Jump Start #3262
Jump Start # 3262
Hebrews 6:6 “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.”
Our Lord was crucified once. He did that by His choosing. However, there is a sense in which Jesus is put to death again and again. This time, it’s not by His choice, but by our disobedience. The disciple who quits following Jesus and falls into the arms of the devil, finds himself in a deep, deep hole, often one in which he cannot get out. All things are possible with God, but with a dark heart that doesn’t want to change, that bottom of that pit seems endless.
Apostasy. Falling away. Departing. All words that describe the sad end of a journey that began joyous, confident and hope filled. What happened? Why? Many answers to those questions, but mostly, because a person loved the world more than they loved the Lord. The world is easier. The world is full of support for what is wrong. It is interesting, that I continue to hear about restaurants that are closing. Yet, I never hear of a bar that closes. They pack people in each night to drink away their troubles and dance with the devil. It’s always easier to go down hill than it is to go up hill.
How do we avoid such a sad, sad ending to our faith? How do we keep from falling away?
First, we need to feed on the Bible to be healthy and strong Christians. Our faith comes from the word of God. So, the more of the word that is in us, the stronger our faith will be. With a strong faith, we will recognize the temptation and troubles from the Devil. With a strong faith, we hold on to the promises of God and turn away from the fickle glitter that Satan offers. With a strong faith, the winds blow, the water rises, the storm clouds gather, yet, we stand. We stand firm. We stand upon that solid rock. Oh, the things a strong, strong faith in Jesus Christ will do for us.
Second, we need to study the Bible to be an intelligent Christian. Being fooled by the devil happens to those who do not know. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is Satan’s tool to chip away at what we thought we believed. Satan deceives. Satan tricks. Satan crosses things up. He got to Eve. Some wouldn’t recognize error if it came up to them and introduced itself to them. We must speak Biblically. We must be careful and accurate with God’s word. No getting close. No “it’s in there somewhere.” Find the place. Be intelligent. Know God’s word. Knowing God’s word is the bridge to knowing God.
Third, we need to memorize the Bible to be skillful Christians. Knowledge in practice is simply wisdom. Knowing what to say and when to say it. Knowing when to walk away and when to stay. Knowing what God expects. The mature in Hebrews is described as “because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Some of us are just out of practice. We need to get off the bench and into the game of life with God’s word. There will be so many occasions in your life that you won’t have a Bible at your fingertips. But knowing, because you have memorized, will strengthen you, comfort you and help you. Memorizing isn’t easy for some. Get a 3 x 5 card and write down a passage. Say it over and over and over until you have it locked in your memory. Understand what that passage is teaching.
Fourth, we need to meditate upon the Bible to be fruitful Christians. This is where application comes. It’s from a heart that has fed on God’s word, and now it looks for ways to use that in his own life. The Bible will shape you and change you. Spiritual fruit is more than words, it’s actions. It’s grace given. It’s forgiveness offered. It’s gentleness and kindness. It’s being thoughtful. It’s changing your heart to be like Jesus. It’s developing a servant attitude. It’s opening your eyes and seeing Jesus. It’s seeing that the fields are white unto harvest.
Fifth, we need to apply the Bible to be obedient Christians. Doing what God says not only illustrates an understanding in our relationship, but it is a demonstration of our love for God. If you love me, Jesus said, keep My commandments. To love God is to do what God says. This is true as a disciple, a family and a congregation. The details do matter. How you get there matters. Exodus tells us that the tabernacle curtains were held by fifty rings. Fifty. Not forty-five. Not sixty. Someone had to count them. Someone had to get this right. Details in the length of boards, the color of curtains, and the number of rings to hold up those curtains, shows a respect for God’s authority. Stop looking for a way to disobey God. Stop playing word games with the Scriptures.
Running through all five of these points is the Bible. That’s the key. Connecting with the Bible. Staying with the Bible. Using the Bible. Following the Bible. Preaching the Bible. That will keep a person strong and pointed in the right direction.
Apostasy begins when we walk away from the Bible. When we believe that we have outgrown the Bible. When we think culture shapes the Bible.
Apostasy doesn’t have to happen. Stay close to the word and the word will keep you close to the Lord.