Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
So, do you have a mind of your own? Do you control your own destiny? Are you the ultimate authority of your own life? Or,--- are we little more than puppets, playing out a celestial scenario that we may or may not ever understand? You may ask: "what's the big deal preacher? What difference does it make?" Well, if these questions never occupy your quiet time, I promise you will be asked them in one form or another. Perhaps by a friend, coworker, or almost certainly your kids. So let's see what God says about it.
Confession: I'm coming at this from the perspective that God has/is ultimate truth. He is my final source, and I believe with all my heart that I am what and who God says I am, regardless of what I Feel. If my feelings contradict the Word of God, then something is lying to me ---- my feelings.
So let's begin. Question 1) What is the condition of the Natural Man? This man is not what Churchy people like to call Regenerate. He does not Know God, and often doesn't desire to. He may be a good ole boy by all Worldly Standards. He's lovable - Give you the shirt off his back.
Nugget: In a recent Barna Poll of professing Christians, 70% said: "all people are basically good". Yet God says the heart of man is deceitfully wicked beyond all measure? "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God". Romans 3:10-11. Eph. 2:1-3 says we were dead in our trespasses and sins, following only our own lusts, and that we were by nature, "objects of wrath".
Question: Can this man suddenly of his own will, purpose to seek God; to follow Him? Which brings us to #2) Do I really have a free will? The London Baptist Confession of 1689 determined the following. "AS A NATURAL UN-SPIRITED MAN HE IS DEAD IN SIN, AND ALTOGETHER OPPOSED TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD, HENCE HE IS NOT ABLE BY STRENGTH OF HIS OWN, TO TURN HIMSELF TO GOD, OR EVEN TO PREPARE TO TURN HIMSELF TO GOD". According to 2nd Cor. 4:4, his mind has been darkened by Satan, so he can't come to repentance. Did you know there is a Spiritual Battle being waged for your soul? Seem hopeless? Stay tuned. The answer is Yes -- he is free to do what he wants, but his wanter is broken.
#3) Is God Sovereign in everything? Is He the final authority whether you acknowledge it or not? "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." Psalm 115:3. Remember from last week, all the "I chose you"s? The key, is in the purpose. Brace yourself. Salvation is not primarily for you. Get over it. Saved folk are a love gift from God the Father, to His Son, for the purpose of Glorifying Him. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. And this is key: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:34. If this is true, I can't take credit for making the wise decision to come to Christ. It was only possible due to the Father calling/drawing me. "BUT PREACHER, DON'T WE COME TO HIM VIA REPENTANCE AND FAITH?" Yes, but where do we get those? Do we just set our jaw and purpose to repent? Where does faith come from? "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" 2nd Tim. 2:25. "For by grace ye are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, it is a gift from God not of works lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9. Which is the gift --- grace or faith? Both.
#4) If all that's true, am I even responsible before God? Fraid so. The Bible is replete with "whosoever will"s. Let's break it down. If you could visit hell, and ask folks: "What are you in for?", they wouldn't say "for rape, murder, child abuse, larceny, " etc. Remember, "All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" Rom. 3:23. So why some in hell and some not, if we are all sinners? Everyone in hell will be there for the same reason. They rejected the Ordained means of Salvation --- Jesus Christ and His redemptive blood. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36. Conversely, everyone in Heaven won't be there because they were good, or did more good than bad, but because God Saved them. If you can't wrap your mind around this, you are in good company. "how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Rom. 11:33. Bottom line is that the God who determines the end, gets to determine the means. You won't be tested on this, but you will be asked this question: "What did you do with My Son's sacrifice? Did you trust in Him? -- or did you "trample the Blood underfoot"? Are you gonna make it on your own? You will be the first. God Bless.