Last week we reviewed an overwhelming number of Scriptures which show very clearly that God never stops loving us. He never leaves us or give up in our failures. But we saw that Scriptures also overwhelmingly say we are free to walk away from Him at any time. With that Truth comes many honest and important questions that we all must ask ourselves because the answers to these dire questions will decide how some of you live your life now, and whether some of you are still with us in a hundred year.
The obvious first, and vitally important question is: How Do I Know If I've Left Him? This question surely will decide how securely I live my life as a follower of Christ. You can’t sin your salvation away. It is a matter of the heart, not a legality where He keeps score. If you love Him and fail Him, even repeatedly, you are secure. If you wrestle with sin all your life, if you fail in a huge way, you are secure in His love. But, if you begin to despise, or hate Him for something that has occurred in your life, or choose to love any sin in the world more than Him, You have made a conscious, purposeful decision to leave Him. Either, so you can justify your own righteousness over His, or, so you can have your own way in the world: 1 John 2:15. If a person has decided to walk away from Jesus, it will be very apparent in action and thought. It will not be guesswork. It is a clear, understood choice for the world over Him. But God never, never gives up on you.
Question Two: How Can You Lose A Gift? (Some people who have never realized how clearly Scriptures state that we can walk away from our Gift of Salvation). Answer: Because it is a gift. Have you ever been given a gift you didn’t want? What’d you do with it? Gave it back. Were Adam and Eve given eternal life—did they give it up? That is why God says it would have been better if you’d never had such an Amazing, Expensive Gift given to you, than to have the scorn to give it back, after realizing It's Worth.
Question Three: What Would Cause Someone To Give Up Such A Gift? Next question: what are some very real things that cause people to walk away, or give up on God? Are there Biblical examples and warnings of these things? Scripture is very clear about the things that steal our hearts away from the Lord. Some of you may, no doubt, be in these circumstances right now, but you are living a lie to yourself and the world about your true love. I read a number of stories and article about why people give up on God (from Christian and Non-Christian sources) and the results were not only heart-breaking and sobering, but they were all addressed by the Sovereign Word of God. Here are some of the main reasons people gave up on Christ: 1) People suffer persecution, hard times, or great loss which is supposedly, "Unfair Treatment" from God, and they just can't get over why God would allow such a thing in their lives if He was loving and He was real. Luke 8:13; James 1:12. The Greek word for, "trial" in this verse is peirasmos. People of Jesus' day expected a mighty, royal, delivering king. He disappointed many, because He was not what they wanted Him to be at that time. Have you ever been angry or offended at God because He was not what you wanted, or He did not do what you wanted? Many have fallen in times of discouragement, disappointment, great loss, failure—because they expected more of God or expected it in their time. That is a hard thing when you are faced with reality sometimes, unless you can truly love and trust Him, unless you can truly see, in faith that what comes from the cost of your suffering will one day be bigger than the cost of your suffering. Proverbs 3:5-7. 2) Because of the hypocrisy of Christians. Some people, having begun to serve God, are abused or mistreated by someone calling themselves a Christian, or, are not supported and loved as they feel they deserved in a time of need by Christians. First, both of these accusations if true, could be made of both posing Christians, and Christians (all imperfect). Therefore, Jesus pleads with His disciples on His last night with them: John 13:34-35. But, no one who is not already more focused on self over Christ can use this as their excuse. Focus on who Christ really is, not on how people who proclaim Him act. If this was your real, and only reason for wanting to turn from Him, you also would never see another doctor, lawyer, teacher, or restaurant cook because there are fakes and hypocrites in them all. 3) Plain and simple, the desire to live as the world. The crazy belief that the world is smarter than God, And cares more about their welfare and joy than Him: 2 Peter 2:20-22. We can sin, we can fight sin and lose sometimes, and God is with us through it all. It is when we begin to welcome that sin—over Him—that our hearts have begun to change, and it is our hearts, not our sin, that will take us away. Therefore, unguarded sin that one vice we won’t deal with will destroy our relationship with Christ and may take our hearts away from Him forever. Do you have something that you are not dealing with? 4) Following false teachings: 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Many people are being led away from Christ today by following deceptive teachers inside the church who teach things that are politically correct, or easier to follow by teaching doctrines that focus on loving and accepting self in our sins, over loving God, and bringing God to you on your terms, rather than serving Him. And we fall for them devoting ourselves to them over the One True God. But again, no one will be led astray if they have not already begun to care more for their wants and desires than God's: Galatians 1:6-8. 5) Giving up on God for Secular Explanations of Life. Some sincere Christians go off to college, only to return broken in their faith, and walking away from God. The world tries to tell you how uneducated and unintelligent you must be to believe in God, when science has disproven Him. The problem with that entire thought process, is that it is based upon a complete lie. A lie designed to give people the freedom to live and do as they would like in life, with no accountability, and unfortunately, no meaning. I simply challenge any who have fallen for this lie from Satan himself: look at the unbiased, objective evidence for your faith, and you will find that it is overwhelming. We have no time to delve into this, but as an eye-opening teaser for you to explore further. I simply say to you, that there is no evidence to destroy your faith in Christ which comes from objective science, but there are many reasons to strengthen it. Do not just take another's claims as a reason to deny the Truth of your Creator, research for yourself. Have you let anger or disappointment take you from Him? Let hypocritical people change your view of Jesus? Given up on Christ because of unfounded, biased opinions about origins? Chosen to follow a fake religion, or no religion, to embrace a particular sin? Then you should just be honest with yourself: you have walked away from Him. He will never give up on you, but, He will not accept those who truly do not love Him in their hearts either. Where are you, really? 6) Can I Come Home? It is a question with serious implications. I have met some with destroyed hopes that they would ever be allowed to come back to God again. The one verse they base this fear upon is: Hebrews 6:4-9. Understand this verse goes perfectly with all of the others. First note, God says they are, "Near to being cursed", not cursed forever. Secondly, note the comparison of someone turning from God is like the ground that takes in good things (water), and yet still gives out bad (thorns and briers). Meaning, if you know all there is to know about God's Sacrifice (Good thing), and you still choose to produce bad fruit, there is nothing else that can be said or done to change your mind. It is like saying there has been a Bridge built for you to cross a river, and you decide that you will not use that bridge. Is there any hope in crossing any other way? No. If you’ve chosen not to use it, no one can change you! You must come back to that bridge—that one bridge. If you don’t, you cannot be save any other way. God is saying, “If you reject the only Bridge I’ve given you, it is impossible to reach Me any other way.” He is not saying that you cannot come back to that one Bridge. If you could NOT come back to Christ after walking away, think for a moment about Adam & Eve: You have to ask, “Could anyone have ever known God closer than Adam and Eve?” They were completely sinless. They walked physically with Him in the Garden every day. Did they even there, have the freedom to choose to walk away? Did they take that freedom and choose to fall away? Did God make a way for even them to come back? The two who knew Him most intimately? Who had the least reason for doubt or despair? Did Jesus let Peter and the other disciples come back after forsaking Him? Later, in the New Testament, James instructs us to bring fallen brothers and sisters back again: James 5:19-20. And understand this: John 6:44. If you have the desire to come to Jesus, it is God working in your heart, you are still wanted. As a last, and powerful answer to you about being restored to God, look at the one story that Jesus gave which directly talks of this Truth: Luke 15:11-27. Notice what this story is already this saying He had two sons. The prodigal son started his journey as a legitimate son. Secondly, notice the son asked for what was rightfully his: inheritance. But in asking, he had begun to take for granted the part of his inheritance that meant most (Home, family, Name, security, future, fellowship). He only focused on the inheritance that he could use as he wished, with no ties or responsibilities, and his father let him leave the security of home by choice. Later, when the son came to himself, and realized all that he had given up, he came home, expecting to, at best, become a slave with protection. But, not only was the Father willing to take him back, after he left him—look at the attitude of the Father. The son had to smell of body odor, filth, and pigs (the worst for Hebrew culture), but the Father embraced the smell and filth of his returned son. Not only does Scripture say He will take you back, Jesus shows us in this powerful story: That He looks for you, longs for you. Will run to you if you make a move in His direction, and embrace you in all your dirt, no questions, put a robe on your back and a ring on your finger.
If you have left Him for any reason, He wants you back. But you have to be like that prodigal son: realize you have forsaken Him, come home humbly, and be embraced. Rest in the security that He will never leave us and we can't drive Him away, but be honest with yourself, about whether you have truly left Him or not, in pursuit of the world: 2 Timothy 4:7-9.
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