Take Heed, Lest Ye Fall
1 Corinthians 10:12, 1 Corinthians 9:27
This morning I would like to bring to you a sermon that I have that I have entitled Take Heed, Lest Ye Fall. I'll be reading a number of scriptures, and I would encourage you to get a pen and paper so you can write them down and you can look them up later or you can follow along with me. I'll first read a couple of scriptures, First Corinthians 10:12, and then First Corinthians 9:27.
And we read these words: Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. First Corinthians 10:12. Then First Corinthians 9:27, But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
More then any other book in the world, the Bible is a book that should make us think. Think long and to think hard. Also, more than any other book the Bible should make us think during both the difficult times in life, and also those good times in life. Obviously, during those bad times, you know, we may go to God's word, go to the Bible, and think about our problems. Hopefully to help us to put those problems or those struggles into the right perspective, but during those good times, it's should serve to remind us also. That is God's word reminds us to think how we need to stay close to the Lord, because of course, in those times it's easy for us to go straight.
The scripture says wherefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. When things seem to be going pretty well for us, it may be very easy for us to think that we're not vulnerable. Right? To think that we don't have any problem, but how many people have we known from elders on down who appear to have been the idea or the picture of faithfulness only later to find out that they have fallen in some way or another? We know that this has happened.
Of course, it can happen again to anyone. Even the great apostle Paul himself was not immune from this temptation. He says in the scriptures that he had to buffet his body. He had to bring his body into subjection under the will of God. Otherwise, he could have found himself among the people he was trying to save. That is those who were lost. The danger of falling is all is real.
Notice these words in Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Then in Second Peter 2:20, you can write it down. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning”.
So the danger is real. It is not something that is imaginary. Right? I imagine over the years, tens of thousands of people have lost their faith out of millions who have obeyed. I imagine thousands have again entangled themselves in the world. I imagine there are thousands or tens of thousands who are worse off than when they first believed. Right? The fact of the matter is over and over again, the Bible teaches us that the child of God can fall and be lost. Right?
For example, the Bible teaches us that a child of God can stop believing. Notice with me, Hebrews 3:9-12 “When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I swear in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Also note with me, Luke 16:29-31, there were read; “Abraham said unto him, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, Nay, Father Abraham. But if weren't, but if one went on, two of them from the dead they will repent, he said, unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though rose from the dead.” Sometimes it may be difficult for us to understand, but people can stop believing.
Think about Israel. Think about this people that we read of, I believe we can read over the Book of Exodus. Right? They saw God’s work for many years. I believe the Bible says 40 years. They saw at the Red Sea was provided a miracle, obviously just mind boggling, the Red Sea divided. They saw a pillar of cloud that led them by day. They saw a pillar of fire by night. They saw God speaking to them or heard God speaking to them from the mountain, the voice of God. They observed God giving them manna, bread out of basically nowhere, to eat. God sent them when they desire meat to eat He sent them quails from the sky. They landed right there for them to take with their own hands. When they were thirsty in the desert or out in the wilderness, God gave them water from a rock, a dry rock. When they were walking in the desert for all those many years, remember, the Bible says that they sandals did not wear out. Now we all know where shoes wear out over time but their sandals did not wear out. So they saw a miracle after miracle after miracle.
Some still chose not to believe. When you step back and think about that, it's amazing. There's also chilling when you think about that fact. Today, the same thing is possible for us. We can stop believing. We can choose to depart and leave the Lord and we should we should keep in mind that we need to guard ourselves from falling into this temptation. It should be something that's on the mind all the time. Now, let us not think that it is easier for us to fall away than it was for the Israelites who saw all these miracles. Right?
That may be a temptation. They saw all these miracles, but notice the rich man. He had brothers who were still in sin. We know that this rich man had died and he was in the Hadean world and he was suffering. Right? So he wanted to warn his brothers. He knew they were still in sin. So what do you do knowing that they were still in sin? He wanted to warn them before it was too late. He thought that if a man were to return from the dead, that was Lazarus, the poor man, the beggar, Lazarus, would return from the dead and go to his brothers, knock on the door, if you will, that they would listen to him. This is a man, who rose from the dead, but Abraham corrected him. He said his brothers had Moses and the prophets. That is to say they had their writings, yes, they have the writings of Moses, the Torah, they have the writings of the prophets and if they wouldn’t listen to the written word, they wouldn’t listen though a man rose from the dead.
Think about that. What’s the point? Hearing or reading the written word can have the same powerful effect upon a person as if they heard a man speak who had risen from the death—a loved one to come back from the dead speaking to them. God’s word is just as powerful. Right?
In other words, seeing a miracle would not make a difference. Seeing a miracle would not make a difference. In other words, if the written word is not enough for us to persuade us to believe and to stay faithful, seeing miracles like the Israelites wouldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t make a difference. Let us get that on our minds. So the Lord warns us that if we are not careful, we can stop believing. We can stop believing, just like the Israelites did.
Also, let's look at the fall from the grace. You can fall from grace. Notice Galatians chapter five verses one through four. It says stead fast, therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you that if ye be circumcised, Christ prophet you nothing for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law Christ has become of no effect unto you. Whoever of you are justified by the law, you have fallen from grace.
OK, in the denominational world there is a popular doctrine that says once saved always saved. I think it says pretty much God has chosen you to be safe and you could do nothing about it. You have no choice. Right? Obviously, Paul did not get that memo. He did not give the message because the Galatians were God's children. They were Christians. They were saved, but Paul told them that if they submitted to be circumcised, it is as if a part of the plan of salvation, adding to God's word, just like take away from God's word, they will fall from grace.
I repeat that; adding to God's word, his commandments for us to be saved, or taking away from God’s word, and we can fall from grace. In other words, we will be lost. As we know, grace is important. Grace plays an important part in our salvation. The scripture says we're saved by grace Ephesians 2:8. That is therefore, if we fall from grace, we shall not be saved.
So like the Galatians, if we transgress the boundaries of the gospel, the gospels are like boundaries, right? We are not to cross boundaries both. We transgress those boundaries. We can fall from grace and therefore we can be lost. The scripture says Jesus showed us that a child of God can fail to bear fruit and thus also be lost. Right? Note with me or you can write down Matthew 13:3-8. Also you can add to that, verses 18 through 23.
First, Matthew, 13:3-8. “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”
That's Matthew 13:3-8 and then versus 18 to 23 of the same chapter. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 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.”
One last verse here Matthew 7:19 “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
Here are four kinds of people that hear the word of God. One never obeyed the gospel. He didn’t care at all. The wicked one came and took the word away. Three heard and obeyed the gospel. They became children of God. They became followers or Christians, but only one remained faithful. The one by the stony soil he or she abandoned the Lord when things got difficult. Therefore no fruit was produced. The one by the thorny soil also abandoned the Lord, but not because of difficulties. Rather abandoned the Lord because of riches. He valued worldly treasures. He valued material things more than he or she valued God. Either he didn’t produce or stopped producing. Right? Therefore with no fruit both would be lost.
The same applies to us today. In reality we all produce some kind of fruit. The question is what kind of fruit are we producing? Well, for that, keep in mind Galatians 6:7, shows us that our harvest will depend upon what we are sowing. Our harvest will depend upon what we're sowing.
In Galatians 6:7-9 we read these words, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
We all should understand that we all are sowing some kind of seed today. Right? How do we know this? Because in the end, we all shall reap, we all shall reap something. We all shall reap a harvest. We all in a sense are all different types of farmers. Right? Gardeners.
The only question is what kind of seeds are we sowing? What kind of seeds? Are we sewing, spiritual seeds? That is sowing to the spirit. Sowing things according to the word of God, the way we talk, where we conduct ourselves around in private and around other people. Or are we sowing fleshly seeds, that is to the flesh. Using ourselves, sowing to our lust, our desires that are contrary to God's will? Doing things that are just from the impulse of the flesh rather than from the spirit.
The point is, as God's children, as a child of God, if I sow to the spirit, I shall be saved. That is, if I follow the word of God, the teachings of the word, I shall be saved. But if I sow after the flesh, that is after of my own desires, my own way of doing things, I shall be lost. I shall be lost. Also, the Lord shows us that those who are lukewarm shall be spewed out of the mouth, out of His mouth.
Let us look at Revelation 3:14-18. “There we read And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
I think the Lord really tapped into human nature to get his point across. He tapped into human nature to get his point across. What do I mean? When we are hot in the summertime, perhaps, and we are thirsty and we expect, you know, looking forward to a nice cold glass of water to quench our thirst, I would imagine that most of us would be turned off or perhaps disgusted if the water we drink is lukewarm. We expected something cold to cool us off or it's getting cold out here now and perhaps looking forward to a hot drink to warm us up, maybe a hot tea or hot chocolate or a hot cup of coffee to help us get warm. I would imagine that we would be turned off expecting something hot. It’s room temperature.
I recall going out to the Indians Stadium, buying a cup of hot coffee, close to five dollars, if I recall correctly, it was like lukewarm, was warm. It wasn't where it should have been. You know, something like that would turn you off when you expect something else. Perhaps one of the messages here is that the Lord doesn’t like the idea of people just being average, right, being in the middle neither hot nor cold, what we call the mediocre.
I think this is a fair. A bar is set in Revelation 3:16, referring to the well known fact that tepid water tends to produce sickness if a stomach and inclination to vomit. The image is intensely strong and notes deep disgust and loathing, indifference that is, which prevailed in the church at Laodicea. The idea is that they would be utterly rejected, cast off as a church, a threatening of which there has been in abundant fulfillment in subsequent times and may be remarked also that what was written to that church may be expected to occur in all churches if they are in the same condition, and that all professing Christians...that are lukewarm...have special reason to dread the indignation of the savior. It appears that the church in Laodicea equate it, if you will, their material wealth with spiritual prosperity.
I repeat, that is appears that they equated their material wealth, the abundance, if you will, with spiritual prosperity, but they're not the same. You know, we hear about prosperity doctrine. The Lord blessed us with this, that if you do this just for him. That's not true. Spiritually, they were poor. They had a lot of stuff they could have a jet plane, but they were spiritually poor. They were lacking. They were in need. They were lukewarm and if they didn't repent, they were going to be lost.
So it's clear that God's children can be lost. What can we do to avoid becoming that statistic? This is the hope that occurred. Right? First I mean, there are many things that we can do. First of all, these are some things that we can keep in mind to keep us from that from that position.
First, acknowledge that it can happen to you. That's perhaps one of the first steps to acknowledge that we can fall, we can stumble, we can be lost if we're not careful. Notice First Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taking you or me, but such as is common to man. But God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but with the temptation also make a way to escape that he may be able to bear it.”
Now, we should remember that verse. It's like an alcoholic who first must acknowledge that he or she has a problem with alcohol if they want to overcome the problem of drinking. God's children, that’s us, we must acknowledge that we are vulnerable to being tempted to stand against God in every or any possible way. We must acknowledge that. We must acknowledge that temptation is common, is common to mankind, is common to elders, is common with deacons, with preachers, with teachers and everyone else the old, the young men, young women, older women, children who obey the gospel in the like.
Even Jesus, notice this, even Jesus was tempted. Right? Even Jesus was tempted. Right? So you can be tempted but though we can be tempted and fall away, we still have the choice. We have the choice. Notice these encouraging words from Joshua 24:15. “And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord. Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the God which your fathers serve that were on the other side of the flood or the Gods or the Emirates in whose land ye well. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Famous words of Joshua. Regardless of what happens we all have a choice. That's a beautiful thing. We have the freedom to choose. It is up to us.
We can serve God or we can choose to serve sin by giving in to the multitude of temptations that can lead us away from God. Of course, temptation may vary. Some of the temptations are easy to resist, right? While others may be more difficult to resist, we must acknowledge that. You know, we all have different temptations, but regardless of the degree of the temptation, we always have a choice. We have that freedom. God gives us the freedom. Right?
Job, for example, he was tempted by his wife to curse God and die because Job, as we recall, was going through a lot of suffering. He lost his lost wealth, if you will. Now, he was stricken with boils and he was suffering. He was a man who was faithful to God and his wife seeing all this, she comes to him saying why don’t you just curse God die. Why don't you do that? But he chose to stay with God. And of course in the end the Lord blessed him. I believe his wife was blessed as well because he was faithful, she was blessed too, if I understand correctly.
I can imagine that some have been tempted to much less degree, than Job was. Consider Joseph, who was tempted by Potapher’s wife, right? You know, he was tempted by her, but he refused. He ran off, left his coat. He resisted and he was thrown into prison. He was in prison possibly for many years. But he chose to stay with God. He chose to stay with God, but I'm sure that many have given in to temptations of the lust of the flesh and made excuses for it. Excuses are not valid regardless of our temptation. God has always makes a way of escape for us. He has always makes us a way to get out or get away. “There have no temptation taking you, such as is common to man once again, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted to above that you are able, but with the temptation, also make it make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it once again.” First Corinthians 10:13.
So we will be tempted. But also, God will give us a way out, so we must look for that way out and we must choose that way out. There's no excuse if we don't choose the way to escape. Why not? Because God will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to deal with or what we are able to handle.
When we are tempted to not believe or to fall away from the Lord and the church, there is no excuse that will keep us from being lost, but in the end, we don't have to fall if we take heed. So today we are taking heed is the question I raise to you this morning. As a child of God, if we haven't, we need to commit ourselves to doing so, we need to repent if we haven't taking heed. We need to confess if we haven't been taking heed, that is for the child of God.
Consider these words, Revelations 3:19-22, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Notice here that the Lord is not speaking to those who have never obeyed the Gospel. These scriptures here are oftentimes misused by those who never obey the gospel. The Lord is not, if you will, knocking on the door in this context of an unbeliever, one who never will be the gospel. Remember, the letter of Revelation was written to the churches. So he was speaking to believers who had abandoned the Lord or turned away.
He came knocking at the door of their hearts. That is the hearts of believers or children of God who had gone astray. So this is what the law says to the church, if you're here the day, you're going straight. But for those who never obey the gospel, the law says you are in sin “for all have to come short of the glory of God”. Romans 3:23. All have done this. Jews and Gentiles alike the Lord says.
But I'm willing to save you if you believe. Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned or condemned.” So that's the first step is belief.
The second step, if you will, is we must repent. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” the Bible tells us, Luke 13:3. Confession is a part or step in becoming a child of God.
Must believe, after believing you confess. You acknowledge that Jesus is the son of God. Then you also must repent after confessing. It says, you must repent, then you must be baptized. I skipped over some verses here. The Bible says, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” That's Acts 22:16.
The phrase calling on the name Lord is often misused. Some would say calling upon the name of Lord means to pray. Right? But here the Bible defines what it means to call upon the Lord. Acts 22:16 Ananias is telling Paul, he says “Why terriest thou arise to be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of Lord.” So if you want to call on Him, the Lord, you must be baptized in order to wash your sins. That's the meaning of that phrase. Then call upon the name of Lord being baptized the Lord will add you to the church that He built, that He paid for with His own blood. The Bible says, “and praising God, having faith with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily, such as, should be saved.” The Lord added people to the church. That's something that he does, not us.
If you are here today, as a member of the church and you are tempted to fall away from the Lord, we encourage you to turn back. But if you are here today and you never obey the gospel, you never believed, repented, confessed and were baptized for the remission of your sins we encourage you to do the same. And we like to give you the opportunity to do that this morning. So if you will, we encourage you to come forward at this time, if you are one of those individuals as we stand to sing this song of invitation.Print
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