It may be difficult to fathom that some child of God could/would walk away from the One who created them. But it happens. The fact of the matter is: formerly FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS LEAVE THE LORD at times. Sadly, it has happened at Wilsonville.
What Does It Mean To Leave The Lord?
Leaving the Lord is a conscious decision that is made with the mind and heart. It does not “just happen”, but usually develops over time, and is a process. But what does this decision REALLY mean?
1-It means you turn your back on the One whose back was bruised and beaten, and then died for you. “But He was WOUNDED for our transgressions, He was BRUISED for our iniquities, the CHASTISEMENT for our peace was upon Him, and by His STRIPES we are healed”. (Is 53:5).
2-It means you love the world more than you love God. “Do not love the WORLD, or the things in the WORLD. If anyone loves the WORLD, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever”. (I John 2:15)
3-It means you have forsaken the Lord who promised He would never, ever forsake you. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said , ‘I will never LEAVE you nor FORSAKE you”. (Heb 13:5).
4-It means you have stirred the wrath of God Almighty and made Him angry. There are numerous passages in both Old and New Testaments that warn of the anger and wrath of God against sinners and the unrighteous. “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”. (Rom 2:5). In that same letter to the Romans, Paul writes: “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. (Rom 1:18).
5-It means you Lose and Leave your COMMUNICATION NETWORK. While being a faithful Christian, you have an open door of COMUNCATION to The Savior and to the Throne of God through PRAYER. But when you LEAVE Him, that Door closes. For more than 40 years Jeremiah preached, admonished, and warned the people of Judah concerning their sinful idol worship. But they did not listen. When God had enough of their rebellious attitude, the Holy Spirit led the prophet to write: “Therefore thus says the Lord, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them. So do not pray for this people or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their disaster”. (Jer 11:11, 14).
6-It means you Lose and Leave your REPUTATION. Faithful Christians must have and will have a good REPUTATION. Unbelievers will be able to determine (in most cases) who is truly following the Savior and who is not. We cannot have any spiritual influence if we do not maintain a good REPUTATION. “A GOOD NAME is to be more desired than great wealth; FAVOR is better than silver and gold.” (Prov 22:1). “So, you will find favor and GOOD REPUTE in the sight of God and man”. (Prov 3:4).
How Can We Avoid This Terrible Fate – Leaving the Lord!
Nobody is immune from falling away or leaving the Lord, no matter how strong their faith is, or how good their relationship with God is. The Scriptures provide numerous warnings against this spiritual tragedy along with several helpful suggestions which will help us build ourselves up in the most holy faith and keep us walking daily by the Savior’s side.
1-Never assume you “Have it made” with Heaven just around the corner. But John writes, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the Crown of Life”. (Rev2:10) We Can Never Stop Serving and Working for the Lord. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expressed this principle quite strongly, as he considered his own walk with the Lord. “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ; and may be found in Him…That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, But I PRESS ON so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and Reaching Forward to what lies ahead; I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL FOR THE PRIZE OF THE UPWARD CALL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS”. (Phil 3:8-14).
2-Paul knew that the promise of “The Prize” was a sure thing in his future because Christ Himself had promised it. Peter spoke of a promise that is also a sure thing; that being God’s ultimate judgment of every man. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERRISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat; BOTH THE EARTH AND THE WORKS THAT ARE IN IT WILL BE BURNED UP”. (II Pet 3:9-10) 3-That same apostle paints a very vivid picture for the fate of one who LEAVES THE LORD in II PET 2:20-22. “For If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are AGAIN ENTANGLED IN THEM AND OVERCOME, the LATTER END IS WORSE FOR THEM THAN THE BEGINNING. For it would have been better for them NOT TO HAVE KNOWN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAN HAVNG KNOWN IT, TO TURN AWAY FROM THE HOLY COMMANDMENT DELIVERED TO THEM. But it has happened to them accord to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit and, A sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire”.
4-While in prison and nearing the end of his days on earth, Paul wrote these words to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have KEPT THE FAITH. Finally, there is laid up for me the CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to ALL who have loved His appearing”. (II Tim 4:7-8). We all want to be able to repeat those same words looking to the end of our life here. If we stay faithful to the Lord and NEVER LEAVE HIM, we can say those words with confidence.
It is obvious to any Bible reader that God wants everyone to be saved and live with Him in Heaven. Every Christian who faithfully finishes the race in this life will be given a CROWN of RIGHTEOUSNESS for life eternal. That is the promise God has made to each one of us. Let no man steal your CROWN!
Every time we worship the Lord together, these facts, promises, and warnings are mentioned often and set before us; especially in the songs we sing:
“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me;
See on the portals He’s waiting and watching’ Watching for you and for me;
Come home! Come home! Ye who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling; Calling, O Sinner, come home”!
God calling yet! Shall I not hear? Earth’s pleasures shall I still hold dear?
Shall life’s swift passing years all fly? And still my soul in slumber lie?!
God is calling, Calling yet! God is calling, Sinner, heed His pleading voice!
God calling yet! I cannot stay; My heart I yield without delay;
Vain world farewell! From thee I part, The voice of God has reached my heart.
God is calling, Calling yet! God is calling, Sinner, heed His pleading voice
God is calling, God is calling yet! Sinner, heed His pleading voice!
“Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot, To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am – Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!