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FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH!

David L. Odom

Revelation 2:10

"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

Many today are being taught that once you are saved, you are always saved!

They are told that you cannot do anything to 'lose' your faith, and be lost!

This comes from a false teaching often referred to as: 'once saved, always saved'; also called 'perseverance of the saints', and 'eternal security'.

One of the Scripture's used to try and teach this false doctrine is

Romans 8:38, 39

"38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 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."

The above is certainly true, but there is ONE exception, OURSELVES!

Hebrews 6:4-6

"4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame."

Notice, that as long as they continue to crucify to themselves the Son of God (practice sin), and put Him to an open shame, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance!

So, in being stewards (servants, workers) for God, we must be faithful to our Creator in doing His will above all else!

1 Corinthians 4:2

"Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."

Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit that we MUST have!

Galatians 5:22-24

"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

These are attributes we must be involved in applying to our faith in order to be faithful unto God!

2 Peter 1:3-11

"3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 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; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."    

1 Peter 4:8-11

"8 above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covers a multitude of sins: 9 using hospitality one to another without murmuring: 10 according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11 if any man speaketh,'speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministers, ministering as of the strength which God supplies: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

This involves 'growing in God's grace'

2 Peter 3:17, 18

"17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

Therefore, we are to accomplish these 'works' from God in order to be faithful!

Notice these instructions from our Creator:

2 Corinthians 7:1

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

"3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh 4 (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full."

Colossians 1:9-12

"9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."

Philippians 2:12, 13

"12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

When we allow God to work in us through our application of His word to our lives, He gives us that ability to properly please Him above all else, by doing His will, His works!

But, can we boast in doing His will? MOST CERTAINLY NOT!

Luke 17:10

"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done."

So, how important is our being 'faithful' to our Creator?

Psalms 4:23, 24

"23 O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. 24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD."

This brings us to a question I want to ask you:

What kind of soil is YOUR HEART?

Luke 8:11-15

"11 Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance."

Have you properly heard the Word of God?

Are you responding to it correctly?

Are you holding it fast, that is, being faithful to God's Word?

Are you bearing fruit with perseverance, patience, endurance?

I want to encourage you to study your Bible on this subject, and see what God teaches, and believe that, and nothing else!

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

Hear, learn, and come to Jesus Christ!

John 6:44, 45

"44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."

HOW?

By believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that He is Immanuel, the Messiah, the Word!

Matthew 1:23

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call His name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us."

John 4:25, 26

"25 The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' 26 Jesus said to her, ' I who speak to you am He.' "

John 1:1, 14

"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth"

John 8:24

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS IN A MENTAL BELIEF ONLY (called Faith Only)

By repenting of our sins!

Luke 13:3

"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Acts 2:38

"Peter said to them, ' Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' "

Acts 17:30, 31

"30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!

By confessing Christ before men!

Matthew 10:32, 33

"32 Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

Romans 10:9, 10

"9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, unto salvation."

1 Timothy 6:12-16

"12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."

BUT YOU DO NOT RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!

By being baptized into Christ!

NOTE: This is immersion in water 'INTO CHRIST'

for (UNTO, IN ORDER TO) the forgiveness, the remission of your sins!

This is NOT sprinkling or pouring!

John 3:5

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' "

Romans 6:1-7

 "1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin."

Acts 2:37-42

"37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' 38 Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.' 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

Notice in the above Scripture that only those who 'received his word' obeyed the gospel!

John 1:12

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

Have you yet been involved in the 'new birth' from above?

Have you yet been baptized for the correct reason?

Some are baptized today because they have been taught they have already been saved by 'faith only', and that water immersion is only an 'outward sign of an inward change'!

BUT NOTICE THAT 'PREACHING JESUS' INCLUDES WATER BAPTISM!

Acts 8:35-39

"35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?' 37 [And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing."

Acts 10:47, 48

" 'Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?' 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days."

This is where we meet His soul saving blood (figuratively of course) which washes away our sins!

Revelation 1:5, 6

"and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood" 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Acts 22:16

"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."

I Peter 3:20-22

"20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."

There is not any power in the water (water salvation), but it is DOING what God commands us to do, in HIS WAY , according to HIS TRUTH, which is an appeal to God for a good conscience through Christ's resurrection, by doing His will!

Also notice that is how Jesus purchased His church, with His own blood!

But why are people telling us today that the church isn't important!

Acts 20:28

"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

Therefore we read:

1 Corinthians 12:13

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

Christ Jesus is the Savior of this body, the church, which is His kingdom!

Ephesians 5:23

"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."

Matthew 16:15-19

"15 He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' 16 Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 17 And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.' "

The rock upon which Christ's church was built was the Truth which Peter had just stated that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God! The Lord's church was NOT built upon Peter!

Ephesians 1:22, 23

"22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."

Ephesians 4:4-6

"4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."

Notice only one body, which is His church, His kingdom, just as there is only one baptism, which is water immersion into Christ!

This is how we put Christ on!

Galatians 3:26-29

"26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."

YES, YOU DO RECEIVE REMISSION (FORGIVENESS) OF SINS AT THIS POINT IN OBEDIENCE!

Notice the examples of conversion in the book of Acts:

Salvation

Stairway

Are you in this church you read about in the New Testament?

Have you correctly put Christ on yet?

 

The churches of Christ (non-institutional)

 

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Our God, He Is Alive!