Monday, October 6, 2008

Wonderful Gospel Presentations From Ireland

Click here and here for Scottish messages. These outreach messages are from the Cork Free Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

God: Up Close And Personal

The wonderful aspect of salvation is the personal involvement of God in our salvation. God was in Christ reconciling me! Though the tone of the Bible is a corporate "us" the application is personal. We say give "us" this day our daily bread but we know when we pray we can ask God to grant "me" my daily bread. When we say God loves the World I know God loves me.

There are two views of closeness used specifically in creation. Transcendent and immanent. God is both separate from his creation and yet involved in creating.
There are three unbiblical views that are dispelled by the creation account: materialism, pantheism and dualism.

Basically creation accounts are Theistic accounts in contrast to evolutionary theories. There are Theist who attempt to blend evolution and creation into "Theistic evolution". Among the non-evolutionary theories (the word theory is an attempt to be fair to all sides) are the old earth and the young earth theories.

For many years I was non-committal on these and attempted to explain both in fairness. In the past 10-15 years I have been committed to the young earth theory. Old earth theorist believe that the earth is millions if not billions of years old yet God is none the less involved. Young earth theorist believe that the earth is perhaps 10-20,000 years old. God was involved in a literal seven day creation. Much of my beliefs have been influence by Ken Ham's ministry "
Answers in Genesis" (AiG). One of the things about a young earth theory is it brings God up close and personal to creation. This in no way overcomes the problems of aligning science and the Bible. It certainly frustrates the scientist and the "gap theorist" but it allows God to be very much involved in all creation. God is a personal being very close in creation to all his handiwork.

But also is it not a reach to say that it brings the God who is transcendent so close to man immanently in redemption? God who simply spoke by the gesture of his sweeping hand the solar systems into existence gave his only begotten son to reconcile the world unto himself. How immanent can you get? Perhaps this is why the gospel confounds the wise of this world.

But also the wise of this world are confounded by the determination of God to save his elect. They will bend over backwards to defend human free-will over God's sovereignty to choose freely who to save. Man just has to have a part in the decision for salvation never fully admitting that he squandered his choice in the garden.

If you allow for a
pelagian humanism then you have to deal with an unfair Savior. Of course no fundamental Christian wants to accuse God of being unfair. So they alter His sovereignty to allow for free choice. This argument of atonement is limited vs. general redemption. Does God send his son to die for everyone so that a choice is offered to man or does Christ die for the elect? This is not a question of his sufficiency to save all but of his application to save a selection. He saves me! I am an undeserving sinner saved by grace!

Before you question the fairness of God you have to admit the sinful condition of man from Adam and understand that in fairness God could damn all men to hell. It is not a matter of fairness but justice. God is merciful in saving the elect and that election is not according to worth because the determination was made before the foundations of the earth was laid, before we had done good or bad. The foolish things of this world confounds the wise but to us who have been recipients of God's redemption it is a powerful work in our hearts.

Limited Atonement brings salvation up close and personal for us. The transcendent God is immanent in our lives!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wake Up Believers!

Cannons of Dort The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands 1618

Error rejected: Who teach that in election to faith a prerequisite condition is that man should rightly use the light of nature, be upright, unassuming, humble, and disposed to eternal life, as though election depended to some extent on these factors. (You cannot be good enough to be saved)

Affirmation: For this smacks of Pelagius, and it clearly calls into question the words of the apostle: We lived at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in transgressions, made us alive with Christ, by whose grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with him and seated us with him in heaven in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages we might show the surpassing riches of his grace, according to his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith (and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God) not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:3-9). (God saves sinners!)

Error rejected: Who teach that the incomplete and nonperemptory election of particular persons to salvation occurred on the basis of a foreseen faith, repentance, holiness, and godliness, which has just begun or continued for some time; but that complete and peremptory election occurred on the basis of a foreseen perseverance to the end in faith, repentance, holiness, and godliness. And that this is the gracious and evangelical worthiness, on account of which the one who is chosen is more worthy than the one who is not chosen. And therefore that faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness, and perseverance are not fruits or effects of an unchangeable election to glory, but indispensable conditions and causes, which are prerequisite in those who are to be chosen in the complete election, and which are foreseen as achieved in them. (There is nothing we can do to earn God's favor, absolutely nothing!)

Affirmation: This runs counter to the entire Scripture, which throughout impresses upon our ears and hearts these sayings among others: Election is not by works, but by him who calls (Rom. 9:11-12); All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48); He chose us in himself so that we should be holy (Eph. 1:4); You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16); If by grace, not by works (Rom. 11:6); In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son (1 John 4:10).

This is from a document in Netherlands, 1618. The Dutch Church stood firm against "works" salvation and this document has withstood the test of time. It has the reliability of the King James committee which produced the version of the Bible that has been the basis of our English translations, sometimes called the Authorized Version.

Strangely this doctrine of grace places the assurance of salvation on God's gracious provision and not on our backs. You should be thrilled to know that you are chosen and elected to salvation.
In fact the very concern you have about your assurance is further evidence that you are the chosen of God and that the Spirit is dealing with your heart. If you are not concerned that still could mean that the Holy Spirit has not chosen at the moment to deal with you. From cover to cover of the Bible God delights in the election of his children. There is more than enough room in heaven to house his children. Don't let anyone tell you that there are few children. There are few of God's children on this earth who realize the positions of grace and live below their standing with God. The way to this realization is found on a narrow curving path and the way of those who live below their status have a wide highway and wide gate and it is the road of least resistance. Matthew 7:13-14 Believers have a choice of paths. Sinners are led down the course of this earth. They don't have a choice.

Hey! Believers! You have a choice to make and the rewards are found in this life and the life to come. Your choice determines if you have heaven on earth.

Life was far more difficult in the 1600's. Men were coming out of dark ages of unimaginable degradation of human worth. However many more experienced the blessings of grace then than do now. They made a choice to believe Christ's promises. They heard reformation preaching. Today seldom is the reformed message heard in America. Chances are that you are not hearing it from your church and your pastor. I attend a very good church but I confess that I am not hearing reformation preaching rather I hear a mixture of works and grace. I get grace from the Holy Spirit from my personal study.

America is rich and thinks that she has need of nothing. She is actually in poverty, destitute and naked. Revelation 3:15-17

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Gospel Thesis

Acts 15:7-11 KJV "Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

The apostles and elders assembled in Jerusalem for an eventful conference to clarify the New Testament message of grace. Some of the Jews in Judea wanted to enforce the circumcision tradition along with the message of grace preached to the Gentiles. Peter was led providentially into a situation at Samaria with a Gentile family and uncircumcised men were led into the faith in the same manner as the believers at Pentecost had experienced without circumcision. When all the assembly at the conference heard this they were silenced and the issue died. There were no
counter arguments to be made against Peter.

James, the leader of the conference, knowing that the silence did not mean total consent presented a compromise that helped to ease the intensity of the debate. He knew that Amos and Jeremiah had prophesied the Gentile conversion and what Peter had done was in line with the Old Testament. But to ease things he stipulated to the missionaries going to the Gentiles they should insist that the new converts abstain from eating meat not killed in a Jewish manner and meat offered to pagan idols. He also insisted that all converts abstain from all sexual immorality. This would "silence" the Jews, keep them happy, and the missionaries would be free to preach to the Gentiles.

Peter's thesis met an anti-thesis, circumcision, and the thesis remained without synthesis. James presented an anti-thesis to the thesis and a synthesis was conceived. So goes the history of Christianity. Synthesis after synthesis were conceived after antithesis were offered. People have been trying to add conditions to grace in order please someone.

However we know the whole story as unfolded in the New Testament. The Jews were not silenced; they followed the missionaries stirring up trouble. The missionaries did not follow the conditions and preached unconditional grace received by faith in Christ's atonement. They did naturally insist on abstinence from sexual immorality. Particularly, Paul's letters to the Romans and Galatians clarify the message of grace to the Gentiles. The letters of James and Hebrews attempt to clarify to the Jews the message of grace.

Salvation through grace apart from works is the thesis. This message must not be compromised.
It's necessity is rooted deeply in the biblical message of depravity. Man is hopeless to rescue himself and is totally dependent on a greater power outside himself. If God does not act first there is no redemption and man is eternally lost, without exception. This first act of God we call grace. No act of man ever comes before God. Repentance, confession, baptism; all acts of man follow God's grace.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Children Of Obedience

1 Peter 1:13-16 "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

Before you were saved you were by birth "children of disobedience"
but now you are "children of obedience". Think about that! Where once you walked according to the course of this world system and were led by the prince of the power of the air, now you walk as children of obedience! With freed will you have humanly impossible responsibilities to be holy, for God is holy. Your responsibilities are undergirded by the Holy Spirit enablement to accomplish the impossible. What you did as a sinner came naturally. As a believer you walk supernaturally.

Now this means if you are striving to live a disciplined and self-mastered life doing your sincere best you are going to fall short of the practical expectations of your positional life you have in Christ. Positionally you are a child of obedience however without the help of the Holy Spirit and under your own reliance you will fail every time! You already know this I am sure. I do! Just acknowledge the Holy Spirit in your life, that's all you have to do and when you resist He will lead you kicking and screaming with scripture toward godliness.

What I am saying is it will not be a cakewalk but you will make it to the end! Blessed assurance.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sons Of Disobedience Or Disobedient Sons?

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
New International Version "who are disobedient"
The Message "You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief"
New Living Translation "who refuse to obey God"
Contemporary English Version "everyone who doesn't obey God"
Holman Christian Standard Bible "in the disobedient"
New International Reader's Version -UK "who don't obey God"
Worldwide English (New Testament) "people who do not obey God"
Today's New International Version "those who are disobedient"
New Century Version "those who refuse to obey God"

All these modern translations alter the phrase "sons of disobedience." (Incidentally the Jehovah Witness' "New World Translation" states: "sons of disobedience.") All the older translations state "sons of disobedience." Judas and the anti-Christ are sons of perdition. John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3. We are "cursed children" II Peter 2:14. We are disobedient by virtue of our birth to our parents. We were conceived in iniquity. Psalms 51:5. Did you ever wonder why sin came so natural to you? Did it occur to you that we are sinful from birth rather than evolving into a sinner? You did not enter life with a clean slate and everything went down hill from there.
We all have inherited Adam's sin. Our salvation consist of deliverance from this sinful condition.

Because all these modern translation advocate a free will in choosing Christ as savior they have to alter the sinful condition of man. Since there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from Adam's sin, original sin is denied and we are saved from actual sin which occurs when we reach the age of accountability. "Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation." Baptist Faith and Mission

Only in this way can man exercise free will in obeying the scripture. In spite of the fact that scripture plainly set forth the claim as a sinner we cannot choose Christ. Romans 3:11,12

Our salvation is completely out of our hands. That is good news! But God rich in mercy....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We Can't lift A Finger Toward God!

Titus 3:4-5 (KJV) "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

Synergism and Monergism are two views that express how we are saved. Synergism is "essentially the view that God and humanity work together, each contributing their part to accomplish salvation in and for the individual. This is the view of salvation found in Arminianism and its theological predecessor Semi-Pelagianism."-Theopedia "Monergism is a term for the belief that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. This view, held by Reformed and Calvinistic groups, sees salvation as the work of God alone, from first to last. He has chosen in eternity past whom He will save out of lost humanity (often referred to as the elect), and in His timing He will bring the elect to faith through the work of the Spirit for the sake of the Son, and save them forever to the praise of His glorious grace (Romans 8:29f)." -Theopedia

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done." Our salvation is all of grace. The Holy Spirit is the sole agent in regeneration. We can't lift a finger toward God. We were dead in sins and trespasses.

"Not by works of righteousness" can elicit thoughts of fear in us as we question whether we are chosen by God for the Spirit to save. This phrase is sandwiched between two glorious thoughts.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Can't you envision your favorite sandwich which is a simple delight to just sit down and savor the texture and taste with pleasure! Our salvation is a glorious delight sandwiched between abundant love and kindness. You are blessed with what you do not deserve!

"I just don't feel worthy" is an expression of the "blessed." Can you see the security God provides for us. There is no room for failure on God part! We can't lift a finger and nothing can separate us from the love of God. How secure we are in Christ. I'm glad my salvation is not synergistic!