“Anyone can be saved If they will.”

Visitor: Any person can be saved, if they will.

Response: Don’t we all believe any person can come if they will? The problem is, are there any persons naturally willing to submit to the terms of the gospel? Does it come naturally for fallen sinners to come to the humbling realization that they have no righteousness of their own and so flee to Christ alone as their only hope? Can a person say “Jesus is Lord” apart from the Holy Spirit”? (1 Cor 12:3) The scripture reveals that men are so bent on wickedness (John 3:19, Rom 8:7) that unless the Spirit disarm the hostility of their hearts, turning their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, they would never believe.

Jesus declared, “the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing … that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it (John 6:63, 65)

Augustine said, “to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace.”

Like you I believe the gospel must be preached indiscrimanately to all men. We are to get the gospel to men’s ears, but only God can get it to their hearts.

Mon, 05/22/2017 – 11:59 — john_hendryx

A Word From Monergism.com

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Psalm 104:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.”

"SUNRISE" as viewed from "Mount...

“Sunrise” as viewed from Mount Sinai

It started on the morning of the

third day, just as God had told

Moses it would.

A cloud moved in—blistering dark—and swallowed the newly risen sun. An eerie sight made even more unsettling, once the first blade of white fire had flashed and struck the ground. On its heels, another strike. And another. Thunder shook the camp. The earth rumbled and moved.

Grown men dropped to the sand, curled, and shielded their heads. Children ran screaming into the folds of their mothers’ skirts. Women wailed while dragging their children back inside their tents. Then out of nowhere, an unrelenting, ear-piercing trumpet blast split the air. The Israelites covered their ears and begged it to stop.

The Promulgation of the Law in Mount Sinai (il...

The Promulgation of the Law in Mount Sinai (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was the Israelite’s reality that morning. Nothing else. Not breakfast. Not work. Not even an argument. Only what felt like the end of the world.

Moses gathered up God’s people—previously consecrated, clothes washed, and three days pure in body—and led them out of the camp to the foot of God’s Mountain to meet with the Instigator of such holy dread.

But the mount was burning. The presence of the Divine billowed up like smoke from a colossal furnace.

“Go for us!” They cried out to Moses. “Pray for us that we don’t die here.”

Oh, to have the gift of holy fear! To be shaken out of my apathy into grateful reverence and continually be a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God. This is my spiritual service of worship, after all. Each waking minute of each day. A living and obedient sacrifice. Taking every thought captive.

But it is not my clothes that need washing today, nor is it a ceremony of purification I must practice. It is my heart that needs to beat anew with love for Jesus; whose perfect death has torn the veil of separation and opened up heaven to me.

No more fear of death! Perfect, mature love for Jesus expels all fear. But if I am afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and shows that I have not fully experienced His perfect love (I Jon 4:18).

Because of Jesus, there is no more barrier to Eternal Life, for Christ has made my access secure. “And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure (I John 3:3).

Radiant splendor of God, bring me to my knees and make me tremble with gratitude. For I know You will not devour me but cleanse me with Your holy fire. My lips are unclean, and my thoughts are cruel, and my deeds are sometimes selfish or dispassionately withheld. 

Holy God, nothing separates us from Your intimate love for us. Your true children come with confidence then, to the throne of Your fearsome Majesty. We find there countless unexpected mercies and forgiveness incalculable. Our fear is a reverent fear; for perfect love is not afraid of You, Elohim.

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Part Two

“Is this all there is? We’re born. We live a little while. We die. That’s it?”

Those questions just about took me under one Saturday morning, only weeks before my high school graduation. I’m grateful to say, that since then, I’ve come to know Jesus Christ. I’ve come to experience a new life because of His death. But here’s a question that a lot of people wonder about:

Question: If I’m going to die eventually, what good was Jesus’ death afterall?

The Death of Jesus

Image via Wikipedia

Answer: Jesus’ death, His meeting the bill of costs and particulars of the courts, was only the beginnning.

Jesus told his twelve disciples that He would be killed, but that three days later He’d “raise this temple.” Of course, He was talking about His own body, the true temple, where the Spirit of God now resides in the hearts of true Jesus-worshipers.

Jesus Resurrection 1778

Image via Wikipedia

Then, just as He said, He did raise Himself from among the dead. Three days later. And for the next forty days, Jesus appeared to over 500 witnesses.

Then Jesus went up to heaven in a cloud, while His disciples stood there amazed, gazing up into the sky. Two angels who’d been standing there said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Why do I bring this up? Two reasons:

1: JESUS IS COMING BACK

During their last earthly supper together, Jesus predicted His betrayal and death. Jesus quickly added, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).”

2. JESUS BECAME THE FIRST AMONG MANY BRETHREN TO EXPERIENCE THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD

This is our hope, people! If this life is all there is, we are to be pitied. We have lived for nothing that lasts forever. Because even if I live for the sake of passing something on, eventually those others will die too. And all that I ever did will die along with them. If there is no resurrection, there is absolutely no hope of ever reuniting with loved ones. This is it! This is all there is.

But that is not true. And if we live for Jesus, whatever we do in His name will last. Forever! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

We will all be raised from our graves. Some of us to life eternal with Jesus in heaven, others to life eternal in hell, separated from God and all that’s good. That is what Jesus told us. And speaking of being raised…

English: The old graveyard View of the old Gra...

Image via Wikipedia

You might be wondering exaclty how the dead are raised. What kind of body will we have?

Think about it this way: When farmers plant their tiny seeds with their various shells, those seeds must first be dead, then buried into the soil. The body of the life inside that dead shell breaks through and bursts the crust of the earth with a brand new look, a new body.

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.” Your body and my body is made up of skin and bones that is already winding down to its death. We’re dying as I speak. But these bodies of ours will be exchanged for new bodies that never get old, get sick or die.

So, “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…” said the Apostle Paul.

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep [die a physical death], but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

Torricelli's Trumpet

Image via Wikipedia

For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised…then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ ”

These fleshly bodies of ours that have been marred by sin’s disgrace will be raised with Garden perfection.

These bodies of ours that right now are still affected by sin’s influence, and prone to give in to sin, will be raised in power.

Your physical body is anchored to earth’s laws; but the spiritual body will transcend the laws of gravity and the bounds of time.

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:35-56, italics mine).

No, this life is not one long Schlitz commercial, clanging our mugs together, saying, “You only go around once.” But today, if you hear His voice, know and believe this: that “the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Part One

I’ve been walking with Jesus for 33 years now. But everytime I try to tell someone the Good News of God, unfortunately, I’m not as clear as Jesus was when Pilate had asked Him: What is truth?

Русский: "Что есть истина?". Христос...

Image via Wikipedia

So today, I sat down and scribbled down my own thoughts, to help me put it into the kind of words that would conjure clear and powerful images. At least, I hope I succeeded. And I thought I’d begin with a question that a lot of moral people wonder about. (I’d love to hear your take on this.)

Question: How can God, the Law-laying Judge, ever pardon sinners and, Himself, remain holy and righteous? (and in this answer lies the Gospel of Jesus Christ)

Answer: Because He went through all the legal channels. He did it, and continues to do it, lawfully.

But how so, right?

Well, most of us can agree that sinners are guilty people. “Guilty” of breaking the ten commandments. Even if we break only one commandment, we are guilty of having broken them all, the Bible says.

And the verdict for lawbreaking is death. Bam! The curse for being Adam’s seed is also death. Bam! Guilty for simply being born. Bam! Take these sinners away! Then put an eternal chasm between them and the living Key!

But Jesus said, “No! But let Me go to trial on their behalf.” And so He did.

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...

Image via Wikipedia

Up in the heavenly courts God the Father, The Righteous Judge, watched as Jesus endured a grueling, earthly, secret trial, a near-death beating, and amazing ridicule.

This earthly court found Jesus guilty of blasphemy, for He’d claimed to be the Son of God. Then they bound Him and took Him to Governor Pontius Pilate—a people pleaser—who consented to Jesus’ conviction and death.

And as Jesus cried out from the cross, “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do,” God stamped the front of my casefile: PAID IN FULL.

I’m free to go but only “dismissed without prejudice.” Because I may just leave the courtroom in my arrogance or self-reliance, refusing to believe Jesus did anything for me. There’s a lot of those people around, right?

In that case, I’m only out on bail (John 3:18), in a manner of speaking. Because for me, there’s an upcoming Trial on the calendar. The White Throne Judgment Day.

At that time, I will be brought personally before the Honorable Ancient of Days. My life will be scrutinized this time. This time, I will be found guilty. Guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, an unpardonable offense against the High Courts of Heaven for having thumbed my nose at Jesus’ law-appeasing sacrifice. The unforgivable sin of unbelief.

But it doesn’t have to be the case, if you believe that “this Christ who died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, has brought you and I to God” (I Pet. 3:18).

Stay tuned for Part 2

This God Who Goes Out Of His Way, Part II

God forgives and forgets

Over these past thirty-three years, one thing keeps gnawing at me. What physically happened the day God forgave me?

It’s one thing to know I am forgiven, to see that word in my head and “get it,” understand it, even accept the forgiveness handed to me, which allows me to move on. But to feel forgiven and clean…it has stumped me all these years.

This morning I had my nose in Isaiah…King Uzziah just died, right? We’re talking national hopelessness. Isaiah must’ve been pleading with the invisible God to send a leader—ASAP. Kinda like I was doing back in 1979: buried alive in hopelessness, begging God to help me and just as clueless as Isaiah, as to what I was really asking for and how it might actually play itself out.

First thing God does is, He opens this bay window into the heavenly Temple where Jesus sits in all His divine majesty on His throne. Isaiah sees Jesus surrounded by mighty (huge, perhaps, frightening-looking) seraphim whose reverberating worship of “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” shakes the ground, and smoke fills the entire building.

I grew up in southern California where earthquakes and fires are common enough occurrences; I know that panic intimately, when the earth shifts and rumbles beneath your feet, when the canyons are ablaze and smoke is everywhere you turn. I also know how the genuine worship of other believers have opened me up—as if God was reaching right through my ribcage, squeezing my heart for all its forgotten affection toward Him. And I am instantly reduced to a puddle of pitiful humanity, crying, and knowing with every fiber of my being that I am standing on holy ground and brimming with sin and empty, broken promises.

The second thing God does is, He assists Isaiah in seeing his own guilt. Profoundly so, and Isaiah knows that he is without excuse, doomed. I knew that feeling, too.

But this God…He bends over from the heights of Heaven and presses His ear against this man’s as-good-as-dead lips, and listens. Then, hearing the sobriety of his sobs, God steps into this earthbound room and shows the man his specific sin; because Isaiah immediately hones in on the guilt of his mouth. God was just as specific with me. I couldn’t water them down or deny them. I couldn’t justify them or cast the blame elsewhere.

Then God forgives Isaiah and cleans his sin away.

But He doesn’t stop there.

An angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips—the avenue through which his sin had been travelling. The burning coal cauterizes all the damage from the sin and burns away all the guilt.

I think what I felt when God forgave me that day, was the weight of condemnation lifting off me. Because it does weigh us down, doesn’t it? It really is a physical thing. And I believe that that is a gift from God. Just as pain is a gift. But John tells us, “that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

As for the instant cleanness I’d felt…I imagine that was just part of the mystery that surrounds an eternal, all powerful, death-defying, life-breathing God. This side of Heaven I’m just never going to make sense of it. And that’s okay with me.

This God, Who Goes Out of His Way (Part I)

Each morning, on the way to his school, my grandson and I listen to Chuck Swindoll, and then I finish the sermon alone on the drive back home. This morning, Pastor Chuck talked about Mary and the secluded delivery of Jesus and how, “according to Max Lucado” (said Pastor Chuck), “Mary had changed God’s diaper.” By that point, I’d pulled into my driveway and was sitting there with the engine idling. I had to think about that.

This is the same God who spoke light and life and order into existence. This is the same God who stepped down onto Mt. Sinai: “…smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder.” This is the same God who peered into one idolatrous heart then opened the ground and swallowed an entire section of idolatrous Hebrews.

What frightening Force is this who surrendered Himself to a helpless infant body and would need His diapers changed?

This is the Judge with whom each of us has or will one day stand before.

This is the Husband who pursues the timeline of humanity with unalterable affection.

This is a King so rich in power He can afford to be meek and mild.

This is the God-Man who often goes out of His way to remind me that He’s here, right next to me. The kingdom of God couldn’t be nearer…