December 18, 2017

The Point of No Return

Tom Nieman

Recently I have encountered a number of individuals who, after lamenting current conditions in our state and country (and the world), will suddenly swing to a default position with the claim that things are similar to the way things have always been. I do, however, encounter those who know of and even seem to admire my commitment to the Bible. One young married man recently told me, “What you stand for is right. Don’t give up on us. We need to have people like you. Even if we are not living like we know we should, we know you are right.” He went on to tell me that his life seems meaningless but at present would rather not consider changing. Still he fears the consequences.

Some are shocked and horrified at pervasive violence but avoid identifying the conduct that provides the environment for the issues that alarm them. When we insist that these are spiritual problems, they are fearful of being different and excluded from their society. They will argue that we must join the society to reach the society. When this position is adopted, there is little difference between them and the world—and the churches in which they find themselves have no unique position different from other churches. Often they tend to follow the leader with the most charisma.

It is incumbent on us to set our concerns in the context of the scriptures. They alone present the truth that will clearly identify sin and clarify direction. Tragically, we now have a young adult generation that does have a concern, but the next generation may not even know of the God who is grieved with sin and to whom they are accountable. Unless this message is courageously presented, a point of no return will be reached.

The scriptures give numerous examples of this point:

Genesis 6:5-7 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

There came a point of no return, and God brought judgment upon the earth.

Genesis 19 records the account of God’s condemnation of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because of their horrid moral depravity, they had reached a point of no return. God would have spared the city if enough righteous individuals had been resident, but judgment was inevitable.

While much documentation could be presented showing the failure of God’s chosen nation, the Psalmist graphically describes the disdain that God had for their actions. God had to punish them. They had reached a point of no return.

Psalm 106:37-40 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

(God does not overlook the unrequited blood of the innocents. Judgment will come.)

Ancient Israel and subsequent nations are graphic proof that violations of the laws of God will bring the judgment of God. However, the behavior is a product of their belief. Departure from the clear commands of God will produce wickedness and violence.

Hosea 4:1-3 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

The only solution is a spiritual solution, which will place us in juxtaposition to the prevailing philosophy of the world. To be acceptable to the world should not be our agenda. The world considers itself too sophisticated to embrace those truths that are precious to the child of God. Our goal is to honor, glorify and exalt our Lord regardless of the response of the world and its system.

The Apostle Paul precisely stated:

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

The scriptures clearly state that a time will come when the deviation from God’s Word will be extreme.

1Timothy 4:1,2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Tragically, the wrong things are being heard:

2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Wrong conduct is the result of embracing a false message. We have a responsibility to warn and confront those who have departed, as well as those who are beginning to drift.

Finally, we must be vigorous in presenting the Gospel, which is still the power of God unto salvation—at the same time defending the faith, lest we in our lifetime reach the point of no return.

Dr. Tom Nieman is retired from nearly forty-five years of faithful pastoral ministry and serves the churches of the Northwest in a pulpit supply and Bible conference ministry through Northwest Baptist Assistance Ministries.

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