Saturday, April 27, 2013

If Sinners Be Damned...

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

C. H. Spurgeon

Anyone who reads this blog knows that although I strongly believe in a free will theology my favorite preacher is Charles Spurgeon. And this quote from him should be the clarion call for Calvinist and free will alike. It sends chills up my spine since I fall very short of its exhortation. And this profound and penetrating call for evangelism comes from a Calvinist. And yet free will men like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen and Rob Bell prance all over the country selling a temporal gospel which soothes the conscience instead of bringing conviction.

In a few sentences Spurgeon has exposed the modern me/now gospel which comes in a variety of alluring flavors. Wrapped in the flag or materialism or promises of great health and prosperity, these fake gospels draw great crowds which thirst to get something rather than serve the Risen Christ. People do not flock to hear Warren and Osteen in order to light a fire in their souls for the plight of eternal souls. No, they come to be excited and blessed and to take in the atmosphere of celebrity. But do not be deceived, from the words of Spurgeon we have a template for which we must strive. Sinners must hear about Christ before it is too late. And the words of this man of God exhort us to a passion for sharing and preaching that reaches a level which substantiates the Scriptures and not our so often shallow doctrinal protestations.

When was the last time we wept in the Spirit for souls we know who are heading for an unfathomable eternity separated from Christ? Are we open to the Spirit’s leading if He would direct us to witness to someone which might cause us some discomfort or intimidation? Do not just read his words but ingest them into your spirit. Do our exertions really have teeth? So often in this moralistic climate the church castigates sinners rather than warn and pray for them. Legislation has become the gospel.

The worth of a vote has overshadowed the worth of a soul. And the church actively seeks to adjust the culture and improve our living conditions and create an atmosphere of economic prosperity, all of which does nothing for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Imagine a missionary arrives among the people he believes God has sent him. These people are idol worshipers and have no real moral compass. They engage in some bizarre sexual practices, they murder their neighbors, and they were very little clothing. Does the missionary begin to organize a movement to address those things? Does he sit around with other missionaries and castigate those tribal sinners? Does he listen to jungle radio as a Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh wanna be’s talk incessantly about how liberal and out of the mainstream these natives are?

That would be ridiculous you say? Well that is exactly what the church is doing today only these sinners are more worldly and sophisticated, but they are just as blind and just as lost. Even though the jungle fields are different than the urban fields the message of hope is still the same, the everlasting gospel. I feel the end is very near and any serious business done for Christ must be done quickly. If we are going to pray then we must pray now. If we are going to fast then we must fast now. If we are going to witness then we must witness now. If we are going to support missionaries then we must do it now. This is surely not the time to muse about things; this is the time to sacrifice and serve.

How many of us would give everything to have some of the years back once again? I know I surely would. As I look back with a more mature and convicting view I realize that I could have done so much more for the kingdom. But now I must make haste while the day is still here because the night is coming when no man can work. All of us owe our entire lives to Christ and these last days should be a living sacrifice for Him. If you have a spouse who shares your devotion to Christ than you are surely blessed above measure and you can reignite your passion for Him together. If you do not, like me, have that kind of bond, then we must be married to Christ in a way which gives us the strength we cannot receive from a spouse. It is difficult but He is worth it.

But think on this. In fact, do not just think on this but meditate upon it and let it marinate inside your heart until your heart is changed. God died for your sinful and rebellious soul. I said God died for YOU. Oh my, how can our eyes remain dry even while reading this unfathomable words? I do not deserve God’s love much less God coming and dying in my place. I am quite undone when I pause in this fast paced life enough to allow my heart and my mind to take in that glorious truth. God died for the horrible creature they call Rick Frueh. Oh my. I am filled with all kinds of emotion. Awe and gratitude, and love and wonder and brokenness and humility and bewilderment and joy and repentance and thanksgiving and indebtedness and unworthiness and reverence and amazement and worship and a mixture of them all fill my heart.

So if God loved me enough to die in my place, oh the mystery of that, then He must feel the same way for all souls unless He is a respecter of persons which He is not. And if God loves my neighbor just as does me, then what is He asking of me when the Scriptures exhort me to walk in His love and be an imitator of God Himself? I mean how should I feel about sinners if Christ died for me when I was still a sinner and in reality His very enemy? What is the Spirit speaking to us all? How far off have we strayed with all this earthly mess when in reality we have been called to love sinners and walk in His love as the days draw down? And look, dear ones, from the mouth of a Calvinist all we who boast of our free will credentials are rebuked and laid low. Yes, I am sorely rebuked by my better.

Souls, my fellow believers, the souls of mankind. I cannot help but recall the story of the two Moravian boys who had read of a slave colony in the Caribbean. The owner would not allow any preacher to come to his island because they might cause some upset and disruption and fill the slaves with false ideas. These two young boys corresponded with the owner and sold themselves to him as slaves. The arraignment was made and the price of their enslavement would only pay for their voyage from Germany to the Caribbean. And they had heard from the Spirit and they were willing to sacrifice their entire lives so they could reach these slaves with the gospel.

Of course their family and friends could hardly believe what they were doing and they considered it almost insane. Why oh why would someone so young throw away their future with such unwise fanaticism? And yet the day came when the ship was to embark on the transatlantic voyage. The two young men boarded the ship and went together along the ship’s rail to say goodbye once more to their loved ones. There was much weeping on the dock as it was assumed their families would never see them again. But the ship was turned loose from the dock and began to drift to the sea.

But as the two boys looked at their family and friends one of them hollered these words,

“May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His sufferings!!”

Pause just one moment. Think on that. Receive those words into your spirit. There is so much there in that one sentence combined with who said it and where they were going and why. There is so much there. It is foolishness to those without the Spirit but to those who have tasted the goodness of God through Christ Jesus those words shatter our soul. These young men were sacrificing their entire lives to reach souls while the western expression of following Christ serves as a self serving pursuit to get more and keep more and still retain some semblance of a religious shell. Who exactly are we kidding?

Spurgeon did not believe Christ died for everyone and yet he exhorts us to plead and pray with a zealousness as if people’s souls depended upon us. Away with all our free will smugness since we must be the pinnacle of hypocrisy! Read his words once more and add the words of those Moravian boys and then juxtapose our lives upon the razor sharpness of their open conviction and then where is our smugness? The family right across the street is dying in their sins while we live our selfish lives inside the convenient walls of a domestic and religious clique. “Let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay,”, says the preacher. Fear and embarrassment and doctrinal contentment and a deep religious spirit have imprisoned us and made the gospel a religious relic rather than our very lives.

I hope we can all see the great need for a spiritual revival in our own hearts and lives. We need the Spirit to gives us a spirit of abandonment which walks in the desire and the atmosphere of the eternal and sees the temporal as a platform for sharing the gospel through word and deed. We need a sense of urgency once again. The suggestion that these are the last days must be more than some prophetic musings; it must be a catalyst for a devoted desperation to serve Christ in His whited fields.

Eph.5: 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.


Shannon said...

Rick you say "But do not be deceived, from the words of Spurgeon we have a template for which we must strive. Sinners must hear about Christ before it is too late. "
Romans 1 and Romans 10:18 tell us they've already heard and rejected the words of the prophets. They are not being saved because they love the darkness and are rejecting the Light. John 3:19.

Are you saying that if WE pray enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE fast enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE witness enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE support missionaries more will be saved?
You say that as you look back YOU could have done so much more for the kingdom...

There is no room for the Holy Spirit in the "if only I had done this...", "if only I" gospel.
Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit of God, not efforts of the flesh. He knows the heart and will be certain to take His Gospel to where It will be received. John 3:8. He is the Faithful One, not mere man. He is moving in the hearts of those He is indwelling with His Spirit and will carry His Gospel to where He wills.


Rick Frueh said...

"Are you saying that if WE pray enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE fast enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE witness enough more will be saved?
Are you saying that if WE support missionaries more will be saved?"

Yes, that is what I am saying. Perhaps you missed my free will theology.

Rick Frueh said...

And Spurgeon himself is suggesting that our passion could make a difference as well, his theology notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Yes, because the Scriptures say we labor TOGETHER WITH God.

Shannon said...

No you misunderstand me. I did not miss your "free will theology".

Matthew 7:13,14 The "many" are on the broad path by choice, not because they haven't heard the gospel.

Should the Word of God be our authority, over Spurgeon's?

We are called to test all teachings against the Word, as Paul commended the Bereans, Acts 17:11.

How does a man's "passion" make a difference in whether/not one is drawn to salvation by the Holy Spirit?

Rick Frueh said...

Jesus Himself told Capernaum that if these works had been done in Sodom they would have repented. Yes, there are things that can alter people's eternal destiny and the Lord Jesus gave us a commission that has a sacred responsibility far above just a perfunctory narrative which has no real place in the overarching gospel narrative.
We have a duty which has eternal consequences otherwise what we do is meaningless.

Rick Frueh said...

Why does the story of William Carey or Jim Elliot mean anything to us? Their passion and sacrifice is meaningless to God if God does not work through and honor a believer's sacrifice and self denial. And it is all to His eternal glory!

Shannon said...

You state "Jesus Himself told Capernaum that if these works had been done in Sodom they would have repented."

I'm not sure if you are referring to Matthew 11 but if so, I'm reading it and the context is misapplied. If you look at verse 27 as well...

Matthew 11:27 " one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son and whomever the Son purposes to reveal (Him)."

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.


Reine Gnade said...

How does a man's "passion" make a difference in whether/not one is drawn to salvation by the Holy Spirit?

A passion for purity is a gift from God, for Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

One of the things the risen Jesus pointed out about the church of Laodicea was that they were lukewarm. Only God Himself can cleanse His creation from being lukewarm. Only He can grow a sincere interest in spiritual matters in them.

As Victoria says correctly, He allows his saints to labor with Him. Remarkably too He "employs" his enemies, the unsaved, too in this remarkable undertaking to seek and save the lost even though they are still lost themselves!

God's work is always incredibly meaningful and so is the work of Christians in his service.

kelli said...

from my notes from Teacher/Pastor Bill Klein:

In James: Faith without works (activity)
It is the Spirit's activity in a
The word "works" is NOT a command
something WE do but something that IS happening

God will NOT bless human effort
If God is NOT doing the work then it is not from out of the faith.

Is not apostasy the denying of God's power and NOT trusting His will being done?

Put my trust in the Lord God that He will do as He promised and He is able to perform.

Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able to perform.

Rick Frueh said...

What is God rewarding in heaven? Himself? Everything is a gift from God, but God does call US to surrened all. God does not make us forsake all or everyone would be a fully surrendered disciple.
Yes, it is all by His greac but we are called to surrender and yield to the Spirit, and for that, unbelievably we will receive a reward.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that after I was filled with God's Spirit (thank you Jesus), I would hear news about certain world events and just begin to cry and feel so heavy for the people where events were occurring. I'd just feel to pray for them, not knowing what to say but just sensing God's deep love for them.

When I'm not filling the oil in my lamp, or ignoring my time of dedication to Him, those urgings don't happen. But, if I return to Him the way I was in our early relationship, His stirring of Love returns to me.

Some of us can act and go with our feet, and others can just pray. I don't even know how to pray, but just feel to worship Him and I just overwhelmed with a Love he has for the world. Chechnyans, Russians, Syrians, Iranians, atheists, LG community, left-wing Americans, my Canadian nation, right-wing Americans, Chinese, Israelies, Palestinians, continents of Africa, South America, Australia, any group that is being attacked, etc.

All one can do is pray that those with the feet shod and prepared to warn any of the above will meet them on God's timetable.

It's interesting how we forget that each human is like unto ourselves. God might have planted a small seed of hope when each of us were children, or we might have heard a 'word' or seen a christian who walked a life worthy of Christ and admired them. Then life happens, they forget. Even if they've disregarded the gospel, and don't turn from their wicked ways, only God knows when and if that soul will be vulnerable and ready to receive Him. I know there is choice. But I also know that God keeps patiently sending warnings and knows that some of us are hard-necked and hard-headed and need a wake-up call.

So if that hard-necked someone is being given a last chance, the Body of Christ need to have Christ's fruit of compassion clothed on them at all times, because it might be the difference between that person's eternal life or death.

This scares me as I write this, because I know I haven't remained passionate about people as I once used to. If I don't ask God to return this sweet burden so I can pray more for others, I'll be sobbing at His feet on the day of judgment.

Thank you, Bro. Rick for urging us to get on the train NOW; we CAN still do exploits for the Lord even until our last breath, and all of us in so many different ways (which he ordained).

Now whether this explains if the Lord would have the church ignore those who appear like they are headed to perdition or not, there'll be arguments. On the one side, Jesus did command his disciples to go two by two and go from place to place and if they didn't receive their words, for them to shake the dust off their feet and start in a new town. That's true. But those were the beginnings of the church. We are nearing the end age of the church, and for those who've heard again and again and again and still choose to sin and deny God, we know there will be those, as they're described in Revelation. They will curse God when wrath comes to the world, and still not recognize or admit He is God. I suppose those will always be around.

But while the fields are white, and while none of us know who can be saved or not, I believe we need to ACT and WALK by faith, (not knowing the true hearts of men), and still speak to any and all, as though they never heard, right until our and their last breath. Because if we pre-judge in our fleshly hearts who is worthy of our mission and attention and who is not, aren't we acting like God's judges?

I know how hard it is to try to break through those who keep saying that christianity is a myth, a joke, etc. But, the Lord keeps reminding me that so many false idols and spirits are trying to keep men distracted by so many things, but that at one time, one moment, one verse of God's Word (which cuts asunder the thoughts and intents of the heart) might be the thing that brings them to salvation.

Anon. J.

Cherie c. said...

Are you saying that if WE pray enough more will be saved? Yes!

Matthew 6:9
Matthew 9:38
Mark 11:24
Luke 21:36
Acts 12:5 - They prayed for Peter and he was released from prison

Are you saying that if WE fast enough more will be saved? Yes!

Psalm 35:13
Daniel 9:3
Matthew 17:21
Mark 9:29
Luke 2:37
1 Corinthians 7:5 - six times I found this in the Word of God. God only has to say it once for me to believe it.

Are you saying that if WE witness enough more will be saved? Yes!

Exodus 4:31
John 2:22
John 2:23
John 17:8
Acts 4:32
Acts 8:12
Acts 10:45 - even the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit from hearing the Gospel (witnessing)

Are you saying that if WE support missionaries more will be saved?

Acts 20:35
Isaiah 6:8

your need to examine your post to see where your heart is. Faith without works is dead, and works without faith is dead.

Mark 13:10
Romans 10:15
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

James 2:18
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Prayer - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

One more thing -

Acts 12:5
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

So much prayer can save people in more ways than one. Along with all of the above.

Praying, Fasting, Witnessing, Support is our REASONABLE SERVICE.

Cherie c.

Cherie c. said...

I will be sobbing at His feet with you dear Anon.

Rick Frueh said...

Good comment, Cherie.

Cherie c. said...

The Holy Spirit gives us the heart and power to follow the Lord as well as do the work we have been commanded to do. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves so what does that mean to you?

To me it means, pray for them even if fasting is need. Support those who are prompted by God to go to the uttermost parts of the earth to preach the Gospel. Tell then the Good News is part of loving our neighbor.

We are not to sit on our salvation and do nothing! The Holy Spirit is given to us to enable us to do as the Word says.

As I have said before, you can master the Word of God and have the ability to reciting the words, but does the Word of God dwell in your heart? If not we must examine ourselves. God did not prompt me to go into the mission fields, but He sure does expect me to support them, the brethren who do. To whom much is given, much is expected.

"Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit of God, not efforts of the flesh"

It takes a person (flesh and blood) to take the Word of God to those who have not heard it. Our commission is to take it to all the world. Then the Holy Spirit works. No magical mist will make someone who hasn't heard the Gospel obtain salvation. We have to bring it to them.

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. "Hearing in this passage was the preaching of the Word by a man, Believing was the work of the Holy Spirit. If Jesus said to preach the Gospel to every nation, to the whole world, that is His will, EVERYONE.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Rick Frueh said...

I will not allow the comment section to become a theological debate. That was not my purpose and if you are offended by what I write then perhaps this blog does not minister to your spirit. I have never objected to some wholesome exchanges, but I must close this comment section.

Anonymous said...

I pray as the spirit yields but I have acid reflux which prevents me from fasting. I get passionate about people & their sin but give it to prayer. Are my efforts just as worthy because they are done in faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

Josef Sefton said...

In my opinion the most important type of fasting is fasting from sinning! As we make progress there our miracle-working LORD God can certainly boost our confidence in undertaking a fast, from time to time, from Big Macs!