"Whoever believes in me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HAS SAID, streams of living water will flow from within him."
I have a lot on my heart that I need to write. I have wanted to write this for years now. I have prayed. I have studied. I have dug deep into the Word. I have waited.
I am just a girl who loves God's Word and loves sharing the gospel. When I was 19 years old alone in a room with my Bible, God saved me. I cried out to Him that night after reading Galatians and I asked Him to forgive me. I said, "If I can know You, I want to know You." In the 15 years since this night, I have not stopped reading and memorizing my Bible. It became my life... because Christ is my life (Col 3:4).
I know His Word and I know His voice. You can't know someone's voice if you aren't around their Words. I know Tim's voice because I spend time with Him. I would know if it was a stranger's voice.
"and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Should you just believe everything I say without looking it up for yourself? No! I am just a stay-at-home mom who loves God's Word. I have the same Bible you have. Be a Berean!! search the Scriptures to find out if what I am telling you is true.
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11
I am very troubled by a movement that is coming into the Church. This movement is being embraced by the Church because it contains a lot of truth and uses words we love.
But what happens is that the words are getting REDEFINED. I am learning that is a very crafty tactic of the enemy. He loves to redefine words. Like "marriage", like "the gospel", like "the world", like "salvation" etc...
The spirit of falsehood (1 John 4:6) comes in very subtly. Especially the longer you walk with the Lord.
There is a reason the Bible calls the enemy "crafty". He distorts truth. He doesn't make it obvious.
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
His tactic has been and always will be to make YOU doubt the Word of God.
"Did God REALLY say....?"
"Resist him, standing firm in the faith,"
1 Peter 5:9
When the boys and I were at the beach, we were walking down to the beach and there were huge waves. I got so excited when Bubba said, "I know what is causing those big waves...'he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.'
Momma, James tells us it is WIND that causes waves!".
(God's Word is so cool. My 7 year old may not have understood that verse when we memorized it but God brought it back to his mind and is He is teaching it to him. I would strongly encourage you to memorize God's Word with your kids even if you don't think they understand it. Hide it in their hearts and let the Lord accomplish all the purposes He has for His Word in their lives!
"so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Is 55:11)
Anyway, we got in to play in the waves. I wouldn't let the boys go out very far because there was such a strong current. We were all amazed when we had been riding waves and splashing around for a few minutes when we looked around and saw that our chair was hardly anywhere in sight. We were being PULLED away but we hadn't even realized it was happening!
After we came in that evening, I heard on the news that there was a dangerous rip current. My 3 boys and I had no idea that we were in danger. But, when I realized we were subtly being pulled away from our "spot", we all got out and came in.
As we were walking in from the ocean back toward our chair, I told the boys that this is how our enemy works. He pulls us away from safety and it is so subtle we don't even know it until we look up and can't see home anymore. I looked up the definition of a rip current...
"A rip does not pull a swimmer under water; it carries the swimmer away from the shore in a narrow channel of water. The rip is like a treadmill which the swimmer needs to step off. The swimmer should remain calm and swim parallel to the shore until he or she is outside of the current. Then, locations to aim for are places where waves are breaking. In these areas, floating objects are generally transported towards the shore."
When I think about the spiritual rip current going on with strange teachings coming inside the Church, I believe it starts like this....
You wade into a book. The book seemed really great... it had some ideas that made you think....some of it didn't seem exactly right but it was close and you think you knew what they were "trying to say" when they said it...so you read another one and another one and another one. Not having a clue you are being PULLED away from safety and away from the Bible. You are being pulled by a rip current called... the wisdom of man. You are no longer studying the Word for yourselves. You are following a man instead of the Word.
It is interesting to me that no one finds this "higher knowledge" or "enlightenment" in the Bible. They find it in books or in seminary.
Currently, people are "discovering" these deeper doctrines in books written by MAN- not the Bible. There is much money to be made off of Christians by guys who write books... because we will BUY THEM as fast as they can get them in print. A few years into my walk with the Lord, I bought lots of books. Any new "Christian book" people were reading, well, I wanted to read it! I wanted to grow, right? So, I needed to read Christian books. I never dreamed I needed to use discernment, after all these are "Christian" books, right? They must be full of truth! And, any sermon, dvd series, or commentary, I thought I needed it.
It all seems so harmless and we want to understand the deeper things of God and solve all the mysteries found in the pages of Scripture. There are mysteries God has not revealed to anyone. But, we do know what He HAS revealed to us so we can obey what we do know.
"The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions."
The movement I am talking about is called "New Calvinism". I am not referring to all Calvinists. I am referring to "new Calvinists who are hostile, militant and aggressive. This kind of Calvinism is troubling our churches, hindering evangelism and missions, and disrupting fellowship. I would hope that men of good will, whether Calvinist or not Calvinist, would repudiate that kind of Calvinism."
So, what is the big deal? Aren't there good guys on both sides of the fence? Yes, there are. But, my question is WHY IS THERE A FENCE? and WHO PUT IT THERE? The "fence" is the problem!
"Is Christ divided?" 1 Cor 1:13
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. "
"Naive" here means- unsuspecting, or fearing no evil from others, distrusting no one. If you are "new" or "naive" to the Bible, don't read books! You don't have the discernment you need and the enemy will prey on that. There is a spiritual rip current out there. The enemy has strategically laid traps for you and you won't be able to see them unless you are in the Word.
When we first become Christians, we are like little trusting sheep, especially inside the Christian world but we can and will be deceived if we are not in the Word. We are becoming followers of man and personalities rather than God. It is no different than in Paul's day...
"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas ”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?"
1 Cor 1:10-13
These "new" (nothing is new under the sun) doctrines that promise super wisdom are really pseudo-wisdom based on the wisdom of man. They leave a trail of arguing and division in their paths.
I have been directly hit by the deception and division involved in this. I really got hit by it when I began teaching John 3:16 word for word in the Greek and sharing the gospel in its purest form. I knew nothing about any of this until 2 years ago. But after studying John 3:16 for months and sharing it in the girl's conferences, the opposition to the gospel started in my own life. Let's just say, none of this is "new" to me and it isn't surprising.
This isn't my first rodeo.
"Watch your... doctrine closely." 1 Tim 4:16
"Watch your... doctrine closely." 1 Tim 4:16
There seems to be a new controversy every week. It is not our job to respond to every controversy or get sucked into them because they only result in "yuck".
"an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions" 1 Tim 6:4
So, why now? Why am I finally saying something? Because some of the stuff they are pumping out is getting OUTRAGEOUS and unsuspecting people are being misled. I also feel obligated to contend for the faith. (Jude 1:3).
This video is what prompted me to write.
Click *here* to watch a video by David Platt.
I know this sounds nice but he is WRONG.
"superstitious prayer? very dangerous thing? damning? God *may* damn us?"
It took me 32 seconds to defend the Word on this one...
Is the sinner's prayer Biblical?
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:10
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13,14
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
"Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"--and you forgave the guilt of my sin." Ps 32:5
The "sinner's prayer" is Biblical! Everyone begins a relationship with God through prayer. Sure...manipulation and coercion are wrong but that is the RARE exception. No mature Shepherd would do that.
David Platt says the sinner's prayer is formulaic. So, he says a BETTER way to share this gospel is like this....
"Share the gospel clearly…and call people to count the cost of following Christ. Make sure that the person you are talking with has a biblical understanding of the glorious reality that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women in their rebellion and He has sent His Son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that everyone who repents and believes in Him will be reconciled to God forever. Make sure this gospel is clear."
So, if I say what David Platt tells me to say and make sure I DON'T pray with them, then they have a better shot at salvation? Talk about formulaic!
And, WHERE IS THE WORD OF GOD?
So, he just blanketed people with a huge cloud of confusion. Now, Christians who want to share the gospel are so confused about how to do it, that they don't do anything because after all what if they do something wrong and DAMN someone to hell?
"For God is not the author of confusion"
1 Cor 14:33
No, sweet ones, please don't believe this. God has given you His Spirit. He will tell you what to say. It may be your testimony with Scripture. It may be John 3:16, you may pray with them, you may not but the Spirit will lead you. You don't have to have some canned gospel presentation. It is Jesus who saves, not your ability to share the gospel.
How did Peter share the gospel?
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11
"That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9,10
So, here is how it went down...
"Sinner's Prayer is Bad" so everyone says..."oh, ok...I've never thought of it like that... but ok".
Then, he backpeddles and says, "no, its good"... so everybody says "oh, ok, its good."
"Wait.. is it good or bad? Maybe I shouldn't ever share the gospel because I am pretty sure I am going to screw something up."
If Platt truly believes God saves who He is going to save and damns who He is going to damn and we have nothing to do with it, why try and eliminate the sinner's prayer?
It shouldn't matter anyway.
Let me assure you, the Sinner's Prayer is BIBLICAL.
It is simply a sinner recognizing his sinfulness and need for a savior and crying out for forgiveness.
But what about all the people who prayed a prayer and never produced fruit?
Well, it wasn't the prayer's fault! It was the soil of their HEART. Jesus tells us why this happens in the parable of the sower and the seed...
"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.”
I heard one lady talking about how thankful she was when she heard the gospel 30 years ago at a Church and was so broken. She needed someone's help to coach her through the steps of salvation and to lead her in prayer.
How many THOUSANDS of people accepted Christ through the sinner's prayer at a Billy Graham Crusade?
How else are you going to start a relationship with God if it isn't through humbling yourself in prayer? Does the prayer save you? No. But, do we have to respond to God's saving power, Yes!
"Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" 1 Cor 9:16
Every single Christian begins their relationship with Christ through prayer and repentance. We are God's ambassadors. He has given us everything we need to help someone understand how to be saved. We are simply farmers sowing seed. Some sow, some water, but God produces life! We are on a huge team. You may be planting, you may be watering, you may get the privilege of seeing someone begin their relationship with Christ. Just be faithful to share!
When I was a BABY believer, I saw MANY people come to Christ. I had no knowledge of the Bible. I just knew God sent His Son to die for me, I accepted His free gift and I was on my way to heaven to spend eternity with Him. I shared that with anybody who would listen. And, they did listen! And now they know Jesus! I promise you my delivery would have failed any theologian's test in 'how to present the gospel'. It was just a girl who had been saved sharing with anyone who would listen to her how they could be saved too. No big words. No script. Just sharing God's Word and my Savior.
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers;"
1 Cor 3:7-9
Rest in God's saving power. Not your ability to present the gospel perfectly. If you believe the Spirit is asking you to pray along with someone in a "sinner's prayer", then DO IT! Follow the Spirit's leading. March in step with the Spirit. Don't doubt if you are doing things "right". Guess what, you won't... but it is GOD who saves and He will give you the wisdom you need to know what to do. He has told you to GO into all the world and share the gospel. Don't you think He is on your team in this? It is His plan. He chose US to share His message with the world. He will make you a fisher of men.
It isn't the message that saves, it is
JESUS WHO SAVES those who cry out to Him for salvation.
The Bible teaches that God does it ALL and offers us salvation as a gift. It teaches God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. It teaches BOTH.
You do NOT have to choose one.
AHHHH, isn't that freeing?
"where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
2 Cor 3:17
If you choose one, you deny the other half of Scripture and get out of balance. Salvation is mysterious. It is wonderful. It is giving life to the dead.
It is a glorious thing to not understand the ways of God. That is where faith kicks in. Just like when the Bible says
God is 3 and God is 1...
Jesus was fully God, fully man.
We can't explain these truths and we can't pick one side and deny the other.
Just like the Bible teaches...
God is sovereign. He does it ALL. Yet, we have to respond.
The Word of God teaches BOTH.
"he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him"
You don't have to choose a "camp".
I am not reformed. I reject the distinctives of reformed theology. Just give me Jesus and His Word in its entirety.
I don't read all the latest books or jump on board with the latest DVD series. I don't read things on the Gospel Coalition blog. I threw away all my John Piper books after reading some things he says that simply don't line up with Scripture. Nothing personal against him or his Gospel Coalition buddies. Just not 100% true and I don't need them for my spiritual growth. I am not calling them false teachers. But I don't believe SOME things they are teaching come from the Word of God. I think they come from books written by MAN. That is why I am telling you to be a Berean.
ALL teachers err.
Btw, the word "trinity" isn't in the Bible but hopefully we all believe in the trinity.
Do I think listening to sermons and reading books is bad? No. I LOVE the pastors at my Church. I learn from them. But they aren't my only source of God's Word. Sermons and books should be our "dessert" after a delicious full-course-meal of God's Word. We are to be abiding/remaining/soaking in the Word ourselves.
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may GROW up in your salvation,"
1 Peter 2:2
I used to listen to sermons and read books a lot but after soaking and studying the pure Word, they aren't satisfying anymore. I just leave super hungry for the Word. I don't have time to discern through it all either. Not that they don't have good things to offer but I just LOVE the Word and I want to spend all my time studying it and memorize IT. Not studying what someone ELSE says about it. You don't NEED these things for true growth. God's Word will produce so much FRUIT in your life. Jesus chose regular old stinky fisherman. The common people heard Him gladly.
"And the common people heard Him gladly."
He chooses the foolish of the world to confound the wise.
And as the disciples followed Jesus, they called Him, "Rabbi". He was their Teacher. He will be YOUR teacher.
How strange would it have been for the disciples to have been reading books about Jesus when He was right there with them?
The same is true today! Do you think when we see Jesus face-to-face we will have wished we read more books about Him or spent time WITH HIM in His Word?
"I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me." Psalm 119:102
"But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body."
We don't believe in Jesus as "__________________" said. We are to believe in Jesus AS THE SCRIPTURE HAS SAID,
so that streams of living water will flow from within us." John 7:38
I struggled about just coming right out and saying this stuff because I know I will get attacked by people who are loyal followers of these guys.
My passion is sharing God's Word, not entering into ENDLESS arguments about the latest wind of teaching .
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching"
But, He has also called us to contend for the faith.
Platt also says that "asking Jesus into your heart is not Biblical". Let's be a Berean and check it out...
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord."
1 Peter 3:15
2 Cor 4:6
"I will give you a new HEART and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your HEART of stone and give you a HEART of flesh." Ez 36:26
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." John 14:23
Where do YOU think this is according to Scripture? In our brain, in our knee cap, in our pinky finger? He lives IN US.
"that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in THE INNER MAN,"
Where is our inner man? Should we ask Him to come into our "inner man"?
Would that be acceptable?
He gives us new life. Upon salvation, His Spirit moves in and takes up residence
somewhere inside us. I think it is appropriate to say our "heart".
Paul even said his fellow believers were in his hearts... "I said before that you are in our hearts, and we live or die together with you." 2 Cor 7:3.
The Bible says no good tree bears bad fruit. Let's inspect some fruit that is popping up around this "New Calvinism" doctrine...
"Get rid of the sinner's prayer", "God no longer loves and has a plan for the nation of Israel", "God doesn't love the whole world", God is the author of sin and evil ( ex. if a baby is raped and killed, that was God's plan and brings him the most glory), Man Worship, Division, Deception and trying to secretly bring in "new" doctrine into unsuspecting Churches, claiming to have found a more excellent way in books, pride, Secret Knowledge, Arguing, Confusion, Doubt, mocking evangelists like Billy Graham,
promoting books that take you AWAY from the Word of God,
What trail are these teachers leaving behind them?
What trail are these teachers leaving behind them?
Now, of course I don't believe everything they say is wrong. I agree with some but 1 John says "no lie comes from the truth". Something is wrong in the root system to be producing this type of fruit.
It isn't a salvation issue. It is an AUTHORITY issue.
Is the authority the philosophy of man or God's Word?
My question for US is this...
Are we truly following God and His Word or are we following MAN?It is such a dangerous thing to follow man because James say they all ERR or make mistakes.
""Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we ALL make many mistakes., James 3:1,2
I will end this with a challenge for all of us. To fast from anything except the clean water of the Word for 1 month. For 1 month, just read the Word. Ask God to be your Rabbi, your "Teacher". Tell Him you want to know His voice so you can recognize it when He speaks.
If you don't know where to start, start in the book of John. Read a Chapter every morning. Write down 5 verses you think are cool and memorize one during the day. Post the Word on your mirror in your bathroom. In your shower. In your car. Go to www.blb.org and you can look up the Hebrew and Greek words and see the original meaning and definition. Get a Zodhiates Word Study Dictionary to get a more robust definition of the Greek Words.
Pray for someone to disciple you in the faith and the Word if you are a new believer. If you live in Chattanooga, let me know and I may be able to pair you up with someone to encourage you.
Look into a Precept Ministries Bible Study to learn how to study the Bible for yourself.
Let God's Word be your daily bread and your living water. I have a feeling by the end of the month, you will no longer desire other things because God will have spoken DIRECTLY TO YOU!
Jesus wants to blow you away with His Word, with His presence, with His truth. He is so faithful. Living water will begin to flow from within you! Isn't that what we want for our homes, our marriages, our children? He asks us to come and drink as much as we want.
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Ps 42:2
"Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life." Rev 22:17
"be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
Keep it "simple".
"The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, Cry out to Him and be He will forgive you!
Your prayer doesn't save you. A wordy gospel presentation doesn't save you.
But prayer is how you begin a relationship with Him.
Just like the tax collector...
"He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said,
‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God."
"I cry out to You;