I've spoken to you on several occasions now on issues regarding pleasing the Father. However, this issue is a very serious one and is written specifically for those of you who know God but are living life on the edge and are just two steps away from being labeled among those that abuse the grace of God.
Many of you are familiar with the slogan used by the United Negro College Fund - "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." This is a very accurate statement - especially when it has been marked by God as reprobate.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
II. DEFINITION TIME
REPROBATE = Degenerate state; No-good; Good-for-nothing; One who is predestined to damnation; Rejected by God and no hope of salvation.
Wow! Rejected By God And No Hope Of Salvation! - Let's deal with this one...
III. WHAT HAS GOD SAID?
God outlines a process by which one finds themselves in a condition of reprobation. Let's take them step by step.
21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Step One: Foolishness - Why do I say foolishness? Because it takes a fool to not give God His glory or to be thankful for His many acts of kindness He has displayed unto them. As a result thereof, they become unfruitful and nonproductive in their imaginations and their foolish hearts becomes darken. So, as for you, and like I have told so many people, "my momma didn't raise any fools" - Don't you be a fool - unless you are for Christ's sake. The first step then to not becoming reprobate is to (1) Always give God the glory and (2) Always give God thanks!
22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Step Two: Pride - Remember that pride comes before the fall. To walk in pride, is to suggest that you have the ability to control your circumstances - and you don't! It is to trust in your flesh rather than trusting in God. Anyone that walks in the wisdom that this world has to offer and does not rely on the wisdom of God (regardless of innumerable degrees you may have) is liken to a fool. The Next Step to not becoming reprobate is to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and allow Him to exalt you in His due season.
23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Step Three: Idolatry - The problem here is that you have minimized God to little gods. If you want to know what took Israel into Babylonian captivity, it was idolatry. God says, I Am God - and besides me, There Is No Other! The focus here shifted from the Creator to the created. If you want to know the first thing Judah did once God delivered them out of Babylonian captivity, the answer is they concluded that there was but One God and Him only would they serve. This is the next step to not becoming reprobate. Be mindful that you don't make your family members or your possessions your god!
24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Step Four: Perversion - God says, ok. You want to do what you want to do. You won't listen to My instructions. You won't heed to My commands. Alright, then I'll release you to be your own gods but the end will be destruction. They twisted the truth because their hearts were set on hearing a lie rather than the truth; as a result, they became consumed with the works of God's hand and not God Himself. Men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women not knowing that judgment from such acts was swiftly approaching. By the way, this includes those that are confused about what they are (Men on the DL -Down Low). If you feel that you are fastly approaching this point and someone has convinced you that same sex relationships are ok, repent quickly while you still have time. This was never God's intent for your life. Please view my lesson on Homosexual & Lesbians.
28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Step Five: Rejected of God (Lost) - At this point it's too late... Because they did not want to give Him glory or give Him thanks; because of their foolishness, pride, idolatry and perversions; because they would not listen and kept stepping over the truth like "The Rich Man kept stepping over Lazarus", these people have made their beds in hell. God says, for them, He will now make it comfortable for them to sin - seeing there will no longer be a conviction. They will now be convinced that the truth is a lie and that a lie is the truth.
IV. ANOTHER WARNING!
I don't know if anyone has told you lately - but you can reach a point of no return...
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of
the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
As for this text, it was written to Jewish Christians who were in danger of apostasy (departing from the faith). This was/is a warning!
A. Once enlightened
Means to illuminate. In other words enlighten the spiritual understanding of a person. "Having been enlighten" is synonymous with the initial stage of salvation.
2 Corinthians 4:3,4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
B. Tasted of the heavenly gift
This verb expresses the enjoyment one receives from the favor and blessings of God.
Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
C. Partakers of the Holy Ghost
This makes you a sharer or a participant. "Having been made" is the phrase in the Greek for partakers. This is a person that has been indwelt with the Holy Ghost and is a worker together with Him.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
D. Tasted the good word of God AND the powers of the world to come
This person has come to know God through God's revelation of Himself. They have been enlightened prophetically of many of God's future plans and have experienced some degree of God's wonders and miracles.
Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Deuteronomy 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
So, now let's sum this part up. If after you have (1) been enlightened, (2) tasted of the heavenly gift, (3) been a partaker of the Holy Ghost and (4) tasted the good word of God AND the powers of the world to come - AND THEN YOU "Fall away", "Fall by the wayside" and Disregard the grace of God because you want to do what you want to do... It becomes impossible to make you new again i.e., return to the state of repentance. Jesus will not die a second time for you! You will have put Him (JESUS) to an open shame. You would be standing toe to toe with God telling Him that what Jesus did was not enough! Listen, at this point, there would remain no more sacrifices for your sins. God will not provide the grace, mercy, or His Spirit to convict and draw you back into His arms again. And no one comes to the Father except the Spirit draws them.
Now, another important note is that this is not about backsliding. If it were, many, if not, most of us would be lost. Rather, it consists of those individuals that willingly renounce the faith.
V. HOW GOD SEES THOSE THAT TURN BACK!
If after all of this, you turn your back on God and go back to your old habits...
Enemy of the Cross...
12. Not as though I had
already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may
apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
26. For if
we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
32. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33. Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
It would be better had you not known...
and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall
begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be
46. The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Why would you turn away???
Ezekiel 3:20; 18:24-28
20. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
24. But when the
righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and
doeth according to All the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he
live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his
trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them
shall he die.
25. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26. When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
62. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
No different from a dog!
11. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
I don't know about you but I would much rather hear Him say "Well done, thy good and faithful servant" than to hear Him say "Depart from Me."
Let us therefore strive...
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
Minister Rickey E. Macklin