This sermon was preached by Ryan Rufus at City Church International in Hong Kong on Sunday 8th February 2009. I have decided in light of the exciting prophecies about the year that City Church International is going to have to follow their sermons weekly and transcribe each sermon.
"Can You Lose Your Salvation?"
I've got no time for introductions this morning so we are getting straight into it! Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 6:4 and I am reading from the King James Bible this morning. It is never good to just have one version. Always look at many versions and cross-reference and always look at the Greek. That way you avoid error. Hebrews 6:4;
"For it is impossible for those who have once been enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost and have tasted the good Word of God and have tasted of the world to come - if they shall fall away, to renew them again seeing as they crucify again to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to open shame".
Now - what does it sound like that Scripture is saying? If we read just those Scriptures without the context? That you can lose your salvation! It sounds like if you fall away then you are toast. Many people have preached these Scriptures out of context and have butchered these Scriptures and have butchered the Body of Christ as a result. There is a context here that you have to understand otherwise you are guaranteed to get these verses wrong.
(v4) actually starts with the word "For" - which shows what it is there for. He has just said a whole bunch of things and now says; "For it is impossible". So there is a context that we cannot ignore! I am going to go back where I feel the context begins to start. We are going to go back and build the context right back to these verses and by the time we get there you guys will know what these verses mean in their proper context without me even having to say. You can start in Hebrews chapter 1 but you don't have to go back that far. You can go back to Hebrews 4:14. I am going to read a few verses and then explain them and then move on;
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that has passed through the heavens - Jesus the Son of God - let us hold fast our profession".
"For every high priest taken from among men is ordained of men of things pertaining to God that he may offer gifts and sacrifices to God for sins".
"So Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest but He said unto Him; 'Thou art My Son - today I have begotten Thee' (v6) - 'Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek".
So here we start seeing the context being revealed. The writer of Hebrews introduces Jesus Christ as the superior high priest of a better covenant - a superior mediator of a better covenant and he is contrasting Jesus with the old Levitical priesthood and the old order of sacrifices and inferior priests with the new order of Jesus and the better sacrifices that Jesus offered. So we have to see that! The book of Hebrews does that a lot - it contrasts the inferior with the superior. The Old Testament Levitical priests are inferior - why? Because they offer an inferior sacrifice and they keep dying! Their sacrifice could never remove your sins - it could only temporarily cover them. They kept dying! That means God could never wrap up time and take people to heaven because the sacrifice could never remove their sins and you cannot have sins in heaven. The priest could not go to heaven and keep offering sacrifices because they weren't holy either. So if things continued under that old order of priesthood then no one could go to heaven!
That is why Jesus is superior because He offers a superior sacrifice - His own blood - that by one sacrifice He has dealt with EVERY sin for ALL time.
He is a High Priest and is revealed in the order of Melchizadek. You can read about him in Genesis 14. The big deal about Melchizadek is that he is a high priest forever. The actual big thing about him is that he has an indestructable life. Jesus is a high priest in the order of Melchizadek because He has an indestructable life and that means He will never die again! He offered a better sacrifice and He is an eternal High Priest! That means He mediates for us. 1 John 2 says that if we sin we have One who speaks in our defence - Jesus Christ and Hebrews 13 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forevermore! Often we use that for healing - which we can if we wanted. But He is not going to be healing forevermore in all eternity. There will be no need for healing in eternity. The Book of Hebrews reveals Jesus as the superior mediator for our sins and speaks on our behalf and He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Yesterday He dealt with our sins in the past. Today He is our mediator and deals with all our present sins and forevermore He is our mediator and deals with all our possible future sins!
So here we see the context starting to evolve. I want to read a few Scriptures. (v8); "Though He was a son yet learnt He obedience by the things which He suffered". What does that sound like!? Because people have also butchered that Scripture! It sounds like Jesus turned obedient through the things that He suffered. Well let me ask you the question - was Jesus ever disobedient? Did Jesus ever need to learn obedience? No! And if you actually study the original Greek it doesn't say that! It actually says that He REMAINED obedient through the sufferings. Why? Because He knew He was a son! He knew who He was in God! So He had great strength to persevere through anything He suffered, any persecution and He remained faithful and obedient to God.
The book of Hebrews is written to a people that are facing persecution. It gives them encouragement and strength in their faith and not to shrink back and throw away their confidence - but when you know you are a son of God and you know your place in the Kingdom in Christ Jesus then you can persevere through anything! (v9);
"And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him".
Another Scripture that has been messed up by people! See when you have a legalistic mindset you read the Scriptures wrong. But when you have a New Covenant mindset then you will unlock the Scriptures! Let me explain that one. Jesus was made perfect and we are in Him! Therefore we are made perfect! It is not a case of wondering if I am saved. Once we are in Him we receive ETERNAL salvation! "To all them that obey Him". Ah you see you have to obey Him to make sure you receive eternal salvation! It is talking about obedience to the truth. You can obey Moses and be obedient to the law or you can be obedient to Christ and be obedient to faith! Romans 1:5 says it gives an apostolic call to call Gentiles to the "obedience of faith". Faith is obedience! Works is disobedience as is unbelief! He is the Author of Salvation to everyone who has FAITH in Him! And faith only in Jesus. If you are in anyone else then you are imperfect just like they are.
Hebrews 13:20. How many of you thought that Jesus died for our sins and how come He didn't stay dead but was raised back to life? Hebrews 13:20 says He was raised back to life through the blood. Once that blood had been offered it was a perfect and acceptable sacrifice to God and once it had been offered it was a done deal and Jesus could be raised to life. The wrath of God was satisfied and sin had been dealt with once and forevermore! The one sacrifice for all sins for all time had been offered and therefore it was impossible for death to keep it's hold on Him. He was the Resurrection and the life. Once that sacrifice had been offered then resurrection life came forward and He came back to life.
(v10); "Called of God and high priest after the order of Melchizadek". See again he is trying to reveal Melchizadek. Then he stops for a while and explains a few things and then explains the incredible sacrifice and the high priest that is Jesus. The book of Hebrews is a very relevant Scripture for today because it was written to Hebrews - people under the law who were trying to do things to make themselves right with God. It was written to people in grace who had received the gospel and believed and had faith in Jesus. And it was written to Jews who were caught in between and thought they could have both. A mixture of law and grace. So sometimes they would try and offer sacrifices and sometimes they would try and believe in Jesus. That is exactly what is happening in the church today. There are people trying to keep the law and those who are born again and saved by grace and those caught in between and not sure where they are at.
(v11) - this is a key verse which many of us miss - "Of which we have many things to say and be uttered seeing as we are dull of hearing". So here Paul - sorry the writer of Hebrews! - which I believe was Paul. There was no one around at the time that had such a revelation of grace as this book reveals. He was trying to bring this incredible revelation of Melchizadek and of Jesus as a high priest forever and the sacrifice. He said it is hard to explain these things to you because you are dull of hearing! Dull of hearing - what does that mean?
Dull of hearing is a legalistic mindset and it is a law-based mindset! It is that Scripture in 2 Corinthians 3 that when the law of Moses is read, a veil covers their minds so that they cannot grasp the glory of the gospel of Christ. It is a legalistic mindset that makes them think that when they sin they must offer a sacrifice and then to be restored back to righteousness. That is a mind that is dull!
(v12); "The first principles of the oracles of God". The first things you hear when you hear the Gospel about Jesus. He is telling them that they cannot even accept the Gospel properly and think that one week you get saved, and the next week you sin and remember the law and then don't feel saved. So you go to church the next week and respond to an altar call again! It is because they sin and feel guilty and feel they should offer something to get rid of the guilt of that sin. If that was the case and one week you get saved and then sin and then get saved again - if you did need to get saved again then it means that Jesus needed to be crucified again. Because you are trying to offer the sacrifice of Christ again.
So when you have a dull mind or a legalistic mind it is hard to accept the first principles of the Gospel which is turning away from repentance from dead works and putting your faith in Jesus. Turning away from dead works - they are offering sacrifices to make yourself acceptable to God! They are dead works. Why? A once for all sacrifice has already been offered!
Under the Old Covenant you could offer sacrifices for your sin. That was a license to sin! You could go and sin and then go and take a lamb and offer it to the priest and get forgiveness for that sin! But when you come into Christ all that stops because His once for all sacrifice was offered and never ever needs to be re-offered and it cleanses you from sin and it covers every single sin once and forevermore!
So he is trying to tell them that you need to keep away from these dead works! That sacrifice has already been offered and if you continue in those dead works then no sacrifice exists. That is what is what Dad was talking about last week in Hebrews 10. Turn away from dead works and put your faith in Jesus. Only He offered the perfect sacrifice and is the eternal mediator for our sins forever!
(v13); "For everyone that uses milk is unskilled in the teachings of righteousness" (NIV). What is the teaching of righteousness? This is what Dad has been preaching about for the last 5 weeks - being established in the gift of righteousness. But he is saying here that you are struggling with the first principles of the Gospel. How can I go on and explain the incredible revelation of the gift of righteousness when you are not even established in it?
There are only two kinds of righteousness. Your righteousness (which is self-righteousness, legalism and works) and God's righteousness which is perfect righteousness and it is the GIFT of righteousness!
When you are behaving righteously it is not your righteousness - it is the gift of righteousness bearing fruit! Whose righteousness do you want to be in?! He is trying to get them established in the teaching of righteousness so that they will move away from self-rightousness and rest in God's righteousness!
(v14); "Strong meat belongs to those who are of age". What is that all about!? Some people get this Scripture wrong! They say that the more you study righteousness the more you will do more good and less evil. That is not what this Scripture is all about. It is saying that the more you get established in the gift of righteousness the more you will be able to discern between good and evil. Eating the meat of the Word is the teaching of righteousness - it is not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He is talking about eating from the tree of life! The more you do that the more you can discern between what is good - God, the gift of righteousness, faith, God speaking to you and telling you you are righteous in Him - and evil which is legalism, the devil speaking lies to you.
Hebrews 6:1; "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on to maturity .... doctrines .... ". Those are all the things you hear when you first hear the Gospel. He is saying that you need to move on from them. A lot of people use this Scripture to say "Come on you need to move on from grace. You taught us grace and now you need to tell us what to do! Let's move on to what we need to do!". That is not what the Word of God is saying here. He is speaking to a people that are struggling with the principles of the gospel. They don't even know whether they are saved or not. They are trying to offer Jesus again and again! And he is saying to them that we need to move on and understand that we don't need to offer Jesus again and again and again but ONCE was enough!
"For" (v4) "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened" - those who were born again - "... because you are crucifying the Son of God twice".
This Scripture is not trying to scare us with the possibilty that we can lose our salvation. It is trying to fill us with an absolute assurity that it is completely and utterly impossible to ever lose your salvation!
And I am going to tell you why! It is because when we got saved and came into Christ, we were united with Christ! It is because you and I when we got saved, when we came into Christ - we were united with Christ. This is good news! You are going to be blessed here! It is impossible for you to lose your salvation! We need to be filled with a confidence that it is impossible for us to lose our salvation! Imagine going through life wondering if we are actually saved or not and thinking when we die will we go to heaven? I don't know if I could live with that - the possibility of spending eternity in hell!
God wants us to be filled with a confidence and a boldness so that we can endure any sufferings and any persecutions and be filled with incredible strength and courage.
You were united with Christ and that word is much more powerful than you realise! "United" with Christ - you were united with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection the book of Romans says. Again in Ephesians it says we were united with Him in His ascension and even when He sat down on the throne, we are seated in heavenly places with Him!
In order for you to lose your salvation, God would have to kick you off the throne, He would have to descend you down to earth, He would have to kill you, put you in the grave, put your corpse back on the Cross and resurrect you back to spiritual death! But that's not all. Because you are united with Christ He would have to kick Christ off the throne, descend Christ, kill Christ again, put Him in the grave and then put Him back on the Cross. That will NEVER happen because Jesus has an indestructable life and it is impossible for Him to ever die again!
If Jesus can't die again then you can't die again! If you can't die again then you can never fall away! You can never lose your salvation!
I can keep going on and on saying that!
It is impossible for you to fall away because the life of Jesus won't allow it!
You are united with Him and He has an indestructable life! He is a high priest in the order of Melchizadek! For you to lose your salvation means you would have to die again but you cannot! That means you cannot fall away! If you could fall away to your shame you would be crucifying Jesus again. Do you see what that Scripture is saying?
Let me move on because it keeps getting better and better and better! There are a few verses after that which talk about those which are saved and those that aren't. Those that aren't saved cannot produce any fruit to God - anything they do isn't righteous but those who are saved can produce fruit. Read that along with Romans chapter 7 - they kind of tie in there. Then (v11) - and if you have an NIV then don't read it in the NIV because it gets it wrong. I have actually crossed out a line in my NIV because it interprets concepts and not the literal translation. So they interpret the concept wrong and have created an error in the Word. It is not the NIV that is the infalliable Word, it is the original writings that are - the Greek!
The NIV is good but in some places it gets it wrong because they are interpretations. Anytime you go from Greek to English then things get lost. I am going to read (v11) in the KJV;
"And we desire that everyone of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end".
"The full assurance of hope" is the hope that you and I can never fall away and that we are in Christ, children of God and that God will never reject us or turn us away. We have an incredible hope because we know that we can go through this life knowing that we are going to be with God forever and ever in all eternity and that He will never hold our sins against us. This is an incredible hope that we have.
Some people have interpreted this Scripture to say; "You need to hold onto this hope to make the hope sure and certain". That is absolute RUBBISH - they have missed the point completely! Let me read (v11) - what must we show the same diligence to? To the full assurance of hope unto the end. You have full assurance of hope and you can hold onto it through anything you face because you already have it! Let me prove that by going to (v19); "Which hope we HAVE as an anchor for the soul both sure and steadfast". See we have this hope! It can never move! Even if you don't hold out to the end and for some reason you bail out - God doesn't bail out on you because you have this hope as a guarantee and it has already anchored you.
You are in Christ and that is it! We have this hope as an anchor for our soul and our minds so that when we do face persecution and temptation - we can stand strong because we know God will not kick us out and judge us! God is for us and not sending punishment but He is endorsing us and is for us! How can we have this guarantee? How can we have this hope? What gives us such confidence?
(v17); "the immutability" - that means the unchanging nature - "of His counsel" - that is this hope. "Confirmed it by an oath that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie - we might have a strong consolation" - that is we might be greatly encouraged - "who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set upon us". We can be greatly encouraged and fully assured in this hope of eternal salvation because of two things God promised us on oath. What are those two things he is talking about? He swore on an oath about these two things and it is impossible to lie! Once He swears an oath it WILL happen!
These two things are the New Covenant code that we need to crack and until we crack it our minds will still be dark. Until we crack this code we still see things through a legalistic mindset. Once you crack that code you will be able to interpret any Scriptures that are difficult and see them through New Covenant lenses.
1. The first one is the once for all sacrifice that completely deals with all of our sins and makes us perfect.
(Hebrews 10:12); "But this Man Jesus after He had offered one sacrifice for sins" - that's for all sins - "forever, sat down at the right hand of God until His enemies be made His footstool". (v14); "For by one offering He had perfected forever them that are sanctified". By one sacrifice He has made us perfect ... for how long? As long as we hold onto the hope? Forever! If God has made you perfect then nothing and noone can make you unperfect! (v15); "wherefore the Holy Ghost is a witness". He is a witness in a court of law! The Holy Spirit is our counsellor and our defence and when the devil comes and accuses us of this sin or that sin then He stands up and says; "Father remember You swore an oath to never, ever relate to them through their sins and their performance but through Christ's performance on their behalf".
2. The second is that Jesus Christ is in the order of Melchizadek.
The book of Hebrews reveals Jesus as the superior Mediator of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7); "God swore an oath that Jesus is a high priest forever under the order of Melchizadek". That means "forever" He has an indestructable life. And He mediates for us EVERY sin! We have an eternal Mediator - one who goes to the Father in our defence! We never even have to fear again! What a hope we have!
God will open your eyes and you will see something and will no longer be fearful about this message. If you tell people that by one sacrifice then God got rid of your sins and there is no more punishment then what's to stop them going out and sinning? That will produce Christians who want to commit crazy sins surely! That's taking restraints off them Ryan! What about the warning Scriptures?!
There is not ONE warning Scripture about losing your salvation to New Covenant believers.
It is rubbish to couple the grace of God with the warning passages!
Why are people so scared of this message of grace? I will tell you why - because they haven't seen their salvation. They haven't seen the supernatural miracle that took place in the Spirit of a person when they got born again. So many Christians still believe that the heart of a Christian is evil beyond cure and quote Jeremiah 17:9. Our hearts were evil beyond cure and God didn't cure it! He replaced it! He removed our hearts of stone and gave us hearts of flesh!
They think that Christians have got this evil in them and a sinful nature and that sinful nature will drive them into sin! Colossians 2:11 says He circumcised us of the sinful nature through Christ - that means He REMOVED it! That means He took it out! It is gone! Circumcision doesn't come back or reattach! It's dead! Romans 6:6; "For we know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be done away with". I hear people saying; "That's the body that wanted to sin". No it's not! The body of sin is the entity that was living inside of us! Indwelling sin - the personality of sin - the driving force of sin that Adamic nature and the fallen nature produces that wants to sin.
That was an evil nature but then God circumcised us of that nature and cut it out of us! Sin was not the effect. It was the cause. God removed the cause - the sinful nature. Temptation is external and God has regenerated your spirit and made your spirit perfect. 2 Corinthians 5:17; "A New Creation". Our body is still a part of the old creation order that was subject to frustration so it will still decay. Your mind will still be embedded in the corrupt wisdom of this world. But our spirit is a NEW creation! It has been alive with Christ!
It means that our spirit has become a part of the new creation order! That means our spirit is perfect and nothing else needs to happen to our spirit. One day our minds and our bodies will become a part of the new creation order. And will catch up - but nothing will happen in our spirits because we have already received perfection in our spirits and have already received the new creation order in our spirit. Colossians 2:8, 10 - "In Christ all the fullness of the deity dwell ... and you have been given fullness in Christ". Your spirit has come into the new creation order!
Nothing of the old creation order was put back in your spirit! The sinful nature was not put back in your spirit! Evil was not put back in your spirit! You have the fullness of God's love, His faith, His power, His character, His nature. It says in Ephesians 3 that our spirits have His nature in our spirits! Our spirit wants to live absolutely righteous for God. If you could live just by your spirit then you would live absolutely righteous, absolutely obedient and fruitful unto God! It is our body and our mind that get in the way.
Preaching the law takes people out of the spirit and back into the flesh and into their mind. Preaching grace awakens our spirit and causes our spirits to rise up in who we are in Christ and we begin to live by our spirits and the things that are in our spirits! So preach grace and don't preach law!
This year we are going to live more and more from our spirits and all the riches of God and it will just come out.
Terry Virgo says that this year is going to be a tough year for the legalists!