Summary: 2nd in 5 lessons prepared and delivered at InSight - Discovery Christian Church’s Believer’s Service.
INSIGHT - February 27, 2005
“WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT... ETERNAL SECURITY"
We are continuing in our series on “What does God say about...” Tonight we are going to address an issue that is not so much a “hot” topic but a confusing one. One of the things we want to do here at Discovery is to harmonize ALL of scripture, not just take a verse here or there and try to prove our position. That’s called “proof texting” and it can be dangerous. You can prove just about anything with that method. I’m reminded about the old preacher who had a scripture for everything. No matter what happened he could site a passage to support his position. One day he’s preaching and a fly flew into his mouth. While he was gagging someone shouted out, “Ok, preacher let’s hear a scripture for that.” He didn’t hesitate but said, “In Matthew 25:35 it says “I was a stranger and you took me in.” Now, we don’t want to do that we want to make sure we do our best to harmonize all of scripture. That is especially important on this topic.
Now, before we dive into the “meat” of this study we must understand one very important thing. What we are discussing tonight is a matter of opinion. You can have differing views on this subject and still be saved! There are certain matters that are essential to accept. Here at Discovery we call that “Our Position” and it is 10 things that make up our statement of faith and they are non-negotiable. Things like the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that God created the world, that the shed of blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only grounds or way for salvation, that Jesus is returning, etc. But there are other areas that are non-essentials, that we can disagree on without dividing over! Like styles of worship, methods of church growth or programming, dispensational theories, roles of women in the church, etc., etc. This matter: ETERNAL SECURITY is open to interpretation. There are great Christians on both sides of this issue. So, tonight what I want to do is simply give you my findings, where I land on this issue. BUT... please understand: We can disagree on this issue and still be in heaven together. (That’s when you’ll find out I was right) We can disagree without being disagreeable and be one in the Lord.
I’ll make a deal with you on this. For my part I will do my very best to present both sides objectively. I think I can do that because as you’ll see I don’t agree with either position completely. But I would ask you to simply have a teachable spirit. Don’t say, “Lord, show me where I’m right” or be looking up proof texts to prove Tim wrong - but pray, “Lord, help me to understand your truth.” PRAY
I. COMPREHENDING THE CONTROVERSY:
The question before us tonight is this: “Is it possible for someone who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to be lost again?” There are those who take the position that once you become a Christian there is no possible way for you ever to be lost again. You may sin temporarily, what some call “backsliding,” - the theological word for that is “apostasy” - but it is a period of disobedience, often willful disobedience, and yet still remain saved.
Now, let’s look at where this theology or position originated because I think it’s important to understand how people came to take this position. Back in the early 1500’s the Roman Catholic church was practicing the sale of indulgences, which in its’ very basic form said that you could earn salvation by what you gave to the church. The Bishop Dominic John Tetzel was predominant in this doctrine. Here’s how it worked. If you were being tempted and thought that you probably could not (or want to) defeat that temptation you could buy from the church an indulgence which would forgive you of the sin BEFORE you committed it! Isn’t that great? I think we should bring that back don’t you? Just think.. If we still had that there would be no temptation that I would have to resist. In fact St. Peters Cathedral in Rome was primarily built on the sale of indulgences. Now, this practice aroused the spiritual indignation of one Martin Luther. He saw this, and rightly so, as a corruption of the Bible and on Oct. 31, 1517 nailed his 95 thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany telling the church how wrong they were. He said that the Bible taught that people are saved by placing their faith in Jesus, not buying or earning their salvation by some work. Luther started the Reformation which lead to Protestantism.