Temple Baptist Church - 4-21-2013
A. What a blessing it is to read and study the 11th chapter of Hebrews. This chapter deals with the definition, reception, rejection, blessings, and warnings concerning faith.
1. The faith set forth in this chapter is more than just believing that God is; it is even more than just believing that He came, died, and was resurrected again. The faith that is set forth is a faith that is both believed and followed. It is an effective faith, not just saving faith.
2. I do appreciate saving faith and am not demeaning it when I use the phrase “just saving faith.” It is faith that brought me to Jesus Christ and it is faith that will take me to heaven one day, but I have had a lot of living between November of 1976 and the present. I may even have many good years ahead of me and it will require a faith that can be tested to keep me in the will of God.
3. So many have come to Christ, been gloriously saved, become either sinful or disappointed along the way, and turned back to the old life and the world. I too stand in jeopardy if I get my eyes off of the Lord and become “mindful” of where God brought me from.
4. I went to Bible College with several who came to Kentucky and, for the most part, all who left Kentucky are still in the ministry. All except one. He could never get Kentucky off of his mind. We continually tried to encourage him but one day he decided to return. It has not been spiritually well with him. I do not want to return.
5. When the Lord comes, will He find faith? Not saving faith, but living faith. God has made us a wonderful promise, not only in the life to come, but also in this life.
John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
B. “Mindful” can be defined by the word itself: 1) mind 2) full. It means to constantly keep something on your mind. To fantasize, to meditate upon, more than an occasional thing.
1. In Luke 9:62, the Bible says, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” In the verses preceding this, the Lord said, “Follow me.” This is a simple, direct command that needs no interpretation. One said that he needs to bury his father first while a second said he wanted to bid farewell to his family that lived in his house.
2. Many do not understand the Lord’s answers. He said to the first, “Let the dead bury their dead,” and to the second He gave Luke 9:62. What was the problem with their request? I believe it is found in the phrase “having put his hand to the plough.” This tells me that a decision had already been made by both of these men to answer the call given: “follow me.”
3. Had the man’s father died? I do not think so. I believe that the implication of this verse is that the man wanted to return home until his father died. Then he would bury him and follow Christ. The Lord has never been against a child going to the funeral of his or her parent. I was there not only to attend but to also preach the funerals of mom and dad as well as Barbara’s mom. I counted it a privilege to have our siblings allow me to stand and preach their funerals and I believe that the Lord approved of Barbara and I going back when they were sick and dying. The problem would have been if I had said, “Lord, I have answered your call and will leave Kentucky as soon as our parents are dead and buried.” Many answer God’s call and then proceed to tell God where they will go and when.
4. The second man, I believe, had his mind on his house as well as his family. I am sure that, when he left home, he said his goodbyes. I know that Barbara and I did. We did not sneak out of the state and leave our beloved families wondering where we had gone. He said, “Which are at home at my house.” First, he called it home. I actually have two homes: Hopkins County, Kentucky and Laurens County, South Carolina. Secondly, He referred to it as “my house.” His thoughts, after he decided to follow Christ, began to be centered on where he came from instead of where he was.
C. The dangers of returning are many so I will just deal with a few for time’s sake.
1. The danger of losing your valuable testimony for Christ. Many people that we grew up with know that we got saved, answered the call of God, sold out, and moved from our old home and family. They may not understand all that happened (the natural man thinks only in the areas of religion) but they know something did and, to give up—sell out—move back—and return to the old life would undo all of the possible good that God could accomplish in the lives of others.
2. The danger of living out of God’s will which brings chastisement. Whom the Lord loveth, and He does love His children, He chasteneth. One of the ways you know that you belong to God is that He will not let you live in open, unrebuked sin! His longsuffering and forbearance will come to an end and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
3. The danger of losing the blessings of God. God has blessed each of us with more than we deserve. People often wonder how it is to sell out and move away not knowing where you are going of what you will be doing. My family has more today than we have ever had in a temporal sense and you cannot place a value on the spiritual side of blessings. The Lord giveth and He can take away just as well.
4. The danger of damning souls. No more witness and no more winning of souls. I have not won the world to Christ over the years but I have won a few! As people watch our lives, they then have the confidence to listen to our words. If they hear, they can be saved. How shall they hear without a preacher and we are all preachers in that sense. A man once said, “A life lived is worth a thousand sermons preached.”
5. The danger of losing your family. We cannot save our children, but we can lead them in the way of salvation. Our best “observers” are our kids. They know what we are and what we believe. The choice of eternity belongs to them and to whom much is given, much will be required but—when we turn back—we will still go to heaven but they may pay an eternal price for our sins.
6. The danger of losing eternal rewards. Missionary Jim Elliot gave his life for the Indian people of South America. He could have left; he could have run; and he could have fought. He chose to die! He is possible most noted for the quote: : "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Conclusion: I have often heard that some people are “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” I have never met that man! Most are “too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good.” If we are “mindful” of where we came from, we just may have opportunity to return! Let us be “mindful” of heavenly things so that we can be used by God for His glory here and receive eternal rewards there.