There are a wide variety of Bible Studies, Documentaries, Apologetics, Prophecy Updates available to you to further your study in the Word of God.
This Month's Video Feature:
PROPHECY UPDATE: Pastor Bob Lawrenz, Whitestone Christian Fellowship
Luke writes quoting Jesus our Savior, "And when these things begin to happen, look up...," (Luke 21:28). Asking Jesus what will be the signs of the end, the Disciples receive a lengthy response, ending with the above quote. It is the age-old question that every generation has asked. When will the end come?
Jesus' teachings about the End-Times and the Last Days are found through-out both Testaments in the historical books of the Bible, and in its prophetic works. People's interest is raised when these varied passages are read. I liken it to mankind's human nature which is generally adverse to change and hates surprises. By God's grace, however, we are forewarned.
Our media headlines this past week have been filled with prophetic fulfillment. In bold print we learn of events from around the globe. Nothing is hid anymore. The sins of man are being exposed and shouted from the rooftops, and from news outlets like CCN, MSNBC, and even YouTube.com on the Internet. From road-rage to airliners missing; from earthquakes to mudslides; from border invasions to Senators selling illegal arms; from abandoned children finding their parents to the prison torture chambers of N. Korea, it is all coming out and put before us to read, hear, and learn about. Corruption, greed, ungodly agendas, natural affections lost and the cruelty of man against his fellow man... it's all exposed and in horrendous detail.
How God's heart must break when mankind turns their collective backs to Him, and the natural consequences of sin rain down destructively. Yet God has supplied all mankind with an escape from the destruction through His only human-born Son, Jesus Christ. His grace to us is the direct cause and result of His own death on the cross. Jesus remains our glorious anchor for our soul !
Amos 3:7- "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets."
2 Peter 1:19,21- "We have a more sure word of prophecy......holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
"...In the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established." 2 Corinthians 13:1 & Deuteronomy 19:15
A teaching that is not new but definitely popular today is commonly known as Calvinism. The unbiblical error (heresy) we will touch on is based on the promise of the Holy Spirit sealing us after faith therefor proving faith precedes regeneration (being born again). The Scriptures we go through are 1 Corinthians 15, John 3, John 16.
Before we begin with our video presentation, a few words. It is our conviction that Calvinism (more appropriately termed “Augustinism”), as summed up by the acronym “TULIP,” is one of the worst things that ever happened to the Church. We are non-Calvinist. This does not make us Arminian, nor does it make us semi-Pelagian, and it certainly doesn’t make us deny the complete sovereignty of God.
Over the years we have come to increasingly see Calvinism taking the form of a cult, and this is very serious. In contrast to being the mark of fidelity, it is the mark of error. Although most people who are Calvinists simply won’t consider anything else as being true to God. Before Jesus went to cross to suffer the penalty for our sins, He comforted His disciples telling them that He would send the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-17, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Very similar to Roman Catholics who believe that they cannot read and interpret the scriptures apart from the papacy, Calvinists, are in reality doing the same thing. All scripture is filtered through John Calvin's interpretation of the scripture. I would ask, is that biblical? If Paul instructed us to BE AS THE BEREANS, SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES DAILY TO SEE WHETHER WHAT WAS BEING TAUGHT WAS IN FACT BIBLICAL, why do so many Calvinists look to men for interpretation, and not to God's Word? We are certainly not suggesting that Calvinists are not saved, nor are we making personal judgments upon those who have placed their trust in Calvin's theology. What we are doing is exposing the error of Calvinism, it's effect on the church, and biblical salvation.
Today, Calvinism has gone into a more advanced form where it is aggressively attacking true Christianity, and to even “offer the plan of salvation” is being attacked as “decisional regenerationism”, a horrible heresy in their eyes. While some aspects of Calvinism seem to fit with what the Scriptures teach, the hard-liners of today are taking things way far from any biblical norm that it must be denounced and attacked as a false! Ministers who are true to God and the Word of God have no other option here.
We denounce all 5 points and a lot more in Calvinism. Calvinism uses a bate and switch method, proclaiming one thing, and then redefining that to suit them, and if anybody attacks one of the 5 points of the Tulip (like Total Depravity), all of a sudden we drop total inability, and we are back to talking about no merit in the individual. This is a very subtle deceptive trick of Calvinists, and if you examine what they actually teach on each of the 5 points, a true biblical Christian CANNOT ACCEPT ANY OF THE FIVE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF CALVINISM.
The entire Calvinist system drags people away from the truth of Scripture, and even though we can debate all this and never get to any definitive conclusion, we would appeal to Christ and the apostles. Christ witnessed to many a person, presenting himself as the key to eternal life, and ALWAYS the issue is pressed by Christ upon the human sinner, repent (change), and believe in the Messiah. Somehow today in modern Calvinism, that is a great heresy. How? Being like Christ is wrong? This shows you the truth of God against the black heresy of Calvinism. Calvinism drags people into a form of life, conduct, and doctrine that is not Christ-like.
Calvinism is very adapt at twisting, turning, and redefining concepts and biblical words to suit their teaching and doctrines. When the Jehovah’s Witness twists and turns the word “God” in John 1 to make it mean anything but the true and singular real God of heaven, we all attack them for twisting the obvious and most common sense of Scripture to mean something that obviously it doesn’t mean. They (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) themselves denounce a plurality of gods as unbiblical, and yet they propose that God the Father (Jehovah) is somehow different in essence than Jesus, which they denominate “the son of God” as being inferior to Jehovah. This kind of twisting and turning we reject with the cults. So why is it now acceptable when the Calvinist does it?
We have read arguments on why the word “all” doesn’t mean all when it refers to Christ dying for all the world. Salvation for the Calvinist is not for everybody, it is only for the elect.
Galatians 1:6-9 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Thanks for joining us to go through God's Word!
Regeneration: Pre or Post Faith?
- Thank you for the opportunity
- Praise you above all names
- We ask that you would make your word clear
- Thank you for a trustworthy word that is above all else and surpasses reason and logic illustrating how perfect you are
Go ahead and turn to John 3, mark your spot, then John 16, put a bookmark or something to save that spot and then turn to 1 Corinthians 15 and while your turning there I’d like you to think about the gospel… think about the Gospel and what it is?
You hopefully hear churches speaking of it, mentioning it, praising God for it and yet majority in the church don’t know what it is.
You may have heard it said that it’s the 4 books in the Bible meaning Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.
Well we’re getting close but those books are not specifically the Gospel more so what they present is the Gospel.
Strong’s Concordance tells us that the word Gospel original is “yü-än-ge'-lē-on” and it means “good tidings or as some know it as good news
- Verse 1 in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, “I declare unto you the gospel”
So more than just something in those 4 books we’re talking about an actual presentation or proclamation, something to be declared.
- Keep going in verse 1, Paul says “I preached unto you, which also ye have received”
Now we’re talking about two perspectives. One case in which the proclamation is being preached and on the opposite end we see it to be received. Two perspectives, One message.
Now this is where it gets interesting, keep going with me.
- Verse 2 says, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED in vain.”
You see, so clearly Paul presents that he is going to give a message, that upon reception and belief, then you are saved. Saved by what? Well lets keep going. We’re gonna fly through the next couple verses here:
Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
That’s the Gospel. It’s that Christ died for our sins fulfilling the Scriptures, that He was buried and rose again on the third day fulfilling prophecy. That He was seen by the twelve disciples and then of 500 brethren all at once! We are given so clearly the message by which we are saved. You know, that’s it.
This same message is what our Lord was talking about in John 3. Go ahead and turn there now and start with me in verse 1. We’re going to read down to verse 8.
Read John 3:1-8
Here we are seeing the reaction to the message by which we are saved in 1 Cor. This is where we get the word REGENERATION. It’s the process that takes place upon reception of that message which was preached by Paul and all of the other disciples.
Let’s take a side step and understand what regeneration itself is.
Regeneration alone means – rebirth or recreation.
A couple verses come to play in defining this term so for you note takers go ahead and write these down:
Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Ephesians 1:13 – “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,”
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The process itself that we see is that when a man believes in the Lord, and receives that precious news of the Gospel, then the person died to self and is remade and born again through the renewing of the Holy Spirit. This is so key so keep this in mind as we continue today.
You see, back to John 3, Nicodemus was a Pharisee which means he was well rounded in the knowledge of the Old Testament. It’s interesting that Christ brings up a conditional event that must take place and yet Nicodemus had no idea what He was talking about. This is where I’m heading into the topic for today.
We have the Gospel, its very core is that Christ lived a perfect life, then dying on the cross for our sins, completing the work by resurrecting on the third day. We read that upon belief of this message we are saved. No where do we read in Scripture that the process afterwards is what saves us and what I mean by that is regeneration. You see we are not saved by regeneration, we are regenerated because we have been saved and we are saved by the finished work upon the cross.
This issue is that there is a very popular teaching going around infecting the church today that is deceiving many and confusing the rest to the point that it’s causing much division.
A popular preacher of his time and quoted among many today including myself is Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was very gifted in executing verse by verse teachings, exhorting the truth in love to many thousands of people weekly and served his community all to Christ glory. I respect and appreciate his love for scripture, but one thing we must remember is Charles Spurgeon was a man. He had the curse of sin in his blood and had to fight the flesh daily.
The reason I bring him up is because he is so influential and there’s a very dangerous teaching that he supported and taught. This of course is what we know today as the teachings of Calvinism.
Take a minute and listen to this very specific quote from Spurgeon:
“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.”
You think. Woe, hold on a second now. When I read a few minutes ago 1 Corinthians 15, Spurgeon is now stating that what we read is in fact Calvinism? This is such a bold proclamation and I have an eager conviction to spread light on this because quite frankly this is heresy.
We learned earlier that the word Gospel itself means good news so that is very specific in Scripture. But if any of you are familiar with Calvinism then you know that it is very specific in the conditions of salvation. I’m not going to go down the list of TULIP and identify all the issues but based on the topic of regeneration we are at a conflict because here we are reading from Scripture itself that upon belief in the Good News that was presented, then we are saved and thereby regenerated.
Now, you see, Calvinism’s foundational teaching is that man, in general does not have the ability to come to God because they are dead in their sins so what God does is, without any special choosing or anything, randomly picks different people and regenerates them first, bringing them to life, and then by giving them a new heart they now will come to receive His Gospel and be saved.
But that’s not what we read just now is it. We read that the message Paul preached was received and then believed. That’s it. So we must examine this with a fine tooth brush because people are listening to these very popular preachers today claim that the message of the Gospel, the very Good News that Christ gives us is in fact Calvinism, which I stand here boldly on the authority of Scripture and say, NO IT ISN’T!
Let me say something before I explain. How could this message that is such good news be called a glad tiding like the angel said they brought in Luke 2:10. Listen to this and for context sake, this is the angel coming to the shepherds in the field speaking of the messiah that has been born.
The angels says:
“ I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
This message of Calvinism is not good news. Not if it’s not to all people like this Angel says. The way I see it, if Calvinism were true, this angel would be a liar and so would God in several times throughout Scripture for stating that He died for all men and desires all to be saved, if they should choose, seek, or find Him!
Now to get to our text, let’s go to the last place we have bookmarked which is John 16.
Let’s go ahead and read verses 5-16 -
You see, as we’ve read for you that took notes earlier, Ephesians 1:13 states that upon belief, then we are sealed.
This is what Jesus is emphasizing on here. It wasn’t until the Lord left and ascended to His throne that we as believers were sealed with the Holy Spirit. So as we bring it all together I hope you all see the connection that my point to this giant rabbit trail is that if we are not given the Holy Spirit until Christ left and He was given to us, how on earth could we come to belief in Him before Christ, speaking of the whole Old Testament. We’re talking about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and everyone else. If they were not made into a new man because that could not be done until the Holy Spirit was given then we really have a conflict of teachings here.
I mean, write these down because we’d be here all day if I read them all but on your own time check out: Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3 & 22, Galatians 3:6, & James 2:23
These all state that upon Abraham and his faith, upon his belief, it was credited to him righteousness. That doesn’t sound like being saved by regeneration. That sounds like he was saved by faith!
You see, Old Testament Saints were never born again. That’s why I read John 3 to you. Nicodemus was confused because he had never heard this teaching. The hero’s we read about and see their lives unfold, that was their belief in the Messiah to come. They never fully understood the death of Christ, just the promise of the Christ that will come and free them.
That’s why we see so often in the Old Testament that saints were continually back and forth, walking in sin, then the Lord would correct them, and they would cry out. In the New Testament we see men like Peter and Paul, walking steadfast in the Lord, proclaiming His truth, being sealed by the Holy Spirit after Pentecost. Not that we don’t see them struggle, Paul was very upfront about having to die daily and the war between the spirit and the flesh. But we see a resistance to obey God’s direction from the Old Testament Prophets that we do not see in the Apostles. It’s only by the Spirit are we made new and are no longer slaves to the flesh.
Even further more to land this plane, write down John 7:37-39 down and read that later. Jesus gives us a very important insight on what was to come but how necessary it was for him to complete His work. John 7, starting in verse 37 reads:
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
To wrap this up and bring it all together we have some important points to clarify:
- The Gospel is clear. It’s that Christ lived a perfect life (1 Peter 2:22), He willingly gave up His life (John 10:18) as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), and resurrected on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4)
- Upon belief in the Gospel, we are saved from our judgment and then given a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), thereby being born again which is also called regeneration.
- Old Testament Saints are not born again (John 7:37) but are credited righteous upon belief in the Messiah to come
That’s it you guys. I hope I presented that clearly and if not, the most common verse used by Calvinists today is Ephesians 2:8-9 which states:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Regarding that I’d like to finish with a quote by Dave Hunt that explains this beautifully.
“Faith there is not the gift—salvation (the subject of the entire passage) is the gift of God. Faith is a feminine noun, while the demonstrative pronoun that ( “ it is ” is not in the Greek) is neuter and could not refer to faith. The Greek will not permit “faith” to be the gift. Moreover, “your faith” (“according to your faith ” - Mt 9:29; Rom:1:8; 1 Cor:15:17, etc.) is found 24 times; “thy faith” 11 times; and the disciples are rebuked for not having faith, etc. These are odd expressions, if faith is not one's own but only from God.”
Faith is something required of us. It is God’s work that has paved the way of salvation and that is Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to believe it.
Open for discussion before prayer!
- Thank you for the opportunity to preach your Word today.
- I ask that you would minister to every individual in here today and those that may watch later on the recording.
- I ask that we would stand firm on your Word, and hold it closer than any other person’s opinion whether popular or logical. That we would hold fast strictly to scripture, and not base our doctrine off of a couple verses but off of the whole council of God completely lead by your Spirit
- We thank you for your Holy Spirit, that we can trust that it is you who seals us, preserves us and sets us apart from this nasty world. May we be available to your Spirit and walk worthy to your call to share these truths in love.