It should be retitled: "Covenantal Salvation: By Works Not Grace".
There is much work to do in begetting infants, so that they can be regenerated by the magic-show sprinkler, who gives a new birth to whomsoever he wishes, upon a profession of faith from the parent, and a few little sprinkles of holy water, BEHOLD, it is born anew! Hallelujah! What a miracle worker the sprinkler man is! We should make him a saint!
But then there are biblical believers, who are born again by the will of God, in the time of God, to whomsoever God chooses, by whatever means the word of God comes.
Now the answer to the question is answered biblically. Note,
"Repent, and be baptised, every one of you....."
Those that refused to repent were not saved. and those who repented were saved. And they received the Holy Ghost, as the earnest, assuring them of eternal life.
I sure hope the Lord shows you these things, lest you come into the category of those who do not accept God's testimony.
Michael Hranek wrote: Bro John UK Wales IMHO I believe we are seeing something of what Art Azurdia mentions in his sermon: Preaching the Cross of Christ http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=117091932351
Sounds interesting Michael.
It is most important to preach the true gospel with biblical warrant and doctrine. I believe this passage spells it out perfectly:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
Those who follow this biblical pattern are know as Christ-centred preachers. They make much of the one who is to be the object of our trust.
There are others who seem to spend the entire message telling folks to do something, like "believe" or "repent" or whatever. But in order to savingly believe, it is the object who must be held forth.
It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King; the Head and Saviour of his Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
I already said that.
And I didn't need to cut and paste.
Psalms 8:3-4 KJV 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Isaiah 1:3 KJV 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Acts 2:36-37 KJV 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Michael Hranek wrote: IMHO modern day "experts in theology", exalt and speak much of the system of theology they cherish (Roman Catholics for example often do this in speaking of Catholicism) and can proof text their beliefs until every i is dotted and every t is crossed.
You're not perhaps talking about the Institutes/WCF adherents, from whose mouths you will hear plenty about theology and Mr Calvin, but little or nothing about our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice for us has granted us eternal life in the will of God, applied by his Spirit, bringing us to repentance and trust in Christ, having been predestinated by the Father before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love, taking the glorious gospel of this salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth, preaching and praying with tears, having such a sensitive, spiritual mind, which is in tune with the eternal destinies of the lost, knowing their pain and suffering, and wishing they could only see the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done for sinners like them, and that they might turn to him and receive him, accepting him as Saviour and Lord, joyfully following him each and every day?
Michael Hranek wrote: Quick comment to consider: In Jesus' day it was NOT the religious who got it, the baptism of John the Baptist, but the publicans and prostitutes. Is it any different today???
No different at all, Michael. The religious are characterised by self-righteousness. I have met plenty of them in my tracting. In the UK, most of them are in the anglican church, but also in the other liberal churches, methodist, united reformed, congregational, presbyterian, baptist union, et al.
It is astonishing that I, a distinct sinner, should be saved, whereas many of these, having attended church all their life, and reasonably moral and kind, should languish in hell for their unbelief and rejection of the truth.
But they will never be sincere while singing "....that saved a wretch like me."
The first step toward heaven is an admission, "Yes, I am a sinner who deserves the judgment of God."
That is something the self-righteous cannot possibly do, hence the need for grace, if ever they are to get saved, of which Saul of Tarsus is the best example.
John for JESUS wrote: 1) God sent the Son into the world because He loved the world (John 3:16). Yet, Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24)."
And because of that, you would take away all the teaching of the gospels from the saints? Crazy!
John 10:11 KJV 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
You say this is for natural born Jews?
Observe and learn, John:
Matthew 28:18-20 KJV 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching THEM to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Now I would be very interested to know how you interpret John 10:11.
For me, it shows a shepherd and his flock (from the past, the present, and the future).
The shepherd, in order to save his flock from their sins, must needs make a vicarious atonement - he must die IN THEIR PLACE, bearing the wrath of God. He knew for whom he was dying, those the Father had given him.
Clarification wrote: The reason why free willers don't get it is because they don't appreciate the sinfulness of sin. The chief reason, why there is so much mistake on this subject, is the want of a clear and vivid impression of the nature of that which constitutes the moral inability of man, and of the infinite evil involved in it. Let the minds of men be opened to the hatefulness and malignity of sin, consisting in the wicked disposition of the heart, and they will perceive at once that the invincible strength and obstinacy of that disposition, which prevents sinners from repenting and urges them forward in their fatal career, is so far from affording any justification of their conduct, that it constitutes their guilt and stamps their characters as objects of unqualified abhorrence.
"...is the want of a clear and vivid impression of the nature of that which constitutes the moral inability of man."
I guess that cannot be communicated intellectually, but by revelation of the Father in his grace and mercy. This is why I do never listen to those unenlightened souls who say not to ever frighten people into God's kingdom. Man, how frightened they will be when confronted with the red hot wrath of God in judgment.
Michael Hranek wrote: So IMH Observation I tend to think this man's views on Predestination (precious Biblical Doctrine taken in the context of all of Scripture, thank you) had crippled him that his prayers (and he does pray) wouldn't really avail and matter to change anything. Instead of, with God nothing is impossible!
Very good point, bro, and worthy of much thought, especially as "normal Christianity" is becoming extremely rare, and the expression "prayer-warrior" is becoming obsolete.
I guess if someone was to write a book called "The Crippled Christian", there would be no shortage of textual matter or examples in these last days. What a man believes is what he does.
If God gives every man the opportunity to believe the gospel and be saved, how do you explain the parable of the sower? Here we have an example of God's word - the gospel - coming to four people with different types of hearts, and only one of them had a heart receptive to the seed of the word. It took firm root, and sprang up, and brought forth fruit.
Could the other three have changed their hearts to be more receptive?
Why did the fourth have a good heart receptive to the word?
Last night, our preacher prayed God would soften hearts, that there may be a good reception of the word preached.
JohnfJ, did your preacher pray for sinners last night?
God said, "Go." Jonah said, "No!"
And yet Jonah went.
Maybe it had something to do with the providence and extraordinary circumstances that God brought into Jonah's life, that his will was so changed.
For sure, God never forced Jonah to go to Nineveh.
Regeneration before faith? When you climb into a taxicab, did you take that step before the cab arrived, or when it arrived?
You'll never touch the hem of Christ's garment and be healed, except Jesus Christ is standing right in front of you.
John for JESUS wrote: The sheep [in John 10] were Jews who were believers.
Then who exactly are these sheep? -
Matthew 25:31-33 KJV 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
If you want to make John 10 totally irrelevant to me and all other saved Gentiles, you can keep that sort of nonsense to yourself.
Note, John 10:26 KJV 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Jesus did not stupidly say, "Ye believe not, because ye are not believers."
Regarding this praying, it may be because there is a warfare raging all around. Poor lost sinners are slaves of sin and satan, so satan is waging war on both preachers and listeners alike, and he does not wish to give up his captives.
And then there are those who propose a false gospel, who will try to gain the adherent by stealing them away from the truth. A wolf in sheep's clothing needs to be prayed against.
And then there is the sinner himelf, who by nature is at enmity with God and does not seek after God. We can pray that God will quicken him and change his heart.
We can pray for the preacher, who is designed by God to preach in power, demonstrating the Spirit. If he is lapse in his own prayer life, spiritual power will be noticeable by its absence.
We can pray that a congregation will be amicable to visitors, that they will be welcoming and gracious. It is only God that can make them thus.
We can pray for ourselves, that God will speak through us to the lost, that his Spirit might lead and guide our very words.
And at the end of it all, we still must pray, "Thy will be done."
Michael Hranek wrote: His power to save the worst of sinners from their sin and love of sin and keep them saved is so wonderfully real. His coming again to rule in righteousness and reign is joyously imminent!
Soon, eh? Let us hope so, before this world gets any worse.
The verse I was thinking of which shows how God works with man....
Philippians 2:12-13 KJV 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. _________
Christopher, your questions are very deep, and I do not know the answers. Paul, in Romans 9, explains all about election, and that God will not be saving the non-elect any day soon. And yet, being full of love by the Spirit, he earlier makes these comments:
Romans 9:3 KJV 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Romans 10:1-2 KJV 1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Michael Hranek wrote: Dear Brother John UK Wales Does this 'hearing His voice' involve a clear presentation of the Gospel, the immeasurable good news of the Son of God?
Bro, you make a very important point, and it is one which neo-calvinists need to take very much to heart.
It seems that no matter where you look, there is an bias which seems to pervade every convo, every sermon, every book. For neo-calvs it is the sovereignty of God. For neo-arms it is the freedom of man.
I see scripture teaching both the sovereignty of God in salvation, yet the responsibility of sinners to actively repent of sin (deliberately and definitely turning from it) and actively come to Christ in faith, bowing before him as a beggar to a king, and pleading for his mercy (God be merciful to me, a sinner).
Those that are coming, still need to count the cost of discipleship; they need to work out in their own mind if they are willing to forsake all things for Christ, even to lose their life for his sake and the gospel.
The way to heaven is a strait gate and a narrow, hard road. Is the sinner willing? Does he give up every right to his own life? Will he have Jesus as Lord? Will he drink the water of life?
John 10:16 KJV 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Who hears the voice of Jesus? Fore-ordained sheep.
John 10:26-29 KJV 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Do all the sheep hear the voice of Jesus? Yes.
Do all the sheep follow Jesus? Yes.
Are all the sheep given eternal life? Yes.
Are all the sheep a gift from the Father to the Son? Yes.
Can the sheep ever be lost? No.
Can any other than sheep believe? No.
Why not? Because faith is only given to the sheep.
Surely that is unfair? No it is not unfair.
Why not? Because the whole world is guilty before God because of The Fall and the subsequent sins of every man. Each is guilty and condemned. God could justly damn every single one of us. But he has chosen to save some, which HE calls "his sheep" - the elect of God.
John for JESUS wrote: If you really believe what you just said then you will no longer quote scripture to prove a point! We both know that won't happen, so why is it the case for your secret doctrine of post-preaching, pre-faith enabling which someone cannot help but believe? I think because you know it isn't there.
Ah but I haven't produced just one scripture, have I? I have posted a multitude of scriptures. Maybe one at a time, but if you check back, you will see just how many.
Now, have you really come to understand that God enables by prevenient grace, a sinner to respond to the message? If so, that is progress.
If not, you still hold to God doing nothing in the sinner when he hears the gospel?
Well, as I said, if you attend First Baptist Church, Woodstock, tomorrow, have a listen to the praying, and see if your pastor, elder, whatever, prays on behalf of sinners, regarding the evangelistic work. Because if he does, you need to ask him why on earth did he pray for sinners, if they are quite capable of responding to the gospel without any help from God. Maybe you will listen to your own people.
However, if they don't pray for sinners, it is a funny old church you go to, eh?
John for JESUS wrote: So between the preaching of the word of God and belief, you believe in a super secret enlightening/enabling which you won't reveal because you are not a "proof-texter"? Really though there is no such pre-faith enabling to be pointed to as a proof-text.
John, good sound doctrine does not come from a proof text. That is the way to get false doctrine, and is how cults arrive at bizarre beliefs.
What I ran out of space saying, is that all my doctrines come from a serious study of the entire Bible. That is why it is impossible to pass on such effort to others in a little space like this.
I tell you what, you can answer your own questions in your own church. How?
Next prayer meeting you attend, listen very closely to what your elders pray when it comes to the evangelistic work of the fellowship. What do they ask God for, when it comes to sinners who will hear the word preached.
You see, if God is not involved in granting grace to a sinner, which affects him upon hearing the word, then there is no need to pray for the sinner.
You have said that God does nothing, as man has the capacity to believe.
So have a listen tomorrow, and report your findings.
John for JESUS wrote: 1) Believers were born again in those verses. Being born again means someone has received eternal life, correct? If that is right, then "whoever believes may in Him have eternal life." John 3:15. But aren't we talking about enlightening instead? Or do you consider them the same?
It would be well to consider this aspect in great detail, because without a new birth, a sinner cannot see or enter the kingdom of God.
But there is no instruction in the Bible as to how to be born again. Why not? Because man is incapable of achieving such a thing.
The closest we can get to it is here:
1 Peter 1:23 KJV 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Hebrews 4:12 KJV 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
But not all sinners who hear the same word are quickened by it. This is why we pray that God quickens the people who hear that living word, otherwise it will have no effect on them at all.