Sunday, September 15, 2013

George Webster


George; another new creature in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Twice Lost; Always Lost


The doctrine of perseverance is about as Baptist as they come. I knew nothing of particular redemption (Ephesians 1:3-6), predestination (Romans 8:29-30), or preeminence (Colossians 1:18 ), when I was a boy, but bless God I knew all about the doctrine of perseverance.

Of course I wouldn't have known to call it perseverance. To me it was simply known as, "Once saved; always saved."

When I got older, people started telling me that you could actually lose your salvation. Some said, "Just sin one time and 'zap'; you're back on your way to Hell." Others said, "Oh no, no, no! You have to mess up big-time for God to send you to Hell." All the while I'm thinking that must be a miserable way to live. Always looking over your shoulder like that. Viewing God as this Big, Cosmic Meanie with a switch waiting eagerly for you to botch it up again.

So, being that I am so withdrawn and innocent and all, I would ask them politely and with no malice, how they could be such meatheads and think about God in that way. Now there were always Scriptural "proofs" that were offered to verify their points. Always taken out of context or viewed 180* out-of-phase from what the authors intended. There are certainly too many to mention in one post, but here are two of the biggies:

Mark 13:13; And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (KJV)

The critic says, "Aha. See. You have to endure to the end in order to be saved." But he is looking at it completely backwards. Those who endure (Hupomeno: to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith) to the end (Telos: always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time) the same (Houtos: literally; this man) is saved. (Sozo: to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment) The "shall be" in the King James is not in the Greek manuscripts. It was added by the translators to smooth out the transition from Greek to English. This clause can be rendered, as I have done, with the verb "is" or as the translators of the NASB have done with the clause "will be."

The literal word-for-word Greek is: And be hated of all for my sake * : but endure unto end, same saved .

Here is that same passage in the King Steve Version:

Those who hold fast to the end of their state is the saved man.

Or, put in another order, "those who are saved will endure to the end." I'm not saved because I endure until the end; I will endure to the end precisely because I am saved!

Then there is Hebrews 6. The detractors of perseverance absolutely love Hebrews 6. Hebrews 6. Hebrews 6. Hebrews 6. Lord have mercy, that's all I hear in this debate from Armenians is Hebrews 6. Show them any passage that relates to perseverance and they'll inevitably go to Hebrews 6. Well let's quickly look at that.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6 (NKJV)

The best part about this passage when speaking to an Armenian is the point blank rejection of being able to lose your salvation. First of all, the writer tells us from the beginning that he is speaking of impossibilities. But even beyond that, even if the Armenian is correct and you COULD lose your salvation, this verse plainly says that you couldn't be saved again!

Get this down: Your only choice is Once Saved; Always Saved; or Twice Lost; Always Lost. See it there? If they fall is renew them again to repentance! Why? Because the writer of Hebrews will tell us shortly that, "Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many," (9:28) and Peter said, "For Christ also suffered once for sins." (1 Peter 3:18) He says that if you lose your salvation, the only way to get it back is for Jesus to die on the cross again. That's absurd! Which is his point. For IT. IS. IMPOSSIBLE.

"So Hotshot, what is he talking about, then?" you ask. In this passage he is describing people who have tasted the heavenly gift, but not bought it. To borrow an illustration from Adrian Rogers, let's say you go to Kroger and they have those little cheese cubes out for you to sample. You grab one and it just melts in your mouth and you say, "That's the BEST cheese I've ever had. Give me a couple of pounds and wrap it up." And you take your package up to the register and the girl rings it up and says, "$25 please." After you stuff your eyeballs back in your skull, you tell her "No thank you. Why, there is no way I'd pay $12.50 a pound for cheese." You tasted it. It was heavenly. You liked the way it smelled, the texture, the sensation, and how it rolled on your tongue. But when it came down to brass tacks, you were unwilling to pay the cost. That's what he means here. (Read more about the passage from John MacArthur HERE.)

The real proof text, though, comes from Romans 8. Here Paul lays it out so succinctly that it defies argument. Once you are saved, ya stay that way.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 838-39 (NKJV)

Nothing, and he means nothing, can separate us from God. Not even ourselves. Why, you ask? It's because of what the perseverance is in. Or, better stated...Who the perseverance is in. Notice I never called this the Perseverance of the Saints. That is because it is not. I can't persevere. And neither can you. Old Jacobus Arminius got that part right. We continue to fail, to fall short, and not meet God's standards. That is why this doctrine is the Perseverance of the Savior. He preserves us. Listen again to the last part of vs 39... (Nothing can) separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Did you see it this time? The love of God which is in...Jesus. The salvation is not in me. The perseverance is not in me. It's all in Him. "I am putting you in the Father's hand," Jesus tells us, "and nothing can take you out of the Father's hand." Death can't. Life can't. Good angels can't. Demons can't. Nothing in your future can. Nothing from your past can. Nothing in heaven can. Nothing in Hell can. There is nothing that God has ever created that can, not even you. You are God's child now, and you will always be His child. What a wonderful way to live.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Even More Baptisms

Two more came forward this Sunday. A father and son. I'm so proud of both of them. God is so good.

We will be scheduling these Baptisms soon. Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Baptisms


The last three weeks we have had folks "walk the aisle" and come forward seeking baptism in celebration of their new found faith in Christ. The breakdown by age is still about the same for my ministry as a whole, one high school freshman, a twenty something new dad (his wife joined our little congregation by the most Baptist of ways...The Moving Of The LETTER) and a sixty-five year old man. The sixty-five year old gentleman told me in the hallway right before the service that he had just prayed with his Sunday school teacher to receive salvation.

God continues to pour out His blessings. Many preachers comment/write/brag about numbers. Sunday school is X. Worship is X. We've baptized X number of people. I'm a numbers guy myself. Heck, like most preachers I'll count anybody who is not moving. When I go to Luke's football games I'm counting the people in the visitor's stands. Preachers also love to exaggerate numbers. Be careful if a preacher says his church had "almost" 500 Sunday. He really had 200, which is ALMOST 500...ministerially speaking. There is also the combination count. 100 in the early service, 200 in Sunday School, 175 in late worship, so we "touched" 475 people today. The numbers may be hyperbolic to emphasize my point, but yes, the "almost" and "touched" numbers are frequent lunch conversations with ministry insiders.

I love numbers, as I mentioned, as much as the next preacher. But one of the numbers I like to tout is age percentages in regards to baptism. Those under 18 make up about 1/3 of the baptisms that I perform. The rest, obviously, are adults, and most of them out of their thirties. I like this trend because it is the opposite of every other ministry that I know or have read about. All churches mostly baptize the young, and for good reason. Jesus said that unless we have the faith of a child, we could not become a disciple of His. Most adults loose the ability to act with that kind of uninhibited faith.

Well, at any rate, my record holds. Three professions of faith: three baptisms: one child and two adults. To God be the glory!