saved” is the mantra of this doctrinal position.

2. We acknowledged that it is a popular doctrine; (though truth does not grow out of popularity). We also learned that Bible scholars and other great men of God have debated this subject for years and not come to full agreement.

3. In light of that, we said that our goal was to answer two questions: [1] Does man have any role in obtaining salvation, or is it entirely God’s doing? In addition, [2] if he does, is it possible for one to lose his salvation?

4. By the close of last week’s message, we learned (if I was effective) that while we cannot claim either side of the argument as indisputable fact, there is sufficient reason found in scripture to cast doubt on the doctrine of “unconditional security”.

B. Which brings us to the question of the morning: “What exactly could cost the believer his or her salvation? Let’s establish a foundation for our thoughts. OYBT Hebrews 10.

II. SALVATION: A THREE DIMENSIONAL EXPERIENCE

A. Draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of His power to save us (22)

1. Nothing happens until we accept Christ’s plan of salvation, which allows us to draw near to God in the first place

B. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful (23)

1. Sounds like that word “remain” again, doesn’t it? If man had no responsibility in maintaining his salvation, why would the Hebrew writer say this?

C. Let us spur one another on to love and good deeds (24)

1. Our behavior must change. Our lifestyle must change. If the resurrection power of Jesus Christ does not change lives, what do you suppose it means to do?

III. OUR FOCUS: WHAT PUTS A BELIEVER AT RISK?

A. Apostasy: Deliberate repudiation (refuse to acknowledge) and abandonment of the faith one has professed.

1. Warning in 3:12—see to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. This is more than a recommendation. One can remain in this state (as Judas Iscariot) or repent and return (as Peter). The Hebrew writer issues more stern warnings in vv.26ff

a. If we deliberately keep sinning after we receive the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left; only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire, that will consume the enemies of God.

b. Those who “fall away” will be treated more harshly than those who denied the Law of Moses! He addresses believers, not unbelievers, as some have argued: Therefore, brothers…who have confidence by the blood of Jesus…and have a high priest over the house of God…men who need only to hold unswervingly to the hope they profess and not give up the meeting together…

2. Mr. Turner, by testimony and definition, is an apostate. One intentionally separated from God and the promise of eternal life we have through Jesus Christ.

3. Ask yourself this question: If the Jesus came today, would he drag these people to heaven against their will? Is that His nature? Can you support it with scripture?

4. No one who is in this state can spend eternity with God. It is impossible.

[Apostasy is real, but avoidable. If we live as God intends and Jesus taught, our security, conditional or unconditional, is in the hands of our Savior.]

B. Backsliding: A temporary lapse into unbelief and sin following a spiritual conversion. A second condition that puts the believer at risk. The greatest danger in this condition is that it may lead to apostasy.

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