Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are there really two different Gospels?

In light of the recent proclamation by the SBC that the 'sinner's prayer' is a means of saving sinners, I call on all followers of Christ to consider what is taking place here; a very subtle move by the enemy to infiltrate Christ's church and widen the broad road.  This new proclamation drawn up by the SBC  concerning soteriology holds to a traditional view as opposed to a calvinistic lies the problem. Why not go into the word of God and let it be your guide? Drop the labels and stick with sola scriptura.

As I pointed out in another post  ,  the SBC  claims we have 'free will' to choose, they also confirm we need only pray a prayer to be saved. There are some, such as Tom Ascol of founders who insist we must maintain unity with the SBC because they are our brothers.  I disagree, if someone is teaching 'another gospel' they are accursed.  From Galatians chapter 1, "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;  which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! " It seems we have forgotten what the Gospel is...Christ crucified. We have become more concerned with attaining 'results' and have forgotten to leave the results where they belong; in God's sovereign hands.

The Apostle Paul was amazed that the Galatians were deserting 'Him who called you by the grace of Christ', right here we see who calls, God. How does He call? By grace; so where does that leave those who insist on free will? It leaves them with adhering to a 'different gospel'. John Gill describes this gospel in his commentary, 'different from that, and very unlike to what had been preached to them, and they had received; which had nothing of the grace of Christ, of the doctrines and blessings of grace that had, by which they were called; very different from the Gospel of Christ, and his apostles, insomuch that it did not deserve the name of a Gospel; and the apostle calls it so, not that he thought it to be one, but because it was in the opinion of others, and was so styled by the false apostles; wherefore, by way of concession, he so calls it, though he immediately corrects it.'
If anyone preaches a Gospel that is not all of grace, they are presenting a 'different gospel' which is an accursed gospel. This is the gospel the SBC is presenting, and it is an accursed one.  What does the Apostle say of such a man? 'He is to be accursed'; that doesn't mean we embrace them with love for the sake of unity. Again, John Gill explains what 'accursed' means,  "anathema"; {see 1Co_16:22} which may respect his excommunication out of the church, and his sentence of condemnation by Christ at the last day; and the sense be this, let him be ejected from the ministry of the word, degraded from his office, and cast out of the church; let him be no more a minister, nor a member of it; and let him be abhorred of men, and accursed of Christ; let him hear the awful sentence, "go ye accursed", &c.
This is how serious it is to distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one who does so must be ex-communicated, shunned, rejected and ejected from ministering God's word. Yet, in our day, we find folks claiming we must embrace the free will theology and man-centered methods tagged on to gospel presentations.

Sinners are born dead in sin, in bondage to sin and unable to free themselves {John 8:34}. How dare anyone tell those in bondage to sin all they have to do is choose Christ or repeat a prayer! That's like telling a prisoner on death row they can avoid the gas chamber by simply walking out of their locked cell.
There is no part of man that isn't corrupted by sin, and that includes his will.  I posted on the definition of free will by Jonathan Edwards  here. The will is as corrupt as the nature of man, sin has tainted every part of humanity.
Another great piece entitled 'human inability'  by C. H. Spurgeon can be read here.  Here is a 'taste of Spurgeon', "Permit me to show you wherein this inability of man really does lie. It lies deep in his nature. Through the fall, and through our own sin, the nature of man has become so debased, and depraved, and corrupt, that it is impossible for him to come to Christ without the assistance of God the Holy Spirit. Now, the reason why man cannot come to Christ, is not because he cannot come, so far as his body or his mere power of mind is concerned, but because his nature is so corrupt that he has neither the will nor the power to come to Christ unless drawn by the Spirit. Coming to Christ is so obnoxious to human nature that, although, so far as physical and mental forces are concerned, (and these have but a very narrow sphere in salvation) men could come if they would: it is strictly correct to say that they cannot and will not unless the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them. First, it lies in the obstinacy of the human will. "Oh!" saith the Arminian, "men may be saved if they will." We reply, "My dear sir, we all believe that; but it is just the if they will that is the difficulty. We assert that no man will come to Christ unless he be drawn; nay, we do not assert it, but Christ himself declares it—"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life;' and as long as that "ye will not come' stands on record in Holy Scripture, we shall not be brought to believe in any doctrine of the freedom of the human will." It is strange how people, when talking about free-will, talk of things which they do not at all understand. "Now," says one, "I believe men can be saved if they will." My dear sir, that is not the question at all. The question is, are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ. You reply, that men sometimes are willing, without the help of the Holy Spirit. I answer—Did you ever meet with any person who was? Scores and hundreds, nay, thousands of Christians have I conversed with, of different opinions, young and old, but it has never been my lot to meet with one who could affirm that he came to Christ of himself, without being drawn. The universal confession of all true believers is this—"I know that unless Jesus Christ had sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God, I would to this very hour have been wandering far from him, at a distance from him, and loving that distance well." With common consent, all believers affirm the truth, that men will not come to Christ till the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them."
If God's word is true, and no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him {John 6:44}, then how is it possible for man to forgo this drawing and instead insist they have the ability to choose Christ? This is not Calvin's doctrine, this is God's doctrine. Christ says we cannot come to Him apart from the Father drawing us {John 6:44}; Christ said we are in bondage to sin {John 8:34}; Christ said we are born sinners {Psalm 51:5}; Christ said He chooses who follows Him {John 15:16}; God the Father chose us from the beginning for salvation {2 Thess. 2:13}; God quickens sinners who are dead in sin {Eph. 2:1,5}granting them repentance {2 Timothy 2:25} and gifting them with faith to believe and salvation {Eph. 2:8-9}....all of salvation is of God, according to His grace. Where in all this biblical truth do we find even a hint of man's ability to help God bring him to salvation? It simply is not there. Salvation is all of grace with man playing no part in it.  To proclaim otherwise is to preach a 'different gospel', all who do so are accursed, according to the word of the Lord.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hearing but not doing

Many profess to be a Christian but they live in willful disobedience to God's word, this is nothing new.  In Ezekiel's day,  people were just as many are today, hearing but not doing, "They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. " - Ezekiel 33:31-32

 Many hear the word of the Lord, they seem to be eager to listen, but their actions prove what they heard never penetrated the ear. They speak  'lustful desires', or speak favorably of what they have heard, but their heart goes after gain. They prove by their actions what they heard never sank in, they are not true to the God they profess to believe.  John Gill describes what it means to 'go after gain', "after the world, and the things of it; after their secular affairs, so that they wished the sermon over, that they might be at them; or, however, did not so diligently attend to what was said, but the cares of the world choked the word, and made it unfruitful to them; these were like the seed that fell among thorns, the thorny ground hearers."
The prophet Ezekiel was delivering a message to the people, but they couldn't get past his 'style of delivery',  'behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument'.  Of this verse Matthew Henry says "Ezekiel's matter was surprising, his language fine, his expressions elegant, his similitudes apt, his voice melodious, and his delivery graceful; so that they could sit with as much pleasure to hear him preach as (if I may speak in the language of our times) to see a play or an opera, or to hear a concert of music. Ezekiel was to them as one that had a pleasant voice and could sing well, or play well on an instrument. Note, Men may have their fancies pleased by the word, and yet not have their consciences touched nor their hearts changed, the itching ear gratified and yet not the corrupt nature sanctified."

They have heard God's word, but they do not practice what they've heard.   James warns us in James 1:22-25 of this very thing, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.   For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;   for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does." Once again, I turn to Matthew Henry for his excellent commentary, "Observe here, (1.) Hearing is in order to doing; the most attentive and the most frequent hearing of the word of God will not avail us, unless we be also doers of it. If we were to hear a sermon every day of the week, and an angel from heaven were the preacher, yet, if we rested in bare hearing, it would never bring us to heaven. Therefore the apostle insists much upon it (and, without doubt, it is indispensably necessary) that we practice what we hear. “There must be inward practice by meditation, and outward practice in true obedience.” Baxter. It is not enough to remember what we hear, and to be able to repeat it, and to give testimony to it, and commend it, and write it, and preserve what we have written; that which all this is in order to, and which crowns the rest, is that we be doers of the word. Observe, (2.) Bare hearers are self-deceivers; the original word, paralogizomenoi, signifies men's arguing sophistically to themselves; their reasoning is manifestly deceitful and false when they would make one part of their work discharge them from the obligation they lie under to another, or persuade themselves that filling their heads with notions is sufficient, though their hearts be empty of good affections and resolutions, and their lives fruitless of good works. Self-deceit will be found the worst deceit at last."

Now, let's look at the 'man in the mirror', according to Matthew Henry, "The use we are to make of God's word may be learnt from its being compared to a glass, in which a man may behold his natural face. As a looking-glass shows us the spots and defilements upon our faces, that they may be remedied and washed off, so the word of God shows us our sins, that we may repent of them and get them pardoned; it shows us what is amiss, that it may be amended. There are glasses that will flatter people; but that which is truly the word of God is no flattering glass. If you flatter yourselves, it is your own fault; the truth, as it is in Jesus, flatters no man. Let the word of truth be carefully attended to, and it will set before you the corruption of your nature, the disorders of your hearts and lives; it will tell you plainly what you are.If the word of God does not cause you to look at your life in light of His truth and do something about what that truth brings to the surface, you are merely a 'hearer' and on your way to hell. This is why a mere verbal profession is worthless, you must be walking in obedience to what Christ says.  There must be a desire for holiness and Christ-likeness, a pursuing of purity. How will you know what it means to walk worthy if you do not read the word of the Lord and do what it says? Head knowledge will not save you, and a heart that has been truly regenerated by God will indeed desire holiness, purity, and  Christ-likeness. This is why those who profess Christ with their mouths but their hearts are far from Him are deceived, they are not bound for eternal life, they are destined for wrath. Constant willful disobedience proves the heart has not been regenerated by God; even true believers fall into complacency. The difference is God will not let His people stay in a state of indifference; He will chastise, rebuke, and send affliction if necessary to awaken His people; but it is done in love. If He didn't love us, He would leave us be, and that is very frightening. If you profess Christ and yet continue on in sin day in and day out, and God has not dealt with you, then you need to be very fearful.  The word of the Lord should not tickle your ear, it should prick your heart and spur you to cry out as needed. Only God can cause the ear to hear, only He can plow the hardened ground up to receive the precious seed. May He be gracious and merciful...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The SBC changes the way sinners are saved

In this recent article from the Christian Post, we find that Southern Baptists have taken it upon themselves to re-write the Bible and the way sinners are saved.

From the article...

"Among delegates who argued in support of the sinner's prayer was Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. He said he believes that every one of the 256 kids who were individually counseled and led in the prayer at Vacation Bible School over the past few weeks has been saved.
"Many of them were not ready and we said you're not ready. I don't believe you try to pick unripened fruit," Gaines told SBC Talk following the resolution vote. "But I am telling you that there is a particular, puncticular moment that you cross over from being lost and you're saved."
He added, "I believe what we're dealing with is the whole idea of how you get saved: It's soteriology. I believe the biblical pattern is you hear the Gospel, you repent of your sins, you believe in the Lord Jesus and you call upon his name and at that split-second, that nano-second you're saved and forevermore you belong to Jesus."

First of all, I call them to task on the 'counseling and leading in prayer' that took place. As a former member of the SBC, I have been involved in their 'VBS' program, it is a joke. They sing cutesy little songs, have activities and practice movements to coincide with those cutesy little songs. There is NO mention of them being sinners, no clear presentation of why it is they need saved in the first place.  Where do we find in the Bible we must 'lead' a sinner in prayer? Where do we find this seals their eternal destiny? Is this not preaching a work? You bet it is!!  This all reeks of coercion. Who are they to say who 'is ready' and 'isn't ready'? How do they know this and what do they base  readiness on?

I ask, how is one able to 'hear' the Gospel, how is one able to repent and call upon His name? If verbal professions were all that was necessary, then why doesn't everybody make a verbal profession? Who causes the ear to hear and respond? Why do some respond to the Gospel call and others remain unchanged? 

Here is what the Southern Baptists do not get...'ye must be born again'. This is NOT something that can be attained by repeating prayers, or coercing others to make verbal confessions. The doctrine of regeneration isn't popular within any denomination, which is probably why you hear little mention of it, other than a quick 'passing by' type of statement. For example, there was a young man at my house a few nights ago, a friend of my son. He attends a large Baptist church in Maryville Il. I know this church believes in the sinner's prayer as a means of salvation because I have visited their website. I asked this young man if he'd been taught the doctrine of regeneration, he looked at me like I was from another planet.  Even when I broke it down into simpler terms, 'ye must be born again', he still did not get it. Oh how the Lord must be grieved and angered over man's futile attempts to tweek the Gospel and lead sinners down the broad way. Does this organization not understand the severity of tampering with the word of the Lord? You cannot repent, you cannot have faith, you cannot even profess Christ rightly UNLESS GOD HAS DONE A SUPERNATURAL WORK WITHIN THE HEART OF THE SINNER.....PERIOD!!! You can repeat prayers 'til you're blue in the face and make a million trips to the altar, but if God has not changed you from the inside out, all your efforts are in vain.

Who changes a dead in sin sinner, how are we saved?  Let's start by going back to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 36...
 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. "
This is the picture of the new birth, to see who is responsible for this, just look at these two verses, who gives us a new heart, a new spirit and puts His Spirit within us? "I" will, the "I" here referring to Almighty God.
Who brings us to repentance?  From 2 Timothy 2:25, " with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth."

How are we saved and able to have faith to believe?  From  Ephesians 2:8-9, " For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Now I ask the SBC this, what part of the aforementioned verses do you not get? Yes, you can cherry-pick verses like Romans 10:9-10 {known as 'the Roman Road} and proclaim this is the 'way sinners are saved', which is exactly what they are doing. However, you cannot produce results or guarantee a sinner saved by a mere verbal profession. Did you get that SBC?  You are NOT preaching the 'whole counsel' when you take two verses out of the entire Bible and claim this is the way to lead sinners to eternal life.
It seems the SBC has fallen victim to Satan's trickery, using man-made methods to proclaim sinners saved. Is this any different than the RCC? No, it's just a different 'method'. Do not be surprised to see the SBC and the RCC teaming up to 'bring sinners to salvation' in the very near future.

"These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.
" - Rev. 17:13

"Even so, come Lord Jesus!"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What affect does homosexual parenting have on kids and is it safe for kids to be in their care?

I have heard the argument that children raised by homosexuals turn out just as 'normal' as those raised by heterosexual couples. According to this study, there is no truth to that. Here is a snippet...

Children of lesbian mothers:
  • Are more likely to be currently cohabiting
  • Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
  • Are less likely to be currently employed full-time
  • Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed

This is not shocking to me because God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman; when we stray from this we can expect devastating results.  The sad part is it's the kids who pay as homosexuals insist they have a right to marry and be parents. Obviously, they are deluded. If they were meant to marry, they would be able to procreate.  Homosexuals, in their selfishness, destroy society as well as the children they insist they have a right to raise.  This train wreck will derail society as it embraces their 'civil right' to marry and be happy. There is no happiness in homosexual relationships, there is much jealousy, addiction, violence, and instability. This is not the kind of environment children need to be brought up in. Yes, you will find this in many heterosexual marriages as well; if Christ is not the head of your marriage, you are destined for trouble.

I encourage you to read the entire study on this find here...

I also encourage you to ask yourself this, would you trust a homosexual around children? What most don't understand is that those who practice this perverse sexual sin have depraved minds. The bible defines such a mind like this ' unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate' {from Thayer's Greek Definitions}. Strong's defines it as 'unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication worthless (literally or morally): - castaway, rejected, reprobate.'  This is where a homosexual's actions come from, a mind that is worthless; John Gill comments on such a mind ' a vain empty mind, worthless, good for nothing devoid of all true knowledge and judgment; incapable of approving what is truly good, or of disapproving that which is evil; a mind that has lost all conscience of things, and is disapproved of by God, and all good men'.  Simply put, it is a mind that is dysfunctional, sick, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and has no moral compass. Why would anybody say it's okay for children to be in the same room with such a perverse mind? Here is a link to a story concerning a gay rights advocate who was arrested over child porn.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Can you be born again and not be changed?

I have recently had an exchange with a woman on my Whitney Houston post concerning the life Whitney led. This woman defends Whitney with little to no biblical input, so I asked her if she understood the doctrine of regeneration. She apparently does not, and I blame the pastors in this country and others who fail to teach the whole counsel. Whitney Houston spent 3 decades in bondage to the sin of addiction, I am sure she had other sin in her life as well, but this one was well known because of her fame. Can you be a follower of Christ and spend 3 decades in bondage to sin? Not according to the word of God.

In John's Gospel, the Lord says all who sin are slaves to sin, here lies the biblical truth that we are all in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. Being sin's slave is defined by John Gill in this way, "But this is to be understood of such whose bias and bent of their minds are to sin; who give up themselves unto it, and sell themselves to work wickedness; who make sin their trade, business, and employment, and are properly workers of it, and take delight and pleasure in it: these, whatever liberty, they promise themselves, are the servants of corruption; they are under the government of sin, that has dominion over them; and they obey it in the lusts thereof, and are drudges and slaves unto it, and will have no other wages at last but death, even eternal death, if grace prevent not". So what does the word of God say about a person who obeys sin and is in bondage to it?  1 John 3:4  gives us the answer, "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. "  Dropping down to verse 6 we find "No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. "  Verse 8 makes this startling truthful statement "the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. " So those who habitually sin, who make a daily practice of the same besetting sins prove they are not a child of God, but that they are a child of Satan, regardless of what they may say.  It isn't a verbal profession that saves, it is a changed life, there will definitely be evidence God has re-birthed you by the way you think and live.

This is why it is essential to proclaim the doctrine of regeneration; you simply cannot be regenerated by the mighty power of God and not be changed by that. You will NOT continue in willful sin if God has re-birthed you...period.  Why will you not practice sin? 1John 3:8 tells us why " No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. "  'He cannot sin', again, I turn to John Gill for his commentary on this phrase, " does not make it his trade and business; it is not the constant course of his life; he does not live and walk in sin, or give up himself to it; he is not without the being of it in him, or free from acts of sin in his life and conversation, but he does not so commit it as to be the servant of it, a slave unto it, or to continue in it". 'His seed abides in him', meaning "  the grace of the Spirit, the internal principle of grace in the soul, the new nature, or new man formed in the soul, is meant; which seminally contains all grace in it, and which, like seed, springs up and gradually increases, and always abides; and is pure and incorruptible, and neither sins itself, nor encourages sin, but opposes, checks, and prevents it" - J. Gill. This is what the Lord meant when He said "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. " - John 8:36 To claim a habitual sinner is a child of God is to call Christ a liar, as well as to be in unbelief; denying the authority and truthfulness  of the word of God is sin.

I close this post out with excellent commentary from one of the greats from the past, Matthew Henry...
"He that abides in Christ, continues not in the practice of sin. Renouncing sin is the great proof of spiritual union with, continuance in, and saving knowledge of the Lord Christ. Beware of self-deceit. He that doeth righteousness is righteous, and to be a follower of Christ, shows an interest by faith in his obedience and sufferings. But a man cannot act like the devil, and at the same time be a disciple of Christ Jesus. Let us not serve or indulge what the Son of God came to destroy. To be born of God is to be inwardly renewed by the power of the Spirit of God. Renewing grace is an abiding principle. Religion is not an art, a matter of dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And the regenerate person cannot sin as he did before he was born of God, and as others do who are not born again. There is that light in his mind, which shows him the evil and malignity of sin. There is that bias upon his heart, which disposes him to loathe and hate sin. There is the spiritual principle that opposes sinful acts. And there is repentance for sin, if committed. It goes against him to sin with forethought. The children of God and the children of the devil have their distinct characters. The seed of the serpent are known by neglect of religion, and by their hating real Christians. He only is righteous before God, as a justified believer, who is taught and disposed to righteousness by the Holy Spirit. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. May all professors of the gospel lay these truths to heart, and try themselves by them."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Never Give Up

I sometimes think certain things in my prayer life go unanswered because they aren't important enough; even though I know this line of thinking is wrong.  Or I pray about something and think I shouldn't keep repeating my requests, after all, God knows what I am going to say even before I  have a thought.

I am currently reading 'The Parables of Jesus' by Dr. Boice; chapter 17 concerns prayer and is entitled 'on not giving up'. Dr. Boice explains the parables of our Lord from Luke 11:5-13 and 18:1-8. One example Dr. Boice gives of a man persistent in prayer is from the life of George Mueller, who was the founder of Christian orphanage work in England in the 19th century.  Dr. Boice states 'he {George Mueller} new the importance of keeping at a prayer even when the answer to it seemed delayed. When he was young he began to pray that two of his friends might be converted. He prayed for them every day for more than sixty years. One of the men was converted shortly before his death at what was probably the last service Mueller held, the other was converted a year within his death. We too need to pray and not give up, we need to be like George Mueller.'

Dr. Boice also gives us an example from the word of God, when our Lord prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.  Christ prayed the same prayer repeatedly over a space of several hours that the cup He was to drink might pass from Him. This was the event the writer of Hebrews spoke of in Heb. 5:7, 'during the days of Jesus' life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission'.

Our God does answer His timing according to His will. Patience and perseverance are necessary as we wait on the Lord. Our world is fast-paced, with answers to questions only a click away. We've grown accustomed to this pace and I admit it has somewhat affected me as I pray. This is why I need to get into my 'quiet time' with the Lord and close out the world; just me and Him alone as He listens with such attentiveness to every word I utter. Isn't it amazing that the God who is so mighty, sovereign, holy and powerful would even take the time to listen to my feeble attempt to bring my requests and petitions before such magnificent Deity?  There are times that I am so overwhelmed by His presence as I go before Him that I simply cannot put it into words.

I pray to never give up, as long as He gives me breath...

Monday, June 11, 2012

A life-long lesson

This world is filled with hateful, spiteful people; I once was just like this before the grace of God melted my sin-hardened heart and brought me to Himself.  My workplace has more than its share of vengeful and hateful people who rarely have a kind word to speak about anyone. I have felt their hatefulness firsthand; so when I read this from J. R. Miller at Grace Gems, it certainly hit home. To love your enemies and people who speak evil of you is something we must learn to do, it doesn't just happen and it doesn't come about by simply saying we love them. This type of love is learned through the work of the hand of the Almighty. Even though this world is growing more hateful, selfish, and wicked, we cannot forget the command to love one another.  That is only possible as we yield to the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, being submissive to His work in us. There is no other way to learn this love unless God puts the most unloving, despicable persons in our path; they may revile, mock, persecute and slander us and yet, we are to love them.

This is a gentle reminder of the life-long lesson of loving others...

"God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." 1 John 4:16

To learn how to love--is to learn how to live. The lesson is a long one--but it is the great business of life to master it. The Master not only taught the lesson in words--but also set it down for us in a life--His own life. To follow Christ is to practice this great lesson, learning more of it day by day--until school is out and we go home!

Christian love has to be
learned. There is natural affection which does not need to be learned--the love of parents for children, of children for parents, of friend for friend. But it is not natural to love our enemies, to love unlovable people, to be unselfish, to return kindness for unkindness. We have to learn this love--and it is the great business of life to do it.

"Dear friends, since God so loved us--we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:11

'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.'  Isaiah 53:7

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why I praise God I am no longer a member of a Southern Baptist Church

I spent the first seven years of my Christian life as a member of an SBC church. I witnessed numerous altar calls as 'Just as I am' played in the background {over and over and over!}. I saw sin alive and well within the church walls as well as a very shallow understanding of biblical Christianity. At that time, I was new to the faith so I did not understand what was taking place. As God grew me, I started questioning things like the VBS program and Lifeway; to no avail.  I found no solid fellowship within this church body with no one ever caring to discuss in depth the word of God. I did find they would open up to me when they wanted to spread gossip and slander others; the women of the church warmed up to this in a heartbeat. I never heard their testimonies, I realize now it's because they don't have one.  My former church now has about 7 members left who attend regularly, which is sad. I say all that to prove a point, the gospel of free will produces false converts.
Today I discovered at CRN an article that prompted me to write this post.  It seems the SBC has decided to reject the doctrines of grace, which is tragic. Since we are saved by grace, which is God's gift given to whom He chooses, what soteriology do they adhere to if not the doctrines of grace?
Let me share with you from their doctrine, article 8...
Article Eight: The Free Will of Man
We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.
We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

This enrages me because it is NOT biblical and will lead even more down the broad road. As I stated, I attended an SBC church and saw some of my family members  baptized, they are now walking contrary to the will of God. They bear no evidence they are born again; they are almost unreachable. This is the damning heresy of this unbiblical doctrine of 'free will'.  These people believe themselves saved because they made a decision or invited Jesus into their heart, or filled out a card,  were baptized, or whatever other man-made means one can come up with to lure the sinner to that altar and convince them they are saved. They do not need to hear the truth because they're already 'right with God'. They have it all taken care of and are going to heaven, all based on their free will act. What must be understood is that our will is just as corrupt as our thoughts, which are what prompt our free will.

As for their denying that faith is an act of God {actually it is a gift of God as Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches} and is a response of the person, I say 'accursed gospel'!!!  An insightful teaching on this from Jim McClarty can be viewed here.

Also, salvation is not based on two options, as the SBC claims. The Bible commands sinners to repent, this isn't a choice!! The Bible commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus; what sinner is going to forsake the sins that he/she loves and believe in a God they hate? We cling with white knuckles to sin; it takes the mighty supernatural power of God to break us over sin and bring us to the understanding of just how vile and wicked we are. The doctrine of total depravity is ESSENTIAL in the Gospel of Christ. If a sinner doesn't know how vile they are and that they have no hope apart from grace, how could they ever possibly make a wise choice in spiritual matters?
To tell sinners to pick Jesus is to rob God of all glory in salvation, it is to make a two-fold son of hell as the wide road is broadened to make room for  'free will' sinners.
The doctrines of grace are NOT a teaching from Calvin, they are found throughout Scripture as Calvin discovered and brought to light. They are the teachings of God Almighty, who is indeed sovereign and owes us nothing. He can choose some for life and leave the rest in their sins, for He will have mercy on whom He chooses. Why do we not get this? NO ONE deserves to be saved, for ALL have sinned and fall short. If God were to cast all into hell, would that mean He is unjust or that our free will put us there? If salvation were a choice, who in their right mind would choose to go to hell?!? There are tons of holes in this damning free will theology, BUT, it fills the pews.
There cannot be two ways to heaven, free will and total depravity cannot live together side by side. One is wrong, one is right. The one that is wrong wins out because it gives man the upper hand and lets him be in control of his destiny. That destiny will lead him straight into the mouth of hell; to reject God's grace and leave it up to 'self' is to still be in bondage to sin, the sin of pride. We who are truly born again by God's grace must not accept this, we can no longer sit back and be quiet or accept those who hold to this doctrine as 'brothers'.
Concerning God's grace, from article 4, they state, "We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation." Again, what do these folks do with Ephesians 2:8-9?  I do not consider those who believe this way as my brothers and sisters, this is no different than any other cult which uses man-made methods and works to get to heaven. May the Lord be praised for opening my understanding to His wonderful and blessed doctrines of grace. I know how utterly vile and helpless I am and I am so thankful for God's grace, which is made available only because the Lord Jesus Christ has been sacrificed. I have been reconciled, Christ died for me; chosen before the foundations of the world to receive eternal life, I have been redeemed and am one of God's chosen race, a royal priesthood... " But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. " 1 Peter 2:9

Here are just two verses that tell us who does the choosing...

  'But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.' - 2 Thessalonians 2:13

" You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. " -John 15:16

If Christ Himself tells us that He does the choosing, how can the SBC tell us we do? There is a great conflict here; I would NOT go against what the Lord Himself says, and neither should the SBC.