For the last few weeks we have been going through the issue of whether man can save himself by choosing to trust in God. But over and over again we are hit with the realization that man on his own would never choose God. Man on his own is Totally Depraved.
Man has no free will! His will is under the subjection of Evil!
The natural man has a heart of stone and does not seek God. [foil]
So if man doesn’t seek God out, how then does he become a Christian? Who causes the change in Man’s heart?
2 Tim 1:9-10
2 Tim 2:24-26
Deut. 29:4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.
Who give us the ability to see and hear and thus understand the Gospel?
Deut. 30:6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Where is the action coming from? From God! Who has to do what to cause us to love God?
Jer. 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
What does it take for us to know that He is our Lord? We need a heart to know him, but who gives us that heart?
Jer. 31:18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: `You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God.
What comes first? Our returning or God’s restoring. Restore me, then I will return!
Jer. 32:37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
Again where is the heart after God coming from? Is it coming from us? Or is it coming from God?
Ezek. 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
The natural man has a heart of stone. Who removes that heart of stone? Do we?
Or does God? Does God do it because of anything we have done? But what can we do while we have a heart of stone, since we continue to reject him until we get a heart of flesh, a living heart?
Ezek. 37:13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”
When will we know that it is the Lord? After he has put his Spirit in us. Before that we did not know He was God.
Now let us move to the New Testament.
Matt. 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
The very first realization by Peter, was not of Peter’s own accord. It was revealed to Peter by God.
John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
Only the Spirit can give us eternal life! We can’t do it on our own.
John 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Anyone who lives by the truth realizes that his living by the truth was brought about by God.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
Who gives the people to be saved? The Father does. He’s the one who acts in our lives and in our minds to save us.
John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Unless who draws us? Unless the Father draws us! Is then the Father drawing everybody? Are there people who the Father has not drawn? This next verse should clear that up.
John 6:64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
So there are some that the Father has not enabled!
Acts 16:14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
What had to happen here for her to hear the Lord’s message? The Lord had to open her heart. Does that mean that there are people that the Lord open’s their hearts and they still reject Him? Or does it seem to imply that the Lord only opened her heart because it was within His will to do so?
1Cor. 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1Cor. 12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed –not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence –continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Col. 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
When did God make us alive? While we were still dead!
Hebr. 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
Does God select to open our hearts because of something we have done?
2Tim. 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life –not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
Now supposing that we were able to chose God on our own, what would lead us to that decision? Something that leads to a knowledge of the truth right? Is this leading to a knowledge of the truth something that everybody has? Obviously not or else everybody would be repenting.
2Tim. 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
This is a good verse to end on. We must instruct everyone, why? Because we HOPE that who? God will grant them what? Repentance. But wait there’s something more here. God is also granting them repentance that will lead them to a knowledge of the truth. This verse says that God grants them the repentance WHICH leads to a knowledget of the truth. In other words God grants them the ability to understand that they need salvation. They don’t understand that they need salvation and then God grants it. God is the initiator over and over again, God is the one who grants certain people repentance that leads them to the knowledge of the truth. And once they have been granted this repentance, they will come to their sense and escape the trap of the devil, who has what? Taken them captive. All unsaved men are captives of the devil, and they can’t do anything to escape. God has to act.
John Piper Video Discussion
Before we start watching the video I have one question that you should be asking yourself:
1. How do we pray for the lost?
Useful for discussion even if you have not watched the video.
As we get further and further into the study of the Soveregnity of God, some people have a tendency to relegate prayer and witnessing and the petitioning to God for the salvation as unneccessary. This is far from true. Because now we know… that God is not prevented from acting. It’s upto God, not man to decide if our prayer for someone’s salvation is to be answered. Do you see why we can now pray and expect God to be able to answer our prayers. Other wise what are we praying for?
1. Does God have a right to save unbelieving sinners? Does God have a right to intrude upon the soul of a human being and meddle with his (the human’s) self determining autonomy?
2 a. Since no man seeks God on his own (see last week’s verses): Why is it right for God to get inside a person’s mind and cause their mind to ask a question they wouldn’t have otherwise asked….
if it is wrong for God to get inside a person’s mind and cause them to give an answer that they wouldn’t have otherwise given? Namely that Jesus Christ is the answer?
2 b. Why is forcing the question right, but forcing the answer not? Is one a violation of their free will and the other not?
2 c. Why is forcing someone to the answer different from opening up their hearts and telling them the answer?
3. So how do we pray for the lost?
Are you praying for the people around you at work? At school?
Highly recommend John Piper’s books, available in our Bookstore:
Desiring God and The Pleasures of God.
John Piper calls himself “A Christian Hedonist”
The chief purpose of man is to bring glory to God by enjoying God for ever….
every Christian is to gratify that purpose and thus bring pleasure to himself in the process.
Definition of Hedonism:
Hedonism: 1 doctrine that pleasure and the gratification of desire constitute the chief good; 2 self-indulgence; living for pleasure.
Are you enjoying God?