Friday, August 10, 2007


Your Eternal Security

John 10:26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

We are so security conscious. I mean it's just obvious that everybody wants to be secure in a number of different ways. Militarily, we want to be secure as a nation. PM John Howard has decided that he would take military action in order to be certain that we remain secure, whether you agree with the action or not.
We all want to be secure in a financial world and so many of us are so involved in the sense of uneasiness about how the stock market goes up and down, and up and down. We wonder, "Am I going to have enough to retire on, can I stay retired, do I have to go back to work, does it really matter, how do I know if I'll even have a job next week?" We are consumed with security, militarily and financially; but individually we're also consumed with it. We wonder, "Who is it that is possibly going to threaten my life?" We have double dead locks on our doors and on our windows to protect our stuff, and ourselves.
But you know the greatest security of all has nothing to do with what we do as a country, what we do with our personal finances, or even what we do with our own physical security. It is our spiritual security that we must be concerned with.
Can you imagine the emotional state of a child who does not know from day to day whether or not he is a member of the family? Today, since he was a good boy, he is considered a member. But tomorrow, if he misbehaves, he may no longer be a member. Today he is loved by his father. Tomorrow he may not be. This child would be a neurotic mess! You are a part of your family, regardless of your behavior. So it is in the family of God, too. If you belong to Christ, you are part of the family, and can enjoy the emotional security our Heavenly Father wants us to experience. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).
Psychologists tell us security is essential to life and especially to relationships. In relationships feeling secure creates acceptance, safety and it helps foster love. Take away security in a relationship and you destroy trust and confidence and ultimately you have no relationship.

As we examine John 10:27-29, we're going to be dealing with the simple topic of spiritual security. I trust you will understand that this is not just something that you probably already know and will never forget; but it's something that needs to be reexamined time and time again. I think that of all the Bible doctrines we have, perhaps the most difficult one for people to genuinely fix their eyes and their focus on is that of eternal security. We feel a sense of insecurity at times. "Have I gone too far away from God?" "Have I wandered so far that He's forgotten who I am and what's going on?" "Is there really a way for me to know absolutely that 'once saved always saved' is true (and is that true), and is that what we teach, and is that what we believe?"

John 10:27, Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."Let's look at two words before we really get deeper into this study. I want you to think with me about the two words never and perish.Perish: The word "perish" of course means to simply be without life. If you were to fall into a swimming pool and it was the dead of winter, you would gasp for breath and you would cry out to someone, "Please rescue me, get me out of this place." You would feel that you were perishing.Never: Now the word "never" is quite obvious as well. The word "never" simply means that it's just not going to happen. The promise of the scripture here is that we will never perish. I want you to note with me that as the scripture uses those words, it doesn't use them lightly.

Now could I ask you a couple of questions before we go deeper? If we can lose our salvation, then I ask - how many sins do you have to commit in order to lose that salvation? Do you have that answer? Is it two, is it three, is it four, five, is it a dozen? How many sins would you have to commit before you genuinely lose your salvation, if it were true that you could?
Now I ask a second question. Which sins would they be? Would they be murder, would they be adultery, would they be profanity or would it be the smaller sins, as we call them, like gossip or anger or how about just not tithing? Is that enough to lose your salvation?
How far can one wander away from God and still rightly be called a Christian? Well I don't know that, but I do know that too many times we blur the lines between and salvation and our relationship with Christ and fellowship with Christ. What we've got to remember is that it's not a matter of losing our relationship with Christ; it's sometimes a matter of losing our fellowship with Him. When we lose our fellowship with Him, sometimes we feel like He's let us go. But He never has and He never will. He said He would never leave us, He would never forsake us and He said that those who come to Him would never perish.
Now let me go back to that word "never" just for a moment. Jesus used this word on two other occasions when He spoke. The first was at the grave of Lazarus as He was there and He said to Martha, "Whoever lives and believes in me (listen to this) will never die." He also used it at the occasion in John 11:26 and John, chapter 4, when he had an encounter with the woman at the well. Here's what He said to her, "Whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst again." Never! When Christ says "never", He means NEVER. It is a powerful promise that you will never ever perish. They will never suffer the utter loss of salvation, is what He is saying.

There are three things I want you to see. I believe that our spiritual security is based upon these three things:
I. Our Security Is Based On The Guidance of God (v. 27)
I Know Them
How can we know if we are elect? Maybe we are just fooling ourselves. Maybe we will be lost eternally because we will discover at the end of time, when its just to late that we really never ever truly knew the Lord Jesus.
Matt 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only]the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
How can we know if we are really those whom He knows.
a. The ear mark of Christ’s Sheep
My Sheep hear My Voice
Sheep are unusual animals in that they respond more to sound than to sight; to what they hear than what they see. In Jesus’ day most villages had communal sheep pens that housed the animals at night. To round up his sheep and leave for the day of feeding and grazing in the countryside a shepherd would call out to his sheep who upon hearing the familiar voice of their shepherd would follow him out of the pen. Likewise, they would run from any stranger trying to round them up. Same is pretty much true today. Sheep respond to the familiar call of their shepherd.
Same is also true with believers in Jesus Christ. Christians are those who choose to follow his voice and learn to how to discern the voice of Jesus Christ amidst the competing voices that want our attention, time, energy.
It’s kind of like young parents and crying children. If you go to any gathering where there will be lots of parents and lots of kids you will be amazed at how an attentive parent can pick out the voice and the cries of their child amidst the din and noise of the crowd. Parents have learned to discern the cries of their child. How? Because they have been with their child, they have spent time with their child. They have heard their child cry.
Sheep learn to discern the voice of their shepherd because they spend time with him. Christians learn to discern the voice of Jesus Christ, the good shepherd because they spend time with him. Sheep also learn to follow where the shepherd leads them.
Hebrews 4 1 Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear so that none of you should miss it. 2 For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith
How you hear is pretty important.. Mark 4* Verse 3: His first word to the crowds is, "Listen!"
* Verse 9: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 23: "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 24: "Consider carefully what you hear!"
* Verse 33: "Jesus spoke the word to them, [literally] as much as they could hear."

b. The hoof mark of Christ’s Sheep. "follow"
Sheep learn to follow the shepherd because over time they realize the shepherd takes care of them. Every night before it beds down a sheep needs three things: 1) A full stomach (sounds just like a man to me!) 2) Water 3) Nose and eyes cleared out with a rag. (Definitely sounds like a man!) Shepherds carefully do these things for sheep. As a result sheep learn to follow where the shepherd leads them.
But, what about the rebellious sheep? The one who doesn’t follow the shepherd? What does the shepherd do about that sheep? The shepherd does something that sounds awful, but amazingly is really a loving thing to do. He breaks a leg of the sheep . . . he breaks their leg so they cannot walk . . . then, he carries the sheep on his shoulders until the sheep heals and can walk again. Why does he do this? During recuperation the shepherd and sheep form a deep bond and the sheep learns to trust the shepherd and follow his leading. In essence, pain teaches the sheep to depend on the shepherd, to trust the shepherd.
Isn’t that true of us as well? While I rejoice in successes in life it is most often through pain I learn how wonderful Jesus Christ, my shepherd, is. It is through difficulties I learn I can trust Jesus Christ, my good shepherd. King David had it right in Psalm 23, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff; they comfort me."
Good sheep learn to follow where the shepherd leads, no matter where he leads, because they learn the shepherd can be trusted, because the shepherd is good. And they live secure.
Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." So friend it's a matter of knowing His voice, following His guidance, not backing off and sticking with Him.

II. Our Security Is Based On The Grace Of God (v. 28)
"I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of my hand.
"Have you ever wondered how long we really are secure in His hands? Of course you have and that's what the issue of spiritual security is all about. How long are you really there and can you genuinely come out of His hands? It reminds me of these guys who pulled up to a lumber yard in their old pickup truck and they came to the guy at the counter. He said, "Can I help you?" and they said, "Yeah, I want a four by two." He said, "You mean a two by four?" One of the fellows said, "Well I don't know; I'll be right back." So he scrambled out of the store and goes back to the truck and asks whoever is in the truck and he comes back in to the counter and he says, "Yeah, I guess I need a two by four." So the clerk behind the counter said, "How long? How long do you need this?" He said, "Well I don't know; I'll be right back." So he goes out and he's gone five minutes, ten minutes, finally he comes back in and he says to the clerk, "Well, we're going to need it a long time; we're building a house."
You know folks some of us are pretty thick and we just don't get it! When God said, "You'll never perish," He meant a long time because He's preparing for us a powerful, wonderful house. In fact, it's a mansion! He said, "If I go, those who believe in me will also be with me that where I am you might be also. I say these things to you that you might know and you might understand that you'll never, never perish." It's a matter of the grace of God. Did you notice there that it's a gift to us and that it's not a loan? It really is. It's simple folks. God doesn't take it back when He gives it. It is a gift.
It is by the grace of God that we receive the gift of salvation. Now it comes with a price, though. You've got to be willing to come and get it. You've got to be willing to take your sin and ask for His forgiveness, and He will come and enter into your life and He will never take it back from you. It is not a loan. It is not a phony bill. It is the real deal. What Jesus is saying to us here is simply that our security is based upon the grace of God: "And I give unto them eternal life and they shall not ever perish."
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These are two sides to a gift, giving and receiving. Both are essential to complete the gift. Nothing is more humiliating to the giver than to have the gift slighted or spurned. But it can only be offered. God loves you and He has offered you eternal life through His Son. Have you receive His Son? You have? Then the gift of eternal life is yours right now!
Eternal life begins the very moment you receive the Lord Jesus, and it never ends. It's called "eternal life", not conditional life. It's not restricted, nor does it come with reservations. It's not temporary life, temporary because of some transgression; nor short-lived because of some sin; nor brief because of some backsliding. It's eternal, and that which is eternal never ends.

III. Our Security Is Based On The Greatness Of God (v. 29)
"My Father who has given them to me, he is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
Now I want to direct your attention all the way back to the very first verse in the beginning of the Bible, it's Genesis 1:1, the Book of Beginnings. You know what it says, don't you? You remember it says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water." Here is the beginning of the story of all creation but I want to take you back to that first phrase, "In the beginning God created..." Now the Hebrew word for God there is the word Elohim. It is used in the scripture in the Old Testament over 2,550 times. It is a popular, powerful word; and I literally mean that because the word Elohim does mean powerful. What it's saying here is that in the beginning the power, the power of God Himself, the One to whom all power belongs, He created the heavens and the earth.
The second and interesting word there is the word created. It is the Hebrew word bara and it speaks to us about God creating something from nothing. Now folks when I speak about the greatness of God, I'm talking about a God who made something from absolutely nothing!

"But," you may say, "the Bible does say 'no man' is able to pluck a Christian out of the hand of Christ. But Satan can." Never! If this were true, it would make Satan stronger than the Savior; and that is not the case! The Bible distinctly declares that Satan is a defeated foe.
It's interesting to note that the word "man" isn't in the original text. The passage should read, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand." The word "any" means more than mere man. It includes the devil and his demons, angels and any being of any kind. They can tempt and tease, but they can't seize.
"Oh," you may say, "I know a man who professed conversion and joined the church. He worshipped and he worked. He taught and he tithed. He sang and he served. But he has gone back on the gospel and God. He's living a life of sin and shame. Doesn't that contradict the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer?" No, it doesn't. It's written in 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." It's impossible to talk and walk like a Christian and yet not to be a Christian. Many defaulters have been called backsliders when, in reality, they never had been Christians at all. Peter speaks of them in 2 Peter 2:22, "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire." They weren't sheep. But they were thought to have been sheep. A following of the Savior proves their new birth, but a wallowing in sin proves that they were never born again.
It may be that you're saying, "I see now that the devil, his demons, and his disciples can't get any of God's children. But if one sins, the Lord will cast him out." No, a thousand times, no. He said in John 6:37, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." He didn't cast out Peter when he denied Him, or Mark when he disappointed Him, and He won't cast you out. You'll be convicted, and you'll be cleansed when you confess your sins; but you won't be cast out.
The apostle Paul brings this out in a comforting way. He wrote in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." When was your beginning day? When you receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior. The start in the guarantee of the finish. The Bible clearly and definitely promises, "He...will perform it." You may be very difficult, but in spite of it, you may be "confident" the Lord never leaves anything unfinished. The commencement is the guarantee of the continuation until the completion.
Our Lord made a startling statement in John 6:39 that bears this out. He said, "This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise up again the last day." What is the Father's will? That He should "lose nothing" or "no one". For you to doubt the security of the saved, you're saying in effect to the Lord, "You're going to lose some of us." But our Lord replies kindly, "I shall lose none."

Now I want to go back to those two little words again, never perish. As we go back to John, chapter 10 once more, I want to remind you that as the scripture speaks to us here it is really a double negative.
"They shall not never perish." Now that's bad English, but that's great Bible. "They shall not never perish." It's a double negative but there's a powerful positive that comes at the end, at the conclusion of what Jesus was saying. He said that no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand and I and the Father are one. Do you see what's happening here? You're in the hands of Jesus and you're in the hands of the Father. They are one. The double positive is that you shall not never, ever perish if you've genuinely been once saved, if you really genuinely know Him and have come to trust Him with all your heart. Peter declared that we're kept by the power of God through faith and salvation (I Peter 1:5). I believe that and I trust that.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul tho' all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake.

Sheep in Jesus day were kept not for food but for their wool. As a result, the sheep and shepherd stayed together for years; they developed a relationship and typically the shepherd would have names for his sheep. In addition, the shepherd slept each night at the gate of the sheep pen and he was always close by when they grazed. All this left the sheep feeling very secure about their relationship with the shepherd.
Jesus desires us to have that same sense of relationship, connection with him. That’s why he calls himself the good shepherd . . . it’s a picture of relationship, of connection, of belonging, of security.
Jesus emphasized that when he said, "My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
So, is Jesus Christ your shepherd? Are you one of his sheep? Are you listening to his voice? Are you following where he wants to lead you? Can you say what King David said years ago, what countless others say and sing, today, "The Lord is my shepherd?"
I hope so. There is no better shepherd to follow than Jesus Christ. He is the good shepherd.

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