June 9

Another day in Paradise. Wasn’t seeing everyone and fellowshipping with the Body of Christ on Sunday just awesome? That is what church is all about. Jesus is the Shepherd, and we are the sheep of His pasture, enjoying Him, following Him, and learning from Him.

So, what would you do if you were born blind but heard of a man who would heal you completely and give you sight? In the Gospel accounts, many people sought after Jesus for healing, but often left Him due to His message and requirements. Many other times He came across people needing healing and then proceeded to do so. But, as John noted in chapter 6, what is interesting is that people born spiritually blind (basically, all of us) never seek after Him for sight—God must give these people to Jesus first, and then the Holy Spirit draws them to Him. Any other option opens the door for us to work for our salvation, to take pride in our ability to choose God, and ultimately places us into either the heresy of Semi-Pelagianism which states both God and man are active in the salvation process, or full out Pelagianism which states man is the sole agent of decision. Any works-based salvation would diminish the sovereignty of God, but also ignores the total sinful destruction of the mind, will, and emotions of a nonbeliever and claims that he has the power in his own self to see through his sin and choose God. No, you and I are born blind from birth and have no way to see that we need God, and no way to even comprehend sight. The Holy Spirit must do the work of giving us spiritual eyes, there are no two ways about it.

  • “Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation.”—Charles Spurgeon

I grew up in churches that falsely emphasized man’s role in salvation, and thus taught us to debate, manipulate, override, and basically do just about anything to get people to see things our way when it came down to the Gospel. Most of us felt thoroughly inadequate to witness this way because most of us were not skilled in apologetics, or in debating, in public speaking, and so forth. Furthermore, we liked people and trying to coercively berate someone over to our way of thinking was not friendly or relational. We were often worried we’d be embarrassed trying to defend Christ when we didn’t know enough verses, or if we encountered a person who confidently challenged what we believed. What I noticed was that as churches failed to properly accept the sovereignty of God in salvation, they then needed to have classes on how to witness. In fact, any church whose members don’t do a lot of witnessing, it is surmised, must be deficient in having more classes on evangelism.

But, in my study of doctrine, listening to a lot of John Piper on the sovereignty of God, and reading about the massive missionary efforts launched by the Reformers and Puritans, I was convinced that evangelism and God’s sovereignty go hand-in-hand. No longer did I have to know every evangelistic Bible verse by heart. No longer did I need to know how to respond to Moonies, Hira Krishnas, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Buddhists, humanists, evolutionists, agnostics, atheists, etc. with all the latest apologetics research. Those things are helpful, but when I realized that God is sovereign in salvation, that He gets the increase, that He’s the One Who’s prepared the soil and ensures the seed is growing with deep roots, then I began to realize my only responsibility is to give out the Gospel and let God use it to convict people to salvation. My inadequacy and fears are gone because I am not the agent of change, but merely the agent of communicating the Gospel of change. I have a boldness now that I cannot recall ever having before. It would seem that the answer to the Gospel’s spread is to go back to the basic doctrinal foundations about God that the Reformers and Puritans held, and that the 17thcentury Particular Baptists held (part of the last church movements of the Reformation which influenced the foundation of our Southern Baptist Convention). The Reformers and Puritans comprised some of the boldest, most aggressive evangelizers in the last 500 years.

We like to ask people, “How many people have you led to Christ” as if they were the means of people getting saved. I can confidently say I’ve led thousands to the Lord. However, I can also confidently say that only the Lord has convicted whom He wishes to salvation and that I am not responsible for those who rejected Him, nor do I take any credit for those who accepted Him. I bring them to Jesus via the Gospel, and He does the work of convicting and saving. It’s as simple as that.

A blind man whom Jesus saw one day wasn’t seeking Jesus to heal him physically or to save him. But, Jesus put clay in his eyes without asking him permission, sent him to the pool to wash, and the man was given physical sight that day. When Jesus found him again a bit later, He then introduced Himself as the Messiah, and the man found spiritual sight and faith that day as well. That should be the most awesome miracle you and I get to be involved in as we bring the light of Christ to a dark and dying world, and He then opens their eyes and gives them the faith to believe in Him!

  1. Refresher Questions about Soteriology (The Doctrine of Salvation). What does it mean when we refer to the 5 Solas of Salvation?
    1. Sola Scriptura (salvation is by Scripture alone): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. See if you can find a few verses that support this: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. Sola Fide (by faith alone): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Verses in support: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. Sola Gratia (by grace alone): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Verses in support: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    4. Solus Christus (through Christ alone): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Verses in support: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    5. Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Verses in support: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    6. What fears and inhibitions do you encounter when it comes to witnessing? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Does realizing that you have no part to play in a person’s salvation other than sharing the Gospel with him help alleviate these fears? _________________________________________
      2. Do you believe you could clearly articulate the Gospel to the lost? ___________________________________________________
    7. Does God change? _________________________________________
      1. If not, then why do we allow foundational doctrines which He communicated to us in His unchanging Word, to be modified to match our beliefs, our desires, and even our cultural foci? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
        1. E.g. For almost 2,000 years the majority of Christians understood the Bible to clearly describe homosexuality as a sin, but today biblical truth is being rejected by Christians as our culture has dictated to the church as to what is love, what is God’s will, and even what is marriage.
      2. Thus, why do we allow the true Gospel to be marred by ungodly versions of salvation, even versions that allow for people to get saved without Jesus? Or that do not believe there is a real, literal Hell? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Corinthians 15:1-4 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (See also Romans chapters 1-4 for an detailed exposition on the Gospel)
    1. Gospel means? _______________ __________________
    2. Why did Christ die for us? __________________________
      1. Thus, sin must be continually preached against to all lost people. Lost people do notknow they are lost, and do not even define their wickedness as sin. We must make it clear to them (
  • What is our authority about why Christ died for us, and for evidence of His resurrection? ______________________________________________
  1. The actor, Kurt Cameron, shares his testimony here showing the power of the Gospel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA4Zv8o3NbI

Send the Light  Hymn by Charles Gabriel

1 There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave, “Send the light! Send the light!”

There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,

Send the light!

Send the light!

[Chorus]:

Send the light, the blessed gospel light,

Let it shine from shore to shore!

Send the light the blessed gospel light;

Let it shine forevermore!

 

2 We have heard the Macedonian call today, “Send the light! Send the light!”

And a golden off’ring at the cross we lay,

Send the light!

Send the light!

[Chorus]

 

3 Let us pray that grace may ev’rywhere abound, “Send the light! Send the light!”

And a Christ-like spirit ev’rywhere be found;

Send the light!

Send the light!

[Chorus]

 

4 Let us not grow weary in the work of love, “Send the light! Send the light!”

Let us gather jewels for a crown above,

Send the light!

Send the light!