Quotes (570)

Elisabeth_Elliot_145x202

[Jim] did not make a practice of asking members of the congregation to make an overt response to the message, feeling that if the Holy Spirit was at work in the mind and heart of the listener during the meeting, He would continue that work later.

–Elisabeth Elliott

21 thoughts on “Quotes (570)

  1. I wonder if Mr. Elliot “didn’t make a practice of asking for an overt response” in the sense that he NEVER did it, or in the sense that he didn’t normally do it. In any event, it appears that the Apostles not only asked for a response – they demanded one. “Be converted” appears to be in the imperative.

    “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)

    I also wonder if anyone called them little preacher boys trying to coax people into getting saved when they said that.

    God is sovereign. Salvation is all of Him. No one repents without God empowering them to repent. No one has faith unto salvation without God empowering that faith. Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus! Deeper far than all my sin and shame. Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain – all sufficient grace for even me! God gets all glory for regeneration, justification, adoption, regeneration, redemption, sanctification, and everything else that goes along with salvation. But we don’t have Bible verses that limit Gospel preaching to nothing more than conviction of the lost sinner under God’s law. We don’t have Bible verses that prohibit leading lost sinners in prayer. We don’t have Bible verses that prohibit us from imploring, exhorting, commanding, and demanding lost sinners to call upon the Lord. We don’t have Bible verses that demand that we attempt to have lost sinners meditate upon the deep Calvinistic interpretations of Ephesians 2:8-9 before they receive the salvation of the Lord.

    When we copy and paste the latest “death to the sinner’s prayer” quote from Gendron or MacArthur or whoever else, and then say… “Well, we need to clarify what they really meant…” – That’s a warning post that we need to cease from men, whose breath is in their nostrils.

    I haven’t seen it myself, but apparently there are false teachers out there going nuts, telling people if they check off a blank, they are saved, and then baptizing them in a fire truck or something, but there are also great numbers of people who are evangelizing with passion the Bible way, and we do them a disservice when adopt these sound bite quotes and slogans because it’s popular to do so on the “reformed” circuit right now.

  2. When one believes he cannot help but speak of the One who has saved him.

    There is no quid pro quo necessary for one to receive the gift of faith.

    The Holy Spirit will complete the good work he has begun.

    Asking for a decision for Jesus is ridiculous since we have all made our decisions for Jesus. The answer is just not ‘No’…but hell NO!

    We do not want Him, but He wants us. The decision was made…on the cross…for sinners, by the One who loves sinners.

    This forgiveness and mercy is accessed through faith, and faith comes by hearing…not by anything that WE DO.

    Well then, who hears? “Those that have ears to hear.”

    It’s not up to us to tell the potter how to shape the clay.

  3. Let us not confuse or forget ‘“Repent ye therefore, and be converted…” is not an invitation, it is a command. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” is a command. “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” is a command, with a warning as to what happens to those who do not repent.

    “We don’t have Bible verses that prohibit leading lost sinners in prayer.” Where do we have Bible verses that condone it?!?
    If we preach ANY other Gospel than the one found in Scripture, we are accursed! Again, please understand what the outcry is all about…a FORMULATED PRAYER given to the lost sinner as he/she is told to pray this prayer, then popishly declared saved. A prayer wrought by the Spirit upon salvation is NOT what this is about.

    “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” this too is a command. We aren’t to concern ourselves of the outcome, God is the one who saves, not us. We must not coax the lost sinner into the kingdom, for this is not possible.

    Please clarify Ministry Addict, what exactly is your beef with exposing the heresy of the sinner’s prayer? You claim all of salvation is of the Lord, then you blast us for exposing the false evangelism of formulaic sinner’s prayers, decisions, and free will. You cannot straddle the fence. Either you believe salvation is totally of the Lord, which is what His word teaches, or you think man must do his part to help God out.
    I suggest you read Coram’s piece http://defendingcontending.com/2009/03/28/monergism-vs-synergism/#comment-12626

  4. “Repent and believe”

    That is true.

    But we do neither of those things on our own of our own volition. The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance when we hear the Word (Law and Gospel), and through the Sacraments.

    We are dead in our sins and trespasses and dead people can do nothing to make themselves alive again.

    As jesus told Niccodemus, we must be born gain, “from above”.

    We can’t do it.

  5. Amen Old Adam! There is NOT ONE THING we can do to bring ourselves to Christ, not one. Salvation is by g-r-a-c-e. Nothing added, nothing taken away. Repeating formulaic prayers will save no one, saying you’ve made your decision for Christ will not save you. Again, it’s so-o-o simple!! Yet, so many miss it, ‘by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that NOT of yourselves, it is a GIFT of God, not of works. lest any man should boast’. We are all dead in sin (Eph. 2:1), it is the Spirit of God that quickens. It is the pride of man that makes them think they can take any credit for salvation; and yet, God’s word tells us different.

  6. “Be converted” is indeed a command. It is a command to do something. It is a command to respond. Our response to the hearing of the Word of God or to the conviction of the Holy Ghost does not diminish God’s grace, or make the Cross of none effect, or make that response a “work.” Nor does it detract from God’s sovereignty or His predestination or His election.

    See, here we go again. Needing to clarify our quotes when we want to condemn a supposedly heretical “sinner’s prayer.” I’m not blasting anyone, nor do I have a beef with exposing formulaic praying. There is no “heresy of a sinner’s prayer.” All sinners who see their need for a Savior and call upon the Lord are praying when they do so. Praying IS calling upon the Lord.

    There IS a heresy, apparently (since so many are so worked up about exposing it) of telling people that repeating a formulaic prayer without any real regeneration happening somehow makes them born again. In a knee jerk reaction to that heresy some people have gone to the extreme of advocating the refusal to demand a response to preaching.

    If that is going on (repeating formulaic prayers as a substitute for regeneration) – expose away. But don’t pretend that the Bible condemns calling for, as Mrs. Elliot puts it, “an overt response to the message.”

    Mr. Gendron says, “The practice of leading someone in a sinner’s prayer for their salvation has produced many tares or false converts.” Maybe so, but lacking the omniscience of God, we have to “clarify” him into saying he really “meant” something else, because neither Mr. Gendron nor anyone else but God and the “converts” themselves really knows whether they are false or not.
    I could point to many who, judging by their fruits of 30+ years, appear to be true converts after praying a non-formulaic, non-manipulated “sinner’s prayer.”

  7. Okie Preacher says:

    Before the “sinners prayer” the old preachers used to instruct their listeners to go home and get right with God.

    Any conversion must produce a changed life and proof (fruit) of the new – or it is not a true conversion.

    “The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …

    Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.” — Harry A. Ironside

  8. I will point out the error of this comment -‘It is a command to respond. Our response to the hearing of the Word of God or to the conviction of the Holy Ghost does not diminish God’s grace, or make the Cross of none effect, or make that response a “work.” I will use God’s word to do so, ‘And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins’ Eph. 2:1
    From that passage, who quickens? And what are we before He quickens? ‘Dead in trespasses and sins’. So, the continual insisting that man ‘responds’ to the Gospel call on his own is not biblical.

    Again, re-read the post I left concerning the type of ‘sinner’s prayer’ we are exposing – – ‘a FORMULATED PRAYER given to the lost sinner as he/she is told to pray this prayer, then popishly declared saved. A prayer wrought by the Spirit upon salvation is NOT what this is about.’

    This is turning into a merry go round, some continue to speak in circles and do not understand what is being said here. It would appear some hold to the ‘free will’ theology, but won’t confess they do so.
    This would be beneficial to watch…http://defendingcontending.com/2009/07/27/deception-thru-stupid-evangelism/

  9. B Webster says:

    Hi!

    I think that when people say something negative with regard to the ‘sinner’s prayer,’ it is NOT about the prayer itself. If you’re referring to something along the line of what the publican prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner,” then, what could be more correct.

    However, here is a case in point: when I was five, I began to be aware, mentally, at least, that all people needed to be saved, some weren’t and so on. That was a great start, to get the mental framework,as it were, but, anyway, with that in mind, I one day said a “sinner’s prayer.” After all, all had sinned, I was part of that “all,” so, why wait?

    One moment or even less, after the prayer, I knew that nothing had transpired. I was trusting in the PRAYER, whereas, the publican had been trusting in GOD to be merciful to him.

    Mine was essentially, though not willfully so, a stance of good works. I did the good deed — the prayer — now I should receive the salvation….

    About a year or so after that, I came under conviction of the Holy Spirit, and felt my own lostness and sinfulness. I THEN wanted to be saved, not because it was a good idea, fit my logic, made sense, but because i was convicted of being lost and sinful, and, yes, a six-year-old can feel just as lost as a forty-year-old, even though children are the least of sinners.

    At that time, my prayer was less fancy, but I knew I was saved. I did not trust in my PRAYER, but in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His great sacrifice for me on Calvary.

    So, yes, I’m leery of too immediate an application of “the sinner’s prayer,” but it’s by no means because it is a bad or even inappropriate prayer.

    My dad, as a counselor in a Billy Graham campaign, noted that many counselors tended to rush people into some such prayer, whether or not the Holy Spirit had, as yet, done His convicting work. Some people coming to front were, he said, quite sincere, but really just at a inquiry stage — they did not as yet understand what they were doing, at all. To them he talked and gave literature and his phone number to contact him later. Others, fully realizing that they NEEDED to be saved because they realized their sinfulness and lostness and inability to save themselves, they, yes, prayed right then.

    I’m thinking it’s the US E of a prayer, not the prayer itself, that is under criticism.

    There are many people, apparently, who’ve gone forward, thinking it was a good thing, said a prayer or such, affirmed this or that, all good things, but they were not actually ready and it was, while sincere enough, a mere mechanical matter.

    Then, later, they’d wonder why they did not wish to read the Word, did not desire new things and so on.

    Someone had told them they were saved, but they had not been.

    They could not bring forth fruit because they were as good as dead, as far as eternal life was concerned.

    THAT, I think, is the problem that people are alluding to.

  10. May I also add I have never read one word written by Calvin. I do not follow Calvin, I follow Jesus Christ, and what His word teaches ( a response to this -‘We don’t have Bible verses that demand that we attempt to have lost sinners meditate upon the deep Calvinistic interpretations of Ephesians 2:8-9 before they receive the salvation of the Lord).
    Preach the good news,’repent and believe in the Gospel’ and God will take care of the rest.

  11. Okie Preacher makes a valid point: “Before the “sinners prayer” the old preachers used to instruct their listeners to go home and get right with God.”

    And before the old preachers did that, the even older preachers demanded an overt response by commanding men to repent and be converted.

    The continual insisting that man does not respond to the Gospel call in his own power does not negate the fact that men do respond – actively and overtly – to the Gospel. God is powerful enough, mysterious enough, and gracious enough that men respond to the preaching of His Own Word in His power. Do they respond? Oh yes they do. Do they get the praise for responding? Oh no they don’t. It is a small view of God – a view that attempts to portray Him as an impotent imaginary little god – that says God’s gracious empowering of men to respond to the Gospel contradicts the Truth that salvation is all of God.

    Someone will say I can’t have it both ways, and I can’t. But God can have it all the ways He has set forth in His eternal Word. Jesus Christ is THE WAY, but God draws men to His Son in all sorts of earthly situations and circumstances.

    “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)

    In Luke 13 Jesus responds to the questions of the Theodicians by telling them to repent, or else they will perish. Maybe He told them to go home first, before they got right with God, but the Bible doesn’t say that. In fact, later in the same Chapter He says, “STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate.”

    Formulaic praying that makes the prayer itself the object of faith = unBiblical

    Demanding an overt response from the hearers of the Word of God (even lost hearers) = Biblical

    Stating that the leading lost sinners in prayer, or calling hearers to an altar for prayer or counseling, somehow means that God is too weak to save during these events = unBiblical

    Folks who were regenerated by God as they said a “sinner’s prayer” = God’s Own children, redeemed by Him, predestinated from the foundation of the world unto salvation, elect, secure, and irrevocably bound for Heaven.

  12. Getting right with God ain’t gonna happen from our side of the equation.

    He reconciles Himself to us.

    Getting ourselves right with God is more a matter of relationship (repentance and forgiveness).

    Over and over and over again…all throughout our lives.

  13. Ministry Addict, you say, ‘The continual insisting that man does not respond to the Gospel call in his own power does not negate the fact that men do respond – actively and overtly – to the Gospel. God is powerful enough, mysterious enough, and gracious enough that men respond to the preaching of His Own Word in His power. Do they respond? Oh yes they do’. Tell us, why do men respond? What causes this response? Is it ‘self will’ or ‘choice’, or is it the power of Almighty God?

  14. Lyn: I am glad to see (at least I think this is implied in your comment) that you are admitting that men respond. But you have given me a very limited multiple choice (only 3) set of potential answers. I’ll rule out “self will” because I have never said anything to indicate that men respond by “self will.” Even Jesus Himself said that He could of His Own Self do nothing. (John 5:30).

    Obviously every molecule in all of existence is completely controlled by the power of Almighty God. I have attempted to point out repeatedly that men respond in God’s power and God gets all the glory, but you have called that “error.” It is not error, as you see you are even now acknowledging that men do in fact respond.

    I understand that when we want to regurgitate MacArthur we have to come up with wildly exaggerated protests against “Arminian” or “Wesleyan” or “free will” theology, or some such.

    But try to catch the Biblical view of God’s sovereignty and power. “For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (II Corinthians 8:3-5)

    Okay, you don’t have to try to catch it if you don’t want to, but you have to at least see that God is powerful enough to make speak of “their” power and them being “willing of themselves” while it is still “by the will of God.”

    If you are acknowledging that men respond, then you are just a short step away from admitting that God wants men to call other men to respond actively and overtly.

    Men are totally depraved and without hope, apart from Christ. Regenerated saints are called to preach the Gospel to these depraved sinners. When God opens the eyes of lost sinners, and shows them their sinful condition, the regenerated believers are to try, in the power of God’s Spirit, to bring these lost folks to Jesus. That’s what Andrew did. We don’t know if he ever preached a sermon or taught a lesson, but we know he brought people to Jesus. Why did the people go with Andrew when he said, “Come with me to meet Jesus?” Why did they “respond?” Because God ordained it AND because God made them want to come. You can call it monergy or synergy or whatever – I don’t care – neither of those words are in my Bible. Andrew bringing people to Jesus, the Apostles demanding a response, people responding, and God saying it is all of Him – those ARE all in my Bible.

    theoldadam: Be careful. When you say, “Getting right with God ain’t gonna happen from our side of the equation,” you are implying that we have a side of the “equation,” and somebody is going to say you’re adding “works.”

  15. Ministry Addict,
    You state ‘I have attempted to point out repeatedly that men respond in God’s power and God gets all the glory, but you have called that “error.” I don’t consider this ‘error’.

    From 2 Cor. 8:3, the phrase, ‘their power’ is defined in the Greek as this, ‘δύναμις (dunamis 1411)
    1. power -s
    natural capability, inherent power; capability of anything, ability to perform anything; then, absolutely, not merely power capable of action, but, power in action. The Power of God, is the power which manifests itself in all the modes, especially in His redeeming work, where God is at work, revealing and carrying out the plan of salvation. (As opposite to 5, it denotes moral power).
    This power is not a power to bring the lost sinner to Christ, this is referencing to the power believers who are in Christ used to serve others in Christ. As for seeing God’s sovereignty in these passages, that is a given. However, you seem to keep going down rabbit trails with me. The original topic was man’s inability to respond to the Gospel call, NOT the power God gives believers to do His will. Because I am not ‘eloquent’ in speech, I refer to commentary by Matthew Henry on these passages…

    ‘He commends the charity of the Macedonians, and sets it forth with good advantage. He tells them, (1.) They were but in a low condition, and themselves in distress, yet they contributed to the relief of others. They were in great tribulation and deep poverty, v. 2. It was a time of great affliction with them, as may be seen, Acts 18:17. The Christians in these parts met with ill treatment, which had reduced them to deep poverty; yet, as they had abundance of joy in the midst of tribulation, they abounded in their liberality; they gave out of a little, trusting in God to provide for them, and make it up to them. (2.) They gave very largely, with the riches of liberality (v. 2), that is, as liberally as if they had been rich. It was a large contribution they made, all things considered; it was according to, yea beyond, their power (v. 3), as much as could well be expected from them, if not more. Note, Though men may condemn the indiscretion, yet God will accept the pious zeal, of those who in real works of piety and charity do rather beyond their power. (3.) They were very ready and forward to this good work. They were willing of themselves (v. 3), and were so far from needing that Paul should urge and press them with many arguments that they prayed him with much entreaty to receive the gift, v. 4. It seems Paul was backward to undertake this trust, for he would give himself to the word and prayer; or, it may be, he was apprehensive how ready his enemies would be to reproach and blacken him upon all occasions, and might take a handle against him upon account of so large a sum deposited in his hands, to suspect or accuse him of indiscretion and partiality in the distribution, if not of some injustice. Note, How cautious ministers should be, especially in money-matters, not to give occasion to those who seek occasion to speak reproachfully! (4.) Their charity was founded in true piety, and this was the great commendation of it. They performed this good work in a right method: First they gave themselves to the Lord, and then they gave unto us their contributions, by the will of God (v. 5), that is, according as it was the will of God they should do, or to be disposed of as the will of God should be, and for his glory. This, it seems, exceeded the expectation of the apostle; it was more than he hoped for, to see such warm and pious affections shining in these Macedonians, and this good work performed with so much devotion and solemnity. They solemnly, jointly, and unanimously, made a fresh surrender of themselves, and all they had, unto the Lord Jesus Christ. They had done this before, and now they do it again upon this occasion; sanctifying their contributions to God’s honour, by first giving themselves to the Lord. Note, [1.] We should give ourselves to God; we cannot bestow ourselves better. [2.] When we give ourselves to the Lord, we then give him all we have, to be called for and disposed of according to his will. [3.] Whatever we use or lay out for God, it is only giving to him what is his own. [4.] What we give or bestow for charitable uses will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord.’ – Matthew Henry

    I see, from these passages that speak of those who are already in Christ, the sovereignty of God as His Spirit continually works in the hearts of His people, causing them to work according to His will. If God were to withdraw His Spirit, how many could continue walking in obedience to Christ? Enough on that.

    You state ‘If you are acknowledging that men respond, then you are just a short step away from admitting that God wants men to call other men to respond actively and overtly’. How do we get a dead sinner to respond actively and overtly to His Gospel? We are NOT responsible for the outcome, we are only responsible for delivering the good news. I believe God commands us to share the Gospel, but, He does not hold us accountable for the outcome. YOu continue to claim God is sovereign, and we can take no credit for salvation; yet, you make statements like the one above. Are we to demand the lost sinner either accept or reject Christ right there on the spot?

  16. Lyn: Thank you for continuing this dialogue with me. I’m embarrassed to admit I’m not familiar with the “rabbit trail” allusion, but hopefully it’s not too bad.

    According the Bible God saves people in His Own power, and He is the One Who keeps them saved, and His Own power empowers them for service. See? – it’s the same God calling lost sinners to repentance and His saints to service. God doesn’t suddenly cut people free to exercise free will apart from His sovereignty after regeneration. I chose II Corinthians 8:3-5 because of the close proximity between God’s will and man’s “giving of themselves” to the Lord in the same passage of Scripture. I could give plenty of examples of this in the Bible. Even Matthew Henry agrees with me. In your quote he says, “We should GIVE OURSELVES to God… When we GIVE OURSELVES to the Lord, we then give him all we have, to be called for and disposed of ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.” He’s talking about true Christians, not lost unregenerate people, I know – but it’s the same principle, the same God, the same power. I always hear people say, “Lost people CAN’T give themselves to God,” and it’s true – UNLESS God calls them to do it (and He does.) But by the same token, saved people can’t give themselves (or anything else) to God without God’s power, either.

    God’s will is for people to respond. God calls Whom He will to respond. He calls US to call people to RESPOND. And some of them DO respond. You can’t get more overt than that. These folks in II Corinthians 8 weren’t just raising their hand or praying a prayer – they were giving money! (or at least material possessions.)

    Maybe I see better now how we’re misunderstanding each other. You say: “How do we get a dead sinner to respond actively and overtly to His Gospel?”

    We don’t “get” them to. We COMMAND them to – we TELL them to – we even “beseech” (Bible word) them to.

    You say: “We are NOT responsible for the outcome, we are only responsible for delivering the good news.”

    I don’t see the responsibility of delivering the Good News as an “only.” We are commanded by God to deliver it with reverence and passion, and the people who hear it from us, SPIRITUALLY dead though they may be, are responsible for responding.

    You say: “Are we to demand the lost sinner either accept or reject Christ right there on the spot?”

    No, we are to demand that lost sinners repent, believe the Gospel, and be converted “right there on the spot.” If they walk away, we are to keep praying. (I would argue it’s okay if we even chase after them – certainly Paul covered the same ground more than once in his missionary journeys.)

    But if God has quickened them, and they say, “I want to know more about this repentance, this belief, this conversion” then we can either say, “Sorry, God will have to do a work in you, I’ve preached and now I’m packing up my box of ‘death to the sinner’s prayer quotes’ and leaving.” Or we can say, “Good, I would be glad to show you from God’s Word more about the salvation of God, and, by God’s Spirit, I will even (horror of horrors!), help you in prayer to call upon the Lord to be merciful and to regenerate you.”

    One time, the Apostles demanded a response to the Gospel “right there on the spot” and about 3000 souls were saved in that same one day.

  17. Ministry Addict,
    This will be my last comment concerning this issue, it has gone too long.
    If, by God’s power, someone responds to the Gospel, we should by all means take them through the scriptures showing truth. We aren’t to just give them the Gospel and leave them high and dry, should they be drawn by the Spirit.

    I am tired of repeating this fact…it isn’t prayer wrought by the Spirit that we are speaking out against. It is when a preacher gives a canned prayer, tells the lost sinner to repeat it, then declares that lost sinner saved. Please consider this in your heart.

    As for the Apostles preaching, and 3,ooo souls being saved, who was responsible? Acts 2:41, ‘Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.’ Whose word did they receive? Was it the Apostles’ or God’s?
    Go back to verse 36 and 37, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The truth of who Christ is, and what they’d done, could only have been revealed by the ministering work of the Spirit of God. Notice the result, ‘they were cut to the heart’. They were pricked, or pierced, this is a work of God’s Spirit. The Apostles were just the messengers, just as we are today when we give the Gospel.

    We do not know how many heard the preaching of God’s word, but we do know 3000 responded. Was it because the Apostles ‘demanded’ them to do so? If that were the case, wouldn’t all that were present respond? Again, you seem to want to give man a wee bit of credit for salvation.
    At least this is what most of your comments reflect.
    In any case, it’s time to end this debate. May the Lord be gracious to you Ministry Addict.

  18. “This will be my last comment concerning this issue, it has gone too long.”

    Well, it’s been a good learning experience for me. Thanks for being patient.

    I don’t want to have a “last word,” and truly I didn’t consider us to be having a “debate,” but since you ended with some questions, I’ll try to answer.

    “Whose word did they receive? Was it the Apostles’ or God’s?” It was both.

    “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Romans 2:16)

    “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” (Romans 16:25)

    “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” (II Timothy 2:8)

    God is amazing enough cause men to be stewards of His Word, and to even inspire men to call it their own.

    “Was it because the Apostles ‘demanded’ them to do so? If that were the case, wouldn’t all that were present respond? Again, you seem to want to give man a wee bit of credit for salvation.”

    Yes, it was “because” the Apostles demanded a response, AND it was also because God ordained it. Not only that, He proclaimed it in the Old Testament, and He decreed it from the foundation of the world. Every one of us has a very finite view of cause and effect because we’re not God. God has an infinite view of cause and effect. You can say that I want to give man a wee bit of credit for salvation, but I repeatedly stated that I do not. What I am doing is stating the Truth, as God explains it in the Bible, not the way it is popularly explained in the words of men when they rail against “sinner’s prayers” and “altar calls” and “decisionism.”

    God has commissioned His church to preach the Gospel and press hard for a response.

    Death to canned prayers? Amen! Death to sinners praying that God would be merciful to them? Not amen. The Bible condones sinners praying that God would be merciful to them.

    Not calling for an overt response to the preaching of the Gospel? Jesus and the Apostles called for an overt response to the preaching of the Gospel.

    “The practice of leading someone in a sinner’s prayer for their salvation has produced many tares or false converts in churches over the last 100 years?” The opinion of man.

    Bible scholars believe that John the Baptist first appeared on the scene approximately two years before Jesus made this exceptional statement about his ministry in Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

    The word “suffereth” in this verse does not mean that the Kingdom of Heaven “suffers” in the sense of having pain or damage inflicted on it. Rather, “suffer” in the Bible means “to let” or “to allow.” (Matthew 19:14) Christ is saying that the Kingdom of Heaven, although it is ruled over by the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), does make allowances for certain types of violence.

    Chiefly, this is the violence of those who suddenly recognize their lost condition, and see their urgent need for a Savior. Under conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, these lost souls may be excused for having an unruly and even desperate desire to get to Jesus – He being the only Way (John 14:6) to get to the Father, and to escape the merited punishment for our sins.

    Those who trusted Christ years ago certainly find a peace and a comfort in resting on the promises of God’s Word, and knowing their eternal inheritance is secure. However, it pays to remember that the Kingdom of Heaven still suffers violence.

    As Jesus taught and lived the Word and will of His Father, He was sometimes scorned and mocked by those who believed their religious rites, rituals, and self-righteous “good works” made them “too good” to repent of their sins. However, when John the Baptist came on the scene, announcing the entrance of Christ, even those who had been told by the religious elite that they had no hope of salvation began to see for the first time that the kingdom of God actually was open to them.

    “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” (Luke 16:16) These men and women who “pressed in” included publicans, harlots, and sinners, who cast aside public perception and the lukewarm attitude of the falsely secure when they saw the Way of salvation. In their violent excitement they thrust themselves forward, and thrust the naysayers aside, rushing headlong, and storming the kingdom of God.

    They responded and they acted. If God approves of sinners “pressing,” He surely approves of them praying as they press.

    May the Lord glorify His Name in every area of your life.

  19. Here is Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 11:12…

    “The great commendation of John the Baptist was, that God owned his ministry, and made it wonderfully successful for the breaking of the ice, and the preparing of people for the kingdom of heaven. From the days of the first appearing of John the Baptist, until now (which was not much above two years), a great deal of good was done; so quick was the motion when it came near to Christ the Centre; The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence—biazetai-vim patitur, like the violence of an army taking a city by storm, or of a crowd bursting into a house, so the violent take it by force. The meaning of this we have in the parallel place, Lu. 16:16 – Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Multitudes are wrought upon by the ministry of John, and become his disciples. And it is

    [1.] An improbable multitude. Those strove for a place in this kingdom, that one would think had no right nor title to it, and so seemed to be intruders, and to make a tortuous entry, as our law calls it, a wrongful and forcible one. When the children of the kingdom are excluded out of it, and many come into it from the east and the west, then it suffers violence. Compare this with ch. 21:31, 32. The publicans and harlots believed John, whom the scribes and Pharisees rejected, and so went into the kingdom of God before them, took it over their heads, while they trifled. Note, It is no breach of good manners to go to heaven before our betters: and it is a great commendation of the gospel from the days of its infancy, that it has brought many to holiness that were very unlikely.

    [2.] An importunate multitude. This violence denotes a strength, and vigour, and earnestness of desire and endeavour, in those who followed John’s ministry, else they would not have come so far to attend upon it. It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion. Note, They who would enter into the kingdom of heaven must strive to enter; that kingdom suffers a holy violence; self must be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, of the mind must be altered; there are hard sufferings to be undergone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature; we must run, and wrestle, and fight, and be in an agony, and all little enough to win such a prize, and to get over such opposition from without and from within. The violent take it by force. They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing, Gen. 32:26. They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of them that labour. It is a blessed sight; Oh that we could see a greater number, not with an angry contention thrusting others out of the kingdom of heaven, but with a holy contention thrusting themselves into it!” – Matthew Henry

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