Roseavenue.org

 



Sunday, February 14, 2016 pm 

WHAT ABOUT MY LOVED ONES?

 This year, the second Sunday of each month I want to address some question that others might ask us.  (OR if you have something you would like for me to address, submit it to me.)  Many of these lessons will be addressing false concepts of truth and its consequences.  

Last month we addressed the question, “Why do we need a pattern?”  Tonight I want to address a question that is asked sometimes when we show the truth of God’s word to someone who was raised in a false religion.  In studying with someone, you show how in the Bible there is only one true church and that God has established the pattern we are to follow in all that we do within her.  That lesson indicts (they are pricked in the heart – Acts 2:37)  the one listening to you.  OR, you show them that the Bible DOES teach that one must be baptized unto salvation (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20, etc.) and they were raised believing, “all you need to do is believe and you will be saved.”  As they see this they say something like, “If what you are saying is true, then my parents, who have already passed, are lost.”   Or, “If I accept what you are saying, then I am condemning my loved ones” (dead or alive).  How do we answer this question?  We will talk about it tonight.

Observations:  First, the question can be asked with one of two mindsets – 1) Those who harden their heart to the truth and refuse to change because of family; or 2) It is someone who has been convicted and is genuinely concerned about the unpleasant implications of accepting the truth. 
Second, the fact that one is asking such questions is not necessarily a bad thing.  One who is struggling with his past beliefs can demonstrate a genuine desire for the truth, but they have question that need to be answered.  NOTE: You and I, at some time, may be faced with a similar dilemma where we learn that we might need to change the way we do something or what we believe.  With such I caution, DON’T be hasty in changing.  VERIFY the truth of something by testing the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1) before you suddenly change.  In other words don’t be “tossed to and from and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
Third, we will address this in two sections – 1) Some truths we need to understand in dealing with those who ask this, and 2) Some observations to make to the one asking the question.

(NOTE: This lesson is based heavily upon a lesson presented by Joe Price addressing this very subject.  It can be found here: http://bibleanswer.com/lovedones.htm

 I.                     Let us understand

a.        This is an emotional question.  With all such questions we need to seek to step back from the emotions and be objective in answering them.  BUT, let us remember to be compassionate and loving as we answer these things.  When Jesus answered the rich, young ruler (Mark 10:17-22)  – He told him the truth.  But Mark 10:21 says that Jesus looked at him and loved him which prompted Him to speak.  The answer Jesus gave both to him and after he departed seems to imply that Jesus was grieved at the results. 

b.       God’s word is truth! 

                                                   i.      The Bible is the word of God – 2 Tim. 3:16,  1 Thess. 2:13

                                                  ii.      It gives us all that we need – 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3

                                                iii.      We must accept whatever He teaches. 
2 Timothy 1:13 – hold fast the pattern of sound words

                                                iv.      It does not change!   First – God does not change (Malachi 3:6)
Matthew 24:35 – Jesus taught that heaven and earth will pass away, but His word is forever.  Galatians 1:8 – Paul declared there is ONE gospel (another gospel is not). 
Time does not change truth – 1 Peter 1:25 says, “But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

In the passage about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:28-31) – the rich man pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers.  He is told, they have Moses and the prophets – it was all they needed (it hadn’t changed). 
NOTE: In many of these passages there is an appeal to the Old Law which has been nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14) – but it stands as an example of God’s word meaning what it says – even in its completion.

                                                  v.      Emotions do not change this!  2 Corinthians 2:1-5

c.        The Bible teaches that the majority will be lost

                                                   i.      Matthew 7:13-14 – the two ways – one to destruction and the other to life.

                                                  ii.      This is NOT because God wants it that way – 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim. 2:3-4

                                                iii.      BUT, most will not obey His will – Matthew 7:21-23.  Note that this number will include many who are sincere and even know OF Him and think they are doing the right thing.  But they are lost! 1 Corinthians 1:26 – not many mighty or noble are called.
1 Peter 4:18, if the righteous are scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?

d.       When one dies their eternal destiny is sealed

                                                   i.      Hebrews 9:27 – it is appointed to die, then after this the judgment.

                                                  ii.      You can see this illustrated in the rich man and Lazarus – Luke 16:22-26

                                                iii.      There are no second chances after death!

 II.                  What others need to understand

a.        The condition of your loved ones doesn’t change what the Bible teaches 

                                                   i.      Since all of the above points are true, then the condition of your loved one doesn’t change the Bible.  NOTE: Many today are seeking to change what the Bible teaches because it conflicts with what they want to do and how they want to live.
But we CANNOT do that.  If we can change the parts of the Bible that we don’t like, we are rejecting the whole thing!  Isn’t that what Galatians 1:6-9 was about?  They were considering “a different gospel which is not another”!
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 notes that the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world.  1 Cor. 2:1-4 – Paul determined to only preach the gospel of Christ and not the wisdom of men.  

                                                  ii.      God’s plan of salvation remains the same – Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16

                                                iii.      What the Bible teaches has not changed whether it be:

1.       Morality - 1 Cor. 6:9-11

2.       Obedience – Hebrews 5:8-9, 2 Thess. 1:8-9 – vengeance against those who do not obey the gospel

3.       Worship  - John 4:24, Matthew 15:7-9

4.       Remaining faithful -  Colossians 1:23, Luke 9:62, Rev. 2:10, 14:13

                                                iv.      NOTHING we can say will change the condition of those who have gone on! 

b.       We will all stand before Him in judgment and give an accounting for ourselves

                                                   i.      A day of judgment is coming! Acts 17:30-31, Romans 14:10 – we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

                                                  ii.      Our judgment will not be based upon what others believed or did, etc.  Your eternal destiny is up to you. Romans 14:11-12 – we shall each give an account of ourselves to God.
2 Cor. 5:10 also bears this out!  
Even in Matthew 25:30-46 – each individual answered for his own actions!
NOWHERE does the Bible teach salvation by proxy among men (other than what Jesus did to make salvation available to us).

c.        If our loved ones are still alive,

                                                   i.      We must still obey God.  Acts 5:29 – we ought to obey God rather than men.

                                                  ii.      We must choose Him first – Matthew 10:34-37 is clear about this.
This is NOT an easy thing to do, but again, we must separate emotional responses that conflict with truth!  Jesus taught in Luke 18:29-30 that we might have to leave things and relationships in this life, but in the end we will receive eternal life (and a support system of brethren here).

                                                iii.      Perhaps we, in time, will change them.  We should always live with that hope. 
But if not, we must still do what is right.

d.       If our loved ones have passed on

                                                   i.      They are in God’s hands – leave it there!  Ultimately, He is the judge, He is God and He is sovereign!  We know that He is just and righteous.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5.  Even Paul noted that the Lord will judge us.  He knows the counsels of the heart.  Just leave it to Him.  
NOTE: Do NOT read anything into this!  Our job is warn others what the scriptures teach (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

                                                  ii.      What would they want you to do?  Suppose they are lost!  Consider Luke 16 – the rich man and Lazarus.  More than anything, the rich man in torments did not want his brothers to be there!  Luke 16:27-28.   If they love you, they want you to do what is right! 
Any time I preach a funeral, (whether I believe they are saved or not) I conclude with this observation!

                                                iii.      HOW will the failure of loved ones to know and obey the gospel help you if you REFUSE to obey what you have learned?

 

Conclusion:  Whenever emotional arguments are made, they are typically “loaded questions”.  They are often an acknowledgment that truth has been revealed and error has been exposed.  An appeal to the state of another (whether it be one who has passed on or the numerous “what if” scenarios) is no longer valid when a truthful answer has been given.  THEN it becomes a matter of whether you will do what you know to be right or not.  Will you be able to stand before God in judgment having dismissed His truth because of the emotional consequences?  Think about it!