Answering the Call

August 9, 2018 at 9:38 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 1 Comment
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Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremaih 33:1-3

Jeremiah 33:3 is one of those “coffee mug” verses…

Jeremiah 33-3 coffee mug

… and we may take the encouragement to “call unto Me” as a command for us today to call upon God in prayer, but, remember, Jeremiah was in a special appointed relationship with God whereby God openly invited him to seek out prophetic visions and information from God, and God would share secrets with His prophet. You and I may call upon God for wisdom, and He may answer us through the study of His Bible, or through the passage of time as we see events unfold, but it wouldn’t be wise for us to seek a private revelation from God about the future.

God responded to Jeremiah by letting him know more about the future restoration of Judah and Israel.

And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

Jeremiah 33:7-8

This would be not only geographical and material restoration, but, more importantly, spiritual restoration: cleansing AND pardon. God would forgive them for going astray (iniquity), falling far short of the mark of God’s righteousness (sin), and rebellion (transgression). This would be for a blessing to His own chosen people, but also for a witness and testimony to gentile nations.

And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

Jeremaih 33:9

Do not fail to praise God openly in front of unbelievers for the prosperity God may allow you to enjoy, but don’t forget to praise him especially for the forgiveness of your sins, either.

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Romans 2:4

The Lord then repeated the assurances of the future fulfillment of His covenant by making an argumentum a fortiori.

Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

Jeremiah 33:24-26

The idea is that when the sun stops rising and setting each day, then someone can question whether God’s covenant with the seed of Jacob and David will be broken.

God’s Will and Our Will

September 18, 2015 at 9:26 am | Posted in Where There's a Way There's a Will | 7 Comments
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Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Romans 2:17-18 (emphasis added)

One of the distinguishing features about sometimes categorizing God’s will as preceptive, rather than decretive or secretive, is that God’s preceptive will is clearly revealed.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Romans 7:18

There is nothing good in our flesh. Have you come to grips with this in your life? Have you preached this to yourself and to the children entrusted by God into your care? God’s will can sometimes be described as dispositive, as can ours, but, in a stark contrast to His, our disposition, apart from His Spirit controlling us, is toward evil.

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:19-25

Our wills are always subject to God’s decretive will, but they are often in abject rebellion against His preceptive will. Our wills are subject to our desires, but there is hope in Christ, for He can change our desires and thereby make our wills subject to God’s will.

One important thing to remember about God’s hidden will is that it is intentionally hidden. God has His reasons for not revealing His secret will to us, and those reasons are good. Historically, though, this has not sat well with everyone who claims to be a Christian. There were those in the early Church – including ascetics, gnostics, and legalists – who wanted to add their beliefs to Scripture’s teaching about God’s preceptive will, and to insist that their additions were binding, when in fact God had not revealed them to be so.

Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Colossians 2:23

The “things” referred to were possibly things like refusing to eat and wearing itchy clothes – things that appeared to mortify the flesh in an attempt to exercise “self”-control over the will. These denials of self and comfort were supposed to “prove” how spiritual the practitioners were by demonstrating their own “will power,” but they were basically worshiping their own will by pretending it was God’s will.

The truth is that there are certain areas where Scripture grants liberty and the application of personal conscience – for example, exact clothing choices, which holy days to observe, and what to eat or drink. In these areas, we should acknowledge that, where God has chosen to close His holy mouth, we ought not to be loud with ours.

The S.H.A.R.K. Principle (lesson 3)

April 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Posted in The S.H.A.R.K. Principle | 2 Comments
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S.atan
H.ates

A.ll
R.eal
K.

There is a type of “knowledge” which is empty. It’s not “real” knowledge. It’s like a mirage. It looks interesting, but there’s nothing really there.

An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

Romans 2:20

Beware of things which have a “form” but are empty. Satan teaches that outward appearances are everything. God teaches that outward appearances should be the result of real knowledge on the inside. Don’t let Satan squeeze you into this world’s mold. Get something substantial from God, from the Bible, and be changed on the inside – transformed, not conformed.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

II Timothy 3:1

Let’s see if it sounds like we’re in the “last days:”

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

II Timothy 3:2

Do you love yourself more than God and more than others? Do you wish God would have given to you what He has in fact given to someone else? (covetous) Do you desire to be looked up to, and to be told how “great” you are? (proud) Do you really believe that you are great? (boasters) Do you treat God’s name as an exclamation or an interjection? (“OMG”) Would you be satisfied if you had woken up this morning with only the things for which you had thanked God yesterday? (unthankful)

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

II Timothy 3:3-7

Appearing to learn something, while actually learning nothing, will not lead you to the truth, because Satan doesn’t have any real knowledge. He hates it. He only has fake knowledge, which is another name for “lies.”

S.atan
H.ates
A.ll
R.eal
K.nowledge

Did you know you have to have knowledge to go Heaven?

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

I Timothy 2:3-5

I said to Heaven, not to God. Everyone is going to meet God, with or without genuine knowledge. In fact, all roads lead to God. It’s just that there will be an enforced U-turn when you get there, unless you are in Christ Jesus. This is what Satan hates and what he doesn’t want you to know. Jesus is the only Mediator – the only One Who can make peace between you and God so that you can be in His presence and live. The presence of God will be absolute bliss for all eternity if you have believed the Gospel and trusted Christ, but the presence of God will be unbearable torment without the Mediator.

If you don’t go into the ocean you’ll never have to worry about a great white shark. But if you’ve never been born again through saving faith in Christ, you had better worry about the Great White Throne. It is from there that God will throw unbelievers into the lake of fire.

LONGsuffering in Marriage

March 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 10 Comments
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And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:3-4 (emphasis added)

Christian love in marriage must be a love that suffers long. Suffering means:

1. Taking offense with a resolve to absorb it without getting even for it.
2. Taking offense without it affecting your own inward peace.

Suffering includes:

1. Inward self-control
2. Outward testimony of peace within the marriage union

I Corinthians 13:4 not only says that true Christian love suffers – it says that it suffers long. Suffering long means:

1. Putting up with deep and frequent offenses
2. Putting up with offenses for a long time without defending ourselves

Longsuffering demonstrates God’s love to the world.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Exodus 34:6

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Romans 2:4

Forbearance and longsuffering are extremely hard for fallen sinners to practice, because the “common sense” view is that forbearance and longsuffering only lead to more offenses. But, according to the Bible, when God is at work, forbearance and longsuffering actually lead to repentance – a change for the better!

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1:16

Christian marriage should show a pattern of God’s love toward the world.

Longsuffering produces gratitude, reminding us how much God puts up with from us. It also reminds us to be humble.

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Ephesians 4:2

Furthermore, it helps us to see God’s hand in trials and circumstances.

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

II Samuel 16:5-13

We don’t like suffering, much less longsuffering, but longsuffering is a Godly habit. It is vital (paradoxical, but vital) to get into the true depths and richness of marital love.

The Hard Work of Encouragement

May 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical farming, Hebrews | 9 Comments
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Hebrews Chapter 6 is a good reminder to Christians to “grow up.” It’s natural to start off life as a child, and it’s natural for new believers to start off their Christian life as spiritual children. But there should come a point in time when every believer begins to mature. And, even beyond that, there should come a time when mature believers are actually aiding immature believers in the growth process.

Proper growth comes about from:

1. Feeding (on the Word of God)
2. Exercise (getting involved in Christian ministry or service)
3. Instruction (heeding warnings to stay away from what is dangerous)

I believe God is pleased when we show love and encouragement to new believers. First of all, it is the right thing to do. Second, it stimulates growth.

In order to encourage others to grow, we need to make sure we’re growing ourselves.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Romans 2:21

If the people you are ministering to start to outgrow you spiritually, that is not the ideal situation. One solution for this is staying grounded in the Word of God. When you encourage someone, encourage them from the Word. Experiences can be good, but the standard by which we judge our experiences is the Bible. Study your Bible.

When you minister to immature believers it is also important to find out where their interests lie. If possible, find out what’s going on at their homes. This is especially true with children.

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Proverbs 20:11-12

God gave us eyes and ears not just to entertain ourselves, but so we can observe who needs to be encouraged, and then do it.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

Proverbs 24:30

The “slothful” is like a farmer who is too lazy to work the field God has given him. He is purposely ignorant, willfully ignoring the vineyard.

And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

Proverbs 24:31

The vines are not growing like they are supposed to because of all the useless weeds that have come up and stolen the nutrients that should be causing good fruit to grow. The wall around the vineyard is no longer in a condition to stop wild animals or vandals from coming in and destroying the crop.

Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

Proverbs 24:32-33

The farmer says that he will get around to it after he’s a little more rested – after his schedule clears up.

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 24:34

The lazy farmer will be robbed of his opportunity.

If you have been a Christian for a while, God has put you in a position to encourage someone. You have an opportunity to build someone up – to keep the fences of protection mended, to stimulate growth in someone, to feed someone, to pull out the weeds and thorns, to get in on the job of raising up mature Christians.

We’re not going to be able to do that if we don’t encourage them. And we won’t be able to do it by just checking in with them for one hour on Sundays. We’re going to have to call, to send cards, to invite them to activities, to visit them when they’re sick. Immature Christians tend to, for good or ill, base what they think about the Lord on what they think about other Christians. If I’m always late for church, I’m sending a message to someone that church is just not all that important to me. If I don’t know some basic truths from the Bible, I’m sending a message that preparing to live out God’s Word is not that important to me. If I only speak to my Christian friends on Sunday morning at church, I’m sending the message that I am only pretending to care about them.

Let’s strive to encourage other Christians, especially new ones.

Six Thoughts which Remind Us that We Cannot Achieve Righteousness on Our Own

September 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Romans | 9 Comments
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R.espect: With God there is no respect of persons. (Romans 2:11)

O.utward appearance: We think we will be judged on our outward appearance. (Romans 2:28)

M.en: We seek the praise of men, rather than the praise of God. (Romans 2:29)

A.ccuse: We accuse each other of things we do ourselves. (Romans 2:1; 16)

N.onsense: When our actions don’t match our words, we preach and teach nonsense. (Psalm 149:1; Romans 2:21-22)

S.ecrets: We think we can keep secrets from God. (Romans 2:16)

In Romans Chapter One the Holy Spirit had Paul introduce himself to his readers, and had him show his care and concern for them. When the preaching part of the epistle begins he takes the gentiles as his subject.

Chapter 2 starts off with the verdict that someone is guilty: “thou art inexcusable, O man” (Romans 2:1). Jews and gentiles are both guilty before God, but the Jews had been very specific in knowing God’s laws and judging others for breaking them.

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

Romans 2:17

The Holy Spirit does a great job of laying out the facts, using rhetorical devices, asking questions before they are raised by His opponents, and proving His case.

The Holy Spirit proves in Romans 2 that we can not achieve righteousness on our own.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Romans 2:1

Cain asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God might ask us today, “Are you your brother’s – or sister’s – accuser?” Satan is the foremost accuser of your brethren.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Revelation 12:10

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Romans 2:13-15

The Jews were not more righteous than the Gentiles just because of their lineage. This would have been a shocking statement to the Jews. We won’t be judged on what our ethnicity or nationality or heritage is, and we won’t be judged on what it looked like we were doing. We need to be careful of appearing to be something we are not.

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

Psalm 149:1

The vocal expression of many modern church congregants during an enthusiastic time of worshiping in song might be, “I worship You with all my might. You are my everything. All I want is You…” While the reality is, “All I want is You… right after hunting and fishing and football, and making sure my yard work is done… maybe a nap, a snack, and a cold drink… then all I want is You.” The “new song” is referring to worshiping God intelligently, and it is pointing to the new person – the new man, the new woman you are – when old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

Romans 2:21-22

For the Jews circumcision was of the utmost importance, but outward appearance will not serve as righteousness.

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:28

Circumcision of the heart – of the spirit – comes when we seek the praise of God (not God praising us, but seeking to cause others to give God praise.)

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Romans 2:29

Circumcision involves a sharp cutting instrument. If we are to have our heart circumcised (spiritually), we’re going to need something sharper than a scalpel. The Word of God is sharper than any scalpel. “Circumcision” comes from two words. The second part (“cision”), obviously, means “to cut.” “Circum” means “around.” “Circumspect,” means to “look around,” to make sure everything’s okay, or nobody is looking, before we do something. We should bind the Word of God around our hearts the way that Old Testament Jewish leaders sometimes bound actual passages of Scripture around their necks.

Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Proverbs 6:21

We should bind Romans Chapter 2 around our hearts and remember that there we are guilty before God, and that we can’t use our heritage, our religious rituals, how we look, or anything outward, to achieve righteousness before God.

Making the Argument of Grace through Faith

September 13, 2010 at 11:47 am | Posted in Romans | 5 Comments
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Romans Chapter 2 tells us that we are guilty before God, and that we can’t use our heritage, our religious rituals, or the outward evidence of our behavior to achieve righteousness before God. Chapter 3 starts off by countering the arguments that could come up after the Holy Spirit has already proven that everyone, including the Jewish people, are guilty before God.

The first argument is, “What good is it even being Jewish, then?”

It turns out that, according to God, there are many advantages to being Jewish. God gave His Law to the Jewish people and made a Covenant with them and gave special blessings to them, not the least of which is that the Messiah would come through their heritage.

Some people were already making another argument against the doctrine that the Holy Spirit was teaching through Paul, saying, “Look, if God’s Law was given to point out that it could not be kept, then why should we even do good? Let us do more evil, to bring about more good.” But the Holy Spirit through Paul says God is righteous. He is not slack concerning His promise. He requires faithfulness, because He is faithful. He can judge our unrighteousness, because He is righteous. How do the just live? Or by what do they live? By faith!

Chapter 4 uses the specific example of Abraham, the ancestral father of the Jewish people, to show how Jewish people in the Old Testament times were justified by faith, before the Law, and before circumcision.

Tips for Teachers

August 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, II Corinthians | 6 Comments
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Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

II Corinthians 3:1-3

Christian teachers are to strive for excellence – to be the very best teachers we can be – not necessarily the best there are – but the best we can be. We may not have the most expensive materials or the fanciest facilities. Our students may not have read the lesson. In fact, they are more likely to read the teacher than the lesson. So we must make sure we are good “letters.”

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

“Fervent” is more than “not slothful.” We are to prepare our lessons while being mindful that we are serving the Lord. Don’t prepare just for the students – do it for the Lord.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Colossians 3:23

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Planning ahead of time makes for smooth-sailing on the day of the lesson. Take some time thinking about and planning your routine.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

I Corinthians 4:2

As a teacher, be reliable. This is more than not missing the teaching time. It includes being trustworthy as a person. We want our students to grow in number, in knowledge, in maturity, and in fellowship and closeness.

For the body is not one member, but many.

I Corinthians 12:14

The Body of Christ is alive. A living body is an organism, but a disorganized organism will die. Therefore, teachers need to work together with each other and with those in other ministry positions. We need to work together and meet together. Not only are we valuable to each other, but we are valuable to the Lord.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:31

Right after Jesus proclaimed His authority He proceeded to allocate His authority to His disciples. But their enthusiasm must have been somewhat dampened when He told them what this authority meant, and how they were to use it. Our “value” lies in our willingness to serve. God doesn’t “need” me in the sense that He needs my permission to accomplish His will. Teachers have a target on them. We may only influence our students for an hour a week. They may be “taught” by someone else all the rest of the week. That’s going to lead to conflict once in a while between us and their “other teachers.” Just like some parts of the body protect other parts, we need to be loyal to each other. One of the reasons we value each other so much is because we know the Lord values us, and we are under His protection.

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6:10

It’s natural to start off life as a child, and it’s natural for a new believer to start off as a child. But teachers, like good parents, not only love their students, but want to see them grow up, too. Proper growth comes about from feeding (the Word), exercise (getting them involved in service), and instruction (the teaching itself.) To encourage others to grow, we need to make sure we’re growing ourselves.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Romans 2:21

If students outgrow teachers, teachers are going to have trouble teaching them.

Is it Wrong To Ask for an Overt Response? (Part 2)

July 26, 2010 at 9:09 am | Posted in Bible Studies, II Corinthians | 5 Comments
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In a backlash against what is perceived as the “manipulative altar call,” I have heard it said that, “The old preachers used to instruct their listeners to go home and get right with God.”

Maybe so. But before the old preachers did that, the even older preachers demanded an overt response by commanding men to repent and be converted.

In Luke 13 Jesus responds to the questions of the Theodicians by telling them to repent, or else they will perish. Maybe He told them to go home first, before they got right with God, but the Bible doesn’t say that. In fact, later in the same Chapter He says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.

If people are being told that a formulaic prayer is the thing that saves them, then I would say that formulaic praying that makes the prayer itself the object of faith is unbiblical. However, demanding an overt response from the hearers of the Word of God (even lost hearers) is clearly Biblical.

Stating that leading lost sinners in prayer, or calling hearers to an altar for prayer or counseling, somehow means that God is too weak to save during these events is unbiblical. Folks who were regenerated by God as they said a “sinner’s prayer” are God’s Own children, redeemed by Him, predestinated from the foundation of the world unto salvation, elect, secure, and irrevocably bound for Heaven.

Try to catch the Biblical view of God’s sovereignty and power.

For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

II Corinthians 8:3-5

God is powerful enough to make men speak of “their” power and them being “willing of themselves” while it is still “by the will of God.” If you can acknowledge that men respond, then you are just a short step away from admitting that God wants men to call other men to respond actively and overtly.

Men are totally depraved and without hope, apart from Christ. Regenerated saints are called to preach the Gospel to these depraved sinners. When God opens the eyes of lost sinners, and shows them their sinful condition, the regenerated believers are to try, in the power of God’s Spirit, to bring these lost folks to Jesus. That’s what Andrew did. We don’t know if he ever preached a sermon or taught a lesson, but we know he brought people to Jesus. Why did the people go with Andrew when he said, “Come with me to meet Jesus?” Why did they “respond?” Because God ordained it and because God made them want to come. You can call it “monergism” or “synergism” or whatever – I don’t care – neither of those words are in my Bible. Andrew bringing people to Jesus, the Apostles demanding a response, people responding, and God saying it is all of Him – those are all in my Bible.

According to the Bible God saves people in His Own power, and He is the One Who keeps them saved, and His Own power empowers them for service. The same principle is at work both in God calling lost sinners to repentance and in God calling His saints to service. I chose II Corinthians 8:3-5 because of the close proximity between God’s will and men “giving of themselves” to the Lord in the same passage of Scripture. I could give plenty of examples of this in the Bible. I believe these Verses are talking about true Christians, not lost unregenerate people, but it’s the same principle, the same God, the same power. I hear people say, “Lost people can’t give themselves to God,” and it’s true – unless God calls them to do it (and He does.) But by the same token, saved people can’t give themselves (or anything else) to God without God’s power, either. God’s will is for people to respond. God calls whom He will to respond. He calls us to call people to respond. And some of them do respond. You can’t get more overt than that. These folks in II Corinthians 8 weren’t just raising their hand or praying a prayer – they were giving money! (Or at least material possessions.)

“How do we get a dead sinner to respond actively and overtly to the Gospel?” is the wrong question. We don’t “get” them to. We command them to – we tell them to – we even “beseech” (Bible word) them to.

We are commanded by God to deliver the Good News with reverence and passion, and the people who hear it from us, spiritually dead though they may be, are responsible for responding.

We are to demand that lost sinners repent, believe the Gospel, and be converted “right there on the spot.” If they walk away, we are to keep praying. (I would argue it’s okay if we even chase after them – certainly Paul covered the same ground more than once in his missionary journeys.) But if God has quickened them, and they say, “I want to know more about this repentance, this belief, this conversion” then we can either say, “Sorry, God will have to do a work in you, I’ve preached and now I’m packing up my box of ‘death to the sinner’s prayer’ and ‘death to the altar call’ quotes and leaving.” Or we can say, “Good, I would be glad to show you from God’s Word more about the salvation of God, and, by God’s Spirit, I will even (gasp!), help you in prayer to call upon the Lord to be merciful and to regenerate you.” One time, the Apostles demanded a response to the Gospel “right there on the spot” and about 3000 souls were saved in that same one day.

Concerning the 3000 who were saved in Acts 2:41, whose Word did they receive? Was it the Apostles’ or God’s?

It was both.

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Romans 2:16

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Romans 16:25

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

II Timothy 2:8

God is amazing enough to cause men to be stewards of His Word, and to even inspire men to call it their own.

Were the folks in Acts 2:41 saved because the Apostles demanded them to do so?

Yes, it was “because” the Apostles demanded a response, and it was because God ordained it. Not only that, He proclaimed it in the Old Testament, and He decreed it from the foundation of the world. Every one of us has a very finite view of cause and effect because we’re not God. God has an infinite view of cause and effect. This is the Truth as God explains it in the Bible, not the way it is popularly explained in the words of men when they rail against “sinner’s prayers” and “altar calls” and “decisionism.”

God has commissioned His church to preach the Gospel and press hard for a response. Death to canned prayers? Amen! Death to sinners praying that God would be merciful to them? Not amen. The Bible condones sinners praying that God would be merciful to them. Death to calling for an overt response to the preaching of the Gospel? Not amen. Jesus and the Apostles called for an overt response to the preaching of the Gospel.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Luke 16:16

They responded and they acted. If God approves of sinners “pressing,” He surely approves of them praying as they press.

Professing Atheists Are Disturbed by the Truth

February 6, 2009 at 9:47 am | Posted in ProfessingAtheists | 2 Comments
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Christian: Those who deny the existence of God are only trying to convince themselves of what they cannot really believe. Even in specifics related to the effect of God’s wrath on the world’s geological history, the Bible tells us that people try to be “willingly ignorant” (II Peter 3:5).

Professing Atheist: Do not bring Geological History into this. You are not educated in Geology.

Christian: Professing atheists willingly reject what they know to be true. They try to hide it, but subconsciously they give themselves away, and it’s fairly easy to spot. They intentionally try to belittle the name of God by using the lower-case “g,” then they accidentally reveal what they are trying to worship in God’s place by capitalizing categories of academic study (i.e. Geology; Geological History).

Professing Atheist: This is sickening. You are deeply and disturbingly brainwashed.

Christian: They get exasperated and use petty insults and denials, even though they, of their own free will, frequent sites where God’s Word is proclaimed. They often feel sickened because their consciences have become dull, but not yet completely seared (Romans 2:15; I Timothy 4:2). They are easily disturbed. They tell themselves they are disturbed by other people, but they are really disturbed by the Truth. Drawing near to God does not result in being brainwashed. It leads, instead, to being heart-washed (Hebrews 10:22).

Professing Atheist: Wow! This is a new tactic to me! You not only tell people what they SHOULD think, you actually tell them what DO think!?

Christian: The Truth is not a tactic. He is a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 8:32).


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