Restoration Or Throw Away Souls

Restoration Or Throw Away Souls
Randall Caselman
1/5/97 am

Restoration Or Throw Away Souls


Reading Luke 15.11-24


Restoration is a concept that we are familiar with.
Bob Spaw restores classic automobiles.
The Cantrell family is restoring a 1928-29 pickup.
We restore old homes.
All of us probably own a piece of furniture or family heirloom that has been
restored.

Webster gives these definitions for restoration.
  • The act of putting back into the original or former state or relationship.
  • To bring back into favor and grace.
  • To make something useful again.

For instance there are a lot of cars in the junk-yard that need to be
restored, put back into their original state and made useful again.
Our reading tells of a son and father who experienced a ruptured
relationship.
They needed to be reconciled, put back in their first state as Father and
son.
When the prodigal returned home, he was brought back into the grace and favor
of his father, as evidenced by the ring, robe, shoes and the fatted calf.

You see, we have to make a decision everyday on restoration.
For instance with our stuff.
Do we throw it away or do we restore it?
We have to make this decision on newspapers, shopping bags, milk cartons,
coke cans, old clothes etc...etc.
Do we throw them away or make them useful again.
We had to make this decision with Georgia's car; throw it away or restore
it.

Well, what about souls?
Should there be throw away souls?
Should we just discard souls who fall away from their relationship with God?
Or should we restore them?
Listen to Paul from Galatians 6.1:
Brothers, if someone is caught in sin,
you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Restoration of souls is a Biblical concept.
It is found on every page of our Bibles, from Genesis chapter 3 through
Revelation 22.
In fact, this is what the Bible is about...RESTORATION.
Restoring mankind to his former state.
Bringing us back into the grace and favor of God through Jesus Christ.
Making us useful again in God's service.

Let's notice now some Biblical restoration narratives

Adam and Eve had a intimate close relationship with God.
God created them and placed them in a paradise garden made especially for
them.
They walked and talked with Him in the cool of the evening.
The picture was beautiful....God and His creation living in harmony.
Then came the fall in Genesis three.
Sin entered, the relationship was ruptured, now Adam and Eve are:
In need of restoration
In need of God's grace and favor
They needed to be back in their original state with the Lord.

We're all familiar with the children of Israel and their ups and downs.
They would sin and God would punish them.
They would repent and He would restore their blessings.
Only to have them rupture the relationship again, and again and again.
Each of the Judges,
Some of the Kings
And all of the prophets
Were used to call Israel back to restoration....back to God's grace and
favor.

The New Testament is filled with restoration narratives.
It opens with John the Baptist preaching restoration.
Prepare the way, the King and Kingdom is coming...Repent and be ready.

Peter's life is a story of restoration.
Before Jesus' crucifixion, he said, I'll go with you whereever you go, I'll
never forsake you even in the face of death.
But that's not what happened was it?
When the going got tough, Peter lost his faith, denied Him, swearing he
didn't even know Jesus.
But the beautiful part of this story is found in John chapter 21, where Jesus
restores Peter as he tells Jesus three times, I love you.
You see, Peter had been given the keys to the Kingdom.
He was to open the new covenant, the church, the body of Christ, the family
of God.
Peter's restoration makes him useful, he can now be the instrument God wanted
him to be.
And he was as he preached the first gospel sermon in Act chapter 2.

The day of Pentecost was a restoration event.
I believe, Pentecost was the day God looked forward to from Genesis chapter
three.
Pentecost was the time when God could again have that intimate relationship
restored.
Sins could now be forgiven, made possible by the blood of Christ on the
cross.
It was a time the prophets had talked and written about.
A time when He could be their God and they could be His people.
Folk, Acts chapter two is a restoration event.

Acts 8 also contains a restoration happening about Simon the Sorcerer.
Simon was into magic and mystical arts....sorcery.
But when he heard the preaching of Phillip in Samaria, he accepted the Gospel
truth and was also baptized.
However, when the Apostles came to Samaria and begin to preform miracles,
Simon was astonished by what he saw.
So, he tried to bargain with the Apostles and buy the miraculous gift with
money.
Give me this ability, so that everyone on whom I lay my hand may receive the
Holy Spirit.
Remember what Peter told him?
May your money perish with you...you can't buy God's gift with money.
Then Peter told Simon what he must do to be restored.
Repent and pray for having such thoughts in your heart.
And Simon asked Peter to pray for him.
This is a story of restoration of a baptized believer.
A child of God who had sinned, desiring to be brought back into God's grace
and favor, to be made useful again in the kingdom.

The Book of Revelation begins with the theme of restoration.
Letters were written to seven churches telling them what they must do in
order to be made useful again in God's service.
The church at Ephesus is even told to restore their fist love, to repent and
do the things they did at first.

After rehearsing these narratives what can we learn?

First we learn that it is possible to fall from God's grace and favor.
Adam and Eve fell from God's favor and were expelled from the paradise
garden.
Can anyone deny Peter's fall in his denial of Jesus?
Simon the Sorcerer fell.
Peter told him, may your money perish with you.
Peter certainly thought Simon was now in a lost state and in need of
restoration.

As we look at the Seven Churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, we
find that
they were told to:
Repent
To be faithful unto and until death
To remain true
To persevere
To wake up and strengthen what is about to die
To return to their first love
To overcome
Five out of the seven were told to repent or something terrible would happen
to them.
Things like:
He would remove their candlestick
Spew them out of His mouth
Fight against them with the sword of His mouth
Cause them to suffer the second death.
These phrases indicate that they would be eternally lost unless they changed.
Repeatedly in these chapters, Jesus promises salvation and heaven to those
who remain faithful and punishment to those who will not be restored.

The entire book of Hebrews was written begging for restoration.
It is a plea to those Jews, who were once faithful Christians, and were
turning back to Judaism to remain faithful to Christ.
The Book of Galatians is another letter written to keep the churches from
returning to the law of Moses.
In fact Paul uses these very words in Galatians 5.4, You who are trying to be
justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.

Listen to Peter as he describes those who were once saved but had gone back
into the world, in 2 Peter 2, beginning with verse 20, If they have escaped
the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and
are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than
they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have
known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their
backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs
are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back
to her wallowing in the mud."
Does this sound like we can fall from God's grace and favor to the point that
we need restoration?

Look at the last verse in our reading, For this son of mine was dead, and is
alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.
Why were they celebrating?
Because a child of the Father, who was lost in sin, has been restored to the
grace and favor of His Father.

Church, Scripture teaches us that we cannot turn our backs on the Lord live
in open rebellion to Him and expect to be rewarded with heaven.

The Hebrews writer even speaks of those who have reached the point of no
return.
Those who cannot be restored because they have seared their conscience to the
point that the Word of God and His divine providence working in their lives
have no effect on them.
You may ask, brother Randall have I reached this point in my life?
No, or you wouldn't be here this morning, you wouldn't be asking the
question.
The Hebrews writer is describing those who have reached the point that they
will not repent.....Those that just don't care any more.

Jesus tells us in John 10 that we must stay in the sheep fold.
In John 15 He tells us we must abide in the vine, stay attached to the vine.
John says, we must continue to walk in the light, and as we do, His blood
will continues to cleanse us from all our sins.

Secondly this morning, we learn that God is interested in our restoration.
When Adam and Eve fell in Genesis chapter three, God started working His plan
to redeem and restore mankind from his fallen state.
Genesis 3.15 is the first prophecy concerning this scheme of redemption.
Through 4000 years of human history, God patiently works His plan to bring
Jesus.
God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son.
Peter puts it in these words in 2 Peter 3.9, The Lord is not slow in keeping
his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting
anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
In Romans 2.4, Paul says, Do not show contempt for the riches of his
kindness, tolerance and patience, but realize that it is God's kindness leads
us towards repentance?
Paul says to Timothy, God wants all men to be saved and to come to a
knowledge of truth.
Titus 2.11 says, the grace of God has appeared to ALL men.
Luke 15.10 says, There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over
one sinner who repents.

Church, God is the Father in our reading, we are the prodigal.
God is pictured as always watching, waiting for our return.
Let there be no doubt this morning that God is sincerely interested in our
restoration.
He has made it possible for each of us
To be brought back to an intimate, Father/son relationship with Him,
To be restored to His grace and favor
And to be made useful in His service.

Thirdly, we learn that our restoration is a personal choice.
God created us free moral agents.
We decide our own destiny.
Joshua challenged Israel by saying, Choose today whom you will serve.
God will not save us in spite of our rebellion, but upon our decision to
return to Him.
Those in Acts two made a personal choice to accept Jesus as their Savior.
That's what verse 41 says, Those who accepted his message were baptized, and
about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Some in that Pentecostain audience did not accept the message and were not
saved.
It was their choice.
Simon the sorcerer made his own decision to repent.
Jesus calls us, just as He called the Seven Churches of Asia, to come to
repentance.

The entire 15th chapter of Luke is about restoration.
There was the lost sheep.
The lost coin.
And a lost son.

Some are lost like sheep.
They don't really intend to live in rebellion to God, but they just wonder
off.
The grass looks a bit greener over there and then there and there the
first thing you know we look up and we are not among the saved, we are lost.
NO, the church didn't move, God didn't move we did.
Lost because of the lack of attention paid to our own salvation.

Others are lost like coins.
They are lost because they are misplaced by others.
No wonder Paul admonishes us to watch the company we keep.
He says, evil companions corrupts, destroys good morals.
Peter fell, denied Jesus, because he was warming by the wrong fire...keeping
the wrong company.
I wonder if some of us here, this morning, need to make the decision to
separate ourselves from those who are causing us to not be useful in the
Lord's Kingdom.

Still others are lost like the Prodigal Son.
We decide we love the sins of the far country more than the blessings
available in the Fathers house.
Well, like most of us, he soon discovered that genuine living was living in
God's grace and favor.
So, in the stench and filth of the pig pen, he decides to return home and is
restored by the father.

I want us to note something here, we can never be genuinely happy living in
sin.
Note what Peter said to Simon in Acts 8.23, I see you are in bitterness.
The KJ says, in the gall of bitterness.
The Greek literally says, I see that you have been poisoned by your sin.
Folk, God did not create us to be happy living in the far country of sin.
No wonder David is found saying in Psalm 51, Restore to me the joy of your
salvation and grant me a willing spirit.

Sin is a personal decision, a personal choice and so is restoration.
Jesus says told the Seven churches, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he
with me.
Acknowledging Jesus as our Savor and maintaining our salvation is no accident
and needs our constant attention.

Number 4, we all can be instrumental in the restoration of others.
God uses people.
The Children of Israel were brought back to God:
By Moses,
By Joshua,
By the Judges,
Some of the kings
And by a host of Old Testament prophets.
The Jews of Jesus' day were called to repentance by John the Baptist.
Peter was God's instrument preaching restoration in Acts 2.
Listen to James as he writes about OUR part in modern day restoration, from
James 5.20, Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him
from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
I challenge you this morning, become active in this concept of restoring
others.

Our final point is, what constitutes restoration?
What must we do to be restored to a right relationship with God?
To be back in His grace and favor?
To be made useful again?
There are TWO possibilities.

For the alien sinner we look at Acts 2 again.
Those, in that audience that day, were:
Pricked,
Touched in the heart
They were moved by this message.
They asked, men and brethren, what must we do?
They were told how to be restored.
When they expressed their faith in Jesus as the Son of God, Peter told them
to repent and be baptized and their sins would be forgiven and they would
experience the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Paul in Galatians 3.26 & 27 tells us, You are all sons of God through faith
in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on
Christ...have been clothed with Christ.
When sins are forgiven, we are restored, reconciled, brought back into a
right relationship with God.

For those who are children of God by faith and baptism, but have become
useless, have wandered off like sheep gone astray or have intentionally left
the Fathers house and are living in the far country, the invitation is to
come home.
Simon was told to repent and pray.
James tells us that if we are caught up in sin that we ought to confess our
faults one to another and pray for one another.
James concludes by saying, If we have sinned we will be forgiven.

Souls away from God are lost and in a useless state.
Souls away from God are like cars in a junk-yard.
Or like other stuff that has been discarded.
But know this, this morning; there are no throw away souls.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.


RESTORATION We all need it don't we?
RESTORATION is an every day process in our walk with God.

Jesus is calling you:
To become a child of God,
Or if you are living in the far country to come home to the fathers house.

Randall Caselman
1-501-273-2434






Written By

Bella Vista Church of Christ

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