ABOUT KNOWING BOUNDARIES (2)
Deut 27:17 & Prov 22:28 & 2 Tim 4:3-4
INTRO: "Out of bounds" is an expression known by anyone who has had any association with almost any sort of sport. In some sports "out of bounds" is a serious enough violation as to result in disqualification. So, the participant is careful to learn the boundaries in order not to suffer penalty or disqualification. Boundaries are realities with which we deal constantly in our lives. Most of us know that failure to acknowledge and to honor boundaries can result in serious consequences. This morning I want to continue some thoughts about "boundaries". The boundaries toward which I want us to look are those of moral and ethical behavior and those of sound doctrine.
I. CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING TEXTS
A. 1 Cor 5:11 "...not to keep company..."
1. clearly, a Christian can behave in such a way that other Christians may not have fellowship with him
2. from v. 6 is the principle which must be observed here
3. a boundary which, therefore, addresses moral and ethical behavior
B. 1 Jno 2:18,19 they went out ... were not of us ...
1. those who were baptized into Christ ...
2. at some point they no longer held to the faith in Christ and left the fellowship of the church
3.but there is a definite distinction noted here - there is a boundary of fellowship here ... sound doctrine
C. 1 Jno 4:1 "...many false prophets are gone out into the world"
1. by the time John wrote his first letter this warning is necessary
2. it is obvious that John calls for "testing"
3. false prophets were not certainly not to be permitted to spread their false doctrine within the church ... boundaries!
D. 2 Pet 2:1-3,12,13 spots ... while they feast with you
1. what happened? false prophets were remaining in fellowship and were damaging faith
2. why did Peter write? to warn of not identifying such people - these should not be in fellowship (Rom 16:17)
3. note, too, Jude 11,12
E. 2 Jno 9-11 "...receive him not into your house..."
1. to claim the name "Christian" or "disciple of Christ" while refusing the doctrine of Christ does not make the claim accurate
2. the principle that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" is at work here
3. faithful Christians could not encourage, support ... boundaries!
F. 2 Thes 2:3,4 ... a falling away ...
1. v. 3 notes apostasy - defection
2. those falling away have been in Christ - but are now unfaithful (Gal 5:4)
3. from 2 Thes 3:14,15 a limit, boundary of fellowship - out of the years of apostasy came religious groups with doctrine and practice very different from that revealed in scripture - certainly, the passage from 2 Jno 10 would guide us here
II. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BOUNDARIES ARE NOT OBSERVED?
A. The faith of some will be damaged, even ruined
1. 2 Tim 2:16-18 ... "and overthrow the faith of some"
2. notice: "their word will eat as doth a canker"
3. while our sensitive minds and hearts may find this harsh, the concern of God is for the salvation of souls - and so must ours be
B. The Lord's church may lose its "identity"
1. 1 Tim 3:14,15 with 2 Tim 1:13
2. "pluralism" is very much in vogue - "pluralism" says that truth is not absolute or constant; that reality cannot be seen from an absolute point of view - thus, "identity" is unimportant, perhaps impossible
3. but there is a pattern; there is an identity; there is truth - when boundaries are blurred, "identity" will fade and become unimportant
C. Souls may be lost for eternity
1. if error is taught and accepted, an obedient relationship with God is in jeopardy
2. why else would Jude have written: Jude 3?
3. I simply have no Biblically based alternative but to be earnest in concern for the "one faith" of Eph 4:5
CLOSE: The apostle Paul wrote that at the end Jesus will have "delivered up the kingdom to God" (1 Cor 15:24) ... not "a kingdom" ... not "kingdoms", but the kingdom. Sweet friends, there are boundaries which God has established, and we must be careful to honor them.
Cecil A. Hutson
26 March 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)