Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hell's Best Kept Secret

I knew a guy who told me at the gym one day, "I've been walking with the Lord about a year now." Apparently, he attended a very large Baptist church. However, he was a male stripper, and he saw nothing wrong with that. That shocked me. How can you be a male stripper, and yet, at the same time, consider yourself a Christian? Seems to me there's a huge contradiction there. Kind of reminds me of Hustler magazine's Larry Flynt, who claimed, years ago, to be "born again," yet continued to publish the pornography magazine.

Walking forward in a church service, or repeating some words in a prayer, does not magically save a person from Hell. Claiming that you are a Christian, and then going out and living wickedly, is a contradiction. If the heart is not changed, then the person was never truly born again...no matter what they may claim.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:16-23)

"He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."
"Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." (Mark 4:2-8, 13-20)

Why do some of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith? What is the principle that Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, etc., used to reach the lost? Why has the modern Church, and modern evangelists, neglected it?

25 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

I was just at one of my blog links
sanctifusion and mentioned that you covered some similar material to him.

Russ:)

Robert said...

Jeff, I was listening to the "Hell's ..Secret" stuff a while ago, and while he first mocks his "old" belief that one's salvation depends on how serious is one's initial decision, he only changes as far as using a clever application of the Ten Commandments to make sure that the person really is "serious." Lost, to him and to many more, is the fact of the Lord's grace to sanctify us and complete the salvation "process" as it were. It is by His grace we first heard, that we were able to decide for Him, and it is by His grace that we may continue, grow, and His salvation be fulfilled in us. That stripper in the story may well have made a start with the "sinner's prayer, &c" but then "simply believed" that if "his" salvation was entirely provided by God through grace (rather than by the grace of God through faith) then since he was "pre-forgiven" he was "free" to continue partying as usual!

"..now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.[Php. 2:12b,13]"

Jeff said...

Robert,

What Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are largely addressing is the problem of false converts. One of my brothers was led to pray the salvation prayer years ago at a park, by two guys, and yet he has never really shown any "fruit," which a Christian will show in his/her life, according to the Bible. My brother doesn't attend church, and when he moved to California for 2 years, he refused to take his Bible with him. He did attend a liberal Lutheran church in California, but it was one that believed that you can be a Christian and still practice homosexuality (which the Bible clearly speaks against).

I have read about a number of people who claim to have been a Christian, or saved, or even born again, but they turned away from the faith, and now they hate God and they hate Christianity. Some even turned to Islam or became Atheists. I do not believe they were ever truly 'born again.' I suspect they were 'false converts,' who were exposed to many of the phrases and the environment of Christianity, and who attended church, but whose hearts were never truly transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, the idea of "Hell" and "God's wrath" have become taboo subjects, and politically incorrect. Therefore, as they point out in the video, the popular 'gospel' that is being preached today is one of positive thinking, or the "Name it, Claim it" gospel, or the "Health and Wealth" gospel. These are messages of greed and selfishness. These are some of the things that the video speaks against.

In addition, many people that I have witnessed to have not believed they are sinners, and they believed that they had no need of salvation. The technique which Ray and Kirk explain is a good way to explain to such people why need salvation, and also to show them that they are indeed sinners.

satire and theology said...

I have read about a number of people who claim to have been a Christian, or saved, or even born again, but they turned away from the faith, and now they hate God and they hate Christianity...

I do not believe they were ever truly 'born again.' I suspect they were 'false converts,' who were exposed to many of the phrases and the environment of Christianity


I have friends and family that confessed Christ is years gone by, and I have one friend who went to Bible school with me that now rejects the faith and states he never believed. These types may be false converts in many cases. My pastor (DMin) has an interesting view as from a Reformed perspective he reasons my one friend is likely just an angry Christian that still believes. My pastor had read my friend's comments on my blog. My pastor likely assumes my friend was regenerated in the Reformed sense but God is allowing rebellion for a time in order that the greater good eventually take place. This is possible, but so is the idea that true regeneration never took place. Either way, I need to witness in love and truth to my friend and others when the opportunity arises.

Stay tuned for a new satire and theology article today...I hope.:)

Jeff said...

Either way, I need to witness in love and truth to my friend and others when the opportunity arises.

Yes! Amen to that! We all should be witnessing more than we do, I believe!

Jeff said...

Charles Spurgeon:
“I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law.” Then he warns, “Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ . . . They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.”

Jeff said...

John Newton (wrote "Amazing Grace"): “Ignorance of the nature and design of the Law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes.”

Jeff said...

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
"The trouble with people, who are not seeking for a Savior, and for salvation, is that they do not understand the nature of sin. It is the peculiar function of the Law to bring such an understanding to a man’s mind and conscience. That
is why great evangelical preachers 300 years ago in the time of the Puritans, and 200 years ago in the time of Whitefield and others, always engaged in what they called a preliminary 'Law work.'”

Jeff said...

Jonathan Edwards:
“The only way we can know whether we are sinning is by knowing His Moral Law.”

Jeff said...

George Whitefield:
“First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God.”

Jeff said...

John Wesley:
"...it is the ordinary method of the Spirit of God to convict sinners by the Law. It is this which, being set home on the conscience, generally breaketh the rocks in pieces. It is more especially this part of the Word of God which is quick and powerful, full of life and energy and sharper than any two-edged sword."

Jeff said...

Martin Luther:
"The first duty of the Gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin."

Jeff said...

John Wesley (again):
"It remains only to show...the uses of the Law. And the first use of it, without question, is to convince the world of sin. By this is the sinner discovered to himself. All his fig-leaves are torn away, and he sees that he is 'wretched and poor and miserable, blind and naked.' The Law flashes conviction on every side. He feels himself a mere sinner. He has nothing to pay. His 'mouth is stopped' and he stands 'guilty before God.' To slay the sinner is then the first use of the Law, to destroy the life and strength wherein he trusts and convince him that he is dead while he lives; not only under the sentence of death, but actually dead to God, void of all spiritual life, dead in trespasses and sins."

Jeff said...

Charles Spurgeon (again):
"The Law cuts into the core of the evil, it reveals the seat of the malady, and informs us that the leprosy lies deep within."

Jeff said...

Martin Luther (again):
"...we would not see nor realize it (what a distressing and horrible fall in which we lie), if it were not for the Law, and we would have to remain forever lost, if we were not again helped out of it through Christ. Therefore the Law and the Gospel are given to the end that we may learn to know both how guilty we are and to what we should again return."

Jeff said...

J. I. Packer:
"Unless we see our shortcomings in the light of the Law and holiness of God, we do not see them as sin at all."

Jeff said...

Charles Finney:
“Ever more the Law must prepare the way for the Gospel. To overlook this in instructing souls, is almost certain to result in false hope, the introduction of a false standard of Christian experience, and to fill the Church with false converts... time will make this plain.”

Jeff said...

John Bunyan (wrote "Pilgrim's Progress"):
“The man who does not know the nature of the Law, cannot know the nature of sin.”

Jeff said...

D. L. Moody:
“Ask Paul why [the Law] was given. Here is his answer, ‘That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’ (Romans 3:19).
The Law stops every man’s mouth. I can always tell a man who is near the kingdom of God; his mouth is stopped. This, then, is why God gives us the Law—to show us ourselves in our true colors.”

Jeff said...

A. W. Pink:
“Just as the world was not ready for the New Testament before it received the Old, just as the Jews were not prepared for the ministry of Christ until John the Baptist had gone before Him with his claimant call to repentance, so the unsaved are in no condition today for the Gospel till the Law be applied to their hearts, for ‘by the Law is the knowledge of sin.’ It is a waste of time to sow seed on ground which has never been ploughed or spaded! To present the vicarious sacrifice of Christ to those whose dominant passion is to take fill of sin, is to give that which is holy to the dogs.”

Jeff said...

Martin Luther (yet again...and his words are so very appropriate for today):
“Satan, the God of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all, which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected, he has raised up a sect as such as teach…that men should not be terrified by the Law, but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.”

Jeff said...

John Wesley (yet again):
“While he cries out, O what love have I to thy Law! all the day long is my study in it. He sees daily, in that divine mirror, more and more of his own sinfulness. He sees more and more clearly, that he is fullness a sinner in all things -- that neither his heart nor his ways are right before God, and that every moment sends him to Christ.
“Therefore I cannot spare the Law one moment, no more than I can spare Christ, seeing I now want it as much to keep me to Christ, as I ever wanted it to bring me to Him. Otherwise this ‘evil heart of unbelief’ would immediately ‘depart from the living God.’ Indeed each is continually sending me to the other--the Law to Christ, and Christ to the Law.”

satire and theology said...

What!? Did a blogging tornado hit the comments section?

Please check out my latest. Send the tornado over there please.

Jeff said...

Martin Luther (one more time):
In a sermon published way back in 1537, Martin Luther spoke of the Law being used as a schoolmaster the bring sinners to Christ. Listen to his words of warning:
“This now is the Christian teaching and preaching, which God be praised, we know and possess, and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For Satan has attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until the present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it underfoot.”

Jeff said...

What!? Did a blogging tornado hit the comments section?

Yep. Great Christians of the past have risen up in defense of using the Law in witnessing. They heard that the Law, as well as repentance from sin, have largely been taken out of modern-day evangelistic techniques, and they have risen up as one voice, to point to the fact that only God's Law can convict the heart of sin, and that the Holy Spirit works through this to bring a soul to repentance, which is necessary for regeneration through the blood sacrifice of Christ Jesus the Messiah.

Please check out my latest. Send the tornado over there please.

LOL! Well, the winds have died down now, but I'll see what I can do.