Survey of the Bible 22. ‘Retirement’ and latter Judean Ministry 29 AD

In the previous class it became increasingly clear that Jesus was not offering political salvation but individual salvation and spiritual, people still today do not want to hear about their spiritual need and find the gospel unpalatable.
April in the year 29 Jesus enters the ‘retirement ministry’ as Hendriksen calls it. He goes to Phoenicians. Mark 7:24-30 fulfilling Simeon’s prophesy (Luke 2:25-38).

‘He went to his own but his own received him not’ (John1:11), but these Gentiles put the Jews to shame: was faith like her’s found in all Israel? She responds in the way God expects. God calls us sinners and we, at Tabernacle, are used to that but it is offensive to the people unused to it. But we come to God unworthy of even so much as a crumb, yet knowing that crumb would be grace enough. Mark 7 and 8:
We discussed the irony that Jesus charged them to not tell anyone about him and they did, whereas we are told to speak and are reluctant! But of course both are disobedient! His time had not yet come but also they misinterpret the signs.

Jesus takes the blind man by the hand v23: what must that have been like?! Trusting the Saviour to lead us blind. That is how we must go, trusting our whole soul into his care and leading. This two-stage healing was not a case of ‘trial and error’. The first stage was at least ‘better than nothing’, like conversion we are not perfected and so we have to go on honestly with God, admitting we need further grace.
God is not constrained to a few methods. Theology comes into focus gradually for many converts.
Still north in Caesarea Phillippi, Mark 8:27 is a partial revelation that he is the Messiah. From here we see him speaking of his sufferings. Matt 16 – Peter did not like that. Perhaps because of what it implied about his own life. The Catholics like this because Peter was thought to be the first appointed pope and those in succession. The most basic inspection of the way the words were framed in the original showed that Jesus is the Rock 1 Peter 2:4-8 is written by Peter who did not draw attention to himself there. ‘Petra’ only refers to Christ. Catholics counter that Matt 16:19 shows that Peter gets the keys! But in Matt 18:18 now he is speaking to all the apostles, so it is not just that Peter alone has the keys – ie. preaching the gospel and church discipline and government, for example, whether to loose or retain the moral and ceremonial law for the Church – they had the authority to take that kind of decision.


Survey of the Bible 11: Assyria rises, Samaria falls (736-722 BC)

Alex Hutter led today’s doctrine class. We sang ‘Great Providence of Heaven’. Most of the study was concerned with 2 Kings 15.

We looked at the way that the kings of Israel were corrupt, often being assassinated, with Israel eventually being vanquished by Assyria and any semblance of their identity as God’s people becoming irrecoverably polluted. Meanwhile Judah operated separately, even wicked king Ahaz being allowed to continue the Davidic line and the threats to that countered by God to preserve His promise to David.

There were a number of points of doctrine that emerged from this theme. Firstly, that God keeps His word – He means what he says. This is so different to the vacillating of men. Jehu had been promised the throne until the fourth generation and that is exactly what happened:

10     And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him [Zachari’ah], and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
12     This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. (see 2 Kgs. 10.30) And so it came to pass.

These thoughts showed something of the outworking of a correct view of God’s sovreignty and man’s responsibility. The decree of God was ordained from the foundation of the world but the mess of Israel’s kings was clearly the product of their own sin. We see our own modern society reflecting exactly what God’s word in Romans says will become of us if we reject God as generation follows generation and even ‘respectability’ is flouted and abject sin insinuates further into every aspect of life. Christians must take their position as God’s children seriously and avoid grieving the Spirit. Sin’s consequences are devastating: what a mess that Israel became. A long time before the Lord Jesus met the Samaritan woman, it could have been said:

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:22

We touched on the importance of the church and Christians to walk closely with God, not to settle for living ‘at ease in Zion’ – there is too much at stake.


Survey of the Bible 7: Saul, David and Solomon (1052-932 BC)

Alex Hutter took the doctrine class today. Reading was from 2 Sam 7

Transition between judges and kings. Eli and (1Sam7:5) Samuel’s children (Joel & Abiah), failures of the times of the judges, lust of the people after a king as other nations. They were a theocrasy but wanted a man. Set to go ill with them. God warned them about it. ‘He will take…’ Contrast with the Lord, who gives and who gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20).
Lessons for us? People wanted a physical thing as more real, missing the whole point of God’s requiring the just living by faith. Desire the Lord’s will, as the saviour did in Gethsemany. ‘Leanness to our souls’. Hendriksen brings out the parallel between Saul and David: but then their reactions were different when found out and accused, Samuel and Nathan. Saul delivered Jabesh famously. Magnanimous towards his native enemies. But he rushed the offering at the Philistines (from Crete) attack. Obedience in the ‘little things’.
Saul failed to slay all Amalekites. Saul did not repent and actually tried to argue his case. Makes a good show 1Sam15:24-25. But Samuel will not accept this, excuses, showed his proud heart would not repent and he became miserable. Saul even wept at being shown up by David but soon he was chasing again. Est 3 – Haman was an Agagite.
David’s early victory was Goliath. Saul has slain his 1000’s, but David our 10,000’s. Not rejoicing from Saul even though it was a great victory for Saul!
Ishbosheth’s rule was brief over Israel. Jerusalem taken. Bringing the ark back. Still great sins: Bathsheba and Uriah. Grew lazy, and the sin arises. Sets Uriah up, but Uriah too noble. Death sentence was taken in his own hand. Aggravation of sin. 2 Sam 12:9 condemns to a life of He did loose 4-fold – 4 of his sons!
Responds well to rebuke but still took a long time. Uriah recorded as one of David great mighty men.
Numbering the people – even Joab knew this was wrong! The Lord speaking through a donkey! Gad comes with his options. No excuses. Let us fall into the hand of God. Encouraging to find that the Lord forgives us our sins, do not cover your sins.
Solomon inherits a huge kingdom. The golden age. Visit from Queen of Sheba. He falls into sin through many wives. Watch who our friends are. Walk with the godliest people you can.


Survey of the Bible 4: descent into Egypt to the Exodus

Genesis 50:7-26
1879-1449BC
430 years Abraham was promised this length of time.
Joseph and Moses. Huge sweep. Whole pattern of God’s decrees.
Joseph – Jacob’s favorite son. From the line of Abraham.
Last but one in the family, probably youngest for some time.
Character traits: spoilt, visionary, good, hated for it. telltale, shared these dreams unwisely, naieve, underestimated sin in brothers.
Brothers hated him except perhaps for Reuben. Rachel’s first son.
ignored his tears and took money for him! At that point it must have been hard to see God’s will. Hated their father too. Dreadful thing to do to lie like that. Where is God?! But the Gospel is like that with the fall but sends His Son.
“I am trusted with all except master’s wife. how can I do this great wickedness”
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Armininan Scripture ‘proofs’ for unlimited atonement

Reading was John 10:11-18
Affirmation 2010.
Point 3 of the doctrines of grace. 1618 synod which met 154 times. 
Limited atonement is controversial. 
Today we looked at Scripture used by Arminianism 
Verses that could imply that Christ died for the ‘world’ include:
John 6:51
John 3:16 
1John 2:1-2 
The Great Commission actually does include this phrase in that meaning, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’
But if everyone is saved then it runs against scripture. God is seen to fail in his purpose which is John 3:17. 
John 6:33 give life to the world but not everyone is saved – which some Arminians have been willing to go as far as saying that God’s purposes can be frustrated. 
Is 46:9-10 Ps 33:11 
If Christ died for everyone it makes a non-sense of these verses.
Rom 8:32
Rom 5:7-11
If Christ has died for us, God will surely go on to give us the ‘lesser’ things, causing us to persevere in the faith.
Lots of uses of ‘world’ where it does not mean ‘all’
John 7:1-5, 7
1 John 5:19
John 12:17-19
John 14:18-19
Hardly anywhere does world mean everyone who has lived and will ever live.
Many of these armininian proof texts are in John and it is worth remembering that he was an apostle to the Jews – 
1 John 2:1-2 trying to expand the perspective of the Jews to embrace the Gentiles. 
‘All’ men does not mean saviour of all men, the phrase ‘especially those who believe’ clearly indicates a qualification in ‘all’
John Owen gives 500 instances where all men does not mean all men. 
Matt 10:21-22
Matt 26:31-34
Mark 1:35-37
Christ is said to die for those who fall away!
1 Cor 8:11 Yes ‘fall’, but not fall forever. ‘Perish’ here is like an inner guilt of being removed from God because of fouling our conscience. 
2 Pet 2:1 
Hebrews 10:28-29 the Lord that bought them is God the Father. But this is not referring to the ransom of the cross. This is an opposite to the phrase about being sold into their enemies’ hands. They are blessed by being in the confines of the church but never converted. All acknowledge this is hard to interpret and we would not want to base our doctrine on that kind of verse.
Do these verses address the saved but some are not all saved in the end. But ‘charity of judgement’ is a familiar tactic used to address the whole body of a new testament church, knowing that some were actually not saved amongst them


Affirmation 2010 Point 3: Unconditional Election

Alex Hutter took the doctrine class on the 15th July. We read Psalm 3 and noted verse 8, which makes it plain that salvation is God’s work.

Salvation belongeth unto the LORD

We continue in our studies guided by Affirmation 2010 which states helpfully what we are and are not to believe. In this way it helpfully differs from classic credal statements (although ‘apologists’ have long since taken their enemies to task, often in unstintingly acrid terms).
We’re looking at section 3. The Doctrines of Grace 
Arminians believe in election – they do not have a choice (irony!) as it’s in the Bible. Luke 18:7, Romans 8:33, 11:7, 1 Thess 1:4, 2 Tim 2:10 chosen , 2 thes 2:14 chosen, , Eph. 2:10 ordained , Jude 4 – ordained to condemnation – i.e. reprobation.  
Anyone with a sense of the bible as authorititative must form a view onelection. Some think 1 Peter 1:2 teaches conditional election.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

‘We are elected to salvation because of God’s foreknowledge’. But this interpretation stems directly from views of the freedom of the will, the previous point in the famouse TULIP acronym (total depravity). they say God foreknew who would choose him. Nahum 1:7 is also ‘twistable’ for this cause.

The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

But then so is any verse that commands the sinner to repent and believe the gospel. ‘If God offers the gospel he is inconsistent to command us to do so’, it is claimed. But Pink points out that God does not lose the right to command just because we are vile sinners. That would be like not condemning a kleptomaniac of theft because he ‘couldn’t help it’. God’s sovreignty and man’s responsibility are likened by Spurgeon to two rails of a train track which we cannot get to meet. Yet you need them both. Salvation is all of God and all of our obligation – both rails. Hypercalvinism will prevent you from calling sinners to repent, likely leading to negation of assurance.

In Romans 11:2, Paul says: ‘God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.’ But these verses do not tell us that God foreknew who would believe – one would need to insert additional logic to come to that conclusion. This is the opposite to exegesis: my ideas are proved from the text. But the Bible must always speak for itself using scripture to interpret scripture where there is any doubt. Ryle countered Keswick teaching of ‘let go let God’s from the introduction to his book ‘Holiness’.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thes 2:13

If God chose us because we would believe, then what difference would it make if he chose me? Why have a concept of election at all? Does not this teach that ‘obedience’ of faith follows election not the other way around. 
Barnes notes on 1 Peter 1:2 are very helpful : (from ‘The passage does not affirm… )
Arminians accuse Calvinists of pride, but which teaching implies pride? that God saw belief in me or that God chose outright?
In John 5: the invalid is in a hopeless condition, but commanded to rise take up his bed and walk. Paul on the road to Damascus did not choose God!


Affirmation 2010 Point 3: Total Depravity

Having sung ‘Amazing Grace’ together, Alex Hutter took our class yesterday, 1st July 2012. Here is a summary of what was said.

The five points of Calvinism, refutes the five points of Jacob Hermon.
1500’s TULIP was devised in opposition to arminian heresy.
The teaching of ‘freedom of the will’ claims we have free will under the umbrella of God’s will. Arminian teaching is that man’s will is not bound by God. Yet we assert that it is bound, by my own sinful nature. Complete free will equates with the ability to choose good as easily as evil. But even God’s will is not free like that! He is holy – He will and can not choose evil.
Total depravity is different to saying man is absolutely depraved.  See Matthew 5:44-46
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
There is certainly the capacity for absolute depravity – we would all say ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, and, with the disciples, ‘Lord is it I? ‘ (cf.  Matt 26:22)
Total depravity means being ‘incapable of doing or desiring anything that is pleasing to God’.
Westminster confession was quoted:
we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,[8] and wholly inclined to all evil,[9] do proceed all actual transgressions.
We have nothing to offer God. It is always important to remember this teaching was set up in opposition to free-will heresy.
Every aspect of our nature is tainted by sin; not one part of our being is unaffected.
Sanctification is different to morality. 
So cannot the heathen choose that which pleases God? Morality is about me, pride, self, man-centred. Some even use it to mock God – ‘look God, see how I can be moral without God’ – but in such boasting and arrogant blasphemy they just prove the point that their morality is flawed. Holy Isaiah found that all his ‘righteousness is as filthy rags’ (Is 64:6). The pharisee’s motives for good works are partly his own salvation.
Jn 14:15 and 21 show that the only proper motive to good works is love to God not love for the world, self or any other thing.
2 Tim 2:20-21 shows the path to doing that which is pleasing to God.
Isaiah 6:8
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
There is no pleasing God without faith and in my own strength (Heb 11:6). World religions claim there is some hypothetical balancing out of good and bad deeds.  But nothing unclean will enter heaven; just just one sin will bar us from heaven. Romans 8:7 means that, in the flesh, we cannot please God. So man cannot save himself.
Genesis 6:5 ‘Every every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’
Jeremiah 17:9 ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’
These are powerful verses. Man does not even seek God:  Romans 3:10-11
John 5:40: ‘ye will not come to me that he might have life’
We cannot receive the things of the spirit of God because they are spirituality discerned. People without spiritual life from above, from God are simply not listening. The Pastor sometimes speaks of the way that you can hold a ‘good’ conversation with someone about salvation by grace only for them then to walk off saying that they’ll ‘do their best’.
Sermons seem to just bounce off. This is so different when we are made alive to God.
Actually we love darkness rather than light John 3:19
Also see, Eph 2:4-5 man has nothing good to offer God except our vile heart?! Why give that to God and why would he want or accept it?!
People may well not accept that they’re as bad as that. Yet their perception of God is irrelevant – of course the gulf between what the scripture says and what people think is growing.
We see in the Scriptures that it is clearly God who saves.
Ps 3:8 salvation belongs unto the Lord.
It is his to give to who he pleases. See Romans 9:15-18, John 1:13, Eph 2:8 which answers the wrong thought that I could be saved by faith I generate.
Implications
TULIP tells us that salvation belongs to the LORD. So we ought to be more prayerful. Ask the God who can save. We’re told to pray. Total depravity is in fact an encouragement to evangelism and our own salvation. We are wary of hypercalvinism though. To be involved in this work is such a privilege. In reality, if we actually did nothing towards evangelism, not even prayer, we would prove there was no spiritual life in us. There is no need for an altercall: applying pressure on the will is wrong but also so is it wrong to give no call at all because how can they hear…
John 3 tells us ‘you must be born again’. But in general the gospel is ‘repent and believe’. If a doctor made a cure for your disease but only made it for his daughter – you would still bang on his door to get a shot of it. So sinners must go to God for the cure.
We must also avoid emotional pressure on sinners to make a decision.
Do not expect the world to behave like Christians – getting people to be more moral, as per the ‘social gospel’ will not work.
We should be very thankful for being saved by God as we could not do it ourselves.