UNWORTHY OF ETERNAL LIFE
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Can you believe this? Can you believe that any people who were first to hear the glorious, soul saving, spiritual, life giving gospel could become unworthy of everlasting life? But that is not the most sobering thought concerning this. The most unbelievable thing is that they judged themselves so!
Be careful America! You have had the very same gospel for many years! But now you count it a hinderance, and not a blessing to your life styles! You have filled your churches with that which entertains the emotions rather than that which edifies the soul! You cannot bear true expository preaching designed to exalt Christ! You cannot tolerate either Christ’s Lordship, nor his present reign! You have adopted the escape theory of a Rapture, because you feel yourself too special to even consider suffering for Christ’s and His gospel’s sake! You may very well already be disqualifying your souls from its everlasting benefit.
For you butcher His word in order to maintain your religious traditions! You refuse to read verse 18 in Matthew 28, as you read only verses 19 & 20 to sustain your evangelism! Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Face it! Either Jesus is a liar, or he is presently reigning in all power in heaven and earth!
Col. 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Has He purged our sins? Then He has already sat down in the position of power in God’s Majesty!
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
A Sacrifice Was Made
There was a most serious event that brought this glorious gospel to Antioch! Let us look at a couple of passages that reveal God’s plan to get it to them.
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. That person referred to in verse one was the Spirit filled Stephen whom the Jews stoned to death as Saul (later to become the Apostle Paul), held their coats!
Listen at the description of him. Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. And it was upon the loss of that kind of precious soul, by stoning him to death, that this gospel was sent in this direction. God sacrificed one of the most glorious blessings in the church in order to get these people the gospel!
But here is another passage, nearer to these Jews of our focus at Antioch. Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
The Lord determined that it would be upon the cruel death of stoning a glorious man for preaching the gospel that this same gospel should now come to this place! And is that not the pattern of the cross? Was it not at the cruel death of THE precious Man that this same gospel has reached America’s shores? Do we not read that it was at the predestinated will of God, and also by the wicked hands of gospel haters that the Lord Jesus was slain for our sins? Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: How can we now take this blood bought gospel so lightly?
This was a pattern concerning which our Lord instructed in his earthly ministry and teaching. Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The Dangerous Gospel
There is a great danger in hearing the gospel without an intent to believe it! And that danger goes undetected until it is too late! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. Once the heart is deceived it cannot discern its fallen state! And there is a powerful agent that attends the preaching of the gospel in order to see that this happens!
2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 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. These are those who are now lost because they have already been influenced by the gospel, but have refused to believe it! Notice in verse four that Satan does not blind their minds until after they have chosen to believe not! And it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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. (Heb. 6:4-6). For after one has heard the gospel, with its powers of illumination revealing the reality of its truth, and has refused to believe it, having another fresh start at repentance is impossible!
2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. Peter here states that one is then left with just a legal form of religious morality! And seeing the uselessness of trying to maintain such discipline without edification, one will turn back into his sins, but this time in full and open debauchery!
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; 41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
Dear ones, there is none other name under heaven whereby one must be saved than that of Jesus Christ! (Acts 4:12). It is through this man, the Lord Jesus Christ alone, wherein salvation is available. This “feel good” religion of ours is but a distraction to the fact that this broad way is leading into destruction! We do not seem to realize that our Lord termed our devotion to the sustaining of traditional religion without the Holy Spirit as “works of iniquity!” For to whom did he say this except to those who’s testimony was that they had preached and done wonderful religious works? Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. It is religious sinners who are in great danger across our land today!
And to that kind of sinner the Lord Jesus had a final word. Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
God, in the Person of his Son walked down their streets. He was in their synagogues; in their markets; in their homes. His skin color and hair texture was the same as there’s. But how sad these words recorded of their hospitality towards him from their hearts: John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
The Gentile’s Plight
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles warns us that we should learn a lesson from the Jews who rejected Christ, and are like limbs from an olive tree were broken off for us to be grafted into their place. Here is what he writes: Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
Our Lord said that the last of the gospel days would be like those in the days of Lot. (Luke 17:28). And in those days Lot’s very sons in law were so content in the midst of Sodom’s life style that they considered the warnings of the only man to survive the destruction of those five cities of the plains as foolish! Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
May God have mercy!
Pastor Gene Breed. August 27, 2010