I recently had the opportunity to listen to two sermons by Paul Washer on the book of Ephesians. As usual, they have challenged me to rethink how I think about God and who He is. I’ve included a partial transcript I made of the second sermon. I’ve included the audio files of both sermons and you can listen to them by clicking on the links provided at the bottom of this page.
From Ephesians 1, Part 2:
When does God get scandalous for man? When does God become scandalous for man? When we talk about His love? No. When we talk about His mercy? No. When do people get angry when we talk about God? When we talk about His righteousness. Now think about that. When you say that God is righteous, men get angry. Now why would men get angry at the idea of a righteous God? Because man is not righteous.
What is the great scandal about the Law of God? When I’m speaking, especially at universities, I hear people say all the time – “I don’t want to hear about the Law of God!” “Why, I ask?” “Because it suppresses me, it oppresses me and holds me down.” I had a student actually stand up and say that one time. I asked him, in front of the entire audience, please explain to me which law is oppressive? Which one do you hate? Is it ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’ Is it ‘you shall not lie or bare false witness?’ Is it ‘you shall not commit adultery and steal another mans wife or that you should not reduce another human being to an object to be used for your sexual pleasure?’ Exactly which law is it that oppresses you and if God’s law does oppress you, then what does that say about you?
You see, the reason why men are hostile towards God is this, God is good, and men are not. When we talk about this mass of humanity we are talking about a mass of people given over to corruption, hostile towards God and hostile towards His law. But also we are talking about a humanity that loves evil and refuses reconciliation. Now think about that, a humanity that not just loves evil, but a humanity that refuses reconciliation.
Humanity cannot come to God. Men cannot come to God on their own. When I say that people respond, “Well, if men cannot come to God on their own, then God is wrong in judging them in the same way we would be wrong for judging a man who was blind for not being able to read a sign on the road. What do you mean, man cannot come to God?” I mean that because Jesus said that. But what is the explanation and why is such a man held guilty? Man cannot come to God because man will not come to God and he will not come to God because he hates Him. He hates Him because He is good.
Have you ever seen an old lady whose face is etched with bitterness and you say to her, “Ma’am, you must forgive your husband.” She responds, “I cannot forgive him.” Now, she speaks the same language as her husband and they live in the same house. She is not saying she cannot, she is saying she will not and why will she not? Because of her hostility towards her husband.
What about a political prisoner who is in chains? The king comes down to the dungeon and says, “I will throw open the door, all you have to do is bow your knee to me and acknowledge my sovereignty.” The prisoner leaps up, grabs the door, slams it closed and says “I would rather rot in prison than bow my knee to you.”
That is man.
Jesus said this in John 3:19-20:
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Light came into the world. I’m always hearing people say that if the believers would just live like Jesus then people would be converted. No, you would have a lot of believers crucified. Jesus came into the world and what did the world do? They crucified him! Why? He gives us the reason:
…that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Jesus said in John 6:44:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
In John 6:65:
And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
I want to read a paragraph that I have written here in my notes to make myself as clear as possible.
When the scriptures speak about election, it is not in the context of a mass of humanity victimized by the devil, that wants to be saved, but lacks the faculties to do so. That is the way, a lot of times, men are presented; victims. No that is not the context. The context is this. It is in the context of a mass of humanity that is morally corrupt, hostile towards God, that rejects every offer of redemption and that would rather spend an eternity given over to corruption and the misery’s of hell than to be subject to God in heaven.
One of the reasons why certain people have so much difficulty with election and they have so much difficulty with hell is because they think man is good, that there is something good in man that wants God. There is a little spark, there is a little something, there’s got to be some goodness in there somewhere. Therefore they say hell is immoral, how could God throw man in hell? What you need to understand is that that is not true. Hell is moral because man is immoral. The only reason they may look a little moral in the context of present society is because the grace of God is restraining their evil. But if God where to pull back, man would become monsters of iniquity. So every time you see some vile crime that comes out on the local news, or some atrocity committed by some government that is beyond the mind to comprehend, realize that that is you apart from the grace of God.
Ephesians 1, Part 1
Ephesians 1, Part 2
Why Aren’t We Calling It The “Royal Fetus” – Funny how the media calls it a baby in one instance, but a fetus in another.
Paul Washer Interview – If you don’t know who Paul Washer is, I suggest you get acquainted with him. This is an interview he gave recently, and if you do a google search of him, you most likely will see “Shocking Youth Video” at the top of the list. That is a sermon that pretty much defines who Paul Washer is and what he preaches. He is a breathe of fresh air in today’s market driven, purpose driven, glitzy church.
“Having some time today I set myself to pray more, confessing sin, asking, thanking and praising. I am ashamed of my shallowness in knowledge, feeling and desire. Most humbling. On the other hand, how astonishing has been the Lord’s kindness to me, mercies like waves of the sea, bright mercies like the stars of heaven, mercies to my soul, mercies to me a sinner in every possible way, crowned with the unspeakable kindness of putting me into the ministry and using me to win souls. I long more and more to be ‘filled’ with the Spirit, and to see my congregation moved and melted under the Word, as in great revival times, ‘The place shaken where they are assembled together,’ because the Lord has come in power.”
Andrew A. Bonar, Diary and Letters (London, 1894), page 333.
Over the last few months, my wife and I have had many discussions regarding our Christian faith. Last night we went to a local Braum’s ice cream shop and sat for a while eating ice cream and talking about what we had listened to over the last couple of days (we both listen to podcasts of Paul Washer, Tim Conway, Art Azurdia, Steve Lawson, etc through the day). My wife made the comment that I have changed and grown so much over the past couple of years and I told here that I had seen a lot of growth and change in her too. That is the way our Christian life is supposed to be. It is a continual state of growth and change or we aren’t really regenerated Christians.
As we were talking, I mentioned to her that I really didn’t want to be there at Braum’s eating ice cream. She gave me that “hurt” look so I knew I’d better hurry up and clarify my statement since we were out on a date without the kids. After a second of regrouping, I told her that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with her eating ice cream, it was just that we in the Western world are so comfortable. It is nothing to us to go to Braum’s and have an ice cream, it is nothing to think about going out to eat. We in the Western world spend a lot of time and resources doing things like that. We just don’t know what it is like to do without, to sacrifice. I can’t remember the last time I’ve missed a meal for any reason other than I just didn’t want to eat. As best as I can remember over the last 40+ years I’ve never had to worry about shelter or clothing. The point I’m making is that that attitude seems to creep into our Christian life and we take things for granted, we don’t seem to realize that there is a price to pay for being a Christian.
Now what makes this all the more interesting is that shortly after we got home last night, my wife came to me with something from one of her Facebook friends. I don’t remember exactly what it was that her friend posted, but it was something along the lines of: “I just look forward to the TV show Modern Family, but what makes it even better is that my kids can sit and watch it with me and we all love it so much.” Now I don’t know what you know about the show, but it is supposedly a comedy about the happenings of 3 related families, one of which is a gay couple who are raising a child, or maybe two, I don’t know enough about it. Anyway, my wife made the comment that she just couldn’t accept that a person who claimed to have a relationship with Christ and had been a Christian for at least the 3 years she had known her would, 1)watch a show like that, and, 2) talk about how great it was to enjoy that show with their children, who, by the way, are not even teenagers yet. I asked my wife what she felt she needed to do and to make a long story short, she did respond to her Facebook friend who was very unappreciative of my wife’s judgmental attitude and her lack of ability to understand this persons relationship with Christ.
In the end, my wife lost a friend. But, she did share the Gospel with her friend in a way that it needed to be shared. When God truly regenerates your heart, he starts bringing about changes in your life that are noticeable. Paul Washer made the comment in a sermon that I listened to the other day and shared with my wife last night. He said, “If there is no work of separation in your life recognizable at any point in time, then you are lost.” While I realize that all of us grow in sanctification at different rates, what it boils down to is a matter of obedience on our part. If regeneration in our hearts does not cause us to hate what God hates and love what God loves, we are not a Christian. I’m not saying we are perfect and without sin, but we certainly cannot continually celebrate about a TV show that glorifies a lifestyle that God hates.
God calls us a Christians to take a stand for the truth. He doesn’t ask us if we would like to, He commands us to do it. Sometimes that stand will have an associated cost with it. Are we more concerned with our comfort, our prestige, our standing before this world, or do we tremble knowing that we answer to a Holy God? The Word says:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV).
Where do your affections lie? Are your affections costing you anything? Just something to think about.
A Conversation with Vern Poythress – Matthew Claridge interviews Vern Poythress in regards to the challenge to Biblical Inerrancy.
False prophets will pray – A Video of Paul Washer talking about false prophets.
Andrew Fuller on seeing Baptist (or any other denomination for that matter) prosper – Words from Andrew Fuller (1754-1815)
Ligonier $5 Friday sale – Head on over and check out the deals.
Restless till we rest in You – Augustine of Hippo, need I say more?