In His Hands

There was a mouse who had to make a journey- a long, perilous journey. He was to be crowned king in a distant land. But to reach this land where he was to be king, he had to cross a wilderness infested with monsters. Therefore, the mouse hired a gorilla to act as his bodyguard.

The gorilla carried the little prince in his hand as he walked. Before long, they came upon a band of goblins. The gorilla quickly dispatched the goblins with his free hand.

"I thought we were goners!" said the mouse.

"Nothing will take you out of my hand." said the gorilla.

Several miles later, the duo was beset by a wyvern. The ape picked up a rock and hit the wyvern squarely between the eyes, kiling it.

"That was amazing!" said the prince.

"I told you, nothing will take you out of my hand."

Later, their path took them by the seashore. In the distance, Sirens were singing. The gorilla's will was strong, and he knew that he could pass this way without succumbing to the siren's song. His employer, however, was another matter. The mouse prince demanded to be freed so that he could swim to the sirens. When the gorilla refused to free him, he fought. He thrashed and scratched and bit, but the ape would not let go.

When he came to his senses, the prince found himself covered in blood which had flowed into his fur from the gorilla's wounds. "My friend, I have harmed you!" he cried. "Why did you not drop me for the sake of your own safety?"

"I am here to see to your safety, my prince. Not my own." replied the ape. "I promised you that nothing would take you from my hand. That includes you."

When they reached his kingdom, the mouse was made king and the gorilla was paid handsomely to stay on as captain of the royal guard.

Life can be scary. The universe can be very scary. Everything can be scary. Even the number 42 can at times, be scary. It's only natural to desire protection. After all, satan is out there. Satan hates you and has a destructive plan for your life. He has countless minions, both demons and humans, who are more than willing to do you all sorts of harm. They are all going to Hell and they want to take you with them. How can we resist the urge to make doubly and tripply sure we are safe?

We know that God protects us. We know that all we have to do is accept His gift of salvation to have eternal life and be saved from Hell. So the natural tendancy is to wonder whether that one thing we have to do was done right. We look back and ask "Did I really mean it? What if I didn't? What if something I did soured the deal? What if I did something unforgivable? What if my belief isn't enough? What if I've sinned so much since then that God thinks I'm not serious?

Raise your paw if you've ever thought one of these thoughts.

I had the last one in that list when I was in high school. Not having been informed that certain things are indeed morally acceptable, I was convinced that I was so hopelessly unregenerate that God was surely just going to let me go.

But I would like to give you some good news. Look at John 10:28,29.

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand.
When you are saved, you are held in Jesus' hands. Nothing can pry you out of his hand. But you are also in the Father's hands. Imagine his hands encircling Jesus' hands, keeping you safely therein. And there is more. Ephesians 4:30 reminds us that we are sealed with the Spirit. So you are in Jesus' hands, God's hands are around his, and the Holy Spirit is binding the whole thing together.

This is a favorite image of my father. The cover of today's bulletin is based on a picture hanging in his office.

And let's look back at Isaiah 43:13.

13 Yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?"
No one is powerful enough to thwart God. That's been proven again and again. Time after time, our God has stomped the other so-called gods of this world into nothingness. He did it with ra and the gods of egypt during the exodus. He did it with baal in the test of fire. He decapitated dagon. His servants desecrated the "holy" sites of asherah. Those kings who would set themselves up as gods... guess what... they're all dead! He crumbled Nimrod's reign and made the mighty hunter's name synonymous with fools. He turned Nebuchadnezzar into a beast. He demolished Og, the giant-king. He sent worms to eat Herod.

Absolutely no outside force is powerful enough to remove you from God's hands.

So what about inside forces?

Inside forces would constitute you and God. Take a look at what Jesus says about that.

John 6:39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.
If we read on, we find that this refers not just to the apostles, but "everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him." To those of us who do, we have eternal life. Not the possibility of eternal life. It's already here. Eternal life begins with the acceptance of Jesus Christ.

So what if -I- do something to break the deal?

Turn to Ephesians 1:5.

5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Paul, who wrote this book, was a Roman citizen. There is a very special significance to the term "adopted" which he uses here. In the Roman Empire, one had to be a father in order to hold a seat in the senate. Single men would often circumvent this law by adopting a child and then disowning them again. Thus, the law was changed to prevent such a mockery of love. Once a child was adopted in the Roman Empire, he could NEVER be disowned. He could not be disowned by his father or mother and he could never disown his new parents, even if he wanted to.

If this is not sufficient, take our scripture reading today. When we see the phrase "any other thing", the term in the original greek means very explicitly that. It is a term which specifically excludes even the possibility of onesself as an exception.

I do believe that there is, in theory, one thing you can do to lose your salvation, and that is to repudiate Christ. To denounce Him and savior and verbally refuse salvation. However, I do not believe that Jesus will allow that. Not in light of 1 Corinthians 10:13

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
I don't believe that He would allow any of us to come to the point of repudiation, and if we did, I believe He would bring us home before we did it.

The doctrine I have been preaching is called "Eternal Security". It is not a doctrine espoused by every church, and indeed, you don't have to embrace it to be a part of this church. The deacons and I made a point of excluding it from the statement of faith because it is not significantly important enough to come between those who do not agree on it. However, I feel it is appropriate to preach this doctrine, especially in light of recent conversations which have gone on in here.

So far, we've answered all the questions but one. "what if I was never saved in the first place?" Well, what is necessary for Salvation?

Acts 16 KJV
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and (the same applies to) thy house.
Of course, "believe" isn't merely intellectual assent. True belief- faith, is like sitting in a chair. You can accept the fact that the chair will hold you and believe it wholeheartedly, but it isn't REAL belief until you actually sit down in it. Now you can't sit on Jesus. At least I wouldn't attempt it. So how do you know if you really meant it?
1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

If you can call Jesus your Lord and MEAN it, then your faith is sufficient.

Of course, if you still have doubts, there's really only one thing to do. Ask Christ into your heart again now that you know you mean it. I guarantee you won't hurt His feelings. And if you have never accepted Jesus as your saviour, I invite you to accept Him tonight. Take Him as your Lord and Savior and accept the wonderful gift that He has to offer.

I hope this sermon has brought each of you some encouragement. If you didn't currently have any doubts about your salvation, then I challenge you to remember what you have heard tonight so that you can minister to others who do.

Pastor Oren Otter
January 14, 2006