Take Heed Lest Ye Fall (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Heavenly Father, our Lord and our God, thank you for accepting us into your divine presence that brings even more certainty of your constant comfort and care for your own who have been made righteous by the suffering of Christ our Lord and Savior. We are thankful for this another opportunity to gather on ZOOM as your chosen people.
Dear Merciful Father, we are amazed at the vastness of your patience and ask that you help us to be lenient with one another. Grant us a generous supply of your perfect wisdom that will enable us to think clearly and make judicious decisions regarding our relations with other people. Grant us wisdom as we consider the great fruit of meekness in our lives as followers of Christ the Lord. Grant us courage and wisdom as we study and teach the word of truth in love that encourages one another.
TAKE HEED LEST YE FALL
For our TEXT, PAUL gave this positive command to Christians: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). No one is exempt from this danger, not even the ones who feel the most secure.
Did Paul recognized the possibility of apostasy in his own life? Where is that found? “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27) .
This danger is not imaginary, but real. There are thousands who "shrink or draw back unto perdition" (READ Hebrews 10:38-39). They were once faithful Christians, but now it is different. What does the Bible say about the state or end of person like that? Where is it found? ''The latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20).
THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT A CHILD OF GOD CAN FALL AND BE LOST
1. We have already seen from our text that Christians are warned to take heed lest they fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).
2. We all realize that without faith we can’t please God (Hebrews 11:6). One of your study questions was “can a child of God quit believing?” Where is that found? “7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:7-12).
3. Who were the Christians in the Bible that were said to have already fallen from grace? Where is that found? “5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:1-4).
4. The parable of the sower teaches that Christians can fail to bear fruit and thus be lost. How many types of types of soil in that parable? Four! How many brought forth good fruit? One! (Matthew 13: 3-8; 18-23; 7:19).
5. What will a Christian's harvest be dependent upon? His sowing! “7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7-9).
6. Did Jesus promise to spew the lukewarm out of his mouth. Yes! “14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16)?
7. What parable teaches that a saved person can be severed from Christ and burned? Where is that found? The parable of the vine and the branches: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:1-6).
8. We learn from the parable of the talents that a servant of the Lord can be lost. The faithful servants with 5 and 2 talents gained double and were told: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21, 23).
Let’s read about the one talent servant and his outcome: “24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:24-30).
This will be the same end of all who depart from the living God, by thus bringing Him no profit. The God of Heaven is the God of profit. Isaiah 48:17: “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
9. Those who fall back will be like those who will be “gathered together out of His kingdom and casted into the furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:41-43).
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WHICH CAUSE PEOPLE TO DRIFT AWAY FROM THE CHURCH?
1. Evil associations. ''Be not deceived: evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33). In the presence of some persons, we are elevated; but the association of others pulls us down.
2. A desire to be popular. Many of the rulers believed on Christ, but their desire to be popular caused them to deny him. “42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43).
3. Marriage adjustments. Marriage should make living the Christian life easier, but observation teaches us that marriage often changes a Christian within a few months from faithfulness to indifference and carelessness. The couple must adjust themselves to each other and to financial responsibilities and economic problems.
This period of adaptation is often a great test to the Christians faith.
4. Marriage out of the church. Solomon married foreign wives; and when he was old, "his wives turned away his heart after other gods" (1 Kings 11:1-8). Remember: the day one marries may be the day he determines where he will spend eternity.
5. The coming of a baby. This should have a sobering effect on parents and draw them closer to the Lord. The tremendous responsibility of parenthood should encourage more faithfulness to God, but does it? Not always. It has caused many couples to quit the church. There was a time before and after the baby came when they did not attend. The lack of encouragement and help derived from church services began to have its effect, and in time they lost all interest.
6. A move into a strange community. Moving is quite trying on religion. It becomes a temptation for one to say, "I'm worn out, tired, nervous, and don't know anybody here. I won't go today, but I will go next Sunday." But next Sunday it is easier to forsake the assembly than it was the Sunday before. As time goes on, your conscience bothers you less and less. You are on the road to complete apostasy.
7. How can money affect the way a Christian lives? Too much money can turn the hearts of Christians to evil. “17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Instead of trusting God they begin to trust in the “uncertainty of riches.” Like the church meeting in Laodicea, they say, "We are rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing" when in reality they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).
Matthew 13:22 teaches us an important principle about riches – they are deceitful; so those who have them should watch lest they fall. “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Eccl. 5:10).
Too little money. The poor often have an inferiority complex which causes them to feel that others consider themselves better than they, that their clothes are not good enough, and that they are being ridiculed, when really it is nothing more than a figment of their imagination.
What did Solomon say about poverty and riches? Why did he say it? Where is it found? “7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs 30:8-9).
May we learn to be content and true to the Lord in both plenty and poverty. Paul said, “11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-12).
8. Idleness in the church. All Christians should be workers together with God (2 Corinthians 6:1). Work strengthens the Christian and stimulates his interest. It will cause him to say "we" instead of "they" in speaking of the church. Perhaps you have heard the story of the member who requested that his name be taken from the roll. The preacher said, "Just as you say; but first I wish you would take this box of groceries over to a needy family." He did, and returning, said, "Leave my name on; I've had more joy today than ever before." Each should look for work, and ''whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Eccl. 9:10).
9. Sickness. Some are forced to miss the services on the Lord's day due to illness; and after their recovery, many are never again faithful. They say that they got out of the habit of going, but worshiping God should be a matter of consecration and devotion instead of habit.
10. Sunday work. Back in the parable of the sower we learn that the cares of the world often choke out the word of God (Matthew 13:22). Any employment should be declined by the Christian unless it permits him to attend at least one of the services of worship on the Lord's day (Hebrews 10:25). What good is it to gain the whole world and yet lose your soul (Matthew 16:26)?
11. Worldliness. This led Demas to forsake Paul and the Lord's work (2 Timothy 4:10). "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24). Read 1 John 2:15-17 and James 4:4.
12. The feeling that one has been wronged by another member of the church. Paul was betrayed by his own countrymen and false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26), but he did not take it out on the Lord and quit the church. He continued to press toward heaven.
13. Discouragement. One makes a mistake — it may be the loss of temper, a curse word, etc. — and then absents himself from the worship the next Lord's day, thinking that he is not worthy to worship. He goes from bad to worse, telling himself, "I am not going to heaven anyway, so what difference does it make?"
14. The pharisaical attitude of some members. A weak Christian stumbles, and some of the modern "Pharisees" punch each other and say, "What did I tell you? I knew he wouldn't last long." Or it may be gossip concerning the weak member that drives him away. How much better it would be for all of us to obey Galatians 6:1-2: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
SOME THINGS WHICH FORTIFY CHRISTIANS AGAINST FALLING.
1. A study of circumstances which lead to a backslidden state. This will enable the Christian to strengthen himself against the most dangerous conditions rather than to be caught unaware. We noted some in the previous section. A knowledge of such facts plus watchfulness and prayer should protect us in the hour of temptation (Matthew 26:41).
2. The avoidance of evil. We are commanded to “abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Years ago, a drunkard who became a Christian quit drinking. He wanted to show everyone how strong he was, so he continued to tie his horse to the post in front of the saloon. This worked for a while, but it was not long until he was overcome and was drinking again. Many have not only failed to avoid the appearance of evil; but they have actually invited it.
3. A consciousness that one himself may fall just the same as the other person. Many think that it is impossible for such to happen to them. Peter was of this persuasion when he said, "33 Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:33-35). Paul has taught each one to look to or consider himself lest he be tempted (Galatians 6:1).
4. An understanding of the Progressiveness of sin. Some think that they will sin just a little, but that they will not permit it to go very far; however, sin is progressive in its nature and multiplies rapidly. Note :
(1) In the first Psalm. First, walk in the counsel of the wicked; second, stand in the way of sinners; third, sit in the seat of the scoffers.
(2) In the life of Peter (Matthew 26:58-75). First, Peter followed the Lord afar off; second, he denied the Lord and lied; third, he denied with an oath; fourth, he cursed and swore.
(3) In doctrinal departure (2 Timothy 4:3-4). First, ''will not endure sound doctrine; second, “heap to themselves teachers"—the segregation of teachers, having only the teachers who teach what they want taught; third, "turn away their ears from the truth” - not have it; fourth, "turn aside unto fables” or fiction. Sin, even in thought, is too dangerous to play with.
5. A memory of scripture and the quotation of appropriate passages in the moment of trial will fortify us against falling. Jesus left this example for us by quoting scripture each time during His temptations (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil then left him. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
6. The control of thoughts. All sins are first committed in thought; therefore, each should "keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Christ said, "For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings" (Matthew 15:19). Therefore, when we control our thoughts, we are controlling the source of sin. But how can we? By being so busy thinking good thoughts and putting them into practice that there is neither time nor room for sinful thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
7. Faithful attendance at the worship services and Bible study. It is there that we receive reproof, rebuke, and exhortation (2 Timothy 4:2) which help to hold our thoughts and deeds in line with God's will. It will give us strength and encouragement to go through another week.
8. The addition of Christian graces. If we do this, we have the assurance that we shall never fall.
“5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
This is the promise: “10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-10). If we want to endure unto the end (Matthew 10:22), we should set ourselves to the task of mastering God's specified conditions. The God of Heaven is so Good. We love you all so much.