Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heart

Tonight, closing the evening service at church, my small groups pastor ended the service, and in his closing statements, he conveyed one small sentence that sparked so much in me, I just had to write about it. And that sentence was this;

"We have a heart for the lost because our Father has a heart for the lost."


Tonight we had a guest speaker from a missions organization called "Speed the Light" which is a ministry that raises money to buy vehicles and necessary equipment for missionaries all over the world sharing the Gospel. The entire sermon, all I could think to myself was "man, this man is definitely not a Calvinist." Haha, it's funny how something like Calvinism keeps my spiritual eyes open and observant of every word spoken in sermons and written in articles and books. I'm constantly picking sentences apart trying to figure out what they mean as far as the whole Calvinism Vs Arminiasm debate goes. For example, this morning my assumptions of a man at my old church being a Calvinist were confirmed with something he said in Sunday School that five months ago I would have passed over and not given a second thought to. I'm just like that, I guess. It's not such a bad thing. Anyway, back to tonight's sermon. The entire sermon was about having a heart for the lost. He spoke a lot about people rejecting God. About God not moving because His people aren't sharing the gospel. About people not being saved because they are not willing.

And then Pastor Matt spoke and said that sentence above. My mind started going 90 to nothing. My eyes started to open. My wheel was turning. I realized something so basic, something I already knew, but discovered a deeper lever of it.

I could never desire to see people saved in my flesh. There is no way. There's not a chance that I would risk embarrassment, rejection, persecution, and even waste my time telling people about Jesus Christ if there was not some supernatural encounter in my soul setting me on fire to preach the gospel. I just could not do it, and I would not. My flesh would never desire that. My Father places a burning desire inside my heart to go and do whatever it takes to see people come to Him. God gets inside me, and sets me up to do things I could never do in my flesh. He places in my heart something so amazing, so out of my comfort zone, because He wants me to have His heart.

So what happens when I have this desire? What are my eyes and heart seeing? I'm seeing people, all around me, dying and going to hell. That's what I'm seeing. I'm watching girls and guys, men and women alike, walking around like nothing phases them, walking straight towards the depths of an eternity of fire. And when I see that, when I look at every person in that room, my heart breaks in half, and I'm willing, at that point, to leap to every person around me and beg and plead them to come to Jesus Christ. Why? Because that is the heart of my Father. My father's heart becomes one with my own, and I act upon it.

God desires that no man be lost. God desires that no man perish. God desires that every single man on this earth repent and come to Him. So why aren't they?

Not because God hardens their hearts and turns them away.

But because of their own foolishness. Because of their own wickedness and selfishness. Because of their own unwillingness to repent, they condemn themselves to hell.

And this breaks the heart of my Father in Heaven.


I promise.




God does not place a burning desire in the depths of my soul to seek out the very lost He's already predestined to condemn. No. He places that passion in me to do whatever it takes to see people saved. If men reject, it is because they choose that. If men don't come to the cross and receive the wonderful grace God offers, it is of their own doing. God does not cause them to reject Him. It would go against the very nature of God to reject those in which He promises condemnation for ignoring Him. God offers, men either accept or decline. And when they decline, God's wrath is upon them, yes, and it is a scary thing; but on the other side of it all, God's heart is breaking. How do I know that? Because my heart breaks. I want to fall to my knees and weep when these people reject Him. I could never feel that in my flesh. In my flesh, I would not care if they chose God or not. But in my spirit, being in the spirit of God, and gaining His heart, my entire body weeps and groans for those who reject the Father that so graciously gave them the opportunity to live on this earth He created for them.

God's heart is for the lost.









Not the elect.







Jesus, in your very precious Name I pray, save men. Soften hearts. Place people in my life that need you, and use me to bring them into the Kingdom. Align my heart with yours so that our hearts and minds become one. Make me to have the very desires of your heart for men. I pray that I will continually seek to see that lost men be saved and brought to their knees before you. I love you. Use me.



"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." - C.H. Spurgeon.

Funny, he was a Calvinist.







PS - I'll get back to the book soon. I promise. Life suddenly became so incredibly different and complicated, I've found my Bible to be a much better source of refreshment and wisdom than my debate book. But I'll get back to it when life decides to calm back down.
And one of these days, I'll stop writing about Calvinism.
Promise!

9 comments:

Joelseph said...

It still seems like you've got a slightly skewed view of all of it. Everything Spurgeon said is right on. Reformed theology does not say that we should not sincerely love every single individual on the planet and sincerely pray that they be saved. Of course we should have a heart for the lost, and a tremendous one at that. I'm convicted almost everyday for not praying for lost friends like I know I ought to.

Christ's atonement is sufficient to save every single person in the world. It has more than enough power to do so. Jesus' blood was not just enough to save the ones "chosen before the foundation of the world." (Eph 1:4) It's more than enough to save the entire human race. But it will only save those to whom "grace was given in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time." (2 Tim 1:9) The cross can most certainly save every single individual that ever lived from Mother Teresa to Hitler, but it will not save the ones "whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world." (Rev 17:8)

We should definitely live and evangelize as if the entire world is elect, but never deny God His sovereignty in "declaring from ancient times the things not yet done." (Isa 46:10)

Kristi said...

It will only save those who willingly come to repentance at the calling of God that He extends to every man on the earth.



Thank you for the input though.

Joseph said...
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Joseph said...
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Joseph said...

I honestly believe that you see one side of God and that's it. That's all you want to see, and He can't reveal anything else to you because you honestly can't handle it.

John 16:12. I suppose you disagree.

You know the reformed doctrine is not some new thing, it's been the mainline thought since athanasius and augustine, way back in the 300s, all the way up till now.

Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism (arminianism) has been the herectical thinking since augustines time. Over the past two hundred years it's (free-will heresies) sort of become the mainline thought b/c of the absence of expository preaching and the increase of topical preaching.

I find it interesting that in that time also our country has gotten more godless. ever read about charles finney? believed what you believed, except he followed it out where it's supposed to go. Read about the burnt-over disctricts, read about his evangelization methods, his manipulation.

I've seen 'revivalists' come in to my church and use manipulation to coax people into being saved. You know why? because they believe it's 100% mans decision. And you know what happens? We get truckloads of false conversions, people raise their hands, "get saved", everyone goes home happy and satisfied, preacher man walks away with good money, and we never see those 'converts' again. Why? B/c they made a decision, they chose Christ.

They chose, now why didn't God save them?

Cause they didn't repent? Well how do they repent unless God shows them their sin right? Is God not powerful enough to show them their sin in such a way that they must repent? Everytime He's decided to show me I see and I break and I tremble and I repent. Everytime. And I'm incredibly good at hardening my heart, I'm a pro. I'm not kidding, and I can't tell you how many times He has overcome my hard heart and literally made me repent.

Why can't he do it with everyone else?

Cause they don't ask? Well He puts desires in you right? So strong that you want to say with Jeremiah they're a fire in your bones right? So strong that it has to be let out, so why can't He do that with them?

Maybe He does, and they just harden their hearts to it right? Well, He's a God of mercy and grace, so why doesn't He just keep trying and trying and trying? He does desire all to be saved yes?

You would never quit would you?

Maybe it's b/c He knows they won't accept Him no matter what right?

Even though you prayed that God soften their heart He can't soften it too much, cause they still have to choose. And for some reason God can soften a dead heart. Someone thats dead. Spiritually dead, He can soften their heart.

Anyways, He knows that no matter how much softening He does against their permission, no matter how much prodding and pleading and calling, they will resist. So why do it? Why bother? It seems God is only making judgment worse for them, for they are neglecting so great a salvation.

Why does He bother if He knows without a doubt that no matter what they are going to resist Him. No matter what. He can't do anything to "override their free-will" that apparently was not effected at all in the Fall of man,He can't do anything, and so knows they will resist whatever He does, no matter what, why bother? In order to prove His love? He already proved with His Son. He can't do anything greater.

In fact, all He is doing is making hell worse for them. That doesn't seem nice at all. Seems really cruel in fact. On top of that, Christ who redeemed, ransomed, justified, sanctified, perfected once for all, propitiated all of those people who are in hell, I don't know why He did that either. I don't know why He suffered under the wrath of His Father, (you know that hurt you get over your sin? over the lost? make that infinite, and you have an idea of the full wrath of God upon His Son), I don't know why He made His Son go through that if He knew it would be in vain, if He knew they would not receive Him.

I don't know why the Son did that.

Cause of love? So God will go against His nature b/c of love? He will handle out punishment twice b/c of love?

You ever loved someone that didn't love you back? It's pretty terrible. They hate your love, they spit on it, they mock it.

What about the fact that He's perfected for all time those who are being sanctified by His blood? That's everyone right? Of course it is.

Everyone has been perfected for all time, even though they will be in hell eternally, it's ok, cause they've been perfected for all time. It's in Hebrews. Chapter 9 and 10.

What about propitiation? You know what it means? It means He satisfied the wrath of God. It means God no longer will put His wrath upon those for whom Christ died, cause on the cross He bore it all, you know the song,

"Jesus bore it all...all to Him I owe" Sin had a left a crimson stain", that one brings tears to my eyes when I sing it. He bore it all, the sin the wrath, all of it.

Remember when He said, "It is finished." He meant what He said. Not, made possible, It's done. Nothing else has to be done. Salvation is secured. For all whom Christ died. Which is everyone right?

He redeemed and ransomed everyone that He died for yeah? It says so, several times. He made payment for them, and it was good enough. God accepted it, you know how we know this? God raised Him from the dead. Read Romans.

So Christ payment for all sins (including the ones where the people would not choose Him and not believe, He paid for those also), God accepted payment, and then God decides to demand payment again from them eternally suffering in hell. Why? It's been paid for. I though He was just and loving.

We were justified too by His blood, you know that means? It means Christ's righteousness is given to us. So that means that all those people in hell, they have the righteousness of Christ on their account. What's that? They didn't accept it? I thought all the sins were covered, including the ones of unbelief.

Either change what you believe about whom He died for, or you can just ignore all the passages that talk about what Jesus did on the Cross. Or just explain them away and tell everyone they don't mean what they actually say. No, they mean something else. No big deal, it's not like the entire universe is about and for Him or anything.

I mean hey, that calvinistic God is a big meanie anyways.

Tell me again though, cause I don't understand, why would He subject His Son to such pain for those whom He knew it would be in vain for? Why?

And tell me again, why does He demand payment from those already paid for? From those with the righteousness of His Son? From those who have been perfected for all time? Why?

Kristi said...

In my flesh, I want nothing more than to respond to your post with refutations and equal remarks.

But my spirit's telling me not to. Because I'd be doing it for the wrong reasons. There would be no edification for you in it, and God really wouldn't be glorified in my wanting to prove you wrong. The only thing feeing me desire to respond is pride - and that is NEVER a reason to discuss things.


I would add, however, that not only are [most of] your posts cold and belittling, but everytime I read what you have to write I feel smaller and lesser in my faith than I ever have. And it isn't because I 'know I'm wrong'. I don't know why it is. But as my brother in Christ it is not your job to prove me wrong, and it sure isn't your job to talk down on me because of something I feel strongly about in my faith. Something I've prayed about. Something I've concluded and have had confirmed through God's Word. None of this changes either of our salvation. You and I are both saved. And that's all there is to it. I'm sick of debating. I'm sick of division. And the only reason I write these blogs, not to debate (despite a belief you might hold), but because I love to write. And I love to write what's on my heart. And these are things on my heart. These are the things God is revealing to me. These are the things that Father is opening my eyes to.

And then you come in and try to refute it?
And not only that, but completely lacking a gentle spirit which the Bible speaks strongly on us having.


I'm sure it isn't your intention. But it's definitely the way it comes across. And it's not edifying whatsoever. In fact, it does exaclty the opposite of what we're supposed to do to one another in Christ.


I'm open to your comments.
But you aren't swaying me. And if anything, by the time I'm finished reading them, I'm even stronger in what I believe to be true about the God that I serve. About the God that speaks to my heart, stirs in my soul, the God that saved me and is now growing me more every day. I'm asking that you please stop coming and putting down the very things God is placing on my heart just because you believe differently. I'm not right. You aren't right. I'm not wrong. You aren't wrong. It's how God reveals Himself to us in the way we can best receive it, is how I truly believe. You might think different. And okay! That's fine. But please...at this point all I'm seeing in your posts are pride and arrogance, and it's just not of Christ any longer. Stay true to your beliefs ALWAYS. I commend such strong stances and a heart for the biblically accurate. But I'm searching my God the same, and He's growing me too. Please stop putting that down.


Thank you.

Joseph said...
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Joseph said...

There was no anger in that last post. Just loads of sarcasm at the very end. You judge all of what I've done off of the sarcasm at the end. How is that fair?

How can you tell how gentle my spirit is over the internet?

For example, that question you just read is subject to how you want to interpret it. Was I angry? Foaming at the mouth? Sarcastic?

Or was I genuinely trying to show you that it's possible your view of me or what I say is affecting what you believe?

Like I said, the last post had sarcasm, but it was trying to get a point across, which you seem to ignore all of what I say.

If you know somebody has incorrect doctrine and believes the wrong things, you do know that you are supposed to correct them in a spirit of gentleness yeah?

Me trying to 'refute' you for the sake of 'battle' has not been my goal. Trying to correct you has.

Your "my God" "your God" stuff is a product of this relativistic/postmodern generation. "To each his own." And "What's best for you might not be best for me, but can't we just all get along?" are the mantras going around.

It's possible your reading this as a 'comeback' or a 'counterpoint', again though, I'm just having a discussion, so see it as such.

Now, the only problem with "To each his own" is that our beliefs are mutually exclusive. That means not both of them can't be correct. One of them has too.

You say you're open to my comments but you're not, because you see them as 'attacks' when they're not. You judge me to be 'in the flesh', full of 'pride and arrogance' from text on a screen? I find it hard to believe you're that discerning. Maybe so.

I'm not divided against you, I can work and worship with you like there's no tomorrow, I do it all the time with others. I've honestly never had a problem with you, and I don't now even though you accuse me of things based off of what you read.

It's how God reveals Himself to us in the way we can best receive it, is how I truly believe

This is what I said to your earlier at the very beginning. And in a sense it's not fine, because I want to know all of God. All. Not just some or the parts I like best, but all. I find it very possible that I'm just completely in the wrong concerning the timing and delivery, the content is correct, the methods maybe not. I don't know.

What if has a problem with God knowing the future and their free-will? People like that everywhere, they can't believe that God is knows the future and their acts aren't determined, or deterministic. What do you tell them? That's how God is revealing Himself to them so leave them alone? No, you go to scripture and use reason to show them the truth.

This isn't an easy subject, I had a friend who cried over this for two or three days. After some struggling it just busted wide open and they see God more amazing than they saw Him before. They had been in the faith for several years, not a stagnant nor 'weak' Christian, knew the word, knew His character, but when they learned this they were so full of joy, so full!

It was amazing. It happens to everyone almost, it hurts for a time, very bad, and then one day they say it just clicks, they see the verses, they see the truth of it.

I'm being serious now, and I ask that you would honestly help me with this. Answer these two questions:

How can God send to hell all of those people after Christ has accomplished all He has on the cross and with His blood for them (perfected, sanctified, justified, redeemed, ransomed, propitiated, etc.)?

Why would God subject His Son to such punishment and wrath knowing that it would be in vain (that billions of people He died for would choose hell no matter what)?

I need to know how you can hold to these things please. Just think about them, don't ignore them, or try to reason away. Just honestly try to answer them. Sit there and think of what it costs for you to believe what you believe. Please, do it. I've weighed 'arminianism' and have found it wanting. I have weighed the doctrines of grace and have found more God-glorifying than anything I've ever encountered. It's not your own 'personal' interpretation, it's what scripture says.

Kristi said...

Joe,

At this point you're only making everything worse. I really truly wish you would stop. You're acting like Calvinism is the gospel and it most certainatly is not. I only pray that you don't subject Joel to it in such a way. I'm OVER it. And I really don't know how else to word it but that I honestly just wish you'd give it up with me. I'm not 'converting' over to Calvinism. I'm not changing my mind. I'm stuck in my views because GOD got me there. And I'm secure enough in my faith to know when Jesus speaks to my heart and reveals His truths. I'm where He wants me, and I'm going to continue to grow in that direction. Please leave it alone. I'm finished.