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Perishing 1

A little boy was overheard praying, "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.  I'm having a real good time like I am."  How many people (Christians) have this attitude today?  They just want fire insurance and don’t want to convert or change their lives?  Don’t have this attitude in life.

The Lord has led me to aim towards a detailed, verse-by-verse and word-by-word study of the parables of Matthew 13.  Today, in order to get a clearer understanding of some of the concepts involved, we’re going to take a close, in-depth look at the word “perishing”, and see the relationship of perishing to people and to whom it applies.

[2 Peter 3:9]  His promise is singular.  It’s not promises; it’s referring to something specific.  This is talking about the inheritance that has been promised to Christians who live a faithful, obedient life.

So, to whom is this verse being written?  It says, “us-ward”; it includes the author as well as those to whom he’s writing.  It says that he’s not willing that any of us should perish [apollumi], is the implication here, and that’s what is says in the Greek texts.  He’s not willing that any of us should perish, but that we all might come to repentance.

You can see the context to this passage is you look with me in [verses 11-14:  godliness us our way of life].  This is talking about preparation for ruling and reigning.  Those who perish (or lose their life) will not have position of honor and authority in the coming Kingdom.

[Matthew 18]  First, we need to be aware of Matthew 16:24, so you can see this in context.  The context is this: [Matthew 16:24].  In other parallel passages, it’s presented as a daily thing.  It’s the denying of one’s self, because in contrast, look in [verse 25].  That’s not self-denial; that’s self-realization; that’s self-esteem; that’s realizing our own plans and purposes.  In this verse, the expression “shall lose it” is the Greek word “apollumi”; it’s “perish”.

For whosoever will save his life will lose it, or it will perish.  And the life he’s talking about here is life for the coming age.  It’s the soul; the Greek word is psuche.  It is life that is associated with rewards, as we will see in verse 27 in just a moment.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it [apollumi] and whosoever will lose [apollumi] his life for my sake shall find it.”  Here I remind you that we find the word apollumi:  to perish.  If we destroy our life’s ambitions and desires here in this life, in the coming Kingdom, we will realize them; we will find them; we will enjoy the blessings of ruling and reigning and sharing in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

[Matthew 16:26]  The word “lose” here is not the word “perish”.  It’s the same word as found in 1 Corinthians 3:15, which says, “If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”  “Loss” is the same word; suffer loss.  And, that’s what will happen.  If a man gains the whole world; the world system; everything the world offers, he will lose; he will have no profit; his p&l will be lacking at the Judgment Seat of Christ; it will not be in the black, it will be in the red.

[Matthew 16:27]  This passage is not dealing simply with salvation; this passage is dealing with works, discipleship, following the Lord, and with rewards.

So, here in Matthew 16, we see an example of how the word “perish” is used; apollumi.  Now, turn to [Matthew 18:11].  The word “lost” there is “perishing”; apollumi.

[Matthew 18:11-14]  We find the word “perish” in verse 11, “which was lost”, or more appropriately, “which is perishing”; it’s a participle (second perfect, active, participle, but that’s not terribly important; 2nd perfect has the force of present).  Notice here that these are sheep; they have been in the fold, but they have gone astray; they have gone out of the fold.  Where do they go?  They go to the mountains.  The sheep go to the mountains.  They become influenced by satanic and demonic powers.

In other words, they begin to serve the world, the flesh, and the devil, and as long as we server the world, the flesh, and the devil, we are not making proper preparations for ruling and reigning.

Now this word “gone astray” is something I want you to notice.  [James 5:19-20; emphasize “gone astray”]  “Gone astray” is used twice in this passage; it’s the word “err” and “error”.  In other words, sheep are those who go astray; they err; fall into error.  And if they fall into error and are not converted, brought back into the way, they will perish.

It says here, if a brother, (a brother is going into error, or astray), “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner (sinning brother) from the error of his way shall save a soul from death (not perishing; death, but it is thanatos death; it applies to losing one’s life or perishing), and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

[Hebrews 5]  I want to show you how it’s used in another way.  [Hebrews 5:2]  “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.”  The word “error” or “gone astray” is translated “out of the way”.  Literally, it says, “the ones who are straying”.  That’s how it’s used here.

[Titus 3]  This will give you a little idea of what the sheep in the mountains is doing.  [Titus 3:3]  The word “gone astray” here is translated as “deceived”.  “Deceived” is the same Greek word as “gone astray”, or “err”, or “error”, or “out of the way”.  It is one who is deceived.  This one here is not a past reference to our life as a lost person, because the lost person couldn’t possibly be obedient, much less disobedient; he’s already dead in his trespasses and sins; he has no life to lose.

That’s why only a person who has life can perish.  That’s why this passage here is dealing with the fact that we were sometimes foolish.  Living as if there were no God, deceived, and serving divers lusts.  And Paul is warning Titus about this situation of being disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  The implication is very clear:  Those who live that way will not have an inheritance in the coming Kingdom.  We’ll look at that in just a moment.

So, we see the expression “gone astray” carries the meaning of deceived, error, and out of the way; going out of the way.  Now, let’s look in [2 Peter 2]; this is talking about false teachers, and [2 Peter 2:18].  That’s the same word:  “Going astray”.

Now, look over in chapter 3 and verse 17; let’s start with [2 Peter 3:16]; “As also in all his epistles [talking about Paul; Paul wrote some things that were hard to understand and Peter acknowledges the fact that he didn’t understand everything Paul wrote], As also in all his epistles speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist)…”  People who don’t understand the word of God and are not rightly dividing the word of God, to make it fit their theology have to twist the word of God.  This is one reason why I believe that more Bible teachers don’t teach from the original languages.  Because when they teach from the original languages, they have to twist the Scriptures or change the word of God to make it fit what they already think.  So, we don’t hear a lot of teaching from the original languages.

“…they twist, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction [apollumi]. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”  Here, error is the same word.  Going astray is to be brought into error.

I want to bring this out, in addition to this original passage that we were studying, because of the word “going astray”.  Now, let’s continue with looking at other passages that have to do with “perishing”.

[Luke 9]  Let’s look at a few passages that contain the word “apollumi” or “to lose one’s life”.  I want to remind you of the fact that the first time this word is used in the NT is when Herod is seeking to destroy the Lord Jesus Christ, before he put to death the babies that were two years old and under.  [Matthew 2:13 says, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.]  So, we can see how the word was first used, and then we can look at the different flavors of the word.

[Luke 9:23-24a:  And he said to them all, If any man [anyone] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it.]  This is future, active, indicative.   Future meaning that he will lose it in the coming age.  Active meaning that he is the one who did the losing of it.  Why?  Because he was gaining his own life.  Indicative meaning there is not doubt about it:  He will lose it.  Any Christian who will put himself first and the Lord second will lose his life in the coming Kingdom or in the age to come.

[24b:  but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.]  This is interesting in that it’s aorist, active, subjunctive.  Active in that the individual is involved in putting his present ambitions or desires to death or destroying them.  And the subjunctive mood implies there is the possibility of failure.  There is the possibility that we can fail to put our life down, or to mortify our members; we need to put our life down, but there’s the possibility that we can fail.

We see this all over the place.  People come to a saving knowledge of the Lord; they come into the deeper knowledge of the truth; then fall away from it.  There’s definitely the possibility of us failing.

[Luke 9:25:  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself (Here is the word apollumi), or be cast away?]  This is the same word used in Matthew 16:26:  “Shall lose his own soul.”  This is the same word found in 1 Corinthians 3:15, about suffering loss.  And the word cast away, is not the same word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 9:27, which says, “…When I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  The word there is “disapproved”; the Greek word “adokimos”.  Here, in Luke 9:25, the idea is “disqualified” or “forfeited”.

So we can see how Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ who built their lives around wood, hay, and stubble shall suffer loss and yet be saved, so as through fire.  They are in the family; they are not destined for everlasting separation from God in the lake of fire.  Yet, there is no reward; no positions of authority; no sharing of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in his coming Kingdom.

Now, let’s continue.  Look in [Luke 15].  This has to do with the prodigal son; this has to do with the sheep again.  We’re coming here for one particular verse, but we’re going to look at these others.  [Luke 15:4:  “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness…”]  That’s the point I want you to get.  They’re in the wilderness.  The sheep that went astray went into the mountains.  Mountains have to do with the heavenlies, and that’s where our battle is:  In the heavenlies.  When a person goes into the mountains, so to speak…

Well, in [Psalm 121:1; hold your place], when David said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help,” David wasn’t saying, “I look at the hills and where does my help come from”.  In the Hebrew, what he’s saying is, “My help doesn’t come from the hills, [verse 2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth”.  The contrast there is this:  David says, “My help doesn’t come from satanic forces.  It doesn’t come from Satan and his hosts.  My help cometh from the Lord”.

So, here we find the ninety and nine in the wilderness; they have not yet entered into the land, if you please, and that’s the point we need to look at.  “And goeth after that which is lost [apollumi; active, participle] until he finds it.”  Again, “perish” is the word used here.

Now, the thing I wanted you to come over here for is in verse 7.  [Luke 15:7]  The sinner here is an erring believer, or an erring sheep.  Now, what is a “just” person?  That’s the next question in contrast.

[Luke 1]  and we will see what a just person does or is; this is talking about Zechariah and Elizabeth the mother and father of John the baptizer and in [verse 6; righteous is the same word as just; they were both just before God; What made them that way?].  That’s what makes a person just:  Knowing God’s word and walking in it.  He will be found blameless at the judgment seat of Christ.