Purpose of the Church Pt5 Communion

Communion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level or the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.

So, when we take Communion, it’s about who? Jesus! And I need you to know this ‘cause at so many churches, they either don’t take Communion, or they take it and don’t tell you what it’s about.

Jesus says, “Do this in remembrance of me,” so we do. And that when we partake, it’s not literally Jesus’ body and blood but a symbolic representation.

Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.(Transubstantiation is the transformation in the Eucharist of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. This transformation of substance does not affect the appearances of the elements, which continue to appear to be bread and wine. The substance changes; the appearances do not.) This term was coined in the 1200’s, but the reality of the change of substance from ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ was believed by the apostles and their successors from the day of the Last Supper to the present.  So many anti-Catholics walk by sight, not by faith in regards to the Eucharist, but that is the exact same mistake the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers made about Jesus. If they could have seen him at His Transfiguration like Peter, James, and John did, they never would have treated Him with any disrespect like the anti-Catholics do. Similarly, if we could all see what the Eucharist REALLY is, we would all beg to be in the Blessed Sacrament,But Catholics walk by faith, not by sight.
Doctrine about the Eucharistic sacrifice. Holy Mass is a real sacrifice, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. It represents Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross, but in an unbloody manner. Priest and victim are both Christ, who offers himself through the priest. The laity also offers the sacrifice, but does not have the power to transubstantiate. The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to God in praise, thanksgiving, petition and atonement, for the living and the dead. Saints may also be commemorated in honor and petition. The Church has the responsibility of determining the rites and prayers to be observed. The liturgy as a whole is the public worship by the mystical Body of Christ. In every liturgical activity Christ is present, in a manner that must be properly interpreted. In the 16th Century, a lot of men came up with their own peculiar traditions of what they erroneously believed the Eucharist to be, some kind of “symbol,” a word to be found nowhere in Scripture when describing the Eucharist.

That’s when God’s people are filled with the Holy Spirit and they gather as God’s family, and Jesus is honored, and remembered, and celebrated, and sin is repented of, and the cross of Jesus Christ is adored, the Holy Spirit is really present with God’s people, and it’s a sacred moment for the family to honor Jesus.

It’s more than just a looking back and a memorial feast, but we’re not gonna recrucify Christ every Sunday, because in Hebrews 10:10(HCSB) 10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.

”And that’s where, if you’re not a Christian, you turn from sin, trust in Jesus by faith, and you partake of Communion as an act of faith, as a demonstration of faith. And we get out of our seats and we do it together, remembering Jesus got out of his grave and one day we’ll get out of our graves, and together we’ll be with him forever.And let me say this: as God’s people take Communion, what we’re showing is, “I’m friends with Jesus and his people.” You can’t be a Christian and not connected to the church. I don’t get this. This is like a dad with five kids who adopts a kid, and that kid says, “He’s my dad, but I don’t have any siblings and I’m not part of the family.” It’s all together. God’s a Father, adopts you, you’re now part of a family. You got brothers and sisters. I don’t get this solo, independent, me and Jesus has our own thing,rebelling Christianity. It doesn’t make sense. The Bible knows nothing of it. If you’re connected to God, you’re connected to his people.

And when we partake in Communion in service or in homes together, what we’re doing is we’re doing it together saying, “I’m friends with Jesus, and I’m friends with you, and I’m part of the family.” And this happened in early Christianity. It says in Acts 2:42-47(HCSB)42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. When the Christians started gathering, they would meet from the temple courts, big meetings like we do for services, and from house to house.

“And to the,” what? “Breaking of bread, having meals together and praying.” I’ll tell you the easiest way to build a friendship with somebody: have a meal and pray together. Eat together, pray together. Like, let’s say you’re married, you’re not getting along. Eat together, pray together, your friendship will grow because God always blesses those kinds of connecting moments. You’re struggling with your friends, try to resolve it over a meal. Start it, end it, bathe it in prayer. That’s how things get worked out relationally.

A study of the Lord’s Supper is a soul-stirring experience because of the depth of meaning it contains. It was during the age-old celebration of the Passover on the eve of His death that Jesus instituted a significant new fellowship meal that we observe to this day. It is an integral part of Christian worship. It causes us to remember our Lord’s death and resurrection and to look for His glorious return in the future.

The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb that was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb was then roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. God’s command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated. The story is recorded in Exodus 12.

During the Last Supper—a Passover celebration—Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to God. As He broke it and gave it to His disciples, He said, “’This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” Luke 22:19-21(HCSB)19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you. 21 But look, the hand of the one betraying Me is at the table with Me!. He concluded the feast by singing some psalms Matthew 26:30(HCSB)30 After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives. It was there that Jesus was betrayed, as predicted, by Judas. The following day He was crucified.

The church is a family, a community of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together to become more like Christ and less like our old selves. When you get a bunch of people who are imperfect together trying to live a new life, sometimes sparks fly, people get upset, offended, and feelings get hurt.

Colossians 3:12-17(HCSB)12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. 16 Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Some of people are partaking in an unworthy manner. You’re in open rebellion and sin.

Here’s a scary word of caution: there’s a church in Corinth. It’s not a great church. They’re getting drunk, they’re suing each other, they’re sleeping together, they’re hiring prostitutes. One guy’s sleeping with his mother or mother-in-law. Now days we call it legalistic to speak against,or we call it pulpit entertainment, politically correct sermons, diversity, openness, tolerance, we parades in honor of it, a magazine, a website, a whole Facebook group, and, t-shirts. God was very unhappy, and he said, “You’re not repenting. You’re claiming to love me and then you’re disobeying everything I say. You’re a bunch of rebellious, spoiled bratty kids.”

So then, through Paul, God speaks to them, and here’s what he says about Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:27-32(HCSB)27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world. “Therefore,whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way.” So, let me say this: there’s a worthy and an unworthy way. In our day of pulpit entertainment, politically correct sermons, tolerance, diversity, it’s, “Oh, no, no, we’re all—” Nope. There’s worthy and unworthy. There’s right and wrong. There’s obedient and disobedient. There’s qualified and disqualified. God’s grace doesn’t just forgive our sin. God’s grace empowers us to put our sin to death because Jesus died for it.

The bible is a mirror not a microscope, we are to read it and see our faults and change to be like Christ. Not to use to pass judgement on each other.

James 1:22-25(HCSB)22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

WHEN WE LOOK INTO THE MIRROR OF GOD’S WORD, WHAT DO WE SEE?

1. We see our flaws. We see that we are sinners.

2. We also see that Jesus Christ died for our sins so we can now be sons and daughters of the Most High God!

3. We see that by believing in Jesus Christ, we can be changed forever.

2 Corinthians 3:18(HCSB)17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The first point is that the central requirement of love in the church community is both a gift and a command. Our life together originates in the covenant love of God and so one essential mark of our covenant relationships in church is love. And this love is the work of God.

This means that a church community is a bunch of imperfect people on a spiritual journey together. We have been saved from condemnation and transferred from death to life and from darkness to light but in this new relation to God we are not yet perfected or completed, but are on the way to becoming what we should be.

The first commitment of the our church community is love. In a sense all else is an unfolding of that. And the commitment of love and holiness is not a static one, because none of us has arrived, but a commitment to strive, forward,advance,promote and sustain holiness.

Luke 22:14-20(HCSB) 14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

Jesus constantly promoted community among His disciples. He enjoyed being with them.Jesus had fervent desire to eat with His disciples, FERVENT –  very hot glowing exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling, Passionate
DESIRE – a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment:

Communion is common unity, common Union. Communion it literally means intimacy. It is the divine remembrance of the life of a holy God invested into the heart of a people to transform the way the did life in front of a culture of people.

Luke 22:19(HCSB)19 And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus said to do this before He went to the cross, He could’ve waited till after the resurrection because He ate with men after He was resurrected. So if he just wanted them to remember the cross, He would’ve done it after the resurrection and said now do this in remembrance of me. Why did He do it before? Because Jesus didn’t come just to save us from hell. He came to give us permission to gain back what Adam forfeited in the garden. Jesus restored what Adam failed in. FELLOWSHIP with the father. Now instead of the ritualistic slaughter of animals that they had to do in the temple. It is his blood that let’s us into the holy of holies to talk with our father. He didn’t come as fire insurance He came to show us we can live a life free from the bondage of sin and conquer the flesh by a desire and have a hunger to go after God. He conquered temptation everyday and He said when you eat this remember that. Remember that your not at the mercy of your enemy anymore, remember I defeated him at the cross, I defeated him when I snatched the keys of death and the grave. I defeated him with I sit at the right hand of the father forever making intercession for you. Remember your not at the mercy of your flesh anymore, because for 33 years I lived not subject to the desires of my flesh I conquered the desires of the flesh and did not give into temptation. Do this in remembrance of me. And your going to remember that you are what you eat.

Jesus is showing us that we can come together as a company of people who can come together from all different points of life, different stages of our walk, different races and economic backgrounds because we can walk together in common union. Because we are now part of the family.

Romans 8:14-16(HCSB)14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,

1 Corinthians 10:16(HCSB) The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 

The idea of community denotes a “common unity” of purpose and interests. By engaging in this united relationship a new level of consciousness and conscience emerges that spurs the group to higher order thinking and action, thus empowering and encouraging its members to exist in a mutually beneficial relationship. Thus community and family become closely intertwined, because aiming at a common unity strives to overcome brokenness, divisiveness, and, ultimately gaining wholeness with each of the members, with their environment, and with God. By giving mutual support, friendship and family merge. Both fellowship and community imply an inner and outer unity.

Don’t let this become a glorified hand washing station, but let us come together as a people who worship, praise and do life together as Jesus did with His disciples. We look at each other’s as brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, our kids look at the older people as aunts and uncles. It not just something we do on Sunday’s but something we do everyday and our lives start being intertwined. Some of us don’t want that but those that do will ask “how can we get more deeply rooted in Him?” How can we get more passionate about Jesus?” What can we get rid of in our lives to make more room for Him? Jesus lived His life in front of His disciples that caused them to live in such a way that we are still reading and talking about it today. Colossians 3:1-4(HCSB)So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

So we can stay in our home and scream at the darkness or we can go out and shine His light.

2 Peter 1:4 (HCSB)By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

Galatians 5:16-17 (HCSB)I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.

The question is not rather or not is it right or wrong but does it generate a hunger or thirst for the things of the spirit.

If you don’t want it to live quit feeding it. If you quit eating it long enough you will stop craving it. If you don’t want time with Jesus it’s an indicator that you haven’t spent time with him to perpetuate the cravings in your spirit for more of Him. Hunger is not a gift but a choice. If you see someone with a supernatural hunger for God it’s because they chose to eat those things of the spirit and starve the flesh.

We start looking for liberties, it’s not sin but it’s not healthy for the spirit. Some music out there is not sinful but it will not generate the appetite inside of you to successfully feed your spirit.

It’s not sin to listen to it and it’s not legalism to not listen, it’s liberty to let the appetite of the spirit dictate what you are ingesting.

The question for me is not is this sin or not anymore, I moved on from that , I grew. The question now for me is, will it feed my spirit? Will it bring the spiritual nourishment I need for my spirit or will it feed my flesh? Can I watch that? Sure but will I grow spiritually from it?

Will it make me hungrier for Him? Or will it generate a hunger, a craving for things that I don’t want to be hungry for anymore?

The more we eat Him. The more we will produce his nature naturally. We will start responding to people differently.

Do you know why stray cats and dogs hang around? Because you feed it. Lust hangs around because you feed it. You can’t say you can’t get rid of lust when you keep going to those sites, looking at women, etc.

You must have an appetite for one meal. The meal of the spirit.

The idea of community denotes a “common unity” of purpose and interests. Thus community and family become closely intertwined, because aiming at a common unity strives to overcome brokenness, divisiveness, and, ultimately gaining wholeness with each of the members, with their environment, and with God. By giving mutual support, friendship and family merge. Both fellowship and community imply an inner and outer unity.

This church will never become a glorified hand washing station,or a museum for saints, or a country club that doesn’t welcome sinners but let us come together as a people who worship, praise and do life together as Jesus did with His disciples. Let us not point the finger at our brother’s and sister’s and their faults but let us forgive quickly, love plentifully and help joyfully. We look at each other’s as brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, our kids look at the older people as aunts and uncles. It not just something we do on Sunday’s but something we do everyday and our lives start being intertwined. Some of us don’t want that but those that do will ask “how can we get more deeply rooted in Him?” How can we get more passionate about Jesus?” What can we get rid of in our lives to make more room for Him? Jesus lived His life in front of His disciples that caused them to live in such a way that we are still reading and talking about it today. Colossians 3:1-4(HCSB)So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

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Predestination and Election

If you don’t delve into the doctrine of predestination and election you dont delve into the gospel, we must delve into this doctrine and explain it.

2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689

  1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.( Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5 )
    There is no contradiction between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, Man is responsible ,Man is accountable. One of the fallacies of the doctrine is that it removes man’s accountability and his responsibility.

    2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

( Acts 15:18; Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18)

God did not look down the corridor of time and see that Esau was not going to respond favorably and Jacob was going to respond favorably. This is a wrong view of election,That is not God being sovereign but God being a time traveler.

That’s God not having any power whatsoever,no control, He is absolutely helpless just being able to see the future and who was going to choose him and therefore lie to us to make us believe He is sovereign. That’s not predestination. Predestination is not making a decision because you know the outcome, That is like thinking a news anchor has special powers because they saw a video before you did and told you the outcome before you saw it.

Probably the most common evasion is from those who would see foreknowledge as something that figures into God’s electing choice. And by that, they mean that He foreknew by looking ahead into the future to discover what was going to happen. And when He knew, when He learned through this foresight who was going to respond positively to the gospel, then He chose those people. And so, in effect, the choice is still theirs. But God saw it ahead of time and, therefore, He elected them because of the choice He knew they would make. That really evades the whole point, because it makes the choice the choice of the sinner, rather than the choice of God. If God looks into the future to see who’s going to believe, you have two problems there. Number one, that means that the believer himself is the one who made the decisive choice, not God. And that goes against dozens of Scriptures that say God is the one who chooses. Jesus said to the disciples: You haven’t chosen Me; I chose you. And in Thessalonians, Paul writes to the Thessalonians and emphasizes the fact that they are saved by God’s choice, God’s choice. And then the other problem with that is that ultimately, ultimately, if it’s my choice, I’m going to make the wrong choice.

“Pelagianism,” to put it as simply as I know how, starts with the denial of the doctrine of original sin. It’s a denial that Adam’s sin in any way affects his progeny. So that all of us are born essentially blank slates, and we have—we have the choice. And again, this all hinges on human choice; we have the choice to be good or evil. And we’re evil by our own choice, not because of any sinful tendencies or guilt that we inherited from Adam. That’s where Pelagianism starts. And out of that, you get a totally graceless theology. Because ultimately, if it’s my choice, whether it be good or evil, then I can save myself. I can redeem myself, simply by choosing to be good. And hard core Pelagians, that’s exactly what they teach. Charles Finney was a classic example who fell into this. Basically said: Look, you want to be saved, just choose not to sin; stop sinning and you can be saved. He even preached a sermon called “Make for Yourself a New Heart,” where he taught that as an unredeemed person you could, by sheer force of your will, change your own heart, contrary to what Scripture teaches. And you could, therefore, redeem yourself. The problem with all this is it gives the sinner credit that he doesn’t deserve. And also lays a burden on his back that he can’t possibly bear.

I would classify most Arminianism as a kind of semi-Pelagianism. After Pelagius passed from the scene and his teaching was declared a heresy, there arose a new sort of modification of Pelagius’ teachings—semi-Pelagianism, that’s the technical name for it—that taught okay, well, we were damaged by Adam’s sin, it did affect us, we did inherit sinful tendencies, but—and different semi-Pelagians treat it different ways—but the most common view is God just gives grace to all of humanity, and restores us to the place where we can make a free choice. And so again, like with Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism puts all the emphasis on free will.

The standard, typical American evangelism, which attempts to manipulate the man or the woman, soft-sell the gospel, take the offense out, entertain them, do whatever you need to do, because this is all about getting this person to make a decision. And that whole concept of decisions and invitations and, you know, umpteen verses of just-as-I-am, and all of the things that go with it, is an effort to manipulate, because it’s based upon essentially a semi-Pelagian-Arminian view that man is the ultimate decider. And I mean Finney launched that entire thing, you know. He said the whole idea of evangelism is to manipulate people’s minds to get them to the point where they make this decision; which, you know, is essentially how American evangelism is done, far and wide.

Calvinism vs Arminianism & Reformed Theology

Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.

John Calvin, the famous theologian and pastor of Geneva, died in 1564. Along with Martin Luther in Germany, he was the most influential force of the Protestant Reformation. His commentaries and Institutes of the Christian Religion are still exerting tremendous influence on the Christian church worldwide.

The churches which have inherited the teachings of Calvin are usually called Reformed as opposed to the Lutheran or Anglican/Episcopalian branches of the Reformation. While not all Baptist churches hold to a Reformed theology, there is a significant Baptist tradition which flowed out of that stream and still cherishes the central doctrines inherited from the Reformed branch of the Reformation.

The controversy between Arminianism and Calvinism arose in Holland in the early 1600s. The founder of the Arminian party was Jacob Arminius (1560–1609). He studied in Geneva under Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, and became a professor of theology at the University of Leyden in 1603.

Gradually Arminius came to reject certain Calvinist teachings. The controversy spread all over Holland, where the Reformed Church was the overwhelming majority. The Arminians drew up their creed in Five Articles, and laid them before the state authorities of Holland in 1610 under the name Remonstrance, signed by forty-six ministers.

The official Calvinistic response came from the Synod of Dort which was held November 13, 1618, to May 9, 1619, to consider the Five Articles. There were eighty-four members and eighteen secular commissioners. The Synod wrote what has come to be known as the Canons of Dort. These are still part of the church confession of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church. They state the Five Points of Calvinism in response to the Five Articles of the Arminian Remonstrants.

So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to disagree with.

It is more important to give a positive biblical position on the five points than to know the exact form of the original controversy. These five points are still at the heart of biblical theology. They are not unimportant. Where we stand on these things deeply affects our view of God, man, salvation, the atonement, regeneration, assurance, worship, and missions.

Somewhere along the way (nobody knows for sure when or how), the five points came to be summarized in English under the acronym TULIP.

T – Total depravity

U – Unconditional election

L – Limited atonement

I – Irresistible grace

P – Perseverance of the saint

It starts with man in need of salvation (Total depravity) and then gives, in the order of their occurrence, the steps God takes to save his people. He elects (Unconditional election), then he sends Jesus to atone for the sins of the elect (Limited atonement), then he irresistibly draws his people to faith (Irresistible grace), and finally works to cause them to persevere to the end (Perseverance of the saints).

People grasp these points more easily if we go in the order in which we ourselves often experience them when we become Christians.

1We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.

2Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.

3Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.

4Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.

5And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.

I. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

A. Arminian Position: Man is spiritually sick. Fallen man was seriously affected by the fall but he still has the ability to choose spiritual good. He determines his eternal destiny by either accepting or rejecting God’s mercies.

B. Reformed Position: Man is spiritually dead. Because of the fall, man has become spiritually dead, blind and deaf to the things of God and is therefore unable of himself to choose spiritual good and determine his own destiny. Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not — indeed he cannot — choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ — it takes  regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation— it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.Our sinful corruption is so deep and so strong as to make us slaves of sin and morally unable to overcome our own rebellion and blindness. This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total. We are utterly dependent on God’s grace to overcome our rebellion, give us eyes to see, and effectively draw us to the Savior.

C. Scriptural Support for the Reformed Position
As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is unable to save himself (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9;
Romans 3:10-18(HCSB)10 as it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one.11 There is no one who understands;there is no one who seeks God.12 All have turned away;all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good,not even one.13 Their throat is an open grave;they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips.14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,17 and the path of peace they have not known.18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

1. The fall has resulted in spiritual death to all men.

Genesis 2:16-17(HCSB)16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

Romans 5:12(HCSB) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Ephesians 2:1-3(HCSB)And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

Colossians 2:13(HCSB)13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses

Mark 7:21-23(HCSB)21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Jeremiah 17:3(HCSB)The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurable—who can understand it?

II. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

A. Arminian Position: God’s election is based on man’s foreseen faith. Before the foundation of the world, God chose certain individuals for salvation based on His foreseeing that they would, of their own free will, choose Christ.

B. Reformed Position: God’s election is unconditional. God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, but was based solely in His good and sovereign will. Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.
Romans 8:29-30(HCSB)29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified;

Ephesians 1:4-6(HCSB)For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.[a] In love[b] He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.
 God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before fore the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace that was given through his Son Jesus before the world began. By this act, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus.

If all of us are so depraved that we cannot come to God without being born again by the irresistible grace of God, and if this particular grace is purchased by Christ on the cross, then it is clear that the salvation of any of us is owing to God’s election. He chose those to whom he would show such irresistible grace, and for whom he would purchase it. God has an elect people whom He has chosen to grant salvation.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5(HCSB)4 knowing your election, brothers loved by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit,

Election refers to God’s choosing whom to save. It is unconditional in that there is no condition man must meet before God chooses to save him. Man is dead in trespasses and sins. So there is no condition he can meet before God chooses to save him from his deadness.

III. LIMITED ATONEMENT
A. Arminian Position: Christ’s death was designed to make salvation possible for all people. Christ’s death made salvation possible for everyone, but it did not actually secure or guarantee the salvation of anyone. Fallen man determines whether or not Christ’s work will be effective by his faith.
B. Reformed Position: Christ’s death was designed to actually secure the salvation of all of God’s chosen people. Christ’s death secured and actually accomplished the salvation of all of God’s chosen people. God has determined that all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved. Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone. All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved (Matthew 1:21(HCSB)21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”;
John 17:9(HCSB)I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours.;
Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation. The atonement of Christ is sufficient for all humans and effective for those who trust him. It is not limited in its worth or sufficiency to save all who believe. But the full, saving effectiveness of the atonement that Jesus accomplished is limited to those for whom that saving effect was prepared. The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people. Whosoever will — whoever believes — will be covered by the blood of Christ. And there is a divine design in the death of Christ to accomplish the promises of the new covenant for the chosen bride of Christ. Thus Christ died for all people, but not for all in the same way.

IV. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

A. Arminian Position: The Holy Spirit cannot regenerate fallen man until he believes. The Holy Spirit does all He can to bring every fallen man to salvation, but until fallen man responds in faith, of his own free will, the Spirit cannot give life. Faith preceded and makes possible the New Birth. Faith gives Life.

B. Reformed Position: The Holy Spirit regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, enabling them to believe. The Holy Spirit graciously regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, creating within them a new heart and enabling them to freely and willingly believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. The New Birth precedes and makes possible Saving Faith. Life gives Faith.Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds John 6:37(HCSB)37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace. If we are dead in our sins, and unable to submit to God because of our rebellious nature, then we will never believe in Christ unless God overcomes our rebellion.

Someone may say, “Yes, the Holy Spirit must draw us to God, but we can use our freedom to resist or accept that drawing.” But that is not what the Bible teaches. Except for the continual exertion of saving grace, we will always use our freedom to resist God. That is what it means to be “unable to submit to God.” “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God”
Romans 8:7–8(HCSB)7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God, it is because God has given that person a new, humble nature. If a person remains too hard-hearted and proud to submit to God, it is because that person has not been given such a willing spirit. But to see this most persuasively, we should look at the Scriptures.

Unless the Father Draws

In John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This drawing is the sovereign work of grace without which none of us will be saved from our rebellion against God.
John 6:65(HCSB)65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

How God works to change our will without coercion against our will is further explained in 2 Corinthians 4:4–6(HCSB)4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Fallen man, left in his dead state, is totally unable to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14(HCSB)14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

John 6:44(HCSB)44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

V. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

A. Arminian Position: All who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation.Sinners can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, by falling into a state of serious sin, etc.

B. Reformed Position: All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in Faith by the Power of Almighty God and therefore continue to persevere in faith.The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure
John 10:27-29(HCSB)27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.;
Romans 8:29-30(HCSB)For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.
All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. We believe that all who are justified will win the fight of faith. They will persevere in faith and will not surrender finally to the enemy of their souls. This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God himself, yet not so as to diminish, but only to empower and encourage, our vigilance; so that we may say in the end, I have fought the good fight, but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with me 2 Timothy 4:7(HCSB)7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
1 Corinthians 15:10(HCSB)10 But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me.

The people of God will persevere to the end and not be lost. The foreknown are predestined, the predestined are called, the called are justified, and the justified are glorified Romans 8:30(HCSB)30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. No one is lost from this group. To belong to this people is to be eternally secure.

According to Calvinism:Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy  Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.REAFFIRMED by the Synod of DortThis system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dort in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” (in answer to the five points submitted by the Arminians) and has ever since been known as “the five points of Calvinism.”

Now the Five points trying to refute Calvinism by the Arminians

Free Will or Human Ability

Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.

Conditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Universal Redemption or General Atonement

Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone’s sins. Christ’s redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted

The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit’s call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man’s contribution) precedes and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God’s grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

Falling From Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith. etc. All Arminian, have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ — that once a sinner is regenerated. he can never be lost.

According to Arminianism:Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man(who must respond)—man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.REJECTED by the Synod of DortThis was the system of thought contained in the “Remonstrance” (though the “five points” were not originally arranged in this order). It was submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610 for adoption but was rejected by the Synod of Dort in 1619 on the ground that it was unscriptural.

Beat the Dogs

Dogs are often intensely disliked in the Bible because they were prone to wander around wildly, eat anything (including human remains), and cause trouble, including terrifying people by chasing and barking at them. It is not surprising that the Old Testament refers to greedy spiritual leaders as dogs who are always looking for more and never have enough Isaiah 56:10–11(HCSB) Israel’s watchmen are blind, all of them, they know nothing; all of them are mute dogs, they cannot bark; they dream, lie down, and love to sleep.

11 These dogs have fierce appetites; they never have enough. And they are shepherds who have no discernment; all of them turn to their own way, every last one for his own gain.; they encircle God’s leaders to bark at them in intimidation, hoping to devour them Psalm 22:16(HCSB)For dogs have surrounded me;a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;they pierced my hands and my feet.,

Psalm 22: 20(HCSB)Deliver my life from the sword,my only life from the power of these dogs.

In the New Testament, Philippians 3:2(HCSB) says, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers.”
Revelation talks about the dogs outside of heaven’s gates;
Revelation 22:15(HCSB) 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Dogs are those people who bark at God’s people in an effort to control them, intimidate them, manipulate them, use them, abuse them, terrify them, harm them, and then devour them. Their barks can be threats, demands, false teaching, relational manipulation, emotional control, pushiness, rudeness, and unfounded criticism.

A good shepherd, a good pastor must consider his responsibility to feed and defend the sheep when considering how to deal with the dogs. When the dogs encircle the flock, it is the shepherd’s duty to take his staff in his hand and beat the dogs with great force until they yelp and flee in defeat. The staff in the shepherd’s hand is often the stinging weapon of strong language, humor, irony, sarcasm, ridicule, and mockery.

Regarding this mighty staff for the beating of the dogs, the renowned Reformed Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “I do not know why ridicule is to be given up to Satan as a weapon to be used against us, and not to be employed by us as a weapon against him (Spurgeon, “The Uses of Anecdotes and Illustrations,” in Lectures to My Students [Zondervan, 1954], 389).

Elsewhere, Spurgeon mentions Martin Luther’s devastating use of humor to beat some dogs in his day. Luther used vulgar, vile and disgusting language to portray how vulgar, vile and disgusting the religious bishops and popes of his day were.

Some of Luther’s sharpest blows were reserved for dogs who refused to argue from Scripture. Luther lost patience with those who could not show him from the Bible that he was wrong. Luther writes: “How often must I cry out to you coarse, stupid papists to quote Scripture sometime? Scripture! Scripture! Scripture! Do you not hear, you deaf goat and coarse ass?”
You think like this, “As I am a crude ass, and do not read the books, so there is no one in the world who reads them; rather, when I let my braying heehaw, heehaw resound, or even let out a donkey’s fart, then everyone will have to consider it pure truth.”From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 300 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41

Luther argued that his theological opponents avoided the Bible: “I cry: Gospel, Gospel, Gospel! Christ, Christ! Then they reply: The fathers! The fathers! Custom, Custom! Statutes, Statutes! But when I say: The fathers, custom, and the statutes have often been in error; matters of this kind must be settled by a stronger and more reliable authority; but Christ cannot be in error — then they are more speechless than fish” (Ibid., 1059).

The problem with dogs is that their bark is worse than their bite, and if the sheep take them seriously they will suffer. So, the best thing a good shepherd can do is beat the dogs with mockery, revealing them to be merely fangless, clawless liars with nothing more than a bark to fear.

Before examining instances of controversial and comedic biblical beatings, it would be helpful to understand the importance of satire as a literary device in the Bible. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery says,

Satire is the exposure of human vice or folly through rebuke or ridicule. . . . It might consist of an entire book (like Amos), or it can be as small as an individual proverb. One of the conventions of satire is the freedom to exaggerate, overstate or oversimplify to make a satiric point. Overall, satire is a subversive form that questions the status quo, unsettles people’s thinking, assaults the deep structure of conventional thought patterns and aims to make people uncomfortable. . . .

Psalm 1 exhorts us to not sit with those who mock everyone, and to not to scoff God because no one is to mock God. However, God gets to mock a lot of people who take themselves too seriously and him too lightly, thereby needing to be taken down a few pegs for their good and his glory Psalm 2:1-5(HCSB)Why do the nations rebel and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One: 3 “Let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints.”4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. 5  Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath:

Psalm 59:8(HCSB)But You laugh at them, Lord; You ridicule all the nations.

Proverbs 1:24-26(HCSB) Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction,26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when terror strikes you, Indeed, anyone with even a speck of humor and an eye for the details readily sees some very funny satirical mockery littered throughout the pages of Scripture. 1 Kings 18 records the legendary battle Royale showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. When their god failed to show up, Elijah mocked them

1 Kings 18:27(ESV)27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”.

Commenting on this text, Doug Wilson says, “The passage is plain — Elijah mocked them. And in the original Hebrew he is even more pointed. Perhaps your god is off in the bathroom. His prophets are all gathered in the hallway with an anxious look on their faces. Bang on the door louder. He’s been in there a long time”. Martin Luther actually justified his mocking tone by appealing to the Old Testament prophets: “I trust that I am justified in mocking those who mock my God and His Word and work. Elijah, too, mocked the prophets of Baal

Isaiah 44:15–17(ESV)15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” sounds like late night satirical sketch of a guy who chops down a tree and then

takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

It takes real insight to know which end of a log is for fuel and which is for worship. This kind of thing does not sound like something Jesus would do. Or would he? Would Jesus tell a joke or — even more controversial — mock someone?

Once we realize that Christ was not always engaged in pious talk, we have made an enormous step on the road to understanding” (Elton Trueblood, The Humor of Christ [Harper and Row, 1964], 10). Trueblood goes on to say, “Christ laughed, and . . . He expected others to laugh. . . . A misguided piety has made us fear that acceptance of His obvious wit and humor would somehow be mildly blasphemous or sacrilegious. Religion, we think, is serious business, and serious business is incompatible with banter”.

Jesus was funny. A few funny snippets from God’s Word will suffice to show the humor of Jesus. Matthew 19:24(ESV)24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Rather than seeing the humor, some guys way to smart and well educated with no sense of humor try to explain that there was a small doorway in a wall somewhere called the eye of the needle that camels would have to take off all their baggage and get down on their knees and crawl through. But what Jesus meant was that it’s hard for rich guys to go to heaven, and he said it in a funny way that some Bible commentators don’t understand, which makes it even funnier.

Jesus was funny when he mocked the guy with a huge log sticking out of his eye, rather than removing it, spent his time criticizing people who had a speck of sawdust in their eye Matthew 7:3(HSCB)Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Jesus mocked the superstar extravagant public prayers as if they were the epitome of prayer gurus Matthew 6:5(HCSB)“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!  He mocked the fact that some people would make their faces seem so distraught and sad in when they were fasting so people would know how holy they were (Matthew 6:16(HCSB)16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so their fasting is obvious to people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! He also mocked the guys who tithed out of their spice racks but were just absolutely holier than thou jerks.
Matthew 23:23(HCSB)23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others.

Jesus’ humor helps us understand the words of Matthew 15:12(HCSB)Then the disciples came up and told Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard this statement? Really? The guys to whom Jesus said their mothers slept with the devil were offended? In Matthew 11:6(HCSB) Jesus says, And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.”

The only way to not be offended by Jesus is to realize that we are all sinners who need to repent, laugh at ourselves, and take God seriously but don’t take ourselves to seriously.

A lot of people have an issue with mockery and say that Jesus did mock people but we should not because we are not Jesus and are not perfect like him or perfectly inspired by the Holy Spirit like the Old Testament prophets were.

The problem here is that “the rule” applies equally to everything that Jesus did and all that the apostles and prophets wrote. . . . We will be imperfect as we imitate love, grace, forgiveness, kindness, rebuke, sarcasm, gentleness, and so on. What standard are we using to say we should imitate this part of Christ’s demeanor and refuse to imitate that part of it? What standard do we use to assemble this hierarchy of verbal values? Why do we say, “Imitate Christ in His kindness to the tax gatherers, but never imitate Him in His treatment of the religiously pompous?” Why not the reverse? “Always make fun of religious jerks, but never imitate Christ’s kindness to the downtrodden.” This kind of selectivity is not approaching the Scriptures as the Word of God but rather belongs to the modern day cut and paste pansy, don’t offend anyone, Jesus is a dragqueen sensitive man who never offended anyone and neither should we americanized Christianity.

Perhaps even more controversial than mockery and humor is the biblical usage of strong language. The Bible does, on rare occasions, use very strong language to portray self-righteousness and the religions that promote it in the most disgusting of terms. The Bible does this because religion that promotes self-righteousness by one’s own works is anathema to the gospel(Anathema- someone or something that is very strongly disliked;to be damned or cursed) the only righteousness we have is not merited to us by works but a gift,given to us by grace through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the Bible uses graphic and disturbing imagery to show how vile to God religion and self-righteous works done in a vain effort to make oneself acceptable in the sight of a perfectly holy and righteous God. One example from the Old Testament is Isaiah 64:6(NET)We are all like one who is unclean,

all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.

Our study takes us to the verse in the New Testament that has tons of debate surrounding it. Speaking of his religiously self-righteous way of life before meeting Jesus, Paul says, Philippians 3:8(NET)More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things—indeed, I regard them as dung!—that I may gain Christ,. That little word “Skubala” has been the source of big controversy. Various English translations use words such as “rubbish,” “garbage,” “filth,” “dung,” “refuse,” “worthless trash,” and “dog dung.” Making the entire issue more difficult is that the word is a hapax legomenon, which means it appears only once in the entire New Testament.

Greek scholar and expert Daniel B. Wallace has studied this word in great detail, and he explains: “In Philippians 3:8, the best translation of skuvbala seems clearly to be from the first group of definitions [that is, meaning (human) excrement]. The term conveys both revulsion and worthlessness in this context. In hellenistic Greek it seems to stand somewhere between ‘crap’ and ‘s**t.’”

What Isaiah and Paul are pointedly declaring is that the good works of everyone from devout New age Self Help followers to the Jehovah’s Witness grandmas who knock on doors so that they will be good enough for God to love them — along with the family who thinks they are better than everyone else and able to stand before God on the day of judgment because they avoided alcohol and tobacco — are as cherished a gift to God as a bloody tampon or a pile of crap that a dog leaves in the yard. Why? Because any effort to justify oneself in the sight of God rather than depending solely upon the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross as the Atonement for our sins as the grounds for our righteousness is a bloody mess and a steaming pile of dung.

At this point, we can either argue with the Scriptures or consider their relevance for our own life. My sincere hope is that we all learn to deal with the speck in our eye before we start using our words, including the ones we blog and text-message, to criticize the words of others. For that to happen, we must see that shepherds and sheep alike are prone to moments and seasons of acting like swine, wolves, and dogs. When the Old Testament prophets attack the idolaters, they are speaking about us. When Jesus publicly criticizes the Pharisees, his words are for us. And when Paul sharply antagonizes the Judaizers, he is thinking of us.

We love it when “those guys” get verbally shot. But we hate it when “our guys” get verbally shot. Why? Because we wrongly think that “those guys” are always the bad guys and “our guys” are always the good guys. However, at varying times and in varying ways to varying degrees we are all religious dogs, and the first step toward safeguarding ourselves is to accept this fact humbly and not only repent of our sin but also of our religious righteousness.

**adapted from Mark Driscoll – Beat the Dogs**

 

Adoption, our status changes

 

Justification,Adoption, regeneration and sanctification.

Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves justification from sin.

Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

What does the term “Justified” mean? The Bible meaning of the word is to be totally blameless and totally guiltless–to be able to stand before God clean and pure in every way. Ephesians 2:8-9(HCSB)For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.Remember our helpless position before God–as “children of Wrath,”Ephesians 2:3(HCSB)We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

Our Father, however, has devised a plan and made a way for us to stand righteous before Him. He has sent His own Son as a Sacrifice on our behalf, and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life, and shall be seen as righteous in God’s sight. Ephesians 2:4-5(HCSB)But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

Romans 3:23-24(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

This righteousness we receive is imputed righteousness–that is a theological term which means removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. God legally declares us to be righteous because of Christ’s work on the cross.

This is Justification, to stand before God with all debts paid, and clothed in the righteousness of His only Son, Jesus Christ. To be able know that you have “peace with God”–there is no more war between you and the Almighty.

Romans 5:1(HCSB) Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

J.I. Packer wrote; Paul teaches that the gift of justification brings with it the status of sonship by adoption (i.e., permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father, Galatians 3:26(HCSB)26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.;

Galatians 4:4-7(HCSB)When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the rich who were childless. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” Romans 8:17(HCSB)17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ John 1:12(HCSB)12 But to all who did receive Him,He gave them the right to be children of God,to those who believe in His name,. The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s. Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and discipline and are directed, especially by Jesus, to live their whole lives in light of the knowledge that God is their Father in heaven. They are to pray to him as such, imitate him as such, and trust him as such, thus expressing the affectionate instinct that the Holy Spirit has implanted in them.

Adoption and regeneration accompany each other as two aspects of the salvation that Christ brings John 1:12-13(HCSB)But to all who did receive Him,He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God., but they are to be distinguished. Adoption is the bestowal of a relationship, while regeneration is the transformation of our moral nature. Yet the link is evident; God wants his children, whom he loves, to bear his character, and takes action accordingly.

First adoption is “from Him”—from God. “In love he predestined us for adoption.”Ephesians 1:4-5(HCSB)For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,

So adoption was part of a God’s plan. It was his idea, his purpose. It was not an afterthought. He didn’t discover one day that against his plan and foreknowledge humans had sinned and orphaned themselves in the world, and then come up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul says, he predestined adoption. He planned it. The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them. He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”, having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world”

And if we ask when this predestination happened, verse 4 makes that plain: “He chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in His sight.” Before the creation of the world, and before we existed, God looked on us in our need, and he looked upon his Son crucified and risen as the all sufficient atonement for our sin, and because of that he chose us to be holy and blameless. And to that end he “predestined us for adoption.” It happened before the creation of the world.

So the first thing you need to know about your adoption into God’s family through Christ is that God chose you and predestined you in love for adoption before the foundation of the world. God’s love for you and its expression in your adoption into his eternal family of joy did not start in this world. It reaches back to eternity. So when Paul says, “From him are all things” Romans 11:36(ESV)36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen., he includes our adoption, and means that before the foundation of the world he predestined you to be his child.

Therefore your adoption is not based on your fitness, your worth, or your character. It is rooted in God’s eternal purpose and grace. And that means that your adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.

Before the foundation of the world God saw that we would be sinners and planned the death of his Son so that our sins could be forgiven and God’s wrath removed. Through that we were adopted.

1) Not all people are God’s adopted children.

The blood of Christ covers the sins of all who believe Romans 3:25(HSCB)25 God presented Him as a propitiation[a] through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. Therefore believers in Jesus are adopted, and no others. If we talk about God being the Father of all mankind, we speak very loosely and are not talking truly about those who are saved.

The benefits of being adopted children of God are many. Becoming a child of God is the highest privilege and honor that can be imagined. Because of it we have a new relationship with God and a new standing before Him. He deals with His children differently than He deals with the rest of the world. Being a child of God, adopted “through faith in Christ Jesus” is the source for our hope, the security of our future and the motivation to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” Ephesians 4:1(HCSB)Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received,. Being children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us to a higher standard, a different way of life and a greater hope.

Hebrews 12:5-7(HCSB)5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him,6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?

Because of that new relationship, Christians may sin, but they cannot be comfortable or content living a life of habitual, ongoing sin. If people are living a life enslaved to sin and are comfortable in that sin and without the discipline of God upon them, then we know they are “illegitimate and not sons” Hebrews 12:8(HCSB)8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. In other words, they are unbelievers.

2) We were not cute little orphans that God was attracted to; we enemies in rebellion against God.

That is who God decided before the foundation of the world to adopt. Romans 5:6(HCSB)For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. Our adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. Romans 5:10(ESV) “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.

So our adoption is not based on our being worthy or cute or attractive. It is based on the free and sovereign grace of God planned before the world and bought for us by the blood of Christ.

Adoption is a grace beyond and above justification. In justification, God acquits sinners of all the charges against them. Indeed, he goes further still and declares that in Christ their righteousness meets the highest possible standards. They are as righteous as Christ himself 2 Corinthians 5:21(ESV)21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. There is not a stain on their characters. We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

At this point, in normal human systems of justice, the accused is then simply free to go, and both he and the judge hope they will never see each other again. But the divine judge not only acquits. He invites the sinner home — and not just for an evening. He adopts us as his own forever, tells us we are to call him “Father,” and pronounces us lawful heirs to all he is and to all that he has.

Paul is the only New Testament writer who uses the term adoption, but he is not the only one who speaks of believers being God’s children. John also highlights it, particularly in 1 John 3:1(ESV)See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. “See,” he exclaims, “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Yet while they speak of the same subject, the two apostles use different language.

Change in Status

The word adoption, like the word justification, refers not to a change in our disposition and character, but to a change on our status. It speaks of a revolution in our relationship with God. As unbelieving sinners, we were utterly alienated from him: total outsiders, as far as his family was concerned. Now we belong, and by using the term adoption, Paul is using formal legal language to remind us that our membership of our new family is absolutely secure. It can never be undone.

He is committed to us. He has given us his name.

He has said, in effect, “From now on, you have nothing to worry about (Matthew 6:26). I will care for you (1 Peter 5:7), and if you do ever find yourself overtaken by anxiety, come and talk about it to me at once (Philippians 4:6–7). Always remember that I am your home, and that I will never disown you; and should you ever go astray, I will always take you back (Luke 15:20). My love will never let you go.”

Divine adoption, then, secures what no human adoption can secure. It is always accompanied by a radical and total transformation at the very core of our being. Not only have we a new status. We are new people Ephesians 4:24(HCSB)24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

Should we, then, just sit back passively and let grace do its work? Indeed, the seed that God has implanted in us won’t let us sit back, nor will the hope that God has given us. The assurance that our destiny is to be “like him” impels us to set about purifying ourselves, and to do so with the utmost rigour, satisfied with nothing less than to be as pure as God himself (1 John 3:3).

While we may be sure that adoption gives God immense satisfaction, he never adopts in order to meet some need of his own. He adopts us because he loves us, not because he needs us.And far from exploiting us and subjecting us to a life of hard work, he showers upon us every spiritual blessing and fills our lives with the melody of joy and salvation.

God adopted us in our unworthiness to make his grace look great. You were adopted for the praise of the glory of his grace. God’s action in adopting us is radically God-centered and God-exalting. I know that many hear this and think it is not loving. How can God’s seeking to exalt himself be loving? The answer is that the glory of God is what we were made to see and enjoy for all eternity. Nothing else will satisfy our souls. Therefore if God does not exalt himself for us to admire and enjoy, then he is unloving. That is, he does not give us what we need.

We are adopted by God not so that we will rejoice that God made much of us. We are adopted by God so that we will enjoy making much of God’s grace as our Father forever. We are adopted so that in this family the Father and the unique elder Son, Jesus Christ, will be the source and focus of all our joy. We are adopted “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” It will take an eternity for the glory of that grace to be fully displayed for finite people. Therefore, we will be increasingly happy in God for ever and ever. That is the final meaning of adoption.

Drought

During times of a drought people pray for rain for two reasons. 

1. For their lawns to look good

2. To feed their children

Image

The revival rain that we are praying for as the church needs to be the kind of rain that makes a generation live or die , not make us look good. We need to stop looking at rain as something that will make the church look good amongst all the functions and start looking at rain as something necessary to germinate the seeds that have been planted. We need to move away from the mindset that revival is fun, revival would be neat and move into a mindset that if we do not experience revival we will lose a generation of people. Of we do not experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit we are in danger of losing an entire generation of people who will not come to our church because they like the building, the music or the preaching. It has to be the kind of rain that comes to germinate a dormant seed that grows into producing fruit.