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Can a Saved Person Ever Be Lost?

Ephesians 2


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Let’s pretend that we all have just boarded a jet for a non-stop trip overseas.  We all get on the airplane, take our seats, and fasten our seat belts, then we reach for a magazine, and when we do, we see something at our feet that bothers us…a set of bicycle pedals.  Attached to those bicycle pedals is a big sprocket with a chain going thru the floor to the engines.


So, you call for a flight attendant, and you ask, “What’s w/ the bicycle pedals?”  She says, “Look around!”  You look and everybody’s got them.  “Why do we all have these pedals?” you ask.  “Well, the pilot has agreed to get us in the air, but we have to keep it in the air…he’ll get us to 30,000 feet, but then we’ll all have to pedal real hard to keep it there.”


I don’t care how hard we pedal, how long, how fast…we’re going down!  And your chances of keeping that jumbo jet in the air by pedaling is equal to the chance of you keeping your soul secure by your efforts. 


If the pilot of our souls doesn’t get us up and keep us up, we have no hope.


Charles Stanley was raised in a church where he was taught all his life that you could lose your salvation.  He did not believe in eternal security or, “once saved, always saved.”

In Bible college, he began to grapple w/ the issue.  Here’s a quote from Charles Stanley, “It was my intense study of the scripture that caused me to begin doubting my position, that you could lose your salvation.  Verse by verse, I picked my way thru the passages used to support each view.  Thru this process, 2 things became apparent.  I was guilty of ignoring the context of many verses that I had quoted to defend my view.  When I began to dig deeper into the text, they took on different meanings.  Secondly, I discovered thru my study that the belief in salvation by grace cannot be reconciled w/ the belief that one can lose his salvation.  If I must do or not do something in order to keep from losing it, then salvation would not be by faith, but by works.  I specifically remember the day that this truth dawned on me, I found myself at a theological fork in the road.  To maintain my position, I realized that I would have to abandon my belief in salvation by grace alone.  It was like a light came on.  Suddenly, I saw it, I wanted to shout.  I felt like a man just freed from prison.  I began to thank God that for all those years I was wrong, and then I was struck w/ the most awesome thought of all: I had been eternally secure since the day I got saved as a 12 year old boy.”


All I ask you to do, if you don’t believe in eternal security, is to hear this out over the next few weeks.  Do what Charles Stanley did.  Look at the Bible w/ an open mind.  And if I’m guilty of misquoting a verse, or taking something out of context, then I invite you to come and talk to me about it.  So, reserve judgment, if you will, to the end.


Many of you are saying, well I believe it already!…Why?  What’s your proof…chapter and verse, please!  “Be ready to give an answer to any man who asks of thee of the hope that lieth in you.”  This will strengthen your position.  And it will deepen your appreciation for what you have in Christ, and cause you to want to live a more holy life, because of that appreciation.


But many are confused on this issue, and need to get this nailed down.  This is huge!  It's about whether salvation is by grace or by works!


You know, opponents of eternal security often criticize and say, “If I believed that way I’d get saved and just live however I want to live...that's just a license to sin!”

#1    You can’t get saved w/ that kind of an attitude.  For to be saved you need faith and repentance (change of mind, direction).

#2    Remember, God disciplines His children when they need it.


ill.—Ask a parent if they love child unconditionally…yes…would you ever disown them no matter what they did?…no…(to child) “Hear that, you can live however you want to live!”  You can have ice cream 3 meals a day…you don’t have to do anything they say…if they say to take out the trash, you say, go jump in a lake!


Just because you’re loved unconditionally doesn’t mean you can live however you want.  And we’ll look at that in more detail in coming weeks.


Here’s the first reason to believe in eternal security:


1.               Salvation is of the Lord


If you believe you can lose your salvation, you may not understand just how great it is, how deep it is, and how far-reaching it is.


Eph. 2

Everything you’d care to know about salvation is in this wonderful chapter.

The first thing it shows us is our condition before we were saved.


1                  Dead.  “But I’m breathing!”  Yeah, but you’re dead.  Dead man walking!  Like, “Night of the living dead”.  A pastor friend of mine was once preaching to a group of children and he mentioned a cemetary…one of the kids asked, what’s a cemetery?…he said, “it’s where the dead people live.”  We never let him live that down, but when it comes to the lost world out there, wherever they are, it’s where the dead people live!…spiritually dead people.


We are created in God’s image, a trinity…body, soul, and spirit.  And sinful man is born incomplete, born w/ a dead spirit, “As in Adam, all die” the Bible says…and remember, when Adam sinned, it says he died that day, even though he lived another 900 plus years physically…he died that day, spiritually.


When you get saved, God does something wonderful, and sends the Holy Spirit to quicken, or make alive, your spirit.  Your spirit is resurrected, raised from the dead, born again!  And the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart.


1.               Dead

2.               Dominated


v. 2  “course of this world           

        Imagine a dead fish floating down a river…when the river turns left, so does the fish…turns right, etc.

“prince of the power of the air”     The devil

v.3   flesh


3.               Depraved


v. 3b                “were by nature”    We are born depraved.  Doing wrong comes easily to us.  Doing right happens only when we are taught, nurtured, and disciplined.  You don’t have to teach your children to do wrong, they find that naturally (except for mine…since they’re pastor’s kids)! 

Why does a dog bark?…it’s his nature!

Bury his bones?

Why do birds fly south in the winter?

Why does a politician lie?


And the Bible says our nature is sinful…the sin nature.  And you’re not a sinner because you sin, you sin because you’re a sinner.


Because our spirit is dead, because we’re dominated, and depraved…if we die that way…


4.               We’re doomed


End of v. 3              “children of wrath”


If all we read were verses 1-3, and then walked away, it would be very depressing.  It would also seem hopeless and helpless…


…that’s why the 2 most important words in the whole chapter begin v. 4, look at it:  But God Aren’t you glad for those 2 words?  Only God could take this bleak situation described above and do something about it!


v. 4-5       Isn’t that terrific!  And it’s all possible because of that quickening spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, which comes to live inside of us.


Here’s what we’ve been leading up to:


In order for you to lose your salvation, your spirit would have to die again.  You will not go to hell w/ a spirit that has within it the Holy Spirit. 

To lose your salvation, your spirit would have to die, after God raised it from the dead…and may I tell you that when God raises something from the dead, He does a good job.  When God raised His Son, Jesus Christ from the dead, He did it in a permanent way, never to die again!

That’s why Heb. 6 says that “if” it were possible to lose your salvation, you could never be saved again, because Jesus would have to be crucified again, put to death again…and that’s not gonna happen!


Ill.—Ch. 1:13-14    “earnest” (earnest money on house, if they default, I keep it!)  God says, I’m so sure this one’s gonna make it, I’ll make the down payment right now!  If this one ends up in hell, you can keep the earnest…the Holy Spirit in hell as well!


Some people claim to get saved every year at the fall revival, but then they go out and “backslide”, and feel they need to be saved again.

"Got drunk…lost my salvation"…Did you?  Did your resurrected spirit really die again?

Got saved again…Ok, your spirit was again quickened and made alive again!

But oops, I went out, and killed a deer out of season…oh no, my spirit’s dead again.

…now hold it.  That scenario, it’s silly.


You say, does that mean I can go out and do whatever I want to?


Yes…if you don’t mind being spanked!/disciplined!

Heb. 12 says God spanks His kids.

Ill.—Wal-Mart--ever wanted to spank a kid there that wasn't yours.  Why didn't you?  The same reason God doesn't spank the devil's children.


You say, I know they were saved, I saw them at the altar, they were crying, and they backslid, and it’s been 30 years, and God doesn’t spank them!


Really, you know they were saved?  Just because of that day?  Jesus said in Matthew that some seed looks like it’s gonna make it for a day, but it had no depth of earth, and didn’t make it…but for one day it looked good!

Really, you know God hasn’t spanked them?  You know they’re not living a torturous life in their mind?  You don’t know that.


But if you need a Bible explanation for those who seem to have been saved and lost it, look no further than I Jn. 2:19

19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

They never had it in the first place!


Now, can a person backslide?  Yes!  When you first got saved, it was like you were on fire for God, but when you sin, it’s like you throw water on that fire…quench the spirit…and you can do so until it’s only a faint spark…but the one thing you cannot do is put it out completely…Why?  Because you didn’t light it in the first place!  God did!  Salvation is of the Lord!  Salvation is not you holding out, it’s God holding on!


Many people confuse their relationship w/ God w/ their fellowship w/ God.

God is your Father…you are a child of God…that’s why we’re brothers and sisters in Christ…that’s family…that’s a relationship.


Ill.—My run away story of getting away from my dad, but him still being my father.


Fellowship was broken, but the relationship?  No!



If you’re not saved, you’re missing out on fellowship w/ God, because you don’t have a relationship w/ Him.  You’re an incomplete person.  You’ve only got 2 parts of what God wants you to have.  Your spirit is dead.  Come let God bring it back to life, permanently.


If you are saved and know it, say amen!  If you learned more about the wonderful salvation you possess, say amen!  If you’re thankful for it/for unconditional love/for eternal security and peace of mind…come forward and thank Him for it!


If you need to be saved, meet me right here at the front.


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