Doctrine of the Divine decree: Lapsarianism

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Grace Bible Church
Tree of Life
First was our Definition:
The decree of God is His eternal (always existed), holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain decisions), relations, and determining certain parts of their future.

The term decree of God appears in the singular, since God has but one all-inclusive plan. He sees all things at a glance. For convenience, the separate features of this plan may be called the decrees of God; but there should be no implication in this that the infinite understanding of God advances by steps. There is no possibility that the one plan, the decree, will be altered by omissions or additions. Nor is it true that God can have a particular purpose and have something go on in His universe that is unrelated. God sustains a distinct purpose concerning each aspect of His one intention.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (LUK 12:6-7)

The Cross brings everything into focus again and makes faith possible to bridge that gap between the infinite and the finite. With God there is one immutable decree embracing in itself every detail, even the falling of a sparrow. It is the divine cognition from all eternity.

God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time. So God did all of this in a moment in eternity past but it follows a system of steps that you and I are doing now. God’s decree is final but it is successive. We all live what God has already seen and the intrusion of His will in our lives was designed. God has done many things, past, and still yet future, that you will totally miss, but He does so out of love, faithfulness and grace. We have to make decisions all the time. There is never a time that we’re not deciding something. We allow God to take control over our lives when our constant decision making lines up with His will.

It’s not let go and let God. This means allow, under submission to His authority, the doctrine and the Holy Spirit to lead you to make the decisions you have to make from a position of strength. Operate as the Lord would operate, He submitted to the Father and yet He did much.

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1PE 1:20-21)

Just like it was for the humanity of Christ, it is a privilege for us, under our own free will, to accomplish what God has designed in eternity past. Don’t think that just because God has seen everything in a moment and that he knows the end from the beginning that He’s not happy and excited to see it all play out before His eyes.

God is Holy: Holy means perfect integrity, which is righteousness and justice in the same breath. Nothing God does is wrong or unfair. JER 17:7 says, Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord

And whose trust is the Lord. Any true relationship is based on trust. And that has to go both ways. You might not think that God trusts you. Why should He, you’re capable of such evil, we all are, but He does trust you. He’s seen our depravity and made provisions for it. He trusts us because He knows us and knows the end product. What is going to solidify this relationship is our trust of Him. Whenever we shout out, “this is wrong or unfair,” we have lost that faith in a Holy God. We’ve all done it, and we have all been guilty here. You say He’s real, but you just don’t trust Him for everything.

The divine decree is eternal in character. It cannot be altered or added to. It must play out as God has designed from start to finish. The divine decree is wise, being the product of infinite wisdom. There is a worthy reason for all that God has ever done or will do. Even His permission of evil will, like the wrath of man, be made to praise Him. PSA 76:10, “For the wrath of man shall praise Thee;

With a remnant of wrath Thou shalt gird Thyself.” In the wisdom of the divine decree the Lord will be the victor over all things (Psa 2).

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (ROM 11:33-36)

The decree of God is Sovereign. God freely designed the decree alone without any influence from any other being.

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, And informed Him of the way of understanding? (ISA 40:13-14)

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements, since you know? or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (JOB 38:4-7)

Aside from the fact that He must act according to His wisdom and holiness (righteousness and justice), He was free to do or not to do.

Within the sphere of His perfections, He could do what He would. It is blasphemous to assert that God could not have done otherwise than He has done. He is Sovereign therefore He certainly could have done something other than what we have. But it is comforting to know that He would not have done otherwise, since He will only devise a decree that is worthy of Himself. God selected you to be in that decree and elected you (believer) to His highest and best. To be selected for life is a privilege in itself. To be elected to honor, privilege and blessing as a believer is over the top gracious.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (EPH 2:10)

The divine decree is unconditional. God’s decree does not depend upon any condition of the creature or the conditions surrounding any creature – creature relations and interactions. No matter what the creature does, for or against the character of God, God’s decree will move on. Satan had an idea to throw a monkey wrench into the system by having angels mate with women. God’s plan went on. GEN 6:12 says, And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

And behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. (GEN 6:17-18)

Though this is the desire of God, it hasn’t been fulfilled because of the free will given to the creature. We must conclude that God made every circumstance around every creature the best possible environment for salvation and subsequent spiritual maturity. But some portion of the creation still chose to say no to God’s grace and invitation, and although they have done so this condition does not hinder or alter the decree of God. The decree of God is unconditional.

Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (EPH 1:11)

Not the creature’s will, but God’s will be done.

Point 2. The decree of God is His eternal (always existed), holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain decisions), relations, and determining their certain futurition.

As already stated the decree of God was simultaneously designed by Him, yet because of our own limitations we logically put His design in a logical order. This is the doctrine of lapsarianism.

Point 3: The order of the divine decrees (lapsarianism).

Of all the decrees, five of them are related to the purpose of God in election – the five elective decrees:

a. The decree to create.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. Unlimited atonement.
d. The decree to motivate through the deposit of escrow blessings.
e. The simultaneous decrees of election and predestination, and to apply salvation to those who believe in Christ.

Theologians, who have unfortunately had quite an influence on many Christians, have formulated other orders to lapsarianism. At first one thinks why study what is false? The false doesn’t prove the truth. God does not attempt to prove Himself. The Bible says In the beginning God, period! But the false brings out more of the beauty of the truth. God’s decree is a blinding bright light of brilliant beauty and the false concepts of man only make us appreciate it more.

Supralapsarianism. This is hyper-Calvinism.
a. The decree to elect some to be saved (a false position) and to reprobate all others. This is double predestination and heresy.
b. The decree to provide salvation for the elect, which is the basis for limited atonement.
c. The decree to create man, both elect and non-elect.
d. The decree to permit the fall.
e. The decree to save the elect.

This view elects a non-entity (elect who?). This view states that election as well as a “limited” atonement was provided before the fall.

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. ( 1TI 4:10)

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1JO 2:2)

This view makes God unfair by electing some creatures to the Lake of Fire, which attacks the character of God. This view provides man with a “sit on your hands” attitude. Either God elected you or not, there’s nothing you can do about it. Therefore God is not gracious, and you have no free will. While God planned in eternity past (EP) the fulfilment of the plan is in time. And certain things God has planned is dependent on the free will of His creatures in time.

The decree is not conditional, but the fulfilment of certain aspects, like election and receiving escrow blessings depended on what God foreknew in EP – your decisions. The hyper Calvanist would say that he believed in Christ because God elected him to and someone else rejected Christ because God elected him to that sentence. The hyper Calvanist would say that there is no foreknowledge of God, which is ridiculous. He sees the end from the beginning. You might ask, who would believe such a thing? So many people have believed this and naturally they’re the ones who have been elected. John Calvin did not understand the angelic conflict and therefore did not see that the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history. Calvin’s choice was to introduce a double predestination into his teaching after he had taught salvation by grace through faith.

His number one professor by the name of Beza ran with this idea and taught that election and double predestination preceded creation. This idea fits with a fallacy that’s been around since the ancient Greeks, the Hegalian fallacy that every thesis must have an antithesis. Good must have evil, creation must have chaos, light must have darkness, etc. In the Bible there are several of these combinations. If the antithesis is not stated then it doesn’t exist. If this dualism were always true then God would have always had an evil adversary as eternal as Himself, and this is not true. Much of the Greek pagan religion came out of this.

That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun. (ECC 1:9)

2. Infralapsarianism, A form of moderate Calvinism.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to provide salvation for all mankind (unlimited atonement).
d. The decree to elect some from among fallen mankind, and to leave others in their sin (those who will not believe in Christ).
e. The decree to save the elect through faith in Christ or to apply salvation to those who believe.

This is the Biblical view of the order of the decrees, but it does not take cognizance of EPH 1:3, the work of God the Father in EP depositing in escrow greater blessing for us. Therefore, it is necessary to show the five elective decrees in relationship to the escrow blessings. Escrow blessings are received when election (God’s highest and best) is fulfilled by the believer in time by growing up to maturity. Although election of every believer was performed in the mind of God in eternity past it depended upon the free will decision of each creature in time.

God in foreknowledge saw that you would believe in Christ and therefore elected you. Unbelievers are selected for existence but not elected because they have rejected Christ and His Cross. Therefore, with escrow blessings provided before election in the divine decree (EPH 1:3-4), we are persuaded to believe that election was done by God in EP, but its experiential fulfilment is realized by the believer in time and not in EP. As already stated, the first thing God ever did for you was the means of glorifying Him. God blessed you before He elected you. God provided all your escrow blessings in EP, but whether they remain on deposit forever, or you personally receive them, depends upon your decisions in time.

So then, correct lapsarianism reveals to us that we are not to sit on our hands because God has already done everything in eternity past, as a Calvinist might teach, but we have been pre-destined to fulfil our election to God’s highest and best in time. Election was done by God in eternity past (EP), but the potential to realize the fulfilment of your election occurs in time. There is much for us to accomplish. The fact that God has planned all the circumstances around us in EP and could have altered anything in EP but didn’t is to give us the comfort we need to press on in the fulfilment of our election while leaving the details to God.

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Tim 2:4)

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
(LUK 10:41-42)

It’s very important to understand that the Bible states that mankind is the object of grace after the fall, not before the fall. After the fall the coats of skins were provided, not before. Condemnation is not an act of God before creation! Condemnation came after both the creation and the fall. Both infralapsarianism and sublapsarianism, the two views of moderate Calvinism, recognize the doctrine of Election as an expression of the sovereignty of God in eternity past, the expression of God’s grace apart from every form of works, foreseen or actual.

6. Sublapsarianism, also a form of moderate Calvinism.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to elect those who believe in Christ, and to leave in just condemnation those who do not believe in Christ. (Note the difference with infralapsarianism.) This is sometimes stated: the decree to elect some out of fallen mankind and leave the others to their misery. But this last statement is questionable as to its accuracy.
d. The decree to provide salvation for the elect (limited atonement).
e. The decree to save the elect through faith in Christ, sometimes stated as the decree to apply salvation to those who believe in Christ. (This was the former view of Dallas Theological Seminary. Of course it goes astray with limited atonement, the part with which Dallas Seminary now disagrees).

7. Armenian Lapsarianism, represented by Richard Watson, their greatest theologian.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to provide unlimited atonement (but they don’t understand it correctly.)
d. salvation by foreseen human virtue + faith + obedience; hence the blasphemy of salvation by works.
e. Election as an act of God in time, which makes election synonymous with experiential sanctification, which is not correct because it ignores the portfolio of invisible assets. (“Be separate and touch not the unclean thing.”)

In mixing truth with error, this view is a distortion and therefore a heresy.

Though God designed the plan in eternity past, the Bible states that man is the object of grace after, not before, the fall in Jn 15:9, ROM 11:5-7; EPH 1:4-6; 1 Pe 1:2. This goes back to that part of our definition: God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (JOH 15:9)

In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; (ROM 11:5-7)

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
(EPH 1:4-6)

Who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. Many times in the history of war men have fought incredibly brave but have died because of terrible leadership that gives orders that violate the basic tactical principles of war. (1PE 1:1-2)

Tactical principles: objective, mass, manoeuvre, unity of command, security, simplicity, and economy of force. We call this the basic doctrine of tactical warfare. There are many military analogies used in the N.T., the reason for this is that we are in the intensified stage of the AC. The truth is we are at war. God the Father in eternity past created these tactical principles and executed them fully. Thank God, thank Him for superior leadership. The most valuable thing to God is you. The One who owns everything says that you are His most valuable possession.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows. (LUK 12:7)

The difference was leadership and strict abeyance to basic tactical principles. In eternity past God the Father took a leadership position and as the greatest leader ever decreed the only plan that was worthy of His Holiness.

Point 2 Definition:

1. The term decree of God appears first in the singular, since God has but one all-inclusive plan. He sees all things at a glance.
2. God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time.
3. God is Holy: Holy means perfect integrity, which is righteousness and justice in the same breath. Nothing God does is wrong or unfair.
4. The divine decree is eternal in character. It cannot be altered or added to. It must play out as God has designed from start to finish.
5. The divine decree is wise, being the product of infinite wisdom. There is a worthy reason for all that God has ever done or will do.
6. The decree of God is Sovereign. God freely designed the decree alone without any influence from any other being.
7. Lastly the divine decree is unconditional. God’s decree does not depend upon any condition of the creature or the conditions surrounding any creature – creature relations and interactions.

No matter what the creature does, for or against the character of God, God’s decree will move on. Satan had an idea to throw a monkey wrench into the system by having angels mate with women. God’s plan went on (GEN 6:12; GEN 6:17-18).

who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1TI 3:4)

Though this is the desire of God, it hasn’t been fulfilled because of the free will given to the creature. We must conclude that God made every circumstance around every creature the best possible environment for salvation and subsequent spiritual maturity. But some portion of the creation still chose to say no to God’s grace and invitation and although they have done so, this condition does not hinder or alter the decree of God. The decree of God is unconditional.

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (EPH 1:11)

Not the creature’s will, but God’s will be done. So now, we might better understand this definition: The decree of God is His eternal (always existed), holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain decisions), relations, and determining their certain futurition.

As already stated the decree of God was simultaneously designed by Him, yet because of our own limitations we logically put His design in a logical order. This is the doctrine of lapsarianism and it will be briefly mentioned here.

Point 3: The order of the divine decrees (lapsarianism).
Of all the decrees, five of them are related to the purpose of God in election – the five elective decrees.\

Biblical lapsarianism:
a. The decree to create.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. Unlimited atonement.
d. The decree to motivate through the deposit of escrow blessings.
e. The simultaneous decrees of election and predestination, and to apply salvation to those who believe in Christ.

Theologians, who have unfortunately had quite an influence on many Christians, have formulated other orders to lapsarianism.

It is important to note the false because the false brings out the beauty of the truth. Light doesn’t need darkness to exist, but in darkness its brilliance can be appreciated. God’s decree is a blinding bright light of brilliant beauty and the false concepts of man only make us appreciate it more.

“For the wrath of man shall praise Thee;” (PSA 76:10)

1. Supralapsarianism. This is hyper-Calvinism.
a. The decree to elect some to be saved (a false position) and to reprobate all others. This is double predestination and heresy.
b. The decree to provide salvation for the elect, which is the basis for limited atonement.
c. The decree to create man, both elect and non-elect.
d. The decree to permit the fall.
e. The decree to save the elect.

This view elects a non-entity (elect who?)\
This view states that election as well as a “limited” atonement was provided before the fall.

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. (1TI 4:10)

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1JO 2:2)

This view makes God unfair by electing some creatures to the Lake of Fire, which attacks the character of God. This view provides man with a “sit on your hands” attitude. Either God elected you or not, there’s nothing you can do about it. Therefore God is not gracious and you have no free will. While God planned in EP the fulfilment of the plan is in time. And certain things God has planned is dependent on the free will of His creatures in time.

The decree is not conditional, but the fulfilment of certain aspects, like election and receiving escrow blessings depended on what God foreknew in EP – your decisions.

The hyper Calvanist would say that he believed in Christ because God elected him to and someone else rejected Christ because God elected him to that sentence.

The hyper Calvanist would say that there is no foreknowledge of God, which is ridiculous. He sees the end from the beginning.

Who would believe such a thing? So many people have believed this and naturally they’re the ones who have been elected. John Calvin did not understand the angelic conflict and therefore did not see that the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history. His choice was to introduce a double pre-destination into his teaching after he had taught salvation by grace through faith.

His number one professor by the name of Beza ran with this idea and taught that election and double pre-destination preceded creation. This idea fits with a fallacy that’s been around since the ancient Greeks, the Hegelian fallacy that every thesis must have an antithesis. Good must have evil, creation must have chaos, light must have darkness, etc. In the Bible there are several of these combinations, but not all. If the antithesis is not stated in the Bible then it doesn’t exist. If this dualism were always true then God would have always had an evil adversary as eternal as Himself, and this is not true. Much of the Greek pagan religion came out of this.

Supralapsarianism is nothing new. It’s just the Hegelian fallacy of dualism with a new paint job.

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So, there is nothing new under the sun. (ECC 1:9)

2. Infralapsarianism, A form of moderate Calvinism.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to provide salvation for all mankind (unlimited atonement).
d. The decree to elect some from among fallen mankind, and to leave others in their sin (those who will not believe in Christ).
e. The decree to save the elect through faith in Christ or to apply salvation to those who believe.\

This is the Biblical view of the order of the decrees, but it does not take cognizance of EPH 1:3, the work of God the Father in eternity past depositing in escrow greater blessing for us. Therefore, it is necessary to show the five elective decrees in relationship to the escrow blessings. Escrow blessings are received when election (God’s highest and best) is fulfilled by the believer in time by growing up to maturity. Although election of every believer was performed in the mind of God in eternity past it depended upon the free will decision of each creature in time.

God in foreknowledge saw that you would believe in Christ and therefore elected you. Unbelievers are selected for existence but not elected because they have rejected Christ and His Cross. Therefore, with escrow blessings provided before election in the divine decree (EPH 1:3-4), we are persuaded to believe that election was done by God in EP, but its experiential fulfilment is realized by the believer in time and not in EP. As already stated, the first thing God ever did for you was the means of glorifying Him. God blessed you before He elected you. God provided all your escrow blessings in EP, but whether they remain on deposit forever, or you personally receive them, depends upon your decisions in time.

So then, correct lapsarianism reveals to us that we are not to sit on our hands because God has already done everything in eternity past, as Calvin might teach, but we have been predestined to fulfil our election to God’s highest and best in time. Election was done by God in eternity past, but the potential to realize the fulfilment of your election occurs in time. There is much for us to accomplish. The fact that God has planned all the circumstances around us in EP and could have altered anything in EP but didn’t is to give us the comfort we need to press on in the fulfilment of our election while leaving the details to God.

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. (2TI 2:4)

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (LUK 10:41-42)

It’s very important to understand that the Bible states that mankind is the object of grace after the fall, not before the fall. After the fall the coats of skins were provided, not before. This is taught in many passages and so I’ve devoted an entire point to this coming up. Condemnation is not an act of God before creation! Condemnation came after both the creation and the fall. Both infralapsarianism and sublapsarianism, the two views of moderate Calvinism, recognize the doctrine of Election as an expression of the sovereignty of God in eternity past, the expression of God’s grace apart from every form of works, foreseen or actual.

6. Sublapsarianism, also a form of moderate Calvinism.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to elect those who believe in Christ, and to leave in just condemnation those who do not believe in Christ. (Note the difference with infralapsarianism.) This is sometimes stated: the decree to elect some out of fallen mankind and leave the others to their misery. But this last statement is questionable as to its accuracy.
d. The decree to provide salvation for the elect (limited atonement).
e. The decree to save the elect through faith in Christ, sometimes stated as the decree to apply salvation to those who believe in Christ. (This was the former view of Dallas Theological Seminary. Of course it goes astray with limited atonement, the part with which Dallas Seminary now disagrees).

7. Armenian Lapsarianism, represented by Richard Watson, their greatest theologian.
a. The decree to create all mankind.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. The decree to provide unlimited atonement (but they don’t understand it correctly.)
d. salvation by foreseen human virtue + faith + obedience; hence the blasphemy of salvation by works.
e. Election as an act of God in time, which makes election synonymous with experiential sanctification, which is not correct because it ignores the portfolio of invisible assets. (“Be separate and touch not the unclean thing.”)
f. In mixing truth with error, this view is a distortion and therefore a heresy.

Though God designed the plan in eternity past, the Bible states that man is the object of grace after, not before, the fall in Jn 15:9, ROM 11:5-7; EPH 1:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2. This goes back to that part of our definition: God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time. (Joh 15:9; ROM 11:5-7; EPH 1:4-6; 1PE 1:1-2).

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What the Great Commission is Not

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http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/mevangel/greatcom.htm

Today’s Church is Busy Doing Everything Else!

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

The Lord Jesus gave this commission to His disciples after His resurrection and prior to His ascension to the third heaven. The command is to “Preach the gospel.” The verb “preach” means to herald the message. It is the same word found in 2 Timothy 4:2–”Preach the Word.” In ancient times momentous messages were communicated by a herald. This was the King’s personal messenger who would cry out the king’s message as the people in the town would assemble together eager to hear the latest news. The herald would not give his own message and he would certainly not give his own views and opinions. He would simply give the King’s message word for word. He would not interpret the message. It made no difference whether the herald liked the message or did not like the message, he had to faithfully deliver it. He did not debate with people. He did not argue with people. He just presented the King’s message. Paul once said, “necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” Woe unto me if I fail to faithfully announce the King’s message of good news!

Today it seems as if the church is doing everything except the very thing that our Lord told us to do. We substitute our program and programs for God’s program. We present our gospel instead of His gospel. Let us briefly consider what God’s great commission does not say:

Go ye into all the world and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, build homes for the poor and care for the sick.

While we certainly should not be oblivious to the pain and poverty and suffering in the world, yet the social gospel is not what our Lord commanded. The solution is not for each believer to become like Mother Teresa. We may feed their stomachs but what have we done for their souls? We may cure them of a bodily illness, but what has been done about the deadly and incurable disease of sin (Jer. 17:9)? What good does it do if they become rich for a second (in this life) but poor forever (in eternity)? If we clothe their bodies with the finest of garments, how shall it help them if they die without being covered by the robes of Christ‘s righteousness? What shall it profit them if we build them a wonderful house, but no provision is made for their eternal home in heaven? What ultimate good have we done if we only help them this side of the grave?

The are Christian groups today that are almost exclusively devoted to a social gospel (clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, etc.), with little emphasis upon the salvation of souls. It is very interesting to hear what William Booth, of the Salvation Army, had to say many years ago:

I recall hearing William Booth, the first general of the Salvation Army, say, when explaining his “Darkest England” scheme, that its real objective was, not just the amelioration of social conditions, but first and foremost the bringing of men to repentance that their souls might be saved. I can recall the flash in his eye, and the noble bearing of his commanding figure as he exclaimed, “Take a man from the filth and squalor of the slums, exchange his rags for decent clothing, move him from the stifling stench of the city tenement to a neat little cottage in the pure air of the country, put him on his feet economically where he can make a decent living for himself and his family, and then let him die in his sins, unsaved, and be lost forever at last—really it is not worth while, and I, for one, would not attempt it.” (Cited by Harry Ironside, Except Ye Repent, pages 181-182).

“If every person in the world had adequate food, housing, income;

If all men were equal;

If every possible social evil and injustice were done away with,

Men would still need one thing—CHRIST! –J.W. Hyde

Go ye into all the world and become politically and socially active in order to eliminate the great social problems of our day and in order to impose Biblical standards upon society.

Is this really our mission? Think of the early Christians. What was their main thrust? What was their main activity? What do we discover as we read the book of Acts? Did they lobby to outlaw temple prostitution? Did they labor to get conservative men elected to the Roman senate? Did they march to Rome to protest the inhumane gladiatorial contests? Did they actively campaign against the social evils of their day such as divorce, the abuses of slavery, abortion, infanticide (Herod was not the only one guilty of this last mentioned crime), etc.? As good and as important as these things were, the early disciples of Christ simply did not have time for this. They were too busy doing what their Lord had told them to do: “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Imagine this conversation, “Would you like to come with us to protest the social injustices and immorality of our day?” “Protests are only protests which show a protest, but have little if any lasting results. I have a message from the King of Kings which I must deliver. No matter how vital these other causes may be, heralding the message of my King must ever be my first priority.”

Increasing numbers of Christians are engaging in social and political “activism” for the astonishing purpose of attempting to coerce an ungodly society into adopting Christian standards of conduct. “Operation Rescue” is one example. Its founder, Randall Terry, explains that its purpose is to create social upheaval and thereby pressure government into changing the abortion laws.

No matter how commendable the goal of such tactics, there is not one example in the entire Bible of political or social “activism” ever being advocated or used by God’s people. There are numerous cases of civil disobedience in Scripture (the Hebrew midwives, Daniel, Daniel’s three friends, etc.), but it was never engaged in for the purpose of forcing an ungodly society to obey Biblical principles.

“Christian Activism” involves the well-meaning but foolish attempt to force “Christian principles” upon a godless society through more effective lobbying, larger demonstrations, and greater “social upheaval” than the homosexuals, abortionists, or pornographers can produce. But rather than pressure the ungodly to live like saints, we must win them to Christ that they might live wholly for God.

We must denounce sin, call for repentance, and preach the gospel in convicting power. Yes, Christians should call for repentance from homosexuality, child abuse, pornography, and abortion, but we should primarily be calling for repentance from rebellion against God and rejection of Christ. Rather than indicting the church for its lack of “social concern,” it should be held accountable for its heresies and failure to preach the truth. It is hypocritical for the church to protest the world’s sins while tolerating and honoring those who preach a false gospel and are the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Instead of PROTESTS, we need PROPHETS who call the world to repentance. We need Enochs who walk with God and warn of judgment (Jude 14-15) and Noahs who preach righteousness and warn of judgment to come (2 Pet. 2:5).

“Christian Activism” is not Christian, and represents a detour from the straight path the church is to walk before the world. It can confuse the real issues, lead to compromise and unholy alliances, and divert time and effort that would be better used in proclaiming the gospel…Be fully engaged in rescuing souls for eternity.

–Dave Hunt

When believers do what the Lord told them to do, it is amazing what an impact it can have even on society at large. Consider the early Christian believers: “In a few generations they entirely changed the face of society by the doctrines of the Bible. They emptied the temples of the heathen gods. They famished idolatry, or left it high and dry like a stranded ship. They brought into the world a higher tone of morality between man and man. They raised the character and position of women. They altered the standard of purity and decency. They put an end to many cruel and bloody customs, such as the gladiatorial fights” (J.C.Ryle).

Go ye into all the world and change the world for Christ.

Years ago Campus Crusade for Christ founder, Bill Bright, wrote a book entitled, “Come Help Change the World.” The foreword says, “This is the story of the inception, the work and the vision of Campus Crusade for Christ to help change the world. They know the world can be changed….There are twentieth century Christian disciples who are committed to changing the world and fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation.” In this same book Bill Bright writes: “I am convinced that 5,000,000 trained disciples, who are experiencing the reality of Christ’s control of their lives can literally change this world….Personal contributions, life estates, wills, and other financial investments can help to change the world” (pages 197 and 193). I am much more impressed by the 11 trained disciples who were taught by the Master Himself! What they accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit was remarkable.

More recently there are professing believers known as postmillennial reconstructionists. They believe that they can bring in the kingdom and change the world by putting all societies under an Old Testament legal system (re-instituting the Mosaic laws and their penalties). Individual sinners cannot even keep God’s holy law. How then can we expect an entire society to conform to such standards? It would not work in a thousand years!

God has never told us to change the world. The world system is incurably sick and headed for destruction. God has told us to preach the gospel to individuals (“to every creature”) and when a person responds in the right way to the gospel message, his life is truly transformed by the grace of God. It is better to think of the world as a sinking ship like the Titanic. It is hell-bent and hell-bound, doomed to destruction. Many, yea most, will perish. It is our job to “throw out the life line” and seek to “rescue the perishing” as we herald the good news.

The Great Commission does not involve exerting a Christian influence upon society. We are not to “change society,” but to “convert individuals.” There is much talk today about “changing the world for Christ.” There is no Biblical teaching or example to support that popular slogan.

–Dave Hunt

The only One who can change the world is God Himself, and this will be done only when Christ returns to this earth to establish His kingdom. The church will never bring in a new world. This work will be done by Christ and by Christ alone.

Go ye into all the world and bring people to church.

What saith the Scripture? “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This says that we should bring the gospel to the unsaved. It does not say that we should bring the unsaved to the gospel. It does not say, “Go…and invite every creature to come to church.” Rather we are told to “go into all the world” because that is where the unsaved are. We are to bring the gospel to the unsaved. The herald does not invite people to travel to the palace ground so that they can hear the king’s message. The herald goes right to the villages where the people live and it is there that he delivers the king’s message.

There are many churches today that take the other approach. Their ministry is based on the philosophy that we need to bring the unsaved to the gospel. They thus see the local church as an evangelistic center, a place where the unsaved can be brought in, bused in, and even bribed in by way of gimmicks so that they can hear the gospel.

Is the purpose of the local church to be primarily that of a SOUL-WINNING STATION or a SOUL-BUILDING STATION? In the world our emphasis should be that of evangelism, but in the church our emphasis should be primarily that of indoctrination. In the world we should be reaching them; in the church we should be teaching them. The saints need to be indoctrinated in the church; the indoctrinated saints need to be evangelizing in the world.

In saying all this, we do not in any way want to discourage God’s people from inviting the unsaved to church services or bringing the lost into the assembly of the saints. We need to do more of this. We certainly thank God for every sinner who attends the local assembly of believers, hears the gospel message and receives Christ as his personal Saviour. If the whole counsel of God is preached and if the Bible is faithfully taught according to the New Testament pattern (Acts 20:28,32; Eph. 4:11-12) then the cross of Christ, the grace of God, justification and God’s so-great salvation will be themes that will be heard repeatedly. How can the Word be faithfully taught and the gospel not be preached?

The problem comes when churches focus their ministry primarily upon the unsaved. Instead of feeding the flock and properly nourishing the saints, they present a steady diet of salvation messages or “John 3:16 messages.” John 3:16 wonderfully summarizes the gospel message, but the Bible is more than John 3:16. The saints need all of the Bible. Being saved is just the very first lesson in God’s school. Interestingly enough, the cults do not establish evangelistic centers. Rather they establish edificational centers and indoctrination centers so that each person will be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks him a reason of the false hope that is within him. The devil knows which system works.

When the local church is functioning as an edification/indoctrination center according to God’s pattern, then the unsaved person who enters such a place will be deeply convicted: “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” (1 Cor. 14:24-25). May God help us to be this kind of assembly, manifesting the awesome PERSON and LIFE of God.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

In these difficult and demanding days, may we faithfully herald the message of good news that our King has given to us and entrusted to us. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:12).

The Middletown Bible Church
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Word To the Young

 

 

By Paul Washer

Holy Week at Santhome Basilica, Chennai (HDR)

 
Over the last few days I have felt compelled to write the following word to the youth who receive this publication. I ask you to prayerfully consider the things you will read. If you find any truth in what is written, then I admonish you to adjust your life accordingly. Do not waste your life!
Remember the Brevity of Life
The first man was created in the image of God. If he had submitted to the will of God, he would have been immortal. He would have passed through the years of his unending existence from strength to strength, without deterioration or decay. The passing of time would have brought him to greater levels of maturity, contentment, and joy. His existence would have abounded with purpose and glory. With the advent of sin, all was lost, and man’s existence became tragically twisted and deformed beyond recognition. Man became a mortal being of brief duration, weariness, and futility. He now lives his life until all vitality is drained away, all purpose is demolished, and the body finally returns to the dust from which it came. It is not without reason that the preacher cries out, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). As a young man or woman, you must constantly fight off the temptation to forget about the brevity of life and the vanity of even the longest life lived apart from God’s will. You must learn from the Scriptures that your life is less than a vapor. You must become convinced of this truth, and then you must set it before you as a constant reminder. You are mortal and your days are numbered!
“As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer” (Psalm
103:15).
“…You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
You know the Scriptures are true. You know that death is a certainty for you. Every tombstone and eulogy bear witness to the inescapable reality that you are going to die. And yet, how is it that you so quickly forget and give yourself to the passing vanities of this life? It is because you are surrounded by a culture that does everything in its power to avoid any thought of the end of life. It is because the god of this age works with all his cunning to keep you entertained and distracted. It is because, although you have been redeemed, you still dwell in a body of fallen flesh that runs for all that is carnal and temporal. Knowing these things, you would do well to both memorize and often pray the prayer of David in Psalm 39:4:
“LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. Keeping your mortality at the forefront of your thoughts is not for the purpose of being morbid or lamenting as those who have no hope, but to compel you to hope in Christ alone and to give yourself wholeheartedly to His will for your life. Only in Christ is the grave swallowed up in victory and temporal futility replaced by God’s eternal and glorious purpose for you.
Remember your Creator
Knowing something of the brevity of life, “How then shall we live?” The writer of Ecclesiastes answers this question for us in the form of a command:
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth…” (12:1).
The word “remember” comes from the Hebrew word zakar which means to recall or call to mind. This command to remember God is calling you to more than a casual recollection that there is a God. Its requirements are not fulfilled by simply bowing your head every time you pass by a steeple, or even by attending church faithfully every time the doors are open. This is a radical and life changing command to know and understand the God of Scripture, to acknowledge His preeminence in all things, to seek His glory in all things, and to strive to obey Him in all things. The great importance of this command becomes clear when you realize that in this fallen world you are constantly bombarded with temporal distractions designed to make you forget the worth of God and the joys of His will. Unless you purpose in your heart to remember God and use every means at your disposal to remain true to that purpose, you will fall into vanity and your life will be wasted! Consider carefully what I have written. I am not asking you to simply agree with me. I am pleading with you to purpose in your heart to fixed your eyes on God as though your life depended upon it (for it does) and to actively, aggressively, even violently (Matthew 11:12) seek out and use every means at
your disposal to keep from being distracted and falling into the vanities of this fallen age! It is important to note that the preacher of Ecclesiastes not only commands us to “remember God,” but he tells us the most convenient time to do so – in the days of our youth. It does little good to prepare for a battle at the end of the battle, or to wait until the last lap of the race to tie on one’s running shoes. Likewise, it is a ridiculous notion (found in the head of many young people) that one should delay living for God until later in life and usually after a great portion of life has been wasted. Do not be like the prodigal who “came to his senses” only after squandering his fortune and the strength of his youth. Come to your senses in the early days of your life. Set your heart to seek God now – to know Him, worship Him, serve Him, and rejoice in His goodness. As one older than you, as an ambassador for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through me, I beg you on behalf of Christ, do not waste your life.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance” (Isaiah 55:2).
Set Your Heart to Follow Him
I am hesitant to use this type of language with you because I am afraid that you will misinterpret. To most Christians, the admonition to “follow after God” conjurers up thoughts of duty, obedience, and ministry, but these things by themselves will only leave you tired, hollow, and bitter. I have been down that road and I will do everything in my power to keep you from it. It leads to a horrid place! When I speak of following Him, I am primarily referring to fellowship with His person; to acknowledge Him and share with Him every experience; to purpose not to hide from Him or shut Him out of some area of your life; to see everything as sacred and nothing as secular; for Him to have preeminence in every moment of your life, every thought in that head of yours, every word that proceeds from your mouth, and every work that you endeavor to do – walking, talking, eating, drinking, laughing, crying, working, playing – experiencing all of it in Him, through Him, for Him, and most of all WITH
Him! Do you realize that you can do almost anything for all the wrong reasons. You can do ministry for the personal satisfaction or fame it may bring. You can even grow in knowledge and piety for the reputation they may reap for you among other believers. But it is the true and loyal heart that seeks only to be with Him for the sake of being with Him! I know you look upon me as a godly man who has learned many things, but I have been so wrong in so many ways, and this has been my greatest error. I have always pressed hard to accomplish something, when I should have pressed hard just to be with Him! Yes, my dear young Christian, you can even waste precious drops of your life in the work of ministry and missions! Remember this: To confine God to a quiet time is grotesque, to reduce discipleship to only obedience is pathetic, and to make ministry into something other than Christ’s life flowing through your intimate relationship with Him is to make it nothing more than a stupid work of the flesh.
Read the Bible
Now there’s a novelty! One of the greatest things a young Christian can do is to make a lifelong practice of reading the English Bible systematically from Genesis to Revelation over and over again. If you can do so in the original languages it is even better, but I know only a handful of men capable of such a thing and I am not one of them. Most Christians’ knowledge of the Scriptures is very fragmented because they have only read parts of the Bible. I have known individuals who were brilliant in certain aspects of doctrine, but whose overall knowledge of the Bible was very weak. To avoid this pitfall, you must read the Bible systematically and from cover to cover. No one in their right mind would read a work of literature by bouncing to and fro through the book and randomly reading only certain chapters. They would begin at the beginning and move progressively through the book chapter by chapter until they reached the end. And yet very few Christians have ever read the Bible this way! Remember: the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God given to us in book form. To understand it in whole and in part, we must read through it! One of the most rewarding ways to read the Scriptures is to write your insights and questions as you read through the first time. On your second reading through the Scriptures you will notice that you are able to answer many of your old questions and that new questions have come to mind. You will also be able to refine and clarify many of your previous insights. By this means, you will learn that the Bible is the best commentary of itself. One word of caution: Most people never make it though the entire Bible because they wear themselves out trying to understand everything or trying to write a commentary on each book. Two suggestions: First, write your questions and keep on reading. Secondly, only write down the things God has impressed upon your heart to remember and be brief. We already have enough commentaries to bankrupt every seminary student on earth! To a young Christian, the Bible can seem overwhelming. This will never change. The Bible is overwhelming! It contains more truth about God than any man will ever comprehend or obey. Nevertheless, it is a magnificent journey to read through its pages
and not only learn, but be transformed. Christianity requires that the mind be fully engaged, but it is not solely or even primarily about the intellect. It is about knowing God in a personal and intimate manner and being transformed into the likeness of His Son. Do not be discouraged! Every day that you give to the reading of God’s word will eventually add up to years of study and a wealth of biblical knowledge. Every day lost will reduce the size of that final treasure.
Pray
I divide my praying into two separate categories: Praying in my walking shoes and praying in my work boots. The first category refers to communion, adoration, and thanksgiving. It is walking with God as an ever-present companion, enjoying His fellowship, and seeking greater and greater manifestations of His presence. This type of praying has one purpose – to know Him and to simply “be” with Him. A part from this type of praying, all the knowledge in your head will never be anything more than second hand theological jargon. You will spend your entire life speaking correctly about someone you do not even know and about things that have never become realities in your life. I have heard people say that they do not have a specific time of seeking God in this way, but they commune with God throughout the day as they go through their daily activities. It has been my experience that the ability to “practice the presence of God” throughout the day and in the midst of my activities is only made possible because I have separated myself from my daily activities and sought God in specific times of prayer. This seems to have been the practice of our Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation:
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). The second category of praying – praying in my work boots -refers to intercessory prayer. Let know one mislead you, this type of praying is hard work! It is not a small thing for a mortal man to wrestle with God (Genesis 32:24-32) and against the devil (Ephesians 6:12). The stakes are high and everything is won or lost on this battle field. We labor in prayer for the Glory of God, the Great Commission, and the advancement of the Kingdom (Matthew 6:9-10); we labor in prayer for the preservation and sanctification of the Church; we labor in prayer for every need and for the fulfillment of every promise that God has given. This may very well be the most holy task given to men! I will leave the subject of prayer behind with a bit of advice that has been very helpful to me. It was given to me by an older preacher, who received it from an even older preacher. It goes something like this:
“Pray until you can pray, and then pray until you have prayed.”
Often when we bow our knees in prayer we do not sense the liberty or power to pray. It seems as though there is a sky of brass above us. This should not be a cause of discouragement, but it should lead us to wrestle in prayer until we have “broken through”
to God. It is then that we should set ourselves to praying until our burdens have lifted and we know that we have prayed.
Seek Out Godly Companions
At the risk of offending you, I must say that if you are young there is probably a great deal of foolishness still bound up in your heart (Proverbs 22:15). If the greatest influences in your life are other young people just like yourself, then you are a companion of fools and walking down a dangerous path. The Scriptures teach a very lifesaving truth that is often neglected today:
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)
The idea of a “generation gap” was born out of the godless counterculture of the 60’s and has now been thoroughly adopted by most churches. The idea that young people need to be with other young people is a direct contradiction to the Scriptures. Although periods of supervised fellowship with other youth can be both enjoyable and profitable, the Scriptures everywhere teach that young Christians need to be with older and more mature Christians so that they might learn their ways and avoid the pitfalls of the young and naive. According the Scriptures, the greatest influences in your life ought to be your mother and father, provided they are godly and mature Christians. Following them, it is the role of the church elders and the entire adult congregation to model the Christian life before you. In summary, you will do well to surround yourself with men and women whose progress in sanctification and usefulness to God are evident. Get to know, not only the godly Christians of our time, but also the saints of yesterday through their writings and the writings of others about them.
Flee Youthful Lust
In Ephesians 6:10-12 you are commanded to make your stand against the devil. In James 4:7 you are given the promise that if you resist him, he will flee from you. Nevertheless in II Timothy 2:22 you are commanded to “flee youthful lust.” It is rather amazing that you are commanded to be strong, take your stand, and fight against fallen angels, while at the same time, you are commanded to flee with fear from youthful lust. This demonstrates that the youthful lust of your flesh and the unbridled sensuality of your culture is more dangerous than a face to face battle with the devil. I have known countless Christian youth who demonstrated genuine evidence of conversion, and yet upon entering into a relationship with the opposite sex, they fell into immorality. I have known them to memorize Scripture, pray, and even fast to be pure in their relationship, and yet still they fall. Why? Because they do not understand that all the spiritual disciplines in the Scriptures cannot save them from youthful lust. They are trying to wage battle while God commands them to flee. To put it simply: You cannot be alone in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex for any extended period of time
without falling. Therefore you should never be alone together in a house, car, or any other place where lust can be kindled and failure is certain.
Give Yourself to Noble Purposes I see young Christian men in the university who squander away their time playing video games and frequenting malls and movie houses, when they should be giving themselves to more noble purposes. You were not bought by the blood of the Lamb in order to give yourself to such things. You have been adopted into a royal family and royal deeds are expected of you. Shun the mindless entertainment of the age and give yourself to the will of God. The Scriptures declare in II Timothy 2:20-21:
“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Do you desire to be vessel of honor and used for noble purposes? Do you desire to be an instrument in the Master’s hand? Then cleanse yourself of the foolish games of little boys and vain girls, and become the man or woman you were called to be. I believe it was A.W. Tozer who said that on the tombstone of America would be written the words, “They entertained themselves to death.” This is a pathetic epitaph when compared to what was said about King David:
“[He] served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers…”
What legacy will you leave? What will be carved into your stone? Most importantly, what will God declare about your life on that great Day of Judgment that awaits you? May God have mercy on you and grant you grace to far surpass the character and deeds of the one who is writing to you this letter.
Your brother, Paul Washer

 

Defeated Christians

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By Charles G. Trumbull, Litt.D., Philadelphia, PA

An address at Founder’s Week Conference in the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL
This article is from the May 1932 Moody Bible Institute Monthly

AS I LOOK over this great audience of God’s people, and see the work of the Holy Spirit manifested in faces and in voices as we have been singing together, I would ask whether any of us has ever presumed on God’s grace to enable us to go on in sin? Because “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound,” have we consciously or unconsciously at times said to ourselves, “Yes, even if I do slip into this sin, God’s grace will take care of it?”

I am afraid we must all of us confess that we have done just that. After we have come to the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and yielded ourselves to Him as Lord, and then in one way or another have been tempted and have slipped into sin, the thought has come to us that after all, His grace will take care of it. Is it not a real peril in the Christian life that we may presume on God’s grace thus to go on sinning? May we be honest this afternoon and ask the Holy Spirit to speak plainly, and show us whether we have thus presumed on the grace of God.

It Is Not a New Question

At the beginning of the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul asked, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” And instantly he answered it, “God forbid”! This is the gospel to Christians. It is the same gospel as to the unsaved, for just as God says to the unsaved that the death of His Son paid the penalty of their sins and they may be saved by faith in Him, so He says to us in the fifth of Romans, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” That is the gospel to Christians — that the grace of God is offered to us, not to go on sinning, but to be kept from sinning.

And yet may we be clear as to this that God’s grace is not available for deliverance from the power of sin in those who are holding back something from God. We prayed in that hymn of Wesleys, that God might let the fire fall on us. But God never can set on fire the heart of any child of His if there is in that heart something held back. God does not set on fire unsurrendered Christians. I noticed in the prayer in which we were led a few moments ago, a request that we might glorify God in our bodies. O dear friends, we cannot glorify God in an unsurrendered body, and so it might be well to ask God to search and show us whether in our bodies, our lives, our hearts, there is anything withheld from Him.

What about that subtle sin of unbelief or of distrust? The sin of worry, the sin of anxiety? I wonder if anyone here, since he has been a Christian, has ever worried? If we have, we have sinned. “In nothing be careful but in everything … with thanksgiving ….” You can’t worry and give thanks at the same moment in the way God wants to be thanked. We can be kept from the sin of anxiety, the sin of irritability, of unthankfulness, of a harsh, unloving, critical spirit, as we yield our lives, our bodies, a living sacrifice to God.

Are any of us saying to ourselves just now, or even to the Lord, “Yes, I need to give up this sin. I have tried to, I have even given it up at times, but somehow I can’t seem to stop that failing.” Paul knew about that, too. In the seventh of Romans he said, “For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.” But then he came forever out of the seventh into the eighth chapter with the words, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

A Stowaway in Chains

I saw a newspaper item a while ago which told of a rather remarkable experience. A negro stowaway from West Africa got on a steamer to come to the United States, and after he was discovered he was put in irons. When the boat neared Brooklyn, he jumped overboard and swam to shore under water. Still in irons he crawled up on the shore, and there was rearrested. Why? Because he was still chained!

I could not help thinking of experiences of my own and many other Christians, who think they have made their escape and find they are still in the same old bondage. That is not the sort of gospel God has for us, but I am afraid it is the sort of experience that some of us have had. Of course there are some who have never come to the Lord Jesus Christ and who think they have made their escape, but sooner or later they find they are still chained.

My message today is to sinning Christians, defeated Christians, those who are saved by the death of Christ, but have not realized the deeper experience in which they are kept safe moment by moment in His life.

John, in his first epistle, says toward the end of the first chapter: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Then at the beginning of the second chapter he goes on: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.”

A Bible teacher once said he was afraid a good many Christians read that last verse, “That ye sin less.” But John did not say that. He said practically what the angel said in announcing the birth of the Saviour to his legal father, Joseph, “And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Sins here is in the plural, actual sins. There is the message of the victorious life in Christ — not after we get to heaven, but now and here in this present world, while we are on our way to the presence of the Lord.

Let us realize that it is just normal New Testament Christianity; not any unbalanced or fanatical or unscriptural teaching of sinless perfectionism or eradication, dear friends, but the blessed fact of which Colossians 2:6 speaks, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Just step by step — really trusting Him.

There are two simple but very definite conditions of this life of victory. One is that we shall surrender our lives to the Lord, the other that we shall trust the Lord.

Dr. Scofield’s Instruction

I had a blessed Bible lesson on the subject of surrender one time from Dr. C.I. Scofield. He had asked me to come to the Crescent City Conference in Florida and speak on the victorious life, and one day, when in his bungalow, he said to me, “Charles, I want to tell you what surrender is. Sit down there and take your Bible.” I did.

“Now,” he said, “open to the eighth chapter of Numbers.”

Then we read together a few verses beginning at the fifth. The Lord said to Moses, take the Levites and cleanse them, and pour the water of purifying upon them, and have them wash their clothes, and make themselves clean, and take a young bullock for a meat offering and another for a sin offering — and then,”Thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together. . . . And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.”

They did not serve in the tabernacle until this had been done, until they had been cleansed by water and by blood, and definitely offered to the Lord.

Then Dr. Scofield said, “Now turn over to the second chapter of Luke.” I did so and there, from the twenty-first verse on, we read what occurred to the infant Jesus:

“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.”

The word in Numbers is “offer,” here it is “present.” Even the Son of God Himself could not enter upon His earthly ministry until He had been presented to the Lord.

“Now,” said Dr. Scofield, “turn over to the twelfth of Romans.” I did, and we read that first verse:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

This is addressed to Christians, not to the unsaved — you who have received the mercy of God. “That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

“And that,” said Dr. Scofield, that morning in Florida, “that is surrender.”

The Levites had to be offered to God before going on with their earthly service after being cleansed with water and with blood. The infant Jesus was presented to God even though He had been with God from all eternity, before He entered upon His earthly service. You and I cannot render reasonable service to the Lord until we have presented our bodies as living sacrifices.

The Young Men Who Did Not Worry

I was impressed a few years ago as I found almost verbatim the twelfth chapter of Romans in the third of Daniel. That third chapter of Daniel is the story of the three young Hebrews and the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar had set up the golden image and commanded everyone in his empire to fall down and worship it, and these young men refused to do so. You remember he had established an edict that anyone who would not bow down and worship the image would be cast into a fiery furnace, and these three refused to do so. Then he sent for them in anger and said, “I will give you a second chance.” But they did not need a second chance.

I like their quiet reply, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter” — we are not worried — the word that occurs in the fourth of Philippians, the old English for “anxious.” “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he witl deliver us out of thine hand, 0 king. But if not” (if God docs not want to), “be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Then the wonderful story goes on, how they were cast into the furnace and the men who cast them in were consumed, how the king looked in and saw four men walking about in the midst of the fire, and the form of the fourth was like unto the Son of God. And you remember he called to them, “Come forth,” and they did! “Nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed 0n them.”

I tell you, dear friends, when God undertakes to do a thing, He does it. Then comes this remarkable statement by Nebuchadnezzar:

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”

There is Romans 12:1 in Daniel 3:28 — “yielded their bodies” that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God. And it is not possible for us to serve and worship our God with the reasonable service which He asks unless we have yielded our bodies. And that means yielding to Him, presenting to Him, all that we are and all that we have.

At the victorious life conferences in America — Keswick and elsewhere — I have taken occasion to ask one and another attending whether they have settled the surrender question, and often they have answered: “I have tried to,” “I think I have,” “I am doing the best I know how.”

Dear friends, if someone should ask you this question, “Did you give a present last Christmas to the one you love most?” do you think you would say, “I tried to,” “Yes, I think I did,” “I did it the best I knew how” ; or would you say, “I certainly did”?

Surrendering to the Lord Jesus Christ, as Dr. Scofield showed me, is just making a present of ourselves to God. You do not have to try it. You either do it or you don’t do it. You may have been on the other side of the world last Christmas, but you know whether or not you gave that present. Surrender is just as simple as that.

Why Your Body?

Why the emphasis on body? Because it is God’s home. Know ye not that Christ dwelleth in you — Christ liveth in you, “except ye be reprobate”? Unless we have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, He is saying to us, “My Father will come and abide … I and my Father are one.” We know the Holy Spirit makes the physical bodies of Christians His temple. And so the Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit, are dwelling within every child of God. Think what a sorrow it must be to the Lord Jesus Christ to have to live in an unclean home, to have to dwell in a sinning Christian.

I remember Thomas E. Stephens, founder and director of the Great Commission Prayer League, after he had sent out appeal after appeal to pray for a revival in the whole body of Christ, one time said, “The Lord Jesus Christ is living in a half paralytic body today on earth.”

It was a shocking expression when I first heard it, but it is true. Speaking of the Church of Christ as His home, He longs to have that body thrilling, tingling with His own life, filled with all the fulness of God.

Oh, dear friends, if we are praying for a revival, let us remember the prayer, “Begin it, Lord, in me,” and let us present our bodies to Him. And as I said a few minutes ago, to surrender means all. It means our worst and our best.

I never noticed until last month when reading again the early chapters of Genesis, how there are two great surrenders of Abraham which in a sense should typify the two things included in the single surrender of ourselves to God. In Genesis 21, God tells Abraham to do what Sarah demands and send away Hagar and Ishmael. Now Ishmael was Abraham’s own son and he loved the boy. But he was a son that was born in sin and in violation of God’s will and in utter distrust of God, so we might say Ishmael was the worst thing in Abraham’s life; and God asked Abraham to surrender the worst thing, and he did. There is no record of his ever having seen Ishmael again. He surrendered his worst and it never came back. Then in chapter 22 God asked Abraham to surrender the best thing in his life — Isaac. And Abraham did, and God gave Isaac back.

Are we including in our surrender our worst and our best? Our worst, that God may take it and never have it come back; our best, that God may take it and give it back to us sanctified and cleansed and to be used as would never be possible until we surrender that to God.

I know a Presbyterian elder of Florida, who was kneeling in prayer with many others, hungry for new victories in his life, and who that day surrendered his good judgment to the Lord. He had the best judgment of any man I have ever known, but on his knees he told God his good judgment had been a source of pride, and so he surrendered it. Did he lose his good judgment? No, but it is no longer standing between him and his Lord as it was before. And he made a surrender of his worst too, and told me a few days after of an experience he had which he never expected to have this side of heaven as he found the thought of “I,” of “mine,” that had come in and held him in shackles, was gone; that by a miracle of God’s grace he was free from the down pull of that form of bondage. So let us surrender our worst and our best. Let us present our bodies a living sacrifice.

Pride in Christian Service

A missionary in China asked when I was there about twelve years ago, how she could be rid of a certain sin, and what do you suppose it was? She said that when she was doing personal work among the Chinese women and talking to them about accepting Christ, and a fellow missionary came along, she was glad to be seen. She said,

“How can I get rid of the sin of pride in my Christian service?”

That is cutting rather deep, isn’t it? If you are a Sunday School teacher, just holding your class spellbound, and the pastor or superintendent comes by, are you glad to be seen by him? Have we surrendered our love of praise, the love to be noticed in the best thing we are doing in the Lord’s work? She surrendered that day and stepped out into new victories. God can deal with the subtlest, most refined forms of our sinning, and with the grossest, most impossible things in our lives. But there is only one way by which He can do it, and that is for us to say, “Take it all from me, Lord. I present my body a living sacrifice.”

And may we do it, that He may set us on fire, that we may glorify God in our bodies.

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The Fruit Of The Spirit {Salvation}

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass Baptism

The Fruit of the spirit manifested by the Salvation Ministry of God the holy spirit at the moment of Salvation.

Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

ROM 9:22-24, What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

The NT statement double manifestation of the salvation ministry of God the holy spirit at the moment of salvation.

a. The holy spirit indwells the body of the believer at the moment of salvation to provide the divine power to offset the continued presence of the old sin nature.
b. The holy spirit indwells the body of the believer also as a sign of the Royal family status, which is superior to being in the family of God, as believers in past dispensations were. c. The primary objective of the indwelling of holy spirit is to provide divine energy or power to execute the Christian way of life.

ROM 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;

2CO 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the spirit.

2CO 3:17-18, Now the Lord is the spirit [deity of the holy spirit], and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty or freedom. but we all, with unveiled face [filling of the holy spirit] beholding as in a mirror [the word of God or B.D.]

We look in the mirror to produce a reflection.

The glory of the Lord, or the manifestation of the Shekinah glory who indwells us.

The PPOG transforms the believer into reflected glory of our Lord Jesus Christ as the shekinah glory.

From glory to glory means from the humanity of Christ living in the PPOG to the momentum of the believer in the PPOG.

1CO 3:16, “You are the temple of God”

A temple must have the Shekinah glory as the guarantee of blessing and security.

The holy spirit takes our body and makes it a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ as the guarantee of blessing in time.

There is a conflict between the holy spirit and the Old Sin Nature as to who will control the soul, as per GAL 5:17-18.

You don’t have the ability to destroy the temple which God the holy spirit has built in your body.

Health is not the key to your spiritual life, and not the reflection of your spiritual life. Your health is based on your genetics, metabolism, allergies, environment, common sense, mental attitude, but it has nothing to do with your spiritual life.

Unfortunately today, cosmic or worldly Christianity has infiltrated the church and has subtly promoted certain ways in which man is suppose to live to please God.

Christian character is a divine production which is not to be achieved by self-effort but by the ministry of God the holy spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 is the shortest life of Christ ever written, for the fruit of the spirit is the outliving of the in-living Christ.

“Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness but the possession and manifestation of nine graces: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

Peace is integrity “within” toward self. Goodness is integrity in expression toward man. Temperance is integrity in expression toward God.

Since the holy spirit declares that “agape” love is the greatest virtue of all in 1CO 13:13, it is reasonable that it should stand first on the list of the fruit of the spirit.

Our MA must be cleansed and free from MAS which cause us not to concentrate and keeps us from perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine.

Agape loves is a MA love which manifests itself through thoughtfulness of others, good manners, being relaxed around others and avoiding the sins of the tongue.

None of us can really fake this kind of love over a period of time because God brings in all kinds of people which reveal whether our love is genuine and divine.

ROM 5:5 says that this love of God is poured out in us by means of the holy spirit and doctrine in the soul.
ROM 5:5, The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy spirit who was given to us.

Doctrine gives integrity, concentration, the royal family honor code, spirituality, stability, which all in effect add up to genuine love.

Agape love is also unconditional. Agape love contains built-in virtue and therefore has capacity for true love in friendship, romance, marriage, and all other human interaction.

Now, you will know that God the holy spirit has produced this love in you when you can handle being the victim of others’ mental attitude sins.

The love that God the HS produces in our life is based entirely upon our spiritual integrity, the RFHC, the execution of the PPOG, upon consistent PMA and metabolization of BD resulting in integrity.

Two Views On Lordship Salvation

2012 Family 300

John F. MacArthur, Jr. v. Charles C. Ryrie*


The Gospel According to Jesus v. So Great Salvation

Can a person receive Jesus as his Savior without receiving Him as his Lord? This is the question dealt with in the two most popular books on the subject of lordship salvation. One is John F. MacArthur, Jr.’s The Gospel According to Jesus (Zondervan:1988), and the other is Charles C. Ryrie’s So Great Salvation (Victor Books:1989). It was decided to combine them in one review, not only because they deal with the same subject (MacArthur espousing the “lordship salvation” position, Ryrie challenging it), but primarily because Ryrie’s book attempts to answer MacArthur’s writing.
The subject of lordship salvation is not easily delineated. Its basic premise, that Jesus cannot be one’s Savior without also being his Lord, has been taken by some to mean that salvation is attained by works rather than by God’s grace.
The issue as seen by those who believe in lordship salvation (e.g., MacArthur) is that someone who is truly saved will produce fruit that will attest to the genuineness of his faith, because he will have acknowledged Jesus not only as his Savior, but as his Lord as well.
Those who reject lordship salvation (e.g., Ryrie), believe that someone may have genuine faith in Christ, but the fact that he continues in his sin demonstrates that he has not made Jesus his Lord, only his Savior. According to Ryrie, just because someone sins or acts in disobedience (even habitually) doesn’t mean he doesn’t have saving faith.
But the issue is not whether we sin or not; the issue is our attitude toward our sin. And this is where MacArthur is careful to point out that it is willful rejection of Christ’s Lordship that proves one’s confession of faith not valid.
In making this point, MacArthur challenges the contemporary “gospel” that merely calls people to make a decision without telling them the full implications of that decision.
Yet God even uses this form of what one can call the “inadequate gospel” to initiate one into the full truth of the Gospel of salvation at a later date. In this respect, MacArthur’s concern is not with the Lord’s ability to use man’s failures, but with man’s failure to use what God has provided in His Word to communicate the full extent of Christ’s work on the Cross.

“The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in  submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message  liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned  hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at  the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of  true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace  God’s righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but  easy-believism” (p. 21, GATJ).

In his attempt to refute MacArthur’s premise, Ryrie selects certain passages, then implies that MacArthur’s statements are ambiguous and give the impression that MacArthur is saying that works must precede salvation:

“Those who hold to a lordship/discipleship/mastery salvation viewpoint do not  (perhaps it would be more accurate to say ‘cannot’) send an unambiguous message about this  matter. On the one hand, they say that the essence of saving faith is ‘unconditional  surrender, a complete resignation of self and absolute submission.’ True faith, we are  told, ‘starts with humility and reaches fruition in obedience.’ ‘Salvation is for those  who are willing to forsake everything.’ ‘Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and  follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.’  ‘Eternal life brings immediate death to self.’ ‘Forsaking oneself for Christ’s sake is not  an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion; it is the sine qua non  of saving faith.’
“But what if I do not follow Christ at all costs? What if later on in life I become  unwilling to forsake something? Suppose I lack full obedience? What if I take something  back that earlier in my experience I had given to Him? How do I quantify the amount of  fruit necessary to be sure I truly ‘believed’ in the lordship/mastery sense of the term?  Or how do I quantify the amount of defection that can be tolerated without wondering if I  have saving faith or if I in fact lost what I formerly had?” (p. 29, SGS)

Perhaps Ryrie’s did not read MacArthur’s book in total. For MacArthur does allow for Christians to be in various stages of growth in their walk. The point is that, if someone’s conversion is genuine, he will exhibit growth, however meager and however faltering, during his lifetime.
Quoting MacArthur as Ryrie did, and his subsequent remark, demonstrate an inaccurate assessment of what MacArthur was saying. In fact, every single quote by Ryrie has been taken out of context in order to create a straw man (salvation by works) to attack, a tactic which Ryrie himself denigrates (p. 29, SGS).
To demonstrate, we’ll take each quote out of context as Ryrie did, then put it in the proper context by quoting MacArthur or referring to the total context of MacArthur’s remarks:
(1) Saving faith is “unconditional surrender, a complete resignation of self and absolute submission” (p. 153, GATJ).

Actually, MacArthur was explaining the lesson of the prodigal son. It is not an ambiguous message as Ryrie claims. Not if taken in context. Nor does it say that the prodigal son never again failed his father. What MacArthur was saying is that a change of heart attitude, not perfection in works, is necessary for salvation.

(2) “True faith, we are told, ‘starts with humility and reaches fruition in obedience’” (pp. 176-177, GATJ).

MacArthur was explaining the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12. Again, this is not ambiguous. If that single statement is taken out of context and combined with other out-of-context statements, it might be ambiguous. But there is no ambiguity in MacArthur’s overall exegesis of the Sermon on the Mount.

(3) “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything” (p. 78, GATJ).

Here MacArthur is referring to the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16-22). Again, we can see that Ryrie’s out-of-context use of MacArthur’s statement was less than scholarly.

(4) “Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms” (p 87, GATJ).

Here’s the same statement in context:

“Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). That is the consistent and  unambiguous teaching of Scripture. But people with genuine faith do not refuse to  acknowledge their sinfulness. They sense that they have offended the holiness of God, and  do not reject the lordship of Christ. They do not cling to the things of the world. Real  faith lacks none of these attributes. Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow  Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.”

Taken in context, we again find no ambiguity in MacArthur’s statement. What he is saying is quite clear: “Faith without works is dead, being alone” (James 2:17).

(5) “Eternal life brings immediate death to self” (p. 140, GATJ).

MacArthur states that there is no cost for salvation, but there is a definite cost in terms of salvation’s impact. Read MacArthur’s entire statement and see if Ryrie did not give the wrong impression about what MacArthur was saying by taking the statement out of context:

“Eternal life is indeed a free gift (Rom. 6:23). Salvation cannot be earned with  good deeds or purchased with money. It has already been bought by Christ, who paid the  ransom with His blood. But that does not mean there is not cost in terms of salvation’s  impact on the sinner’s life. This paradox may be difficult but it is nevertheless true:  salvation is both free and costly. Eternal life brings immediate death to self. ‘Knowing  this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away  with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin’ (Rom 6:6).
“Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is  nailed to a cross. It is a total abandonment of self-will, like the grain of wheat that  falls to the ground and dies so that it can bear much fruit (cf. John 12:24). It is an  exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience,  full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.
“Death to self does not mean immediate sanctification and glorification. But just as  Adam died on the day he disobeyed God (yet did not see the completion of the death for  many years), so we die on the day that we truly believe on the Son of Man (though the  completion of that death will not be realized until we go to be with the Lord). And in  dying we live unto eternal life.”

(6) “Forsaking oneself for Christ’s sake is not an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion; it is the sine qua non of saving faith” (p. 135, GATJ).

Like all the other Ryrie quotes, MacArthur’s statement must be read in context. In accusing MacArthur of ambiguity, it is Ryrie who is being ambiguous. In fact, taking MacArthur’s statements out of context to fit his claim is an abandonment of Warren Wiersbe’s “Foreword” in Ryrie’s book — that changing one’s meaning by taking his words out of context is amateurish. In building Ryrie’s status in the eyes of the reader, Wiersbe states:

“This book is not only important, but it is also dependable. To begin  with, the author is a theologian who has two earned doctorates in his field of study. He  has served effectively on the faculty of one of America’s leading evangelical seminaries  and is widely recognized and respected as a teacher, preacher, and writer. As you read  these pages, you will appreciate Dr. Ryrie’s accurate exegesis and his clear explanations  of biblical texts. An experienced and mature scholar, Dr. Ryrie quotes carefully and  accurately from a wide range of writers; but his final authority is the Word of God. The  cynic Ambrose Bierce once defined ‘quoting’ as ‘the act of repeating erroneously the words  of another.’ Dr. Ryrie is too seasoned a scholar to make that mistake. You can read these  pages with confidence; they are not written by an amateur” (p. 9, SGS).

One thing anyone can tell you who has spent more than just a few years walking with the Lord is that scholarship, while having certain merits, is not the be-all or end-all of every question. Remember that in the eyes of “scholars,” Jesus, and almost every one of His apostles, were viewed as “unlearned.”
No, it is not scholarship that guarantees accuracy, it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. If one’s scholarship is submitted to the Word of God as illumined by the Spirit of God — with a willingness to disbelieve everything one’s scholarship holds true — then the scholar may say that he is acknowledging Jesus as Lord of his scholarship.

I do not question Dr. Ryrie’s credentials, but I am concerned that he would take MacArthur’s comments out of context to prove a point that, in full circle, comes to the same conclusion as MacArthur:

“Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow.  Otherwise that person is not a believer. Every born-again individual will be fruitful. Not  to be fruitful is to be faithless, without faith, and therefore without salvation” (p  45, SGS).

This is precisely MacArthur’s point. So too, are Ryrie’s “caveats”:

“Having said that, some caveats are in order. One, this does not mean that a  believer will always be fruitful … Two, this does not mean that a certain person’s fruit  will necessarily be outwardly evident … Three, my understanding of what fruit is and  therefore what I expect others to bear may be faulty and/or incomplete. … Nevertheless,  every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer” (p 45, SGS).

It appears as if Ryrie believes in lordship salvation, too. But he just doesn’t like the way MacArthur states it. Logically, he would have to use his own arguments against himself. Particularly his example of a deathbed conversion that doesn’t allow someone to bear fruit afterward. And his excuse that the person may bear fruit through someone else believing as a result of his conversion is not what is meant by bearing fruit. Otherwise we could say that everyone who professes Christ, regardless of his attitude toward his sin, bears fruit on the basis that someone who hears that he has professed Christ also decides to trust Christ.
Here it is necessary to differentiate between “fruit” and “works.” Briefly, fruit is the result of an inward conversion experience that is manifested in a change of heart attitude towards God. Generally, we are speaking about the fruit of the Spirit. Even if it takes many years of chastisement and difficulty on the part of the believer to work even a modicum of the fruit into his life, there will be some response out of a heart of desire to be obedient to God.
Works, on the other hand, are the result of putting that attitude into practice. Some works are performed in obedience to God; Other works are performed in response to one’s concept of righteousness, but not in obedience to God — works of the flesh that are not sinful per se. An example would be to do a good work out of a motive of self-desire rather than in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. These “works” are wood, hay, and stubble.
MacArthur seems to grasp this concept well enough. Ryrie demonstrates a lack of understanding. This is not said to take sides. I entered into the reading of these two books with an open mind. But in the final analysis, I had to agree almost totally with MacArthur’s position. He consistently worked from Scripture to build his case for lordship salvation, whereas Ryrie consistently worked from MacArthur’s text to “prove” that the lordship salvation message is tantamount to salvation by works.
Nor are the quotes referred to above the only ones involved. Ryrie’s poor scholarship runs rampant throughout his book. And it’s a shame that a theologian of his “stature” should come to such a sad state. It’s as if he just threw something together in haste in order to capitalize on the success of MacArthur’s book and the contrived controversy that has been propagated by those who see little or no merit in living as if Jesus is Lord. And Wiersbe’s glowing account of Ryrie’s exegesis must prove an embarrassment in view of Ryrie’s claim that the repentance God calls us to is a changing of our minds about Jesus, and not about sin:

“Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation. What kind of  repentance saves? Not a sorrow for sins or even a sorrow that results in a cleaning up of  one’s life. People who reform have repented; that is, they have changed their minds about  their past lives, but that kind of repentance, albeit genuine, does not of itself save  them. The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ.  People can weep; people can resolve to turn from their past sins; but those things in  themselves cannot save. The only kind of repentance that saves anyone, anywhere, anytime  is a change of mind about Jesus Christ. The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may  stir up a person’s mind or conscience so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior,  but if there is not change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation” (p.  94, SGS).

Actually, one cannot disagree entirely with what Ryrie says. It is necessary for us to have a change of mind about Jesus Christ — that is, to believe what the gospel says about Him, as opposed to what religious or philosophical traditions (or personal feelings) say about Him. But what does the Gospel say about Jesus? That He came to save us from our sins — not only the consequences, but the enslavement to them. We cannot believe that unless we are confronted with our sins. And confrontation under the anointing of the Holy Spirit will always result in one of two conclusions: to either reject the Christ who saves us from our sins, and thus continue in them, or to believe in the Christ who saves us from our sins and turn away from them (i.e., repent from sin and turn to Christ).
We see, then, that repentance has a two-fold meaning: repentance from our misconceived ideas about Jesus, as Ryrie points out, but also repentance from sin. Ryrie’s premise that repentance does not mean repentance from sin, but only repentance from a wrong concept of Christ, cannot stand the test of Scripture. Almost every Bible mention of repentance unto salvation is in the context of repentance from sin. Now, Ryrie does says that repentance from sin is important. But to say that it is not essential to salvation is to say that Christ died for nothing more than recognition of his office as Savior.
To sum up these two books, MacArthur’s is scholarly, accurate in its exegesis, and honest in its approach to a difficult subject. Ryrie’s book, on the other hand, contains about half the content of MacArthur’s for about the same price, is poorly exegeted, and, while much of what he says is true, those truths are already stated by MacArthur. You won’t miss anything by passing it up.
Finally, it should be reiterated that lordship salvation does not say — nor does MacArthur say — that repentance is a precondition to faith. Rather, repentance from sin proceeds from faith. We are saved by grace through faith.
Thus the writer of Hebrews asks that all-important question that forms the basis for the title of Ryrie’s book, “How can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Indeed, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation that transforms those it touches into the image of Christ — a lordship salvation?


* This material has been excerpted and/or adapted from an Al Dager’s 3/90 Media Spotlight book review by the same name. The favorable comments by Mr. Dager concerning John MacArthur’s views on Lordship Salvation should in no way be construed as an endorsement by BDM of either John MacArthur or his book. This review is presented primarily as evidence of the unbiblical easy-believism gospel being taught by the likes of Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges, etc., and their attacks on anyone who might approximate a Biblical approach to Lordship Salvation.

Feelings and Emotions. Philippians 4:10

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 GRACE BIBLE CHURCH Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary. From the week ending 11/21/04 Feelings and Emotions. Philippians 4:10

So far our corrected translation of PHI 4:10 says, Now, I have     received much inner happiness by means of the Lord greatly, that now     at length you have revived your concern or thinking for me;

The Greek word for concern is the present active infinitive from     the verb phroneo which means to care or to be concerned about     others with objective thinking, or to be compassionate and caring for     others. This was the attitude of the believers in the Philippian     church even though Paul had made a great mistake in Jerusalem.

The fact that they were thinking about him means two things:

1. They appreciated all the doctrine that Paul taught them. He     evangelized many of them, and he taught them doctrine and they were     remembering him in a very wonderful way simply because the original     doctrine in their souls came from him. They appreciated doctrine so     much, that he would be a pleasant memory to them throughout time and     eternity. Every pastor will have to stand before God and give an     account for what they taught members of their congregation, 1Pe     5:1-4, JAM 3:1, Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren,     knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment [evaluation     at the Judgment Seat of Christ].

COL 1:28, And we proclaim Him, inculcating every believer and     teaching every believer with all wisdom in order that we may present     every person complete or mature in Christ. So when someone is your right pastor and you learn doctrine from     them, he is one person you will appreciate all your life. That     appreciation goes with the fact that the right priority in your soul     is doctrine and that is more important than anything in your life.

2. The people you love, you think about, just like the things that     are most important to you, you think about. These things are then the     number one priority in your soul.

Again PHI 4:10 says, Now, I have received much inner happiness     by means of the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived.

The phrase have revived is the aorist active indicative     from the verb anathallo which is anethalete. Ana is a     preposition meaning again, thallo is a verb meaning to     flourish or to thrive. The word means to thrive again, grow again,     recover activity, bloom again, to revive, here it is used of those     whose condition and affairs are becoming more prosperous. Paul is     saying I am happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for     me. They have broken the maturity barrier and advanced to supergrace     and at that point their capacity for love extended toward God in     category one love, and toward the apostle Paul in category three love     which is manifested by caring for friends. THIS IS THE LINK TO THE REST OF THIS GREAT STUDY

Fruit of the Spirit

 

by Matt Slick

Gal. 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Now, quick, without looking, how many fruit are there of the Spirit? Take a guess and then count to see if you got it right. Did you get it right? Did you get nine? If you did, you’re wrong because there is only ONE fruit of the Spirit, that’s right, just one. In Greek the word for “fruit” is “karpos” and it is in the singular. So, to translate this a little loosely, it could read like this. “But the single fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control…” This means that all of these graces listed are one group that go together as a unit. TO READ FULL ARTICLE GO HERE

Doctrine of the 10 Problem-Solving Devices

Doctrine of the 10 Problem-Solving Devices

1. Rebound
2. The Filling of the Holy Spirit
3. Faith-Rest
4. grace orientation
5. Doctrinal orientation
6. A Personal Sense of Destiny
7. Personal Love for God the Father
8. Impersonal Unconditional Love for all Mankind
9. Contentment and Perfect Happiness with God
10. Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ

Solutions to Problems

Every problem in life has a solution stated in the Word of God. God reveals Himself and His policy through the written pages of the Bible, which we called the Word of God, the mind of Christ, and the voice of the Holy Spirit. God supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture, without waiving their personal feelings, human intelligence, literary style, or any other human factor, to convey His complete and coherent message to mankind. This was done with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture; these very words bear the authority of divine authorship. Therefore, there is no such thing as a problem in life that does not have a solution in the Word of God.
For the unbeliever, solutions are always related to establishment principles, for only in establishment principles can the unbeliever utilize virtue and make it a part of his life. Therefore, solutions for the unbeliever are limited because he has no eternal or temporal relationship with God. Ultimately then, problem solving is the monopoly of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean, however, that unbelievers cannot solve problems, but that unbelievers do not have answers to all their problems.

Consequently, the subject of problems and solutions is always directed toward the believer in Jesus Christ, and specifically toward the Church-age believer whose possession of the mystery doctrines of the Church-age, his very own portfolio of invisible assets, the unique availability of divine power, and the fantastic privileges related to being a member of the Royal Family of God, provide him with clearly defined problem-solving devices. In other words, beyond gnosis (knowledge) there is the most fantastic system of solving one’s own problems from thinking with the mind of Christ. Accomplishing this requires us to put Bible doctrine first in our life. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Most Important Sign for the Church

We have now noted the Satanic Game Plan, and are continuing our study of REV 12:1 and the Israeli-Arab conflict: “And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun [Jacob], and the moon under her feet [the wives of Jacob], and on her head a crown of twelve stars [the twelve patriarchs and twelve tribes of Israel].” These twelve tribes are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

REV 12:2-5 And she [Israel] was with child [the virgin pregnancy]; and she cried out [the many Jewish Holocausts throughout human history], being in labor and in pain to give birth [longing for deliverance from this anti-Semitism]. And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads and ten horns, [the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and the ecumenical religion, which is being formed today], and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns]. And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the stars of heaven [the prehistoric revolution in Heaven, in which one third of the angels followed Satan in the prehistoric angelic conflict], and He [God] threw them to the earth [in the middle of the Tribulation]. And the dragon [Satan] stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth [to prevent the virgin birth of Christ], so that when she gave birth he might devour [destroy] her child [the humanity of Christ]. And she gave birth to a son, a male child [our Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [during the Millennium]; and her child [Jesus Christ] was caught up to God ["harapazo" refers to the ascension, the doctrine of Christology pertaining to the transfer of our Lord's true humanity from planet earth to the third heaven in a resurrection body, ACT 2:34.] and to His throne [the session, the doctrine of Christology pertaining to the glorification of our Lord's humanity at the right hand of the Father, EPH 2:6.] And the woman [true Israel, Jews saved during the Tribulation period] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God [for refuge], so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [the last half of the Tribulation and the time of Satan's desperation]. Read Full Study Here