Archive for April, 2018

How Does God Draw The Sinner?

April 26, 2018

For sure the Bible teaches God draws the sinner (John 6:44), but is it forced like the Calvinists say, or is it more like how I am drawn to a delicious piece of pecan pie? The very next verse indicates the latter is true. God draws by teaching and our learning (verse 45), not through force – “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17).

This is also indicated by a verse like John 12:32 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” If draw means force here, then universal salvation is true because the verse days Jesus “will draw all men.” And notice how Jesus draws – by the motivation / thankfulness of us knowing what He did for us on the cross.

The same thing is seen in Rom 2:4 – “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” There is a big difference between leading someone to do something and forcing them to it. II Pet 3:9 says “The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” but if God were forcing the issue, all would come to repentance since God desires such of all.

This is confirmed by passages like II Thess 2:14a – “Whereunto he called you by our gospel.” The gospel calls/asks us to serve God; it is not forced upon us. God draws/calls us through means of the gospel similar to how God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11) – via our jobs (means). Rom 1:16 (“The gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation”) proves the same point. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14), so obviously God’s calling to serve him does not make anybody serve Him.

That is why it is our duty to try to “persuade” men (II Cor 5:11) to trust and obey God (Heb 5:9). Since it is not forced, the Bible indicates some will not be “willing” to come (John 5:40).

Conclusion: Are we allowing our hearts to be drawn to serve God? Are we allowing God to use us (through His word) to draw sinners to Christ?

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Does God Force Faith Upon A Chosen Few?

April 19, 2018

Calvinists take Eph 2:8 (“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”) to mean God gives us faith in the sense it is forced upon the elect; they have no choice. But they are misunderstanding the grammar in the verse. The gift in the text is salvation, not faith. Notice famous Greek grammarian A.T. Robertson’s comment upon this very point – “’Grace’ is God’s part, ‘faith’ ours. ‘And that’ (‘kai touto’). Neuter, not feminine ‘taute,’ and so refers not to ‘pistis’ (feminine) [faith] or to ‘charis’ (feminine also) [grace], but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source … in men, but from God.” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol IV, page 525)

Of course, God does give us faith, but it is not forced. Many times, God does things through means. For example, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exod 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14), but also Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exod 8:15, 8:32, 9:34). The harmonization is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through means (relief from the 10 plagues), and not against his will.

It is the same with our heart / spirit:

● Ezek 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you

● Ezek 18:31 Cast away … all your transgressions … and make you a new heart and a new spirit

Do you see how God gives us a new heart and spirit, but it is not forced; we have a part to play?

It is the same with repentance. God grants repentance (Acts 11:18b), but He does that through leading people to repent through their recognition of His goodness. (Rom 2:4).

The following passages show God gives us faith by providing the power of divine persuasion:

· Rom 10:17 faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

· Rom 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel … for it is the power of God unto salvation

· John 6:65,44-45 no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father … No man can come to me, except the Father … draw him … And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Then comes voluntary acceptance.

Jesus has done His part to save us on the cross. Now it is up to us to do our part, to believe (John 3:16). God does not do the believing for us.

Why Is The Acts 20:7 Lord’s Supper Example Important?

April 13, 2018

Faithful Christians eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week for a reason. They are following the precedence set for us in Acts 20:7. But why is the Acts 20:7 example important, and not just happenstance? Let’s address that question …

• The mention of the Lord’s Supper in connection with the first day of the week was not just said in passing. I like the way Johnny Stringer put it: “One indication that the particular day on which they observed the Lord’s Supper was significant is the fact that Luke deliberately specified the day. As he described the many events recorded in Acts, how often did he specify the day of the week on which an event occurred? Does he ever make a point of mentioning that a thing occurred on the 2nd day of the week? Or the 4th? … when Luke is careful to specify that the brethren observed the Lord’s Supper on that day, we must conclude that their observing it on that particular day was a matter of significance. In addition, we learn from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that Christians regularly assembled on that day, for the church at Corinth as well as the churches of Galatia were commanded to make a collection on the first day of the week.”

• It was done by a group of Christians.

• It was done by a congregation meeting together (I Cor 11:18,20,33) during a worship service.

• It was accompanied by preaching.

• It was determined before hand by the disciples (the congregation) that they would come together on the first day of the week for the purpose of eating the Lord’s Supper. This is why they came together!

And so it is clear the Acts 20:7 first day of the week Lord’s Supper example is not just what some individuals did incidentally.

Does the congregation you worship with follow the example of Acts 20:7 regarding eating the Lord’s Supper?

How Often Should Congregations Partake Of The Lord’s Supper?

April 5, 2018

Acts 20:7 reads “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

I Cor 10:16 (along with I Cor 11:17-34) proves the breaking of bread in Acts 20:7 is referring to the Lord’s Supper, not just to a common every day meal in order to satisfy hunger. So it is obvious the disciples partook of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7, and the following passages show we should emulate such example – Phil 4:9, 3:17, I Cor 4:16, 11:1, II Thess 3:7,9, Heb 6:12, I Thess 1:6.

But to illustrate how Acts 20:7 is teaching we should eat the Lord’s Supper every First Day of the week, notice Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” That verse does not say, “remember every sabbath day,” it just says, “remember the sabbath day.” So how did the Israelites know they were supposed to keep holy the seventh day of every week? Because every week had a seventh day in it. Likewise, we know that we should eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, because every week has a first day in it.

Conclusion: The Bible teaches that congregations must come together to eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week.