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It is amazing how far things can get out of line when we’re not paying attention. If we become complacent, even the most important things in life can slip away from us. In regard to the gospel, we need to know that if we are not careful we may become unfaithful to God. None of us is immune to temptation and apostasy. All of us are capable of falling, so we need to exercise caution constantly and strengthen ourselves to make sure it does not happen.
Wise people suggest that we should “never say never.” Indeed, the Christian who says he would “never” commit a particular sin or lapse into a certain apostasy is speaking thoughtlessly. Under the right conditions, each of us is capable of anything. On the night of the Lord’s betrayal, Peter, that stalwart disciple of Jesus, emphatically asserted that he would never forsake the Lord. “Even though they all fall away, I will not,” he said (Mk. 14:29). “And Jesus said to him, ‘Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he said insisted, ‘If I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And they all said the same” (Mk. 14:30,31). It was not more than a few hours later that the soldiers arrested Jesus and led Him away to the mockery of His trial. And just as the Lord had said, Peter, along with the others, ran for their lives. “And they all left him and fled” (Mk. 14:50). Truly, we should never say never! Instead, “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
Certainly we should not live our lives in the fear of falling away. As long as we choose to stand with the Lord, He will supply all we need to remain faithful to Him. God is “able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jd. 24). But if we should not be fearful, neither should we be foolish. We can’t afford to be over-confident and take our salvation for granted.
The Hebrew writer said, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hb. 2:1). This week, let’s make it a priority to check up on ourselves. Are we growing closer to God from day to day? If not, we may be growing the other direction without realizing it. Let’s make sure, at whatever cost, that we do not lose our salvation.
Monday: Matthew 13:1–9,18–23
Key Idea: Some people do not remain faithful after obeying the gospel.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of person was represented by the rocky ground? What kind of person did the thorny ground represent? Does God make us the way we are, or do we decide what kind of heart we’re going to have?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:6–8.
Tuesday: Hebrews 2:1–4
Key Idea: Becoming unfaithful is often a slow, gradual process.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to “drift away” from the gospel? What does it mean to “give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard” (NKJV)? According to vv.2,3, what will happen if we abandon the Lord?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:9.
Wednesday: 2 Peter 2:20–22
Key Idea: Turning away from the Lord is worse than never becoming a Christian at all.
Questions for Family Growth: What are the “pollutions of the world” (NKJV)? What if, having escaped these, we go back to them? Does the Bible support the “once saved, always saved” doctrine? What are some ways we can keep ourselves from going back to the world?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:10,11.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 13:5,6
Key Idea: We need to constantly check to make sure we are obeying the Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: How does a person “examine” or “prove” himself to see whether he is “in the faith”? Is it safe to simply assume we faithful to God? How can we be sure we are in a right relationship with the Lord?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:12–14.
Friday: 1 Corinthians 10:11–13
Key Idea: We need to be careful that we do not become unfaithful to God.
Questions for Family Growth: According to Paul in this passage, why were the Old Testament stories written for us? If we think we stand, what does it mean that we should “take heed”? When we are tempted by the devil, how can we avoid falling away from God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 23:15,16.