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Keep On Keeping On - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Cross Radio
March 20, 2022 7:00 pm

Keep On Keeping On - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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March 20, 2022 7:00 pm

Pastor Greg Barkman explains the Christian's supreme duty of persevering faith in the midst of trials and opposition.

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As a teenager I remember hearing and travel services Bob Jones Senior say a number of things he had these point sayings that were quite memorable and so many of them as I recall now had to do with persevering in the Christian walk used to say keep on keeping on. Keep on keeping on short to the point we knew exactly what he was talking about. Don't quit.

Don't give up. Don't falter, go, go as far as you can on the right road. That was another one of these things go as far as you can on the right road and used to say do right till the stars fall due right do right young people tell the stars fall due right. All of these have to do with the theme of perseverance. Continuing on in the Christian faith, particularly to persevere in times of suffering and trial and opposition because that's really where I perseverance is tested does require the grace of God to persevere in the normal affairs of life, but it is possible. As you know to be a nominal Christianity cultural Christian, a secondhand Christian second-generation Christian that is because your parents were Christians and you grew up in the church, and you can can keep up that that mode of operation pretty successfully until those difficulties and trials descend upon you, and then the real truth comes out doesn't. It takes a true child of God, who has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God and his living according to the word of God and is in communion with the father and with the sun to persevere during times of opposition and trial. That's what Paul is talking about a flipping chapter 1, when he writes this epistle where Izzy is imprisoned in Rome using writing to his writing to the Philippians, who themselves have suffered a great deal of persecution and still are, to the church at Philippi.

The very first church that was planted upon European soil in the church that has a very special place in the heart of the apostle Paul in his writing to them and the epistle is filled with references to joy and rejoicing. And that's often what many people pick up on but there's an awful lot of it that has to do with enduring hardship and difficulty in trial. Paul is not saying everything is happy happy happy happy happy all the time. Not that kind of Christianity.

There is joy there is rejoicing, even in the midst of trial, but you better understand the trials are here and they're going to continue to come. You need to learn to be able to stand in the midst of those trial so Paul writes to strengthen them in their trials. These writing to them to persevere, no matter what takes place in their lives and what will it take to persevere, particularly in the face of opposition and difficulty. I think therefore keywords that we can draw from our text today in verses 27 through 30 will help us understand the nature of perseverance and how we can by God's grace successfully persevere in trials.

The first word is conduct. Verse 27 only lecture conduct to be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel conduct ball is dealing with how we are to live our daily lives and how we must stand firm in the times of opposition. How are we to live as Christians and how are we to live as Christians, if were going to successfully persevere because if we don't get our conduct right were not going to persevere when the trials go. Verse 27 begins with the word only what is Paul mean by that he means this is the one essential matter. He say he's he's circling this one particular matter how we are to conduct our lives as Christians, as if that is the only matter and of course that's a bit of of the overemphasis. I suppose in the whole scheme of things, but right now Paul is saying this is what's most important is I write to you from Rome, as I think about what you're facing is I think about what I'm facing.

Just told you I don't know what I'm going to live or die. Don't know whether the trial that I'm going to go through when I stand before Caesar is going to result in my acquittal or my execution.

Either way is fine for me to live is Christ to die is gain.

But in the meantime, what do I have to say to you this one thing in particular, only this is the only request that I make. You must live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Your conduct and if that's going to be true in our lives were going to have to reject attitudes that diminish righteous conduct.

We are born into a human family of sinfulness are we are all born sons and daughters of Adam, fallen sinners with hearts a delight in sin that like darkness rather than light, because our deeds are evil, we come to Christ. There is still this battle with remaining sinfulness in our nature. That's going to be taken from us someday when we see the Lord.

Praise God for that. Don't we look forward to that day when the battles over the battles over the probably the greatest battle is the inward battle with our own flesh. That's going to be over some day.

No more sin no more struggling with my sinful temptations, but in the meantime, we've got to struggle with those and there are some Christians who diminish the need for that with a misunderstanding or a deliberate distortion of the concept of grace. They act as if because we are children of grace. It doesn't matter how we live. Grace just covers a multitude of sins pulled people like that in his day, though some of you. He says charge me with saying that the more we send, the more it honors God because the more there is Sanders.

There's more opportunity for grace to be bestowed.

He said that anybody should think like that, but there are people who think that way, who misunderstand distort the message of grace to make it to cover all kinds of misconduct as if it doesn't matter how Christians live and the whole New Testament wars against that idea, but this one verse will stretch you straight on that. Paul says this is most important plot that your conduct enhance the gospel of Christ, we must live by recognizing the importance of godly conduct, only this one thing. Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, we must live.

Paul is telling us as citizens of heaven.

Even though we are residents of earth were conduct there could better be translated to live as citizens. Citizens. That's up common word in our day and one that doesn't have a lot of Xing to it because it is so common in Paul's day in the Roman Empire. It was a great honor to be a Roman citizen, not many of the people who populated the Roman Empire had the honor of being citizen relatively just a handful. Remember, Paul was a citizens born that way is great honor and used it to his advantage.

On several occasions more when he talked to the centurion in the Jerusalem that rescued him from the mob in the temple.

They were stretching about on the rack and flogging Paul said to the guy who was in charge of the flogging, is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen before he has been tried your citizen expect that our many of those around the centurion comes running down to check on this.

They flog him as a citizen. They could be in great trouble. So the centurion says are you a citizen. He said yes. The centurion said will I am to it cost me a lot of money to buy that that favor, I don't talk that night he bribed his way, enter how he got it, but it cost him money to become a Roman citizen.

Paul said, but I was born citizen great honor that really put him up in the upper echelon and the point is that the city of Philippi was a Roman colony that met special status in the Roman Empire and that meant that the citizens of Philippi were Roman citizens and cherish their citizenship. They were proud of it. They thought it was an honorable thing to be a Roman citizen. They recognize it as Roman citizens they need needed to live a certain way, they needed to to demonstrate what a great honor was to be a Roman citizen concept. It sadly has been lost by many of the citizens of the United States of America no longer think it's an honor to be an American citizen and I read a survey recently among among those that were asked if if Steve Rush or somebody like that invaded our country. How many of you would stand and fight like you're doing you in Ukraine and is surprising what a huge percentage of people said, not me. I get out here.

I would stand and fight. This country is worth fighting for. While that was the attitude of the Philippi. They considered being Roman citizens. A high honor. But here's what Paul says listen you got a citizenship.

It's much more important than that Roman citizens yet that's that's important balls and I'm one to and I cherish that you got a citizenship. It's much more important than that, I want you to live as citizens of heaven. I want you to understand what an honor it is to be a citizen of heaven think about. Of all the people the world how few of them are actually citizens of heaven, but you are by the grace of God not act like it like it live like it. It's an honor, and it requires special special conduct in order to demonstrate to others what it means to be a Christian to be a citizen of heaven pauses. That's the way you need to live in a manner worthy of the gospel by saying that, let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Paul is making it clear that there's some conduct that enhances the gospel of Christ. There is some conduct that detracts from the gospel of Christ. It is important how you live. You can't just live in any old way and it makes no difference to the kingdom of Christ and to the advancement of the gospel and to the testimony of the gospel. Upon other how do we know how to live as citizens of heaven, how to enhance the gospel of Christ. The Bible tells us that the New Testament is filled with instructions and it's as simple as this.

When the Bible says don't, then we don't. When the Bible says do. Then we do and then when the Bible says there are some things that are neither do or don't.

These are matters of of liberty matters of indifference as far as right and wrong is concerned that we understand that as well. But we have to get these things right. We read the Bible and when the Bible says thou shalt not, then I say I shall not, when the Bible says thou shalt I say I shall talk and that kind of language very often.

But anyway you understand what I'm what I'm saying I shall I shall do that because Christ commands me to this is the way that I enhance the gospel of Christ. I live according to the words of Christ as he spoke them in the Gospels ends as he spoke them through his apostles gave them to us. This is how we are to live, we must live in a way that enhances the gospel of Christ, and we must stand firm in the last part of verse 27 is telling so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. How must we live according to the Scriptures. How must we stand firm in here's an interesting way of looking at it. How must we stand firm. We must stand firm independent of others. We must stand firm in fellowship with others is that a contradiction how are we going to stand firm with an independent commitment that I understand friend of nobody else does.

In other words, with or without Paul's presence, with or without the encouragement of others. Whether I come and see you or am absent.

That should make no difference in your commitment to stand firm in the truth, and the gospel in a persevering faith should make no difference whatsoever. If you are standing firm for Christ depends upon a certain Christian leader, a certain pastor assert certain beloved Bible teacher, then your faith is pretty if it takes that to prop it up.

If you're standing firm depends upon all of your friends around you, helping you and agreeing with you and you'll go along with them but you can't stand alone. Then your Christian commitment is pretty weak.

Got to have an independent determination that I'm going to stand for Christ. If nobody else around me.independent from others determined to stand alone, if necessary, and yet it won't be necessary because there are others. Always, there are other and so whether I come to see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast.

Now he describes are standing fast together in fellowship with others in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. We must have individual commitments together. If we don't have an inward determination before God may before Christ alone. I will stand if I'm the only one. But then we find the fellowship of the saints, and we find look. There a lot of other people the same commitment now. We do this together. One spirit. It's not clear whether that's the spirit of man of the Holy Spirit. But either way there's a unity here one spirit united in spirit, one mind that's the Greek word psyche soul.

Sometimes it's translated mind. Sometimes it's translated has to do with the word psychology are mind we have the same commitment of the same thoughts about basic Christian truth about the Bible being the word of God about Christ being the eternal son of God about the death of Christ upon the cross in the place of sinners and so forth. And with this unity of mind and unity of heart and with this this commitment that we all have independently but we come together to exercise it in fellowship with one another. We can present a pretty formidable front against the opposition of Satan, striving together sometime translated content means a joint effort like that of an athletic team. Most of you played athletes. It was sometime or another athletics. There are certain sports that are solo sports are used to like to play tennis singles. I was alone on my side of the net against one opponent on the other side of the net. But most of the sports that I played as a young person. Many many many many years ago for team sports I love to play soccer. I love to play basketball. I love to play volleyball. I love to play baseball and softball.

I love these team sports and I learned very quickly, as all of you do that if you're playing on a team doing play solo you're not the hotshot. You're not the only one on the team charter basketball team, you don't hog the ball you don't take all the shots you got, you learn to cooperate together you learn to play together.

You're much more effective that way. That's what Paul is saying here that we have this individual commitment to standing for Christ but we learn to play together.

We learn to strive together we learn to stand together.

It makes it much more effective. It's like on an athletic team or like a military operation and many commentators mentioned this so it came to the minds of a lot of them that probably Paul had in mind the famous great Greek phalanx.

Have you ever heard of that term before PHA LA and ask was a particular military strategy where the Greek soldiers with much practice learned to form kind of a wedge like unit in which a number of male could be a couple dozen or more of them would would come together in team effort.

All with their spears in one hand and their shields in the other hand, the shields actually joined together, presenting a almost an impenetrable wall and with that they would go right into the midst of another army that didn't know how to penetrate this wall and that is the way, here's why many people thought of it that is the way that Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the great Philip of Macedon wears Paul writing this letter to Philippi in the territory of Macedonia low cut ties together here in Philip of Macedon wielded great defeat upon the Roman army back about 200 BC by the use of this strategy. The phalanx where everybody worked in precision and harmony and work together and therefore accomplish so much more than they could individually and Paul said that's the way the Christians learn to stand against opposition individual determination, cooperative fellowship in activity. That's the conduct we must employ for going to persevere. It's the second word courage. Verse 28 and some of these words overlap a bit. The fog is on the same verse 28, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries. Which is to then approve a prediction but to you of salvation that from God. Courage talks about the exercise of courage and also about the effects of curry the exercise of courage, do not in any way be terrified by your adversaries. In other words, exercise courage, the word that is used, there is used of horses that are frightened into a stampede. Again, something they would be familiar with wheat we are more familiar with with the cow stampeding because we've always seen that on television and westerns, but they didn't have cowboys in Paul's day, but they had a lot of armies around a lot of horses and horses and carousing. They knew what it was like for Horst to get spooked and start a stampede of the whole herd was running off and panic. That's often the way it is. Our enemies know how to make us panic just to frighten us into pretty soon the whole herd is running away in fright and Paul says you can't be like that. Not terrified not intimidated fearless under attack on unmovable exercising courage, but he goes on to tell us what the effects of that will be in the last part of verse 28 and he tells us about its effects upon the enemies of the gospel and upon Christians believers in the gospel. What is its effect upon enemies of the gospel, not in any way terrified by your adversaries. Which is to them.

Your adversaries a proof of tradition, damnation, condemnation, and when I read that before I really got into it and studied it the way I begin my sermon preparation is normally on Monday morning. I start by just opening my Bible to the text and reading it carefully writing down my own thoughts that tells me what to look for as I start opening commentaries reading other people's thoughts were more study than I and I missed an important nuance in this particular part of the verse because I thought Paul was saying that the activity of your adversaries opposing you is a mark of their production and there's there's that part of it, but that misses another part of that is exactly right. I don't dismiss that what Paul is saying is that the activity of some people in opposing the gospel, opposing truth, opposing the church opposing Christians marks them out as sons of perdition, that's a sign body until who's going to heaven and who's going to hell. We can look in the hearts and we can always know infallibly but here's a pretty good general way to identify the people who are supportive of Christ and supportive of the truth and supporting of the gospel and supportive of Christians.

Those who are involved in Christian activities and are involved in advancing the message of the Bible. Those are the ones that most cases are going to heaven and the ones who are opposing that are the ones who are going to hell. It's a sign, but here's what I missed the text isn't saying just that the activity of opposition is what marks them out for perdition, but it saying your courage against their opposition is what is related to their knowing about perdition gets a little more complicated than it appears on the surface and there are some commentators that translate this as an omen of destruction. Your courage under fire your courage under opposition is an omen of destruction. That is a message of their future destruction. In other words, it strikes fear in their hearts because this is a tool that God uses to convict them that you don't change. If you don't change your ways. If you don't turn around and set opposing these people become one of them, you're going to hell and Paul is saying is Christians can be a powerful witness to the enemies of the gospel by showing this kind of courage to face of opposition. See how important it is that you conduct enhance the gospel of Christ. You see how important it is for you to stand unmovable in the truth of the gospel and not run like a coward when the first little bit of opposition comes along, they become convicted what their convicted by as much as anything else is by watching Christians being willing to endure loss for the sake of Christ. They know the Christians are enduring lost. There is much as I can hear Christians who keep standing and standing and standing and standing. I don't enjoy loss but I'll take it for the cause of Christ. I don't enjoy losing my job and I'll take it for the cause of her cause of Christ.

I don't enjoy the plundering of my goods, but I'll take it for the loss for the sake of Christ. There something that's more important than worldly things is something that's more important than silver and gold material things.

What is it the riches that are in Christ. That's what's most important and I am willing to suffer all loss in this world for the sake of the gain that I will have in Jesus Christ. And when the enemies of the gospel see that they are astounded they are flabbergasted. They have no explanation for that they know that there's something real in you, you're not just professing to be a Christian, you're just going to church are not just mouthing the words there's something genuine in you that cannot be explained any other way and that strike conviction into their own hearts and it tells them that they better pay attention to what you're saying is truth in it, less the effect of your courage upon the enemies of the gospel and what is the effect of your courage upon believers upon yourself and other believers will the opposite your courage in the face of opposition identifies you as a recipient of salvation.

If you are being opposed for the sake of Christ. You must belong to Christ right. That's the logic and if you are able and willing to stand in the face of increasing suffering and trials, and opposition. Then there's only one explanation, the living all-powerful God is at work in your life.

That's the only way that's possible. If that's true, then you belong to him. That's a mark of your salvation. There is the evidence of it brings assurance to your soul because God enables those who stand for. That's the only way they could do it so word number one conduct toward number two.

Courage. Ward number three commitment verse 29 for to you has been granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake, Paul deals in this verse with we might say to commitments number one, a commitment to faith in Christ.

Number two a commitment to suffering for Christ. The commitment to faith in Christ. It is a commitment more than that, but we have all heard of various times in evangelistic presentations. Make a commitment to Christ. It's time for you to commit to Jesus Christ. That's not a bad term. Not at all because there is a commitment is more than just mouthing words is more than just repeating this prayer more than just saying this after me there's going to be a commitment of heart produced by the work of the Holy Spirit within the heart. But there's gotta be a commitment.

There's some substance to this or something solid to it there's a commitment to Christ, which is we are told here very plainly what is that ability to believe in Christ come from that commitment wears it come from it is a gift of God to you for to you it has been granted, it has been given on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but not less than believe any of either will take just that part for the moment faith in Christ is a gift of God that were granted comes from its different form of the Greek word Caras from which we get the word grace which means a gift A.B. Storment where does our faith come from is a come from something naturally within us as fallen sons and daughters of Adam. The Bible says no. The Bible says it is the gift of God and if there were no other verse in the Bible taught this one makes it plain that a lot of people skip over this one. Most people are familiar with with the Ephesians chapter 2.

For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. The proper exegesis of that verse unconfident exit clear that faith is a gift of God. For by grace are you saved through faith, not of yourselves, but it is a gift of God, but there are those who object to that interpretation of the verse in a safe, not the gift of God doesn't apply just a faith that applies to salvation applies to the whole package. It's all the gift of God so that kinda removes the what should I say the difficulty that some people have in accepting the sovereign grace of God, but like so many truths that's not the only place in the Bible you find it in here you find it and I don't know how you can explain it away. Here where is your ability to believe in Christ come from. It's a gift of God. Believing is the gift of God. That's all that's mentioned in that can only be faith. Believing is the gift of God's amazing, you keep reading the Bible how things begin to flow together and how the Bible begins to interpret itself. In the Bible in one place will make plain what may not be completely clear to you in another place. The Bible has a way of doing that doesn't cut it similar in some ways I suppose the doctrine of election. Election referred to herein refined election referred to their and on the surface it seems to be pretty clear that God chooses a people for Christ to get gave them to him before the foundation of the world he chooses his people before the world was ever created. Those who come to faith in Christ are come to faith in Christ because they are the elect of God, but again the people little little get into every one of those verses and and try to explain it away. Well, this is not just saying Ephesians chapter 1, for example, this is not sake the God chose us to salvation.

It says that God chose us to good works right or not a lot goes. I mean, you can find a way out until you come to that one in second Thessalonians chapter 3 where it says is playing as words on the page can say it. God has chosen you to salvation when a lot of that that explains all the others. Same thing here. Where does faith come from gift of God is plain as can be. In this text. This explains the others. You can't wiggle out of it here but how does God bring this faith he brings it in such a way that we exercise faith. We exercise our will. We we make a commitment.

That's the work of God in us, enabling us to do all that. But we do that.

In other words, God doesn't believe for us. He enables us to believe he moves us to believe he empowers us to believe, but every one of us individually must believe that you believed. If you have thank God for it. If you haven't call upon God to enable you to do it but you must believe.

You must exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you're going to be say.

So we make a commitment of faith. Paul says that's not all that God gave us. He not only gifted us with faith.

He gifted us with suffering, whoops, that didn't sound like a gift to me. Yes it is right there in the same verse look at it for to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake, so God hands you the gift of faith in you say, oh thank you thank you thank you thank you that has brought me to salvation in Christ and then God hands you the gift of suffering and you say well we need to learn to say, by the grace of God, thank you, thank you, thank you thank you the same grace that brought his faith brother suffering the same kind and loving heart of God brought his faith brother suffering. He's got a good and gracious purpose for it, but it is the gift of God.

One commentator said suffering is the friction the polishes are granite. I can understand that. Can't you see what suffering comes into the life of the believer is not an accident.

It's by design. There are no accidents with God. Suffering comes into the life of a believer. It's not necessarily punishment, and I'm not saying God is not tracing his children because the Bible says he does but more often than not it's got nothing to do with that. Think of the life of Job.

What what punishment was he receiving when he went through all that suffering.

Not all God had a wise and gracious purpose and it was a gracious gift of God, both believing and suffering are by God's grace. So were talking about persevering art weight and we have to think of our conduct needs to be godly conduct. We will persevere. We think about courage. We must have courage in the face of opposition. We will persevere. We must have commitment. Commitment to faith in Christ and commitment to suffer.

We must say God if you say this is good. I committed to it.

Help me through it. It's a gift of God commitment and then number four is conflict. Verse 30 conflict having the same conflict which you saw in me now here in me are suffering like our like our standing and striving is both unique us both individual and it's also shared there's a sense in which your trial is, at least in some respects different from anybody else's.

Two are exactly alike. Like snowflakes, go to trials are exactly alike, and yet there's another sense in which the essence of our trials have been shared by everyone.

There is no trial or testing taken you but such as is common to man common to man and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be suffered to suffer above that you are able will with the suffering, make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. It's unique to you and it's really really easy for us to get a little pity party say nobody else understands. Nobody else had.

There's nobody else to suffer the way I suffer common to man suffer the way I have. I know yours is a little bit weak because no two are exactly alike, but common to man. The essence of your suffering has been shared by every believer and will continue to be shared by every believer, metal pole, saying in verse 30 suffering that you're having in Philippi, you've already seen it in May you sought to me when I was at Philippi and you're singing to me now as I'm imprisoned in Rome. None of them had had suffered exactly what Paul suffered in Philippi. They watched him as he was arrested. They watched him as he was beaten. They watched him as his feet were put in stocks, then how God rescued him from that and how he was invited out of the city deported from Philippi. They watched all that.

So in some respects the details of Paul suffering were different from theirs. But Paul says it's the same same kind of suffering is on me.

That's what you're doing now. Your enduring serious opposition from the people in Philippi just like I did. And you know where I am now. I'm in Roman prison and that same kind of suffering you are having none of you are imprisoned in Rome. But you having the same kind of unjust suffering.

I'm not in prison because I'm a guilty criminal who is broken Roman law.

I am him in Roman imprisonment unjustly the sake of Christ and were all going to face that as we've already seen this is conflict and Paul had endured much conflict and it wasn't over.

He said it'll continue to the end of my life and your enduring conflict and it's not over. It's going to endure going to continue to the end of your life and so if you're going to persevere. You better understand conflict and we don't pray Lord keep me from suffering. Keep me from trials keep me from opposition keep me from conflict. What we pray. Lord, give me strength and courage and faith to keep on keeping on. In these things that your word tells me will come there supposed to come help me to honor you in the midst of all these things, how are you it enduring suffering. How are you dealing with conflict. You must learn to handle these things properly. If you are going to keep on keeping on going to persevere. What will it take till it will take right Christian living right conduct. What will it take will take courage, you knockout it be stampeded by every little conflict I read is not exactly the same but I read a lot online sometime this week. God pity us if we get into world war three. When so many in our generation can't stand the pressure of somebody calling them by the wrong pronoun can take a little more courage than that. Isn't it we don't even know what suffering is, we don't know conflict is as pampered generation will better learn. As Christians we better learn so it's going to take proper conduct is going to trick courage is going to take commitment because conflict is a reality it's not a possibility.

It's a reality it's a gift from God therefore asked God to enable you to stand.

Some have fallen away, having today all of us know people used to fellowship with us here and now they're no longer in church anywhere then no longer walking with Christ what's happened. They follow the way you say, what, what's the condition before God.

Are they saved are they not saved.

I don't know leave that between them and God.

But the evidence doesn't look real good at the moment does. We pray to God till return demonstrate the real work of God's grace in their heart, but if they never demonstrated any ability to stand against pressure against opposition against difficulties against disappointment so poor pretty meat. I've been hurt in church like I can't go to church anymore. What you can do in the real conflict God's we see many who have fallen away. We pray for them and we pray that it will not be us. That was them yesterday. Let's pray that it will not be me tomorrow as God to enable you when you see that happen, say, God, please don't let that happen to me by your grace and if that is you repent come back to Christ.

See God's pardon and is enabling power. Some of you fit that description. Some of you here who were with us were gone and you were just gone to another church. You were gone out of the Christian orbit and then here you came back some years later and here you are sitting with us today, God is pardoning God is a merciful God who is a pardoning godlike we think of Peter who denied the Lord and went out, wept bitterly, but Christ forgave you. There is pardon of every soul by sin oppressed. There is mercy with the Lord and he will surely give you rest.

By trusting in his word, but you've got to come back to your commitment to Christ and the Christian living and to opposition facing the opposition of the world and to striving together with others of like precious faith. That's the way you keep on keeping on, shall we pray father oh father, help us to learn from your as we ask it in Jesus name, amen