TO THE FALLEN AWAY
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, …” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Dear once enlightened Brother or Sister:
The apostle Paul was the greatest soul winner of all time and he said he dealt with people gently “…as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (I Thessalonians 2:7) We are taught to be firm and uncompromising in dealing with sin but kind and tender with sinners. We are to hate sin but love the sinner.
We understand that even with this attitude we will fail with the majority. The Lord Jesus Christ was the only perfect preacher to live and many were offended at him. We can be sure that we will not fare any better than did he. Jesus explained this in the parable of the sower: “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:20-22)
If you once faithfully served God but have departed from him:
“… repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Acts 8:22)
The Westside church ask you the same question that the apostle Paul asked the Ephesians; “Into what then were you baptized?” (Acts 19:3) Although Romans 6:1-7 is not directly related to the question, it does give a detailed answer to Paul’s question. Hear the language of Paul. “What shall (you) say then? Are (you) to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall (you) who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore (you) have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so (you) too might walk in newness of life. For if (you) have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly (you) shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that (your) old self was crucified with Him, in order that (your) body of sin might be done away with, so that (you) would no longer be slaves to sin; for (you) who has died is freed from sin.”
John tells us; “…if (you) walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, (you) have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son (continually) cleanses (you) from all sin.” (I John 1:7) “If (you) confess (your) sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive (your) sins and to cleanse (you) from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;” (I John 2:4).
Have you been immersed for the remission of your sins only to go back into the world? “… If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (I John 2:15) Have you left the “…church of Christ.” (Romans 16:16) to worship with a group who use unauthorized elements in their services such as mechanical instruments of music while neglecting to include authorized elements of worship such as the lord’s supper each Sunday? “BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.” (Matthew 15:9) If so remember: “For if (you) go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.” (Hebrews 10:26-27) “For if, after (you) have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (you) are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for (you) than the first. For it would be better for (you) not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to (you). (II Peter 2:20-21)
If the apostle Paul was here today, he would ask, “Are (you) to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1) In other words, will you continue to live a life inconsistent with the commitment you made in being baptized? Some time ago, you were immersed to begin a new life free from the guilt and weight of sin. We urge you to bring your actions into harmony with the Bible and the pledge you made to Jesus the day you were baptized.
Jesus teaches us through two of his parables about those who at one time belonged to God and then became lost. Read His words; “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” (Luke 15:4-6) “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!” (Luke 15:8-9) At the end of each of these parables Jesus explains that these parables are a lesson concerning lost souls. His words at the end of both parables are parallel. Read His conclusion; “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
Brother or sister we urge you to come back to the Lord and his church. It is necessary to return to Him in His appointed way to participate in the abundant life here on earth and to make preparation for life after death. The time is coming when each one of us will leave this world. For some of us, it may be much sooner than we would like to think. “…inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27)
This day our plea is for you to return to the Lord and the church He purchased with His blood.
In the love of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ,
Elders of the Westside CHURCH OF CHRIST