Grounded and Settled
I want you to take your Bibles please and turn to Colossians chapter 1.
When you go straight through books of the Bible sometimes there are passages...
That it takes five or ten verses to get the thought, the content.
And then there are some verses that you could spend several weeks on, just one verse at a time.
Iím not going to do that, but I am going to deal with just one verse today...
Because it is a troublesome verse for many.
Satan loves to twist the word of God.
Satan doesnít deny scripture.
He just likes to use it for his advantage.
Thatís why there are a lot of folks who believe you have to work your way to heaven...
Because Satan has twisted the scriptures.
And this is one of those verses that he has been able to twist.
And so I want us to look at verse 23:
>You say, "Well that verse by itself really doesnít even make sense", and maybe thatís true.
But you have to understand that this verse is tied to verse 22.
>Verse 22 says this.
Paul says that one day Jesus is going to come and take us to heaven and there he will present us unto his father...
And when he presents us to the father we will be "holy, without blemish and free from accusation."
Isnít that a wonderful thought?
One day Jesus is going to come and heís going to come not for the Moose club or the goose club...
Or the Eastern Star or the African Violet Society...
But when Jesus heís coming back for his church.
And heís going to take us to heaven.
Heís not going to take us to some place called Purgatory.
Heís not going to take us to limbo.
Heís going to take us to heaven.
And when he takes us to heaven, he at one point in time is going to present us to the father.
And when he presents us to the father the father will not be disappointed in us...
Because when Jesus gets through with us weíre going to be holy and without blemish...
And free from accusation in the sight of God.
What a joy that will be.
>Following that precious truth in verse 22 comes this verse in 23 that says, "If you continue..."
And there are some who believe that what that means is this.
One day Jesus is going to come, and heís going to take Christians to heaven...
And he will present them before the father and they will be holy and without blemish in his sight.
But heís only going to carry those who are continuing in the faith.
Now friends, I want to tell you, thatís just not true.
This Greek text is not conditional.
It is not subjective.
And the word "if" should be translated and would better be translated by the word "since."
There is not one hint of doubt in Paulís mind.
Paul is not doubting that they are going to continue in the faith.
He is assuming that they are going to continue in the faith.
Friends, letís just settle this thing once and for all.
If your initial salvation had been left up to you, not any of you would have ever been saved.
The Bible makes it very clear that none come to the father except the father draw them.
Nobody just wakes up and takes the initiative and decides one day they are going to be saved.
God is the author of salvation.
Iíve heard preachers say, "Now if youíll take that first step toward God, God will meet you on the second step."
You canít take the first step...God has already taken it.
He called me long before I heard, before my sinful heart was stirred, but when I took him at his word, forgiven he lifted me.
God has taken the initiative in salvation.
And so if your being saved had been left up to you to start with...
You would have never been saved.
But I have news for you.
If your staying saved was left up to you, then you wouldnít stay saved.
If it were possible for a Christian to lose their salvation, then every Christian would lose their salvation.
Oh you say, "Bro. Joe, I donít believe that."
I donít care if you believe it or not...itís true.
If a Christian could lose their salvation, every Christian would lose it.
Because after all, how many sins does a person have to commit to lose it?
After youíre saved, if you tell one lie, do you lose your salvation if you could lose it?
"Well no, preacher, I think it would take a little more than that."
Okay, how many? Five? Ten? Fifteen?
I mean how many lies does a person have to tell to lose their salvation if they can lose it?
How many ugly thoughts does a person have to have to lose their salvation after theyíre saved?
One? If you have one ugly thought, one lustful thought, one lewd thought, do you lose your salvation?
Oh, no. I think it would take more than that.
Ok, how many? Five, ten, twenty?
How many ugly thoughts do you have to have to lose it?
If a Christian can lose their salvation, then how many temper tantrums do they have to throw to lose it?
One? Oh, I think it takes more than that. Okay, five? Ten?
And so here God is sitting up in heaven with some kind of Macintosh computer...
Keeping an account of all these sins weíve committed...
And thereís a magic number out there and if you ever get to that number...
Bless God, youíre lost again and youíre going to hell, unless you get saved again...
And if you get saved again, you gotta hold out or you could get lost again.
But then you could get saved again.
Isnít that stupid?
Folks, I want to tell you, it is absolutely impossible for a blood-washed, born-again, spirit-filled child of God...
To ever lose their salvation.
>Paul wrote to the church at Phillipi and he said, "He that hath begun a good work in you will continue to perform until the day of Christ."
>"Well Bro. Joe, what about old brother so and so? He used to be....he used to be....but then he just fell away."
Friends, you do not continue in the faith in order to keep your salvation.
You continue in the faith because you are saved.
John says in I John this: they went out from us because they were not of us. If they had been of us, they would have remained with us.
Continuing is a sign of genuine salvation.
>Now hereís the problem we find today.
We find a lot of folks whoíve walked down the aisle, joined the church, been baptized...
Theyíve never repented of any sin and donít intend to...
They never had a work of grace in their heart, Jesus has never been real...
And as a result, theyíve walked the aisle, joined the church, been baptized...
And theyíre always trying to have the assurance of something they donít really have to start with.
"Well Bro. Joe, is it possible for a Christian to doubt their salvation?"
Why of course itís possible for a Christian to doubt their salvation.
There may come those fleeting, momentary doubts.
But I tell you, if you have been a professing Christian five, ten, twenty years...
And youíve never had any assurance that Jesus was real in your life...
Then I donít believe youíve ever been saved.
Continuing is a sign, a demonstration, of one who has really been saved.
>What is salvation?
Well salvation involves past tense, present tense and future tense.
In the past, I have been saved from the penalty of sin.
Iím not going to hell.
I mean even if folks tell me to go, Iím not going.
Iíve already messed up because Iíve been born again and born again folks canít go to hell.
I was wonderfully, gloriously saved from the penalty of sin.
The Bible calls that justification.
But in the present tense I am still being saved.
I am being saved from the power of sin.
The Bible calls that sanctification.
And in the future, one day Iím going to be saved from the very presence of sin...
And the Bible calls that glorification.
So I have been saved...I am being saved...I am going to be salved.
I have been saved from the penalty of sin...
I am being saved from the power of sin...
I will one day be saved from the presence of sin.
I have been justified...I am being sanctified...and thank God, one day Iíll be glorified.
Now thatís what salvation is.
And so there is a sense in which salvation is complete...
And there is a sense in which salvation is not complete.
God is not through with us yet.
And arenít you glad of that?
The Bible makes it very clear that I do not continue in order to remain saved...
But because Iíve already been saved.
>Now look again in verse 23.
Paul says in verse 22, "God is going to receive you holy, without blemish and free from accusation, since you continue in the faith."
As a saved person, and this is point number one, if youíre taking notes.
>As a saved person I will continue in the faith.
Now the word "continue" means to "stay at a place", to remain.
Itís translated in the book of Acts by the English word "tarry", but itís the same Greek word.
Paul says in Acts, he said, "I will tarry here for a few days, and then I will go to such and such a place and tarry there."
The word "continue" means to stay at a place.
It means to remain.
Paul tells us here in verse 23 that a born-again Christian who has Jesus in his heart...
And is anticipating going to heaven, one of the marks of that personís life is heís going to stay in the faith.
Heís going to remain in the faith.
Heís going to continue in the faith.
Not in order to be saved, but because heís already been saved, see?
A man doesnít go home at night to stay married.
A man goes home at night because he is married.
The Bible makes that very clear.
Faith, he says, "Continue in the faith."
>What does that mean?
Well there are times in the Bible when the word "faith" means the body of revealed truth.
It means the Bible...it means Godís word.
The book of Jude says we are to earnestly contend for the faith...
And that means the Bible, the body of revealed truth, doctrinal truth, the Word of God.
And so Paul is saying that a saved person will continue in the truth of Godís word.
"A person who has Jesus in his heart, who is looking forward to Jesus coming and taking him to heaven...
A person that is a really saved person is going to continue in his personal trusting of Jesus Christ...
As Lord of his life."
It means that when problems come Iím not going to seek another solution.
The same Jesus that saved me is the same Jesus that can keep me saved and love me and carry me through.
When storms of life come, I donít have to turn to secular resources.
I have one who loves me and gave his life for me and died on the cross...
Rose from the dead and who fills me with his Holy Spirit.
And so Paul says that one of the characteristics of a real Christian...
Is that he will continue trusting Jesus.
I mean a person thatís a saved person is not going to start trusting something else.
A person thatís a saved person is not gonna turn away from Jesus and go after Confusius.
A person thatís a saved person is not going to turn away from Jesus and go after Buddha.
A person thatís a saved person is not going to turn away from Jesus and go after Mohammed.
Now a person who just walks down the aisle and gets wet and joins a church...
He might turn away from Jesus and go after Buddha.
He might turn away from Jesus and go after Mohammed.
But Iím telling you, if a person has ever come to know Jesus they wonít ever turn away from him.
Now thatís what Paul says.
A saved person will continue in the faith.
>Now notice a second thing Paul says.
He says a saved person will be grounded and settled in the person of Christ.
Look in verse 23: since you continue in your faith established and firm.
>Paul says: be established and firm.
Established speaks of the foundation.
Now what is our foundation?
Well Paul says in I Corinthians 3:11 that no other foundation can be laid than that which is laid Jesus Christ himself.
Friends, Jesus is our foundation and I have good news.
He is a solid rock.
So the foundation is in good shape.
Therefore, when we give our life to Jesus, we ought to be able to be firm in him.
The word "firm" means to become steadfast.
You know as well as I do, you build a brand-new house and there will come a time when it will settle a bit.
But if the foundation is firm, itís not going to fall down.
It may creak a little, you know, but it will settle down but it wonít fall down.
Earlier in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told a story about two men who were builders...
And they both built the same size house, the same kind of house out of the same building products.
But one of them built a house on a rock, and the other built a house on sand.
And when the storms came the house that was built on the rock stood firm...
But the house that was built on sand did what? Fell flat.
Because the foundation shifted.
Paul says, "Hey, as Christians weíre going to continue in the faith...
But also, as Christians, weíre going to be established and settled in the person of Jesus...
Because we have a foundation that is unshakable."
>Now Paul says a third thing.
He says a saved person will continue in the faith.
A saved person will be established and firm in the person of Christ.
Thirdly, he says a saved person will not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel.
Look at it: since you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
He says a saved person is not going to be constantly shifting.
I tell you thereís something wrong with somebody who they are Baptist a while...
And then they are Jehovahís Witness a while, and then they are Mormon a while...
And then they are Catholic a while, and then they are looking into Judaism and Hinduism.
Thereís something wrong with that.
Paul says a real Christian is not going to be constantly shifting.
A person who is always shifting is a person whoís never been established in the right foundation.
Folks, I want to tell you, Jesus hasnít moved.
Heís the rock of ages, and he hasnít moved.
And if we are anchored in him, if we are established in him...
If weíre grounded and firm in him, Paul says weíre not always going to be shaking.
He says, look at it, "not moved from the hope of the gospel."
Not moved away from the hope of the gospel.
>What is the hope of the gospel?
Iíll tell you what the hope of the gospel is.
The hope of the gospel is that the same one who saved me in the past and is saving me in the present...
Is coming to save me in the future.
Thatís the hope of the gospel.
It means that Iím not going to give up or turn back or look aside...
But just stay on him and be fixed in him because heís coming back.
Thatís the hope of the gospel, thatís the one who came born of a virgin...
Died upon the cross, buried in the tomb, raised from the dead...
Ascended into glory and is one day coming back again.
Thatís the hope of the gospel.
And he will finish the work of salvation that he began in my life.
I now have a redeemed spirit living in an unredeemed body.
Every one of you that have glasses, those glasses testify to you that you have an unredeemed body....
Because friend, I want to tell you, when Jesus glorifies the body youíre not gonna need glasses.
And praise God for that. Now Iím glad to have glasses...Iím glad I can see.
But I tell you Iím looking forward to the day when I wonít have to wear them.
Some of you, your hair has turned white. Why is that?
Because we have an unredeemed body.
Some folks walk stooped...they didnít used to. What happened?
They have an unredeemed body.
Why do folks have cancer and leukemia and heart attacks?
Because we have unredeemed bodies.
Thereís not gonna be any of that in heaven.
Our bodies wonít ever be sick over there.
And so we have a redeemed spirit living in an unredeemed body...
But when Jesus comes all that is going to be changed and thatís the hope of the gospel.
And so Paul says, "Child of God, your salvation does not depend upon your ability to hold out and be strong...
Your salvation depends upon him who gave his life for you."
Because of the faithfulness of Jesus, not because of the faithfulness of you.
Oh friends, if our salvation were dependent upon our faithfulness weíd all go to hell.
But because of the faithfulness of Jesus, he allows me to continue in faith.
Because of the faithfulness of Jesus, he allows me to be established and firm.
And because of the faithfulness of Jesus, he allows me not to be constantly shifting away from the hope of the gospel.
>Well Paul closes verse 23 by giving us three reasons why it is sensible to stick with the gospel.
You know the devil is always trying to divert our attention from the gospel.
Well look what he says in verse 23: since you continue in your faith established and firm, not moved away from the hope held out in the gospel.
And then talking about the gospel he says three things about it.
Number one: which you have heard.
Number two: that has been proclaimed to every creature which is under heaven.
And number three: which I Paul have become a servant.
Why do you want to stick with the gospel?
>First of all, itís the gospel that saved you.
Paul said, "Iím not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation...
To every one that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Paul says there, "which you have heard."
Whatís he talking about?
Well before Epaphrus and Timothy went into Colosse to preach the gospel, theyíd never heard the gospel.
Nobody has ever told them about Jesus.
I mean Colosse was down there, a town that had never heard about Jesus.
Nobody had ever told them about the cross.
Nobody ever told them about redemption.
Nobody ever told them about forgiveness of sin.
Nobody ever told them about the highway to heaven.
Nobody ever told them that.
But one day the Holy Spirit of God sent Epaphrus and Timothy down there to Colosse...
And they went down there preaching the gospel.
And these people in Colosse began to hear the gospel.
Folks, people are not gonna be saved until they hear the gospel.
The Bible says in the book of Romans, "faith comes by" what?
"Hearing, and hearing by the" what?
"Word of God".
Thatís why it is important to get the word of God into people.
>In order for you to be born physically you had to have two parents.
You had to have a father and a mother.
Now the father may have died before you were born.
The mother may have died in childbirth.
You may have never known those earthly parents...
But in order for you to be born...I mean you just didnít swing out of a tree.
You werenít found under a rock...you didnít parachute out of the sky...
You had a human father and a human mother Ė two parents Ė to be born physically.
Well in order to be born spiritually, you also had to have two parents.
You know what they were?
The word of God and the Holy Spirit of God.
The word of God is put in our hearts and the Holy Spirit of God comes and brings conviction...
Based upon the word of God thatís in our heart.
Hey, I went to school...I learned 2+2 is 4; 4+4 is 8; 8+8 is 16.
I learned that.
But the Holy Spirit of God didnít use that truth to bring conviction in my life.
I learned about science and biology...I learned about nouns and pronouns.
But the Holy Spirit didnít use that truth to bring conviction.
But when the word of God was put in my heart thatís when the Holy Spirit began to work.
And so the word of God and the Holy Spirit of God are my two parents of being born again.
The word got in, and thatís what Paul said.
Stick with the gospel because it was the gospel that you heard...
And on hearing it, the Holy Spirit of God brought you to conviction and then to conversion.
>Secondly, he says you ought to stick with the gospel not only because it is the gospel by which you were saved...
But he says itís the only gospel for the whole world.
Look at it.
He says, "That has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven."
Friends, thereís not one gospel for the red man and another gospel for the black man and another for the white man.
Thereís not one gospel for the rich and one for the middle class and one for the poor.
There is only one gospel and itís for everybody.
In Christ there is no male or female, no Jew nor Greek, no bond or free.
One gospel for the whole world, and thereís not another gospel.
Paul says, "If any man preaches unto you any other gospel, let him be cursed with a curse."
There is no other gospel.
There is one gospel for the whole world and thatís the gospel of Jesus.
>Paul says stick with it because itís the gospel by which you were saved.
Stick with it because itís the only gospel for the whole world.
And thirdly, he says, stick with it because it is the only gospel that has been affirmed by the apostles.
Look what he said at the end of verse 23: which I Paul have become a servant.
Who was Paul?
He wasnít some little seed-picking, hay-stacking preacher.
He was an apostle of God.
Who were apostles?
They were men who were selected by God to be the very authority of God.
We donít have apostles today.
It may surprise you to know that everything I say is not scripture.
You donít look too surprised.
But I tell you, everything the apostles said was scripture.
They were Godís mouthpiece.
They were Godís men.
They were men who affirmed and gave authority and authenticity to the works of God.
Sometimes they would hear about something going on and they would go down and say, "Hey, this is of God."
Sometimes they would hear about things going on and they would say, "Hey, this is not of God."
There was no debate about it.
That settled it because that was the rank and authority of an apostle.
And Paul said, "You ought to stick with the gospel because itís the one by which you were saved...
Itís the only one for the whole world, and it is the only one affirmed by the authority of the apostles."
>I donít know about you, but Iím gonna stick with the gospel.
Not in order to be saved, but because I have been saved.
Iím gonna continue in the faith.
Not in order to stay saved, but because I am saved.
Iím going to be grounded and settled in the person of Jesus.
Not to keep my salvation, but because I already have my salvation.
Thatís what this verse says.
It is not a verse to raise doubt...it is a verse to give assurance.
>You know if anybody in the world ought to be happy in Jesus, it ought to be Baptist people.
The thing that bothers me is, there are a lot of folks who believe you can be saved and lose it...
That are happy about salvation than those of us who believe you are saved and canít lose it.
I havenít understood that.
If anybody ought to shout, it ought to be us.
If anybody ought to lift holy hands unto God, it ought to be us...
Because we understand that what we have in Christ came to us by him...
Remains in us by him, and shall carry us through eternity because of him.
If I didnít believe eternal security, Iíd get an aqua lung and move into the baptistry...never come up.
Just die in there.
I donít have to do that because everywhere I am, when Iím in my truck driving down the road...
When Iím preaching somewhere else, when Iím down in Mexico with Bro. Bobby...
Iím established and settled, not because of me, but because of him.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!