Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Simplicity of Prayer - Convergence and Waiting on God to Answer


The Simplicity of Prayer – Convergence of Men and God’s Answer

1          I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying.  In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.

Luke 18:1-8
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance.  We are not good at this. 

Why does God “bear long” making us wait?  Does he watch us suffer with satisfaction?  Are we only mice in a maze for his Divine Sovereignty?

The most obvious explanation is that God is not ready to move “the cloud.”  He is preparing circumstances in order to answer our prayers.  As creator, God placed man in a world of time, space, and matter.  This creative necessity brought Self-imposed limitations on God’s actions.  This does not make him any less sovereign, omnipotent, or omniscient.  God may and can overrule these Self-imposed limitations, we call these events miracles.  But in most recorded events in the Bible, He does not overrule with miracles.

God willingly acts according to man’s world of limitations.  Because of this, God appears to move slowly when executing actions, because convergence of men and events must occur for Him to accomplish His will.  He moves men to the convergence of His will according to their environment of time, space, and matter.

An example of God overruling and suspending Self-imposed limitations is the miracle of tongues on the Day of Pentecost.  The disciples did not have time to learn the languages needed at Pentecost.  Therefore, God miraculously gave tongues so the message would be available at that crucial point of convergence of nations, events, and men.  God’s plan for the Gospel will never be thwarted by man’s inability and limitations.

The greatest example of God converging His will according man’s limitations was the birth of His Son.  Galatians calls this the fullness of time.

Galatians 4:4
4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

All the world had to be prepared through the earthly nation of Israel.  It was Israel with all of its history, ceremony, and laws that would give the platform from which Christ would save the world.  Each event of Christ’s birth and life had to be according to the prophecies of the Old Testament

The Roman Empire had to be on earth to provide for the crucifixion and unity to spread the message.  They unified a disjointed world.  They provided the law to put Christ to death.  They built the Roman roads over which the great disciples of the gospel traveled.  They provided the catalyst for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem.

Mary had to be born and become of age so she could be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit – God overruling limitations – and be the vessel for the body of Christ.

The birth of Christ is one of the greatest convergences of all the plans of God.  This was done so the message of Christ could be heard, propagated, and understood by all men.

God does everything in His own timing.  Titus 1:2

Titus 1:3 (KJV 1900)
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Nothing can thwart his will, and no one can say to him, “What doest Thou”?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Simplicity of Prayer - It must be our foundation for being faithful


The Simplicity of Prayer – It must be first for the waiting disciple 

1          I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying.  In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.

Luke 18:1-8
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance.  We are not good at this. 

In verse 6, Christ commands us to hear the unjust judge.  We are to hear with the intent of giving heed to his words.  Although, this is a story and not an event; none-the-less, there is a message from the unjust judge’s actions, attitudes, and words.  We are to listen with the intention of deciphering the message around this character created by Christ. 

The clear message of the unjust judge is that no matter how alone we may think ourselves, God will not forsake us.  There is a day when God will answer all who think him silent, aloof, unconcerned, reticent, or unwilling to vindicate those who cry unto him, day and night.  Prayer born out of faith, that God is closer than our trouble, will maintain and sustain us.  The prayer of faith will always connect us even when we feel disconnected.

There will never be a time that the patience of God will negate his commitment to the vindication of His people.  The convergence of His will for men, events, and time is as certain as our troubles.  God help us to pray.

The issue is can we demonstrate faith during this convergence time.  Can we express faith as God works in a world of Self-imposed constraints of time and affairs of men?  Will we faint?  When He returns will we be so neutralized by our doubts, fears, and weakness that He will not find us holding to the faith once delivered to the saints.  May we be found faithful, no matter the circumstances.

Hebrews 11:7 (KJV 1900)
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

The convergence of Noah’s time frame was overwhelming.  Years passed as Noah built and waited for God to vindicate his faith.  Faith said go on, yet Noah’s human wisdom said he was foolish.  Although he was buffeted from all oppositions to his faith, he remained firm.  Literally, God found faith on earth in Noah amidst the greatest evil of men.  When God’s will converged Noah was vindicated. 

Psalm 27:13–14
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed; To see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the LORD.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Simplicity of Prayer - It must be pursued


The Simplicity of Prayer – It must be first for the waiting disciple


1          I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying.  In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.

Luke 18:1-8
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance.  We are not good at this. 

The imagery in this passage is based upon the words “troubleth” and “weary.”  The judge admits that the woman is troubling him.  In other words, she is causing such a distraction from his peaceful existence that she is an irritation which he does not need.  Her very existence and persistence is overwhelmingly unappreciated and impacting his life negatively.

The second word “weary” comes from two Greek words meaning “under the eye,” or “to hit under the eye.”  She is so persistent that her assault on him is like one who causes a black eye as a result of the assault.  The annoyance of her life is so compelling that it is like being struck in the face in a physical fight resulting in the face reflecting the action.  Her struggle with him was so forceful that she troubled, possibly even, changing his countenance or making him “weary” looking.

The prominent thought of this passage is believer’s relentless struggle with God through prayer.  It is not based on God’s lack of care for the believer.  It is not because God wants to weary us.  It is because he knows our sin nature.  We do not appreciate what we do not strive to attain or maintain.  His greatest love is shown in His demand that we pray for our substance exercising faith.  This great struggle keeps us close to Him and fleeing the devil.

The struggle is simple, but so faith demanding.  God wants our best and achieves it by giving us a spiritual struggle which has physical implications.  We struggle in constant prayer.  We struggle by specific prayer.  We struggle by physical prayer.  We struggle by faith-filled prayer.  This struggle with God keeps the believer faithful while waiting for the Master’s return.  “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING” is our struggle for God’s immense storehouse of wisdom, guidance, strength, and care in an uncaring world.

Jacob became Israel through the great struggle with God.  It is compelling that Jacob’s desire for blessing is also the lament of Esau when Jacob stole the blessing from Isaac. 

Genesis 32:24–28 (KJV 1900)
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Simplicity of Prayer - It must be first for the waiting disciple


The Simplicity of Prayer – It must be first for the waiting disciple 

1          I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying.  In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.

Luke 18:1-8
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance.  We are not good at this. 

The illustration in this passage is a woman who lives and functions in an authority structure unconcerned with her existence.  Since her husband’s death, the society around her, for the most part, is completely oblivious to the fact that she even exists.  In this case, she is disconnected from legal recourse through an advocate to defend her from her adversary (enemy, someone pursuing you at law).  Now, alone she must recreate a connection which in the illustration appears hopeless.  As she attempts to make this connection her urgency is driven by a sense of hopelessness that someone will plead her case.

In Luke 18, the woman implores the one, who should be most concerned that justice be done in her behalf, the judge; yet there is no immediate response from him.  In like manner, God does not always respond immediately to His waiting disciples; and we must continue to pray before Him.

A waiting disciple alone in a hostile environment is often trapped by feelings of being alone and is burdened with a sense of hopeless disconnection.  Our experiences in a society, so highly desensitized to our beliefs, way of life, or so little concern for faith, purity, and Godliness, wound our will.  With growing time, our separation from Jesus demoralizes our will to hope in Him.  While in this condition, this passage admonishes us to pray to God, the true judge.

We are to pray that He will vindicate us, rescue us, and encourage us in this period of separation.  All too easily, we succumb to the thinking that there is no vindication imminent.  Then, in a moment of multiplied stress, we abandon hope and faint.  Sadly, we even think ourselves justified.

This passage admonishes us to pray with the expressed confidence that our vindication is part of God’s plan for justice.  In our passage in Luke, the word “avenge” means “to make justice out,” “execute justice,” or “make justice evident.”   The following support passage overwhelmingly explains the warfare of the saint of God.  God will in His time come to take vengeance for all the suffering of His saints as He strives with the spirit of men.

2 Thessalonians 1:3–10
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Simplicity of Prayer - It must be first


The Simplicity of Prayer – It must be first for the waiting disciple

1          I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying.  In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.

Luke 18:1-8
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting.  We are not good at this. 

The waiting disciple must not consider his life of prayer – exactly what is taught here – ever to be complete while on earth.  Our expression of faith is the continual observance of the prayer of faith even when we do not see an end in sight.

James 5:13–15
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

The prayer of faith dictates that we see God’s answer; even when, faith is the only evidence to support our vigilance in prayer.  Prayer is the vision of faith; it is often the expression of our greatest hopes.  As we faithfully come back to God in prayer, He shapes our physical reality conforming us to His will.

Because we pray over and over the same prayer requests of vision and hope, it is all too easy to cease praying because of the tedium of repeated rehearsal of the same thing.  It is much like weariness of doing the same job, day in and day out.  We can actually lose our enthusiasm to pray because we lose the freshness and joy of the prayer request.

The act of repetitive prayer can be our greatest enemy.  We stop viewing prayer as our vision of faith, and we, in discouragement experience prayer as the greatest sign of our total lack of communication to God since there is no reasonable time frame – our thoughts – for response.

However in Jesus illustration the woman came repeatedly.  The imperfect tense implies that she did not stay in front of him continually, but she never stopped coming, over and over again.  It was not a continuing action – she never left his presence, but a repeated action without ceasing – she would not stop coming into his presence.

The believer must continually do the action of prayer.  Not a mindless almost comatose action of a cultish, swooning follower, but it is the action of an alert, intelligent mind seeking guidance at every juncture of service.  Moses gives a wonderful example of continued approach to God about the same matter.

Exodus 5:22–23
22 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.

The burning bush was only the beginning of Moses many confrontations with God because of Israel.  From the point of his commission, Moses came repeatedly before God about his role as leader and intercessor for Israel.  At one point, he grew weary of his role and struck the rock twice.  The weariness of constant approach even with constant answer can overcome the meekest of men.

Numbers 20:6–13
6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. 7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Simplicity of Prayer - Its form is simple


The Simplicity of Prayer – Its Form is Simple

Matthew 6:9–13
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Some practice saying this prayer as part of their religious practice.  Some church congregations even say the prayer in unison as part of their worship ceremonies.  However, in no place does the passage suggest that this prayer instruction be a ritualistic religious ceremony.  This is simply a human invention of the prayer instruction.

There is a more scriptural understanding by a thorough analysis of the prayer’s structure.  There is a natural flow to the prayer.

1.    Adoration of God
2.    Authority of God
3.    Appeal to God.

These three structural elements are quite adequate for a prayer life.

Adoration of God

The believer should always fall humbly in obeisance before the living God.  We must fall back acknowledging the unique purity and sanctity of His name.   The believer’s communications must begin with recognition of the holy, separated state of our sovereign.  There is none like Him, and that alone must lead our expression when we enter his presence in the courts of Heaven.

Psalm 29:1–2
1      Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
        Give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2      Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
        Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Authority of God

May our adoration spill forth in complete submission and recognition of His right to reign.  We must assert our desire and dedication to His jurisdiction over Heaven and earth.  We must pledge allegiance to the totality of His spoken, written, and personal will being exercised on earth as it is Heaven.

Daniel 4:34–35
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Appeal to God

After recognizing His Name and His sovereignty, it is now appropriate to petition our God.  As we stand in His presence, we yield to His daily care of our being, and nothing beyond the day.  Then we, appeal for continuation of this wonderful state by acknowledge the daily need to keep in accord with both God and man concerning our personal behavior.  We then appeal to His guidance to prevent us from foolishly walking into the pitfalls which could jeopardize the glory of such union.

Jeremiah 33:1–3
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; 3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sovereignty of God - Unwanted Results - Inexplicable Teachings


The Sovereignty of God
Unwanted Results of an Inordinate Emphasis on the Exercise of Sovereignty

Election is terror not comfort

Ephesians 1:3–6
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:11
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Romans 8:29–33
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


Another victim of the over-emphasis on sovereignty is the loving act of God electing to save mankind through Christ.  Election, the unquestioned sovereign act of God providing salvation for man, should be an example of God’s loving sovereignty and hope to the world that God loves.  Sadly, it has been made by some interpretations of Scripture to be the most terrifying doctrine ever articulated from the Bible for the majority of the lost world. 

What makes the difference?

The difference is the sovereignty extremist’s demand that only the most severe interpretations of election can combat their perceived, unsubstantiated crisis of scriptural truth regarding God’s sovereignty and man’s free will in this one matter alone.

One such severe interpretation of election is found in the spiritual deadness of men.  Although there is no question that men are depraved, sinful, and dead toward God, there is great question as to the interpretation of this by the sovereign extremists.

Ephesians 2:1
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:4–5
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Their interpretation of Ephesians would include the analogy of comparing the physical birth process to the spiritual rebirth as articulated by R.C. Sproul one of the foremost proponents and authorities of Reformation Theology.

In addition, when He exercises this grace in the soul, He brings about the effect that He intends to bring about. When God created you, He brought you into existence. You didn’t help Him. It was His sovereign work that brought you to life biologically. Likewise, it is His work, and His alone, that brings you into the state of rebirth and of renewed creation. Hence, we call this irresistible grace.

The implications are clear from Reformed Theology; man, who is dead, must experience the new birth.  So, where is the severity?  All of us who believe the Bible would be happy with this until it is understood that Reformed Theology teaches that the rebirth occurs before faith can be expressed toward God.  This is quite disturbing since there is absolutely no support for this in the context of Ephesians.  The severity is in the order of the events in which a person is saved. 

If their order of events is sound, then how and when is man brought to spiritual life so he can express faith in Christ.  The answer is a severe interpretation of the Father drawing the lost to his Son which must include bringing spiritually dead men alive, regeneration, before any expression of faith.

John 6:44 (KJV 1900)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Although reticent to explain in full and using euphemistic rhetoric, Dr. Sproul teaches that God, and God alone, must overpower each individual, intended for salvation by the choice of His good pleasure, spiritually and volitionally forcing that individual to live again spiritually prior to any expression of faith.  There is no salvation by grace through faith.

Dr. Sproul states that regeneration occurs before faith can be expressed by the unbeliever which is the historical teaching of Reformed Theology.   Regeneration, the act of the Holy Spirit working on the resistant heart of man during the calling event, must occur prior to any faith being possible (irresistible grace).  Thus, man is brought back from spiritual deadness so he can express faith.

“In historic Reformation thought, the notion is this: regeneration precedes faith. We also believe that regeneration is monergistic.”  (TULIP and Reformed Theology: Irresistible Grace from R.C. Sproul Nov 28, 2012, Article from Ligonier Ministries of R.C. Sproul)

J.I. Packer wrote the following.

Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will (Matt. 19:28; John 3:3,5,7; Titus 3:5). It extends to the whole nature of man, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature. (http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer_regen.html)

The question must be asked.  Does God regenerate lost man spiritually prior to the salvation experience by faith?  There is one answer, no.  As supported by the text in Ephesians and Titus, there can be only one spiritual awakening, and that is the spiritual awakening Christ brings to sinful men for eternal salvation through faith. 

Titus 3:5–7
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

If this historic teaching of reformed theology is true, then the calling or drawing is rebirth of the sinner, regeneration.  This is Irresistible grace.  Euphemistically, Sproul calls it “effectual” grace because it is always effective because no will can be expressed against it.   Irresistible grace is the act of God exerting sovereign control over a particular sinner, reconditioning his will (forcing) through regeneration.  This is clearly the teaching that man is saved prior to faith. The reconditioning and the rebirth of man spiritually must be the same act of God, else there are two acts of spiritual rebirth or some facsimile thereof.  This makes whosoever will a pawn of irresistible grace.

Intentionally, election must include irresistible grace.  This direct act of God with absolutely no expression of man’s will or faith becomes man’s only hope to be saved.

One must be warned; there is a terror to this system of belief because it demands also the ugly doctrine of reprobation.  By fact of such a severe interpretation, there can be no doubt that the opposite is true.  Those not personally impacted by God’s irresistible grace must go to hell.  They have no choice.