Persevering Through Pressure Ė Part 5
Not Turning Back From Our Faith (6/28/05)
Pastor Marlin Harris

We will begin at chapter 5:11.  We are continuing our series of  Bible studies dealing with the Book of Hebrews, Persevering through Pressure.  The first volume of these studies has been completed in the last session that we shared, that dealt with building a faith that will last until the end.  That was our first volume and I would like to introduce a second volume tonight to this whole theme through the Book of Hebrews, Persevering Through Pressure, speaking of the persevering of our faith, and this second volume I would like to entitle ďNot Turning Back From Our Faith, Not Turning Back From Our FaithĒ. 

I want to deal with the whole aspect of saving faith vs. professed faith, that many profess faith but it is not saving faith.  It is possible for us to come to a particular level of understanding about God and Christianity and the things that relate themselves to spiritual matters, but never coming to saving faith, and thatís what I believe this portion of the Book of Hebrews is about.  Now this volume will be very short because where we are in this particular book is that we are at a parenthesis.  In chapter 5:11 we have a parenthetic insert into the writerís argument about the High Priesthood Ministry of Jesus Christ and in the writerís argument about Melchisedek, the order in which Christ is a priest in.  He says in verse 10,

10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedek. (speaking of Christ)

11Of whom (this Melchisedek) we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.  

(Now he mentions that Iíve got a whole lot that I want to say about this high priesthood ministry of Christ, this Melchisedec, this figure that we met two sessions ago -- but I canít say everything that I want to say because you are dull of hearing.  To the readers of Hebrews, he mentions they have an inability to hear.  I just want to mention that the whole aspect of faith has to do with how we hear.  The Bible says that faith comes by hearing, so there is a direct connection between how you hear the message of the Gospel, how you hear the message of Christ and the faith that you commit to the message of Christ -- there is a direct correlation between the two.  And when your hearing is dull or when your hearing is in opposition, or there is a rebellious nature in your hearing; dull of hearing meaning ďI donít want to hear it.  I canít receive what Iím hearing; Iím not ready to hear itĒ -- there is something in my heart, in my spirit, that is resisting what I am hearing.  He said ďI want to say a whole lot more about how Christ is our priest but I canít say it because many of you have expressed resistance to the hearing of Christ in the first place. 

That is very key, very critical, because the sharing of the word of God often times can be stunted, it can be hindered because of the way people hear.  When there is resistance in the House of God, resistance amongst the Body of Christ, to a particular word or message, it does hinder the freedom and the clarity in sharing that message.  Many times I have been convinced that what happens here on Tuesday nights is basically the heart and the crux of our ministry.  It is the heart and crux of our ministry because #1 you are the group who come to hear the Word of God being taught, you donít come for any particular theatrics from the pulpit, you donít come to be impressed by flowery words or anything of that nature -- you truly want to learn the Word of God.  That is why you come at an inconvenient time, you come without having all of the trappings necessary for a worship experience, the choir, and all those other trappings, which are very important and necessary, we do that, but this crowd on Tuesday you come to hear Godís Word. 

There is a certain sense of freedom, certain sense of openness, that I believe the Spirit has in utilizing whoever is teaching to share that Word because there is a receptivity from the people, and that receptivity from the people makes the sharing of the Word easier; that receptivity from you makes what I do a whole lot easier.  If I come to church and Iím here to share the Word of God, and I am faced with a congregation that didnít come necessarily to hear, didnít come to receive, didnít come to be taught, didnít come to be enlightened -- for one, it limits the level at which I am able to teach because there are people from all different persuasions and levels in their walk with God and if Iím teaching on a level that they canít receive; they are not there spiritually, their spiritual growth has not matured to that level, I canít teach on that level; rather the Holy Spirit will not use me to teach on that level because He wonít be understood. 

Not only that, but if there is resistance, not only are they not able to hear, but they are not willing to hear it -- that resistance frustrates a whole lot about what the Spirit of God wants to do during the teaching moment.  There have been times when Iíve taught right here that Iíve felt a strong spirit of resistance coming from the pew, and itís a battle in me then, Iím fighting that resistance, trying to share what I have to share, and it limits and hinders what the Spirit of God intends to accomplish in the gathering.  So their dullness of hearing limited the writerís ability to express who Melchisedec was, and to go into the details of the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Now when he leaves this parenthesis, he does go into great detail about Christís high priesthood, but he makes a clear assertion here that because there is a lack of growth and lack of receptivity from the people of God, there is now a hindrance to the sharing of the Word of God.  So he says in his frustration, he puts this parenthesis in his frustration, he says

            12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  

He says, you should be teaching, not just me, but you should be teaching.  He says "but because you are not growing in your faith, you have need that somebody teach you".  Catch the word ďagainĒ, very critical word for our discussion in chapter 6.  He says, "you need somebody to teach you again, not the deeper things, not the weightier things, you need somebody to teach you the first principles of the oracles of God"; and the word ďoracles of GodĒ means the spoken Word or the Written word.  I believe that the purpose and the intent of spiritual discipleship and spiritual growth is to produce in every person the ability to teach and duplicate in somebody else what they have learned themselves.  The great commission was not just given to pastors, preachers and teachers -- the great commission was given to the whole Body of Christ; that everybody in the body is called to ďgo ye therefore and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I  have commanded you -- that we all are called to be teachers. 

Now the teaching ability of the whole Body of Christ, of the entire House of God, is how God seeks to duplicate and replicate believers in the earth; that evangelism takes place when the whole Body of Christ becomes teachers and they are able to duplicate what has already happened to them.  If we would stop teaching, then the church would stop growing.  You cannot grow the Kingdom of God by placing the responsibility on a few people to do all the teaching.  Now there are some who have a special and unique gift to teach and so their teaching takes on a whole different level and aspect, because they have a special and unique gift to teach, but just because one person is gifted to teach does not exempt others from having to teach, and might I just add that the Gospel is best shared in private, small, one-on-one type groups than it is in large groups such as this.  In this large group I have to tailor what Iím saying to speak to a vast diverse community.  I have to tailor what Iím saying to make sure everybody who is here can get something from what is being said.  So I would love to give some greater clarity to a particular issue that my brother over here may need, but I canít just for his sake because Iíve got my sisters and brothers over here who donít need that clarity. 

        13For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

        14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 

He says, there are two types of food that we are trying to give, meat and milkand milk is for those who are babes, immature or not yet matured in the things of God, in their faith, in their understanding of God, so they have to receive milk.  Milk meaning the very simple, basic, elementary doctrines of the faith.  They are unable to receive the deeper concepts, just the milk.  Now it says strong meat belongeth to those who are of full age -- that if you are matured or maturing, you are able to handle more meat.  What bothers me and I think this is what bothers the writer, is that there are many people in the House of God who arenít on meat, still drinking simple, elementary, basic milk, understanding the basic simple truths of the Scriptures and they are just as happy as can be.  They have no desire to progress on their walk with God.  How many of you have children?  When you look at your child as an infant, the first thing you want is for that baby to play and just enjoy themselves and their childhood, right -- but at 17 you would hope that the baby grew up and can do some stuff on its own, actually learn language, learn how to talk, and things of that nature -- you want to see your child progressing.  But if at 5 years old your child is still acting like he acted at 2 months old, you have a problem. 

Well just as natural parents want their children to grow, so does God, and growth is required if we are going to understand the principles of the Word of God.  He goes on here to say, 

        14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 

Now we are getting into an issue about why we need to grow so that my senses, the natural way in which I perceive life, my senses, so that my senses can be exercised, utilized, put to practice, and enable myself to discern between what is good and what is evil.  If I do not grow in my walk with God, I will not learn whatís good and what is evil about life.  Now he says, therefore,

Hebrews 6

 1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

 2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

He says, lets move on from these rudimentary, elementary foundational principles of the Word of God, and let us go on to maturity, or perfection.  Now he gives us some doctrines that he wants us to graduate from, and these doctrines are -- they are listed here.  It says first of all, repentance from dead works, secondly, faith towards God, thirdly, baptisms or washings, fourthly, the laying on of hands, fifthly, resurrection of the dead, and lastly eternal judgmentĒ.  Now you can couple these six doctrines into three categories. 

Category #1 has to do with my initiation into the Christian faith, thatís the first two -- repentance from dead works and faith towards God.  Repentance from the works that cause death and faith that leads me to God -- this is initiation into the Body of Christ.  If I have to keep every week reminding you that youíve got to repent from your dead works, have faith towards God, and Iíve got to keep saying that ďweek after week after weekĒ, you are never fully initiated -- you are always being initiated.  He says weíve got to get to a point where you have repented, where you understand repentance, where you have faith, you understand faith, those are no longer issues for you -- that doesnít mean you will never sin or you wonít do any sin you donít need to repent of, but what he is saying is that if I have to keep convincing you to repent, if I have to keep convincing you to have faith, you never grow.

The second thing that he mentions here is not just initiation, but identification.  One is the doctrine of baptisms and of the laying on of hands.  Now the baptisms, this is how I am identified with Christ.  It is an open and public confession of my faith, where I am formally and publicly confessing my faith in Christ.  I am making a formal commitment to Jesus Christ.  He says "I shouldnít have to convince you every week to make a formal and public commitment to Christ.  This is something you should be understanding and moving on from."

There are a lot of folks who donít understand the necessity of a public commitment to Jesus.  I mean they want to be Christians, but they want to be Christians privately and quietly and secretly, and what they say is I donít need to let anybody know that I am a believer because I have my own personal relationship with God.  Well, you do have your own personal relationship with Christ, you donít need to walk around with a big sign that says ďI am a Christian, how about you?Ē, but there is some formality, there is an officialness in your public confession, and baptism is a public act which lets everybody else know who you are identified with, that you do a physical act that reminds everybody else of who saved you.  You are dead, buried and raised again -- He was dead, buried and raised again.  Now the baptism doesnít save you, but it identifies you uniquely with the man who did, and it does it in a public capacity. 

I mean thatís what married couples do.  What sense is it if we just be together, I love you -- you love me, we are committed to each other, but ďNo, I ainít going to make it public.  I am not going to have any formal ritual, no formal ceremony, that publicizes that I am committed to you.  I am not wearing a ring, Iím committed to you, I mean I love you, but I ain't wearing no ring, and I am not going to call my friends and family together so I can let them know what you and I have committed to each other."  There must be some kind of ceremony, some kind of commitment to each other by some kind of ceremony or something to make this thing official.  "I just want us to keep coming home to each other, love each other, live together, all of that stuff -- without making a formal commitment", and if you donít make a formal commitment you donít have a full commitment.  Think about it.  He says ďhe loves youĒ, been saying that for the longest time right, but he is not willing to make it official?  Think about that.  In every culture known to man they always make love official.  They do it in Asia, Africa, in every culture known to man and been doing it ever since Adam and Eve.  As a matter of fact, when Eve came to Adam -- what did he do, he didnít have nobody to publicly talk to so he stood up and yelled as loud as he could ďThis bone of my bonesĒ.  He made this thing public and official and there were no guests there.  Do something that says Iím fully committed.  I am identified with you.  Hey, Iím putting this ring on my finger to let everybody else know I am identified with you. 

Baptism is the same thing.  It is us coming out of the closet, it is us being clearly identified with Jesus Christ, saying we are married to Him, we are fully committed to Him, and he is saying ďIf I have to keep convincing you of that every week ďAre you going to be identified with Christ?Ē  ďWell, Iím not sure yet, Iím just trying Him outĒ.  And then he says, your calling, laying on of hands -- laying on of hands has always been in both Jewish as well as Christian tradition, the transference of some blessing.  Not that there is something from the person that goes into the other person, that is mystical heresy, but it symbolizes the transference of blessing -- that whenever a  Father before he would pass he would lay hands on his elder son and he would transfer the birthright.  Now the birthright was always his, but it was an official way of transferring that birthright through the ceremony of laying on of the hands of the Father on the head of the child.  Often in the early church, but not done now because this symbol is not necessary, but in the early church when it was necessary to show that new believers had truly come into the full faith -- there was a sanction given by the Apostles, and the Apostles would lay hands on them and many times God would not give His Spirit until that sanction had been very clear.

It doesnít happen now, not at all, because that sanction is not necessary because we are not living in a world of people who do not know who Jesus is.  But in that world where they had no knowledge, where they had no experience, nothing that shared with them that there was a Christ, there were many different demonstrations and manifestations given.  It was a transference of a blessing, the sanction of that blessing, it was an approval of that blessing.  This sanction, transference and approval came through laying on of hands.  It is a ceremony that identifies a particular call.  So I am called to the Gospel, I am called to preach and what we have is a ceremony whereby the pastor lays hands on the person who has been called to preach.  The pastor doesnít give him the gift, heís already got the gift, but he sanctions the gift, and he does it in a public capacity which says that the person who is called has been approved by a higher group -- ordination.  He says your spiritual calling, the gift, the thing you do in the Body of Christ, your service and your function, should already be set, sanctioned, approved and you ought to be working in it.  If every week I have to keep coming to you, and convincing you of the rudimentary idea that you are called to serve in an official capacity, you are never going to grow.  Now we do that right here in our church.  Weíve got folks who come to church, enjoy the services, clap behind the choir, enjoy all that the church has to offer, and get up and go home and never commit to ministry service. 

They have not had any official sanction done whatsoever on their ministry service, and the excuse they give is ďI minister on the bus, at work, Iím serving God, Iím just not serving God in the church, but Iím serving God -- and they are right they are serving God, and yes you can serve God on the bus, at work, in any other capacity without serving God in the church, of course you can, the issue is service without official sanction is service without accountability.  So if you are not held accountable then there is no responsibility you have to undertake, and any man who is his own accountability is not a person who is in the body or in accord with the body, itís a person who is a maverick operating outside of the body.  And if we could operate outside of the Body of Christ, and still be in proper union with Christ, He never wouldíve called it a body.  He called it a body because He wanted us to come together, He wanted there to be assembly, and He wanted there to be accountability and responsibility so that each part affects the other part.  And if I have to keep convincing you of this every single week, you will never grow.

The last two doctrines deal with consummation.  Initiation first, identification second, and the last two are consummation, and in this particular area of consummation he talks about two doctrines, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.  The resurrection of the dead is the fact that when we die we shall rise again, thatís the afterlife.  Can you believe that there were folks who were still struggling with the doctrine of the afterlife, and then the judgment of the believer, this is his works being judged, there were actually those who were struggling if God was going to judge them for what they had done.  He says and these are things that shouldíve been settled way before now.  If every week Iíve got to keep convincing you thereís a heaven, donít just live for now, you will never grow.  Now we laugh at that but there are so many people who are not convinced that there is an afterlife, and they go to church every Sunday and they serve in the church, some of them, involved in ministry -- you know how you know a person is convinced there is an afterlife; they donít live this life as if it was the last one.  They live this life from the perspective that Iíve got another life to live.  I mean if there is no afterlife, what good is righteousness, what good is being moral, are you getting what Iím saying. 

I mean, if I will never be called into question for what I do, then my job is to exempt natural judgment and if I can excuse myself from earthly judgment, then Iím fine -- and the whole issue is that you are not just experiencing earthly judgment but there is going to be a heavenly judgment; that there is an afterlife, that there is life after you die, thereís a consummation to our Christian journey and walk with God, and our job is to live our life under that understanding.  And if every week we got to keep coming back to convince you of this, youíll never grow.  Initiation into the Christian journey has to be settled and finished; identification with the Christian faith has to be settled and finished; and consummation of your Christian journey, the truth and the fact that it will be consummated in glory has to be settled and finished because if I have to keep doing this every week, you will never grow.  Now he introduces an interesting thing.  He says this is why you want to make sure that you grow,

3And this will we do, if God permit.

4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

            6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Now this is an interesting passage because he is saying something very serious.  He says there is an impossibility to renew this type of person to repentance again.  He says you need to be very careful how you grow, watch that you are growing, make sure there is growth in your Christian faith because if there is no growth in your Christian faith, you run the risk of being of a part of this ďIFĒ group.  Now these doctrines in verses 1-2 are not doctrines that are just secondary or doctrines that are extra to our walk with God; these are fundamental doctrines of our faith that make us believers.  Repentance makes me a believer; Faith makes me a believer; Baptism says I am a believer; whenever you look at the laying on of hands, the Spirit has given me a gift that says I am a believer; resurrection of the dead, if Christ be not raised from the dead, we are all in our sins; our preaching is in vain; judgment before God, I better be a believer. 

He is not talking here about secondary issues; he is talking here about foundational truths.  Itís the ABCís, the 123ís, yes, its elementary, but its foundational.  When I was in college, I went as high as Calculus 4, I loved math, and when I was in Calculus, do you know that everything in Calculus 4 depended on what I learned in Calculus 3, and Calculus 3 was dependent on what I learned in Calculus 1 & 2, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, on down to the elementary issues of 2+2 = 4, and if I never learned elementary math I never wouldíve gotten to Calculus 4.  Now can I call myself a mathematician, can I be a mathematician if I never learned 2+2=4.  No, Calculus 4 doesnít make me a mathematician, what makes me a mathematician is 2+2=4.  What makes this group of believers is the elementary, foundational, rudimentary and fundamental doctrines of the faith, and if you are not convinced of these elementary doctrines, then he says ďyou might be in the ďFĒ group. 

Now lets look at this ďFĒ group for just a second.  I want you to underline certain words -- For it is impossible, and then he puts in there what we call a dependent clause, or an adjunct clause and itís a long one.  From the words ďfor those who were once enlightened, etc. -- see below. 

4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

From "for those all the way down to the end of verse 5 you have one long long dependent clause".  It is an adjunct clause that is important but you can take it out and still get the understanding of what he is trying to say.  So temporarily, lets excuse it for just a minute (but we will bring it back just to get full clarity) -- he says, it is impossible if these should fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;

Now fall away from what?  Fall away from my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, No?  Fall away from the elementary, rudimentary, foundational principles and doctrines of my faith, which are faith toward God, repentance from dead works, baptisms and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment -- right!  If I donít have these, then Iím not saved.  When I fall away from the thing that saves me, can I be saved?  No!  I canít be saved if I fall away from the very thing that would save me.  Can we go a little bit deeper?  The word ďfall awayĒ is the word ďparapetoĒ(?) in Greek.  Parapeto, what it means is to ďfall short ofĒ.  It means to fall short of a higher position to a lower position; it doesnít mean to be there and then walk away -- thatís apostasy (apostasia) -- thatís the Greek word for having been there and turned around.  Falling away says, that I fall before I get to it.  I was on my way, I was coming, I was making it there, but I fell before I got to it.  I believed it enough to go towards it, I believed it enough to yearn and stretch out for it, but for some reason I could not go all the way.  I never learned 2+2=4, and if I never learn it, he says it is impossible -- you canít make this person who skips over the foundational truths of 2+2=4 a mathematician. 

To understand why it is impossible for these people, I have to go back to my dependent clause.  Now lets come back up to verse 4 again.  It says its impossible, why?

4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers [not possessors] of the Holy Ghost, [they actually lived in cooperation with the ministry of the Holy Spirit]

5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

            6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Now we are talking about a two-year old kid who never learned 2+2=4.  We are talking about a grown man who has been hearing 2+2=4 all of his life, and heís been saying ďNo it donít, itís 5.Ē  He has been denying what is true.  He has been resisting what is true.  He has not fully accepted what is true.  Now you canít make that man no mathematician.  Look at what these people are doing in their faith.  They were once enlightened.  Enlightenment means that my eyes were opened, and I actually was able to understand and see something that was true. 

How many of you know the story of Balaam.  In Numbers 24 it talks about Balaam and how Balaam was paid money to curse Israel -- remember that, and Balaam kept trying to curse the people of God.  The Bible says in Numbers 24, in the first two verses, that Balaamís eyes were opened.  He even said that I am speaking as a man whose eyes have been opened, and I cannot curse what God has blessed.  Then when the ante got up just a bit, Balaam said ďWell Iíll try it again,Ē and on his way to curse the people of God riding on his donkey, an angel even stopped in his pathway, guys, and showed up and the donkey saw the angel and Balaam couldnít even see him.  One minute his eyes are open and the next minute his eyes are closed.  The donkey sees the angel, stops, Balaam gets mad at the donkey, hits it, kicks it, then the donkey starts talking to him -- he says, "Man what are you doing?  Donít you see this big ole angel in front of us.  I canít go, donít hit me any more.  The donkey had better vision than Balaam, even though Balaam was the prophet who had the word from God.  Because enlightenment and faith ainít the same thing.  You can be enlightened and not have faith, but you canít have faith and not be enlightened. 

Weíve got a lot of people in churches who are greatly enlightened but they donít have any faith.  Remember in the same book, Numbers 13 this time, we have the story where the Israelites are right at the brink of Canaan, they are on their way into the promised land -- Moses sends 12 spies out into the land, remember that, well all 12 come back, all 12 saw the same thing.  They went in the land, got the grapes and they got the evidence of the landís fruitfulness, put their foot on the promised land, put their foot on the land God said they would have -- they walked in the promise land, came back with evidence -- When they got back they said ďwe canít do itĒ.  God told us to do it but we canít do it!  Why?  Because the Anakims are over there.  Huge and big -- we canít fight them and take their land.  Caleb and Joshua saw the same thing that the other 10 saw and Caleb and Joshua said, ďWe are more than able to overcome them!Ē  Whatís the difference?  They were all enlightened, but they didnít all have faith.  They were all convinced that it existed -- its real, its true -- but they didnít have faith.

Wasnít there a time in your life when you knew God was real, you knew that there was a Jesus, you knew that the stuff you were doing you didnít have any business doing it, but you werenít ready to commit, you werenít ready to believe, you werenít ready to walk in that thing, you went to the club anyway, hoping God would forgive you in the morning.  Hey guys, we canít get any more enlightened than some of us already are.  What damages and kills our Sunday morning experience is that I have to come every Sunday and re-enlighten you because you never move towards faith.  Unbelievers can never come because the so-called believers never got pass enlightenment.  Look at what else it says.  It says,

and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

All the graces of God.  I mean youíve got forgiveness in there, youíve got love in there, youíve got the peace of God in there, youíve got the joy of God in there -- they tasted this stuff.  They didnít just taste that, but they also tasted the good word of God.

 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

I mean they heard the word, heard it taught and preached, read it for themselves, looked at it themselves, and then they tasted the powers of a whole, other world.   They had supernatural evidences being done right in front of their eyes.  They tasted the gifts that God gives.  They saw miracles happening around them, but all they did was taste it.  They didnít swallow it.  They did not commit to it, they just tasted it.  The Bible says in Hebrews 2

9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 

He tasted death, did you hear me.  How long was Jesus dead, forever?  He wasnít even dead long enough for His body to see corruption.  He was dead for such a short time that He didnít need a real grave, He got a borrowed grave because He wasnít planning on staying.  He wasnít going to experience the full result of this death, He was only tasting it.  The whole doctrine about Jesus went to hell and he suffered in hell, and he experienced the full pangs of hell so that we wonít -- that is so untrue.  He didnít suffer at all -- as a matter of fact the Scripture says in prophetic language, in Psalm 16:10

10For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  [Yes, yes, he did die, absolutely, but he did not die the full experience that you and I would do if we donít give our lives to Christ.  He only died ďa tasteĒ of death; long enough for him to pull the sting out of it.]  The same understanding of the taste that Jesus had in his death, is the same understanding of the taste with that ďIFĒ group who taste the word and [flipped tape over -- lost something]. 

Iím assuming heís speaking of someone who had a calm to come over them and they knew that was God but they didnít get saved -- how many have a testimony like that.  Iíve heard people say that I was involved in a car accident and I donít know how I made it out of this car accident.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was God who put His angel there and protected me, and kept me safe, so that car did not kill me.  Everybody said you should not have made it out of here, and Iíve heard unbelievers walk away from such an experience and say ďGod did thatĒ, and still go 5 to 10 years before they get saved. 

Itís one thing to have an awareness and a closeness to what God can do, and appreciate what God can do, and say ďthank youĒ for what God does.  Itís another thing to commit to accepting God who has done whatís He has done.  You say, it rains on the just as well as the unjust.  God gives goodness to those who are in the faith, as well as those who are not in the faith.  As a matter of fact the Bible says that both the goodness and the severity of God leads men to repentance, that God will often be good to unbelievers so that they can come to repentance.  Now it says, they

        and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

not possessors, but partakers.  This means that they cooperated with the Holy Spiritís contact in their lives.  The job of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin, right.  Before you got saved, has there ever been a time in your life whenever you did something that you know was wrong, and that thing wrestled with you, beat you up, and you find yourself big and hard, ďHey man Iím sorry, I shouldíve done that, my badĒ.  The Spirit of God was just working on you.  You participated in the ministry of the Holy Spirit through your normal, natural conscience, but you didnít get saved.  He says now, for people who were enlightened, know the truth, have tasted the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall short of it, it is impossible for them to be renewed again unto repentance.  Why?  He answers that in the next phrase. 

            6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Crucify and put are two verbs in this particular phrase.  Both of those verbs are in the participle, present form.  The participle form means ďit is being done nowĒ, continuously, it is always in the ďnowĒ.  Itís like walking, itís like running, speaking -- that means I havenít just spoken, Iím speaking, Iím doing it now.  In the Greek this is a participle form so it says ďseeing, not that they have crucified, but that they are crucifying him now.  Not that they put him to shame at some time, but they are putting him to shame now.  Their life is continuously being lived crucifying the Son of God.  The whole notion of crucifying the Son of God means this:  Never accepting His death on the cross, but being the means by which He dies on the cross.  Just like the Roman soldiers, when they were crucifying the Son of God, they were denying Him while they were crucifying Him.  When they lifted Him up and put Him to an open shame, Caiaphas and the high priest they were denying Him while they were shaming Him.  So this has to do with my denial of Christ.  I canít be saved if I am denying Christ and then Iíve experienced all of this good stuff, which says to me ďIím alrightĒ.  Iíve got my own private relationship with God, Iím okay, so Iím denying the truth about Jesus because Iím relying on my experiences to be enough to save me.

Itís a dangerous thing when you talk to somebody who denies the truth about Christ, put Him to an open shame, crucifying Him afresh, and you ask them ďAre you saved?Ē  They say ďYesĒ.  And you say ďHow do you know youíre saved?Ē  ďWell, one day I had a car accident and God saved my life.  Or you know what, there are times when I talk to God and I really sense that God has given me a peace in my spirit.  Or they say, ďYou know, I go to church every Sunday, I hear the word, I know the word, and Iíve been in the church all my life.Ē  If a person believes they are saved for those reasons and refuse to accept salvation by Jesus Christ and faith in Him alone, he says as long as they are in that state, they cannot be saved. 

Pastor, how do you know?  Because they fall short of it.  I grieve a lot for people who are good people, good meaning people, and they fall short of the elementary, foundational truths of the Gospel, and they stumble at it.  God has given them so many wonderful experiences.  They have been sampling faith, but stumbling at truth.  It breaks my heart because I know that the only way they can ever be convinced that they are a sinner is if they accept the thing that has been making them stumble for all these years.  Can I read to you something.  Come with me to Matthew 12:31

31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Whatís impossible?  A person who would blasphemy the Holy Ghost.  What does blasphemying mean?  It doesnít mean to just speak a word against, but it means to attribute faith in what you speak against to the point where you deny the thing you are speaking against, itís true value and its true existence.  So when you blasphemy God, you say ďThere is no GodĒ  You blasphemy Jesus Christ by saying ďHe wasnít the Son of God.Ē  You see how I say something that denies the truth about his existence.  And he says, you can do it to God and be forgiven and still get saved later on.  You can do it to the Son of God and still be forgiven and still get saved later on.  He says but if you blasphemy the Holy Ghost you cannot be forgiven, neither in this world or the world to come. 

Why canít I be forgiven for blasphemying against the Holy Ghost?  Because what you are saying about him has to be that the Holy Ghost has no power to save me, no power to forgive me, no power to bring me into the Body of Christ, no power to make me renewed, no power to regenerate, no power to quicken my dead body, no power to make my spirit man alive -- I have to say that the Holy Ghost cannot do His job, and as long as I am saying that, itís job is to save me, and if I say he cannot do his job, I cannot receive his salvation.  So I seek to be saved through works, deeds, through samples, but I never can get to it because the Holy Ghost has to do the job and save me.  Iím always cautious unless anybody believes Iíve committed the unpardonable sin -- No you have not, because if you had you would not be here in Bible Study tonight and you certainly would not be in church -- hereís the issue.  As long as you are saying that, as long as I confess that, I canít be saved.  If youíve ever asked Jesus Christ to come into your life and you said "He is the Lord of my life, you are saved", which means you did not say He could not do His job.  You allowed Him to do His job.  Lets go to chapter 13 and weíll end. 

3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

 4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

 5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

 6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

 7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

 8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

 9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Jesus explains this parable in verse 18. 

18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

Hereís a man who heard it but he didnít understand it.

 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon (quickly, immediately) with joy receiveth it; (tastes it)

 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.   

22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Youíve got a man here who receives the word, he receives it with joy quickly, but there is no root in him -- no faith in him, nothing within him that can pull the word into his heart and plant it there and let it grow -- he just heard it, it sounded good, jumped on the bandwagon, and the moment trouble, trial or tribulation, or in another case riches, wealth, power or cares of this world comes, it chokes it and causes it to die.  If the word you hear dies and never goes onto fruit, that means that you never moved to faith.  We are not talking about Hebrews 6, where people are genuinely saved, and truly saved.  The Bible is very clear -- they cannot lose their salvation.  We are talking about folks who heard it, tasted it, and didnít buy it.  Iíve got to end but before I do I have a list of Scriptures that I want you to look at.  I donít want you to walk out of here thinking that the Word of God says you can lose your salvation.  Real quick. 

John 4:14; 5:24; 6:37; 6:39; 17:12; 18:9; Jude 1:24; Philippians 1:16; Ephesians 1