RESTORATION
OF
THE WAYWARD
TO CHRIST
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The prophet Ezekiel relayed the message of God to Israel through the valley
of dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14 that they would be restored to the Promised
Land, and offer sacrifice and worship once again in Jerusalem. This vision of
dry bones coming back to life, forming an army, revived their hope. They felt
they were as dry bones piled in the desert, all life gone, all hope gone. But,
just as the power of Jehovah could bring those bones to life – so too could
God bring His people back to life and restore them to their home. The people
needed to do what those bones did: HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD.
In much the same way, those who are separated from God by their sins can
find life and life more abundantly if they will: HEAR THE WORD OF THE
LORD. The sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross, the shedding of the blood of
the Lamb of God redeemed our souls so that we might receive grace and
mercy.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus is the Savior of the world. He can save us if we will listen to Him.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will
say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and
in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful
works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me,
ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon
a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And Every one that heareth these sayings of mind, and doeth them not, shall
be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the
raise descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, an beat upon that
house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:21-27).

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my
Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I
go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be
also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him,
Lord, we know not whither thou goest; an d how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh
unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my
Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” (John 14:
1-7).

Who do you say Jesus is?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made
that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the
dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the
stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of
the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other
name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:
10-12).

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto
Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all
that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:36-39).

“And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

“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? 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. 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” (Acts 8:36-38).

”What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know
ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized
into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that
like as Christ was raised up from the head by the glory of the Father, even so
we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together
in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his
resurrection: knowing this, that6 our old man is crucified with him, that the
body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For
he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:1-7).

Yet, it is a reality that not all have continued to walk in the strait and narrow
way. The fornicator of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 is an example.

As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, you cannot be saved while continuing
in sin: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of
God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor
coveteous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the
kingdom of God.”

He repeats the same thing in Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh
are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and
such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

It is possible to fall from grace. To those who taught that one must become a
Jew (follow the Old Testament) to be a Christian, Paul said: “Christ is
become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye
are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Simon of Samaria is an example of one who went astray and was restored.
Sometimes referred to as Simon Magnus, or Simon the Sorcerer, his
conversion and fall and restoration are recorded in Acts 8:5-25.  Simon was a
sorcerer in the same way Paul was the persecutor Saul. Both were sinners
before their conversion. Saul’s conduct was put behind as he was baptized,
and by all indications, so was the sorcerer’s.

Simon believed. He believed the same gospel preached by Philip that every
one else in Samaria believed: “the things concerning the kingdom of God,
and the name of Jesus Christ.”

Simon was baptized. He was baptized the same as every one else in Samaria,
“both men and women.”

Philip worked signs and wonders – miracles – in Samaria. The “sorceries” of
Simon when he presented himself as “some great one” did not measure up to
the miracles and signs performed by Philip. The people, and Simon himself,
saw the difference.

Simon followed Philip around like a puppy-dog, amazed at what he saw.

Then Peter and John came to Samaria from Jerusalem, and laid their hands
upon the disciples of Samaria to impart the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The
wonder of this event lead Simon to his downfall.

Notice, “Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy
Spirit was given.” Philip, although he could perform signs and miracles,
could not impart these abilities to some one else. The gifts were imparted
only by “the apostles’ hands.” Thus, when the apostles died, the ability to
pass these gifts on died with them. The spiritual gifts were never meant to be
permanent.

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it
shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a
child: but when I became a man I put away childish things. For now we see
through a glass, darkly; but hen face to face: now I know in part; but then
shall I know even as I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these
three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the
unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect
man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we
henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness,
whereby they be in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow
up into him in all things, which is in the head, even Christ: from whom the
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:
11-16).

Simon was so affected by the ability shown by the apostles, “he offered them
money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he
may receive the Holy Spirit.”

He thought he could buy the gift of God. How many other people fall into this
same trap? They think they can buy their way out of sin (like the mid-evil
practice of indulgences) by the contributions they make to the church. And,
how many churches allow them to believe it? I have personally talked to
“preachers” who say it doesn’t matter what someone does as long as they
pay their “dues,” or rather their “tithes.” Or they will say they can’t preach
on a particular subject because it will cause someone to leave who is too big
a contributor to loose.

Those “supposing gain is godliness” have departed the faith (1 Timothy 6:5-
10). It is the health, wealth and wisdom gospel taught by the false teachers of
the world who permeate the air waves on television and radio.

Peter’s reaction is immediate, forceful and direct: “Your money perish with
you, because you thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the
sight of God.”

His heart was not right. Is yours? Is “your heart right in the sight of God?”
Have you departed from the strait and narrow? Are you “walking in newness
of life” as a servant of righteousness? Or, are you the servant of sin unto
death?

Are you enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season? Is your life full of the
“works of the flesh … adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions,
heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the
which I told you before, as I also told you in time past, that they who do such
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Speaking of those who had gone astray, Peter said, “While they promise
them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a
man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they
have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the
latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have
known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is
happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his
own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire”
(2 Peter 19-22).

But, do not despair! The sow can be washed again! The same soap and water
which took the mud off the pig the first time, can wash it clean again.

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto
you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have
fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if
we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves ourselves, and the truth is
not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not
sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:5-10).

You can be cleansed of your sin again. You can come back.

“Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the
thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”

Repentance means, not only are you sorry; but, you will do what is needed to
make it right, and follow through with a new life. Repentance is a change of
mind and action. “God sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be
repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Your tears can soak your pillow, and sorrow can rack your body, and do
nothing but drop you into the depths of depression and despair, if it is the
sorrow of the world. On the other hand, with godly sorrow your tears soak
your pillow, and sorrow can rack your body, but you emerge from your
sorrow as a butterfly from the cocoon: you come into the brilliant light of the
love, mercy and grace of God renewed and made new with the burden lifted
from your soul – cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God. What a
difference faith makes!

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that
repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no
repentance” (Luke 15:7).

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).