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Move on toward Maturity
Hermeneutics = theologically academic term – a very important subject in Bible school.
It means “the study of HOW to interpret the Bible.” To interpret the Bible biblically is so important. We know that many other religions also use the Bible and teach it and love it – but the difference is “interpretation”. They are different from us in crucial doctrinal points – especially salvation.
Different doctrinal beliefs makes faith different – this makes assurance of salvation different – our worldviews, lifestyles, and actions different. And finally, our final destination is different.
In a word: Different interpretation makes ALL different.
That’s why interpretation is so important. If we do not interpret the Bible biblically, we can be so uncertain – especially depending on which page in which we read.
- One page: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
- Another page: “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ enters the kingdom of heaven.”
- One page: “We are saved by faith, not by works.”
- Another page: “A person can be justified by what he does.” (James)
- One page: “No condemnation in Jesus Christ.” (I’ll never lose my salvation).
- Another page: “Through this, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Oh, no, I could lose it!)
That’s why interpretation is SO important. No verses actually contradict each other. Every verse edifies, builds up every other verse.
Another thing: TEXT must be interpreted IN CONTEXT.
We must interpret the Obscure by the Obvious.
As for salvation:
ONCE salvation = ALWAYS salvation (this means “eternal life”). A TRUE believer can never lose their salvation if they are a true believer in the sight of God.
If a sinner repents and believes in Christ, they can never be lost. But today’s passage is a serious warning:
It is possible to enjoy the blessings of God without being regenerated.
Q: Is it possible for non-Christians to enjoy the blessings of God – even spiritual blessings – without knowing God? YES.
What time is it now…
When I was in Tanzania and Kenya, my son John was in a boarding school – for missionary children. There were several one week breaks per year (Christmas, Easter, etc) – to see their parents. During the break, most students had to come out from the school because it was closed. Most of them went to stay with their parents, but some had difficulty to go to their parents for several reasons. Once, John brought his friend to my house to stay with me, at my house. Outwardly, I offered him the same benefits I offered my own son – food, bed, shopping, water, picnics outside. He enjoyed these blessings from me, and I blessed him in the name of Christ. But when he left my house, no more.
It was not that he was my son at the beginning, and when he left he lost his sonship. He was never actually my son at the beginning. He was just a visitor, staying in my house, receiving the same benefits my son received.
Several times we saw the Exodus event.
Israel as a nation was a covenant community. In the Exodus, all of them placed the blood of the animals on their doorposts and all of them ate the lamb for Passover. All of them came out, and all of them passed miraculously through the Red Sea. All of them drank water from the rock, all of them ate manna from heaven. All of them heard the voice of God from the mountain, and all of them died in the wilderness.
The difference: Some were regenerated, some were not, but they were all members of the same heavenly covenant – so they all enjoyed the same blessings.
He was a disciple, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
Judas, like this, tasted the Word of God, the powers of the coming age, the message and blessings of Jesus. But the truth was NOT that he WAS saved, and LOST it. The truth: he was an unbeliever from the beginning. Some time later, he fell from this life and returned to his old lifestyle. Jesus said, “It would be better if he had not been born. He was a devil from the beginning.”
Do you remember the 6 basic doctrines of Christianity from last week?
These two go together all the time, and we must practice them every day. That’s why we must believe in Christ.
You know, as long as you stay in church, in the Christian community, you can enjoy blessings, no problem. But, that is not salvation. Salvation is found in Christ alone by faith alone, through grace alone.
Where there is life, there is growth. (I’m repeating this 3 weeks in a row.) Where there is salvation, there is change.
So, we must move on toward maturity. We must show we are saved through our growth.
Difference between immature vs. mature choices:
It is very clear, so check yourself – immature side, or mature side. Test yourself.
- Mature choice: helping / serving others
- Im: being helped / served
- M: Developing a depth of understanding
- I: struggling with the basic truths
- M: Evaluating yourself
- I: Criticizing yourself
- M: Evaluating your feelings in the light of the Word of God
- I: Evaluating your feelings according to your emotions
- M: Seeking unity
- I: Promoting disunity
- M: Seeking to please God
- I: Seeking to satisfy yourself
- M: Studying, observing carefully
- I: Accepting opinions and half-hearted efforts
- M: Active and strong faith
- I: Cautious and doubtful
- M: Desiring spiritual challenges and sacrifices
- I: Desiring entertainment and an easy life
- M: Living with confidence, thanksgiving, love
- I: Living with uncertainty and complaining
- M: Ministry in church; mission in the world
- I: No ministry in church; no mission in the world
Do you have these? So, we must pray at every moment. We must grow more and more, and love him more and more, and renew our dedication and devotion. We know TONIGHT is THAT day: Dedication Service (헌신예배). This is not a “show” or “performance” but another opportunity given from God to renew our dedication – not only together, but also individually and personally.
God bless all of us.