Monday, October 31, 2011

Bible Truth #322 - John 15:1-5

1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

There are several truths here that bear repeating. Jesus Christ is the True Vine. God the Father is the Husbandman. No branch can graft itself into the True Vine. EVERY branch starts as part of the wild plant. There is no branch that “comes into existence” already part of the True Vine for every man is conceived a sinner in need of redemption (Psalm 51:5).

The Husbandman must act first by removing a branch of His choosing from a wild plant and then graft it into the True Vine. The branch from the wild plant had nothing whatsoever to do in its selection, in its removal from the wild plant, nor of the time it was removed from the wild plant (Bible Truth #39). It was not jumping up and down calling out to the Husbandman, “Pick me! Pick me!” And then finally, once grafted into the True Vine it WILL bear fruit (Bible Truth #19) and it will be cleansed (purged) so that it can bear more fruit.

Now apply those truths to man. Before the foundation of the world, God the Father chose a relatively few number of men and placed them in Christ (Bible Truth #2). Those men had nothing to do with their being chosen, they didn’t earn it, they didn’t qualify for it by accepting Christ, believing, or repenting. When man is born he is in need of redemption, he is totally depraved, and without hope (Bible Truth #185, #186). There is no way for him to come to Christ unless God moves. And God DOES move in those He has chosen. He does a work in man to make him a believer (Bible Truth #8, #11).

The point I want to make is that Jesus made it very clear that apart from Him we can do nothing. There is no exception. A man must first have Christ before he can do anything spiritually. Paul said it another way in Romans 8:8, they that are in the flesh can not please God. If a man is apart from Christ he is lost, he hates the Light and will not come into it (Bible Truth #25), he is God’s enemy (Bible Truth #7), and he cannot produce fruit for the kingdom.

Apart from Christ you can do nothing and that certainly includes “accepting” Christ, believing in Him as your Savior, and repenting of your sins.

We become children of God NOT by human decision (Bible Truth #9).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bible Truth #321 - Exodus 9:13-16

13  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me,
14  or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.
15  For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.
16  But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that He (God) raised him up for this very purpose? What purpose was that? Keep reading - that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

God raised up Pharaoh for the explicit purpose of squashing him and his Army like a man would squash a cockroach. It makes no difference what anyone thinks the Pharaoh may have wanted to do, God directed his heart like he directs every river (Proverbs 21:1). God directed his heart - in his youth, in his education to be the leader of Egypt, and as Pharaoh. The result was that God’s Name might be proclaimed in all the earth. I also mentioned this in Bible Truth #142.

Paul writes in Romans that God takes lumps of clay and out of one He fashions a vessel of honor (for noble purposes), and out of the other He fashions a vessel of dishonor (for common use) - Romans 9:21. But why would God create Pharaoh and direct his life (Proverbs 16:9, 21:1) for the sole purpose of smashing him and sending him to Hell? The answer is just as easy as it is obvious - look at Romans 9:22-23. He did it to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy (His Elect), which He prepared beforehand for glory.

God had a purpose, and He executed His purpose according to His will (Lamentations 2:17, Ephesians 1:11).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bible Truth #320 - Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Let us consider what Jesus said in these few words. If any man will come after me... If any man will become a believer, if any man will become a Christian - I’m sure most will agree that Jesus was talking about any man becoming a Christian.

...let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Will any believer deny what Jesus said in John 3:19-20

“…Light is come into the world, and [lost] men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

Now just in case anyone thinks Jesus is not the light to which He was referring in these verses needs only to look at John 8:12 and John 9:5, in both of these passages Jesus clearly says He is the Light of the World. But the point is in John 3:20 Jesus said the lost man will NOT come into the Light. If a lost man will not come into the Light, how can he “come after Jesus?” How can a lost man “follow Him?”

The answer is he can’t do it! If a lost man could come into the Light, i.e. follow Jesus, it would make what Jesus said in John 3:20 a lie! It would also make Paul a liar because of what he wrote to the Romans in Romans 8:8 - would not a lost man coming to Jesus please God? Of course it would. So it is clear a lost man can’t come into the Light because he can’t please God.

Only a man whom God has quickened, and given belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29), repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), and understanding (Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:7) will deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus.

Once again Jesus’ own words disprove the belief of decisional salvation as believed by the Arminian.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bible Truth #319 - Matthew 18:10-14

10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

I am including several more verses for context but want to focus on verse 14.

I wrote about verse 11 and a similar verse in Luke in Bible Truth #22 so I won’t go into that here. Verse 14 is a verse that a lot of Christians, mostly Arminians, use for a man-centered doctrine called Age of Accountability. This is the theory that children (and the mentally infirm) are safe from eternal damnation until they reach an age when they can “understand” the idea that every person is conceived in sin, must be redeemed, and needs a Savior. This age is different for each child. Upon reaching this age, they are no longer safe and must be redeemed by accepting Jesus.

Even though a lot of Christians believe this, most will quickly and accurately say that each and every person from birth needs to be redeemed, they are born with the old sinful nature. That in itself contradicts their belief of the Age of Accountability doctrine. Why don’t they say a man needs to be redeemed from the Age of Accountability if they’re safe until then?

The theory of Age of Accountability also presupposes the idea that man must do something to earn eternal life - the man must believe, accept Christ as their Savior, and repent. If it proves anything, this theory proves that the Arminian believes in works. It proves that the lost man, while in his flesh, must DO something before God will save him. But since a zygote, embryo, fetus, baby, or toddler can’t do what first “needs” to be done, they make the claim that the unborn and young children are SAFE until the Age of Accountability. Arminians had to come up with some theory to cover the young and unborn since they can’t “accept Christ.” Sorry, if man must DO something before God grants him eternal life then God is a respecter of persons and I covered that in Bible Truth #24 - God is NOT a respecter of persons.

Another problem is that this theory of Age of Accountability is taught nowhere in Scripture. It’s an idea that runs counter to the sovereignty of God in Election.

A third problem with this theory of Age of Accountability is that Arminians once again miss the truth found in Scripture that regardless of age or maturity, it is impossible for a lost man, woman, boy, or girl to understand the fact that every person is conceived in sin, needs a Savior, and must be redeemed. Spiritual truth is foolishness to them and they will not understand or accept it (1 Corinthians 2:14).

From the moment of conception, not birth, but conception, the human being is Totally Depraved and in need of redemption (Psalm 51:5). There is no point in the life of man when he is “safe,” he is either chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world or not (Ephesians 1:4). Of the billions of children who have died before reaching this mythical Age of Accountability, has God chosen every single one and hence they immediately went to be with Jesus upon their death? I don't think so. All we know is what the Bible teaches and it is certainly not teaching the theory of Age of Accountability.

Yes, it’s easy to believe mans WORLDVIEW about the innocence of babies” but in God’s eyes, that unborn fetus, that newborn baby, and that toddler are just as spiritually dead as an atheist on death row. The idea that God chose to save every baby is not directly supported anywhere in Scripture and as a matter of fact, the opposite is written of by Luke in Acts 10:34, Peter said God is not a respecter of persons. If a man believes that EVERY unborn baby, EVERY newborn infant, and EVERY young child, who dies goes to Heaven, he is saying God is a respecter of persons (Bible Truth #24). He is saying that God chose each of these because of who they are - young and not able to understand the Gospel. That is a classic definition of a respecter of persons - God is showing bias toward someone, or a group.  Besides, as I wrote above, no lost person will ever understand the Gospel at any age (1 Corinthians 2:14).

However, I DO believe Scripture informs us there ARE unborn, infants, and young children, who die, who are saved. They are indeed among God’s Elect. In Psalm 103:17 God states that He extends His righteousness to the children of His children. Once we determine who God’s children are (John 8:44) it is then easy to extrapolate who is identified in this verse. Since only Christians are children of God, I believe that children of Christians who die very young or in the womb are assuredly among God’s Elect, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Trying to use the passage above as a general rule that applies to every child in the world is not sound exegesis. Verse 14 above is specific - it is not the will of your Father ... that one of these little ones perish. Jesus was referring to the specific child and children present, not every child ever born. If God’s will is that all children are safe from damnation, Jesus could have simply said it is not the will of God that any little ones perish. But consider, Jesus Himself limits or qualifies those about whom He is talking when He said in verse 6: But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me... Did you catch that? The little ones present believed in Jesus. You can't get any more straightforward than that. These children were old enough to understand and believe in Jesus.

Besides Verse 14 above, some also use the passage in Deuteronomy 1:35 and verse 39 to help support the idea that God will not eternally condemn the young. In addition, King David also has some words along this line of thinking. He said of the child conceived as the result of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23) But is this something that he personally believed, was it a truth God gave him about all children, or was it fact that God revealed to him about this particular child? Using these Scriptures along with Matthew 18:14 as proof text for children going to Heaven is really stretching the meaning of the text.

Finally, Jesus said it is not the will of the Father that one of these little ones perish. Speaking of God’s will, He is sovereign and He always gets his way. If He does not want any child to perish, they won’t. God works EVERYTHING in conformity with His own will (
Ephesians 1:11). He ALWAYS gets His way. That is the meaning of sovereignty.

The primary purpose of this Bible Truth was to refute the theory of Age of Accountability, not establish if young children who die are chosen or not.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bible Truth #318 - Matthew 18:1-3

1  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said except you be converted... you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

He did not say unless you change your mind, He did not say unless you repent, He did not say unless you believe, He did not say unless you follow me, these are all things that we do after God converts us. They are works of the redeemed man. Jesus said unless you be converted...

Well how does a man get converted? Here we once again get to where the rubber meets the road. The Arminian believes a lost man has the ability to change his heart. The Arminian has this idea that a lost man can believe, or repent, with the result that God would convert him.

Sorry. There is nothing a lost man can do to make God convert him. At a time of God’s choosing He converts every single person He chose in Christ before the Foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Why do I say EVERY person? Because God is not willing that ANY of His Elect perish, but that ALL of us come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Every person God foreknew, He predestines, calls, justifies and glorifies (Romans 8:29-30). If man had to do something before God converted him, like believe and repent, that would be works of the flesh and salvation is not of works (Ephesians 2:9) and it would make God a respecter of persons - and Peter tells us very clearly that He is not (Acts 10:34).

A lost man can’t do anything to please God because he is spiritually dead which means everything he does is in the flesh - and they that are in the flesh can NOT please God (Romans 8:8). John tells us in the first chapter of his Gospel that we become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13). He tells us many other truths as well:
- a lost man hates Jesus and will not come to Him (John 3:20)
- it is God’s work that a man believes, not man’s “free will” (John 6:29)
- Jesus will not lose a single one that the Father has given Him (John 6:39)
- Jesus raises up every man God draws, not those who accept the drawing (John 6:44)
- man’s flesh is good for nothing which includes accepting Jesus (John 6:63)
- we did NOT choose Christ, He chose us (John 15:16)
- Jesus prayed for us, those the Father had given Him, not the world (John 17:9)

The bottom line, except you be converted... you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven. And God does the converting, not man.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bible Truth #317 - Luke 10:1-6

1  After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
3  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
4  Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6  And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

I included the previous 5 verses for context and have written about verse 2 elsewhere, but in this Bible Truth I would like to point out an amazing thing in verse 6.

Jesus said as they enter a home, first say peace to this house (v5). And if the Son of Peace is there, their peace will rest upon it and if not, their blessing of peace will return to them. In the culture of that day when travelers enter a town, as they go through the city gate, frequently, especially if it later in the day, someone will approach them and offer them shelter. This is shown in Genesis 19 when Lot offered shelter to strangers (the angels).

The point is, God had already determined upon whose homes He would bless with the Son of Peace, His peace was already there. And the fact that Jesus said IF the Son of peace is there simply shows that even good, moral, friendly people who don’t have the Son of Peace will offer their homes or empty rooms as a place of shelter to strangers.

But how did the Son of Peace already exist upon these particular homes? The Son of Peace was already there, it preceded these 70 disciples to specific homes. Did God observe the behavior of the occupants and then grant them the Son of Peace? Of course not. If He did He would be showing favoritism based on works and we know salvation is not of works (Ephesians 2:9) nor is God a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

Can this be explained a different way? Probably. The Arminian will make claims based on their man-centered belief of decisional salvation but it will stand in contradiction to many other passages of Scripture that I’ve written of over 410 times.

Bottom line - God chooses whom to grant peace, whom to grant belief, whom to grant faith, whom to grant repentance, and whom to save. And that is His Elect, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Those were the homes that had the Son of Peace before the disciples arrived.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bible Truth #316 - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

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.

I wrote about this passage in Bible Truth #269 but want to touch upon another thought Paul wrote of that I initially overlooked.

...unless ye have believed in vain. Paul was literally telling us here that a man can believe in vain, i.e. his belief is useless and has no effect on his spiritual condition.

What is the difference between a saved person believing and a lost person believing. The Arminian will say, “The lost person is only giving intellectual assent to the historical facts of Jesus, he doesn’t believe in his heart.
Well how does one believe in his heart?
He must commit to Jesus and live for Him, trust in Jesus to take him to Heaven when he dies.
So tell me why a man can’t give “intellectual assent” to living for Jesus and trusting Jesus to take him to Heaven when he dies?

In my lifetime I have seen many people who believe and are really “committed” to Jesus, committed to their church, and they spend a lot of time volunteering to help others. But they’re as lost as any reprobate who curses God. They do many good works but they believe in vain.

There is no degree of lostness, a man is either saved or lost. So I ask again, how does one believe in their heart?

The answer is a lost man CAN’T believe in his heart because his heart is dead. A lost man is dead in his sins (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5, Colossians 2:13). If he was not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world he has no hope of being saved (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). Yes, there are some lost people in churches who do many good deeds, their contributions (financial and in deed) to the church and society have many fooled into thinking they are Christian. But they believe in vain.

In the context of this passage, and since human nature hasn’t changed, Paul knew there were non-Christians who were members of the church at Corinth and he knew that these people believed in vain. Non-Christians who believe in Christ believe in vain. They believe the same way demons believe (James 2:19). They give intellectual assent to the same facts that God’s Elect know and believe. But because they weren't chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, they will ALWAYS believe in vain. Their belief is of the flesh, and not the spirit.

Paul was confirming that a lost man can do what he wants, even believe, but it will be in vain unless he is chosen. It will be in vain unless God has done a work in him and given him belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29), saving belief.

Bottom line - a lost man who believes in Christ does it with his flesh - therefore he believes in vain because his belief is not pleasing to God. (Romans 8:8)