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November 27, 2020 12:01 am
Since God has ordained who will come to faith in Christ, why should we evangelize? Today, R.C. Sproul displays the important role our evangelism plays in the fulfilling of God's sovereign purpose for His people.
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Dr. RC Sproul on the question of chance have any power chance cannot do anything because chance is not anything. And when you say to me that the universe was created by chance you are saying the universe was created by nothing.
It's the rabbit out of the hat without without a rapid without a magician. If this mythology were not taken so seriously today.
We could be abused by what's at stake is not just theology, but science itself. Contact us today for copy of the book, not a chance. RC Sproul and Keith Matheson our toll-free number is 1-800-435-4343 that's 1-800-435-4343 if it is true that God from all eternity has chosen to save certain people and not others. Why then should we be busily involved in the task of evangelism. Well, that's another question that always seems to come up with. Predestination is discussed studying this wonderful doctrine here on Renewing Your Mind this weekend. Glad you enjoyed the Bible teaches that God is sovereign, that he chooses who will be saved. So what's on is it even necessary to assure the gospel with others today. Dr. RC scroll explains the relationship between God's electing work in our evangelism. Whenever we bring up the subject of predestination and election. It doesn't take long before a debate will ensue on the question of evangelism to the objections that I hear all the time about the doctrine of predestination for the use that if predestination is true, then there would be no need to be engaged in evangelism because those who are elect are going to be saved, one where the other than those who are not will not be saved. No matter how much effort we exert in the arena of evangelism.
That's one objection and a look at that in a moment the other one is the charge that people who believe in the doctrine of predestination or election characteristically are not concerned about evangelism and more or less stultified. The church's mission in that regard only answer that second one. First, because it's a lot easier to answer and answered simply by saying simply not true.
History bears witness that it is not true. If we look at our own history in America there was a period of evangelism activity in the colonies that was unprecedented and has not been matched since that brought forth the fruit of what has been called by historians the great awakening during the great awakening in which God richly poured out his Holy Spirit, particularly on new England. There were three chief preachers who were used of God as instruments of evangelism. During that time one of them was John Wesley who did not embrace the Augustinian view of election, but the other two were George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards both of whom wholeheartedly embraced the doctrine of election and predestination.
If we look at the Reformation. Itself in the 16th century.
I don't think there's ever been a revival in all of church history as was witnessed in the 16th century through the ministry of the reformers, Luther and Calvin and Knox and Zwingli were the gospel was published throughout the world in an unprecedented time of evangelism. All of those men were totally committed to the Augustinian forms of predestination in our own day. I know of one ministry that is in every nation of the world except I believe nine out of like 210 existing nations in this world. This ministry using 200 or 201 of them and I believe it's the only Christian ministry that is in that many nations in the world today in the name of that ministry is evangelism explosion which was devised and designed and taught by Dr. D. James Kennedy, who himself is a strong advocate of the Augustinian and we believe biblical view of predestination. Charles Spurgeon was another who had that same kind of commitment. So the record of history is such that when the church holds this doctrine, it does not necessarily in any way inhibit the outreach of evangelism but still the first objection remains, and it could even be raised with respect to the second and save yes of course. Jonathan Edwards was fiercely evangelical as was George Whitfield but this was a happy inconsistency in their theology.
Had they really thought their doctrine through they wouldn't have bothered with evangelism because they would've saying that it was of no avail. I remember in this regard, the most discomforting experience I had when I was a seminary student and I was in a seminar and we were studying Jonathan Edwards work the freedom of the will and I believe there were 22 of us in that class and the professor had us arranged in a semi circle in front of his desk and he enjoyed the Socratic method of teaching. He called dialect sure we said, he lectured. We died because he would constantly grill us and put us on the spot and ask us difficult questions and on this one day he said to us alright gentlemen if it is true that God from all eternity has chosen to save certain people and not others. Why then should we be busily involved in the task of evangelism and I breathed a great sigh of relief because I happen to be sitting at the extreme right end of this semi circle of students and he asked the person on the extreme left and in his customer would be to go right down the line so I knew that there were 21 people who would have to wrestle with this question before he would ever get to me and I was delighted that I had that safety cushion and so he started with the first student. He said Mr. so-and-so, if the bond election is true, why should we be involved in evangelism and the student just candidly replied a minute lady symbol professor.
I don't know. I've always wondered about that myself. That's then he went to the next fellow in the lines of what you think and that fellow shrugged her shoulders and said beats me and all of a sudden it was getting more and more scary as he went down the line asking each student in each one of them said they had no earthly idea how to answer the question. And finally the finger pointed at me and not have to say this. I hope you don't take it wrong, but in these discussions, and seminary. There were certain times where my fellow students look to me to bail them out in these thorny difficult things, I sort of assigned me the role that Plato assigned to Socrates in the dialogues when all these thorny questions would be raised and everybody give their answer and at the end, Socrates would sort it all out and so I was feeling more and more and more pressure as a professor came closer to me and finally he descended on many snide mistress probably said if God ordained small eternity.
Certain people are safe. Why should we be engaged in evangelism and I was really nervous and I said somewhat meekly. I said well Prof. I know this isn't what you're looking for. This is not no big reason but one reason. You know, after all that we still should be involved in evangelism is well and I stammered and stuttered and possibly you know God does command us to do it. Destiny and the professor went ballistic. He looked at me and he started to play with me in the mock me in a nice way, but he did it. He said he asked Mr. Strahl he said said, what could possibly be a smaller thing. The map that the Lord God omnipotent terrain should command you to do so don't not a big reason to do anything or that your Lord to shed his blood for your sins should command you to do evangelism and so you might undertake to give some credibility to the task mistress bowl simply because after all, he did save your soul for all eternity then you might drop your hat to him this enterprise and he went on and on that. I just felt smaller and smaller. But he said of course that's reason enough for the church to be engaged in evangelism is not the only reason.
By the way will get to another reason the moment but how can a person believe in election and not believe in the sovereignty of God and how can a person believe in the sovereignty of God and despise the mandate of the sovereign God. God is not only sovereign in his grace. He is sovereign in his commands and he commands us to preach the gospel to every living creature. Now we understand that that command is not based on the assumption that we are tools that are desperately needed by the deity and without our contribution. His salvific purposes couldn't come to pass, rather the efforts that we employ in the preaching of the gospel in the work of evangelism are efforts that can only be fruitful by his sovereign grace.
Paul made that clear dignity in the New Testament when he said I planted Apollo's watered. But God brings forth the increase now if we speculated on this we would see in an instant that God could bring the increase without Paul's ever planting or without Apollo's ever watering the one of the things that we have to understand with respect to predestination is that God not only for ordains in that is the final purpose or the goal of salvation. He also for ordains the means to that end, and what are the chief means that God uses to bring about salvation for his elect. We are told by Scripture that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching to save the world. Paul himself declared at the beginning of Romans, Paul, the greatest prenup. The Marion of all time, said of himself. I am better both to the Greek and to the Jew world to me. If I preach not the gospel because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
We are also told that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God which word has been entrusted to his church and to the mission of the church to proclaim it and to preach it to planted and to water it always knowing that the increase belongs to the Lord.
Now what I have stressed so far is the duty of the Christian to be engaged in evangelism despite the doctrine of predestination and election. What are professor in the seminary class that day, said to me, and to our class was that we can't stop at this principle of duty as I was when I was answering the questions I well after all we are commanded to do it.
The professor said it's not only a duty but the work of evangelism is a privilege. It's an incredible thing that God would choose to use us as secondary causes as instruments in his hand to proclaim the gospel to be used by the Holy Spirit to bring the word which one it is accompanied by the spirits work brings forth faith.
The very planting and watering that we are able to do are used of God as part of his plan to redeem his people he could do it without us.
He doesn't need me, and yet he gives me the unspeakable privilege of participating in it. Let's turn our attention to Paul's teaching on this matter. In the 10th chapter of Romans in verse 10 for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made on the salvation for the Scripture says whoever believes on him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon him, for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. It's very comforting. Now I know that no one will ever call on the Lord unless the Lord is first called him inwardly, but yet the promise is that all who do call on the Lord will be saved and I don't know the secret counsel of God, and I don't know whose heart is prepared by the Holy Spirit to call upon the name of work. But then Paul was on the say this. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in him of whom live not hurt and how shall they hear without a preacher and how shall they preach unless they are sent.
Where there is a classic text remission grows the word mission comes from the Latin Visio, which means to send a missionary is somebody who sent, and he sent by a group you sent by the church and he sent for purpose to proclaim the gospel so that people may hear and the people may come to face that they will have a gospel to believe in God is not put in our hands the power to change the heart of stone and a heart of flesh of an unbelieving person but we do have the ability to open our mouths and to confess our faith and to read the Scriptures and to proclaim the Scriptures, which are things that God uses to bring face to his people.
People can't have any faith that I really believe in the Labor, something I've never heard and they can't hear unless somebody tells it to them. There's no hearing without a preacher and no preacher without being sent.
Then Paul quotes very important passage from the Old Testament as it is written.
This is the end of verse 15 of chapter 10, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things this Old Testament text is abbreviated here how beautiful on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good tidings and who publishes peace. I remember when I was in grade school.
Hearing about the great wars of the Greeks of the ancient world, the war of the past with Thermopylae and the war on the sea's lameness and there was 1/3 war, and it was the war at marathon. The battle on the plane and wire marathons today called marathons because after the battle on the plane and the Athenians were victorious.
The custom in those days was not to send word back by CNN live on television the whole city would be waiting for the outcome of the battle and would want to know whether their forces were conquered or whether they were victorious and so a messenger was dispatched from the battle scene and that messenger would run all the way to the city to announce the outcome of the battle and in this case the battle on the plane was so many miles away from Athens that the runner had to run such a long distance and he did it without stopping the we borrowed the name marathon from that battle, a marathon runner now has to run what 26 miles or something like that.
But in any case, the city on their walls would post the sentinels lookouts who would watch in the distance for the approach of a runner and before they could see the look on the runner's face.
They could tell by his footfall in the distance whether he was bringing good news or bad news you seen the pace of the dejected person.
The bearer of bad news does not have his feet flying in great joy.
But when the marathon runner approached the city gates from the distance you can see his feet kicking up the dust and you could tell just by the action of his feet, that the news was good news and Isaiah borrows that imagery because the same kind of task of bearing news by messengers was the custom in the Old Testament and Isaiah says how beautiful on the mountain or the feet of him who brings good tidings to publish peace. I became a Christian in 1957 when an upper-class college football player sat me down on the table and explained the identity of Christ to me in that night changed my life forever.
That same person became my best man and my wedding, I will be eternally grateful for the ministry that individual had in my life to me. His feet are beautiful.
He took the time to tell me of Christ I certainly understand theologically, but God could've used someone else to bring me to saving faith. He didn't need to use the testimony of my friend and I know that ultimately I owe my salvation not to my friend but to God because salvation is of the Lord and yet on this earthly plane on the horizontal play in this arena of human activity. I have profound affection and profound gratitude for those who are being used of God as his instruments of evangelism privilege to be used of God to bring another person to Christ, a wonderful reminder from RC Sproul about how we should look at evangelism.
It is a privilege we been studying predestination this week on redoing your mind doctor's role is been addressing some of the objections to this doctrine over the past few days which are just five of the 10 messages that RC taught in the series will contact us today with your donation of any amount and we will send you the complete series on four audio CDs you can make your request and give your gift firstname.lastname@example.org regardless of the controversy. This is a doctrine that we must understand as believers, each of the 10, 23 minute lessons will help you examine the issue more deeply.
Our staff is off today for the holiday weekend. But again, you can make your request online. When you go to Renewing Your Mind.org if you'd like to expand your study, let me recommend table talk magazine each month, the editors of table talk include articles on topics like this one I did a quick search on table talk magazine.com and found more than 20 articles on predestination +2 full issues dedicated to it. Subscribers have full access to a growing library of back issues online and that you can learn more and email@example.com well before we go today.
Here's RC with a final thought. If you are a Christian, I like to ask you today to think about the person or the people in your life, whom God has used, to bring you to Christ for to help you grow in your face. Think about them write their names down. Pray for them and really it might be a nice thing for you to take the time today to write them a little note and say thank you because lots of times we don't even know that God has used us that way. In other people's lives because my ministry is public. Come on the radio and I speak publicly and write books and all that sort of thing. I get hundreds and hundreds of letters like that and sometimes people come up to me and said I know you hear this and want to bore you, but an MSN look, I can't hear that enough. It's so discouraging in the ministry. Your pastor is probably one of the most discouraged beaten-down persons in the whole world. Those people need to hear your encouragements of today. Let me ask you to write your thank you notes to those people who in your life have been used of God to open your eyes to the riches of Christ, though for our listeners hear the US you may be spending this holiday weekend with some of those people and you might have an opportunity to thank them in person over that death left over turkey sandwich on behalf of all my colleagues here leader ministries. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that you make plans to join us again Monday here on Renewing Your Mind