Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bible Truth #361 - Luke 12:27-32

27  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more [will he clothe] you, O ye of little faith?
29  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

It is the Father’s good pleasure... to give us the Kingdom. I’ve written about it several times but here it is once again - the pleasure of God. Every time it is used in the New Testament with God as the subject it is in reference to Election - God choosing a bride for his church.

Verse 32 - Fear not, little flock;
How does one join into His flock? Well it matters not how much a man desires it and no lost man desires it (Romans 3:11), it depends solely on God’s mercy (Romans 9:16). He said little flock, let’s go back to His parable about sheep in John 10.

Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and He said that they do not believe because they are not His sheep. He did not say they aren’t His sheep because they do not believe - that is a huge difference. They do not believe BECAUSE they are not His sheep (John 10:26). He goes on to say that His sheep listen to Him... Yes, that means if a man does not listen, He is not one of Jesus’s sheep! The truth in this parable, as in the truths found in all the parables, a sheep is either born into the flock or the Shepherd purchases it. A sheep does not decide of its own volition to change flocks. ANY shepherd but its own shepherd is a stranger and it will flee from a stranger (John 10:5) - sounds exactly like when Jesus said a lost man will not come into the Light (John 3:20), a sheep will not go to another shepherd.

Now that we’ve established how one is placed into the flock belonging to Jesus, we can better understand what He meant when He said it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you salvation, not because of anything we did but because of His own purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9), because of His mercy (Titus 3:5).

So to answer the question How does one join into the flock? Easy - a man must have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), then it is God’s pleasure to save him. If a man wasn’t chosen, he has no hope (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bible Truth #360 - Mark 14:24

Mark 14:24
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Most Bible believers will recognize that Jesus spoke this at the Last Supper, barely minutes before He was to go to the Garden of Gethsamane where He would be betrayed.

Here in this verse Jesus makes it clear He will NOT shed His Blood for all men (pas), nor will He shed His Blood for each and every (hekastos) man ever born. He would shed His Blood for many (polys). And who are they? Who are the many for whom He would shed His blood? The many are His Elect, those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). The same ones Jesus will raise up after the Father draws them (John 6:44).

The way those who believe in decisional salvation grasp a misunderstanding of a few terms in clear contradiction of voluminous passages and many precepts is hard to understand. Yes, easy to believe if you accept God's sovereignty (Philippians 2:13) but hard, if not impossible, to understand nonetheless.

Some Christians with whom I’ve discussed this have said that Jesus mixes “many” and “all” numerous times on the subject of His death and salvation. They’re absolutely right! And the wonderful thing about this is that it CAN BE reconciled!

One of the biggest stumbling blocks Arminians have, and anyone who believes in decisional salvation, is that they believe the Greek word pas (Strong’s #3956) can only mean individually (each and every) every time it is used. This Greek word can be used two ways:
1) individually - each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, etc. OR
2) collectively - some of all types or groups. I give several examples of “all” being used collectively (some of all types) in Bible Truth #330.

So when you have Jesus mixing “many” and “all” on the same subject, the only way it can be reconciled is that He was using “all” in the context of Greek definition #2, some of all types, not each and every one individually. There it is, plain and simple. The truth may be argued but it can never be refuted.

Even though Jesus will be dead in less than 24 hours from the time He said this, AND that it is obvious that He is talking about His crucifixion, AND even though He says many, there will be a multitude of Christians who will continue to say He died for all, each and every man individually.

Sorry, Jesus' own words refute anyone who will say that He died for each and every man ever born. “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  These are they who will return with Him (Revelation 17:14).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bible Truth #359 - Revelation 4:11

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

There are many passages that speak of God’s sovereignty in the affairs of men, especially in the area of Election.  Election is the Doctrine where God’s Word tells us that He has chosen a people in Christ before He created the World (Ephesians 1:4).  God has a purpose in Election among which is to glorify Him.  Paul in his letter to the Romans (Romans 9:11) speaks a little bit about this fact, i.e. the Doctrine of Election.

It was and is for His pleasure that He has created all things.  This is why His Word will never return void but will always accomplish that for which It was sent (Isaiah 55:11), i.e. His will.  That is why His will IS being done on earth, just as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9-13).  That is why all things work together for good! (Romans 8:28) His good, not ours!  This is why He works all things after the counsel of His will, not ours (Ephesians 1:11).  There is no place in Holy Scripture where anything is left up to chance or the will of man.  God has a plan for each and every human being into whom He breathed life and no one will ever live and die NOT fulfilling God’s purpose.  Why?  Because it is GOD Who fulfills His purpose for each one of us (Psalm 57:2Psalm 138:8Revelation 17:17).

The Arminian may claim, “Well it is God’s pleasure to give man free will.”  I keep hearing that but no one has yet shown me Scripture that says man has free will.  The man who believes in decisional salvation makes that claim without any Biblical support whatsoever.  

I say again that every lost man believes he has free will - the myth of free will is a carry-over from the flesh that a believer whose faith is weak has not yet set aside.  But do I hold that against him?  Of course not!  It is God that has given that man the measure of faith that he has (Romans 12:3) and it is God’s plan that he believes as he does - that is God working in him to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).  There’s that word again - God’s pleasure.  The very purpose of our existence as stated in Revelation 4:11 above.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bible Truth #358 - 2 Thessalonians 3:4

We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.

What? Paul has confidence in the Lord that the Thessalonians are doing what they command? Think about that. Why would Paul have confidence in the Lord that they would be doing what he commanded?

Many Christians would simply read over that passage and not think twice about what Paul was actually writing - or what God had Paul write (2 Timothy 3:16). The reason Paul wrote that he had confidence in the Lord that the Thessalonians were doing what he commanded was because of what he knew about the sovereignty of God in human affairs. He was a lot more specific in what he wrote to the Philippians. For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

So in this second letter, Paul had been telling the Thessalonians a number of different truths and prophesies and then he writes that he has confidence in the Lord that they are doing, and that they would continue to do, what he commanded. The Lord was working out His plan in the lives of the Thessalonians and Paul knew and understood that fact. This is not surprising as it reconciles perfectly with the rest of God’s Word:
- He orders the steps of the righteous (Psalm 37:23)
- He works out everything for His own ends (Proverbs 16:4)
- He directs a man’s steps (Proverbs 16:9, 20:24)
- He turns a King’s heart like a river of water (Proverbs 21:1)
- He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28)
- He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11)

There was nothing Paul could have more confidence in than in the Lord and that He is working His will in each and every situation and circumstance in the lives of the Thessalonians and in our lives.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bible Truth #357 - 2 Peter 1:1-11

1  Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
3  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
4  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
5  Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
6  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
7  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
8  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
11  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Verse one identifies the author and those to whom he is writing - those who have received the same kind of faith that the apostles received, i.e. saving faith. This faith is not the kind of faith that man could acquire or earn because of his desire or actions like accepting Jesus or calling out to God to be saved. These are works, and a man is not saved because of anything he does (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5) whether the Arminian wants to classify these human efforts “works” or not. Saving faith is received by His Elect solely by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Verse 3 states His Divine power has granted to us... who? Us, His Elect, those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), not them, those not chosen. Throughout the remainder of these verses you can look at how many times Peter uses the words representative of personal pronouns.

...granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him... the true knowledge of Him. Not the knowledge that the world wants to impart and not the knowledge of God gained through tradition or emotion, any knowledge that is NOT found in His Word. God, through the pen of Peter, is writing of knowledge that is unadulterated and pure, taken straight from His Word, not read into His Word.

...who called us by His own glory and excellence. As I have in so many other Bible Truths, I would like to point out Christians are called by God. Every man is not called (1 Corinthians 1:26), man is not involved whatsoever in the salvation process. Those whom God calls, He also justifies and glorifies, no ifs, ands, or buts. (Romans 8:29-30)

Now for the verse I was led to write about in this passage, verse 10. Some seize this verse and use it to support their idea that Christians can lose their salvation, or that we can actually gain our salvation by behavior. Peter is not writing as to how we should live so that we can make our salvation sure, as if we maintain our salvation - he is writing as to how we should live so as to make it certain in the minds of our brothers and sisters in Christ that we are saved, that we are among God’s Elect.

Does that guarantee if a man displays the characteristics Peter outlined in verses 5-8 that he’s saved? Of course not. But it’s almost a “sure thing” that if he ISN’T living as Peter described, he ISN’T saved.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bible Truth #356 - Exodus 31:1-5

1  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2  See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3  And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4  To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5  And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.

Here the Lord gives us an example of how he works in the lives of men. He chose a man by the name of Bezaleel from the tribe of Judah and gifted him with far more than most every other Israelite received. God filled him with His Spirit and gave him wisdom, understanding, knowledge of how to work with gold, silver, brass, wood, stone and who knows how many other talents - among which is embroidery and weaving (Exodus 35:35).

Bezaleel was the man chosen by God to make all the fine things for the temple (Exodus 38:22), to include the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 37:1).

The point is, did Bezaleel somehow earn this right, or privilege? Did he choose to do these things of his own volition? Did he choose to accept this call on his life? Could he have rejected God’s call and His gift? There is nothing in Scripture to indicate any reason why God chose Bezaleel for this honor. God chose him, God called him, and God filled him with His Spirit. Bezaleel had no choice in the matter any more than Lazarus had a choice on whether to come out of the grave when Jesus called him (John 11:38-44).

The same can be said of those God has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). We have been given to the Son and those given, WILL come to Jesus (John 6:37). God will draw us and those He draws, Jesus WILL raise up (John 6:44).

Bezaleel had no choice because God’s call on Him was irresistible and irrevocable.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bible Truth #355 - 2 Samuel 17:14

Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel." For the LORD had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

You may remember the story but when I read this, I was immediately reminded of the situation with Eli, Priest of Israel, when he was very old and how his sons were acting very wicked. He rebuked his sons for their behavior but they didn’t listen because it was God’s will to put them to death. God caused them not to listen to their father’s rebuke - no free will there. I wrote about this in Bible Truth #116.

The point in this and just about every Bible Truth I’ve written is that God is sovereign and He works in men to accomplish what He desires. He orders the steps of men (Proverbs 16:9), He turns the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1), He works everything according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11), His Word will NOT return void but will accomplish exactly what He has planned (Isaiah 55:11).

In 2 Samuel 17:14 above it was God’s plan that Absalom not follow the good advice of Ahithophel because it was his intention to bring disaster upon him. The Arminian may claim, “Well of course. He was doing an evil thing by trying to take over the kingdom from the Lord’s annointed.” That is beside the point. The Arminian always claims man has a free will and God will not interfere in that, but here is another situation where God does interfere and causes Absalom NOT to listen to good advice.

Is not God omnipotent, and no matter what Absalom “freely” chooses He can still bring disaster on him? Of course, but that was not God’s plan. One purpose of His plan may be to show the Arminian that there is no free will by intentionally and directly causing Absalom not to listen to the good advice. The Arminian may say, “That is disingenuous and pure speculation. You have no idea the reasons God did things the way He did.” Well of course not, but is that not one of the results? Does it not show us that God interfered with Absalom’s so-called freewill?

Absalom did not have a free will and neither do we. We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bible Truth #354 - Deuteronomy 14:1-2

1  Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
2  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Here Moses was telling the Israelites that God has chosen them. Chosen them?

God had chosen them and NOT any other nation or people? Chosen them above all the nations that are upon the earth. Is that fair? Was God showing favoritism toward the Israelites and discriminating against every other nation on earth? What love is this? How can God be so mean?

No! God was not showing favoritism toward the Israelites because of something they did for God is NOT a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Paul calls them stiff-necked (Acts 7:51), Moses calls them stiff-necked (Deuteronomy 9:6), God Himself even calls them stiff-necked (Exodus 32:9). So it was certainly not for anything Israel had done or would do that God chose them.

The point is not why God chose them, but that He DID choose them - and it wasn’t because of anything they did but it was so God’s purpose according to election would stand (Romans 9:11). And in choosing Jacob, was He was being “unfair” to every other nation on earth? NO! Nothing God does is unfair!

No one deserves mercy and no one deserves compassion. Because of Adam, every single human being conceived of man deserves Hell because no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). God grants mercy and compassion to whoever He wants (Romans 9:15). God chose Israel for the same reason He chose us to be saved and chose us to reveal the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:5, 1:9), because of His good pleasure. This is the reason for which we were all created (Revelation 4:11).

We were created for His good pleasure.