Seven questions about “Once Saved Always Safe”

…and they shall never perish….” (John 10:28)

(What follows is not Baptist doctrine.  This has nothing to do with denominationalism.  This is about the Bible.  It’s about the clear teaching of Jesus.  Thank you.)

Can you unfry an egg?  Can you uncook a casserole? Return a house to the trees it once was? Can you be unborn and stop being your father’s child?

After being saved, coming to know Christ and being genuinely forgiven and accepted and transformed by the Holy Spirit of God into something far different from what you were, you cannot undo that.

Once saved, always.

Once saved, always that.  Once saved, always safe.

To say otherwise, and to preach it as gospel, might be something akin to insulting the Holy Spirit.

It might be. Certainly, it’s worth giving this some serious thought.

My friend and her husband have been trying to find the church where the Lord wants them.  She sent me a message.

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People who sound like hell

“Cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

“In thy presence there is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

If the atmosphere of heaven is joy and praise, then the noxious fumes of hell must be saturated with  equal parts anger, complaining, bitterness and blaming.

Scriptures keep telling us that the atmosphere around the throne of Heaven is praise and joy and gratitude. In other words, worship.

–There is Psalm 16:11 (above) which is as good as we could ask for.

–In John’s vision of Heaven which we call Revelation,  he tells us that near the throne stood “four living creatures, each having six wings…. Day and night they do not cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, The Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come’” (Revelation 4:8).  Around the throne, the praise is continuous.

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Don’t blame God for your cowardice

“For God has not given us the spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7)

The spirit of cowardice lives and thrives in churches these days. It has a corner in the office of many a pastor, and makes whimpering sounds familiar to many of us….

–“You don’t want to do that. It might rock the boat.”

–“Deacon Crenshaw will be upset if you preach that. I wouldn’t.”

–“Back off on that vision God gave you. You’re going to lose some members if you push that.”

–“Pastor, you must not oppose the power group in your church. They ran off the last three preachers.”

–“The biggest giver in the church is threatening to withhold his tithes if you persist in letting those people come to our church.”

We surely don’t want to offend anyone, do we?

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The mistake liberal churches make which we must not

For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14).

“Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).

Okay, maybe the title is a misnomer. The typical liberal church–as this Southern Baptist farm boy sees it, anyhow–makes a dozen serious errors, some of them monumental.  But this one is about as big as they come.

The typical liberal church overestimates people.

They think people are better than they are.

To  test this,  visit the typical church of certain denominations and pay attention.  There will be no mention of man’s being in need of redemption, little or no reference to sin at all, and thus no need to offer the salvation of Christ which involves His death on the cross, His shed blood, and His resurrection.  All the teaching and every reference implies that we are all God’s children, each one saved, each one headed for Heaven.

Man just needs to do right, make the right choices, and he’s in.  Well, let me rephrase that.  He’s already “in.”  Everyone is “in,” according to the typical liberal theology.

Liberals overlook one fundamental fact: Man is lost. We are constitutionally unable to rise above our sinful natures by ourselves. We need help of a radical kind.

We need a Savior.

If one misses that, he misses everything.

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Gentleness: The Christlikeness God is trying to produce in us

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…. (Galatians 5:22-23)

“Would the gentleman from North Carolina please yield the floor?”

“The gentle lady from California makes a good point.”

The U.S. Senate may be the last place in this country where people are recognized as being gentle. It’s a nice trait. “Gentle” means you are not bombastic, not mean-spirited, not rude or unkind or harsh.

My goal is to become more gentle in this life.

Various translations make this “kindness” and “goodness.” Same difference, I suppose, although there is something about “gentleness” that weighs heavily on my mind.

Did you hear about the preacher who was protesting a “gay and lesbian pride” march winding its way through the French Quarter? According to the reports, the minister was preaching to the participants in harsh and condemning tones. At one point, a woman decided that this angry man of God (we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) needed a hug. So, she stepped out of the crowd, walked over to him, and kissed him.

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What to do after your moronic two minutes

Pastor, have you ever had a meltdown in the pulpit?

A few years back, two Atlanta radio jocks were fired for their on-air mocking of a New Orleans icon, former Saints football player Steve Gleason who has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), lives in a wheelchair and speaks through a computer.

They made fun of him, parodied his situation, and someone role-played Steve speaking of his coming death and such.

It was the ultimate in offensive.

Later, one of the terminated idiots (I’m so objective in this story, as you can see) said, ‘What were we thinking?” The jocks apologized, and in a subsequent story, Gleason said he accepted their apology.

One of the men called it “a moronic two minutes.”

No argument.

I can sympathize.

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Getting rid of some statues is biblical

The Bible endorses monuments of some kinds and condemns others.

They erected a pile of stones a day’s journey from the Jordan as a reminder of God’s leadership during the Exodus.  In fact, they even set up a similar pile in the middle of the Jordan so that, in times of drouth when the water level dropped, everyone would see that as a reminder that God led them through those dark days.

They set up a stone memorial and called it Ebenezer, “stone of help,” as a testimony to God’s provisions.  They had no “graven images,” of course, but they had plenty of other memorials.

They tore down altars to false gods, statues of false gods, and relics used in worshiping those gods.

And they sometimes destroyed something that had been good and noble and holy.  Yep.  Sometimes, they destroyed a good thing.

Please read on.

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The five people you can count on most

If you would take a leadership role in the Kingdom of God, you will be needing fellow workers. You will not be able to do this alone nor will you be asked to do so.

The question will arise as to whom you can trust. You will have to decide the quality of the men and women with whom you are surrounded, particularly in determining your inner circle of leadership and responsibility.

Paul answers this for us by citing the examples of Onesiphorus, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Stephanas, and, if you will, Aquila/Priscilla.  See what he said…

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If you would bear His reproach, first be willing to lose your cool

“Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13).

Ministers considered “cool” by the world should be wary.

It’s a trap.

Let those outside the faith–i.e., friends and admirers with no appreciation for Scripture, no knowledge of the call of God, no gratitude for the blood of Jesus, or no concept of the direness of their own situation–compliment the preacher on his coolness, and it can be a form of quicksand.

“I’m not much of a church-goer, pastor, but I love watching you preach.”  “You’re not like all those other preachers–fat and bald and loud.  You’re handsome and slim and cool.”

Woe to the minister who eats up such a compliment.

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The time I asked a church member about my preaching

Woe to the preacher who gets his affirmation from the approval of his members.  “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24).  “Unto his master a servant stands or falls” (Romans 14:4).

This happened to me…

When the husband died, his wife of nearly 60 years was instructing me on how she wanted things done in the funeral.

She mentioned our associate pastor. “I don’t care for his funerals. He talks about himself too much.”

Okay. I had never heard his funeral sermons since he did these only when I was not available.

I said, “What do you think of mine?”

Dumb question.  But I asked for it.

She didn’t hesitate to tell me.

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