10 Feb 2/10/19 “You’ve Been Served – Now What?”
The message this morning is “You Have Been Served—Now What?” And some of you are laughing; you know what that means. It’s not really a good thing sometimes, is it, law enforcement in here? Served means you’ve been summonsed, you’ve been called out, you’ve been given some papers that say something pretty negative, or in this case, it can be positive.
Here’s something interesting about God’s judgment. I was listening to Alistair Begg this morning on the Westside Christian Radio Network, which is now official. So all those listening livestream, we are going to put a “Listen Live” button on. I think we have more people listening outside the area than in here. Alastair Begg, Greg Laurie, Tony Evans, David Jeremiah—a lot of heavy hitters out there that have an important ministry are now on the Westside Christian Radio Network. And thank you, you’re listening. Phil, Josh, and Jim, they’re in Minnesota. Without them, this would’ve never happened. So thank you, guys, for doing that. You can tune in locally, 91.9 FM, and we got four different stations up to Tonopah, Nevada. It takes time to get the volume levels. I’m learning more than I ever wanted to know about radio, let me tell you that much right now. But that’s out there.
Also, I would like to have this reminder. I didn’t know if it was going to fit well. What is that? Well, guess what we need. A new roof for the whole building, leaking in different rooms, and I was clueless on the price of this thing. You don’t want to know. I’m not going to tell you right here and now. It’s right around $40,000. So, online listeners, if you’ve never been here before, we don’t pass an offering plate. We don’t ask for an offering. It’s a George Mueller approach to church. God’s bringing in the money all over, but I also think it’s important sometimes to let the congregation know, hey, here’s a need.
If we’re going to leave something for the next generation, this isn’t our building. This isn’t Westside Christian Fellowship’s building. It wasn’t Leona Valley Church’s before this. It was God allowing people to steward His building. So if we want to leave something for the next generation, our kids or our grandchildren, it needs a new roof, and it’s a lot of money, a lot of work. So if you want to put something towards that, just put “Roof” on the envelope. Let us know. We figure if two hundred people give $100 that will get us halfway there, and then we’re praying for the Lord to bring the rest in as we seek Him. So just want to at least let you know that there is a need out there.
You’ve been served—now what? This is the final message in the series on the book of Jude. Four weeks ago we talked about contending for the faith. And then we talked about trademarks of a false teacher. And then we talked about false teachers, and what do they say? They say, “If it feels good, do it.” Do you ever see those ads that say, “Let your imagination run wild”? No, don’t do that. They’re usually ads for Cancún or Mazatlán or Las Vegas. You know, just let your imagination run. No, it’s not good to let the flesh run wild.
So this one is the last part of the book of Jude, and this is a book of the Bible you will not hear taught from very often because it’s quite pointed. It’s convicting, it’s necessary in the times we live. I talked about false prophets, false teachers, weeks ago. Listen to those messages. But we’re picking up here in Jude 12. There are no chapters; it’s just the book of Jude. Jude 12, that would be verse 12.
These are spots in your love feasts.
So he’s talking about false prophets, false teachers, people who are not sincere. They are not genuine. Are you aware that there are those types of people in the church? Just because people go to church [doesn’t make them genuine.] Many times, some people look at church as an area for marketing. That’s why you’ll see a lot of the bigger churches who have a lot of people who rely on marketing. Most of the real estate agents go to big churches. Most of the organizations that require downline will go to big churches because there’s their audience. So not everybody that comes to church is sincere.
So he’s saying about false teachers: they are spots in your love feast. Well, I’d better clarify a love feast because that doesn’t sound too good to us two thousand years later. Love and feast meant they were coming together as a church to eat together, fellowship. They would have food, they would have drink, and they would fellowship to love on each other, like a love feast. However, what was happening? People were coming there gorging themselves, getting drunk, and taking advantage of what this was. We call it today the Lord’s Supper, or Communion.
And if you want to get technical, coming up, grabbing a wafer and a little cup of juice is not what it was in the New Testament. It was coming together, believers coming together for a time of fellowship, breaking bread together, remembering what Jesus did. Now, that’s still good because it’s a point of reflection, and we can remember, but there was a lot more to it. Many have said we’ve dumbed down Communion—and I agree to some degree—what it used to be, but it’s where we’re at.
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves
See, another trait of a false prophet, a false teacher is it’s all about themselves.
They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
Jude, could you be a little clearer? He’s using very strong language here.
raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
I like what GotQuestions.org said about Communion:
First Corinthians 11:17–34 indicates that some were gorging themselves at the feast while others were left hungry.
It was a time for believers to come over without Panda Express, McDonald’s, and Carl’s Jr. You didn’t have all that. The poor rarely had anything available to them, and you would bring all of this food to this feast, and these people were gorging themselves. What would we call that today? Seconds and thirds when there’s not even enough for firsts? They were gorging themselves.
Some were even getting drunk. The people were not waiting for one another, nor were they appropriately sharing provisions—they ate the food they brought themselves, and, if someone couldn’t bring much, he did without. Separation between rich and poor was evident.
These things should not be in the church.
Let me just give you a nugget of information here. Humility and genuine concern for others are often a mark of sincere faith. False teachers, false prophets, those who are not Christians, have a hard time doing this. They can manufacture it, but I’m pretty sure you’re a good discerner of fake humility. Are you not? Oh, not me, not little old me. Well, thank you. They just fake humility. They don’t really have a concern for others; it’s all on themselves. Ironically, a characteristic of genuine faith, when a person has genuinely been saved by the spirit of God, is that they love God, they love His truth, they have sincere repentance, and there’s also humility and selflessness and a love for others.
Now as word of encouragement, if you haven’t mastered that, welcome to the club, because there’s something inside of us that doesn’t love others. There’s something inside of us that says, “Mine!” Watch your two-year-old. “Mine, mine, mine!” So with the Christian, though, at least they understand this battle. They say, “Lord!” Sometimes I’m up here saying, “Lord, help me with my selfishness. God, help me in this area. I want to love others. Give me a heart to love others. Please, God, I want that.” See, that’s a desire. But somebody not converted couldn’t care less. It’s not about others. And that’s why you’re seeing this big movement now, especially now, it’s a screaming voice to be able to terminate children, even at nine months or right when they’re born. Where is that love? Where is that love and compassion? Their consciences have been seared. Let’s be honest. Behind this movement—what’s pushing this movement? Selfishness. Selfishness. I want to do what I want, when I want, to whom I want. It’s my body, my choice. Selfishness is pushing this.
So you been served in this area regarding selfishness and a love for others. Now what? Do you have that? Verse 14:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (vv. 14–15)
I forgot to tell you what Alastair Begg said. I just remembered. He said that God’s judgment is inevitable, but it’s not inescapable. It’s inevitable. It’s coming. God’s judgment is coming. I’m banking on that more than the sun coming up tomorrow. But it’s not inescapable. Peter gives us a way to escape. Jude gives us a way to escape. All the writers of the Bible did. Jesus gave us a way to escape. Repentance and belief in Christ is the escape route.
So, yes, judgment is coming, but it can be escaped. You don’t have to stand before God condemned for your sin. The word will come to pass. God’s word will come to pass. God’s judgment is sure to come. All the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him will come to light. Can you imagine all these ungodly things that they’re saying at God, they’re blaspheming God, they’re rejecting God—all that’s going to come to light, and every single person will fall on their face before God and acknowledge Christ. The ones who used to mock Him will acknowledge Him. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord. That is as sure as the sun coming up.
And then verse 16, he predicts the apostates. Apostates just means they have rejected the truth.
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people.
Now I’m not going to talk about this because what did I talk about last week? That exact point. But this is why they are so appealing. They are grumblers and complainers. And the world says, “Like me.” An unbeliever loves grumbling and complaining, don’t they? That’s their fuel. Let’s just grumble and complain and gossip. See, I love these false teachers because they’re grumblers and complainers too. They’re telling me what I want to hear. Let’s have a church service that doesn’t have anything of God in it, and we can all grumble and complain together. They’ll draw people to themselves.
And then walking according to their own lust—like me. I like this guy. He hates this political party, he hates this, he grumbles and complains, and he lets me just indulge in my lust. I like this guy—false teacher. They relate to that person. They flatter people to gain advantage.
Verse 17—you’re about to be served, so get ready. See, there’s always a distinction. The world/but you.
But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (vv. 17–19)
Are there mockers today? If you don’t think there are, just get involved in ministry. Just post something biblical on Facebook. I dare you. I double-dog dare you. Twitter it. Just say, “Jesus is Lord,” and watch out. See, mockers come in. Mockers mock parenting, don’t they? Christian parenting is now mocked. Little Johnny can have a phone at ten and play on video games all day and dress however they want and even change to a girl if they want to. They should be whatever they want to be. Christian parenting is mocked, it’s ridiculed. Mocking purity. Did Tim Tebow get mocked? Just get this through your mind right now.
If you want to stand up for God, you will be mocked. It comes with the territory. It is part of the calling. It’s actually a badge of honor. Blessed are those who are persecuted for my namesake. Mocking purity. You’re going to wait till you’re married? You’re going to do things the right way? Oh, my Lord! Wrong spirit. Mocking marriage. A man and a woman, traditional values? you’re so old-fashioned! Mocking, mocking, mocking. Mocking God’s Word so people can walk according to their own desires. Mocking the laws so people can walk according to their own desires. Look at our legal system now. You want to have godly legislation? It’s mocked.
And this might be a good time to remind you, I’ve told you before, but when the country was first started there was something called Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. They built the whole legal system on God’s Word, from having a witness present to the death penalty to rape to manslaughter. All these things, all the legal system, was built on the Word of God. Now, if you bring up “Well, the Bible says. . .” “Oh, you can’t be quoting the Bible!” Well, what are you quoting? Yourself? The European Union? That’s where you’re going to get your information from? Quoting themselves, looking at their own laws and what’s written on their own evil hearts.
See, I believe we need to bring God back. We need to bring God back. Basketball says, “Bring back Jordan.” Baseball says, “Bring back Jeter.” Football says, “Bring back Favre.” Well, I’ve got a message: “America, bring back God.” That’s who we need to bring back. That’s what’s going to get us out of this situation that we’re in. Bring back God. Don’t reject Him. Don’t mock Him. Don’t remove Him. Bring Him back, and fall on your knees before Almighty God, before the judgment hand falls and there is no hope because they have mocked Him, they have ridiculed Him. They have mocked the sanctity of marriage, they have mocked the children born in the womb, and there comes a time where you have to say, “Bring back God! That is our only hope.”
I’m done. Really, though, what more needs to be said? That’s the hope. You have all these congressmen mocking God.
But you, you been served. Verse 20.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (vv. 20–21)
Some of you need to hear this this morning. This is exactly what you need. You need to build yourself up. What do people say? “The church isn’t feeding me.” I saw something posted this week; I just loved it. Somebody said, “I didn’t get much out of worship today,” and the response was “Good, we’re not worshiping you.” The church didn’t feed me. The pastor doesn’t say hi. They weren’t there for me.
At some point you’ve got to learn to strengthen yourself in the Lord. Yes, yes, we need encouragement. We need to encourage each other. Iron sharpens iron. We need to be there, but God forbid if you put your trust in me or other Christians. Put your trust in God because when man fails you, He won’t. Build yourself up in the faith. What do you think I have to do on a weekly basis? I love all of you, but I cannot rely on you to build me up, and vice versa.
Build yourself up, building on holy faith. This is so important. It doesn’t just say “building up faith,” but “holy faith.” Your faith is described as holiness. What is holiness? Come out from among them and be separate. Be different. And then that’s what your faith is built upon. Building up your faith. Here’s what I do. Here’s what you need to do as well. How do you build up your faith? You go back to the Bible, and you look at those promises.
Almost twenty years ago I started putting down answers to prayers, and I go back to that: “That’s right, God, I remember You answered. You answered me.” I love that song we sing: “When all hope is gone, when all hope is gone, Your Word is all I’ve got. You’re still the same God that takes water from the rock.” That same God flooded the entire Egyptian army. That same God holds all of our heartbeats in the palm of his hand. We go back and we say, “You are on the throne.” All these worries, all these fears, all these anxieties, should be cast aside. I’m building up my holy faith on the promises of God. See, you build up yourself in the “holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”
Well, this could get controversial. I will tell you this right now. Charismatic commentaries and conservative commentaries are going to, obviously, look at this differently. Many refer to it as praying in tongues, in the New Testament with Paul, and does that still apply today. To me, I don’t read any of that into this. How I look at it is praying in the Holy Spirit. Are you praying in the Holy Spirit, or are you praying in the flesh?
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones said this: “We all know what it is to feel deadness in prayer.” Amen? Every head should be shaking on this one. “Difficulty in prayer, to be tongue-tied, with nothing to say, as it were, having to force ourselves to try.” That’s praying in the flesh. Praying in the flesh is dry and dead. Here’s what happens. Many people increase the length of their prayer and not the depth of their heart. And you know, and I know, that sometimes we think we add on length. I would say edit it. Edit that prayer time down. Edit it to “Oh God. Oh God.” And sometimes we just go on and on and on. You long-prayer people out there, be careful. Are you really praying in the Spirit? Now sometimes prayer meetings can go on a while, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve seen a lot of people just tack it on. If we get up to ten minutes we’re really praying. Not really. God’s looking in our heart.
And we know it’s electrifying. Praying in the Spirit is living prayer, soul-touching, heart-wrenching, passion-driven prayer. There’s boldness. There is assurance versus weakness and doubt. What he means by praying in this Holy Spirit is spending time with God. You don’t just have a hard day at work, drive in traffic, get home, and go, “Okay, let me pray in the Holy Spirit,” and then this powerful prayer life rushes in. I like what Robert Murray M’Cheyne said (I think it was him): “I spend more time preparing to pray than I do praying.” If we have an hour and a half morning worship, sometimes it takes an hour to get the heart right. It’s getting that heart right before God.
So that’s praying in the Holy Spirit. Many people don’t know what that means because they haven’t been filled mightily with the Holy Spirit. See, whatever flows out of your prayer life is what you been putting in. If we’ve been putting in the world and deadness and all this dark, demonic garbage on Netflix and TV and the computers and the people we shouldn’t be hanging out with and doing things we shouldn’t be doing, feeding myself with all this, then you’re going to get up and try to pray tomorrow? Good luck. Because what’s coming out is what you’ve been putting in. Unless your prayer life says this tomorrow morning: “God, I’ve been so wrong. I’ve drifted from You. My prayers are dead. They are cold. I don’t know what to say. God, would you light this fire inside of me?” Oh, He’ll answer that prayer.
If I were you, I’d get that song “Fill me up,” and hit the repeat button ten times. I can already see the emails coming in. That’s brainwashing. No, no, no, no, no. You’ve been brainwashed to think you don’t need to ponder and get your heart right before God. See, I only got a few claps on that one. Let it rain, fill me up, God. Fill me up. God, fill me up. God, fill me up. Please, God, fill me up. It’s a heart cry. Fill me up. God, would You fill me up? God, fill my children up. Fill my marriage up. Oh God, I’m dry, I’m dead, I need to be filled up with Your Spirit. God, give me that boldness. Get me over this health issue, God. Your Word is dead to me. My prayers are lifeless. My life is falling apart. I don’t even know You. Church is boring. God, fill me up. God, would You fill me up? I lay here prostrate before You on the floor. I humble myself before You. God, I need to be filled with Your Spirit. I desire that above my necessary food.
Then watch out. That prayer will be answered. That’s the type of prayer God answers. He says, “I hear that broken heart. I hear that heart that is crying out to Me. I will not cast away the cries of My children.” What parent who hears her child crying in the other room is going to try to go back to sleep, especially if she hears somebody trying to break in the room? The enemy is trying to break into your homes. He wants to destroy your testimony, destroy your life.
Shane, this isn’t very positive today. I’m tired of positive. Positive’s not going to cut it. It’s not. I’m telling you. Every single book I’ve read on revival, and they’re this high, began when men and women were broken before God, repenting of their sin, not thinking “your best life now” and having wonderful thoughts of pleasure and what Jesus can bless you with. That never brings revival. Never. Because it’s self-focused, it’s selfishness.
And then it says:
Keep yourself in the love of God. (v. 21)
What does keep mean? It means to retain possession of, to keep the course, to keep away from sin that pulls you away. So there’s this keeping. I have to keep the course. And this word keep is interesting. In the Greek language you have this image. I think Charles Swindoll gave this image of this vessel on the sea, and it drifts a little bit, but it keeps the course. You know that, right? When a boat goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it’s not a perfect straight line. Perfect. Hey, we’re off 5 degrees starboard. And it’s keeping the course.
So don’t beat yourself up. Well, Shane, I could never live up. I’m not perfect. I have this issue. Well, we all have issues. This is the issue church. The real church of God recognizes that we are saints but we all struggle with the flesh, and we come to encourage, not beat up. We come to build up, not pull down. But sometimes sermons will convict and will pull down. How else do you change if you are not convicted?
So “keep yourself in the love of God.” It means to keep the course. If you’re falling off, get back on. If you know you’re doing what you should not be doing, get rid of it and get back on course, keeping that. That’s what the Christian faith is. This was a mind-boggling, eye-opening truth for me. When I first came back to the Lord, I was thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to be in God’s will. Everything’s going to be great. Life’s going to be wonderful. This is going to be so good.” And then I started to read books like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Eleven of the twelve disciples were killed for their faith. A relationship to God is dying to self, dying to the world, and from time to time, dying in our physical body. It’s a message of death that has great hope.
Woe be the person who thinks Jesus is going to fix their problems. I will tell people that. I will say, “Listen, you need to turn your life over to God. He can rebuild your life. But you need to get rebuilt spiritually first. That’s the foundation.” Too many people say, “Oh, God, if you just help me in this business endeavor, if you just get my marriage back, if you. . .” and then something works out, and then they leave God because they didn’t understand the depth of their sin, the depravity of their own heart. When you understand that, and you say, “God, save me from that,” He’s your anchor. You couldn’t pull somebody apart. Now they might falter and they might struggle in it, but they realize what God has done for them.
Then this other one is kind of hard: “looking for mercy.”
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (v. 21)
Who’s looking for mercy? This is hard because it involves loving others. Do you have a cold and calloused heart? Are you looking for opportunity to love others? You have to look for those. You have to go and do that. Here’s how it works, often. I don’t feel like going to the hospital homes. Feel. Did you catch that word? Feel like it. But I’m going to look for opportunities, and then once you go, and you begin to help others, then the blessing of peace comes. It follows obedience. That’s one thing you should know also about your Christian walk is the blessing of peace, the blessing of joy, comes after, often. After the right decision, not before it. That’s why people end up praying for a while, and they’re praying in the morning, then they have peace, then they have joy, because they had to battle through the pull of the flesh.
Then verse 22:
And on some have compassion, making a distinction but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
So on some people we are to have compassion, but others we are to warn. Now this is interesting. This was a garment. A garment was a symbol of things affected by the stench of the flesh. So he’s saying don’t just hate the flesh, hate even the garment, the things that touch the flesh, whatever touches the flesh. How does that apply to us now? Glad you asked. You should hate whatever pulls you away from God. That’s why many people fall back into sin. They don’t hate it enough. They actually, if the truth be told, enjoy it a little bit, and that’s what pulls them back. There’s not a crucifixion. There’s a comfort in going back to that sin.
He said here to hate even the garment that is defiled by the flesh, whatever defiles the flesh. I love when men come up to me and go, “Do you see this?” What is that? That’s a flip phone. That’s old-school. What’s wrong with you? They say, “I’m done with pornography. I’m going old-school.” See, they hate what defiled them. They hate what pulled them back. Or the person who says, “Shane, I’ve disconnected all this junk in my house. I feel so alive with God.” See, that’s how serious they are. It’s the other person who says, “Well, I like to go back and fiddle with sin. I don’t get that extreme.” That’s the other thing people say: “I don’t want to get that extreme. Did you hear that guy up there at the pulpit with the bald head? Now that’s extreme. That guy is extreme.”
Well, in Christianity, there’s not a middle ground, folks. You’re lukewarm or you’re carnal. You’re devoid of the spirit of God, you’re quenching and grieving the spirit of God, or you’re alive with the spirit of God. And to be alive with the spirit of God, you cannot stay in the middle. So what you call extreme is actually biblical Christianity. The last time I checked, dying to yourself, picking up your cross, and following Christ unconditionally sounds pretty extreme, unless I’m exegetically not interpreting that correctly. And I didn’t look at the Greek nuances and the verbs, if they were in the present participle or if they’re in the active tense. I mean, I don’t know, but that sounds pretty narrow, pretty extreme.
And what we found, what you know, for those of you who are labeled extreme, is it’s the abundant life. It’s the Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life. It doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with sin. But it is this abundant life. Because I know living in the middle, I am miserable. Remember that: M&M—miserable in the middle. And that’s why most Christians leave here still miserable, go to church miserable. I am miserable. What’s wrong with me? Because you’re trying to enjoy the things of the world too much. And as I often say, if you don’t like what I say or what I’m saying, it’s because you need to hear what I’m saying.
One of the most amazing things I think that happens—and I show some people the emails that come in; I didn’t realize how many people don’t like me until emails come in—but they’ll say, “Man, when I first started listening you were too this or too that, but now I’ve come to realize that God’s Word wants full obedience, fully surrendered. I’ve never been more excited, more joy-filled in my life.” We often hear that. What happens is you hear the Word of God come alive, and you’re convicted. You have a choice. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to convict and work in your life and turn back to God or do you get bitter and angry and come up with excuses? Remember, the same sun that melts the wax will harden the clay. This will melt your heart or will harden you, one or the other.
You can watch on YouTube when I did that debate with the atheists at the college, and at the closing remarks, even after that, some people are so hard, so hardened. But one person who was an atheist, he doesn’t know what he was, he actually was encouraged by it. Doesn’t believe in God necessarily. What’s the difference? It’s always the heart. People always mock God until He brings them to their knees.
Then verse 24:
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling.
You’d better get encouraged right now. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling.” I believe that God is able to keep you from stumbling. I believe the child of God, God holds you. I thank God I don’t hold myself, I don’t hold myself to the cross. Okay, I’m doing good today. Phil, pray for me; it’s going to be a tough week. And then, now I’m distant from Christ. I don’t know Him anymore. Now I’m not saved anymore? Then I have to run back and say, “Gosh, that was a close call.” No, He holds us. He keeps us from stumbling.
And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
There’s exceeding joy in the fact that He keeps us. And that’s something if you did not know about this church, I am unapologetically—and I have friends who disagree—I do not believe a person is saved, sealed with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is given to them as a guarantee, He is right here, He keeps us from stumbling, that that person can walk away and reject God and lose that salvation. Because it wasn’t earned, it wasn’t bought for. They didn’t save themselves. They were born again. They had a spiritual experience where almighty God has taken them in and holds them as a child.
But people get upset. No, you’re giving people license to sin. No, I’m not. If they’re sinning and they don’t care, they’re not saved. I see Scriptures of warning, I do, but I also see Scriptures like this. If God saves us, and you are born again, you are a child of God, you can’t undo that any more than you can go undo your birth, your physical birth. God holds us. He makes us stand firm in Christ. The Holy Spirit is given to you. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guarantee. So is it a partial guarantee, based on what I do? I hope not.
And you are sealed until the day of redemption with the Holy Spirit. Oh, wait a minute—that’s a partial seal. You can undo that seal. See, I can’t go there. I can’t see that. But, Shane what about Hebrews 6, those who have tasted the good things of God, those who have been enlightened by the things of God, those who have partook of the things of God, if they fall away, they will not be able to be renewed again to salvation. What about that? Well, Judas Iscariot partook in the things of God. He was enlightened. He participated. What happened to him? He was not renewed into repentance.
And I know people ask, “Can you lose your salvation?” “Can you not?” There’s a big debate. I love pastors [who disagree with me,] and we can agree to disagree. Many of you know I was on Dr. Michael Brown’s show, and we disagree in this area. We don’t talk about it. We don’t argue about it. There are Scriptures that warn of holding on to Christ, abiding in the vine, don’t fall away, don’t turn back. But there are also a lot of Scriptures on God keeping me from stumbling, holding me together, He’s my father, a loving father who has saved me. That saved is not a condition on my performance. That salvation is not a condition on “Okay, if I hold on this week, if I hold on really strong and really tight. . .” It’s based on assurance. “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” He didn’t tell the thief on the cross, “Well, hold on. Hold on until that last minute because you could go either way here.”
I’m not trying to mock that. I just don’t see how a person supernaturally infused by the spirit of God, who now has the Holy Spirit residing in them, is now saved by the Holy Spirit, sealed by the Holy Spirit, how they can just throw that in the trash and go back to “I love this sin. Now I’m not saved.” Can they go to one of Greg Laurie’s crusades and now they’re saved again? And then here comes that sin again, three years later. Man, I was saved two years ago. This constant battle? I don’t see that. I just don’t see that in Scripture.
We’re going to go into Communion in just a minute, and 1 Corinthians 11:27–29 says:
Whoever eats this bread or drinks of this cup of the Lord in a worthy manner may be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of Jesus.
Did you catch that? Paul. “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.” See, sometimes we need to hear the hard things to soften our hearts. Lord, I don’t want to do this. So Paul is saying we need a heart check. We need a heart check before Communion.
But there is a verse that all week I’ve been contemplating and meditating on, verse 23:
But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
Did you catch that? I don’t know, maybe it just kind of leapt out at me, but there is eternity separated from God. Blackness and darkness forever. Why in the world do we believe some of the truth? Jesus is good. I love Jesus. God is love. I love it. But not the hard truths. There’s eternity separated from God. The primary purpose of clouds is rain, is nourishment. You know the precipitation cycle, where the clouds pick up the rain, there’s condensation over the ocean—come on, let’s go back to science. But you go back, and the clouds drop the rain on the mountains, and there’s snow and the rivers, and here comes the water, back in the ocean. The clouds pick up that water. That right there tells me there is a Creator. That did not just evolve. That is impossible to evolve. That’s a whole other sermon.
But the clouds are bringing this in. He’s saying you are clouds without water. You have no purpose. There’s no nourishment. There’s no life. There’s no vitality. You are unproductive trees. You exist, but you profit nothing. You wander, and you cause people to wander, like waves billowing up against the coast. You have shame filling your heart. You are like wandering stars. And I just sat there and pondered this. I can’t imagine living my whole life that way. Think about this. Seventy, eighty, ninety years living your whole life unproductive, fruitless in the things of God, wandering waves of shame, stars with no light, wandering their entire life, and then they’re cast into outer darkness. Can you imagine? We talk about you wasted your life—that’s a wasted life.
I can’t imagine. “Wandering stars from whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” See, there is a hell, where there’s no light. You can call it whatever you want. You can say, “I don’t know if there are flames.” I don’t know, but I know I do not want to be eternally separated from God, where there is eternal blackness. You can’t even see in front of you. Because when the light of the world is removed, there’s nothing but darkness. He is the light of the world. He keeps the light on. He is more powerful than the sun. He keeps it all together. So when you remove that light, and you distance yourself from God, there is eternal darkness. Listen, I’d rather have you hate me and go to heaven than love me and go to hell.
That’s a false prophet. That’s a false teacher: Love me, love me, love me, and go to hell. Follow me to hell. Let’s go. Follow me to hell. Or you hate the preacher, and you end up in heaven because God convicts your heart later. Listen, preachers in the Bible do not have a good track record. John the Baptist, head cut off. Isaiah, sawn in two by wicked King Manasseh. Jeremiah. They were killed. Jesus said, “Your fathers killed the prophets because they spoke the truth.” Any true spokesman of God will upset the entire religious system. They will hate you. Mediocrity, you’re challenging their carnality, you’re challenging their walk with the Lord: Is it even genuine?
Sometimes I go to Palm Springs, and I see these big, lovely churches. Right out front on the sign—big rainbow. They say I’m the hater. You’re going to hell because God is a God of love. No, you’re going to hell because you rejected His Son. You rejected the only offer of salvation. So the Bible does paint this grim picture. It paints this picture because you need to run to Christ. You need to run and hold on for dear life and say, “Christ save me. I am lost without You.” Yes, the message is hard, but the hope is greater. There’s tremendous darkness, but the light is greater. There’s tremendous evil and depravity, but there’s tremendous holiness and righteousness in the presence of almighty God.
You are seeing a time when true Christians will have to come out from among them. You’re seeing this in politics, as the line becomes wider. You’re seeing this in churches, where the line of distinction now becomes wider. There’s this big move to embrace those who support LGBT lifestyles. And at this point I always want to remind you we love all of those people. We love anybody who struggles with sin. Anybody–it doesn’t matter. We love them enough to tell them the truth. But churches will have to make a decision. They’ll begin to silence the voice of truth, they’ll begin to remove Romans 1, and there will become a clear distinction.
But Shane, that’s so fearful. Well, you’d better go and run to the Rock. You better run to the One in which no fear dwells. There’s perfect love. Perfect love casts out fear. I mean, I am hoping not, I’m praying for revival. I’m praying that God will awaken His church, but you have to prepare the people. The bride is not ready. Is the bride ready? No, she’s still at the bar this morning, hung over, throwing up out in the parking lot, doesn’t want to give up her lifestyle. That bride is not ready. And here comes the King. “Where’s my bride, dressed in white, and where holiness and purity define her, where she used to wait for Me, with prayer and fasting.” Look for her. Be ready. Jesus said, “Do not be deceived and let your hearts be taken away with carousing and drunkenness in the cares of this life, and that day come upon you unexpectedly.” There’s an expectation that there should be in our hearts.