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Perishing 06

[2 Peter 3:9]  People try to apply this verse to salvation or being born from above, yet the author includes himself in the possibility of perishing or losing one’s life.  Also, it is important to remember that the conflict or inconsistency with using this passage for salvation is that only those who have life can perish.  When we study the Bible, we know that someone who isn’t saved doesn’t have life; they can’t perish. They are already dead in their trespasses and sins.  This passage is not telling us how to get saved.

Consistency in the Scriptures is important; consistency is imperative when you study.  Why?  Because, inconsistency has created a lot of confusion for many, many people.  That’s one reason we have so many denominations.  There are some denominations that believe that baptism is necessary for salvation.  They teach that you must be baptized in order to be saved.  It’s true that that baptism is necessary for salvation, but salvation of the soul.  It’s necessary for entrance into the coming Kingdom of our Lord and Savior; it’s necessary if you’re interested in ruling and reigning.

One thing that causes many people problems is that there are some passages that say that if you do certain works, you’ll be saved.  So, we have the Arminian view that as long as we’re being good, we’ll make it to heaven.  We’re on the road; we’re on the gospel train; we have our hand on the throttle.  Pilgrim’s Progress is a prime example of Arminian doctrine; it teaches that if we can keep on the narrow path; if we’re faithful; if we hang on; if we pray through; then, we’ll make it to the sweet by and by.

This is inconsistency in the Word of God.  This is one of the reasons we’re studying this word “perishing”.  We want to demonstrate, as well as grow in the grace and knowledge if our Lord, that there are inconsistencies in the way men teach and handle God’s word; many men are very lax in how they handle it.  But, it’s accurate.

I know we’ve looked at this, but it’s important:  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise”.  Singular.  It’s accurate.  It’s specific.  The promise he’s talking about is life for the coming age.  To have life for the coming age, we must not perish, because if we perish or lose our life, then we won’t have life in the coming age; in the millennial age.

We studied John 3:16, very deeply.  [John 10]  Now, we’ll continue comparing scripture to scripture.  [John 10:27-28; coming age]  Here’s a passage talking about sheep; it’s talking about believers.  [John 10:2-3a; voice]  Again, I want to remind you that this is emphasizing the hearing of his voice.  It’s a present, active; it’s durative; it’s not on again, off again.  This means continually listening.  This can be compared to continually studying.  Growing in the grace and knowledge of him.

This is one of the ways we have grace and peace.  2 Peter 1:2 says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge [epignOsis] of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”  Continually growing in the knowledge of God.  In John 10:2-3, we find the sheep continually hearing his voice.  [John 10:3b-4]  Here, we find service.  Entrance in and out, and following the shepherd.

In [John 10:27] again we find sheep hearing his voice.  This also is present, active.  The sheep are active in the hearing.  It’s durative.  It says, “I know them”.  This passage gives reference to those whom he knows.

We can make reference to these in [Matthew 7; hold your place].  This is a passage where the Lord deals with those as far as entrance into the Kingdom of the Heavens is concerned, because they felt like they deserved an entrance because they did mighty works; they cast out demons, they prophesied, etc.  [Matthew 7:21]  Doing the will of the father is necessary work for a Christian to do for entrance into the coming Kingdom.  Yet, there are those who [Matthew 7:22-23; ye workers of lawlessness; deciding what is right in your own eyes].  Here, we are looking at a passage of denial.  Just as election is special knowledge, here we find special denial of those who are not interested in doing the will of the father, and therefore not interested in doing what it takes to enter in.

In [John 10:27], it says, “I know them”.  This has reference to those he acknowledges, and they’re the ones that will have entrance.  They are the ones who will rule and reign.  “And they follow me”.  This again is a present, active, indicative.  All the verbs in this passage, except for “perish” are in the present tense.  They are all durative in action.

[John 12:25a]  “He that loveth his life shall lose it…”, or is losing it; he is perishing.  If you love your life in this age, you’re going to perish in the age to come.  [John 12:25-26]  Following the Lord has to do with service.  Service will result in the father honoring you.  God the father will honor a person who follows the Lord.

Back in [John 10:27], it says, “They follow me”.  That’s a present, active, indicative.  They are following.  There’s no fluctuating.  Active in following, they do it constantly, and there is no doubt in their minds.  Those here in verse 27 are those believers who are mature and have a hope of ruling and reigning.  It’s in the present tense; they’re faithful.

[John 10:28; “and I give unto them life for the age”.]  When we compare scripture with scripture, we know that we can forfeit our life in the coming age; we can forfeit ruling and reigning.  But, we can’t forfeit salvation.  But here, contingent on the present tense of following, life for the age to come is offered to us.  In other words, if we’re going to be faithful in hearing and faithful in following and faithful in service, we can expect God to honor us in the coming age.  That’s what God has done with the son.  He has honored the son with glory and power and dominion in the coming Kingdom. 

[John 10:28b; “And they shall never perish”.]  This is interesting; even though the present tense is found throughout this entire passage, there is a double negative here in the Greek (ou me).  The double negative is stronger; it is emphasis; it does not negate itself.  Not not; no no; never never perish.  Perish is subjunctive here, though.  I think the Lord in this passage slips in the fact, “Don’t forget, there is that possibility”.  If there were no possibility of perishing, there would be no warning.  If everybody was going to rule and reign; or if everybody who’s a Christian doesn’t do certain sins; then this book would only need one verse in it:  “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.”  And if that takes care of every little thing, then there should be no warning about perishing; there would be only that one verse, and then the Bible would simply list everything that we can expect to have when we get there; all the neat stuff.

But, that’s not what it does, is it?  This book continually warns believers, over and over again, not to do certain things.  It exhorts us to be faithful in order to have honor, glory, and privileges in the coming Kingdom.

Here we have, “never perish”.  Never lose their life.  It’s contingent on the present tense of the verbs in verse 27.  They continue to hear his voice; they continue to follow and serve him.  As soon as you quit listening, as soon as you quit following; as soon as you quit serving; you can’t expect the father to honor you.

That’s why the Holy Spirit puts the word “perish” in the subjunctive.  “And they shall never perish.”  “And they not not; no never might/may perish.”  It’s in the subjunctive, not the indicative.  Indicative is mood of certainty.  Subjunctive is the mood of probability.  It’s contingent upon something.

[1 Corinthians 1:18]  I want to remind you the accuracy of the verbs is important; keep that in the front of your mind.  “For the preaching of the cross to them that are perishing…”  This is a present, active, participle.  They’re in the process of perishing.  And the same tense and voice is used in “saved”.  “But unto us which are being saved”.  Unto those of us who are in the process of working out our salvation.  It is the power of God.  [1 Corinthians 1:18]

This is one of the reasons why Paul in his epistle to the Philippians makes reference to those Christians who are the enemy of Christ.  [Philippians 3]  This passage is dealing with the prize and the high calling of god in Christ Jesus [verse 14].  The high calling (the above calling, literally) of God in Christ Jesus is the calling to come up above those believers who have lost their lives; those who have perished.  It’s talking about the out-resurrection.  [Philippians 3:11; If by any means I might attain unto the [out] resurrection of the dead from among the dead ones.]  Here again, the subjunctive is used, when it says, “Might attain”.  Because Paul goes on and says, [Philippians 3:12].  “I have not apprehended that which I was apprehended for”.  And why were we apprehended?  That we might rule and reign.  Paul didn’t know if he was going to rule and reign when he wrote this book.  That’s why Paul said that in verse 12.  He wrote it for other reasons too, but the Holy Spirit is trying to emphasize to us again that we might attain; and again we might not.

The out-resurrection from among the dead ones is talking about those Christians that lose their life for the coming age.  Paul wasn’t scared he was going to miss the resurrection or the rapture.  He knew that he would be part of that.  He taught that in 1 Thessalonians.  What he was afraid of, was not receiving the high calling; the above calling; the out-resurrection from among the dead. 

Those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ are those who mind earthly things; they will eventually have their lives destroyed and they will come up embarrassed and lacking and wanting at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  That’s why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that the preaching of the cross to them that are perishing is foolishness.  These passages are talking about believers who are losing their lives.

But unto us who are being saved, it is the power of God.  That’s what it is!  This is one reason Bible teachers don’t teach in the Greek.  Because they can’t harmonize the Bible with their preconceived theology.  Most Bible teachers that try to harmonize the Bible to their preconceived theology are amillennialists.  They don’t believe in the literal Kingdom of our Lord.

This is one reason why you don’t find many teachers who teach from the Greek.  It creates problems with their theology that they already hold dear.  Here in this passage, there is the phrase, “which are being saved”.  Well, we believe and the Bible teaches that when we believe, we are in the family of God, and we’ll be there forever, and nothing can take us out of it; we will live forever in God’s family, just as Jesus Christ continues to live in God’s family.  Once you believe, you are everlastingly saved.

But, here’s a passage that says we are in the process of being saved, which seems to imply that we may not in the sweet by and by, unless we eventually get saved.  If we’re in the process, then we could possibly lose our salvation.  The Word of God doesn’t teach that; it teaches that we can lose rewards, and we can lose positions of honor, glory, and authority in the Kingdom.  The Word of God teaches that you cannot under any circumstance lose your salvation, but it does teach that you can lose your life in the coming age.

Next week, I want us to look at [1 Corinthians 15:18].  Are perished.  This is indicative.  They have lost their life, if Christ be not raised from the dead.  If Christ be not raised from the dead, we cannot know and experience the power of the resurrection.  It takes the high priestly office of the Lord Jesus Christ for us to be overcomers.  If Christ be not raised, there is no resurrection, and no overcoming, and our faith is in vain.  It doesn’t mean that we’re lost forever and damned into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels, but it means that we will not rule and reign in the coming Kingdom with the Lord Jesus Christ.