Got Solid Food? Setting The Table

“Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see my day; he saw it, and rejoiced”.  John 8:56 (HCSB).

“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by himself”.  Hebrews 6:13 (HCSB).

[The Writer] is saying, ‘Not only can you look around you at the true believers as examples; even Abraham, who lived a thousand years before Christ came to earth, is a model for your trusting in Him.  Look back in your own history and see a man who totally trusted God.’

The MacArthur New Testament Commentary ~ Hebrews at 161.

We’ll “see” next week (Deo volente) how Hebrews 6:13 ff. transitions from table-setting to the “solid food”.  First, though, we must briefly consider the preceding few verses, for they give rise to some crucial considerations.

Hebrews 6:10 is “tailor-made” for Thank You cards and the like given to Christians.  Of course, it’s only the regenerate elect whose past and ongoing service TO THE SAINTS is “remembered” by God; He is no one’s debtor!  Furthermore, such service is “remembered” only when the labor of love is for His name (His merits, His glory, and advancement of His kingdom).  Verse 10 is, of course, compatible with Galatians 6:10; that is, ministry to those outside “the household of faith” is indeed encouraged, but, such is not contemplated via Hebrews 6:10.

Our service to Jesus Christ must be based on an overriding love for him.  We can never properly love men, saved or unsaved, lovable or unlovable, until we properly love Christ.  * * *  The more we love God, the more we will want to do His will.  Our concern should not be for trying to whip up love for people, but for loving God more and more.  When our love for Him is right, our love for others will be right.  * * *  When we love Him with all our ‘heart and soul and mind and strength,’ we will then be able — and only then be able — to love our neighbor as ourselves.

MacArthur at 155 – 6.

Just over a month ago, I posted here “Don’t Tell Me You Love Him“; rather than reiterating such, I urge you to “revisit” it!  Do you yield what you want to believe is best for you for what He has revealed as His best?  Do you regularly fail to do so?  Total Depravity is the state of the unregenerate; the new heart terminates that condition.  See the article by Mike and Geoff regarding Romans 7 for an excellent, perhaps astonishing, study pertaining to this issue [the link to IDS papers will, I presume, be operational soon; read the version of the article available via Mike’s Love Broke Thru (see right margin for link, then look for link to Mike’s articles on LBT home page), then (when available) access the version to be posted here].

God does not save us and leave us here so that we minister unto one another, however.  The fact that He leaves us here after saving us necessitates ministry unto one another, to be sure.  Why, though, does he leave us here after saving us?  Think … please!  What is the only labor of love we can do here that we can not do hereafter?  Preach the Gospel!

God, in His wisdom, uses us as His conduits in drawing newly regenerate elect folks to Jesus (John 6:44).  God’s plan of redemption is implemented by us; that’s the only reason He leaves us here!

Anthropocentric (man-centered) “evangelism” not only fails to honor God and, more often than not, results in reckless planting of tares in churches (not in the Church), it deters those still “on milk” from doing the one and only thing they’re here to do.  My thesis, of course, is that all regenerate elect folks who have mental capacity develop appetite for “solid food”; the essence of “solid food” is God’s plan of redemption.

Understanding God’s plan of redemption does not preclude Spirit-quenching adherence to system-driven theology, but it does enable Theocentric (God-centered) evangelism.  Those who understand God’s soveriegnty in salvation concomitantly understand that successful evangelism is accurately articulating the rhema (“the word of God” in Romans 10:17).

Faith comes not by hearing the logos; faith comes by hearing the message of the Cross — the Substitutionary Atonement, or, as Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington put it, The Great Exchange:  My Sin for His Righteousness (for link, see my February 24 “post”, “Plowboy Would “Get” This?!“).  Wonderful exposition of The Sermon on the Mount, the Genesis account of Creation, or any other portion of “the Word” cannot and will not be what God uses in His plan; articulation of the “foolishness of the Cross” — no matter how inartfully done — is what He uses.  If He’s “in it”, He will use it; He and He alone determines the “results”.  Our raison d’etre is to go and tell.

Away from the “soapbox” and back to the “table”:  Via Hebrews 6:12, the Writer exhorts us to be “imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance” (HCSB).  Granted, there’s much to study and understand within the sentence (v v. 11 and 12) which is ended by that clause; for our primary purpose, though, we focus on what is the final “table setting” within the quoted clause.  Do you see it?  Look again.  Seriously!  Okay … it’s “the promises”.  What promises?!  That brings us “full circle” to the beginning of the instant “post”.  How’s your appetite?!

5 thoughts on “Got Solid Food? Setting The Table

  1. Jim, what is it that you consider “anthropocentric” evangelism? A gospel that isn’t the gospel of free grace that brings repentance and eternal justification…or a gospel that appeals to the hearers as if its directly applicable to them and requires a response? Because one of my concerns is that *both* must be there if we’re to preach a biblical gospel. Else faith becomes an automatic conception to be deduced or assumed by subjective means.

  2. I’m “off” to TRTC* (Drs. Ken Gentry, Richard Gaffin, Thomas Ice, Don Kistler, and Mr. Steve Camp), so, I’ll respond quite briefly: Man-centered “evangelism” is any and all “evangelism” which isn’t grounded on the fundamental tenet that we’re born “in Adam” (Rom. 5) and that, but for Grace, we’ll die — twice — “in Adam”.

    Phil ~

    In approx. ten days, watch for ohmyers in your inbox.

    * Toledo Reformed Theology Conference

  3. Ok Jim. Not sure what an ohmyer is, but I’ll be watching for it to make itself conspicuous by it’s presence 😉 I think I understand Rom 5 a bit differently from you, but I agree that man is born unalterably bent on sin until sovereign grace frees his will such that he responds to the objective grace of God in Christ in saving faith. I’m just concerned that we don’t collapse out the fact that it’s us who do the believing and repenting, by making grace purely a subjective fulfilment of election.

  4. With statistical considerations of the exponential growth in world population,with a parallel preponderance of Arminianism, i would hazard a guess that the majority of Christians have become Christians via Arminian preaching,inc Calvinists!…and that such is because they give enough of the gospel of objective grace. Whereas, I hope you’ll agree-the hyper-Calvinist doesn’t have a gospel, because to him, grace is all subjective and secret. Believe and live! is a truism, not a promise.

  5. Hmm,bit of dodgy wording. (Biblical) ‘calvinism’is always best, but we’d best have enough of the gospel to be saved.

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