Monday, March 23, 2009

The Doctrines of Grace

If you get a chance you need to listen to this series of Grace To You with John MacArhtur called the Doctrines of Grace. This is a part of the Bible that is often overlooked and lightly addressed, and I've often heard it explained in such a way that it no longer has anything to do with grace. So what are the Doctrines of Grace? Here I'll give it a shot:

Total Depravity - John MacArthur calls it Absolute Inability ( I Call it Radical Depravity or Radical Corruption) This does not mean we sin as bad as we can, but our whole being (body, soul, mind, etc. all facets of the human have been corrupted while still being God's image bearers).

Unconditional Election - John MacArthur calls it Doctrine of Election ( I Call it Pure Mercy and Grace) Mercy is to Election what Grace is to Predestination. They go hand in hand.

Limited Atonement - John MacArthur calls it Actual Atonement (I Call it Particular Redemption) Jesus knows who specifically He is dying for on the cross. When Jesus goes to pay for something, He gets what He paid for.

Irresistible Grace - John MacArthur calls it God's Effectual Call (I Call it the Beatitudes: Matt 5) When Jesus is teaching the Beatitudes these teaching are in the indicative sense (statements of fact) our natural reaction to saving Grace is the Beatitudes and we don't resist Grace we receive it and thus live a life of Gratitude.

Perseverance of the Saints - John MacArthur Calls it Perseverance of the Saints (I Call it The preservation of the Saints or maybe the Perseverance of God) Romans 8:28-39 This section of scripture essentially says there is no power at all anywhere (not even ourselves) that will or can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus says "I will build my church" and when Jesus says He'll do something... He does it.

Romans 8 (English Standard Version) 28-39

28And we know that for those who love God all things work togetherBA)">(BA) for good,g]">[g] forBB)">(BB) those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom heBC)">(BC) foreknew he alsoBD)">(BD) predestinedBE)">(BE) to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might beBF)">(BF) the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he alsoBG)">(BG) justified, and those whom he justified he alsoBH)">(BH) glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love
31What then shall we say to these things?BI)">(BI) If God is for us, who can beh]">[h] against us? 32BJ)">(BJ) He who did not spare his own Son butBK)">(BK) gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?BL)">(BL) It is God who justifies. 34BM)">(BM) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—BN)">(BN) who is at the right hand of God,BO)">(BO) who indeed is interceding for us.i]">[i] 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written,

BP)">(BP) "For your sakeBQ)">(BQ) we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

37No, in all these things we are more thanBR)">(BR) conquerors throughBS)">(BS) him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, there I was walking along, living the Christian life all fired up, thinking I had this thing somewhat figured out. When one day I was minding my own business and was driving my FedEx Truck when all of a sudden I heard this John MacArthur guy talking about "Election" and "God choosing" and all that sort of thing. I was absolutely shocked. I said, "this guy is nuts." I had liked his preaching before, but now I thought this guy had betrayed me.

So, I thought well I listen to somebody else instead. So, I found this guy later in the day. Not long after that I was on my return trip back in my FedEx Truck and I found this guy named RC Sproul. I was trying to figure out what all that scratching noise was going on in the background. Finally, I realized, "he's writing on a chalk-board!" Then RC started talking about another word that shocked me. He started talking about "Predestination." I thought to myself, "what is the deal with this radio station?"

So, later that night I listened to him again, and again, and again. Then I went back and listened to John Mac again and again. I began a trek of digging in my Bible that I have not stopped ever since. At first, I did not like this teaching and it aroused in me anger and frustration and so many questions. But, all along I was being spoon fed by RC and John Mac. Then somewhere along the way it just hit me how marvelous all this was. How true it really is and how amazing grace really is. That song "Amazing Grace" means so much more to me now than it ever had before. It almost felt like I had just became a Christian for the first time. I know that is not the case but it sure was an overwhelming feeling.

Especially when these doctrines helped me to see all of scripture. It was like a glimpse of how scripture is seen by Paul. It also gave me a sense of how he may have felt as it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. I can just imagine his heart pounding in his chest as these things were being revealed to him and how the Old Testament came alive to him as He began to see the Sovereignty of God and how it all pointed to the person and works of Christ. That is why Paul was so solid and strong on preaching Christ and Him crucified.

Well if you have any questions about these doctrines, you are more than welcome to ask. But, you'll need to be ready to endeavor for a very long time to really come to the place where you embrace these as I have. These doctrines may not satisfy you intellectually but we can rest in that God has revealed these to us in His inerrant word. We have to submit ourselves to the omniscient, sovereign will of God. Eventhough we want what is fair in our free country (United States). But, I think we better re-think that desire. Because we would all perish if God was "fair" and if we got what WE wanted. Since what we want is for OUR WILL to be preserved as it is, then we would surely perish because our will is away from God. And if God didn't step in we would all ultimately endure His wrath.

Ultimately, we are saved by God from God. Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace and Peace,

Chris Allen

Coram Deo!!! (Before the face of God)

_______________________________

"Grace to You" radio...John MacArthur's in-depth Bible teaching brings the life-transforming truth of God's Word to millions of people every day.

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The Doctrines of Grace

When you became a Christian, did you choose God — or did He choose you? Did Christ die for the sins of everyone, or just the people He saves? Those mind-boggling questions relate directly to the sovereignty of God, predestination, perseverance, and the question of “free will” — doctrines associated with Calvinism. Come to grips with what you believe about God, the gospel, and the nature of man in John MacArthur’s study, The Doctrines of Grace.

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Today's Message:
The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 2

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Missionaries and the Apostle Paul

Hello Reform-Shire friends. I have been thinking (I know it is dangerous to do so) about many of the missionaries that I have interacted with over the years and especially recently. Like friends from Eastern Russia, Zimbabwe, India, Haiti, United Kingdom, and many other locations throughout the world. I love their devotion to preaching the Gospel and their commitment of pointing people to Christ.
Even when I encounter many of the missions that have established Bible colleges and schools to train more pastors, they are primarily focused on the Gospel and getting it right. No flash, no gimmicks, no bait and switch techniques, like you might find in the United States. Instead just a pure and simple preaching the person and works of Christ.
That is why I love working with and supporting missionaries. I see them following what the Apostle Paul says was his main forte. In his letters to Timothy and to Titus, it seems this is the very thing Paul was charging Timothy to be his number one priority "preach the word." And I don't think that means just to preach any kind of sermon as long as you are preaching from the bible and referencing the text. But, Paul has a specific message in mind. It is a message that does not come from within. It is a message that can only come from God. It is the message of reconciliation through the Gospel. This isn't an intuitive message but it is the meal or the provision (like manna from heaven) that will sustain us.
I recently heard a young pastor / counselor talk about how many people that have been coming to him for counseling and he was asking for desperate prayers for so many people who are have such desperate issues in life such as marriage, finances, and many other social issues. Later on we were discussing the importance of the Gospel and I pointed out to him (in a loving way) I said; "If we as a church would spend more time preaching the Gospel and showing people how overwhelmingly blessed they are by God's amazing grace their would be fewer people needing to come to you for counseling." If people really understood the gospel I think there would be fewer people discontent about many many things... even during some heavy trials. Christ is sufficient for me.
So, why is it then that we spend many years and tons of money on programs and messages that address these very issues people are coming to counseling for? It seems that the more we address these "issues" the more the people of our congregation seem to have "issues" needing fixed. Then every time we get together in a meeting to discuss "how are we going to solve this crisis?" We hear about even more programs and weird or clever ideas of how to correct the issues with band-aids and no real solutions that go to the heart of the matter.
But, when I look at Paul and these missionaries I see they always go to the Gospel first. My first problem in life is not my marriage or my children or my finances. It is my relationship and my wicked self standing in light of a Holy God..... More to come later on this subject... Time to go to worship now.

Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!

immediate prayer request

Michael Parks is with Global Hope Networks and reports his latest visit to Myanmar.
 
Chris
www.Reform-Shire.blogspot.com
Coram Deo!!!


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Michael Parks <michael.parks@ghni.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 4:21:32 AM
Subject: immediate prayer request

Once again I ask for your prayers

I apologize for a double send of the previous message.  Sheri sent it out while I was in Myanmar because I was unable.  Now I am in Bangkok and accidently resent it. 

So…greetings from Bangkok where the internet is much better and less controlled and Text Box:  monitored.

Here's a quick trip update.

Our team in Myanmar are great men and women of God.  They take the challenge of going out helping the poor seriously.  The cyclone Nargis killed so many people and caused so much damage that the effects will be with them for many years.  Because of the crisis the Body of Christ was given a door of opportunity to be living examples of the love of Christ.  The delta region had been closed to them for many years and there was no witness of the Good News to the Buddhist people there.  Even though they themselves lived in extreme poverty and suffered loss from the storm they banded together ready to help the most desperately suffering, but they were ready to go they needed help,  that's where you came in.  We partnered with a network of house churches and enabled them to go where you or I could not.  Now over nine months after Nargis the people are very thankful to us.

One of our workers who is now living in village we have been helping told us the people come to him saying, "If you would have come to Text Box:  us just to tell us about Jesus we would never have believed you.  But after you have helped us we know that your God is a living God and we want to believe in Him."  The hearts of many are opening to the love of Christ.  Please continue to pray!

Many children became orphans after Nargis.  While on the villages people begin asking our team to help many of these children.  Many had no where to go, the people in the village, who themselves were victims and severely suffered the loss of all things, had no means to care for them.  They pleaded with them to take the children and care for them.  Thus they opened The Fathers House.  Today they care for about 30 children and will increase that number to 50 soon.  Please pray for the precious babies as they were so traumatized.

I invite you to join with us to help the orphans

Orphan house  Build a bamboo house for the orphans.  There is an urgency here in that the city is making them leave the current home they are in.  We have land outside the city we can use to co-locate the orphan house, pig/fish farm, and agriculture projects.  We need to raise a total of 5000$ to build a bamboo house.  A gift of 50$ will go a long way to help this children. .  Please pray and if the Lord leads then click it!

Text Box:

I am on my way to Afghanistan .  These are troubled times for this strong and wild country.  I will up date you in my next email (since this "short update" became longer than expected J)

Please keep my family in your prayers.

God bless you

Mike