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Without Spiritual Life You Cannot See or Enter the Kingdom of God

 

"...unless one is born again he cannot see...[or] enter the kingdom of God....The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3,5,8

Jesus declared that unless a person is born again – unless he is regenerated, quickened or granted new life by the Spirit of God – he cannot "see" or "enter" the kingdom of God. The word "see" refers not to the perception of physical eyes, but to perception of the heart about spiritual things. That is, unless a person is supernaturally changed by God, he cannot have a heart which understands, or ears to hear or eyes to see the things of God (Deut 29:4; 30:6). Due to his unspiritual nature and corrupted condition it is utterly beyond his human powers to understand the truth about Christ or believe His revelation. The word "enter" refers to participation in kingdom life. That is, unless a man is born from above, he cannot be adopted into God's family. A citizen of God's kingdom must be born into it.

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 15:26 -- john_hendryx

The Orthodoxy of the New Testament Canon by David A. Thommen


Bart Ehrman argues in his book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture that in the early church there was not a composition of a single “orthodoxy” from which emerged a series of divergent and erroneous minorities, but instead there were various streams of Christian orthodoxy. No one stream represented “the clear and powerful majority of believers against all others.”[i] In other words, there was no monolithic “orthodoxy” in the early church. There were different streams that were obviously divergent of one another because of the divergent “books” that are found within the first three centuries of the Christian church. Ehrman goes on to argue:

To this extent “orthodoxy,” in the sense of a unified group advocating and apostolic doctrine accepted by the majority of Christians everywhere, did not exist in the second and third centuries. Beliefs that were, at later times, embraced as orthodoxy and condemned as heresy were in fact competing interpretations of Christianity, one of which eventually (but not initially) acquired domination because of singular and historical forces. Only when one social group had exerted itself sufficiently over the rest of Christendom did a “majority” opinion emerge: only then did the “right belief” represent the view of the Christian church at large.[ii]

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 13:05 -- john_hendryx

Determine As Long as You Live to Make the Bible Your Guide and Advisor


by J. C. Ryle

The Bible is God's merciful provision for sinful man's soul, the map by which he must steer his course, if he would attain eternal life. All that we need to know, in order to make us peaceful, holy, or happy, is richly contained there. If a young man wants to know how to begin his life well, let him hear what David says: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word" (Psalm 119:9).

Young men, I charge you to make a habit of reading the Bible, and not to let the habit be broken. Do not Let the laughter of friends, do not let the bad customs of the family you live in, don't let any of these things prevent your doing it. Determine that you will not only have a Bible, but also make time to read it too. Allow no man to persuade you that it is only a book for Sunday school children and old women. It is the book from which King David got wisdom and understanding. It is the book which young Timothy knew from his childhood. Never be ashamed of reading it. Do not "scorn instruction" (Proverbs 13:13).

Read it with the prayer that the Holy Spirit's grace will help you understand it. It has been said, "A man may just as soon read the Scripture without eyes, as understand the spirit of it without grace."

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 20:06 -- john_hendryx

Key Quotes on the Sufficiency of Grace (Week 1 - Jan 2014)


Some believe grace is not really a gift but gives man an opportunity to believe or not, but this scenario is about as likely as believing that shining a light into the eyes of a blind man will enable him to see if he wants to. If the blind is not given new eyes, he will not see. And once he is given new eyes he already sees. Grace is grace because Jesus gives to us what we were unable to give to ourselves: eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to believe. (Deut 29:4; 30:6)

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Some teach that 'salvation depends on human will', but the Bible teaches (and I quote) 'it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom 9:16)

We cannot believe in just any "Jesus", and think that because we are using this word, that we are, therefore, honoring God. The Jesus of the Bible is one who saves by grace ALONE, not the false or inconsistent Jesus' proclaimed by many who want to partly retain the merit, wisdom or humility of man. It is only when man is stripped of all hope in himself and, by grace, turns to Jesus alone that he understands the gospel. Do you trust in Jesus alone? If you do then know this, Jesus provides EVERYTHING we need for salvation, including the Holy Spirit to believe (John 6:63, 65), the wisdom and sound judgment to believe (1 Cor 1:30) and a new heart to believe (Ezek 36:26). Jesus is sufficient.

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"But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear." - Deut 29:4.

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 21:51 -- john_hendryx

Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate


by Dean Davis

The following are some excerpts from The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate -
A book which makes a defense of amillennial eschatology.

Dr. Sam Storms recent endorsement is as follows" "The High King of Heaven, by Dean Davis, is the most sweeping and comprehensive book on eschatology that I've ever encountered. The scope of this book is simply breathtaking. As is typical with all books on eschatology, no one will agree with everything he says. But everyone should wrestle vigorously and thoughtfully with his approach to reading prophetic texts. This isn't for bedside, late-night reading. In fact, it will probably keep you up at night!"

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 17:31 -- john_hendryx

Proper Interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP)


by Dean Davis

This is a series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). The goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold. Davis is the author of The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate - A book which makes a defense of amillennial eschatology.

First, to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 17:20 -- john_hendryx

The Shepherd Sets the Sheep Free


If the natural man has a free will to believe the gospel, then why does he need grace at all? If his will is naturally free then it would do away with the need for grace altogether ... he could simply come to Jesus Christ on his own, apart from grace. But the Bible teaches that it is precisely because man is in bondage to sin (2 Tim. 2:26; 1 Cor 2:14) that he needs Christ to set him free (John 8:34, 36) that he might indeed come to faith in Jesus (John 6:63, 65).

But lest anyone think the above is an attack on Arminianism, they would assume too much. It is meant to demonstrate the biblical truth that the natural man (the man without the Spirit) does not have a free will -- a slave to sin and corruption, something both Calvinists and Arminians agree upon. This statement is more directed toward the many semi-pelagian Christians out there who even deny the need for an Arminian-type prevenient grace - they actually exist in America in much greater numbers than Classic Arminians and thus the urgency to proclaim this message. I once had a discussion with Roger Olson (a Classic Arminian) a professor at Baylor who said he had many students who thought he was a closet Calvinist because of his belief in prevenient grace. So I propose that we stop debating about whether man has a free will or not.  He doesn't and that has been established by the above.  The debate is really more about what the Bible has to say about the nature and extent of God's regenerating/saving grace.

As much as they think it gets them off the hook, Arminnian prevenient grace really does not help Arminians escape this issue of free will and the ability of the natural man. Prevenient grace hides behind a mask in order to avoid the questions that dig a little deeper. For starters, prevenient grace elicits two major questions:

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 17:15 -- john_hendryx

Why don't you still put to death people who break God's law like in OT Israel?

Visitor: Why don't you still put to death people who break God's law like in OT Israel? Wouldn't you establish a theocracy and take over the state mechanism if you had the opportunity?

Response: Multi-tiered answer.

1) the death penalty still stands for the same sins committed, but with the coming of Christ there is now a delay in carrying out judgment as He holds out pardon in advance of His invasion for those who ally themselves with Him. When he bore the sin of many on the cross He died the death we all deserved. He paid for the sins of the Christians now living...and for those sheep he still intends to gather. So now is a time of mercy, today is the day of salvation ... but when Christ comes again such offers of clemency will cease forever .. and then their death sentence will be carried out.

2) As Christ grafted in the Gentiles into His olive tree (Rom 11), we no longer live under a direct theocracy but are cast and dispersed all over the world, called to live as pilgrims and exiles like Israel in the Babylonian captivity. In whatever country we live we are called to seek the welfare of the city where the Lord sends us, pray on its behalf (Jeremiah 29: 4-7) and obey the laws of the governing authority (Roman 13:1-7).

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 09:58 -- john_hendryx

The Doctrine of God (32-Part MP3 Series) by Brian Borgman

Brian Borgman is founding pastor of Grace Community Church. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Biola University (La Mirada, CA), a Master of Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (Portland, OR) and a Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Seminary (Escondido, CA).To download MP3, Right click and save to your hard drive.

The Importance of the Doctrine of God (Pt 1) (MP3)

The Importance of the Doctrine of God (Part 2) (MP3)

The Chief End of God (Part 1) (MP3)

The Chief End of God (Part 2) (MP3)

The Chief End of Man (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 1) (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 2) (MP3)

A Defense of Christian Theism (Part 3) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 1) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 2) Yahweh (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 3) (MP3)

The Names of God (Part 4) (MP3)

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 19:38 -- john_hendryx

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