The Point Of No Return

Hebrews 6:1-6

  

During WW II men of the Air Force coined and popularized this  frightening phrase!  The Point Of No Return   This designated a point in flight where fuel supply  of their aircraft would be half depleted. The dangerous bombing missions often called for an aircraft to take off from  home base, deliver the bombs  then return to a different destination from where they had started. The missions were long and dangerous. If trouble developed, a decision to terminate and return to home base must be made  before reaching the point of no return.

 

There is a spiritual point of no return  the Hebrew writer speaks of in describing this condition: In our text of Hebrews 6:4-5 Inspiration describes a list of privileges these had been privy to”

 

4For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; 

 

 The boundless love and infinite grace of God seems so “out-of-step” with the phrase: it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance”  But notice carefully this passage does not say it is impossible for God to forgive them, but  It is impossible to renew them  to repentance   

 

Impossible?  The point of no return reached… how frightening!  The Bible emphatically teaches that God is love that He is longsuffering, anxious to forgive. He seeks out the human family, provides all things that you and I might be reconciled.  Is there anything that more clearly that sets forth God’s love and concern for just one soul than Luke chapter 15 look at it…..

Luke 15:4-7    Parable of Lost Sheep     (100)

Luke 15:8-10 Parable of the lost coin  (10)

The Story of the Prodigal Son, illustrates the love of God toward one who has gone astray, His willingness to restore.

 

There are many other beautiful scriptures teaching us the extent of the Father’s love, and His willingness  to  go, and  seek  us out that He may forgive. One of the best known,  and most   quoted passages comes to mind..... John 3:16  - 

 

A number of years ago when I began to seriously study the Bible,  I became quite impressed with God’s patience nature in dealing with us.  I read in Genesis chapter 6 coupled with 1 Peter 3:20, that God was patient and waited for 120 years while the ark was in preparation.  I read  in Genesis 15:13-16 that God waited 400 years for the Canaanites to repent before he brought judgement upon them driving them out of the land of milk and honey. 

 

 Listen to this beautiful passage  Psalm 103:8-14

 8The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness. 9He will not always chide; Neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10He hath not dealt with us after our sins, Nor rewarded us after our iniquities. 11For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is his lovingkindness toward them that fear him. 12As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13Like as a father pitieth his children, So The LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.   

 

And the apostle Peter speaks to us of God’s longsuffering with those of us today 2 Peter 3:9

9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   

 

God loves man whom He has created, is patience with their shortcomings. But it is possible for man to reach “a point of no return” and many do so.

 

What leads to this condition? Let us note some things.

 Man can and often does become “hardened by sin”  and   “The point of no return” can be reached by simply ignoring God’s laws on moral behavior. Think of a person who begins to drink.... I  have never known a man who intended to become an alcoholic. But millions of alcoholics live in our society today. They have passed “ the point of no return”. The beginning is so innocent, “there’s no harm in  just one drink”. I heard of a Christian man, who has ended up in the clutches of alcoholism. For more than 30 years he was enslaved to alcohol, sacrificing his family, his job, his possessions, his reputation, and personal dignity because of alcohol. One day he responded to the Lord’s invitation   I’m over it, I want to start anew.” The brethren would get excited when he responded, but it soon passed. This man’s noble resolves were drowned  in the bottle, that held his soul.

 

Another fine young man obeyed the gospel expressing desire to preach the gospel, but fell back into the clutches of strong drink, trapped and unable to escape its clutches.  Through the years I’ve seen men  laden  with talent, but rendered helpless, and useless by serving the bottle.

 

Adultery or Fornication has the same enslaving power.  No man ever intended to lose influence, crush his family.  It begins so innocently. A careless look breeds a thought; evil thinking produces a lustful heart, lust leads to sin which can carry us to “the point of no return”. The threads of lust ever so loosely cast about us   that they aren’t felt  until they are so strong they   cannot be broken.

 

Listen to James as he describes how this condition is reached.

each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his  own lust, and enticed. [says James] Then the lust, when it hath           conceived, beareth sinJames 1:14-15. 

 

Several years ago a highly respected physician, was sentenced to life in prison. He was the son of a highly respected physician, and had  been prepared from his youth to minister to the needs of humanity through the miracles of surgery. But the raging powers of passion led him into an illicit affair. In the end, fearing exposure, he shot to death his wife of many years,  a good man was rendered senseless by the sin of passion.   The Hebrew writer warns      Heb. 3:12-13

12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 

 Paul speaks of the moral decay of ancient Rome  in Romans 1:21  Hear it

21because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. And then in these words  states that 24Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:    Romans 1:24   When a man reaches the point that God gives him up,  he has reached “the point of no return” We can reach the point of no return simply by “Ignoring And Violating God’s Moral Laws”.

 

Another condition leading men to “The Point Of No Return” is not the exclusive territory of  drunkards or adulterers. No! it is shared by Christians as well. It is the state of being nominal of being Christians in name only.  Our text Hebrews 6:4-6, does not describe an adulterer, or  an atheist,  but a professed Christian who fails to stay close to Christ, one who have tasted the spiritual blessings in Christ. But now fallen away and  has reached a condition where it is: “impossible to be renewed to repentance. ”

 

How sad when this  condition is finally  reached, we should not conclude, that one must publicly disavow Christ  to reach this tragic condition.  Look for a moment at the members of the church at  Sardis. “Thou hast a  name that thou livest,” Christ told them, “but thou art dead” (Rev. 3:1). And that is what it means to be nominal, existing in name only, Christians who fail to commit totally, will find the effects of nominal Christianity worked within their hearts. Their hearts will die spiritually. Serving God must be taken seriously....  Matthew 22:37-40  Talents not devoted to His service die........

 

I knew a man who in later years spoke of his boyhood desires to become a preacher. He possessed the  abilities to become a great one. Years swiftly passed, and although he remained faithful, in his attendance,  he slowly he drifted from that desire, now its too late the desire to make the proper sacrifices gone.. Abilities were not developed... and were lost . All that remains are the memories and the gleam that appears in his eyes as he speaks of what might have been.... he has long passed  the point where his talents may be honed and used. He has reached the “point of no  return.”

 

Many lament that they have waited too long to learn to teach a Bible class....or to learn to lead others to Christ or, to lead in public prayer, or singing.  In some cases these are mere excuses, but often times they bear witness to the fact that “what we don’t use we lose.”  Our Lord said “from him that hath not... even that which he hath.... shall be taken away     Matt. 25:29.

 

What more vivid evidence could be marshaled to verify the tragic reality of the “point of no return”?  The simple truth is one cannot take Christian duties lightly without suffering consequences. When we continue in “Luke warmness”, our hearts become insensitive to Bible teachings. Penicillin once a wonder drug, but because of its over exposure, is no longer effective and we’ve had to develop other drugs to do what it once did.

 

What a tragedy for Christians to reach a point of no return in their spiritual lives…..  they sit in the pew, but have lose the capacity to be disturbed and excited about the word  of God. They have listened to all the appeals and avoided them skillfully so  long that now no power on  earth can cause them to attend more than one  service a week. “The Point of no return”? 

 

When no power is left to excite....  “the point of no return”  has been  reached. Something permanently tragic happens to the heart, It dies, and the person is far worse than before any pretense to be a Christian  was ever made.   Peter warned, “ the last state is become worse with them than the first. For it were better for them to have known the way of righteousness        2 Pet.2:20-21.

 

The final condition that leads to the point of no return is reached by deferring obedience to God, constantly delaying obedience to the gospel can cause one to reach the point of no return. In the parable of the sower recorded in Luke 8:5-8. Some seeds fell by the wayside, and  it was trodden under foot and the birds of the air devoured it. Jesus wasn’t giving us a lesson on agriculture, but  was describing the condition of a heart

 

How is such a condition reached? Jesus explains in verse 12,

12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.   

 

They hear the word preached, but will not obey it,  eventually they cannot believe  it,    John 12:37-40 

37But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him: 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again, 40He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart; Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, And should turn, And I should heal them..

 

It is a dangerous thing for a person to hear God’s word,  have it tug at your heart strings, only to ignore it. It is spiritual suicide to take the gospel  lightly.  It wasn’t a matter of would not believe, they had reached a point where “they could not believe

 

When the church was young, the gospel was never preached to entertain people, but to convict them of sin that they  might render obedience to God Almighty. Apparently every person on record as having obeyed the gospel in the New Testament age did so upon hearing his very first sermon. What a testimony to the power of the gospel to convict and save man.  Romans 1:16    On Pentecost Day  Acts 2:41 —     

41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.   

   

Philip preached but  one sermon to the Eunuch and he became  anxious to obey  Read the account  Acts  8:35-39

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

Ananias had to tell Saul but once  Acts 22:16

6And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 

The Philippians Jailer responded immediately   Acts 16:30-33. 

30....brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

You see, the Jailer realized he was dealing with his soul, and eternity. The same hour of the night.  No one thought of suggesting  that he wait till day light.

 

Each time one hears the gospel and resist its invitation,  he becomes a little harder to convert and  moves a little bit closer to the point of no return. The Bible speaks of some who sat through their first  sermon and  failed to respond. Their names are legendary ; King Agrippa, Acts 26:28  Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.  Young people should obey Christ during tender  years. The wise man wrote long ago, “Remember also thy Creator in the days of  thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh. when thou  shalt say, I have no pleasure in them”   Eccl 12:1

 

How many mothers cry themselves to sleep at night with concerns for sons and daughters who have failed to       be motivated by the gospel of Jesus  Christ though they have heard it time and again.  One night we will pillar our head and awake in eternity, “the point of no return”  reached and we will leave this life unprepared to meet God.

 

“The Point Of No Return” is no “fairy tale”, it is as real as the sin hardened lives of those who can no longer distinguish  between good and evil. It is as real as a multitude of Sunday morning pew fillers who have lost all capacity to get excited about worshiping a Loving Creator. It is as real as the increasing ease which a  man  who is always hearing and never doing loses the desire to do so.

 

In Which Direction Are You Presently Moving? Our present position is not so crucial as our present direction Hebrews 10:26-31 for if we sin willfully....”