Sunday, March 28, 2010

What about those who have never heard of Jesus?

When witnessing to people I get some very routine questions and objections to Christianity. There is nothing new under the sun,so once you figure out what questions are commonly asked, it is easy to have an answer. One of the most common questions asked is, "What about the poor kid in India who has never heard of Jesus Christ, is he going to Hell?" Out witnessing in Helena last night I got this one again. This, supposedly, was keeping the man from embracing Christ, although we know that is not so theologically. So I want to give you the answer that satisfied this man so you can give it to the people that ask you. Some of you may have a better answer than me so please comment but this is what I have came up with by studying the Scriptures with the Sovereignty of God in mind.

1. We know that God is Sovereign over His creation and controls all things. The Westminster Catechism says it like this, "The decrees of God are His eternal purposes according to the council of His will, whereby, for His own glory, he has fore-ordained whatever comes to pass." So because God sovereignly governs all of His creation and because God is perfect and does not make mistakes we know that there will be no one in Hell by accident and no one in Heaven by mistake.

2. We know that God is Sovereign over His creation and if there are some of His sheep in a far off, forgotten, tribe in the Amazon jungle then God will by some means save that sheep. He often will send a missionary there to present the gospel and use hearing of the gospel to save some. There are countless stories of this happening throughout history. This is what Jesus said:

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:12-14

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. John 10:2-4

3. We know that God is Sovereign over His creation and know that whoever deserves Hell will go to Hell. If we understand the depraved nature of man we will understand that all men are so vile and wicked that all deserve Hell, but by the unfathomable Grace of God, He chooses to save some. When people ask this question they are really asking the wrong question. Here is an illustration from God's perspective. If I could take anyone of you're minds and plug a computer into your brain and record every thought that has went through your head in the last month, every wicked, disgusting, depraved thought that passed through your mind even for one second (you have had thoughts so wicked you could never tell your closest friend) and display it on a movie screen and then invite all your friends to watch the depraved thoughts you have had, what would you do? You, like all of us, would run fast and never show your face again. God sees every thought that passing through your brain. Every wicked thought, every thought that you say, "wow, where did that come from." So the better question to ask is:

"If God knows every wicked deed I do as well as every wicked thought that just went through my head yesterday, then why did not God kill me in my sleep last night?"

So the man in India, the Amazon, or anywhere else in the world that has not heard of Jesus is still guilty of sinning wickedly against God. All men have a conscience and know right from wrong and their conscience attests to it when they break one of God's commandments by them feeling guilty. All men know there is a God because creation attests to it so all men are without excuse. So there is no Innocent person in Hell because there is no one that is Innocent.

I hope this answer will help.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Used Car Salesman

If you ever have trouble finding people to share the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ with, I have a solution for you. Go to a car dealership and start looking at cars. Within 2 minutes, at the most, your fish will arrive. I did this today in Helena. I looked at some cars and here he came, like a wolf to a wounded sheep. I let him give me his sales pitch and then I gave him a million dollar bill tract because they all love money. I was able, by the grace of God, to share the gospel with him. He was hard-hearted and didn't want to talk about his beliefs. He still proclaimed his own righteousness even after the law and he told me some very ignorant things about the Bible. Seed planted though, gloria a Dios.

The other day I got the privilege of witnessing to 3 drugged out Atheists and then another confused Buddhist from Tasmania. Not much conviction in any of them but the seeds were planted.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Limited Atonement

Proof for the doctrine of a Limited Atonement

a. It may be laid down that the designs of God are always surely efficacious and cannot be frustrated by the actions of man. This applies also to the purpose of saving men through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. If it had been His intention to save all men, this purpose could not have been frustrated by the unbelief of man. It is admitted on all hands that only a limited number is saved.

b. Scripture repeatedly qualifies those for whom Christ laid down His life in such a way as to point to a very definite limitation. Christ died for His “sheep”, John 10:11,15, “His Church”, Acts 20:28, Eph. 5:25-27, “His people”, Matt. 1:21, and the “elect”, Rom. 8:32-35.

c. Christ intercedes for the elect only. He says, “I pray not for the world, but for those who you have given me.” John 17:9

d. The doctrine that Christ died for the purpose of saving all men, logically leads to absolute universalism.

e. The Bible clearly teaches that the design and effect of the atoning work of Christ is not merely to make salvation possible, but to reconcile God and man, and to put men in actual possession of eternal salvation, a salvation which many fail to obtain. Matt. 18:11, Rom. 5:10, 2 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 1:4, 3:13, Eph. 1:7

f. Christ during His earthly ministry is aware of a group of people whom the Father has given to Him. “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out…this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up a the last day” John 6:37-39

g. Further support is found in the consideration that all the blessings of salvation, including faith, repentance, and all of the works of the Holy Spirit in applying redemption, were also secured by Christ’s redemptive work specifically for His people. Those for whom He earned forgiveness also have had those other benefits earned for them. Eph. 1:3-4, 2:8, Phil. 1:29

h. All true Christians agree on the fact that salvation is limited, that is, all men will not be saved. Like John MacArthur said, “So if salvation is limited you just have to decide on who does the limiting, God or man.” Not a hard one to figure out.

i. Another note concerning evangelism: the free offer of the gospel is to be made to everybody without exception. We also know that everyone who repents and believes in Christ will be saved, so all are called to repentance (Acts 17:30). The fact that God foreknew who would be saved, and that He accepted Christ’s death as payment for their sins only, does not inhibit the free offer of the gospel, for who will respond to it is hidden in the secret counsels of God. That we do not know who will respond no more constitutes a reason for not offering the gospel to all than not knowing the extent of the harvest prevents the farmer from sowing seed in his fields.

Points a – e were taken from Systematic Theology, Louis Berkhof, p. 394-395
Points f, g, and I were taken from Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, p. 594-595

Friday, March 12, 2010

Muslim cab driver

We had to take a cab when the whole family went to Disney Land on Saturday. I love L.A. because it is so diverse. Every cab driver we had was from a different country and you don't even have to look for people to witness to because they are everywhere. Millions of people just waiting to hear the gospel, it is great. Anyway, Our cab driver was from Kenya and was a staunch Muslim, even fluent in Arabic. I asked him his religion and he said Muslim and then went on to explain to me that people give Muslims a bad rap and that the Koran doesn't tell Muslims to kill people. I said, "what about Surah 9". He was surprised I knew about the Koran and asked me what it said. I asked him if he ever read the Koran and he said he did but couldn't remember what it said. I quoted the verse of the sword where Mohammad said after the feast go out and slay the idolaters (Jews and Christians) where ever you find them. He said that verse really means Muslims are supposed to defend themselves if attacked. We argued about that verse awhile but then I swung to the gospel. I took him through the Law of Moses and he admitted to breaking them all and sinning against God (or Allah as he said). I asked him how his sins could ever be forgiven. He was hoping Allah would forgive him but didn't know for sure. I explained the gospel and what Christ did on the cross and how God offers forgiveness of sins through His Son's atoning death on the cross. He was pretty hard hearted because he said he went to school to learn how to explain the Koran. We talked for 20 minutes and then we were at the hotel. I gave him a tract and we departed. He heard the gospel. Praise God for the privilege of explaining Christ to a Muslim.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The streets of Los Angeles again

We had another long dinner break at the conference so we just walked from the church into the mostly Spanish neighborhood. Killillay gave out a tract to a Spanish man and was able to explain the tract and gospel to the man in Spanish. We found a couple people at a gas station so I broke the ice with a card trick. They liked it so I showed them a few more. The man left to deal with a customer, he was selling cell phone parts. I asked the girl if she was a Christian. She said yes and I told her she was lying (she was just cussing over the card tricks). She said she thought she was but then I asked what it took to get to heaven and she said to try and be good. I took her through the law and she seemed humbled and very convicted. She said she knew she was guilty before God and would end up in Hell. She had a lot of questions she was dealing with for a while and we answered them. I had the privilege of explaining the cross to her. It made sense. She had more questions and shared some of the things going on in her life. It was going downhill. We explained this conversation was providential and she agreed. She knew she needed to get right with God. I explained the gospel again and urged her to repent and put her trust in Christ before she died. I never ask people to say a prayer. If God is working his Spirit in the person and convicting them, I won't have to talk them into saying a prayer, God will tell them. I just share the gospel and leave the converting up to God. We talked some more and then left her. She thanked us so much for stopping her and talking to her about Jesus Christ. It was providential, praise God. I talked with the man at the end and he said I surprised him by walking up to him and asking if he wanted to see a card trick. He said he has worked all over L.A. and no one has done that because everyone keeps to themselves. I asked if he liked it and he said he did and was glad we stopped.

We moved down the street and stopped at a liquor store where some kids were loitering. Killillay took the kids and had a long conversation with them about the gospel. They were very interested and convicted. They had questions and Killillay answered them. They were very glad he stopped to talk with them about Christ. As Tim was sharing the gospel with the kids, I talked to a Spanish woman. We had a good conversation about Jesus Christ. She didn't speak the best English and I speak bad Spanish (I started learning it a month ago). She thanked me for talking to her. We find that on the street most people are willing to talk to us about the gospel (by God's grace) and they are thankful we stopped them. This is probably contrary to what most people would think but everyone is struggling with stuff and they are looking for answers. We, as Christians, have the answers, the hope, the cure and all we have to do is give to the dying people and let God take care of the results. Praise God.
We moved down to a public library and I found an atheist. He was very logical and educated. I took him through the law, he had a lot of the usual objections which I answered. I shared the gospel to him and answered more objections. It was a good conversation. Seed planted. We went and ate at the el pollo loco (the crazy chicken). Almost everyone in there was Spanish. We gave out some tracts I had in Spanish and Killillay shared the Gospel in Spanish to a woman next to us. Praise God for the great opportunities to share the gospel. This was one of the highlights of our trip and we longed to stay on the streets witnessing for weeks but we had to return home.

I forgot to add one thing about the Shepherds conference. When ever you do anything for God you can expect the devil to show up and try and stop it. One evening some guys showed up with a big Nazi sign and said John MacArther wanted us to follow Hitler. There were plenty of cops that showed up in case there was a problem. I talked with them for a while and they said they were "Christians". MacArther never even made mention of these guys, which was great. They never got the attention they wanted.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The streets of Los Angeles

While at the Shepherds conference my friend Tim Killillay and I decided to take advantage of our time together and hit the streets with the gospel. We had a couple hours off for our dinner break so the first day we went to Universal Studios in Hollywood.I stopped 3 kids with a magic trick and went into the law. They were all Catholics be were lost. They said they were good enough to get to heaven. I took them through the Law and explained the gospel. It seemed to make sense to them but only God knows how he was working. Seeds planted.I stopped a Chinese family from Australia next with some tricks but they turned out to all be Christians. We had a good conversation and went on our way.We gave out some tracts but had to get back to the conference. Universal Studios was all tourists, like expected. I wanted to get onto the real streets of L.A. which is what we would do next.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shepherds Conference Day 3 highlights

Session 1 Phil Johnson

The morning session started off with Phil Johnson preaching from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. The four points were to: Watch, be steadfast in the faith, be brave (or manly), and be strong. We are to do all things in v. 13 with love (v. 14).

Phil had 3000 men laughing as he talked about how the modern Church has sissified men into soft spoken girls and he had everyone saying Amen has he exhorted us in being watchful, steadfast, and strong men in the faith.

Session 2 - Steve Lawson

Huge surprise for the music tonight. The Getty's are here and melted our hearts with hymns that so exalt Jesus Christ. They truly prepared our hearts to hear the Word of God preached.

Lawson introduces his text as Job 1:6-12, "The invisible war".

Here are a few things that jumped out:

Before God uses a man greatly He must break him greatly. The more we want to be used by God, the more we have to be willing to suffer. With great godliness comes great exposure to the enemy.

I believe in the devil because I battled him this morning - Martin Luther

As Lawson was speaking of how God uses the devil to accomplish His will, he said, "God will draw a straight line with a crooked stick."

I want to be as well known in Hell as in Heaven - Martin Luther

There are many secondary causes but there is only one primary cause, which is God.

Calvin on his death bed said, "I kiss the rod that smites me."

Lawson continued the sermon preaching with fire. He heated things up so much that the AC kicked on. He ended with a personal story of God crushing him in his ministry as he was preaching on Job. It was a great sermon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shepherds Conference Day 2 highlights

Killilay and I went to Universal Studios in Hollywood last night to share the gospel. We had some good talks and got some pics. I will post our witnessing experiences when I get home and can upload the pics. I also got some good video and pics of the conference that I will post later.

This is such a great conference. They treat you like royalty and give you so much stuff. They already gave us 23 books each plus a $50 gift certificate to their bookstore. I already will have to try and pack home 29 books and I still need to buy one more. The food is also great. All I can compare it to is a cruise ship. Plenty of food and drinks available all hours of the day. They even throw in a free gourmet coffee, free haircuts, and free shoe shines. Crazy.

Session 1 Thursday

Back to the conference. Rick Holland opened up this Thursday morning with a phenomenal exposition on Luke 12:1-12. I again can only give some highlights because it was so in depth and over an hour long.

Here are the 4 main points:

1. Don't fear hypocrites, fear hypocrisy. V. 1-3. Hypocrisy is hiding your sins from the faithful or your faith from the sinful.

Every time we sin we become practical atheists - Tozer
Desiring to please others will always lead into hypocrisy and we all fall into it HOURLY!

2. Don't fear the threat of men, fear the threat of God. V. 4-7.
Hell is truth learned to late - I can't remember who this quote was from.

Holland went on for 20 minutes or longer about the reality of Hell and what it is like and that millions are going there daily. It gave us such a burden for the lost.

3. Don't fear confessing Christ, fear denying Him. V. 8-9

4. Don't fear momentary weakness, fear permanent rejection. V. 10

Evening Session - Al Mohler

To start off the evening we had some crazy protesters outside the church with a Nazi sign saying that MacArthur said we should follow Hitler. There were cops everywhere. I talked to one of the protesters for a while and they claimed to be Christians concerned for us following MacArthur.

I'm sitting here right now in the church listing to the signing, which is so powerful. It is something else to hear over 3000 men of God singing in unison some of the greatest hymns of all time.

Mohler steps up to speak to standing room only and praises God for the opportunity and privilege to preach. He gives John credit for preaching in the same church for 4 decades. Al talked about the absence of physical pulpits in many churches is because there is an absence of preaching in many churches.

There are no little people and there are no little places.

Al reads John 9 and asks how anyone can preach a small sermon.

All evil in the world can be traced back to the fall of man in Genesis 3. Why was the man born blind? So that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works that God has given us when He gives them to us because there will be a time when no man can work. Again, he is getting so deep into it that I can't put it all down so I will hit a few points.

Al continued to expound the text verse by verse in a very engaging way keeping everyone at full attention.

The hinge of the passage is in verse 3: So the works of God can be done in him.

Spiritually the blind man was among blind men even though physically he was blind and the men could see.

There are no little people. How many people do we pass by on the street that need the gospel. There are also no little servants.

God's glory is going to be displayed at the Judgement in either peoples salvation or damnation.

Shepherds Conferene Day 1 Highlights

I wanted to give some highlights of the preaching that is going on down here at the Shepherds conference in California.

Session 1

The first sessions was opened by John MacArthur and he preached on 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.

A few interesting points:

America was the first nation to separate politics and religion. All other nations before ingrained religion with politics because what a person believes can't be broken apart from his politics. What we believe shapes the way we view everything.

2Co 6:14 says: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The church should be distinct from the culture not like it. This does not mean that a husband should divorce his unbelieving wife or that we should not be in the world sharing the gospel or that we should not be in a secular school but it does mean that we should be separated from the world in our lifestyle, our spirit, our words and so on.

What are the issues that Christians should divide over? John lists: Scripture, doctrine, worship, teaching, and ministering issues. Christians should divide over these points because:
1. It is irrational to yoke with unbelievers who think exactly opposite in everything.
2. It is sacrilegious to do this
3. It is disobedient to God.
4. It is unprofitable
5. It is ungrateful

The point of 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 is that if you want the favor of God then don't do this stuff. Don't compromise with the ungodly people and systems of this world.

Session 2

Tom Pennigton Preached next on 1 Corinthians 2. He blew us away with his exposition. There were so many good things in his sermon that I can't put them all so I will just lay out a few things that hit me.

No man can give the impression that he is cleaver and at the same time glorify God.

From every text in Scripture there is a road to Christ. Our job as preachers is to find that road and follow it in our sermons.

We need to depend on God's grace and not our personal ability. (1 Cor. 2:3)

An interesting point about Paul when he said he came in weakness, fear and in much trembling was that he was already preaching for 20 years. 1 Cor. 15:10 said that Paul depended on God's grace. We must approach the ministry in the same way.

We must trust in the Spirits power and not any human method or technique. 1 Cor. 2:4. This way God gets all the glory.

Question to consider:

What are the persuasive methods we are tempted to depend on instead of the Spirit?

God never blesses laziness. Careful preparation and exegesis are essential but we must fully trust in the Spirit.

Session 3

John MacArthur preached the evening session. Her are a few points.

We need to have 3 levels of integrity:

1. In our family
2. In our church
3. In our relationship with the people around us.

MacArthur said the hardest part of the ministry was to be falsely accused.

4 reasons to defend our ministry:

1. reverence for the Lord. v. 11
2. concern for the church. v. 12
3. devotion to the truth. v. 13
4. Gratitude for our Salvation. v. 14

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shepherds conference

Right now I am writing in the Master's Seminary library in California. I'm actually at John MacArthur's Shepard's conference. Funny how God works His providence out in our lives, I never would have figured I would be here. Gloria a Dios. The conference is going great. I just heard John preach on 2 Corinthians 6, towards the end and the beginning of chapter 7. It was on separating from the world and how we should not compromise the gospel for to try and yoke the world and Christ together. It seems there is a danger of churches uniting with heretical teachers for a common goal, but what divides us is so strong (the biblical gospel) that nothing can unite us. There was a lot more to the sermon but I don't want to go on too long.

Killillay and I are going to hit the streets in LA on our dinner break. I will post when I can on how things are going. LA is great, you don't even have to look for people to share the gospel with, they are everywhere. Praise God.

Monday, March 1, 2010

And the winner is..........

And the winner, by the Providence of God, of the leather ESV study bible is.........................Jeremy Roberts. Congratulations Jeremy, now everyone but me has one of these great Bibles. Even though I want one of these Bibles really bad, I will not break the 10th commandment.