Last week we learned about Irresistible Grace. We learned that it is by the changed nature of a man that he desires God. Because the very nature of man changes, his very desires change as well. It is in these changed desires that one now feels drawn to God in an irresistible way. Tonight, we will be going over the final point; perseverance of the saints. We have gone over a lot through this series. We’ve learned that we are totally depraved human beings incapable of choosing God. We’ve learned that God chose us out of His own mercy and grace and not based on a foreseen choice we would make. We’ve learned that Christ did not die for all but rather, for those whom the Father has given to him before the foundation of the world. We’ve learned that once God calls us, it is irresistible and everything in our newly changed nature screams to cling to Him. We will wrap up the series with a confidence in our salvation that we might know it is eternal.
Ask congregation if they believe one can lose their salvation.
Scripture teaches that we have freedom in Christ. What good is this freedom if there is a chance of losing it at every turn? Scripture teaches a peace of God. Where is the peace when we are constantly worried of falling away? Faith is a gift from God. It is not something we earn. It is not something we work for. God gave it to us in grace. Through His gift, we have assurance of hope.
Westminster Confession of Faith
They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
This doctrine does not stand alone but is a necessary part of the Calvinistic system of theology. The doctrines of Election and Efficacious Grace logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings. If God has chosen men absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, and if His Spirit effectively applies to them the benefits of redemption, the inescapable conclusion is that these persons shall be saved.
Scripture makes it very clear that not every person who claims to have faith is actually a believer.
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven
This is not saying that God excludes certain people of faith. It is saying not everyone who claims to have faith actually does. There are many people who know all about God but do not actually KNOW God. Jesus taught on the subject of people who claimed to be believers but later fell away. He used the parable of the sower.
Explain different types from Matthew 13:
1) fallen by roadside (eaten by birds): lack of understanding
2) rocky places (dried up by sun): no roots
3) thorns (choked): deceived by the world
4) good soil (flourished): true believer
Only one of these was a true believer with true saving faith. The others were only on a superficial level. If one falls away from faith, he was as the seed that fell by the roadside, rocky places, or thorns. He never truly had saving faith. The person with true saving faith will abide with God forever.
Continue with Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
Many people claim to be Christians. Many people actually feel they are Christians. Unfortunately, they do not understand what it means to be a Christian. It is not a title to be claimed. It is not something we can work for. It is a change of nature which only God can perform. Only those in a personal relationship with God are considered to be His. Only those who have received His gift of faith are saved.
God has given the promise of eternal security in Him. We do not have to live in fear of losing our salvation. If we are confident in our love for God and our faith in Christ, our salvation will always remain for we will always abide in Him.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view of redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
In order to properly understand what Jesus was saying in that passage, one must understand the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd was overall responsible for the sheep. Sheep are dumb and would often wander astray. When they were away from the herd, they were susceptible to danger. The shepherd would then go out and look for the sheep. If he found the sheep, he would break its leg, throw it around his neck, and bring it back into the fold. The sheep would then be totally defenseless and unable to move. The shepherd would then tend to the sheep and nurse it back to health. This ensured the sheep would not wander astray again but it was also not left to its own devices. In the same way, when a Christian goes astray, we can be assured he will be brought back into the fold. How do we know, it is because Scripture tells us that it is not the will of the Father for any of His sheep to perish. He keeps us secure in Christ even if it means breaking us to bring us back.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Notice how it speaks in the past tense. It does not say one will pass from death into life at some later point. It says if one has faith, they have already passed from death into life. They completely bypass the judgment because they are in Christ. If one has already passed from death into life, how can they possibly fall back into death again? The old self is dead forever. The eternal life starts at the moment of salvation and it can never be lost.
Once you have the gift of faith, God sets out to work in perfecting you through sanctification, justification, and glorification. God gives His promise that He will continue to do this until Christ’s return. He does not say He will continue it until one falls away.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
"FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is a great passage that drives home the doctrine of perseverance of the saints. It speaks of God’s elect.
Discuss underlined portions of above passage.
Do not be deceived into thinking you can act any way you want because of your eternal security. As we discussed last deployment, we are not to use grace as a covering for evil. Furthermore, Scripture tells us how one of true faith will act.
1 John 2:4
The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
Ask congregation to point out what this man is being accused of lying about.
Answer: Having come to know God.
Notice it does not call the man a liar about saying he is currently with God. It calls him a liar by saying he never even came to know God at all. This is not speaking of following every single commandment of God. Obviously, we all sin. This is why we need a savior. I can guarantee you that I came to know God a while ago and God has been perfecting me ever since. If I were perfect already, He would have no need to perfect me. It is speaking of one who is still in his old nature, does not struggle with sin, yet claims Christ as savior.
1 Corinthians 6:9b-11
Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
From the moment of our salvation, the process of sanctification, justification, and glorification begins. Our old nature dies and a new one is born. We share in the resurrection of Christ.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Consider various trials and tribulations to be a blessing. They give us a chance to trust God but they also serve another purpose. Just as the Old Testament law pointed out the sin in man, trials and tribulations give glory to God by pointing out the promise of perseverance of the saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. "I and the Father are one."
This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
1 Peter 1:4-5
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
God protects our salvation status. He has promised it. It is His Will that Jesus should lose nothing which he has been given. That includes us. God has us and it is impossible for us to be snatched out of His hand. Our inheritance is eternally reserved for us.
2 Peter 1:10
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Check your faith daily. Ensure you are walking with the Lord and not deceiving yourself as many already are doing. If you are confident in your salvation and your relationship with the Lord, be at peace in knowing you will persevere until the final day when Christ lifts you up and God perfects the work within you. Nothing can change this fact!