This Thanksgiving, You are Not Going to Persuade Your Friends and Family of the Truth of the Gospel

This Thanksgiving, YOU are not going to convince your relatives and friends of the truth of the gospel. You can present evidence or argue with them till you are blue in the face, and they are not going to budge. A least you cannot win them over by argument alone. Remember, the reason people do not change their minds about what they believe is because their affections control their reasoning, their motivations, their presuppositions and their intuitions (John 3:19-20; Rom 1:18-21). Affections shape and bias the way we all process information and so people tend to rationalize on behalf of outcomes they want to see. People are skeptical of, and hardened toward, information they don't want to believe and have deep motivations to protect information they do want to believe. So evidence, by itself, is a really bad way to try to convince someone of the gospel. But join your evidence and the gospel with your persistent heartfelt prayers for your friends and family and God may show up and surprise you. The seeds you plant and water may be germinated by the Spirit. So do not stop reasoning and persuading, but remember that understanding the gospel is a supernatural event where God changes hearts of stone to flesh (Ezek 36:26; ! Cor 3:7; 12:3; 1 Thess 1:4, 5) so continue to look up in prayer for God's help as you lovingly communicate the only truth which can deliver them from their captivity, of which we all once were a part.

Related Resources
Biblical Regeneration and Affectional Theology by John Hendryx

Thu, 11/26/2015 - 12:39 -- john_hendryx

The Necessity of Word & Spirit in Conversion

The following is an expression of the extraordinarily balanced understanding of John Calvin with regards to the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing persons to faith through the preaching of the gospel. Commenting on Acts, it shows the outworking of God's plan through the agency of men in casting forth the seed of the gospel, which, the Bible testifies, can only be responded to when germinated (so to speak) by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture testifies that that the word alone is not enough to enter and change the heart of natural man (who is hostile to God's word) but that the heart must be opened and the mind illumined by the concurrent work of the Spirit. An biblical example of this can be found in 1 Thes 1:4, 5. "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction..."

by John Calvin

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” Acts 16:14-15

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 10:41 -- john_hendryx

How's Your Prayer Life?

by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones

What is the place of prayer in your life? What prominence does it have in our lives? It is a question that I address to all. It is as necessary that it should reach the man who is well versed in the Scripture, and who has a knowledge of its doctrine and its theology, as that it should reach anyone else. What part does prayer play in our lives and how essential is it to us? Do we realize that without it we faint? Our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life. It is more important than knowledge and understanding. Do not imagine that I am detracting from the importance of knowledge. I spend most of my life trying to show the importance of having a knowledge of truth and an understanding of it. That is vitally important. There is only one thing that is more important, and that is prayer. The ultimate test of my understanding of the Scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know about Him, but to know Him. The whole object of salvation is to bring me to a knowledge of God. I may talk learnedly about regeneration, but what is eternal life? It is that they might know Thee, the only true God in Jesus Christ whom God has sent. If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer there is something wrong somewhere. It is meant to do that. The value of the knowledge is that it gives me such an understanding of the value of prayer, that I devote time to prayer and delight in prayer. If it does not product these results in my life, there is something wrong and spurious about it, or else I am handling it in a wrong manner.


Related Resources

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 14:41 -- john_hendryx

There Arose No Little Disturbance Concerning the Way

When the apostle Paul went into the city of Ephesus, through his witness, a significant number of idolaters there, by the grace of God, had a change of heart and become Christians. (Acts 19:11-20) Because this threatened the livelihood of most of the silversmiths (who made idols) they began spreading the word that there was a danger that "the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing." (Acts 11:27) A good number of people were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with the confusion.." (Acts 11:29-30) Such confusion that most of those who gathered did not know why they had come together and there was practically a riot.  

Today, in our current culture, where people worship at the altar of their idols of hyper sexuality, it often seems like the the same kind of inner rage is directed toward those who hold Christian convictions. Those who are blinded to the gospel proclamation of liberty and still want to be chained to their old masters, are threatened by the gospel ... that it will overthrow their gods so they are "enraged" and think that by shouting louder than others they can get the wider culture to believe the false message that our love for our fellow human beings is really hate and bigotry. But for several thousand years Christians & Jews have believed that the only place for sexual union is in a marriage covenant between one man and one woman for life. This is a matter of conscience and change cannot be forced or coerced by bullying, social pressure, contrary values of culture, politics, or law. This is who we are and what we believe and it is not going to change.

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 12:55 -- john_hendryx

Do the Cut off Olive Branches of Romans 11 Definitively Prove that Salvation Can be Lost?

Recently a visitor was telling me that the Romans 11 discussion of "branches being cut off" was definitive proof that a person could lose their salvation. That no amount of exegesis could prove otherwise. But if one looks at the context, the passage itself may, at first glance, even appear to be contradictory. For how could the apostle Paul write of branches being cut off (v.22), and then in the same breath turn around and say that the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable? (v.29) Which is it? Is Paul telling us that a Christian can lose his salvation, or is he saying that regenerate Christians are guaranteed an eternal inheritance? Or something else altogether?

Take a closer look at Romans 11. It speaks of Israel, who was hardened in part, and was a branch that was "cut-off" because of widespread unbelief (vs. 20). Paul then admonishes the Gentiles to "continue in his kindness. Otherwise {they] too will be cut off."(v. 22)

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 16:33 -- john_hendryx

Christ Preserves us to the End

Legalism overthrows the gospel, since it trusts, at least partly, in one's own self-righteousness and not Christ alone for salvation. It erroneously believes that God is somehow satisfied with our pathetic attempts to maintain our right standing with Him by being moral. (Gal 3:3; Phil 3:3) But this is to usurp Christ's office as Savior. Perhaps the worst offenders of this within the visible church are those who believe we can lose our salvation, thinking that Christ's work is incomplete or insufficient and that we must somehow make up for it with our own enduring faith or merits or else risk losing our status as His adopted children. But Christ "is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25) "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Heb 10:14)

Those persons in the visible church who say that a regenerate believer can lose their salvation (or forfeit their faith) may indeed affirm that Jesus' atonement paid for past sins, but since they believe our post-regeneration sin can disqualify us, it would mean that their future justification is dependent, in whole or in part, in their own ability to persevere to the end. As such they are not trusting in Jesus Christ alone for their redemption but partly in their own efforts and ability. The Bible indeed teaches that we must persevere to the end but it also teaches that those who are born again will not, indeed CANNOT life a lifestyle of sin because God's seed dwells in them ... and since Jesus always lives to intercede for believers, He will preserve them to the end (1 John 3:9; John 6:37-39).

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 17:34 -- john_hendryx

This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off

In my devotions this morning, I was reading from Deuteronomy 30, and was startled by words in verses 11 and 14 that sounded almost like a Pelagian declaration of human ability:

"This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off...."The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."

Can you comment on a proper understanding of that passage?


Mon, 10/19/2015 - 16:56 -- john_hendryx

How Do I Know I am Saved?

If you claim Christ is your king and you His subject, how is it that He came to occupy the highest place of your affections, that throne atop your heart?

Prior to your redemption, the flesh and Satan quietly possessed your greatest affections, and like the rest, you were Satan's slave, his vassal.. And since he thus reigned over your heart (and was much stronger than you) how did this transformation to Christ take place? There is no doubt that Satan would have never willingly relinquished his reign of power over you. And you, being under the bondage of your own corrupt nature and Satan's dominion over you, would not have been willing to simply renounce, nor able to resist the flesh or the Devil's binding power, since he had taken you captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). For the flesh, the world and the Devil were enemies too powerful for you to disarm and had vast superiority in strength over your base affections. You were their plaything, and that, most willingly. You could not untangle yourself nor did you want to, for you loved darkness (John 3:19 ) and most willingly suppressed the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18 ). Mere exterior persuasion did not scratch the surface of your heart.

Mon, 10/12/2015 - 13:37 -- john_hendryx

Media Distortion & Disinformation

While trust in network media has previously been pretty low, in the last few years, the news media has simply lost all credibility. They have become nothing more than propaganda outlets to shape public opinion ... brazenly suppressing news they don't like and mostly over-promoting ideas they agree with. From all appearances they now feel it is their job to re-educate the masses to think along the lines of their own elite ideology.  The depravity of man is on full display in the press as powerful and wicked people now openly suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18).

The examples of this are too many to count but you can witness it most recently in the way the press has mishandled the entire Planned Parenthood drama. First by not showing the inhuman criminal behavior in the videos that they knew would impact public opinion and next by promoting the argument that they were fabricated and then when demonstrated to be genuine, utter silence (crickets). But the problem is hardly limited to this. Other grossly distorted stories abound and it is alarming. The pervasive use of the words bigotry, hate and ___phobia directed against Christians and other people of faith is not an argument but a tactic and one based on uneducated prejudice and ignorance. The press, being derelict in their duty, perhaps more than anyone else, are doing the greatest harm to our democratic republic and are shaping the public to believe a distorted Manichean picture of the world.

Moral: Things are not always as they seem in the world. Do not believe every piece of (dis)information you hear. Let it sit for a while before making a judgment or drawing a conclusion. Or we could easily fall into promoting the same kind of distortion. Truth is all important here.

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 14:57 -- john_hendryx


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