We launched this segment into the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and once again, were confronted with the “God-centeredness” of all things. Again, there is a wealth of information and Scripture in the listening guide, but “grace” held the dominant place here.
God is at the center of all things. God is the starting point. God is the ending point. Anything – even our response to Him – is evidence of grace. Some quotations below:
– The Father satisfied, the Son sacrificed and the Spirit sent. All these must happen for someone to be saved.
– No one swimming in a lake cries out “Save me!” Only the person drowning cries out. Until you realize you’re drowning, you don’t think you need saving.
– Our problem is not that our lives are not going right. It’s that we are alienated from God.
– In Ephesians 2:1, the original language says “dead.”
– If the fire and sulphur are just symbols, then what are they symbols for? If they mean anything, they mean hell is the most dreadful appauling reality we can imagine.
– Throughout history people have tried to cover up their sin with religion.
– How can people who are morally evil at the core, choose good? How can those who are dead choose to come to life?
– Salvation is not about being a bad person to a good person; it’s about going from being dead to alive.
– Just as someone is born at a certain time, being born again happens at a certain time. Nobody oozes into the kingdom.
– Scripture never says, “Be born again.” It’s something that happens to us.
– We try to make the gospel more palatable to sinful people, and when we do, we miss the whole point.
– Because the Spirit of God does this, I don’t have to manufacture anything. I need to give them the gospel and trust the Spirit of God.
– 17 times in Ezekiel 26:22-32 God says “I.” He gives spiritual birth, and He does it alone.
– God is not improving our old nature; that’s the recipe every other religion offers.
– The deepest desires of your soul are met in Christ. It’s as if you’ve been wandering in a desert looking for water; regeneration is when we realize the water is found in Christ.
– Salvation is not getting out of the line of hell and getting into the line for heaven. Salvation is a revolutionary new taste capacity.
– Christ breaks the power of desire for sin.
– Have you experienced new life? Not have you gone to church. Or are you a deacon or a pastor. Do you have a new heart?
– New birth is spiritual, but it triggers someting practical.
– The two main words you see in the New Testament regarding salvation is repentance and belief.
– Even what we do – repent and believe – is a gift from God.
– Every intoxicated guy I’ve ever met in the street believes in Jesus. Big deal. Faith involves assent to Jesus.
– Biblical belief involves a personal trust in Christ.
– Our faith is only so good as the object of our faith.
– Jesus is called Lord 92 times in Acts. He’s called Savior twice. He is not a poor puny Savior begging you to accept Him. He’s the ruling Lord.
I found the story of Spurgeon’s conversion particularly compelling. Look. Look and live. Also, there was a call to individuals here. The call is not about reciting a prayer, nor walking an aisle, nor leading in the church. The question was simply: “Have you been born again?”
The beginning point in this session, and for that question, is recognizing our great need – the need from which only God can save us.