2 JNO 1:7-9
INTRO: I love life! I enjoy every day! My delight is to spend a day with my precious wife. I revel in the time I am privileged to have with my children and their spouses. And words cannot do justice to my feelings for my grandchildren and for the joy I have in watching them. I love life! Still, I look forward to the next phase ... to the transition into another world. Do I enjoy thinking about death. No. But I do want what is on the other side of it. I have no idea how many of us think much about the reality of heaven and that we most assuredly want that to be our eternal home. My guess is that we might think about it from time to time ... but not with any particular emotion one way or the other. As years go by, however, anticipating my reward in heaven becomes more real and more precious.
I. SOME DESCRIPTIONS OF THAT REWARD?
A. Mt 25:21 - ...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord...
B. Mt 25:34 - ...inherit the kingdom prepared for you...
C. Jno 14:3 - ...that where I am, there ye may be also...
D. 2 Cor 5:1 - ...we have a building of God ... eternal in the heavens...
E. 2 Tim 4:8 - ...a crown of righteousness....
F. Jas 1:12 - ...the crown of life...
G. 1 Pet 1:4 - ...an inheritance ... reserved in heaven for you...
H. Rev 14:13 - ...rest from their labors...
I. What is my point? The reward to too good to miss ... or to lose!
II. AND, YES, THE REWARD CAN BE LOST!
A. 2 Jno 1:8 - ...that we lose not those things which we have wrought...
1. in the context John is concerned about the work of the deceivers
2. at 1 Jno 2:18,19 and perhaps here John notes that at least some of these deceivers were once numbered among the saints
3. these deceivers attempt to sway saints from their confidence in Christ
4. at 2 Jno 1:9 we see the effect of deceivers ... overthrow of the doctrine
B. Gal 3:1 & 4 - Here is a great apostolic concern
1. further, Gal 5:1 & 4 - question? If the reward cannot be lost, why was there this concern?
2. fact: when we turn from faithfulness toward neglect or error, we are no longer obeying the truth (Gal 5:7)
3. over and again, scripture encourages us, challenges us to careful faithfulness
4. Heb 2:1-3a - the reward is just too good to lose!
III. SO, WE MUST BE DILIGENT IN OUR LIFE OF/IN THE FAITH
A. 2 Jno 1:8 - Look to yourselves....
1. remember, this is written to faithful Christian people
2. this is written to people whom John loves
3. and one of the most loving things he can do is encourage his beloved friends in Christ to be careful in their own lives of faith
4. 2 Pet 1:10,11 - ...give diligence to make your calling and election sure...
B. I wonder if simple neglect may be the greatest enemy of Christians
1. few, if any, people set out to forfeit their reward
2. they are believers; they know about heaven and hell; they expect to go to heaven one day ... etc, etc
3. but there are also so many things Ive got to get done - distractions, etc.
4. maybe we need to listen to Jas 4:14 - our time on this earth is at best short ... and uncertain ... and we know that - we need to be acting on that reality every single day
IV. ANTICIPATION ... THERE CAN BE GREAT JOY THERE
A. The joy of anticipation is part and parcel of our lives
1. yes, there may be the trip to endure - the journey to take
2. but the joy of anticipation of the arrival makes the trip bearable
3. anticipation of graduation; of a wedding day; of a babys arrival; etc.
4. in each case there was a period of time before the big day - and the joy of anticipation made all of the tasks of preparation lighter
B. Do we need to talk more, sing more, think more about heaven?
1. the Christian life needs to be, should be filled with joy
2. but I seldom hear the expressions of joy and happiness from people caught up in anticipation of reward
3. oh, I dont suggest unfaithfulness - but I do wonder about the joy
4. we need to help each other in all the ways we can to find joy in our journey as we anticipate heaven!
CLOSE: When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! Oh, yes, without a doubt. But we still have to make the trip through this life ... and it is easier if we are always anticipating the reward.
Cecil A. Hutson
09 November 2003
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)