Posted by: reformbama | November 16, 2010

“Our fourth indictment: An ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ”

I want to submit to you tonight that this country is not gospel hardened. It is gospel ignorant because most of its preachers are. And let me repeat this. The malady in this country is not liberal politicians, the root of socialism, Hollywood or anything else. It is the so called  gospel. We have taken the glorious gospel of our blessed God and reduced it down to four spiritual laws and fivethings God wants you to know with a little superstitious prayer at the end and if someone repeats it after us with enough sincerity we popishly declare them to be born again.We have traded regeneration for decisionism.First of all I am amazed after I talk about what I am going to talk about for just a fewminutes here how many godly believers of 30 and 40 years walking in the faith come upto me with tears saying, “Brother Paul, I never heard this before in my life.” And yet it is the historical doctrine of redemption, of propitiation.You see, when you talk about the gospel, my dear friend, let’s set it up just clearly. The gospel begins with nature of God and it goes from there to the nature of man and the fallenness thereof. And it goes from there, those two great columns of the gospel come to set up for us what should be called and known as, in every believer’s mouth, the great dilemma. And what is that dilemma? If God is just he cannot forgive you.

11 See Luke 7:4712 1 Corinthians 1:31

The greatest problem in all of Scripture is this. How can God be just and at the sametime the justifier of wicked men, when Scripture throughout the Bible says—especially Iwill draw from one text in Proverbs—

“He who justifies the wicked is an abomination toGod.”

And yet all our Christian songs boast about how God justifies the wicked.That is the greatest problem. That is the acropolis of the Christian’s faith so said MartynLloyd-Jones and Charles Spurgeon and anyone else who has read Romans three. You see, you have got to fit this before people. The great problem is that God is truly just and all men are truly wicked, God to be just must condemn wicked man. But then God, for his own glory, put a great love with which he loved us, sent forth his Son who walked onthis earth as a perfect man. And then according to the plan, the eternal plan of God, he went to that three. And on that tree he bore our sin and he became, standing in the lawplace of his people, bearing our guilt, he became a curse.

“Cursed is every man who does not abide by al the things written in the book of the law so as to perform them.”

Christ redeemed us from the curse becoming a curse in our place.So many people have this romantic, powerless view of the gospel that the Christ is there hanging on the tree suffering under the wounds of the Roman Empire and the Father did not have the moral fortitude to bear the suffering of his Son so he turned away.NO!!He turned away because his Son became sin.And so many when he is in that garden and he cries out,

“Let this cup pass from Me,”

people speculate, “Well, what was in the cup? Oh, it is the Roman cross. It is the whip. It is the nails. It is all this and all that.”I do not want to take away from the physical sufferings of Christ on that tree, but the cupwas the cup of God the Father’s wrath that had to be poured out on the Son. Someone hadto die, bearing the guilt of God’s people, forsaken of God by his justice and crushedunder the wrath of God, for it pleased the Lord to crush him.16I was in German a while back or in a Germanic seminary in Europe a while back and thisbook The Cross of Christ, now it wasn’t John Stott’s book, it was another. I pulled it offand began to read it and this is what it said. “The Father looked down from heaven at the suffering inflicted upon his Son by the hands of men and counted that as payment for our sin.”

See Proverbs 17:1514 See Galatians 3:1015 Matthew 26:3916 See Isaiah 53:10Page 12 of 39

That is heresy. Now that physical suffering, that nailing to the tree, that was all part of the wrath of God.It had to be a blood sacrifice. I will take nothing away from that. But, my friend, if youstop there, you don’t have a gospel.And let me ask you. When the gospel is preached today and when it is shared in personalevangelism today do you ever hear the things I have just said? Almost never. It is nevermade clear that Christ was able to redeem because he was crushed under the justice ofGod and having satisfied divine justice with his death God is now just and the justifier ofthe wicked.Gospel reductionism.

We wonder why it has no power. We wonder why… What happened? I’ll tell you. When you leave the gospel behind and there is no longer any power in your supposed gospel message, then you have got to go to all the little tricks of the trade that are so prominently used today to convert men and we all know most ofthem, all of them do not work.My dear friend, let me say this. Several years ago graduating from seminary I had tomake a decision whether I was going to go for my Ph.D. God, in order to save myspiritual life sent me to the middle of the jungles in Peru as far away from the academicworld as I could get. And there I began to realize something.As Spurgeon said,

“Greater men with greater minds than I have approached this doctrine of the Second Coming, but to no avail. It is a great and mighty doctrine.” He said, “I will set myself to this: seeking to comprehend something of Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

Let me tell you this. This is what… It makes me so angry when men treat the glorious gospel of Christ as though it was the first step into Christianity that only takes about 10 minutes to counseling and after that you go on to greater stuff. That shows you how pathetic we are in our knowledge of the things of God.My friend, on the day of the Second Coming you will understand absolutely everythingabout the Second Coming, but you will be in eternity of eternities of heaven and you willnot even begin to comprehend the glory of God in Calvary. It is what everything is about.Young man, young preacher, listen to me. Go after Him on that tree, what it means. Youwill need nothing to build strange fires in your oven, if you only catch a glimpse of whathe did on that tree, what he did on that tree.I love to say this. I have said it a million times. Abraham takes Isaac up that mountain,his son, his only son whom he loved. Do you suppose the Holy Spirit was trying to tellus about something future? And that son put up no struggle, but laid down and when thatFather gave his will in to the will of God he brought that flint knife to pierce his ownson’s heart. But his hand was stayed and it was told the old man that God had provided aram.Page 13 of 39So many Christians think, “Oh, what a beautiful end to that story.” It is not the end. It isthe intermission. Thousands of years later God the Father laid his hand upon the brow ofhis Son, his only Son whom he loved and took the flint knife out of the hand of Abrahamand slaughtered his only begotten Son under the full force of wrath.Now do you know why that little gospel you preach has no power? Because it is nogospel. Get to the gospel. Spend your life on your knees. Get away from men. Study thecross.

The fith indictment: An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration.

An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration.My dear friends, and I am going to say this bluntly, I know that there are Calvinists hereand I know that there are Arminians here and I know that there are all sorts of strangeanimals in between, but I want you to know this. Although I am leaning more toward—Iguess I call myself a five point Spurgeonist—I want you to know this. Calvinism is notthe issue. No, I am going to get in a lot of trouble when this goes on the internet.Calvinism is not the issue. I’ll tell you what the issue is. Regeneration. And that is why Ican have fellowship with Wesley and Ravenhill and Tozer and all the rest becauseregardless of where they stood on the other issues they believed that salvation could notbe manipulated by the preacher, that it was a magnificent work of the power of almighty God. And with them, therefore, I stand, that I was a work of God.There is a greater manifestation of the power of God in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit than in the creation of the world, of the universe, because he created the world exnihilo out of nothing. But he recreates a man out of a corrupt man.It is paralleled with the very resurrection of our Savior from the dead. If you are apreacher I understand that in preaching there is teachers and preachers and expositors andthis and that and all of them are very necessary for the health of the Church. But you must understand this. As old G. Campbell Morgan, I have heard of him that when hewould go up that majestic tower to preach he would quote to himself, “As a lamb led tothe slaughter, as a sheep before his shearers.”17 He knew that apart from a magnificent manifestation of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, everything he said would bedead. It is the Spirit that gives life and in that sense every one of us that proclaims mustproclaim as a prophet.What do I mean by that? We are always, we are always Ezekiel standing in that valley ofdry bones and they are very dry. And we walk out there and what do we do? Weprophesy. We say, “Hear the Word of the Lord.” And we know that the wind of Godmust blow on these slain or they will not rise again. And when you have fully graspedthat in the innermost part of your being, you will no longer give yourself to themanipulation that is so often carried out in the name of evangelism in this country. You will proclaim the Word of God. You will proclaim it.

See Acts 8:32

The doctrine of regeneration. Look at the Wesleys. Look what they had to face for amoment and my dear Whitefield. What was he? Everybody believed they were Christian, thoroughly Christian. Why? Well, they were baptized as infants, brought into the covenant. They were confirmed. They lived like devils. Regeneration was traded fora type of credalism that was given authority by the religious leaders of the day.And then here comes the Wesleys. No. It is not right with your soul. You are not bornagain. There is no evidence of spiritual life.

Examine yourself. Test yourself to see if youare in the faith. Make your calling and election sure.

“Ye must be born again.”

Here in America because of the last several years, several decades of evangelism the idea of born again is totally lost. It only means that at one time in a crusade you made a decision and you think you were sincere. But there is no evidence of a supernatural recreated work of the Holy Spirit in your life. If any man, not if some men, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. And now it is the same today. What do we face? I will tell you what we face. It is not asort of infant baptism necessarily most of the time. It is not a high church confirmation by an ecclesiastical authority. What we face is the sinners’ prayer. And I am here to tell  you, if there is anything I have declared war on it is that.You say. “Brother Paul…”Yes, in the same way that infant baptism, in my opinion, was the golden calf of the Reformation, for the Baptists and the Evangelicals and everyone else who has followed them today, I will tell you, that sinners’ prayer has sent more people to ell than anythingon the face of the earth.You say, “How can you say such a thing?”Go with me to Scripture and show me, please. I would love you to stand up and tell mewhere anyone evangelized that way.

The Scripture does not say that Jesus Christ came tothe nation of Israel and said that “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is athand, now who would like to ask me into their hearts? I see that hand.”That is not what it says. He said, “Repent and believe the gospel.”

Now men today are trusting in the fact that at least one time in their life they prayed aprayer and someone told them they were saved because they were sincere enough. And so in their salvation if you ask them, “Are you saved?” they do not say, “Yes, I am

See 2 Peter 1:1019 John 3:720 See 2 Corinthians 5:1721 See Mark 1:15

because I am looking unto Jesus and there is mighty evidence giving me assurance ofbeing born again.”No. They say, “One time in my life I prayed a prayer.”And they live like devils. But they prayed a prayer. And some of them… I heard of one evangelist who was coaxing a man to do that thing. Finally the man felt so uncomfortablethe evangelist said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I will pray to God for you and if it is whatyou want to say to God, squeeze my hands. Behold the power of God.”Decisionism, the idolatry of decisionism. Men think they are going to heaven becausethey have judged the sincerity of their own decision.When Paul came to the Church in Corinth he did not say to them, “Look, you are notliving like Christians so let’s go back to that one moment in your life when you prayedthat prayer and let’s see if you were sincere.”No, he said this, “Test yourselves, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.”22Because I want you to know, my friends, salvation is by faith alone. It is a work of God.It is a grace upon grace upon grace. But the evidence of conversion is not just yourexamination of your sincerity at the moment of your conversion. It is the on going fruit inyour life. It is the ongoing fruit in your life.Oh, my dear friends, look what we have done. Isn’t a tree known by its fruit? What 60%,70% of America thinks it is converted, born again. We kill how many thousands ofbabies a day? We are hated around the world for our immorality. Yet we are Christian.And I lay this squarely, the blame, at the feet of the preacher.Fifth indictment: An unbiblical gospel invitation.We have touched on it a bit. I want to go further. Look how we do it today. I mean, nowlisten to me. The more… I have seen this everywhere. The Calvinist, the Arminian, a lotof them share something in common. It is this, the same superficial invitation. They talk alot of talk about a lot of things and then they come to the invitation and it is almost asthough everyone loses their mind.Walk up to someone says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”Can you imagine telling that to an American?“Sir, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”22 See 2 Corinthians 13:5Page 16 of 39“What? God loves me? Well, that’s great because I love me, too. Oh, this is wonderful.And God’s got a wonderful plan? I got a wonderful plan for my life, too. And if I accepthim into my life I’ll have my best life now. This is absolutely wonderful.”That is not biblical evangelism.Let me give you something in its place. God comes to Moses and he says this.The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger,and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness forthousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by nomeans leave the guilty unpunished.23The reaction of Moses: “Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.”24Evangelism begins with the nature of God. Who is God? Can a man recognize anythingabout his sin if he hath not a standard with which to compare himself? If we tell himnothing but trivial things about God that tickle the carnal mind, will he ever be brought togenuine repentance and faith?We do not begin with, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan.” We begin with adiscourse of the full counsel of who God is. And we tell him from the start it may costhim his life.After that we have exploratory questions. “Hey, you know you are a sinner, don’t you?”That’s like years ago my mother died of cancer. It is like the doctor walking in on todayand say, “Hey, Barb, you know you got cancer, don’t you?”We treat it so superficially. No weight, nothing solemn.“Sir, there is a terrible malady upon you and a judgment coming.”Because if you just tell a man, “Sir, you know, you are a sinner?” Go ask the devil if heknows he is a sinner.He will say, “Well, yes, I am. A mighty good one at that… Or a mighty bad onedepending on how you look at it. But, yes. I know I am a sinner.”The question is not do you know you are a sinner. The question is: Is the Holy Spirit so atwork in your heart through the preaching of the gospel that a change has been wrought sothat the sin you once loved you now hate and the sin you once desired to embrace, youare wanting to run from it as though you were running from a dragon?23 Exodus 34:6-724 Exodus 3:8Page 17 of 39And then the question: Do you want to go to heaven?This is the reason I would not let my children go to 98% of the Sunday schools andvacation Bible schools in evangelical churches because some well meaning person standsup and says, “Isn’t Jesus wonderful,” after showing the Jesus film. Yes. “How many ofyou little children love Jesus?”“Oh, I do.”“Who wants to accept Jesus into their little heart.”“Oh, I do.”And they get baptized. And they may walk a little bit because they have been…. They arebeing raised in a Christian culture, sort of, a church culture anyway. And then when theyturn 15, 16, when they have the strength of will they begin to break the bonds. Theybegin to live in wickedness and then we go after them saying, “You are Christians. Youare just not living like it. Stop your backsliding,” instead of going to them biblically andsaying this. “You made a confession of faith in Christ. You professed him even inbaptism, but now it seems as though you have turned away from him. Examine yourself.Test yourself. There is little evidence of any true conversion in you.”And then when they are 24, 25, after college, maybe 30, they come back to church andthey rededicate their life and they join right in with that pseudo Christian morality thatencompasses churchianity in America and in the end they hear this: “Depart from meyou worker of iniquity. I never knew you.”25You say, “Brother Paul, you are so angry.”Have I not right to be? Somebody must be. Crying out for revival, but we haven’t evengot the foundations straight.Oh, that revival would come and straighten our foundations. But would we, while wehave open eyes and open ears and have Scripture in front of us, should we not correctthese things?Would you like to go to heaven?My dear friend, everybody wants to go to heaven. They just don’t want God to be therewhen they get there. The question is not do you want to go to heaven. The question isthis. Do you want God? Have you stopped being a hater of God? Has Christ becomeprecious to you? Do you desire him?That is what political theory is all about, my dear friend. Everybody wants to go toheaven. But men are haters of God. So the question is not do you want to go to a special25 See Matthew 7:23Page 18 of 39place where you will no longer hurt and you will get everything you want. The questionis: Do you want him? Has Christ become precious to you?Often as a person prays they are told after that, “Would you like to go to heaven?”“Well, yes.”“Well, then, would you like to pray and ask Jesus into your heart?”Now, my dear friend, let me say this. There are people who get saved using thatmethodology, but it is not because of it. It is in spite of it.“Sir, do you desire Christ? Do you see your sin?”“Oh, yes, yes, I do.”“Sir, let’s look at a few Scriptures here that lay out for us what repentance looks like, theSpirit bearing witness that this is happening in your life. Do you see brokenness? Do yousee the disintegration of everything you fought and now your mind is filled with newthoughts about God and new desires and new hope?”“Yes, I see that.“Sir, that may be the first fruits of repentance. Now, throw yourself upon Christ. Trust inhim. Trust in him.”And then listen to me. You have the authority to tell me the gospel. You have authorityto tell me how to be saved and you have authority to teach men biblical principles ofassurance. But you have no authority to tell men they are saved. That is the work of theHoly Spirit of God.But when you take them through that little thing, “Did you ask Jesus into your heart?”“Yes.”“Do you think you were sincere?”“Yes.”“Do you think he saved you?”“I don’t know.”“Of course he saved you because you were sincere and he promised that if you asked himto come in, he would come in. So you are saved.”Page 19 of 39And they walk out of the church after five minutes of counseling and they evangelist goesto Denny’s to eat, and the man is lost. The man is lost.An unbiblical invitation. If they ever doubt, if they ever doubt their salvation again, herewe go again. If they ever doubt their salvation, “Let’s go back to a point in time. Wasthere ever a point in time in your life when you prayed and asked Jesus to come in?”“Yes.”“Were you sincere?”“I think so.”“That’s the devil bothering you.”And if they live without growth even in the context of a church without growth incontinued carnality, no fear. We blame it on the lack of personal discipleship and wewrite it off as the doctrine of the carnal Christian.The doctrine of the carnal Christian has destroyed more lives and sent more people tohell.Do Christians struggle with sin? Yes. Can a Christian fall into sin? Absolutely. Can aChristian live in a continuous state of carnality all the days of his life not bearing fruitand truly be Christian? Absolutely not or every promise in the Old Testament regardingthe New Testament covenant has failed and everything God said about discipline inHebrews is a lie.A tree is known by its fruit.When we work with men in conversion… I have seen preachers who understood muchabout the things of God, but when the come down ever after an exemplary gospelpresentation they will enter, once again, into this methodology.Let me give you a story and then we will go on to the next indictment, but a story that isone of the most precious moments in my life as a Christian.I was preaching in Canada just… Actually they told me it was like 30 kilometers fromAlaska. There were more grizzly bears in the town than there were people, really. It was alittle church of about 15, 20 people and I was preaching. And right when I got up in thepulpit this mountain of a man walked in in his 60s, early 70s, but just a mountain of aman. He could have whipped every one of us in this building.And as I preached, as I saw his face, I just threw everything away and started preachingthe gospel. He was the saddest human being I have ever seen. Just gospel, gospel andwhen I got done I walked right from the pulpit to him.Page 20 of 39I said, “Sir, what is wrong. What is troubling your soul? I have never seen a man so sadand down hearted in all my life?”And he pulled out a manila envelope and it had some x-rays which I couldn’t understand,but he said this. “I just came from the doctor. I am going to die in three weeks.” That iswhat he told me. “Now I have lived all my life on a working cattle ranch. You can onlyget there by float plane or riding horses across the mountains and all this stuff.” He said,“I have never been to church. I have never read a Bible. I believe there is a God and onetime I heard somebody talking about some guy named Jesus.” He said, “I have neverbeen afraid of anything in my life and I am terrified.”I said, “Sir, did you understand the message, the gospel?”He said, “Yes.”Now what would have a great majority of preachers done at that moment?“Well, would you like to ask Jesus to come into your heart?”That is what they would have done.I said, “Sir, you understood it.”He said, “I understood it, but is that it? Is that just…” He said, “A child could haveunderstood that. Anybody. Is that all it is that I understand it and I pray or…?”I said, “Sir, you are going to die in three weeks. I have to leave tomorrow. I will cancelmy plane ticket and we will stay here over the Scriptures wrestling and crying out to Goduntil you are either converted or you die and go to hell.”And so we began. I began in the Old Testament, the New Testament, every verse ofScripture dealing with the promises of God regarding redemption and salvation, over andover, time after time, reading John 3:16, praying for a while, crying out to God,questioning the man regarding repentance, regarding faith, regarding assurance, workingtill Christ be formed in him.And then, finally, just exhausted that evening there was no breakthrough, there wasnothing. And I said, “Sir, let’s pray.” And we prayed.I said, “Sir, read John 3:16 again.”He said, “We have read this a million times.”I said, “I know, but it is one of the greatest promises of salvation. Read that text again.”Page 21 of 39And I will never forget. He had my Bible on his lap in those big mountainous hands ofhis and he said, “Ok.” He said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave…26 I’m saved.I’m saved. Brother Paul, all my sins are gone. I have eternal… I’m saved. I mean…”I said, “How do you know?”He said, “Haven’t you ever read this verse before?”What was going on? A working of the Spirit of God instead of those little tricks you try.What you want to go eat. What you think preaching is a spectacle and after that you goback to the hotel? No, after the preaching is when the work begins. Dealing with souls.People come forward in meetings for counsel by someone who shouldn’t be counseling.Five minutes, they are given the… Quick, give the card to the pastor and the pastor says,“I would like to present to you a new child of God. Welcome him into the family ofGod.”How dare you?If you are going to present him, say this. “This man tonight has made a profession of faithin Jesus Christ. And because of our fear of God and our love for the souls of men we will  now be working with him to make sure that Christ has truly been formed in him, that he truly has a biblical understanding of repentance and faith and great assurance and joy inthe Holy Spirit. That is what we are going to do.”Look what we have done. I plead with you. Look what we are doing. And this is not some cult. This is us. Stop it. Stop it.

By Paul Washer

If you disagree bring your biblical support. Someone take the challenge and find that prayer.


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