The Word For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25 (NKJV)
When confronted with the Gospel message, there is often an attitude on display within society given as a reason to reject the message as worthless or irrelevant. There are two common forms of this attitude on display, the first being atheism and the second being agnosticism. In short, atheism could be described as a belief that God exists only as a figment of mans imagination, and agnosticism could be described perhaps as cowardly atheism in my opinion, in that it suggests there is no real way in which the existence of God can be known, nor His will understood. Either way the outcome is an attempt to nullify the Gospel message by suggesting the foundation, which is the very Person of God Himself, is at fault and therefore making the Gospel itself irrelevant.
The most common reaction by most Christians when faced with such opposition is to defend the Person of God by making an argument for His existence, offering as much evidence as possible for such a belief being true. The trouble is however that the evidence offered is most often found outside of the Bible itself, which can then lead to circular arguments where various theories are knocked back and forth like a tennis ball. The sad thing with this approach is that firstly it bears very little fruit, and secondly is that it is not a Biblical stance.
The opening text of this article comes from the letter to the Roman church, where the apostle Paul had just declared that “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it is the power of salvation to all who believe.” Immediately following the announcement of the Gospel, Paul makes a distinction between the righteousness of God which is revealed by faith, and the unrighteousness of man, which seeks to willingly suppress the righteousness of God. As a result of this attitude, the Bible tells us that the wrath of God shall be revealed against those who hold to it.
The reason I have said it is not a Biblical stance to attempt to argue for the existence of God before atheists and agnostics, is that the Bible clearly exposes their stance for the foolish lie that it is, and it is a self deceiving lie that those professing such views knows full well. The Bible says such things as; “ because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Or elsewhere, “The fool has said in their heart, there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1) In other words, the Bible teaches us that God has revealed His existence and His attributes to all mankind by what He has created, therefore making true atheism an impossibility.
If you have heard the Gospel message and seek to attempt to side-step the consequences by pleading ignorance, either through total atheism or agnosticism, your plea will never be heard by God. We are told that “it is appointed for men to die once and then face the judgement” (Heb 9:27) , and all who have rejected Christ and His Gospel shall spend eternity under the wrath of Almighty God (Rev 14:10-11). It is my cry that if this describes you, then repent and cry out to be forgiven by God whilst His mercy is still extended to you through the Gospel of Christ, for all who call upon His name shall be saved from His wrath (Rom 10:13).
A truly sad thing is that if anyone desires to follow the path of ignorance I’ve described, they will find it an extremely easy path to follow with much company, the majority of which company will confirm their choice as being the right one. That is of course until it is too late. But even this natural course is described in this letter to the Romans in great detail, and just reading it plainly it can be seen mirrored in todays society generally:
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:21-32 (NKJV)
Just as in the childrens story of the “Emporer’s Invisible Clothes”, it is so easy to get swept up in the delusion of the masses and become deaf to the voice of reason being spoken in isolation, but that does not excuse those being deceived from facing the consequences of their deception. The notion that God does not exist, and therefore His wrath against sin and His offer of forgiveness through the blood of Christ are pointless, is the greatest deception of all. It is a deception carried out by the master deceiver himself, the devil, who “prowls like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8). My exhortation is that you awake from your slumber and cry out to God for forgiveness only found in Christ alone.
My one final point that I would like you to consider is this: Think about the actions of some of the most vocal so called atheists we know today, such as the likes of Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. Consider their great effort to prove God does not exist and convince others of this being the case, and ask yourself the following question: Are these the actions of someone who genuinely believes God is simply a fairy story with as much relevance as the tooth fairy, or are they the actions of someone angrily and defiantly shaking a fist at the Creator they have known is there all along but refuse to acknowledge? Do not be swept along by their foolishness and arrogance, and instead humble yourself before the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and receive the forgiveness of your sins that have been purchased by the very blood of God’s Son Himself.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 The Scarlet Rope of Calvary 05.26.09 J.A. Matteson
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming?….’” 2 Peter 3:3-4
Spring rains bring forth a vibrant pallet of color to delight the eyes; hot dry days of summer lead multitudes to seek refuge alongside cool bodies of water; leaves that were green turn to amber, gently falling to the ground, dancing on the breeze of an autumn day; biting cold and snow of winter make the warm glow of a fireside chat with a cup of tea enticing. To the natural mind the rhythm of nature appears as an infinite loop of seasonal cycles, meandering rivers of delightful memories past tend to lull the unregenerate soul into a state of tranquility.
If there is any statement made by the apostle Paul in the New Testament that I would take issue with, it is found in his first letter to Timothy. He states first of all this truth: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” To this statement, all I can say is a resounding “Amen!”, but then Paul goes on to finish his statement by saying: “…of whom I am chief.” I have to be honest here and say that on more occasions than I dare openly admit, I would strongly challenge the apostle Paul for that title. This isn’t simply a flippant statement, but one I genuinely associate with, and that even after I have considered myself a believer for so many years now.
A series of sermons from John MacArthur that examines what Jesus meant when He said “follow me”.
Today’s message is titled:-
The Starting Principle Of Discipleship
The Necessary Components of Saving Faith
The Gospel: Self Love Or Self Hate?
The Gospel In Perspective
Who’s Ashamed Of Whom?
In this message John MacArthur continues to expound the truths found in Luke 9:23-26.
A quote from today’s sermon:-
The gospel according to Jesus Christ given in the New Testament is radically different from the typical modern message that is so often preached. In our contemporary times evangelists often portray Jesus as a somewhat frustrated, would-be Redeemer who stands outside anxiously awaiting an invitation from someone to come into his life…..
But in reality, the New Testament presents Christ as the inviter, the Savior who comes into the world, God in human [Continue reading...]
Revisiting our series that explores and highlights the consequences of not preaching expositionally.
It clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship.
What passes for preaching in some churches today is literally no more profound than what preachers in our fathers’ generation were teaching in the five-minute children’s sermon they gave before dismissing the kids. That’s no exaggeration. It is often that simplistic, if not utterly inane. There is nothing deep about it. Such an approach makes it impossible for true worship to take place, because worship is a transcendent experience. Worship should take us above the mundane and simplistic. So the only way true worship can occur is if we first come to grips with the depth of spiritual truth. Our people can only rise high in worship in the same proportion to which we have taken [Continue reading...]
Yesterday evening my wife and I were watching an episode of “Pacific” together, which is a series of films that follows the lives of some American soldiers in Japan during World War II. As we were watching, we talked briefly about what it must be like to be in a situation where every day you wake up, it could very well be your last. Which in turn reminded us that is in fact true, whether we realise it or not.
This morning after sending the kids off to school, I read through some of the latest articles in my feed reader, only to come across this excellent and uplifting post. As I read it, I couldn’t help but feel conviction as to why at times I feel that my joy in the Lord is robbed, and it is for the very reason that my eager expectation of the return [Continue reading...]
For many years I have been largely ignorant of reformed theology due to a lack of doctrinally sound teaching throughout much of the charismatic church, which has been my background for most of my Christian life. Since the Lord woke me up to this fact however, I have been utterly fascinated and amazed how much the Bible clearly teaches us concerning the mysterious ways of the Lord, as He works in the lives of believers for their salvation. Whereas once I groped around in the dark to figure out the mysteries of God, as though this were some noble act of faith. Instead now I have the Light of His Word, and can see clearly, and without being strongly affected by my own personal opinions, what God declares to be the truth on such matters regarding our eternal salvation.
One of the key weaknesses I can personally testify that exists within the charismatic type churches, is an abundant lack of assurance of salvation amongst the congregation. This would rarely be admitted to be so, but I am sure I am not alone in feeling this to be true. Probably one of the greatest things that cements this in my mind, is the utter ignorance, and mostly willing ignorance, with regards to the wrath of God against sin.
It is not my desire to enter into argument concerning the merits of charismatic doctrine here, but rather to highlight clearly what the Bible has to say about the salvation of sinners by the grace of God. For the true nature of salvation is far removed from the idea of salvation spoken to me when I first came to the Lord, and that which I have heard spoken to others during the years since. In general, the thing that has been glossed over in the majority of my Christian life, is that rather than being a simple one off point in history, true salvation is a life long process, that is initiated and completed by the Lord, and the Lord alone. The part of the believer being a total and willing submission to His will and purpose, every part of their life being willingly transferred to the ownership of Christ, and for His glory alone.
In this first article I would like to begin to highlight this process for anyone who is willing to earnestly consider this for themselves, and in so doing, reap the true assurance of faith that comes through total submission to the truth proclaimed in Scripture.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins Ephesians 2:1
The incomprehensive aspect of grace is the object of its affection. The holy One who transcends all things and who upholds all things is, has been, and forever will be perfect light and life in His person. The Lord’s natural and just response to anything unholy is to eliminate it as pollution. The essence of sin is cosmic treason against the Creator and its due penalty is death. Sin is as an odious plague in God’s universe which justice demands must be quarantined and utterly annihilated, like a lethal virus in the body, and the sons of Adam are sinners by nature putting them in a perilous position before their Creator, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:3). The Hebrew sacrificial system highlighted God’s perfect life in contract to the state of death found in sinners. No sacrifice that had a defect was a permissible offering as it was symbolic of a life short of divine perfection, thus leading to death. Similarly no diseased person was permitted in the camp—near the presence of the Lord—for the same reason. Per the Law pious Hebrews would not touch or approach a dead body and avoided the sick so as not to become ritually unclean. To head off any possibility of boasting in the flesh the Apostle reminds his readers of their natural state of hopelessness and helplessness, nothing meritorious being found in them. They, as with the rest, were three times dead: dead in their bodies through observable decay eventually leading to the grave; dead in their minds through the outward workings of the corrupt desires of their thinking, their wills, and emotions; dead in their spirits being destitute, cut off, totally blind, and deaf to God. Their lives were marked as insurrectionists and an utter abomination before the Lord.
Anyone with half a brain and a heartbeat will know how busy this world is, and how easy it is to get sucked into the “busyness” of daily life. Throw a couple of hungry kids into the equation, money worries, concerns about your job being safe, health worries, and worries about what’s happening in the world news, and it can all become more than a little unbearable.
Regardless of what some false teachers might say, sadly these pressures of daily life do not go away when you confess Christ as Lord and trust in Him for your eternal salvation. In fact, it’s more accurate to say that in many cases these pressures may increase rather than decrease, because to face tribulation and persecution for His namesake is more of a promise than a faint possibility.
They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls. They worship with their mouths but not in spirit and in truth. They are sticklers for immersion or early morning communion but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence. They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ. Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them. They contribute regularly to the pastors salary but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers persuading themselves that business is business. They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God for His fear is not before their eyes.
Originally posted 2009-07-24 07:13:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Psalms Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.