Tag Archive | Faith

Unbelief a Choice; Faith a Gift

Here’s something to ponder.

Unbelief a Choice; Faith a Gift – Don Fortner

Unbelief is a choice men make, a decision of the rebel will of unregenerate souls. Again and again we read this accusation against the wicked in the Book of God: — “Ye will not believe.” In fact, this is set before us as the very core of wickedness in fallen man. — “They believe not on me” (John 16:9). The wicked perish because they choose not to trust the Son of God. Men and women shall justly bear the judgment of God forever in hell because they will not to believe.

But faith in Christ is never spoken of in Scripture as a decision people make. Faith is never represented as something men will to do. Faith in Christ is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is the operation of God the Holy Spirit in us (Colossians 2:12), born in us by that same omnipotent, resurrection power of God that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). Faith in Christ is the fruit of life bestowed. As the new born infant finds himself breathing, so the heaven born soul finds himself believing.

If you now find yourself believing on the Son of God, it is because He has given you everlasting life. If you will not to believe, it is because the wrath of God abides on you (John 3:36).

Any thoughts?



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If It Weren’t For Grace …

We can argue and twist words all we want but Scripture is clear that if not for God’s Grace and Mercy you would not have…

salvation.

believed.

had ears to hear the gospel, truly hear and understand with faith granted by God.

believed the words that you heard from Scripture.

even been exposed to the Scripture.

lived in a country that has free access to preaching and God’s Word.

lived in a free society that would allow you to hear God’s Word without being disowned or killed by family members.

We can go on.

If it weren’t for God’s Grace and Mercy…

You wouldn’t be breathing right now having this discussion.

You wouldn’t have the intelligence to read and write.

You wouldn’t have been born with ears that can hear, eyes that can see, mouth that can speak, hands that can type, or a brain that can think.

You wouldn’t have been afforded the opportunity to study and educate yourself.

You wouldn’t have survived growing up to this point.

You wouldn’t have had parents that choose to raise you as opposed to sell you for a slave.

You wouldn’t have been killed by many childhood diseases.

You wouldn’t have starved to death like many children.

You wouldn’t have had parents that allowed you to be born instead of aborting you.

You can think that you participated and that it was God plus something you did to deserve Salvation but if it weren’t totally for God’s Grace and Mercy you would not have done anything.

Reminds me of the song “Were It Not For Grace”

I measured out my days
Life carried me alone
In my soul I yearn to follow God
But knew I’d never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road
To no where
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running
But losing the race
Were it not for grace

Give credit where credit is due.

To God and God alone!

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Evangelizing Children – MacArthur

Grace Community Church, John MacArthur’s church, has the following recommendations for evangelizing children. Follow the link to read more about each topic.

Evangelizing Children

Common Pitfalls in Evangelizing Children

1. Oversimplifying the Gospel of Christ

2. Coercing a Profession of Faith

3. Assuming the Reality of Regeneration

4. Assuring the Child of Salvation

5. Rushing the Ordinance of Baptism

 

Foundational Keys to Evangelizing Children

1. Setting a Consistent Example of Godliness

2. Proclaiming the Complete Gospel of Christ

3. Understanding the Biblical Evidences of Salvation

4. Encouraging Possible Signs of Conversion

5. Trusting the Absolute Sovereignty of God


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Hearing But Not Hearing

No matter how many times someone hears the preaching of God’s Word it will do them no good and have no effect unless the Lord grants them the Faith to believe and understand the Word.  Until God shows Mercy and Grace by granting faith to believe, that person will never understand.  They can hear all day but until granted “Faith unto Belief” then they will never “hear” with understanding.


Romans 10:13-18

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”

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

18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” ESV


No matter how much Scripture the Israelites heard they did not “hear with understanding.”  They lacked the faith to believe.


Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? ESV


God grants the “ears to hear” and the Faith to believe.


Deuteronomy 29:4 But to this day  the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. ESV


Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ESV


Matthew 13:13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear,  nor do they understand.  ESV


Luke 8:9-10

9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant,

10 he said,  “To you it has been given to know  the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so  that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ ESV


Without God giving them the “ears to hear” and the faith to believe no one will believe because it is foolishness and folly to man otherwise.


1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  ESV


Update: Quote

Always recollect, dear friends, that the best spiritual food in the world is useless to those who are spiritually dead; and one very essential part of the gospel is that truth which our Savior so plainly taught, “Ye must be born again.” All attempts at feeding the soul are of no use until the new birth has been experienced; even that precious, priceless bread of life cannot be assimilated unless the soul has been quickened by the Spirit of God.

~~~~~~~~

Spurgeon from No Need to Feed the Dead

HT: Lora K.

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Who Did the Changing?

Did we change, or did God change us? by Lee Roy Dutton, Pastor, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Odenville

I constantly hear or read where the lost person is told to make a change in their life in order to be saved.

Does man really make a change first?

Because of the rebellious nature of the natural man, would it not be wonderful if God changed the lost person?

Can God do this?

Would God do this?

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8)

Here we learn that God loved us and died for us before we made a change.

Salvation is by grace and not because someone makes a change.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

Continued Here (Sorry link is broken)



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Do You Make Excuses For God’s Behavior?

Why do people have such a difficult time grasping the concept that God told His people the Israelites to destroy the Canaanite people?

Many people argue that the God they love wouldn’t do that.

“For example, I do not believe that God had a part, either directly or indirectly, in killing over two million people as the Old Testament documents, account by account. A million Ethiopians were killed in a single encouter [sic], it says. I don’t believe that.”

Others say that that was the Old Testament God. The New Testament God is loving and forgiving.

What would you say to that?

Do you make excuses for God?

Do you use your own reasoning to explain away the seemingly difficult portions of Scripture?

Do you fear that if you are honest then someone just might not become saved?

Do you just state the facts according to Scripture?

Truth and Apologetics by Phil Johnson

Recently I got an e-mail that raised an excellent, but difficult, question about apologetics. My correspondent was trying to make sense of the inevitable tension we face in those moments when we are called upon “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you . . . with gentleness and respect”—and yet we know that the best biblical answer we have to someone’s question or challenge is strongly counter cultural and possibly even offensive to the person we’re speaking to.

Be sure to read the comments.

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When A Donkey Speaks …

…would you listen?

Some might say that the story of Balaam’s donkey talking is of little importance and it is making much ado about nothing to worry whether or not someone believes it.

Read this first and just see who thinks it is important.

What is your excuse for not believing in a talking donkey?

Balaam listened to his donkey and it saved his life.

Numbers 22:22-34

22 But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.
23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.
24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.
25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again.
26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.
27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”
30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.
32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me.
33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.”
34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.”
ESV

Balaam’s life was saved because he listened to his donkey.

Although today there are many people who say this didn’t happen.

“It is a myth, a fairytale.”

“Rational, objective, thinking people do not believe that a donkey spoke to a man.”

“That is absurd.”

What do you do when these same people claim that because they say they believe in Jesus they will go to Heaven?

This is a much harder concept to grasp:

That God sent His beloved Son to die a horribly cruel death for worthless sinners who hated Him and eagerly killed Him.

Believing in a talking donkey is easy unless you have become wise in your own eyes.

Proverbs 3:5-7
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
ESV

Are you wise in your own eyes? Would you use one of the following excuses:

~ rational people do not believe in talking donkeys

~animals only talk in fairy tales

~I don’t believe what I heard

~I don’t have to believe this in order to be a Christian

~ that’s foolish

~ denying a talking donkey in the OT isn’t denying Christ in the NT

~ even if God’s word says that donkey’s talk, I won’t believe it

~ you can’t believe everything in the Bible, don’t you know man corrupted it?

~ “Talking donkeys are easy to believe in.” Yes…especially in a psychiatric ward.

I especially like the last one since it was directed specifically at me. 🙂

Why do I like that one?

Glad you asked!

See Sunday (Resurrection Sunday) I was reading my Bible between church services. My passage that I happened to choose to read was 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

Guess what passage happened to really catch my eye.

2 Peter 2:15-16

15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,
16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
ESV

Did you catch that?

“…a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that and never really grasped the fullness of it.

Come and join Peter and me in the “psychiatric ward.”

I encourage you to decide whether you should believe in talking donkeys after reading the rest – then come and join us. This is what I have learned from that passage.

1. Peter believed in talking donkeys.

2. Peter also was one of the eyewitnesses of the crucifixion, so if you can’t trust that a donkey spoke then you have to question everything of Peter’s.

3. Believing in talking donkeys actually saved Balaam’s life.

4. Believing in talking donkeys kept Balaam from madness.

5. Not only was this story important enough to be included in the OT it was reiterated in the NT. Not many OT events get that much importance. When a Bible text is repeated or quoted it pays to pay special attention to it.

6. As I always say, read for the full context. What is the context of the passage? 2 Peter 2 is about False Prophets and Teachers who are “blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant” (see 2 Peter 2:12).

7. Even if the event had not been in the NT it was still important and profitable, because all Scripture OT and NT is profitable.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

ESV

Believing in talking donkeys yet?

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That’s Not Logical

I received a comment about the post Universal Atonement – Don Fortner and the main point was that the post was not logical. Apparently he didn’t listen to the sermon or read the full PDF that explained the post better.

Now just to show how adversely affected I was as a child by watching TV, I cannot ever hear the word “logical” without thinking of Mr. Spock from Star Trek. If you’ve seen Star Trek then there is no need to explain. If you haven’t then just a little background, Mr. Spock was a human looking alien, with pointed ears, who experienced no emotions but was very logical in his thinking, sorta like an engineer. 🙂 His regular expression was “That’s not logical!” So if you say that and someone  checks your ears for points you’ll know why.

But the Christian Faith is NOT LOGICAL.

~ We are called to love our enemies. That’s not logical. Logic says hate your enemies.

~ We are called to do good to those who hurt us. That’s not logical. Logic says hurt them back.

~ The world and everything in it was created in 6 days. That’s not logical. Logic says it took millions of years.

~ Eve was created from a rib of Adam. That’s not logical. Logic says people can’t be made from a bone.

~ The Burning Bush burned but was not consumed. That’s not logical. Logic says a burning bush must soon become ashes.

~ A rock was struck and water gushed forth. That’s not logical. Logic says that can’t happen.

~ The Red Sea parted and the Israelites walked on dry ground. That’s not logical. Logic says that you can’t hold water back like that.

~ A child was born of a virgin. That’s not logical. Logic says all children must have a mother and a father.

~ A child of 12 years was teaching in the Temple and astounding the teachers. That’s not logical. Logic says an unlearned carpenter’s son can’t astound the teachers in the temple.

~ People were raised from the dead even after four days. That’s not logical. Logic says that after four days the decomposing would preclude any possibility of coming to life again.

~ Jesus died for the sins of all His elect. That’s not logical. Logic says that one person cannot be punished for that many sins from that many people.

~ God forgives those who put their faith in Him. That’s not logical. Logic says that we should have to work for our forgiveness.

I could go on.

What are some of the illogical ideas that you can think of in relation to the Bible and the Christian faith?

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Truth Is Truth – Whether You Believe it or Not

Truth is truth whether you choose to believe it or not.

Just because you deny the Bible or Jesus does not make it so.

I can believe whatever false lies I want, but it will not change the truth.

You can believe that eating spinach will make you strong enough to lift a truck, able to leap 40 feet and faster than a train but the truth is – it will not.

No matter how seriously you believe it, feel it in your heart, and have others tell you it is the truth – the facts will not change.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. KJV

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. KJV

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Jewels from Romans #1

Romans 1:8 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (ESV)

Welcome to the new series of posts from Berean Husband. I have been studying through the book of Romans for the last month or more and thought that some of you might be interested in small bits of enlightenment I’m getting in my journey. This series is not intended to be an all-encompassing exposition of the book of Romans, it is merely some of the jewels that I have been mining along the way.

We read in Romans 1:8 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (ESV) In the introduction to the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul begins with his own credentials, but quickly moves to the credentials of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:3-6). Then in verses 7-13, Paul turns to the recipients of his letter, the church which is in Rome. Now, when Paul thinks about the church in Rome, what goes through his mind? As far as we know, Paul has never been to this church personally, and he is acquainted with only a few people in the church of Rome. What he knows of this church comes from reports he has received. So, in verse 8, we see what Paul pulls out from these reports to be of utmost importance – their faith which is proclaimed in all the world.

Why is this so impressive to Paul? Well, think with me for a minute. How many churches in America that you know of today are known by their faith in all the world? Not many. Churches today are known according to their number of members, or their programs, or their choir, or their charismatic pastor. In other words, churches are generally known according to their works. Churches are not generally known according to their faith.

It makes we wonder if this fact is symptomatic of the gospel which is preached in the typical church. Churches which are known for their works may well be preaching a works-centered gospel. Oh, they may quote Ephesians 2:8-9, but what they really mean is that you must stir up your own faith and come receive Jesus Christ.

One final thought. Paul commended the faith of the church in Rome which was known throughout the world. This stands in stark contrast with the church in Sardis, which Jesus condemns for being known for their works while their faith was dead. Read Revelation 3:1-4:

1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy
. (ESV)

Are you a part of the remnant who is a member of a Sardis church? Jesus gives you four instructions:

1) Wake up. Don’t sit in your pew ignoring the lack of faith in your church.

2) Strengthen what remains. Find ways to shore up the faith you find in your church.

3) Remember the gospel. Don’t trade in the preaching of the gospel for programs.

4) Repent. This is not directed at the person who sits on the other side of the church. This is directed at me and you.

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