That dirty, three-letter word..

Written by Terry Dashner

Continued from page 1

Time does not permit me to speak torepparttar debate between Karl Barth and Emil Brunner on human freedom. The issue is primarily this: can man through his reasoning ability offer up anything to garner God’s salvation. In other words, does God supply everything—grace, faith, and salvation or does man meet God somewhere inrepparttar 145046 middle?

Chosen but free

In his book entitled, Chosen But Free (Bethany House Publishers, second edition, 2001), Norman Geisler writes, “Perhapsrepparttar 145047 most difficult thing to understand is that God is in sovereign control of everything we choose, even our salvation. For ‘in him we were also chosen, having been predestinated according torepparttar 145048 plan of him who works out everything in conformity withrepparttar 145049 purpose of his will…’ (Eph. 1:11). ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed torepparttar 145050 likeness of his Son, that he might berepparttar 145051 firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified’ (Rom. 8:29-30). According to Paul, ‘he chose us in him beforerepparttar 145052 creation ofrepparttar 145053 world’ (Eph. 1:4).”

Geisler continues, “Whatever else may be said, God’s sovereignty overrepparttar 145054 human will includes His initiating, pursuing, persuading, and saving grace without which no one would ever will to be saved. For ‘there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God’ (Rom. 3:11). ‘We love him’ only because ‘He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19 NKJV). Indeed, no one comes torepparttar 145055 Father unless he is drawn by God (John 6:44).”

Geisler continuesrepparttar 145056 rest of his book, showingrepparttar 145057 harmony between God’s sovereignty and man’s “free will.” It’s a delicate balance. No wonder Church fathers have wrestled with this concept sincerepparttar 145058 days of Augustine inrepparttar 145059 fifth century AD, even to present times. We are made free. Because we are made free, evil is possible. The origin of evil is inrepparttar 145060 misuse of freedom. I cannot blame God when I sin. I cannot even blamerepparttar 145061 devil. The devil may entice me, but he cannot make me sin. Sin originates in my “old nature” born intorepparttar 145062 sin of Adam. If I live out ofrepparttar 145063 “old nature,” my freedom to so do begetsrepparttar 145064 evil,repparttar 145065 sin. It is inevitable that we will sin, but it is not inevitable that we must sin. Even though we are depraved and by nature bent toward sin, nonetheless, each sin is freely chosen.

Says Geisler, “With respect to initiating or attaining their own salvation, both Luther and Calvin were right in asserting that fallen humans are not free with regard to ‘things above,’ that is, achieving their own salvation. However, contrary to strong Calvinism, in regard torepparttar 145066 freedom of accepting God’s gift of salvationrepparttar 145067 Bible is clear: Fallen beings are free. Thus,repparttar 145068 free choice of fallen human beings is both ‘horizontal’ (social) with respect to things in this world and ‘vertical’ (spiritual). Plainly, then, belief is our responsibility and is rooted in our ability to respond. This view has overwhelming support by virtually allrepparttar 145069 great church fathers up torepparttar 145070 sixteenth century.”

Bringing it to a closing

Now let me conclude this lesson by noting how to overcome sin. Christian faith teaches that sin cannot be overcome through human ingenuity or effort. The solution torepparttar 145071 problem lies in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. The penalty for sin is death, judgment, and hell, butrepparttar 145072 gospel is that God has chosen to pay this penalty himself inrepparttar 145073 sacrificial life and death of his Son, Jesus Christ (cf. John 3:16-17; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:6-10; II Cor. 5:18,19; Col. 2:13-15).

Forrepparttar 145074 believer to overcome temptation and sin, he must seek God’s filling daily. The bible declares that we are to be filled withrepparttar 145075 Holy Spirit. That’s not an option. It’s mandated. Why? Because we leak. If we choose to live daily out ofrepparttar 145076 strength of our human nature, we will become enslaved byrepparttar 145077 natural realm and become subjugated by sin. Onrepparttar 145078 other hand, if we ask God to fill us daily with His Holy Spirit, receiving this promise by faith, then we will live in victory overrepparttar 145079 power of sin.

I want to leave you with a summation.

A believer will live out of one of two natures—eitherrepparttar 145080 flesh orrepparttar 145081 spirit. If he chooses to live out ofrepparttar 145082 flesh, his desires may lead to lust, which leads to overt acts of sin. If he continues to live in sin, his sin can lead him to physical death (ICor.5:1; 1John 5:16-18). The believer is responsible for his sin. God does not entice a believer to sin. Satan may entice a believer, but he cannot make a believer sin. If a believer lives out ofrepparttar 145083 “new nature,” he will have victory over sin. A believer receivesrepparttar 145084 free gift of salvation byrepparttar 145085 help of God. Once he is born again, God is responsible to provide his sanctification, butrepparttar 145086 believer must let God sanctify him. Sanctification goes hand-in-hand with justification inrepparttar 145087 sense that once we are born again we must continue to grow in grace. We continue inrepparttar 145088 grace of God byrepparttar 145089 help ofrepparttar 145090 Holy Spirit who sanctifies us and continually cleanses our hearts byrepparttar 145091 “washing of water byrepparttar 145092 word.”

Are you born again? Are you being filled withrepparttar 145093 Holy Spirit daily? If not, repent and ask God to fill you. You see, we are vessels through which God pours Himself. He can fill us much faster than we can leak out. So, keep getting filled. Being filled is not something I earn or work up by my emotions. It is an act of faith, as all things of God are by faith. I ask forrepparttar 145094 Holy Spirit. He honors my request by filling me. I rest. It’s a done deal, andrepparttar 145095 evidence isrepparttar 145096 way I conduct my life by works of love toward my neighbor and my God.

Blessings… Pastor T.

Pastors a small church in Broken Arrow, OK.

God's Armorbearer & The Ministry of Details

Written by Earma Brown

Continued from page 1

•Self-control. In exercising knowledge, develop self-control. We live in a world of steadily decreasing self-control. The number of road rage incidents is evidence to that. More than half of U.S. Adults are over-weight.16 Many suffer from lack of control in eating habits. Drug abuse and overdose have increased beyond what our ancestors would recognize. In gaining self-control, more and more we learn to put aside our own desires so that we may fulfill God’s desires.

•Patience. When allowingrepparttar Holy Spirit to help you gain more self-control, add patience. I overheard a teacher’s advice to his student, “Never pray for patience, because you will get lots of problems with opportunity to learn patience.” The student’s reply was, “I don’t believe that God would send me problems to teach me anything.” Look in on whatrepparttar 145045 Apostle Paul writesrepparttar 145046 Roman Christians, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” 17 What do you think ofrepparttar 145047 teacher’s advice?

•Godliness. As you develop patience, put aside your own desires in an increasing measure, so that God may have His way with you in godliness. The Apostle Peter wroterepparttar 145048 Jewish Christians and now us, “Obey God, because you are His children; don’t slip back into your old ways—doing evil because you knew no better. However, be holy now in everything you do, just asrepparttar 145049 Lord is holy, who invited you to be His child. He Himself said, ‘You must be holy, for I am holy.’” 18

•Brotherly affection. When practicing godliness, develop brotherly affection. Love one another with brotherly affection—as members of one family—giving precedence and showing honor to one another.19 Loverepparttar 145050 brotherhood of believers.20 Pray for God’s people with strong purpose. As you pray forrepparttar 145051 Body of Christ, interceding on their behalf, your concern will become Christ’s compassion. Your hands and feet will become Christ’s members, reaching out torepparttar 145052 saints. Your affection will become Christ’s love flowing through you for His Church.21

•Love. When praying forrepparttar 145053 church in brotherly affection, finally add love. Let love guide your speech and actions. In my B.C. before Christ days, I would often hurt others by just bluntly telling themrepparttar 145054 truth. If anyone would say anything to me about it, I would respond with, “Well, it wasrepparttar 145055 truth!” After meeting Christ, I continued with this speakingrepparttar 145056 truth. But each time I did, I would feel so miserable, I was compelled to apologize. Later, after prayer,repparttar 145057 Holy Spirit instructed me I could speakrepparttar 145058 truth, but in love. I discovered that truth in love is often silent. Let love guide your actions. The Apostle John wrote to his friends inrepparttar 145059 faith, “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 22 Let love guide your life. Grow to love more and more.

The more we add and develop these qualities in our life,repparttar 145060 more useful and fruitful we will be to our Master, Lord Jesus. We will becomerepparttar 145061 special vessels prepared and ready forrepparttar 145062 Master’s use. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he encourages us to be likerepparttar 145063 expensive dishes in God’s house, “If you stay away from sin, you will be like one of these dishes made of purest gold—the very best inrepparttar 145064 house—so that Christ Himself can use you for His highest purposes.” 23

Most leaders need a strong team of support. Your leadership should have one too! Earma is Director and Co-Founder of Armorbearers International, Inc. who offers help with designing strong teams of support for God’s leaders. Subscribe to their free ezine “The Armorbearer Coach” at or visit host site at for other insightful articles and resources.

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