- Text: Ac. 11:23.
- “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62).
- It is important not only to obey the gospel — but to continue obeying it.
I. The Possibility of Apostasy
- Many teach “once-saved-always-saved,” but the Scriptures teach otherwise — 2 Pt. 1:10,11.
- To go back on our commitment to Christ is to go back to being lost — 2 Pt. 2:20–22. Cf. Hb. 3:6,14.
- So it is not just non-Christians but also Christians who must “obey the gospel.”
- “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (Gal. 3:1).
- “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Gal. 5:7).
- Hebrews is an entire book that warns us to keep the faith — Hb. 4:1.
- It is “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Ac. 14:22).
- Heaven is for those who hold out to the end.
- Until the victory is fully ours, we must . . . continue. Cf. Hb. 12:1.
II. No Virtue More Important than Faithfulness, No Sin More Serious than Treachery
- No sin is more universally despised than treachery — no one admires a traitor.
- Judas — Mt. 26:14–16.
- Peter — Mt. 26:33–35.
- Commitment-keeping, count-on-ability — patience, endurance, steadfastness, perseverance.
- We can always count on God — can He count on us?
- Love for God and loyalty to Him are the keys — consider Joseph’s steadfastness in Gen. 39:9. Cf. David in Psa. 51:4.
- What kind of people are we? When tempted, will we be a Joseph or a Judas?
III. The Necessity of Growth
- Salvation is not just a fact, but a process — 2 Cor. 3:18.
- Salvation not just a status to be enjoyed, but a goal to be pursued — 1 Pt. 1:5,9,13. Cf. Tit. 1:2.
- Growth in holiness is what life in Christ is about — 2 Cor. 7:1.
- We must be patient in the process of growth — we must not give up before the process has reached its goal.
- Ultimately, the question is not when we have gotten what we wanted, but at what point God will have achieved His purposes in Christ.
IV. Our Promise to the Lord
- We must keep the promise implied in our confession — 1 Tim. 6:11–14.
- As with the marriage vow, the problem is not that we consciously revoke the vow we have made to the Lord — we simply get to the point where it doesn’t mean anything to us, and we begin acting in ways that are inconsistent with the commitment we have made. (We may not even see the inconsistency or recognize its seriousness.)
- “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Hb. 4:14). Cf. 10:23.
V. A Matter of Choice
- “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (Ac. 11:23).
- “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
- The key to keeping our commitment to God is our love for Him and gratitude for His grace — Jn. 14:23.
- Forgiven, we want to grow.
- We want to continue.
- Our most fervent desire is to be all our Father wants us to be, forever.
- As with all the highest forms of love, our love for God is a choice. Cf. Rev. 2:4,5.
- How binding is the promise you have made to remain faithful to the Lord?
- Does the Lord consider you trustworthy and count-on-able?
- If you have obeyed the gospel, can you say your life right now is one of obedience to the gospel? Is it your aim in everything you do to respond rightly to the gospel?
- I pray that one day you and I will be able to say, with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
- But this does not happen by accident — it comes from commitment. Deliberate choice, conscious decision.
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com