BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE…

“Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins…. Jesus’ resurrection from death brings formerly dead people to life…. If the cross were the only work, then we’d be forgiven corpses. But through the resurrection, the very life of God has broken into this world to give us life that is new in character and eternal in duration. Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears, Vintage Jesus, p. 123

WE FEEL THAT WE ARE CHOOSING…

“We feel that we are choosing to respond to Christ’s call, and yet it is God himself who is at work in us, changing us on the inside and causing us to be born again.” Adrian Warnock, Raised with Christ

THE NEW BIRTH

“So the new birth, as Jesus describes it, is the impartation of a new life – the dynamic, ultimately irrepressible seed of spiritual life – and this continually draws the believer to Christ, in pursuit of holiness, and ever on to fulfill Christ’s commission on the earth. This dynamic new life will finally bring the believer home to Christ in eternity.” Leo Loizides, quoted in Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock

“IF WE LEAVE HIM IN THE TOMB…”

“If we leave him [Jesus] in the tomb we can systematize his teaching and sanitize his actions. We can  manage the church and keep things in order. If we leave him in the tomb, then Christianity belongs to us to make of it what we will, to reform it in our image and sell it to the highest bidder. If we leave him in the tomb, the implications for the church are explosive to say the least. If he is truly with us in a way not so dissimilar to  how he was with his disciples, then nothing will ever be the same again.” Andrew Cottingham (blogs at http://andycottingham.com), quoted in Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock.

THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY

Christianity does not hold the Resurrection to be one among many tenets of belief. Without faith in the Resurrection there would be no Christianity at all. The Christian church would never have begun; the Jesus-movement would have fizzled out like a damp squib with His execution. Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the Resurrection. Once disprove it, and you have disposed of Christianity.

Michael Green

Man Alive, IVP, 1968, p. 61.

ETERNAL GOD, ETERNAL COVENANT

Thanks to The Thirsty Theologian for this post:

All of God’s attributes are dependent upon his eternal being. If God has an end, none of his attributes which we recognize as being unlimited can be. What this means to us is that, if God is not eternal, his promises are meaningless; for if he ceases, his covenant ceases.

Stephen Charnock   If God be eternal, his covenant will be so. It is founded upon the eternity of God; the oath whereby he confirms it, is by his life. Since there is none greater than himself, he swears by himself (Heb. vi. 13), or by his own life, which he engageth together with his eternity for the full performance; so that if he lives forever, the covenant shall not be disannulled; it is an “immutable counsel” (ver. 16, 17). The immutability of his counsel follows the immutability of his nature. Immutability and eternity go hand in hand together. The promise of eternal life is as ancient as God himself in regard of the purpose of the promise, or in regard of the promise made to Christ for us. “Eternal life which God promised before the world began.” (Tit. i. 2): As it hath an ante-eternity, so it hath a post-eternity; therefore the gospel, which is the new covenant published, is termed the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. xiv. 6), which can no more be altered and perish, than God can change and vanish into nothing; he can as little morally deny his truth, as he can naturally desert his life. The covenant is there represented in a green color, to note his perpetual verdure; the rainbow, the emblem of the covenant “about the throne, was like to an emerald” (Rev. iv. 3), a stone of a green color, whereas the natural rainbow hath many colors; this but one, to signify its eternity.

—Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God (Baker Books, 2005), 1:297.

THE FALSE ASSUMPTION OF DECISIONAL EVANGELISM

from Extreme Theology:

Old School evangelists would use the threats of hell fire and brimstone and God’s wrath to convince their hearers to ‘make a decision to accept Jesus into their hearts’.

New School evangelists (Seeker-Driven Pastors) don’t like the negativity of discussing hell and sin and have found that they can convince large numbers of post-modern listeners to make a ‘decision to accept Jesus into their hearts’ by convincing them that Jesus will help them experience a more satisfying life.

Both of these types of evangelists are in serious error because NO ONE is born again by accepting Jesus into their hearts so that they escape hell or so that they can experience an abundant and satisfying life.

Here is what God’s Word says. (Pay attention to who is doing the deciding in all of these verses).

John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own peopledid not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of a human decision nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

1Pet. 1:3   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

John 6:43   “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:61   Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

Acts 2:45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith

Why is it that we can’t make a decision to Accept Jesus into our hearts? Answer: because we are by nature DEAD in trespasses and sins.

Eph. 2:1   And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

This dead condition is truly spiritual deadness. Just as dead people cannot make a decision to make their condition better, spiritually dead human beings cannot make a decision to improve their spiritually dead condition.

Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

No sinful human being, seeks God! He seeks them!

Rom. 3:9   What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

So then how does saving faith come?

Rom. 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Luke 24:46 and [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

In fact saving faith itself is a GIFT from God. (notice in verse 10 whose workmanship we are)

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship…

Conclusion: if an evangelist is not preaching repentance of sins and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name (aka the word of Christ) then he is not preaching a message that God will use to impart the gifts of repentance, faith and peace with God through the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name.

***

Note: Please don’t quote Revelation 3:20 to me in the comments section of this post. Go back and Read Revelation 3:20 in context and you’ll discover this is not about a person letting Jesus into their hearts. It’s about Jesus knocking on the door of a church that has shut him out.