Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bible Truth #413 - Acts 16:30-31

Acts 16:30-31
30  ...Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

You may remember the story. Paul and Silas had been traveling and arrived in Philippi of Macedonia and caused some trouble by casting a demon out of a young woman. The problem? She was a slave and had been making her masters a great deal of money by fortune-telling. So Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison. That night there was a great earthquake which loosed the shackles that had bound them and opened the doors of the prison. The jailer was going to commit suicide but Paul called out to him that all prisoners were still present. After the jailer called for light and came in to the prison cell, he fell before Paul and asked the above question.

The response of Paul and Silas is one that can be confusing to some who look at this verse alone without looking at it within the context of every other passage involving the regeneration of the dead spirit in man. It was Paul who wrote passages like 1 Corinthians 2:14 that tell us a lost man can NOT understand anything from the Holy Spirit and he rejects it (truth). Nowhere in the Bible will you find an exception. Nowhere will you find it written that a lost man will occasionally accept it. The places in Holy Scripture where the Arminian may point out a lost man accepting the free gift of salvation is, in fact, a saved man whose spirit has been quickened by God and he is now responding to the work God had already accomplished.

Paul penned the statement of fact in Romans 8:8 that a lost man can NOT please God. This means he can NOT “accept” Christ or repent of his sin, he can NOT please God. Would not a lost man repenting be pleasing to God? NO! If God were pleased then it would make His words in Romans 8:8 a lie! Again, there is no exception to the truth of God’s word.

Paul wrote to Titus and Timothy telling them that we are NOT saved because of anything we have done (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5) - and believing or repenting IS something we do. True belief and repentance are gifts from God and are done AFTER God quickens the dead spirit in a man. A man with a dead spirit repenting or believing is working from the flesh and Jesus said the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63). To be saved a man must be called by God and God does NOT call everyone to salvation (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Paul is not the only one who spoke about this. Jesus said that we believe because God did a work in us (John 6:29). We didn’t choose to believe because we came to a realization of the Truth! We believed because God gave us belief! (Philippians 1:29) Once God gives a man belief, he believes, period. He is not given a choice whether to believe or not. God not only gives a man the ability to believe, i.e. enabling him (John 6:65), He gives him belief.

Jesus spoke words of truth when He told the Pharisees that they don’t believe because they are children of the Devil (John 8:44), not of God. Because these Pharisees were not chosen, they had no hope of becoming children of God (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13). A man is either a child of God or not. You aren’t conceived a child of the devil and then once you’re saved you become a child of God. Because God’s Elect are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), we were ALWAYS children of God. Yes, we’re lost and dead in our sins until we come to the point in our lives when God quickens our spirit but we were always His, we were never children of the Devil. And how do we become children of God? We become children of God NOT by human decision. (John 1:13)

Paul was simply telling the Philippian jailer to believe, KNOWING that if he didn’t believe it’s because God had not done a work in him and if he did believe, God HAD done a work in him and had given him belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29). It is no different with us. When we witness to someone or if a man who is lost goes to church and hears the Gospel preached - if he doesn’t believe it’s because God has not done a work in him and given him belief. So if a man walks out of church still lost after hearing God’s Word preached it’s because that’s exactly what God wants. (Isaiah 55:11)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bible Truth #412 - Acts 2:37

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?

Pricked in their heart? Who pricked their heart? Did they prick their own heart? Or did God prick their heart? The answers are no, they did not prick their own heart, God is the one Who did it. And the only reason they were pricked in their heart is because God took out their heart of stone and gave them a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Hearts of stone feel nothing. And the reason He gave them a heart of flesh is because they were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). God gives His people a heart to know Him (Jeremiah 24:7) and fear Him for their own good and for the good of their children (Jeremiah 32:39). He opens some hearts and doesn’t open others (Acts 16:14). God turns hearts to hate His people, whether they be children of Israel or Christians (Psalm 105:25). And He does all of this while making some men believe they have free will!

Were ALL pricked in their heart? Maybe all of those present had their heart pricked that particular day when Peter preached, but are all men pricked in the heart when they hear the message? Obviously not. Again, it is God who pricks the hearts of men with the Gospel and He doesn’t prick every man’s heart just as He doesn’t call every man to salvation (1 Corinthians 1:26). And those He calls, He also justifies and glorifies (Romans 8:29-30), they aren’t given a choice. As a matter of fact, not every man even has a chance to hear the Gospel as thousands die every day without hearing it - and many solely because of where they live. But it was God who determined when and where they would live (Acts 17:26) so whether we like it or not, God determines whether a man will hear the Gospel or not. However, the sad truth is that every one who dies without Jesus is going to Hell whether they had an opportunity to hear the Gospel or not.

But the point of this Bible Truth is that these men were pricked in their heart and only then did they realize they were sinners and that God was drawing them - and those the Father draws, Jesus WILL raise up, no ifs, ands, or buts (John 6:44).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bible Truth #411 - 1 Samuel 25:39

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife.

David said that the LORD kept him from doing evil. Here is another example of the man wanting to do one thing but God stopping him and making him do another. Where is the free will here? This is no different from than the time God prevented King Abimelech from touching Sarah when he took her to be his wife after Abraham said she was his sister (Genesis 20:6).

Would you like an example from the New Testament? The same thing that happened with Paul when he intended to preach in Asia and Bithynia but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow him (Acts 16:6-7). Think about that - God prevented Paul from preaching the Gospel. How does that fit into the Arminian theory that God wants to save each and every single person?

If God does not want you to do something, you will not do it. If God does want you to accomplish a task, you will do it. God has a plan for each and every single person who was ever conceived, or who will be conceived, and there is no one who will not accomplish God’s will for their lives (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8, Revelation 17:17).

To do anything, God may use you or He may use someone else, but because He has already declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), what He wants done not only will be done because He works all things in accordance with the counsel of His Will (Ephesians 1:11), it has ALREADY been done.

So is it a surprise to anyone that God kept David from doing evil? David knew it and he didn’t have God’s Word in text like we have it today.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bible Truth #410 - 2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

The Lord knoweth them that are his. Wow. When you combine that with what the Lord told the workers of iniquity “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23) it is very clear there are those the Lord knows and those He doesn’t.

The Lord knoweth them that are his. It is NOT: those that know Him, or think they know Him. A man may claim to be a Christian, he may have prayed to accept Jesus, he may have walked the aisle, in Jesus’ Name he may have done many wonderful works, or preached and even cast out demons - but if he does not belong to Jesus, standing in front of the Great White Throne Judgment he will hear those dreadful words “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” God hates the workers of iniquity - not the iniquity, but the workers thereof (Psalm 5:5).

The Lord knoweth them that are his. He knows only those the Father has given Him, and those the Father has given Him WILL come to Him (John 6:37). Who are those the Father has given Him? His Elect. Those who were chosen and placed in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). These are they for whom He shed His Blood and died. (Mark 14:24, Ephesians 5:25)

The Lord knoweth them that are his.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bible Truth #409 - 1 Samuel 25:32-34

32  Then David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me,
33  and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.
34  “Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male."

There will be some who say that Abigail made a decision of her own volition to approach David with gifts in an effort to appease his anger against her husband Nabal. David tells us otherwise in verse 32, God sent her to meet him. This is just another example of God directing the footsteps of men (and women) and working in people to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Psalm 37:23, 57:2, 138:8; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9, 19:21, 20:24, 21:1; Isaiah 14:2746:10; Jeremiah 10:23; Lamentations 2:17Philippians 2:13), He works ALL things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).

David was so filled with wrath against Nabal that he had in mind to kill not only Nabal but every man in Nabal’s household. He had his plan and had set it into motion, but God intervened. He not only sent Abigail to David, God also restrained David from harming Abigail too - “...who has restrained me from harming you... God moved the king’s heart like He moves rivers of water (Proverbs 21:1).

God worked then as He does today. We do not become children of God by the will of the flesh (John 1:13).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bible Truth #408 - Ezekiel 18:4

Ezekiel 18:4
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

This passage is simply another verse that supports the fact that everything and everybody is owned by God. He can do with the soul of any man what pleases Him. Here are a couple of supporting passages:

Psalm 24:1 tells us the earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Everything belongs to the Lord and He can do what He wants with anyone and anything. This is the meaning of the word sovereign, and God IS sovereign. This is why His Word will NOT return void but WILL accomplish that which pleases Him (Isaiah 55:11). This is why He works out EVERYTHING after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and because He is in control, and because He orders our steps (Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 16:9), Paul tells us in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good, NOT our good as too many want to believe. If that is what you believe read Romans 8:28 again or click on the hyperlink.

2 Peter 2:1 tells us that there are false prophets who deny the Sovereign Lord who bought them. Jesus did not buy salvation for them, He bought them. Since He bought them, can He not do whatever He wants with them? The fact is, the matter has already been determined. Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) and anyone who would be saved in history had to be chosen and placed in Christ before the foundation of the world - and we were! There were some chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and there were those who weren’t - actually it is more like MANY who weren’t. This is the same thing that Paul tells us in Romans 9:20-21, the Potter can do with the clay as he sees fit, He owns it. If God wants to make a pot for dishonorable use, He can, and does - every day. For more thoughts on 2 Peter 2:1, click.

In the verse from Ezekiel above we learn that God owns the souls of every man AND the soul that sins will die. And by “die” one should understand He is referring to everlasting death in the Lake of Fire. Now who is the prophet talking about? Who is the soul that sins? If you know your Bible you know that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

So if the Arminian wants to believe that Jesus died for the sins of each and every person who ever lived, O.K., assuming that premise (which I believe God’s Word says is false - 1 John 2:1-2), just because Jesus died for the sins of every single person who ever lived does not mean that He purchased salvation for them, He purchased THEM, so He owns them and can do what He wants with them.

God is sovereign, every soul belongs to Him, and He can have mercy and compassion on whomever He pleases (Romans 9:15). We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and redeemed because of nothing we do (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5). We are Christians, we are Elect, we are “the called ones” according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). We become children of God NOT by human decision (John 1:13).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bible Truth #407 - Psalm 145:18-20

18  The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19  He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20  The LORD preserveth all that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.
I’m certain some will say that is another passage that proves lost men can, and are able to, call upon Jesus to be saved. We know there are no contradictions in the Bible so how does that understanding of the passage reconcile with passages like Romans 8:8 where Paul tells us that a lost man can not please God? Will the Arminian say that a lost man calling out to be saved is not pleasing to God? “Yes, of course a lost man calling out to God is pleasing to Him.” Well... If it is pleasing to God then a lost man can’t do it.

He is near to all who call upon Him in truth.
Jesus said He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). How can any man who doesn’t know Jesus know truth? Jesus also said God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). A man with a dead spirit can do nothing in the spirit, nor does he have the truth. All he has is the lie of the flesh. Again, a lost man won’t call upon Him at all, much less call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him.
Do the lost fear God? I’m sure some do but only in the superstitious way that certainly does not result in salvation. Nothing a lost man can do results in salvation (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5). This fear is a reverential fear of God that is a result of God quickening the dead spirit in a man and saving his soul from eternal damnation.

He also will hear their cry,
God does not hear the cry of a lost man, he does not hear a the prayer of a sinner. God has hidden His face from those who are not made righteous through the Blood of the Lamb. His hand is not so short that it cannot save, nor His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But man’s iniquities have made a separation between him and God, and his sins have hidden God’s face from him so that God does not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

How does the aforementioned understanding of the passage reconcile with John 3:20 where Jesus Himself said the lost hate him and will not come unto Him? There are many passages of Scripture that say the same thing, that tell us what a lost man can’t do, or won’t do. There are no exceptions to any of them. The lost man can’t understand anything from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14) and won’t call out to God because he is dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13).

and will save them.
This is not “save” in the context of salvation for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the Biblical principle that is found throughout the Bible that the lost man is incapable and unwilling to call upon Someone he hates and Someone he does not understand. Second is the meaning of the Hebrew word from which “save” is translated. Yasha, Strong’s Concordance #H3467, does not mean to be saved from eternal damnation for if it did, it would contradict the rest of the Bible. Yasha means to be liberated or delivered, to be saved in battle - victorious, to be saved from moral troubles.

He preserves all that love Him
Of course, because all that love Him are those whom He has quickened, those whom He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), and those whom He foreknew and predestined to be saved (Romans 8:29-30).

but all the wicked will he destroy.
This also is not surprising since He hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5). He works out everything for His own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster (Proverbs 16:4).

So YES! The Lord IS near to all that call upon Him in truth, and WILL fulfill the desire of them that fear Him, and WILL hear their cry and save them - but these are all things of which the lost sinner is incapable, or because of his nature, is unwilling to do.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bible Truth #406 - Luke 6:46-49

46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
47  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49  But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

I’m sure that most Christians are familiar with this parable, and have heard it called the parable of the wise and foolish builders. God’s Word tells us that wisdom comes from Him (Job 38:36, Proverbs 2:6) and that wisdom of a man is not wisdom at all, and will perish (Isaiah 29:14).

In verse 47 Jesus said, all those who come to me... Who will come to Him? It certainly won’t be a lost man because Jesus said in John 3:20 that those who do evil (lost men) hate the Light and will NOT come to it - and of course the Light is Jesus (John 8:12, John 9:5).

Jesus continues in the same verse, and heareth my sayings,... again, who will hear His sayings? Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:43 that they do not understand what He is telling them because they CAN’T HEAR HIS WORD! Is He telling them they are deaf? No! He is referring to their spiritual ears. They can’t hear with their spiritual ears because the are spiritually DEAD, therefore spiritually deaf (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13). So lost men not only won’t come to Jesus, neither can they “hear” Him.

He continues in verse 47 - and doeth them,... Do you think a lost man doing what Jesus said would please God? A lot of believers would say yes, of course. Please let me remind you what Paul told us in Romans 8:8 - they that are in the flesh (i.e. all lost men) can not please God! So there isn’t a lost man anywhere that will do what Jesus said. Only those whom God has quickened will even hear the spiritual truths Jesus spoke, and then act on them.

The question remains - whom will God quicken? The obvious answer is He will quicken only His children. Before you jump to the incorrect conclusion that everyone on the planet is a child of God, please read again Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees in John 8:42-47. Everyone is NOT a child of God.

The Gospel of John also records that we become children of God not by human decision (John 1:13). Two things:
- you can’t “become” a child of God unless you weren’t a child of God to begin with,
- we “become” a child of God not by human decision.

It is only these people, God’s children whom He has quickened, whom Jesus said was like a wise man who built an house by digging deep and laying the foundation upon a rock. Jesus is the rock (Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8) upon Whom one’s faith is properly set, and which will stand against any test. So the idea of God choosing to whom He gives wisdom perfectly reconciles with the idea of God’s sovereignty in Election in choosing those He placed in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Just as wisdom comes from God for a select few, so too salvation comes from God for His chosen, a select few.